Hi Rene:

I’m writing about my daughter and the issues I have with her boyfriend. See, she’s 18 and dating a 22-year-old. I have already found out he’s been accused of statutory rape, has numerous memberships to porn sites, some with naked pictures of himself, wanted my daughter to take naked pictures of herself, is a pathological liar, and is very immature for his age.

As if that wasn’t enough, she keeps telling me he’s changed. He cancelled his porn memberships and he’s really working on his lying now. I believe that a sexual deviant such as him will never change and he’s just bad news. She has grown up in a very loving, Christian home and she’s bringing him to church with us now. She thinks he’s going to make a complete 180, but I don’t trust him, I don’t like him and all they really do is fight. So why the heck is she still with him and what can I do about it?

Hope you can help.

Signed worried mom!

Dear Worried Mom!

Well if these things are true then you are correct, you definitely have some problems. But in reading your letter, there are some things I am confused about.

Let’s talk about the boyfriend. You say he is a pathological liar. How do you know, have you caught him in more than one tall tale? You say he’s immature for his age, how so? What does he do to give you that impression? He’s been accused of statutory rape but what was the outcome of the investigation? Anyone can accuse anyone of anything but if there were no charges filed, how do we know it wasn’t just someone being vindictive? I’m just trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. However….

WHOA! He’s working on his lying, canceled his porn memberships and wanted your daughter to take nude pictures of herself? Sweet, little eight pound, flesh-toned baby Jesus this guy sounds like a piece of work! The trick is making your daughter see that. Honestly, having dated a bad boy (and yes, it’s exciting and blah, blah, blah) my gut reaction is to get her away from him. I am very happy he’s working on his “issues” but he needs to do that without her hanging around. One of the things your daughter is going to have to learn is that love doesn’t cure bad behavior. When I dated my bad boy, I thought I saw a glimmer of something that the rest of the world did not. It wasn’t until he kicked the side of my car and scared the living daylights out of me that I realized the hug therapy wasn’t working. He was also a few years older than me, which is something that’s a little troubling in your situation as well. Four years doesn’t sound like a big difference when both people are say 40 and 44, but 18 is just out of (or potentially still in) high school and 22 is a year over the drinking age. That worries me.

Time for a long talk with your daughter – perhaps more. You didn’t mention whether she lives at home. If she does, don’t you have some say over who she sees and when? While I’m not a fan of the heavy-handed approach this situation sounds like it calls for close and careful monitoring. I would get armed with as much information as you can about this young man (namely the outcome of the statutory rape claim) and then lay out your argument as to why he might not be the best choice for her. It’s great that he has been going to church with your family but there are a whole lot of other hours in the week where his behavior is unchecked by you. Yes your daughter is 18 and legally an adult (you might be ready for that one to be used when you chat with her) but the bottom line is you have been around longer, know more, maybe even seen guys like this before and know how they operate. “Trust but verify” was the term President Ronald Reagan used to say and it’s pretty fitting here. Tell your daughter that you want to see real results before you allow her to spend a lot of time with the boyfriend. Lay out the parameters so that there’s no confusion or ambiguity.

The other point to make to your daughter is that relationships are difficult, even under the best circumstances. Why is she trying to build one with someone whose likes and background are so different from her own? Is she trying to make a statement? Is she trying to get back at you? She doesn’t even get along with the guy for crying out loud! This might be where the real issue lies.

I wish I could say this is going to be easy but I’m not so sure it will be. If you ban your daughter from seeing the guy, there will probably be drama and hurt feelings, at least for a time. But if you allow her to see him as he is now, even in his “changing mode” the outcome could be far worse.

Good luck mommy.

Rene x

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