Out of Prison, Not into Her Arms
Q: I have known my high school sweetheart for 18 years. We have had our ups and downs. He spent several years in prison, and I was there for him. Granted I saw other men while he was locked up, but I always put him first. He came home and has cheated on me; slept with my friend; physically, mentally and emotionally abused me. How do I get past the hurt and move forward? Despite all of this I still love him, but I know we cannot be together because he feels like he missed something and is trying to catch up. -- Michele, 32
Dr. Susan: It was nice of you to "be there" for him while he was locked up for several years. I'm sure he took whatever comfort he could from your visits, as his options were so limited. Still, I can see why he might want to "catch up" and have some wide-ranging experiences before he thinks of settling down. After all, you weren't faithful to him either. The part that's harder to understand is why he's being abusive. The fact that his abuse runs the gamut from physical to emotional means that you're far, far better off seeking love elsewhere. It seems you've been counting on him while he's been counting on enjoying his freedom. Maybe he resents your trying to corral him. Or maybe he's just an abusive jerk and you're a handy victim. Get some counseling, build some self-esteem, see other guys, and break off all contact with the ex-jailbird.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
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.