Dear Miss Emily:

I have been living with the man I love for over 8 years. We are not married. We have had some rough times, as do all. About 1 month ago, he comes in and tells me he is leaving. Now, however, we are still seeing each other, but he is living with his mother (and loving the pampering).  He is 37 years old, and I am 44. He does not want a commitment, and I am unsure if I want it. I LOVE HIM. I told him last week that if we are going to see each other, that he should ask me out on a date. We had planned to go out on Sat. night, but he was hung-over from the night before – out with his buddies. He showed up at my door, at 11 a.m, looking and feeling bad. I fed him, gave him XXX, and a shower. He slept for three hours on my bed. When it was time for our date, he simply said, "I am broke."  I'll give you a rain check on our date. He followed that with, "Let's stay home and order Chinese take-out." I was totally upset and I blew up and he left. Should I have gone along with his plan? It seems as though he is determined to do as he pleases, with no regard for my needs. Am I wrong for feeling used? We occasionally meet and have sex. I do feel used at times, but I am so in love with him, I cannot help myself. What should I do? I cannot help that I am still in love with him. I do not want to be totally without him. HELP!!!
Second-hand Rose

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

Dear Second-hand:

I think you are really asking me to sanction this  relationship (no matter how dysfunctional it is), because you love him and you can’t help yourself.  Okay, stay with him and continue to be used.  No! No! No!  I can’t say that, even though that’s what may happen; until he finally tells you it’s over, permanently, and even he is no longer interested in taking advantage of your “soft spot” for him.  I think that anyone who does not get the respect they say they want, has a history of not getting it.  Women are especially vulnerable because, like it or not, we still live in a patriarchal society that puts men and their needs, first.  Oh sure, women can jerk men around, but it often has something to do with a man’s weakness for sex, or an empty stomach. This man (and I use the term loosely), does not want a committed relationship, but common decency tells me that showing up hung-over, you feeding him, his being broke and, then, you servicing him, is pathetic on both your parts. Let his mommy continue to baby her 37 year-old son, while you figure out why you would love a man who, for all intents and purposes, cares so little for you.  Break this enabling cycle, now, or suffer the consequences.