Red Responds: For His Boys

Lea in Marion writes:

I dated a wonderful man for nine months. He was separated and obtained his divorce during the time we were dating. He has two children who did not adjust to the divorce well and an ex that continually appeared needy and depressed in front of the children. She drinks and takes drugs – he even caught her smoking pot in front of their five year old. In March, without discussing this with me or even letting me know he was considering this, he brought her back into his home and has now remarried her.

He says this is “for his boys” and that he “has to do what is right for them.” It has worked for the boys because the nine year old went from making all F’s to all A’s as he was doing prior to the divorce. The problem is, we never had a chance to “break up.” I am dating again, but I love him and even after 4 months, I am having a hard time trusting anyone again. He still says he loves me and that he is sorry. He says he feels like he is coming home to his sister and she is really hateful and mean. What can I do to move on? I’ve always been able to bounce back before. I’m having a really hard time this time and sometimes feel like I’m losing myself in this as well.

Dear Lea,

If you truly want to move on in your life and develop healthy relationships, you are going to have to find a way to let go. Sometimes the first step in letting go is the hardest – asking to be set free and severing all ties and communication.

You are still caught up in this man’s drama, even though you don’t have an honorable place in his life. It’s too bad that he feels like he is married to his sister, but that was his choice. It is up to him to find a way to deal with it and work through it – without you as the nurturing poultice for his bleeding wounds. The guy has problems, and you got sucked in.

It can be very hard to understand why we love people who aren’t the best for us, and when the relationship ends seemingly without cause or reason, it is even harder to process. The pain and confusion of it all amplifies the softer feelings of love. Hard as it may be, you need to accept that this relationship is one that wasn’t meant to last. Harder still, you need to forgive yourself for being so caught up in the emotion of the relationship that you overlooked the warning signs and flaws of this man’s character.

It will take time, but you will learn to trust again. Trust is something that is earned and shared between people. While what you are going through is painful, the experience was meant to make you a bit harder when it comes to judging people. I’d have to say if you surveyed your friends, many would say that you tend to be too compassionate and too nice.

You aren’t losing yourself, but you are being forced to look at yourself differently so that you can emerge stronger. The stronger you are, the easier it will be for you to weed out the emotionally damaged people who need you, and welcome healthier individuals into your life who respect and value you.

Don’t beat yourself up. We can’t always dictate who we will love and who we won’t. Loving the wrong people and recovering from the pain is often what it takes to wake us up in the knowledge that we deserve better. Once you accept and understand that you are deserving of a healthy relationship with a fabulous man who is eager to please and nurture you, you will find a guy worthy of your love and trust.

Keep your chin up, and keep dating. As you continue to heal, the love and pain from your last relationship will begin to fade. He was an experience and a lesson, but the time has come for you two to “break up,” and for you to walk away.

Best wishes,
Ext. 9226

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