“I would like your help about how to keep my boyfriend, who lives with his parents and works for his dad. I have a baby and live in a small council flat, where my boyfriend stays once in a while. He’s told me I have to get myself together, and wrote me a list of all the things he thinks I need to do.
“He says I have got to lose weight; get in shape; find a job and a childminder; and track down some CDs that I said I’d get him for Christmas. He didn’t even have the bottle to give me the list but texted it to me.
“I know I’ve let myself go a bit, but with the baby being so demanding (she is 18 months old, not his) I haven’t had the time or money to spend on myself. I have really tried to get a job and to get his CDs, but I’m struggling to afford them to be honest, and I don’t know what else to do to keep us together.”
“Well, you could lie on the floor and let him walk all over you – because he’s already treating you like a doormat! This isn’t a relationship; he’s only with you when it suits him and he’s trying to turn you into someone else – someone that perhaps he might find acceptable.
“As he lives and works with his parents, he clearly has no idea just how hard it is to get a job in the real world, especially with a baby’s needs to consider. Finding a childminder before you have an income is hard enough, and trying to earn an income without anyone to look after your baby is even harder.
“I can sense you’re angry, when you say he ‘didn’t even have the bottle’ to give you the list he prepared – so I think you know, deep down, that this isn’t the way things should be.
“I don’t know whether or not you are in touch with your baby’s father, or if this is an option for you, but might he be able to help you with childcare? Or do you have any family members that could, temporarily, help you out?
“That still doesn’t help you with your relationship though, and I have to wonder why you are trying to hang on to this man? Is it because it seems better to have any man in your life, rather than trying to cope on your own? Believe me, it’s not! You are far more likely to achieve things because you want to do them for yourself and your daughter, than for some man with unrealistic expectations.
“Please believe me when I say you can do so much better than this. There is someone out there who will appreciate you for who you are, and what you’re trying to do; who will encourage and support you, not belittle you like this man is doing.”
If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.