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...
Dear Dr. Sherry,
I have been in a relationship with my significant other for almost three years now. Up until now, I believed we had been through every possible thing that could tear a relationship apart, ranging from a miscarriage to me catching him texting other women, but we've always managed to stay together. Some may call me dumb for staying, but I call it love and devotion. Please note I do love this man, and I did want a future with him.
A few days ago I found out that my guy had oral relations with a woman from his past. He confessed this to me in lieu of finding out he had contracted an STD from this woman. Of course I was outraged, and I am still very angry. He claims to have cut off all contact with this woman, and to be very remorseful for his actions. He seems to have accepted that his actions have caused the end of our relationship, but as crazy as this sounds and as mad as I truly am, I'm not completely sure that's what I want yet. Even if there is nothing that can be done now, is there hope down the road? We have been through a lot, but is this just too much to recover from? Can the relationship be salvaged? Is love enough, or is it really over?
Dear Still In Love,
You say that “some may call me dumb for staying, but I call it love and devotion.” Please do not confuse love and devotion with being dumb. I really do not think you are dumb, but I believe you are blind to the reality of the relationship. You are viewing this relationship for what it could be rather than the reality of what it is. You have been in this relationship for three years and he continues to disrespect you. Now, his choices may even place your health at risk by acquiring an STD from some other woman.
Whether his behavior is too much to recover from or the relationship can be salvaged really depends on you and how much more hurt and disappointment you are willing to accept. It seems your tolerance level for disrespect is high and he is quite comfortable testing the limit. This makes you appear quite desperate to hold on and love a man that may not love you. You may want to ask yourself, what am I holding on to and why? Are you afraid of being alone or are you hoping that he wakes up one day and finally treats you with the love and devotion that you have given him?
He may say he loves you but he has a very odd way of showing it. Until you believe that you deserve to be treated with love and respect, nothing will change. He may try to pretend he will change after he screws up, but I am sure it won’t take long until he falls right back into his old ways. When you decide enough is enough, you will have your answer. Until then, be prepared to be disappointed time and time again. Respect is something that is earned. If he hasn’t earned it, why do you keep rewarding him with your love and devotion? I think you have some real soul searching to do. Once you find out what is at the root of keeping you in such a dysfunctional relationship, you will finally be able to make the right decision without the confusion. True love should not be painful. So, why are you willing to keep hurting? -- Dr. Sherry
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