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…

Dr. Sherry,

I have been with a man for four years and he is beautiful inside. The trouble is, he is broke and cannot help me with bills, rent, clothes, etc., and to top it off, I learned last year that he has been struggling with mental issues too.  He did not tell me this until last year when he had a breakdown. I am often frustrated trying to keep the bills paid and keep enough to survive. His mother was recently diagnosed with cancer and without asking me, he moved her into our tiny two-bedroom apartment. I cannot afford to take care of another adult right now. I am not happy with this situation and want to tell him I am feeling used. Am I being used? Like I said, he is a good person, but he just cant seem to get it together. Is he worth another year? I find myself wondering whether he is. I cannot go to my family or friends, so I’m asking you for advice. Please and thank you.


Feeling Some Type Of Way

Dear Sis,

It is unfortunate that it has taken four years for you to realize that you are unhappy and feeling used in your relationship. Your boyfriend’s “inside” beauty is not doing anything for your outside reality right now. Any time you are providing the basic necessities in a relationship while your mate is withholding information and taking advantage of you, there is no need to ask if you are being used. Not only are you being used, you are bordering on being abused too. You are taking care of everything and everybody except for yourself. Your boyfriend may have withheld his mental health issues from you out of fear of your response. That may have been understandable early in your relationship but you had been with him three years already before you found out. That is really unfair to you, especially to find out when he had a “breakdown.” Regardless of his reasons for not disclosing this information, he took advantage of your willingness to take care of him.

Another clear example of his taking advantage and disrespecting you, is moving his sick mother into your home without even asking or discussing it with you. It is clear that he is using you, but the question is, why are you allowing yourself to be used? No one can use you if you don’t allow them to do so. You must be a willing participant. There is a major difference between doing for others because you want to versus doing something because you feel obligated. You do not owe your boyfriend or his mother anything. So, you must take a long hard honest look at yourself and ask yourself why you are doing things for them while allowing yourself to be unhappy.

It is time to learn how to emotionally care for yourself. I would recommend that you seek some individual psychotherapy to figure some things out. Don’t worry, psychotherapy does not have to be costly. There are some centers that work on a sliding scale fee. You owe it to yourself to find happiness. Remember, that is an inside job. – Dr. Sherry

Email us your questions for Dr. Sherry now and be sure to include “Ask Dr. Sherry” in the subject line.

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