DEAR ABBY: I'm in love with a man with a big heart. He was my boyfriend when we were both 6 years old. We lost touch for many years, but when I ran into him again we reconnected with a vengeance. We are great together, and I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else.
We come from a small town, and he remained there until a year ago when he moved in with me. We now live in a major city and things are very different here. Applying for jobs requires a background check. In the small town we are from, it wasn't a common practice. He was, to put it gently, quite "mischievous" when he was younger. He has a couple of DUIs, plus a few other things.
During the past year he has turned things around, but despite his efforts he has been unable to find work. (He has no felonies.) There are websites to assist felons, but none to assist people like him. He has been to unemployment and temp agencies -- nothing. I'm getting desperate. How does someone with a criminal history find employment? -- FEELING HELPLESS IN VIRGINIA
DEAR FEELING HELPLESS: That's a good question, and it's one that legislators have been looking into. Some laws in certain jurisdictions limit an employer's ability to look at criminal records. It might be worth your while to discuss this with a labor lawyer in your state to find out what the statutes are, because it is not the same in all states. While it might not solve your problem, it will give you a realistic idea of what the two of you are facing in the future.