Is it generally a bad idea to date someone who has a not so good family life? i. e. had a bad childhood?

I've been talking to this guy and he has told me that he had an abusive childhood and he doesn't have a very good relationship with his mom or his dad, they never send him anything for Christmas, he never sees them, etc.

Is it a bad idea to get involved with someone who has this kind of background? I grew up in a stable environment and my parents are still married and love each other. I feel like I definitely would not be able to relate to someone who had a hard time growing up.

Thoughts?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • In a general sense, yes, absolutely. It's a bad idea.

    Now here's the reality check. Everyone, no matter what they say or think, is broken in some way. You as well. In what way (s) and to what degree is on an individual basis. It is entirely possible to have negligible amounts of damage, but tangling with an individual who 'is' broken can definitely break you.

    Childhood is a huge area of development and the most fragile time period. While children from broken homes are able to cope, understand that what that coping actually produces is marginally functional adults.

    I like to reference the original book: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In the book, the Emerald City isn't emerald. Everyone in the city is required by decree to have a set of emerald-colored glasses "so no one is blinded by it's brilliance." The glasses are locked in place and the citizens and visitors have no idea what their world actually looks like. They think their world is emerald; normal.

    As soon as you understand that you're wearing "emerald glasses," then you have the ability to understand how they got there and how you can take them off. 'He' cannot do this for you. 'He' has to do this for himself.

    I'm going to say this as carefully as I can... 'If' he cannot tell you and name whatever mental health struggles he has from childhood and how he has worked on them: Walk away.

    Do not validate him or try and rescue him, attempting to would mean you have some issues with codependency (like me) and you're in for a horrific time.

    Understand that I am someone who gave his life to Jesus and is all about sharing grace with every living soul on earth. But I'm telling you to knowingly get into a romantic relationship with someone who is broken is in no way healthy. You need boundaries.

    If you feel you cannot ask him directly about mental health, and waffling about isn't good enough here, your instincts are trying to tell you something. Now is the time to leave before you're in too deep.

    There are other men out there. And if you have an Ewok with the caption "thug life" for your avatar, you will have no trouble landing another. The force is strong with you for even verbalizing your concerns and seeking wisdom.

    Good luck and Godspeed!

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Hmmmm... very good question. :) I've grown up in the same type of home, and have wondered the same thing (it's almost impossible to find non-divorced families, obviously:() It's really very hard to know what's best. You'll have to take signs you're given and piece together how he lives his life & how he treats you. Both my parents grew up in pretty bad homes, but they have matured and are now amazing people, so good things can happen. But it's so often the case that the person we love isn't able to handle their pain properly and either destroys themselves or you. I think time and other's opinions are needed. When you feel ready, definitely start asking what family/friends (yours and his) think - they can protect and guide you. But I really do wish you the best - this is such hard and scary waters & I know you just want to love him the best you can. Best wishes! :)

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What Guys Said 5

  • The fact that you are questioning it should tell you to move on.

    I usually preach honesty when breaking up with anyone (friend, date, bf/gf, etc.) But you might want to tell a white lie

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    • well I never would have guessed that that was his background. He acts pretty normal and I've been talking with him for a few months now. I just wonder if it will impact the relationship down the road.

    • Possibly. Only one way to find out. Consider yourself fortunate he told you about his past.

  • I don't think that should be very relevant, otherwise we lock someone who had a bad childhood up in his or her problems... that person can long ago have left that behind and be a perfectly nice girl or guy :D

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  • He could be a great partner, determined to have a different life and a happy home. You'll have to get to know him better. I know lots of great people who grew up in troubled homes.

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  • I come from a similar background. Beaten and neglected when I was younger. Parents divorced when I was 8. Father passed away and mother lives far away. All that aside, I'm a great person and very giving in a relationship but I think it's ended up being a kill card for me. Several girls apparently think along the same lines you do or at least the ones I meet. I would judge a person based on how they make you feel and what you observe, not based on a past environment that wasn't of his choosing.

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  • It depends on the people. As someone who came from a troubled home I think it makes me a better person but I need the right woman who accepts me and gives me the things I need.

    For some women I'm too damaged and imperfect.

    It seems you aren't up to the task of being with this guy because you can't see beyond what you perceive as who he is and what he went through. I can only guess he needs someone more caring and understanding than you seem to be.

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What Girls Said 2

  • I don't think so. I personally have had a horrible childhood and a not so good family life when I was young. However I don't let it effect me.

    If he's moved on and it doesn't effect him then I think it's fine. Doesn't mean he'll forget what happened because with things like that it'll stay forever, it just means you got to be patient. As long as he is bringing it into his everyday life then it shall be fine

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  • I have had a bad childhood with sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse and by the age of fifteen I became drink dependent and attempted suicide 3 times. I still have the occasional relapse, but I feel as if it made me a more interesting and understanding person, my boyfriend agrees too :)

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