Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Abusive relationships:
“How can I avoid being used again?”

Hey Terra,

I dated this guy a short time and he started going on business trips. He'd gush over the phone about how he missed me, and then he would come home and things were strained. After a couple of days he would assure me he loved me, wanted a future with me, blah blah. He promised me a beautiful life with him if I could be patient. So I became determined to stand by him and be a good girlfriend. The fights worsened, usually about something I did while he was gone, like the fact that I'd gone out with friends he didn't approve of, etc. I convinced myself it was the pressures of being away. He always wanted more affection, attention, love, etc. from me but gave very little. It was an emotional roller coaster. He became more jealous and controlling, but being an idiot I rationalized everything he did. While he was gone on the last trip, I spent some time with one of his best friends, because I felt my boyfriend wouldn't get angry about him, and I enjoy his friend's company. We became close, but totally innocent. My bf comes home and is suspicious and angry about me and his friend. (I now realize that was because my bf was afraid his friend would tell on him about the fact that my bf had cheated on me!) Eventually his friend let me know what was going on, I dumped my boyfriend and left.

I lived with this guy, I work with him, we had mutual friends, and now that it's over I feel totally lost. His friend says my ex was in the wrong and he's not going to stop being my friend. He needs a roommate and wants me to move in. That sounds like a terrible idea, but the friend is in a tough situation without a roommate and he always has a lot of female friends. I don't think he's scamming on me, but I can't help being suspicious right now. My things are still at my ex's house, I have nowhere to go, I can't get closure until I belong somewhere and cut ties with the ex. There is concern over how vindictive my ex will be about this. I just want be somewhere to heal and get over this twisted person but I'm so confused and don't trust my own judgment right now.

Financially, getting my own place is not an option, partially because of supporting the ex. I can't help being sad because I've lost something I loved, even if it was all a lie. Basically I'm ready to make my life better, get over him and am looking for a way to do it with as little drama as possible.

By the way, this is the third guy in a row I've dated that has cheated on me. I don't want to repeat past mistakes. How can I be in future relationship and be who I am without getting used? Please help me sort this mess out.

Three Strikes

Dear Three Strikes,

Instead of falling into a roommate relationship with your ex's best friend, I strongly suggest you take some time to yourself and do what you need to do to live a life that's less dependent on guys. You seem to be very self-aware and you know that you need to "heal" so that you don't keep "repeating past mistakes." The fact that you have so far chosen 3 guys who have betrayed you seems to indicate that you would benefit from re-connecting with your SELF and what matters to you as a person. From that awareness, you move to the next step, which is "What's important to me in a relationship?"

You say you can't afford to get your own place, then I'd suggest you look in the newspaper for ads placed by women who are looking for a female roommate. Many cities also have roommate matching services.

It would be too easy for you to get right back in the thick of it by moving in with your guy friend. It might also, as you say, prove to be dangerous because of the potential "vindictiveness" of your ex.

Don't go there!

Get a female roommate and get your head together. You are a strong and independent young woman (though you may not be fully aware of that yet). You deserve to be treated with respect. The next relationship you enter into needs to be one of mutual trust, respect, honesty, open communication. To create that future relationship, you need to start knowing yourself better now.

I hope this helps you sort things out.

In friendship,

Terra


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.


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