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'm 47 years, and my boyfriend lives with me. I've been very depressed and confused lately. I haven't had relations with my boyfriend for six months, due to his decreased libido. He has seen the doctor who says it may stem from his high blood pressure and possibly his age—he’s over 50. I'm also trying to cope with loving myself. I have low self-esteem, and I want to please everybody; family, friends and strangers. But, at the end of the day, I'm sad. I want some affection and attention from my man, and I want to learn how to love myself, too. What to do?”
A: Why are you trying to please everyone? I hate to be the one to tell you this but you are never going to be able to please everyone. The harder you try, the more depressed you will become when they do not respond in a manner you want or need. It sounds as if you are doing way too much for too many people. Stop and take care of yourself first. If you have ever flown on an airplane, the first rule of safety in a crisis is to put the mask on yourself first before assisting others. You cannot save anyone if you do not save yourself!
The first thing you must do is learn to love yourself. It is hard to have others love you or to receive love without loving yourself first. This may take some time given you have been focusing on everyone else. Ask yourself: Why am I dealing with all these people that are so emotionally draining? When someone does not feel good about himself or herself, they often think pleasing others will make them feel better. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. You must learn to take care of yourself without feeling guilty of letting others go.
It does not sound as if your boyfriend is meeting any of your physical or emotional needs. His “low” libido may indeed be related to medical problems. As people age, medical problems tend to emerge. However, a low sex drive does not mean there is no sex drive at all. If you have not had sex with him in six months, your relationship may have other issues. I would suggest you take time to have an honest conversation with your boyfriend. Share with him your feelings and concerns. I would also suggest you have a similar conversation with others who are close to you and are emotionally draining. Once you have these conversations, be prepared to let go and move on if things do not change. Change begins with you! —Dr. Sherry
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