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’m totally confused about what to do in my relationship. “Alex” and I dated once before a few years ago and it didn’t work out. I wasn’t where I wanted to be professionally and neither was he, so we broke up. He has three children (all from his ex) and I have a son. My son doesn’t care for him, but I’ve fallen in love and I can’t figure out why. He never finished college and I have two degrees. He makes a good living but it’s manual labor and it’s taking a toll on his health. I love that he accepted me at my worst and still loves me when I’m thriving and succeeding. The thing is, I feel like I’m settling. His manners are subpar, he dresses like a 9-year-old boy, and he never helps in the house when he’s over, unless I nag him. I don’t know if I want to raise three more children, and again, my son can’t stand him. I don’t know if I’m with him because the sex is amazing and because he loves me or if I just don’t want to be alone. I do love him; I’m just not sure if it’s enough to overlook his flaws. Help.


Confused in California

Dear Sis,

If you feel like you are settling, you are. Now, the real question is: Why? Is it the sex, his love for you or you not wanting to be alone? It is likely that you fear a combination of all three. You say that he accepted you at your worst and still loves love you when you are thriving and succeeding. That is not very hard to do especially when it sounds as if he was also at his worst then too. It is also very easy for him to love you when he is benefiting from your “thriving and succeeding.” If this is his only selling point for your relationship, you have a major problem. You must look at things for what they are and not what you want them to be. You listed more cons with him than pros. There are a lot of flaming red flags that you are ignoring. Among the many of them is that your son does not like him and you have to “nag” your boyfriend to help you when he is in your home.

First and foremost, you must really listen to your son to understand why he “can’t stand him.” Trust me, there is a reason. How does your boyfriend feel about and treat your son? It is not unusual for children to dislike their parents’ new boyfriend/girlfriend initially. But in your case, your boyfriend has been around and is not new. So, what is the real deal? Remember, the relationship is not just about the two of you if your son is a minor. If your son is indeed a minor, you and he are a packaged deal and your child must take priority.

So I must ask, what are you getting from this relationship? If your answer is amazing sex, a warm body, or someone who says he loves you, that is not much in the overall scheme of things. With all you have to offer in a relationship, your boyfriend might as well take a number. Men would line up to give you as little as your boyfriend gives you in return for what you bring to the relationship. If you want more in a relationship, you must demand more. You definitely deserve more but people do not give you what you deserve. People only give you what you are willing to accept and settle for! If you want more, stop settling! – Dr. Sherry

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