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 engaged to a wonderful man, but he has some issues that are starting to get the best of me. He constantly brings up my past. I feel that I am a wonderful, beautiful, educated 48-year-old woman, but he constantly brings up something in my past that I am not very proud of and do not want to talk about anymore. I cheated on my ex-husband but made the mistake of telling him about it. It had nothing to do with him. The affair was over before him, and I have never cheated on him. There were things going on with me at the time, and I have figured out what those things were that caused me to do that, and I know I will never do those things again. I didn’t feel good about it, and to this day, I still carry some guilt. While my ex had his suspicions later, he never found out. I divorced him because I was not happy at all in the marriage. I have tried doing everything to prove to my fiancé that I would never cheat on him, but every now and then, the subject pops up out of nowhere. It makes me feel vulnerable, insecure and just downright tired. I get angry, I get sad and I’m tired of feeling this way. Why would he ask me to marry him if he can’t get over my past? I’m getting tired and feeling worn out over this situation. I want to make it work, but I can’t live the rest of my life like this. Please advise.
Running Out Of Energy
A: First, I have to ask you something.: Why are you engaged to someone that does not trust you before you even say I do? Secondly, why are you spending your time trying to convince and prove yourself to him? The reality is, your fiancé is using your past to control you. The fact that he is constantly bringing up your past keeps you on the defensive and places you in the position of needing to prove your loyalty to him.
This really is not about you. It is about your fiancé’s insecurities and his need for control. There is nothing you can do that will ever satisfy him and put this issue to rest. His constant reminders of your past are a form of emotional and mental abuse. Many people only define abuse by physical scars. Abuse is abuse is abuse! While your fiancé may not be leaving physical scars, he is definitely leaving emotional ones. These scars are wounds that others do not see but may take years to heal. Your fiancé is playing a psychological game with you that you will never win. You have bought into the game and the only way to really win is not to play.
What your fiancé and others sometimes fail to realize is that everyone has a past. He is no different. The problem is that you disclosed your past to him. I am sure that when you disclosed your past, you felt that you could trust him with your innermost secrets. Unfortunately, you extended him trust that he has not yet earned. I would highly recommend that you seek couples’ therapy before you marry. I would also recommend that you seek individual therapy to understand why you are allowing him to abuse and control you like this. If he is doing this now, it will only get worse after you marry him if it is not resolved. You must take a long hard look in the mirror, sis. Regardless of what has happened in the past, you do not deserve to be beat up about it. I repeat, you do not deserve it. Take charge of your life now. -- Dr. Sherry
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