Tension Between Family and My Life

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Hello, I really need an outside source to hear my side of the story and hear how I feel. I have known this guy for a long time, but we only recently started admitting feelings for each other, so now we have been exclusive for over 2 months. I know that is not very long, but we have already been through more together than I have in my whole life. The basics of him and me are, we are both 18, we are young; we go out and have a good time. He is white, but he has a little black in him as well. My family is very traditional and wants me to date a white/Italian male only. So that was red flag number one. Number two, was that he is known to smoke a lot of weed and my dad is strongly against that. The third thing is that recently I found him after he had hung himself in woods out by where we were hanging out after a large fight by our group of friends. He was drunk, actually blew a 1.2 in the Breathalyzer. So my family is very scared for me to be with him now. But Tyler has gotten help since then, and I strongly feel that he is going to get better. I am very happy with him, and I want to help him work out these problems he has. My dad expects me to leave him within the next month, and I just can’t. I can see Tyler and I going somewhere and having a future together, and I am just not aloud. He has been nothing but good to me, aside from the suicide incident. I saved his life, and I feel that he needs me. And I will not leave him in his time of need, nor do I want to. I care about him a lot, what should I do? I really need help, and I need Tyler and I to work. My dad is having me choose either him or my boyfriend, and it isn’t fair to choose between the two important men in my life.

A: Thank you for asking your important question. The fact that your boyfriend tried to hang himself means that there has been something unresolved in him for a while. That kind of drastic action doesn’t spring up overnight.

While I applaud you being so loyal and resilient, I also think it is important to keep developing yourself. What I mean by this is that the heavy use of weed, the heavy use of alcohol, and the suicide attempt are extremely serious issues that you cannot fix. He needs a lot of support and therapy and rehabilitation for him to turn a corner. I realize what I am about to say will sound lame, but I am going to say it anyway because it is the truth. Your boyfriend can’t be your whole life. You may want to have him in your life and be his friend –or even girlfriend, but keeping him sober, drug-free and alive can’t be your mission. When someone is as involved as he is in his issues, people close to them go into orbit around them. Don’t become one of the satellites. Be sure to keep your friends, your goals and dream and your self care at the top of the list.

I higlhy recommend you go to an Alateen meeting They are free and there is sure to be one located in your area. They can help with support as you move through this.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Mar 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Tension Between Family and My Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/03/24/tension-between-family-and-my-life/