I am a twenty‑three‑year‑old young woman with a three‑year‑old son. His father and I are no longer together. He doesn’t help support his son, and that has made me have a bad attitude. I have slept with four different men in less than a year. I am desperate and don’t know what to do. I don’t want to go on like this. What should I do?

Dear friend,

Congratulations for having evaluated your current pattern of behavior and having decided that you do not want to continue in the same way that you have been going. This is the first step to making your life happier and to providing a better life for your son. Many people continue to engage in the same destructive activities without ever thinking through the consequences, whereas you have realized some of the negative consequences and have decided to change the way you act. But in order to do that, you will also need to change the way you think.

In your presentation of your case to us, you blame your son’s father for not supporting him and for causing you to sleep around. We agree that he should support your son. However, his lack of support is not a justifiable cause for you to disrespect and demean yourself by sleeping around. In fact, there is no reason in the world strong enough to make you willingly engage in promiscuous behavior. Every time you casually sleep with someone, you are saying to your subconscious mind, “My body is not worth much, so I might as well give it away with no strings attached. And since my body is not worth much, I must not be worth much as a person. In fact, I’m not worthy of someone who will treasure me, so I’ll just be with anyone who comes along.” With this message going into your mind, it is no wonder that you feel hopeless and desperate.

It will be difficult to stop this behavior unless you have recognized and accepted the real reasons you do it. It sounds like one of the reasons is your anger at your son’s father. You are angry for the way he treated you and for the fact that he does not support your son. And you are trying to punish him and make him less of a factor in your life. Also it is likely that there is a part of you that feels rejected by him, even if you rejected him at the same time. This sense of rejection may be leading you to seek acceptance by other males. There may be other reasons in addition to these, but it is difficult to know those reasons from the little that you have shared with us.

Your little son needs his father in his life. If your country does not enforce child support, then you may not have a way to make your son’s father be financially responsible. But if you hinder his relationship with his son, it will make him less likely to want to support his son. If, on the other hand, you encourage him to have a strong relationship with his son, he will be more likely to take responsibility for his son’s financial needs. The worst thing you can do is to use your son as a weapon against his own father so that you can get what you want, even if it is because what you want is what you think he needs. If you prevent your son from having positive contact with his father, he may grow up feeling rejected, which could cause emotional trauma.

Recognize the power that you have. You have the power to make a better life for your son by your attitudes and your actions. And you have the power to improve your own life and become a woman that your son can look up to and respect, because you respect yourself first. Even if you do not have the power to change your son’s father or to make him be responsible, you do have the power to get over the anger and resentment and put your energy into improving your job skills and life skills.

It appears that you feel very guilty for the life you have been living. You sound disgusted with yourself. There is a cure for this condition. Jesus Christ died on a cross so that He could pay the penalty for every sin you have committed and for everything you are feeling guilty for having done. If you are really sorry for your sin, all you have to do is pray and ask God to forgive you and to come into your life to help you in the future. He will not only forgive you, but will also give you a clean feeling inside, knowing that all your sins have been washed away. It sounds too easy to be true, but the truth is that the Apostle John said, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1) When you get purified like that, it will be much easier to realize what a treasure you are, one that needs to be protected and valued.

We wish you well,

1 Jo 1:9