She Chooses Jerks
Q: Why do I always pick the wrong men? Every man I go out with is a jerk. My dad was very abusive and critical of me. My self-esteem is very low. I am divorced with one child. For three years now, I've been living with a man who is divorced twice. We also live with his ex-wife who is married and has two children. One child is from the man I am living with, and the second child is from her husband now. The man I live with says he wants to be close to his child, and that is why he is doing this. He used to treat me better when we first moved in. He treats his ex-wife better than me. Whatever she says, he does for her. I am currently going to college so I can get a good job and get out of this relationship. -- Kathy, 45
Dr. Susan: Sounds like you've made the right decision. Getting out as soon as you can makes the most sense. Consider seeing a counselor through your college to help you make progress on your self-esteem and relationship issues. A jerk can only treat you badly if you let him. If you can't get him to treat you the way you deserve, kindly and affectionately, then leaving is your best choice. Your life sounds way too complicated right now. Living with his ex to be close to his child isn't the way most people do it. That only makes it harder for him to break his emotional ties to her (and her strong influence on him).
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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.