In one of the most shocking letters Dr. Sherry has ever received, a reader asks how to cope with the fact that her man may have been flirting with her niece.
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...
I've been in a relationship with a man for the past six years and we have two beautiful boys together. Of course my family and I have been waiting on a proposal. In our beginning years, I did cheat on him once and he has held that over my head ever since. I have moved passed it now, and I think he should too. Other than that, everything has been good between us until this recent October. My brother, whom I'm very close with, went through my niece's cell phone and found extremely inappropriate text messages from my man. He confronted me with them and we immediately took it to the police. They couldn't charge him with anything, because he didn't touch her "to their knowledge." I confronted him and that started a brawl, of course he denied it and claimed that my family was blowing it all out of proportion. Now my question is: Do I try to work it out for the sake of my children and the love of my love life? Or should I take the chance of losing my brother's judgment? His opinion means the world to me. I just need some type of guidance here.
This is really an emotionally charged issue. You actually have two different issues here: Issue one is related to commitment while issue two is related to trust. You have been waiting for a proposal for six years and you have two children together. That is a long time to wait and even longer for him to decide if he wants to be married. That issue really becomes irrelevant in light of you finding out that your "man" has been sending inappropriate text messages to your niece. It is interesting that he denied it but then later claimed that the family was blowing it out of proportion. Really?! The fact that he would send inappropriate texts to your niece is a clear indication of his poor judgment on his part. The fact that it is even questionable that something more may have happened is another reason to stop and take a hard look at your relationship. Has anyone taken your niece to therapy to see how she is doing and to process what may or may not have happened? You need to get some honest answers about your man's texts and other extracurricular activities. These answers must come before you can ever consider the possibility of building a real relationship with this man.
I recommend that the two of you seek couples’ therapy to address the issue with the texts as well as other things. If he refuses to attend, you should go for individual therapy to get clarity about everything. Where there is smoke, there is fire! If you ignore the smoke now, you risk getting burned later by the fire. Be completely honest with yourself about your relationship. Often times women base their relationship on what it could be as opposed to the reality of how it really is. Stop and make sure that is not what you are doing here. -- Dr. Sherry
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