Drama Over Her Ex
Q: Ten months ago I started dating a woman who had been separated for 3 months from a 10-year marriage. She left her husband due to his alcohol use, lying and occasional drug use. They went to counseling and he made an effort, then went back to the same routine. He was very verbally abusive and tried to put all the guilt on her. After they split, he moved the woman he started seeing in with him, but still says he wants his wife to come back. Yet he cannot say he will straighten his act up. Anyway, she has had no contact with him in the past month. I know that she would give anything to see him straighten up and them work things out.
I could go on and on. We have developed a very understanding relationship and closeness. I expected somewhat of an emotional roller coaster with her in the beginning and it has been one. I feel that after she gets over the divorce we could have a wonderful loving relationship. Now the question: lately she cannot tell me that she loves me like she did 2 months ago and tries to get me to break up with her. Any suggestion as to what I should look out for? Should I just tell her it's me or him if she wants to wait on him, fine, I am gone? -- RJ, 29
Dr. Susan: You'll notice that I shortened your letter, as you did go on and on with details about your (maybe) girlfriend's (maybe) ex-husband. I have to say you're probably kidding yourself about your chances for a stable relationship with this woman. Some couples in fairly long marriages separate but are still very enmeshed. Whether her husband wants her back or not, whether he curbs his drinking and abuse or not, is not your business. She truly has to figure this out on her own. If she is trying to get you to break up with her, consider that a blazing red light telling you to go away and pursue your own life. She needs counseling and she needs more time to gain the confidence to stay away from this abusive fellow. You can't help with that. I'd take a serious time-out from seeing 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.