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Hi there Nina,

I have to say, while I admire you more than almost anyone else on these boards, I have never ever been prouder of you than I am after reading your post above. And that is saying quite a lot, because I've felt extremely proud of you for all that you've managed to accomplish on your own since you've been sharing your story with your friends here. Anyway, this latest decision is probably the hardest and bravest decision you've had to make thus far, and I admire you more than ever and find you truly inspirational because unlike the vast majority of people out there who allow their emotional attachments to trump what they know intellectually to be in their best interests and thus stay miserable involved in dead end, unsatisfying relationships.

But you, Nina, are tough and strong and incredibly braveÖthink about all you have been through, both in your home country and then heading to England all by yourself, knowing no one, and needing to support yourself and finance your education all on your own, surviving two unhealthy relationships in which you werenít treated even remotely as well as you deserve, then still managing to succeed and triumph over any and all obstacles you faced to the point where you are going to soon be Dr. Nina and your work is so good that you have been offered a job before you are even finished with school! If you can make your dreams come true to such a remarkable extent when it comes to your education and career, then I have complete faith in you to pave your way to happiness in your personal life as well.

One of the reasons you are such an inspiring role model for me is because I tend to be a bit shy when it comes to approaching people, I get nervous when faced with the prospect of having to do everything for myself, and I can be timid when Iím trying to call or approach someone when I want something from them. I think itís just incredibly awesome that you donít let any of this nonsense get in your way, probably because you didnít have any other choice but to put yourself out there, go after your goals, and not allow anything to stand in your way. Itís incredibly difficult for most people to chase their dreams because the uncertainty associated with taking that risk and possibly ending up disappointed can be completely paralyzing, and most people arenít honest and open enough with themselves to figure out what they want, go after his wholeheartedly, and refuse to settle for anything less than everything they want, which of course someone like you completely and totally deserves. That takes an incredible amount of guts, Nina, and if you can be that fearless and strong in your professional and educational lives, I see absolutely no reason why you canít be just as firm in your resolve to go after what you want and refuse to settle for less in your personal life as well.

While Iím flattered at the idea of having something significant in common with you, I think that I have had a fair amount of experience applying that sort of take no prisoners attitude toward my personal life and especially toward my relationships with men, which with one notable exception has always proved well worth the effort, imbued me with countless incredible learning experiences about myself, others, and relationships, and blessed me with immeasurable happiness during the vast majority of time within the vast majority of my past relationships. Yet while I have always loved school and excelled academically, Iíve really had to take many risks in terms of pursuing my educational and career goals. This may be part of while Iím still feeling a bit stuck in that regard right now and am unsure as to exactly where I want to be, what I want to be studying, and what I want to be doing as far as work is concerned. So please believe that I understand how it can be much easier to stay in an unsatisfying, unhappy relationship (or any comparable situation) than to strike out on your own and risk the status quo in order to achieve something much better, something that your really truly want, not just something you are settling for because itís easier than changing something major in your life around.

Anyway, Nina, I canít stress more strongly how proud I am of you for looking out for your own well-being, and I will keep my fingers and toes crossed that you will continue to see the wisdom in putting your own needs before those of a guy, any guy, and especially a guy who hasnít demonstrated nearly as firm of a commitment as you deserve in failing to stand up for your feelings and protect your relationship against the attacks being launched against it from various family and the infamous psycho stalker ex. I canít believe that nothing has changed since he first let you know that his parents were insisting that the ex, not you, come to this birthday celebration and he has just went along with it like a total doormat. And then nonsense like him calling his ex on New Years, leaving you alone while he blows all his money on unnecessarily extravagant gifts, then needing to mooch off you just to survive. Heís a grown man, and you have absolutely no reason to feel guilty for not supporting him when you need your money much more than he does, and itís his own fault that he doesnít have more money because he spends it so irresponsibly, like an immature little kid. Nina, you deserve SOOO much better, so much more, and you are the kind of amazing woman who I just know will land an incredible man who compliments you, reassures you, supports you, and generally just makes your life richer and more content through everything about him and everything he does. Now that you have demonstrated such incredible bravery in standing up for yourself and refusing to tolerate anymore of a toxic relationship that is tearing you apart, making your personal life just as admirably courageous and demanding that you keep conquering fears and doubts, I am going to have to follow your inspiring and moving example and to whip my life into shape as well!! At least, Iím going to try and move on as best I can, and I canít thank you enough for showing me how important it is to take our lives by the reigns and actively pursue what we want and what will make us happier, rather than passively allowing life to push us around and sticking with whatever is happening at a given point because itís easier, less scary, and requires less of a leap of faith than does making some smart changes. I just hope I have the courage to put the lessons Iíve learned from you into practice in reality! But back to you and your pressing situationódo you have any friends or family anywhere nearby that you could move on for just a few weeks until you get your own place? Failing that, I strongly, strongly suggest that you demand that your boyfriend move back with his parents (since they insist on exerting so much control over his life, especially which woman heís living with!) or friends until one of you finds another place. I know this will be really difficult financially and painful emotionally for awhile, but please believe me when I say unequivocally that you are doing the right thing. Remember, youíre only in a fragile emotional state because heís sat by being a passive coward and allowing his family and ex to wreck havoc on your relationship and exacerbate your anxiety, and youíre only running short of money because you have been forced to support your ex while heís carelessly throwing money away as if you had all the money in the world and could afford to cover all his bills indefinitely while he indulged all his expensive whims like a foolish little kid.

Nina, I am so excited for your futureóI just know you are going to be much happier on your own and when the time is right, with a wonderful man who treats you well and exerts a powerfully positive force on yourself, your life, and your general outlook on everything. You will be so much better off without a wimpy coward dragging you down and holding you back with his drinking problem, his tendency toward emotional neglect and perhaps even abuse, his irresponsibility, and his absolute inability to stand up for you or your partnership (or in all likelihood, his laziness and wishy-washiness when it comes to standing up for anything). Itís going to hurt for awhile and be hard to get on with life without feeling like something is missing or doubting yourself from time to time, but please please trust me that you are definitely doing the right thing, and that you will be a million times better off and happier in the long run without your ex than with him. Remember, youíve been incredibly patient and forgiving and in fact have bent over backwards for years trying to make his life perfect, and nothing you did made any difference despite your very best efforts, so now itís time to turn your back on him, make the healthy, smart decision, and concentrate your time, energy, and attention on yourself and your own needs, just like youíve sorely needed to do for quite some time now. I promise that things will get easier and start to improve a little bit at a time as you have some distance and perspective on the whole situation with Dave, his family, and his crazy ex. Please donít look back or doubt yourselfóyouíve totally made the right decision, and since youíve proven that youíre incredibly tough and resilient despite facing numerous obstacles in the past, there is absolutely no reason why this painful ordeal canít end up being a majorly wonderful turning point in your life, and I really hope that everything goes better for everyone this year! Iím sending lots and lots of love and hugs across the ocean now to you, Nina! Love, Stacy





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