Help Me, Harlan!

Dear Harlan,

I am a 21-year-old who was recently married to a 39-year-old man. Before I met my husband, I had just ended a 3-and-a-half-year relationship. My ex and I had grown physically and emotionally distant. He just did not want to let go. This was very emotionally exhausting for me. Although he claims he is over it, I do not believe him. When I do see him, which is rarely, he tells me that he loves me, that he’s sorry, that his life is not the same without me, and that he wishes to hold me. My concern is telling him about my recent marriage. My decision to end our relationship was difficult enough for him. Should I risk digging deeper into his emotional scars, or should I save him from the pain?

Should I Tell

Dear Tell,

Unless you’re looking for another wedding gift, I don’t see the point of telling. You’ve told me and now you’ve told everyone reading. It’s enough people. The only one you don’t need to tell is your ex. It’s not like you can even have any kind of friendship with this guy. He’s still in way too deep. Really, he’s telling you that he loves when your paths ‘accidentally’ cross. That could be a sign he’s not over you…

He needs to heal and move forward with his life – without you in the picture, especially if you’re wearing a wedding dress in the picture. Telling him will only aggravate the situation. Wait a couple years until he’s moved forward with his life. When he says, ‘Why didn’t you tell me before?’ you can tell him that you wanted him to move forward with his life and you thought it was healthier he find out later than sooner. But that’s just my opinion… I’ll be happy to share other’s thoughts, too!

Dear Harlan,

I am a 20-year-old female and my boyfriend and I have been together for three years. Six months into our relationship, he got in trouble with the law and went to prison. He gets out in April of 2001. I love this man more than life itself. But sometimes I feel that when he gets out he is not going to change his ways, then again, I feel that he is going to change his ways. I just want to know, am I wrong to stay with him, or should I leave him for someone better. What should I do??


Dear Tweety,

Life is complicated enough without having to wonder if your boyfriend has been arrested every time he’s running a few minutes late. If he hasn’t changed and he not taking the necessary steps to change, don’t expect things to change. Prepare to be a girlfriend, wife and mother who does a lot of driving to and from prison for visiting hours.

Yes, he is capable of permanent change, but permanent change takes time, discipline, and a deliberate effort. Just make it clear that if he doesn’t change – not only will he lose his freedom, but he’ll also lose you, too. Unless he’s willing to work toward total rehabilitation, he’s totally going to go back to jail. And that’s not good.