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"I'm in love with a girl who's had a troubled past"

I am having a difficult time sorting some feelings I have for someone I really care about. Beth, we will call her, has a very rough life. Until she was about 13 she lived with her abusive grandparents because her father left and her mother is an alcoholic.

When she left her grandparents she moved into her father’s house and lived there for a year or so until they fought and he kicked her out. She then moved out to my area and lived with a few of her friends until she was kicked out, then moved into my best friend's house where she is living right now.

They sleep in the same bed and she doesn’t even have a room of her own. She has gotten into trouble with the law and has no rides to court and I actually skipped school to take her to her court date. She needs a lot of help and I would do anything for her. I know that she is going to want to move out of my friend’s house soon, and I have made clear that I have a room and a bed waiting.

I feel for her unlike I have ever felt for any other person. I am thinking about her all day, every day, and for some reason all my stuff really smells like her and I cant go anywhere without being reminded of her sweet smell. I go out of my way everyday to see her and each time I feel more and more for her. I think I love this girl and I don’t know how to tell her.

20 Jan 2006
Name: Texatrucha
Age: 17

Dear Texatrucha,

You don’t have to tell her how you feel because your actions are screaming it!

Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re an incredible sense of support and you offer her unwavering friendship – something she’s never, ever had before in her life – so aside from getting the Good Year blimp to broadcast the news in the sky, I think you’re doing the only thing you can when it comes to showing her how you feel.

I want to warn you, however, that your road to long-lasting love may not be smooth and problem-free. Why? Because every single person in her past who was supposed to care for her, keep her safe and really love her has either abused her and/or left her. From her parents to grandparents to her friends, she’s never been loved unconditionally.

Think about it; if the roles were reversed and you were her, would you really be able to trust anyone?

I have a feeling she’s trained herself not to get too close. Every time someone enters her “inner circle” she most likely builds a wall to protect herself from getting hurt; hurt the way she was when her mother could no longer take care of her, when her grandparents abused her and when her father kicked her out.

Even though you’re showering her with support, kindness and affection, it may take her a while to let her guard down and believe that, unlike everyone else, you want to be a permanent fixture in her life. After all, up until this point, everyone she’s ever cared about has thrown her away as if she were a dirty, old dishrag. So in her mind, why wouldn’t you do the same?

So what do you do? Proceed with caution and an abundance of patience. The only way to disprove her theory is by just continuing to be in her life.

If all of this seems a bit overwhelming and you don’t know if moving forward romantically with her is something you can handle, do not feel badly. There’s no way around it, this is a difficult situation.  But if that is the case, then it’s best for you to back off now before getting too close to her. The last thing you want to do is reinforce her belief that everyone she cares about leaves her.

Good luck!


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