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How Do I Leave?


I have been involved with a man for 12 years now. He was married for 10 of those years and is now divorced. We still have sexual relations but he will not give me a commitment. Even though I revolve my entire life around him I am very emotionally distraught. I cry all day long and wonder where he is and who else he is being intimate with. I’ve shut out everything in my life and can’t move on. My only hope to survive is to leave this man. So my question is, “How do you face reality that this man will never love you and how do you move on without falling into a deep depression?”

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Sometimes people’s heads and hearts want different things. It would appear that your head recognizes the fundamental inequity of the relationship you’ve found yourself in, even if your heart is still blind to this fact. Your situation does seem like it is very unhealthy for you to remain in. Crying all day and pining for a commitment that has not been reciprocated for over a decade is just no way to live. In this case you are likely best off helping your head override your foolishly loyal heart and to make a break from this man. In making this break, you recognize that you are likely to become depressed. Don’t be afraid of this depression. Instead, recognize that the depressed feeling is something to get through as you make a new, healthier life for yourself. You love this guy (even if he doesn’t love you), and you will also likely be grieving. Actively prepare for your depression. Visit your physician and see if she won’t prescribe some antidepressant medication that could help take the edge off. Get involved in a support group for bereaved persons. Make an appointment with a therapist and see him or her to monitor your depression and for support on a regular basis. Schedule your free time so that you are with people or doing activities. Get involved in a worthwhile community group (teach people to read, volunteer at a soup kitchen or at a women’s shelter, etc.) If you become suicidal, take charge of this feeling by telling others (therapists, family, close friends, 911 if necessary), and working to keep these feelings as just feelings and not plans to follow through on. This man has been a center of your life, but he doesn’t need to continue to be your center. You can grow a new, healthier center by ditching him and working to recognize yourself as the worthwhile human being you are.

Good Luck.

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