To Marry or Not?

Q: I have been with the father of my child for 2 years on and off. Before our child was born, he decided he wasn't ready to be in a committed relationship, so we parted ways. Five months later we were back together and things have been going well, but I'm worried about him leaving me or cheating on me, as he has done in the past. Before we got together he told me he wouldn't do it, there's too much at stake, but I still feel scared, and it's starting to come out in our relationship. It's getting on his nerves because I don't trust him. The problem now is his mother. She's in our business, and this causes fights between my boyfriend and me. We have talked about getting married, but how can we with all these problems? Please help! We both love each other so much and really want to make things work for us and our child. -- Tammy, 22

Dr. Susan: Pretty much every family has in-law issues. You and your boyfriend have to put yourselves and your child first, and not let his mother make trouble. Talk to him about this, without badmouthing his mother, when you're away from her. The issue of trust is a challenging one. It's possible that, by his marrying you, you will trust him more. But it's also possible that he's not ready for that step yet. If he has betrayed your trust before, he needs to come more than halfway to regain your trust. That means he ought to listen patiently to your worries and do whatever he can to reassure you, let you know where he is when he's not with you, and so on. I suggest you talk to a professional and try to figure out the next step.

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