Out of Prison, Not into Her Arms
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
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.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.,
is a social psychologist and relationship expert. She is a bestselling and award-winning author whose latest book is "Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way." She has written for and been quoted in Cosmopolitan, Psychology Today, Family Circle, Women's Health & Fitness, YM, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Child, and many others. She also consults and teaches writing online. Read her complete bio!
NOTE: The information contained herein is provided for information purposes, and not intended as a substitute for advice or treatment that may or should be prescribed by your physician or recommended by your therapist.