You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel 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 have been involved with a woman for seven months now and I really have deep feelings for her. We've discussed marriage and I really want to make it work with her but I have some concerns.
She currently has two children from a previous marriage but what concerns me is what she went through in her abusive relationship with her ex. Through the abuse, she tried everything to hold it together for their kids but she filed for divorce and at times he will say crazy things to her. I feel like he is still in control of her but she says somethings are easy to deal with him so she doesn't say anything to him about it.
I’ve told her I won’t be around if she thinks it's ok to still tolerate his behavior because I can’t sit just here and allow this to continue. How should I handle this because I love this woman and I want our relationship to work?
The cycle of abuse is complex and sometimes hard to break, especially emotional abuse. Sometimes people remain connected with their abuser out of fear or familiarity. She has two children with her ex and she may be fearful of losing them. It is likely that she is struggling with a lot of issues. It is also unclear if your girlfriend’s ex is still in control of her or if she is still in love with him. It is important for you to be supportive and patient with her but be clear about your concerns. She needs to know you have feelings for her but don’t want to be part of her drama with her ex. She needs time to process and resolve her feelings with her ex before she can move on and fully commit to the relationship with you. I recommend that you seek couples therapy to communicate your feelings and concerns with how you feel. You must be honest with yourself about how long you are willing to wait for her be ready to move on. Moving on is difficult when dragging old baggage. --Dr. Sherry
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