Dear Miss Emily:

I have had a relationship with a man for 11 years, who helped me raise my two children. I also helped him raise his one child. He supported us mostly in financial ways, which I am grateful. We never married, and I had to move back to my hometown, with my 17 year old daughter, because my mom had cancer.  "Ben" is an alcoholic, and I am a co-dependent who also has OCD -- so we have been quite dependent on each other over the years. Here is my question: I don't know if I should stay in this relationship, because he does not seem to cherish me.  He is not interested in marriage, life insurance, a mortgage or health insurance with me.  I am open to various ideas for security. I have invested 11 of my "cute" years. The other night we were out with his best friend and his ex-wife, who are still dating. We all decided to compliment each other. When it was his turn, he would not compliment me to tell me how much he loves me in front of them.  He said it was to "help them."  When I brought it up later, he said he would only compliment me in front of them, if I were not there.  I said, "How does this help them?"  He told me to not call him back for a few days, and he was furious.  Am I stupid to stay with this guy?
Girl in the Wings

--------------------Miss Emily's advice----------------


Dear Girl:
Are you stupid to stay with him?  Yes!  But OCD people seem to thrive on rituals, and alcoholics seem to accept the status quo, as long as no one makes a move. But wait, you did move! It may have been for your mother, however, in truth, wasn’t it an excuse to leave this sorry relationship, as well? This man knows he can’t give you the things that you want. You go through silly game playing, but when the chips are down, nothing changes. If you want someone to cherish you, you have to cherish yourself, first. It’s an old psychological adage, profoundly true, and too infrequently realized. Who cares what the latest issue is? The relationship is over, but you won’t let it go.  Until you are ready to do so, keep yourself busy with your own goals. Hopefully, you’ll learn to get what you want, rather than putting up with the things that feed your insecurities.