What Should I Do With My Ex-Boyfriend?
May 13, 2011 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
Hi. I'm just afraid to lose my only and my first love experience all because of my boyfriend. I don't know how to deal with him. In fact he still is in love with his ex-girlfriend. I've doubts about him. I can't trust him. We broke up many times but each time we've made up. He loves to have sex with me but I don't like to. I feel that he only wants me for sex. My question is how can I deal with him. Should I forgive him and make up all because I love him so much.
Signed: What Shall I Do with my Boyfriend after He Became my Ex-Boyfriend?
Your love for this man is blinding you to the facts. If you step back and read your letter as though you were reading the story of someone else, I think you would be horrified. You are telling the story of a woman who is degrading herself by permitting a man who is in love with another woman to use her sexually.
The question you asked, should you forgive him, is not the question that should be asked. You should be asking yourself why you are willing to permit yourself to be degraded in this way. You should be asking yourself why you are willing to accept crumbs.
Clearly your self-esteem isn't where it should be. A woman who loves and honors herself does not subject herself to this kind of treatment. Love isn't supposed to be like swallowing poison.
It's painfully obvious to me that you were deeply wounded in your early life: either you were directly mistreated or you watched one or both of your parents mistreat the other.
You need to identify and heal the wound you suffered as a child. I spell out this process in my book Till Death Do Us Part, which guides you in figuring out your exact wound and then gives you instructions on how to heal that particular wound.
When you are healed, two things will happen. You will feel better about yourself, which means you will not tolerate the treatment you are receiving from this man. You will naturally put your foot down and stop allowing yourself to be used sexually. You will give him an ultimatum that requires him to choose you or his ex (he can't have you so long as he's seeing someone else).
Keep in mind that this man doesn't have to choose. As the old saying goes, "Why would he buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?" He's being over-indulged by you.
Is this man even capable of committed love? I have my doubts.
The only way to find out is for you to love yourself enough to set this limit. This limit is going to flush him out. If he's a man who's capable of growing up and establishing a committed love relationship, your expectation that he choose between you and her, is going to be the ultimate test. If he fails the test and refuses to make a commitment to you, then you will move on because you know that you deserve better.
You may be afraid to set this limit, for fear of losing him all together. If you feel this way, you know you haven't sufficiently healed your own wound. When you're healed, your self-love will be stronger than your fear of losing him.
By the way, treating yourself with love and respect will instantly raise his level of respect and desire for you on all levels. This means that if this man is capable of a committed love relationship, and he truly loves you, your refusal to sleep with him any more until he commits to you, will actually result in your getting him back.
You should also begin dating other men. There is no reason for you to be exclusive with him if he's not being exclusive with you. If he loves you and wants you and only you, he won't want you with another man.
I want to hear how you make out.
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book is mandatory reading for every couple that wants to build lasting love.”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
"Let me tell you why you're extremely important now. I really believe your message is there. You're spot on. More and more people should be taking advantage of what you're offering."
-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show