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 for a very, very, VERY long time. This relationship for me has been filled with nothing but hurt and pain. Yet I'm still here. When I became pregnant he was preparing to marry someone else, but I stayed—that was my first mistake. Over the years there have been other women. I have remained loyal to a man that can't be loyal to me, which has made me very insecure and lowered my self-esteem. There's no validation or anything, but I'm still here. He says he loves me, but I've often questioned that. We never go out, not even as a family. I've lied and defended this relationship for so long that I don't even know what is true anymore. I'm tired of being the only one defending whatever this is. People often say they want a relationship like ours and I say, no, you want something better. I wore a ring to remind me that I deserve to be happy, but now I look at it and get depressed.
I'm writing you because I've tried to leave but I can't. We share a child, so that makes him part of my life forever. What can I do?
Dangerously In love
Your “very, very, VERY” long relationship has lasted way, way, WAY too long! This guy has shown you who he really is from day one but for some reason you don't believe him. You are right. Your relationship has been filled with nothing but hurt and pain. You have been disrespected from day one, yet you are still there. Really? My question is "WHY?” If your answer is love, you should look for another answer. Don't punish yourself for loving him, but you deserve to be loved. There is absolutely nothing that you have shared that suggests he loves you or has ever loved you. Love is not all hurt and pain.
You mentioned that he has lowered your self-esteem and made you feel insecure. Again, really!? You are giving him way too much credit and power. Unfortunately, you were already insecure with low self-esteem when you stayed while pregnant when he was preparing to marry someone else. It is likely that your insecurity and self-esteem have worsened as the realities of your relationship sink in. You know what he is really about, but do you know what you are about? It is time to stop and take a look at you. I recommend that you seek individual psychotherapy to process issues that have you stuck in this relationship. If you want more, you cannot settle for less! -- Dr. Sherry
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