Thursday, September 15, 2005

Joe's Rules for Relationships for Young Women

Joe's Rules for Relationships for Young Women

By Joseph Parker, Clinical Director
The Lola Greene Baldwin Foundation

Girls who are raised by parents who respect each other, work steadily to provide for their children's needs, and do their best to protect them, often learn things that give them a better chance of avoiding destructive relationships as adults. When a man abandons his family through violence, addiction or simply walking out, the girls usually are hurt worse than boys. They are more exposed to sexual abuse in the home and to exploitation in the community. They may have children before they are ready, with many painful and tragic consequences. They are left without a trustworthy standard for judging men. For these girls, even a basic list of rules can help them avoid some of the disasters that come from having to go out into the world guessing.

Before getting involved with a man:

  1. Know him for six months before moving in with him, getting married, or having a child with him. This amount of time will help you avoid whatever nasty surprises there may be, before you are in too deep.
  2. He must be self supporting. If you want a house and a car, a dog and a cat, and 2.2 children, all that costs money. Except in unusually bad times, which will be discussed on TV and in the newspapers, a man who stays unemployed for more than three weeks is probably not really looking for a job. Another version of this is the man who frequently gets jobs, but promptly gets fired or quits them because they are not good enough for him.
  3. He must be clean and sober. Again, the things needed for a normal life cost money. If all the money is going for drugs and alcohol, it will not be available to help support a family and a normal life. There will be additional costs, due to court fees, treatment costs and increased car insurance related to accidents and DUII's.
  4. No violence. Not even threats. No long term relationship can survive violence. The parties may continue to live together, but the loving, respectful relationship needed to raise healthy, undamaged children will be gone. Usually, addiction will become more severe, and affect all others in the family. The severity of violence will increase over time. Witnessing violence is very harmful to children, even if they are not the target.
  5. No lying. You are human beings. Sooner or later you are going to seriously screw up. When that happens, you each will need support and help cleaning up the mess, not an additional source of abuse. If he has a history of running around on previous girlfriends, he will very likely run around on you.

Having a normal family life requires a lot of planning and teamwork. Each person must agree to carry out parts of the plan, and then do so. Chronic lying destroys the trust needed to work together toward necessary goals.

Copyright 2003, Joe Parker


No comments: