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Are his personal problems too overwhelming?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 28, 2011 06:46 AM

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Q: Dear Meredith,

My boyfriend of six months and I have a dilemma. Let's start with the basics. I am caring, understanding, and accepting. I look at him and see a man who absolutely adores me, and our relationship is honest, true, and full of acceptance. Here's the catch -- I found out that he has a slew of problems. On paper, he is a mess. He has had addictions to drugs and alcohol and suffers from depression and schizophrenia. He is 26.

I know ... it sounds horrible and you're probably questioning my sanity for staying in a relationship with him.

The thing is, I see him for the man he is. He has a gentle soul and can always make me smile and laugh. My friends say that we glow every time we are together. We are exceptionally close and he has treated me a million times better than my previous boyfriend who was highly intelligent, motivated, and had a great job -- and looked exceptional on paper.

My boyfriend's family doesn't approve of our relationship because they feel that he isn't healthy enough for a serious partnership. When I say serious, I mean in a relationship, period. We do not live together or have any plans to move in or talk about a future. Still, they've asked me to stop seeing him. I am at a crossroads because I know that he has serious issues, but I also know that we make each other happy.

Am I wrong to stay in a relationship with him? Should I end it because his family thinks he isn't healthy enough for a relationship? What about the good that I do for him? The acceptance, appreciation, understanding, and love that give him gives him something to smile about? But maybe I’m not being honest with myself.

– Love hurts...Am I wrong?, Massachusetts


A: I can't make guesses about boyfriend's metal health, LHAIW. But I bet your guy's doctors can give you some answers. If your boyfriend is treating his mental illness, he's seeing a professional. And that professional can chat with you and your boyfriend (with your boyfriend's permission, of course) about what all of this means and whether it's safe and appropriate to pursue a serious, romantic relationship.

This decision requires fact-finding and soul-searching and it might be exhausting. So ... are you up for it? At six months, with no promise of a future together, are you ready to take on the risks and responsibilities that come with this relationship? Because that's the real question. Is it worth your while, even in the best of circumstances? Only you can answer that one. I haven't seen the "glow."

Go find out what all of this really means and then be honest with yourself about what you need to be happy. Right now, you don't have enough information and I fear that you're not asking enough of the right questions. Go get educated.

Readers? Are there too many obstacles here? What about his family? At six months, is this relationship worth preserving? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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