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Ask Dr. Sherry: 'I’m Tired of Being the Breadwinner'

A woman sick of supporting her lazy boyfriend is confused about whether to stay or go. (They have two kids!)

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…

Q: I’ve been with my man for 15 years. We have two beautiful children, ages nine and six. I love him dearly, and always will, but I feel that it’s time that I move on with my life. Despite these feelings, a lot of times I don’t want to. I am a very hard worker and a very good person in general. I don’t even have to know you and I am the type that likes to make everyone feel comfortable. I’ve been blessed with a great personality and a lot of times I wonder why I put myself in certain positions. My man has not had a job in years, and I don’t think the motivation is there. I am very positive about life and try to help him out and encourage him, but that doesn’t seem to work. I’ve talked to him about this numerous times and every time I believe that he means what he says, nothing happens, or if it does, it won’t last long. He is a great dad and he always has been, but I need help financially and have been doing this by myself for years now. He had cancer four years ago and I was there for him from the beginning, even when his mother and siblings were not.  That was very hard to do with the children but I did it and had a positive attitude about it the whole time. He has jealousy issues as well and I don’t know what it’s going to take for him to realize that I love him and only him. I just need clarity. Help!

A: If you have been with the same man for 15 years, and you have two children together, you should already know the answer to your dilemma. This has nothing to do with you loving him and him being a good father to your kids. If he is indeed a “great dad,” he is going to be a great dad with or without you. The problem is that you have been financially supporting him, your two children and the entire family for years. You tell me that he doesn’t t work and isn’t motivated to find a job. But, why should he be? As long as he is able to eat, sleep and have his needs met, he is not going to work. It is easy to be a good father if that is all you’re doing.

While you are working so hard to meet his needs, who is meeting yours? You have become the “needs police” in your family because you are responding to everyone but yourself. And, after doing all this, he has the audacity to be jealous? That’s unreal to me. I am quite sure his jealousy is related to his fear that you are going to wake up and see the real deal here. I am sure you love him, but this is not about love. You cannot motivate people that do not want to be motivated. This is not about him, it is about you, okay?

You must take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Why am I really here?” Trust me, there are many men that would love to be with a hard-working woman with a positive attitude. Many women ignore their own needs in their effort to satisfy others.  This often leaves them feeling emotionally drained, overwhelmed, angry and depressed.  I have a feeling this is where you are or close to it. The good thing is that you do not have to stay there a second longer than you want to. When you decide enough is enough, you will make the changes you need in your life. I know it. — Dr. Sherry

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