Unhealthy Relationship

 by Chuck Snyder
 co-chaplain for the Seattle Mariners


Dear Chuck
My 20-year-old daughter is involved with a boy who is not a Christian. They dated steadily from when she was 17 years old until recently. She was the main pursuer in the relationship, driving him around when he didn't have a car, calling him, paging him, etc. She started many behaviors (cursing, smoking, etc) of which we disapprove. She finally smothered him so much that he broke up with her over Christmas. She begged us to allow her to transfer college to another city so she could get over him. We agreed. However, they have resumed the relationship long-distance, with her calling him, etc. I know I cannot "make" her stop seeing him, but I need some advice. How can we help her see the destructive nature of this relationship? Her father and I divorced when she was 2, and I can't help but believe that her low self-esteem encourages her to seek relationships with men who are not what God has for her. How can we encourage her, without "nagging?"

Chuck's Response
Thanks for the note about your daughter. I have bad news for you - you cant do ANYTHING to help her. She is going to have to make her own mistakes. She already knows your standards, your wishes, desires, your fears and concerns. Now all you can do is support her personally without appearing to approve of her relationship. I don't think you have to say anything more. You definitely shouldn't do anything that might cause your possible future son-in-law to hate you. As much as you can, just give her to God and stick around to help her pick up the pieces of her life. Divorce wreaks horrible destruction in the lives of kids. Most people in prisons are from broken homes. Its a spiritual tragedy, but there is nothing you can do about that now, except be around when she falls. I know this is a hard message, but I don't see any other alternatives for you. Let me know if you want to talk further.

Chuck Snyder



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Contact Chuck: chuck@chucksnyder.org
Updated 05/24/2005