by Laurel

 My daughter's longtime boyfriend was a contradiction from the
moment he latched onto our family.  I say latched because what he did
to all of us could only be described as parasitical.
 We had known him since he was twelve years old, the product of a
broken home, constantly being shunted from household to household.  I
truly believe that he found the stability he had always been missing
in our family, and in his own demented way did everything to control
us all in order to retain that stability.

 At first he made friends with my son, even though I tried to
dissuade him.  I finally relented as I felt sorry for him and felt I
could offer something that his own family could not give him.  Through
the years he practically lived at our house and we gladly accepted
him.  I was, after all, flattered when he said he loved us more than
his own family.

 There were things that he did, however, that were totally
contradictory to the image he presented to the world.  He is from a
highly religious family, Southern Baptist, and one that takes great
pride in their pioneer heritage.  He was, however, (and still is)
involved in Dungeons and Dragons -- a pastime that I find totally
abominable.  He involved my son and his friends in this activity, and
his preoccupation with fantasy was almost diabolical.  He was, and
still is as far as I know, involved in drugs -- even though I
thoroughly objected in the strongest possible terms.  He took it upon
himself to introduce my son first to drinking, then to marijuana.  You
might say that these are innocent activities, ones most teenagers are
likely to experiment with.  I, however, disagree.

 Over the years my daughter fell in love with him and it was at
this point that I became crazy with frustration over the situation.  I
am, you see, Jewish and consider my children to also be Jewish.  He
made her conversion to his religion his mission in life.  He also
introduced her to liquor and sex.

 You might ask why I did not put a stop to this fellow when I
found all this out.  Well, that is the contradiction.  The more I
spoke against him, the more my family gravitated toward him.  He is,
after all, quite presentable and his family is genteel and wealthy.
There was talk of marriage, vacations at the family summer home in
North Carolina, gifts, and the inevitable invitations to family
affairs.  He had me convinced that I was selfish and petty for trying
to deny happiness to my daughter.

 I finally decided that my sanity was more important than fighting
the situation.  I accepted the fact that he had won his way, and that
eventually she would marry him.

 Nine years have passed since he first invaded our household.
Both my children are in college, and my daughter lives in the same
dorm as the boyfriend.  My prayers were finally answered recently when
the boyfriend broke off his relationship with my daughter.  Was she
crushed over his decision?  I think not.  She has grown up the past
year and I believe has finally seen through his contradictory way of
life.  My only regret is that because of him her religious beliefs are
different than mine -- a fact that will cause sorrow for me for the
rest of my life.