Will She Choose Another Jerk?
Q: I had an abusive boyfriend who messed with my mind. He lied to me and then told me I was crazy when I called him on it. He also pushed me a few times and slapped me across the face. He would be so sweet the rest of the time that I thought it was my fault, that I was doing something wrong to make him angry. I finally broke it off and realized how bad it was before.
Now I know it was him and not me, but I'm afraid of making the same mistake. I can't seem to find a guy that I want to go on more than one or two dates with. I think I might be afraid of getting close and getting hurt again. Is it bad to be so picky or should I take more chances? —Tamara, 29
Dr. Susan: Count yourself fortunate that you finally figured out that you had an abusive boyfriend. His treatment of you follows a pattern. They have anger control issues, they lash out at you for the smallest of reasons, or no reason, and then they tell you that it's all your fault and you're crazy to mistrust them. Not all guys are like that, so try to start fresh with each new guy and each new date.
Now, if you notice the pattern of lying beginning, if he so much as hits you once or calls you names or belittles you, if he tries to get you to believe his perspective and not your own, that's it. Out you go. No, you're not being too picky. It's natural to be a little shell-shocked though, after such a bad experience. So take it slow and learn to trust yourself again.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.