You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Q: “I have a dilemma. I have been wrestling with feelings of ending my marriage for the past few months. I love my husband and feel he is my soul mate. We met in high school and dated for about two years. He was my first. Ten years and two marriages later we got back together in 2007 after he found me on MySpace. I have done what I feel most Black women wouldn't and held him down most of the five years we have been back together. We've been married for two years, and now after I told him I don't want to be married anymore, he wants to do all this changing and promises to get as many jobs as needed to lessen my stress. I have three children one from each marriage; ages 7, 11, and 1. Even now, I'm struggling to pay our rent alone and about to start a new job, but I'm tired of getting us out of the hole. I feel like I've lost myself with him and I’ve even lived in places I never had to live before just so we can stay together. Am I a fool? Should I just give up on love and be like the sisters who marry for money — as I am approached by nice men with nice cars, careers, and houses daily? I feel like I got married too early. I’ll be 31 this year!" – Signed, a woman who's tired of trying to raise a man and living in the hood.
A: There is a reason your relationship did not work out when you dated him over 10 years ago. It is likely that you saw something then that you are definitely seeing now. Maybe it’s the fact that he was not independent and/or able to meet your financial needs then or now. Many women think that once they have found their “soul mate,” they will live happily ever after. While this can happen, in many cases, this is just a fantasy.
A soul mate does not necessarily mean that he will make a good husband. Given your concerns, you have a choice to either remain in the marriage because you love your husband or exit the marriage because you are unhappy about the finances. It really doesn’t matter if you end this marriage today unless you are willing to change your behavior. The problem is really not about him; it’s about you. Your struggles appear to be related to your decision-making skills. You have had three different marriages and a child from each. It is very likely that in each of these marriages you have been the person that has taken care of everybody and everything. After three marriages, you are still unhappy and searching for the person that can meet all your needs. Unfortunately, you must take responsibility for marrying this man and taking on the responsibility for the entire household.
If you want more in life, you must do more and most of all, you must do something different. Right now, you are doing the same thing but expecting something different. It becomes dangerous when you focus on the “nice men with nice cars, careers, and houses” and lose sight of what you really need both emotionally and financially. On one hand, you are looking for love and on the other hand, you are looking for the material aspects of life. You question if you must give up on love in order to have material things. I don’t believe this is necessary. What you appear to be asking for is the basic necessities of life. The reality is, you have the ability to get these things on your own. Until you take a real hard look at your decision-making skills regarding men, I suggest you be prepared to take care of yourself. — Dr. Sherry
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