Seven years ago I got into a situation based on my naivety, and it subsequently gave me a misdemeanor conviction and a criminal record. Since that incident, I haven't had so much as a speeding ticket. I've had jobs since, with the latest one lasting three years (we were laid off). I then had the opportunity to get my dream job, but it was taken away from me because of the aforementioned incident. I kept my head held high and got
the records sealed/expunged. Yet it seems as though every time I apply for a position, that incident still shows up. I've been to college and graduated cum laude but I just can't break free from it. Do I even deserve another chance in life to be happy and move on?
- Imprisoned Forever
Your right to move forward is based on our justice system, which is why you need legal help to end this road-block to employment. See a lawyer to probe why your record, having been sealed and/or expunged, continues to shadow you. Meanwhile, expand your resume with volunteer work, plus upgrading courses and workshops, as these will reflect your eagerness for work and community involvement.
I'm 41, having had only two relationships in 20 years; the second marriage began just months after the first. Both husbands cheated on me with much younger girls. I've been single for two years and have no desire to meet anyone. My mother and friends are concerned that I'm getting too old to take such a long break from relationships, but I'm terrified that I'll meet the same man again and he'll hurt me. I feel as if it's over for me, like I'm an old boot. How can I change the way I'm feeling?
- Scared and Lonely
There's plenty of kick left in your "boot" - so long as you don't walk the same old path. You started your first relationship when young and inexperienced; then began your second in a rush. Now you're wiser, and can be alert to pitfalls - such as, say, falling for a "charmer" who needs constant attention. Whatever was your pattern, it can be changed. But it's up to you to determine to do so, rather than hide from the normal work of being both self-aware, and selective. This is an excellent time to seek personal counselling, and get professional guidance to understanding your choices of the past, in order to improve them for your future.
I have chronic Hepatitis B and was honest with my ex-boyfriend from the beginning. I'd advised him to go to the doctor for a blood-test and get vaccinated before we had sex together. However, after cohabiting for one year, our relationship ended abruptly because he finally told his father about my condition, and was urged to break up. Though we also had different career paths, and different views of life, I was still deeply hurt by the split. It took me six months to re-enter the dating scene. Recently, I met a young man and we connected quickly. I debated on when to disclose my condition. But I had (protected) sex with him for the first time and told him the day after. His reaction totally destroyed me spiritually. All talk about "us" faltered at that moment. Although I know that Hepatitis B is transferred through blood and unprotected sex, I could not debate with the maybe-one-per-cent chance of the condom failing to prevent contagion. I urged him to get tested and let me know any results, and said I'd pay for his expenses. He hasn't contacted me. How should I approach any future relationships in a mature and responsible way?
- Your faithful reader
You know the answer. You also know that avoiding your moral responsibility by not disclosing your condition, is as personally self-defeating as it is unfair to your sexual partner. Yes, you've been hurt once despite your honesty in that situation; however, your ex was the immature one who'd withheld the information from his father, and who clearly had other reasons why he wanted out. That experience - and this latest - should still have
impressed on you that being upfront is essential in any relationship, and from both sides. The way to be mature and responsible is to be mature and responsible from the start, and ask the same of your partner.
Tip of the day:
Hope and optimism are necessary companions, if life is to move forward from tougher times.