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Ask Dr. Sherry: ‘Am I a Rebound Girlfriend?’

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Dr Sherry Profile Two

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,

This is the first time I have ever asked anyone I don't know for relationship advice but when it comes to this situation I'm not sure what to do.

My boyfriend and I have been together for a year now. We just moved in together not long ago. It may seem a bit early to do this, but it just so happened that both of our leases ended at the same time so we just went with it.

I know he was engaged once when he was 19 and he was with that woman for about four years. I'm not sure how long they were together before they got engaged. I know for a fact that he just got out of a bad relationship with a woman he really loved not long before me, but he assured me I wasn't a rebound. Things have been rocky for us, that’s for sure, but one thing bothers me most:  He says he doesn't want kids or marriage. He says he doesn't believe in it, and when I asked him if he ever will, he just says he might one day but not right now.

I'm not so sure on how to take that because I do want them. Not right now of course, but eventually I know I will. Is there a specific time I should wait? Do you think the fact that he got out of a bad relationship not long before me and had a bad engagement before affects his decisions on this? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again!

Dear Sis,

The mere fact that your boyfriend has a need to assure you that you are not a rebound, suggests that you really may be one.  With that being said, approach your relationship with caution. The two of you are living together because both of your leases were up and you just went with it. That is fine as long as you do not assume that you are there because the two of you are so in love or emotionally connected that you wanted to share a home. Living together may be about love for you but it sounds like it’s only about convenience to him. He sounds as if he has a lot of emotional baggage that he has not unpacked. It is likely that your boyfriend's last two relationships are indeed influencing his current feelings. This may be why your relationship is so "rocky” at times.

Regardless, he has clearly told you that he does not want children or a marriage. The only thing you can do at this time is to believe him. His comments that he "might one day" may be his way of keeping you hopeful and in the relationship. If you know that you want children and a marriage, why spend your time hoping he is going to change his mind? So often women enter or stay in relationship hoping they are going to change the man. When this does not happen, they are often angry and hurt.  You can avoid these feelings later by being honest with yourself now. If you are willing to remain in the relationship with hopes that he may change, you may be chasing a pipe dream and living in a fantasy. You must decide if you want to hold on or let go at this time. If you truly know what you want in life, sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on to get it. You deserve happiness and someone that wants what you want! Go for it!  -- Dr. Sherry

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