DEAR ABBY: Last fall, my live-in boyfriend was abusive to me. My parents chipped right in and helped me move back to my hometown. They were wonderful and supportive even though I'd let them down in the past. They even bought a house so my children and I would have somewhere to live.
This boyfriend went to classes, did a lot of praying and I believe he's actually changed. I really do! Abby, he's the father of one of my children. We've started seeing each other and it really feels right. We want to get married.
My mother refuses to accept that he could have changed, and makes it clear she doesn't approve. She says if I get back together with him, they will have wasted all that time and money they invested in bailing me out. She says it's my low self-esteem that makes me want to see him.
I don't know how to resolve this. I'm in my late 30s yet I still want my parents' approval. Please help. -- DAUGHTER OF AN IRON-WILLED IOWA MOM
DEAR DAUGHTER: Your mother knows you better than I do. She loves you and doesn't want to see you hurt again, and I can't fault her for that.
Daughter, I'm extremely skeptical about your chances of success in this relationship. If you decide to pursue it, I wish you the best of luck because I'm convinced you're going to need it.
A small percentage of abusers -- those who are truly determined and self-motivated -- can change if they receive long-term counseling. Only time (at least another year of counseling) will tell if this leopard has been able to change his spots.
Under no circumstances should you reconcile with him unless you maintain financial independence. That way, if he should backslide, you won't have to depend on anyone to bail you out. Should you decide to marry this "prize" I urge you to have a rock-solid prenuptial agreement so that you will be taken care of.
So your parents feel they have not "wasted" the money they invested in trying to help you, sell or rent the house and give the proceeds to them.