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 am a 30-year-old mother of two boys, ages 6 and 8, and I have been married for four years to the man I met during my last pregnancy. We have been together for six years on and off. [The] truth is, I am not happy with him. My family hates him and my kids merely tolerate him. I've never been attracted to him physically, but I fell in love with him because he was there for me when the man I loved left me while I was carrying his son. He has bought us a nice home and even helped me get my dream car, but he uses his assistance to control these things. Because of his personality, he has very few friends. He is not very family-oriented. We do not sleep together and barely talk. We don't see eye-to-eye on the children at all. I dream of leaving but fear I cannot make it alone and I definitely don't want to leave him in debt. Besides, I work crazy hours and he takes the kids to football practice and keeps them after school. I want to be happy and I get really discouraged when people tell me to work it out. I am also afraid of leaving and being lonely or meeting a guy who beats me or hurts my kids. Please help me!" —Anonymous
A: I hate to tell you that while you say you are afraid of being alone, you are already alone. It sounds as if you married your husband for the material stuff and the security of having a man. When you marry for stuff, you get just that — “stuff.” Given that material things are what he had to offer you from the beginning, it is the only thing that he has to control you with now. The problem is, women find out quickly that material things are not enough to meet their emotional needs. You said, “I fell in love with him because he was there for me when the man I loved left me while I was carrying his son.” Sounds like your husband was a fill-in for the man you really wanted. Now you find yourself legally married with no emotional involvement. Are you really surprised that you are unhappy?
You must be honest with yourself at this point in your life. This may mean giving up some of the stuff in hopes of finding yourself. You deserve and need more in a relationship than material things. There is no replacement for true love and commitment. You have two children who are looking at you for guidance. If you are not careful, you are going to send them the message that marriage is no more than getting material things and being taken care of by someone that you do not really love. I am sure your children see your unhappiness and experience a sense of not being emotionally fulfilled themselves. You created the situation, and you are the only one that can change it. Do what you know you need to do so you can have a real life for you and your children! —Dr. Sherry
Email us your questions for Dr. Sherry now, and be sure to include "Ask Dr. Sherry" in the subject line.