Oct 14


Dear Dragon, I am at a complete loss for words when it comes to my relationship. My boyfriend is a “thug” and I am a college student that is smart, kind, caring, loving, and nurturing. We have been together for well over a year and he has a child that I love and adore like my own. My problem is that he is obsessed with making dirty money that he thinks he can turn into clean money. I feel as though there are too many risks involved, especially since he has a kid in the picture. Though he lives at home with his mother and is not open to my suggestions of getting government assistance, i really want to help him change his life. He had a rough childhood that has even bordered on suicide but he is a great guy who genuinely cares for me.

At first i thought i could help him, but now i’m beginning to feel hopeless because he still thinks he can go out in to the streets and make money selling drugs. He tells me that it’s not gonna be forever, but I wonder. Please help me figure out what i’m doing wrong.Jayma

Hi Jayma, thanks for writing in for my advice. I see your boyfriend’s plight and it is one that isn’t exclusive to our brothers in the illegal life. The issue is that he has always known a certain way to make money, he trusts that it works and he imagines that with the right amount of push, he will be able to transcend into bigger things. Nas’s famous words of “a drug dealer’s destiny is reaching a key” comes to mind here. Many small time drug dealers imagine that with the right connections, the right moves, and a whole lot of luck, they can be the kingpin in a mansion doing lower risk deals for 100 times the money. It’s the Breaking Bad fantasy, we watch shows like The Wire and dream of having enough money to get out of the game. 

When a man knows how to earn,
you cannot easily convince him to change his hustle.

The only way I know for you to redirect a man from his proven path of earning money, is to introduce him to another man that has had the same bumps and bruises in life, but found a way out that was faster, more legal, and a no-brainer. There are many ways to hustle, and a guy living at home with mom can make enough money to get out and start something else just by choosing the right thing to get into. The issue with this however is that your guy may not have the patience to start over when he can get the drugs easily and sell it for small, but fast money. There is no way to change someone like this unless they themselves want to change.

Men that are caught up in that life seem to sign an unwritten contract that binds them to it well into old age. I wonder how many men your boyfriend knows that have started out as small time dealers and are now out of the game, taking care of their family, and free? It’s the stuff of video game and movie writing, not necessarily real life. Getting out also means knowing how to manage and flip money on a personal level… even Stringer Bell had to go to school to learn that part.

The guys who actually manage to reach the Drug Dealer’s Destiny were either have legendary luck, or they are so far ahead of the game that they are damn near geniuses. How many Jay-Z’s do you know? The thugs that become family men are the ones who change overnight when they see their child and want to be more than a daddy in jail to them. Unfortunately this isn’t every guy, so it goes right back to what I wrote before in it being up to your man to change himself.

There are also a bigger question to answer here: Is your man mature enough mentally to become a crumb in society? Working, grinding, slaving in a regular job to support you and yours?

The only way to play it as the person who loves the thug is to make sure that you and yours are provided for — this is within your power — but continue to talk to him about getting out of the life. For your own good, and I’m being honest here, you need to prepare yourself for the worst. Should he come around, then boom – life did you a solid but if he continues to play with fire and he will get burnt, then you will be the one left to pick up the pieces.

You need to not be a lovesick person who lets her life fall apart for a man who doesn’t have his act together. Work on your life and don’t allow a thug to hold you back, especially one who will not change. When a man sees that his woman is carrying the load he either steps it up to maintain his manhood and take the load from her, or he sulks away in self-pity. We can only motivate our loved ones who are grown by providing them role models and mentors, or stepping ourselves up to show them that they can do it too.

I wish you all the luck in the world but I cannot pretend that what you are facing is going to be easy. Thanks for your letter.      

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  • livesarahlovee

    excellent advice!!

  • Willy Donuts

    I’d hate to be the one to say but leave the guy. Growing in the hood, and as a product of it, nothing is going to change this guy’s mindset. He has friends, or other outlets that continue to reinforce his thinking that hustling is the way to do it (Hip-Hop is guilty is reinforcing this dysfunction).
    If he has a child, and that has not motivated him to turn away to a new life and means of producing for his family, then he’s on the track of imprisonment. Like I said it is sad, but this is the way it goes. I have family that have done multiple stints, and still have not steared away from this life.

    Real Talk, pack your bags before his baggage catches you as collateral damage.

    • Diane Perry

      Seconded. He either goes legit or she dumps him, before she has to worry about bringing a toddler in for a prison visit. or worse…a graveyard.