My girlfriend is moving back into a bad situation. What can I do?


OK. This could take a while.

I'm with this girl. She is by far, without a doubt, the love of my life. I've come a long way. Far enough that I can tell through some of my people they want what I got, though they won't say that. But it seems I have done the impossible. I've hung my flesh out to dry, kept fighting, and now she's trying. She's far from where she needs to be, but she is trying to stop smoking and cussing, and she understands and respects no sex before marriage, but still, she's in the same place.

i prayed for God to take them away, if He had to, just to help them, and He did. But He put her in the worst place. Things are looking up so much and there's a person staying there who we can trust and helped keep an eye out for her because things can go bad so fast around there. Well, that person is gone as of last night.

They're all at another house where her granny is right now, and they're really packed in that place as it is. I love it when she's around her granny. I don't have to worry about if she's OK, if someone is bothering her, if she's hungry, or anything. It's such a relief. Her granny is the most warm-hearted Christian person I've ever known. God has done the unexpected and turned her son's life around. He's now saved and trying to do good, which is truly amazing knowing who he used to be. So everything out there is great now -- a cigarette here or there but no weed, beer, or screaming fights. There's always food.

But she has to go back home. She's got to go back into that spiraling pit of hate because her mama lives there. i always tell her, baby, please just go live with your granny, but they're so packed out there. She has two dogs. She doesn't know what she would do with them out there. There are just so many points that she makes about things that she shouldn't even have to worry about. She doesn't want to throw herself back on her granny because she doing OK now. She finally has money. But you can't talk to her for anything, and things are bad now because when she goes back to her mom's there's no more eyes and ears for her -- just her, her alcoholic bum mama, and a convicted felon who's been caught trying to look at her on several occasions.

I can't let this happen anymore. I feel like I have to do something, but I will get myself in trouble if I take it into my own hands and possibly might end up getting shot, so I figured I can tell the cops what's going on and let them take those to down to protect her. Of course, she'll go to her granny when that happens because all that the cops have to do is walk in the yard and see a four-foot-tall marijuana plant, and that pretty much all she wrote. But at the same time, I feel some sort of guilt because it's like I'm stabbing these people in the back because when I'm around to see her I smile at them to just get along. But then when I think again, why do I care? I'm not these people's friend and there's no good that I can see coming out of them ever because they won't even help themselves. I'm just trying to look out for someone I love who I know has an amazing heart, and I'm tired of knowing the disaster she is forced to live in.

But then again, I think of the points she makes to me about being no room and all. Really, I've ruled them out in a way. She has a reputation to destroy a girl because of what she's done and been known for. If she goes back out there, she will finish school in a new school with a new reputation. She literally has no friends. Out there I won't hear "I'm so hungry" ever again. When she's out there she won't have so much trouble trying to do better because evil is not being shoved in her face constantly.

I can't help but think, what would Jesus do? Then I think that whatever Jesus would do in this situation is probably a 1,000 times beyond me. Putting somebody behind bars is cold. I've been there in the past. Where I come from you don't talk to people with badges. I just don't know what to do. If she figures out that I did it (if I do this), she is going to be so, I don't know -- there's no word for it. I know she wouldn't hate me, she loves me, and truth be told her granny and I are all she has. I've worked hard to show her that she has God as well. She'll love me anyway. I just can't believe I'm even keeping something this big and this real in my head from her when it could be as soon as tomorrow. I don't know what Jesus would do in this situation. When I prayed to God, He put her there, and I couldn't walk straight with her, so I hit my knees and cried and asked God if I had to leave her alone, and I did. Hardest thing ever. The next thing I know, I get a message, and God is telling me to help her. It's almost as if God wanted to see if I was willing to leave her for Him. Now I've helped her. It's amazing. I feel like it's only going to get better between us and God. But I just can't leave her helpless again. I don't know what Jesus would do here. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do here. So what would you do here?

Thanks if you actually read all of this. I probably made multiple errors, and I apologize.


You raised a number of issues that I would love to address with you, but if I do they will be distracting from the central issues. First, I'm going to feedback to you on what I picked up from your letter, hopefully in a condensed form. Let me know if I missed something important.

Your girlfriend is a minor who has not been good. She's being raised in a bad environment, so in many ways, she was just following what she knew. You came along and initially neither of you behaved yourselves, but you've turned yourself around and convinced her to make changes as well. Part of what helped is that for a time she was living with her grandma and uncle, but she plans to go back to her mother's where the environment is really bad. You fear that the effort you have put in will be wasted because you know it is likely that she'll go back to her old habits when she in her old environment. Thus, you've hit on a scheme to get her mom and her boyfriend in so much trouble that your girlfriend will be sent to her grandma's to live.

The real difficulty is that your girlfriend already has a choice in where she lives. She's chosen to live with her mother because there is more room and she can keep her dogs. You don't like the decision -- and I don't blame you. But the truth is that you are trying to strong-arm her into making a better decision.

One of the problems in a relationship where one is significantly older than the other is that it is very easy to slip into a parenting role. Especially when the younger partner doesn't have that particular parent in his or her life. For you, it is strongly appealing because you get to be the knight in shining armor coming to rescue the damsel in distress. Men have a built-in need to be needed (Genesis 2:18), and such a role strongly appeals to most men. She is at the age when she needs a father in her life, and you fill that role nicely for her -- though she probably doesn't see it. There is a strong need in women to feel secure and loved (Genesis 3:16). Your concern for her fills that need at least in part.

But if you hope to marry and have a successful marriage, you both have to fulfill those needs by being each other's companion. For you, that means that while you want to rescue her, you have to acknowledge that she must make her own decisions. You can't force her. Rather, the days ahead are tests for both of you. I suspect that you would love to have a wife who can make good decisions on her own, and looks to you for the major directions in your lives. Here will be another chance to see if she is growing into being a sensible young woman. She will be looking to you for leadership and guidance. So, while you don't like her choices, she'll need you there to help her see and avoid the pitfalls.

Young people tend to miss seeing all the consequences of their actions. In this case, I think you are missing many ramifications that would result from you getting your girlfriend's mother and boyfriend in trouble. While she might get sent to her grandmothers, knowing the way many states work, they more likely will send her off into foster care until they decide who can really care for her. Since grandma doesn't have room, that can factor against her. States sometimes take time making decisions. While you are confident she won't hate you for interfering, you know she won't be happy with it. Why add a point of contention to your relationship?

She is doing something similar in that she is returning, thinking she'll be able to handle all the problems. It might not work out as she intended.

Another trap many people fall into is thinking there are only two choices. There are rarely just two choices. What would help your girlfriend more is finding her more alternatives. For example, will she get involved in a church where some there might help her when she needs it? Perhaps you can find a safe house for her if she needs to escape a bad situation. If she is short of food, then she should talk to the school she attends. There are free breakfast and lunch programs available. If food is an issue, the school might arrange for her to talk to someone in social services and they will try to arrange a solution so she can eat in the evenings and on weekends. They will probably also keep an eye on her home situation to make sure she isn't abused.

While you can come up with suggestions, you still need to accept that it comes down to whether she is willing to follow your suggestions. If she isn't, then you need to seriously think about whether you want a wife who won't listen to you, even when your advice is good. I know that is a hard thing to swallow at this point, but these days of getting to know someone is to eventually decide if this is the person you want at your side for the rest of your life. It involves feelings, but feelings can overrule your head.

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