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 a man for 11 years. In that time frame we had two beautiful children. Throughout that time, he has cheated on me constantly and lived a double life. In 2011, things drastically changed. I found out he had been living with his supposed ex and they had a daughter that was six months older than our youngest, and he was facing time in jail. I left him after finding out about his hidden life, but eventually we got back together. Three months after we reconciled, he was incarcerated for six months. Throughout that time I was there for him. When he came home things were extremely tense because I was still trying to come to terms with the fact he had another child while with me. He was facing more jail time and eventually had to serve two and a half years. In the beginning of his incarceration, I was there for him and I finally felt as though we were beginning to build a future.
After a while I began to think about all the hurt and all of the lies he told me, so I ended our relationship. I felt free and happy. After he was released, our child had a tragic accident and almost died. Although we both were seeing other people, we found our way back to each other. A few months later we decided to try again. Since that time he has truly been a new person and he is focused on us and on our family. I can almost say I trust him, but his past is always in the back of my mind. I feel like he's going to turn into that person I once knew and I don't know how to let go of his past. Am I being a fool or should I just leave him for good?
Let's see if you can or even should let go of your boyfriend's past. In your
11-year relationship, you have had two children by him, he has constantly cheated on you, including living a double life with his ex and having a child by her while you were pregnant. Despite these things, you were by his side when he went to prison. After breaking up with him twice, you have gotten back together with him twice. Now you are debating if you should get back with him once again? You fear that he will "turn back into that person I once knew". Really? Unless you have amnesia, it is going to be almost impossible to let go of his past.
He has shown you who he is repeatedly but for some reason you don't believe him. Believe him! You questioned if you were being a fool. As dysfunctional as it is, your need to be with him is making you play the role of a fool in love. You have been with this man for 11 years and you are fooling yourself if you are expecting anything different from him. If you like how he has treated you in the past, you will be delighted to know there is more of the same in the future. It is time to stop and ask yourself why do believe that you do not desire more. I would recommend that you seek individual therapy to process issue related to your self-esteem. This will help you process why you are playing the "role" of a fool before you "become" the fool. -- Dr. Sherry
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