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Q: I've been living with my boyfriend for nearly seven years. When we moved into together he was married but asked me to marry him-he said he was getting a divorce as soon as possible ... that didn't happen. He said his young daughter would not make it through a divorce and wanted to wait until she was 18. Instead, his wife filed and they've been in the process for about 18 months. In the meantime, she let their house go into foreclosure, in which he dumped money into saving it, all the while paying for their cars, food, etc.
I just don't know if I can continue. I'm older and was hoping for some kind of better life at this point, and this just doesn't seem to be going away. I've lost interest in developing another relationship. And I'm broke supporting us. Help! - TD
Dr. Schwartz: You know the answer, don't you? You deserve better!
He has lied to you. He has promised you things that haven't happened. Sure, he's has lots of explanations and some of them, I'm sure, are legitimate, but the fact is you have inherited a lot of his problems just not his commitment. He has strung you along for too much time, and now it feels disrespectful and unloving. And it is.
A wise friend of mine said, "You teach people how to treat you." I think that's quite true.
If you don't demand respect it's more than likely you won't get it. Some people have an inner set of ethics and empathy that they always treat people the way they would want to be treated. But sadly, this isn't true for everyone, and your guy has not taken care of you.
It may be that his own life is too disorganized and traumatic for him to have much room or emotion for anything or anyone else. He may not a bad person. He just might be someone in over his head. But knowing his problems doesn't change the fact that you're not getting the love, attention, security or commitment you need.
It's time to get your own house in order and protect your feelings and self respect (and pocketbook!). Tell this guy you're done. Maybe he will fight for you but it's meaningless unless he's truly divorced and can set a date (and you still want him after all you've gone through.)
My guess is that you're really emotionally exhausted, disappointed and ready to start the next chapter of your life. So do it!
Dr. Schwartz answers readers questions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Submit your questions here. Read of Pepper's columns here. Follow Pepper on Twitter @pepperschwartz.