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 am a 54-year-old single woman. I haven’t been married for over 10 years and I’ve been with a man who is 58 and has never been married. We’ve been together for six years now and I have expressed to him that I want to get married. At one time in our early years he wanted to marry me, but I wasn’t ready. When he announced it, his mother, sister and her daughter (his niece) came against us. After that, he hasn’t wanted to marry me since. His sister and niece have never been married either and I’ve never known them to date a man. They have tried to set him up with other women. They complain about he and I talking on the phone too long whenever he is around them. They say he shouldn’t talk to me and should instead spend time with them only. All through the years they have managed to do their best to bring division between he and I.

Please help me! I really love him because he is a good man. I want for nothing with him. When we go out to dinner or concerts, any activity, he has always paid for everything from day one. He has wined and dined me. But going into the sixth year, I feel like I’m losing him to them. His sister and niece moved to another city that he loves to visit for entertainment. Of course, they want him to move with them but he told me he would stay where we currently live because I’m still here. By the way, he has always lived with his mother too. Help me!


Tired and Weary

Dear Sis,

Your relationship with your boyfriend has major problems. Believe it or not, his sister and niece are the least of your problems. The problem is your man! And, trust me, he has more than one. Problem #1: He is 58 and has “always” lived with his mother. Really?! If you don’t think that is a problem, you better think again. I am sure that his mother is the main person calling the shots in his life. Problem #2: Your boyfriend is a puppet on a string and his mother, sister and niece are all controlling the handles. Do not be fooled, it has always been this way. They just pull them tighter when they think that he is getting too close to you. Problem #3: You truly believe that you are losing him to his family. Don’t worry, there’s no chance of losing him to them. In order to lose something or someone you must have them first. The reality is that you have never really had a boyfriend. His family has had him all along.

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These are just the three major problems, but the list goes on. You said that he hasn’t wanted to marry you since his family objected. After dating for six years, it’s time to believe him. Given that he is 58 and has never been married, what makes you think that he is going to get a backbone now and stand up to his family to marry you? His family definitely sounds as if they have a serious case of codependency. Your boyfriend cannot commit to you as long as he remains a puppet for them. The string is an umbilical cord that provides a lifeline and he is not about to cut it now. Even if he wanted to, there is not a knife sharp enough to cut the cord this late in life. While you may love him, you must love yourself more. Okay? It may be time to cut your losses and move on.  – Dr. Sherry

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