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 am 32-years-old, and I’ve just been dating here and there. I truly do want to be in a “real relationship,” however I don’t understand why I keep attracting guys who are not even divorced yet. They are “separated,” but to me, that means still married. This one guy, who is married, is trying so hard to talk to me. I told him so many times I just want to be friends because he is still married. His daughter is my student, and when I see him he will call four times after that and ask to see me again. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be with him because he is married. I want to do what is right for me. How can I tell him we’re “just friends,” and how can I attract the right person for me? — Anonymous

A: You can tell him you only want to be “just friends” by only being a friend. The issue is that he does not want to be just friends. It sounds as if he wants what some other married men want, a side chick. You must decide if you are willing to be cast in that role.

The fact that he keeps approaching you makes it appear as though you have not walked out of the audition. You must shut it down by saying “no” and “hell no” if necessary.  

You keep attracting married men because you are sending the message that you are open and willing to deal with their BS. You are right in that a man that is separated is still a married man. Men will approach you when they feel you are an easy target. So the question becomes: What is making you such an easy target? Some of the things that make women targets are appearing needy, desperate, insecure and/or thirsty. The guy that you have told “so many times” that you just want to be friends is likely to be viewing you as one of these things. It is obvious he is not listening and does not hear you. 

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You must set clear and firm boundaries with him without blinking an eye. Men hear hesitation in your voice and see it in your face if you are not very clear on your intent.  Remember you have to define what a “real relationship” is for you. A relationship is what you make it and what you want it to be. If you do not want married men hitting on you, do not read for the role! You deserve much more but you will only get what you except. — Dr. Sherry

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