Dear Miss Emily:

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 8 years. We were apart for over a year as he had been cheating on me. We got back together some time ago, and I am still unable to trust him.  I have caught him lying to me about his ex-girlfriends.  I have heard him answer his phone to a female voice that says “Hi, Honey” and his reply is "I can't talk right now."  He tells me I can trust him.  We fight over everything, and it seems easier to just not have sex, ‘cause it always stems a fight anyway.  He views porn which truly bothers me, and always tells me I don't dress revealing enough.  He tells me that I yell about everything, which I don't believe I do.  When we got back together, he swore he had changed, no more porn, no more drinking every night and, now, not only have those things been lies but he has developed other drug addictions.  I don't have any family in the state we live in, and he also promised we would move near my family (whom I left to be back with him) but that was also a lie.  He says he tries to make me happy, but if he does, I don't see it.  Any time I try to talk to him, I am in his eyes starting a fight or telling him how everything he does is wrong.  I have suggested therapy. but he says it won't help anything.  He hides stuff from me all the time saying it is easier to hide it than to have me yell at him for doing something wrong.  He was an only child with a single parent.  This parent is constantly attempting to start fights between us by telling each of us lies about the other person.  At what point do I say enough is enough?  He has been a part of my life for so long, I don't know if I can walk away again.  It was damn hard the first time.
A Caged Animal

---------------------------Miss Emily’s advice---------------------

Dear Caged:

I don’t know if you want my advice or sympathy and a pat on the back for putting up with what seems like one version of Hell.  I’m not sure why, voluntarily, you’d put up with this life you’re living, but I can only assume that it has something to do with what you saw when you were a child:  lack of respect for women – a mother who put up with the same abuse and you are repeating what you know.  Think. What is it? Something in your past  dictates to you that emotional abuse is what you should expect, despite the rational part of you that says it’s not right to be treated in this manner.  Here’s what I know about life.  We’re all in this together, but some of us have more advantages than others.  Those who were raised to believe in their abilities, and were taught to give respect and expect it in return, fair much better than those who were not taught these lessons.  If you are one who lacks self-respect then, no doubt, being with a man who doesn’t give it to you, sadly, fits like a glove.  Sure, you think you want to be treated well, but could you even accept it if you were?  Again, this is something you're going to  have to figure out on your own, or get some counseling.  If you decide you have had enough and you want more out of life, start packing and make plans to move back home near your family.  Maybe it’s not the ideal circumstance, but it’s probably better than what you have now.  If you are afraid of this man, get yourself ready to go without him knowing.  Ship your personal things ahead of time to someone whom you can trust.  Make no mistakes in the planning process, because if this man (you know, the one who controls you and makes a fool out of you) finds out, he’ll convince you to stay using the same old stories about how he will change if you just give him another chance.  Alcoholics depend on this line to suck in (and suck the life out of) their co-dependent partners.  If you are not willing to do these things to free yourself of this destructive relationship, your problems go a lot deeper than getting help from an earnest, but therapy-deficient advice columnist.  I don’t even know you, and I want the best for you.  At least that makes one of us!