Read Dr. Sherry’s tough love advice for a reader who can’t seem to ditch her bad news husband.
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: Hello, Dr. Sherry. I have some serious issues with my husband of 14 years. We first married in 1998 and were married for seven years. I divorced him because he had a drug habit and chose it over our marriage. I remarried him after being divorced for only one year, only to find out he was still using drugs. He has been in and out of jail our entire marriage. The only time he really tries to be committed to this marriage is when he is in jail.
Once he is out of jail, he is back using drugs and doing whatever it takes to get the next high. He has said so many mean things to me, including talking about my appearance and short hair, only to say he said those things because he was angry with me.
He has accused me of cheating, which I have never done. Every time he is using drugs, I catch him with another woman. (I have even caught him in the car with another woman!) He tells me it is only about drugs, not sex. The ultimate offense was recently when I lost my job, and he was working at the time and he told me he would support me while I went to school. Instead he quit his job and told me he will never support me. I have been the main provider in this marriage, although we have no children together. I have three grown children from a previous relationship. Well, he has been locked up for three months now and keeps writing me, telling me to trust him, and he is very sorry. I need to know if I should move on or not. Honestly, this is just the tip of the iceberg and not even everything.
A: Move on is an understatement! While you have been married to him, he has been married to his addiction, and you are clearly the least of his priorities. It sounds as if you should have moved on 14 years ago. You have not been “twice bitten.” You have been chewed up and used up. You were able to walk away once and divorce him but remarried him. You must ask yourself, what is this really about? It is quite clear your husband is a drug addict and has not hit his “rock bottom” in order to make any real changes. As long as you are there for him, he does not have to change.
It is easy to be loyal and committed to a relationship when you are incarcerated. Are you really surprised? The pattern remains the same, and you have become a part of the cycle. You both have a role in keeping the madness going. Unhealthy relationships are so because both people are unhealthy. He is an addict, and you have become very codependent. Simply put, you have put his needs before your own, and you keep trying to rescue him. You are like many women who hope and want to believe things will change based on what a person says. It is definitely not what your husband says that is going to make a difference, but rather, it’s what he does. Your husband has been doing the same old thing for 14 years! You keep believing this time will be different. If you truly believe this, you are in a severe state of denial. Denial will keep you emotionally and physically stuck for life. Wake up and move on, please! – Dr. Sherry
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