Dear Miss Emily:

I've been off and on with a girl for over three years now. I used to treat her really bad, and left her feeling worthless all the time which led to her hanging out and, eventually, having sex with other men.  At least, I think that’s it. She always wanted to be around me, talk to me, and do everything with me (in moderation, of course), but by the time I came to my senses and realized what I was doing and changed my ways, it was too late – she moved on. While with this guy, she told me she still loved me and wanted us to work it out but refused to stop seeing him. I got fed up and decided I was done with her, but she started begging me to stay and work through all this with her. I agreed and she ended it with him. And now it's been nothing but a nightmare. She puts me second to last in importance, hardly ever wants me touching or kissing her, or being around her. She talks to me like I'm nothing, can’t compromise or even try to consider my feelings, and she doesn't want sex anymore. She says all this attitude change isn't me, it’s her, but I can't help but think differently. I made up my mind that I had to get out of this and, then, something happened: she was raped by a co-worker and now I feel its not right walking away. I'm trying to be there for her, but she’s turning to others and blowing my efforts off, and the relationship is just as bad as ever. We used to be able to share our problems with each other, and now it doesn't happen. I love her and care about her well being, but I just don't know how else to tackle this or if I even should. Please help me if possible.
Walking a thin line

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

Dear Walking:

We used to are the two operative words here – used to, meaning no more.  It’s hard to explain why some relationships are so destructive, other than to say that some people simply don’t know how to have a good one even if their life depended on it.  You treated her like dirt, and she somehow found a way to repay you in kind.  It wasn’t necessarily a conscious effort but, rather, a very human reaction to her past experiences with you. Both of you  tried to get it back on track, but it never was on track to begin with, and now you are facing the truth about it.  I hope she reported the rape to the police and is getting counseling for it.  If not, the emotional wounds will fester and her life may become an even greater tangled web of mistrust.  That said, it’s time to stop the pretense that you have a future together and make plans to separate.  If possible, do it with rational thought processes and leave the emotional angle out of it. This does not mean that you must never see each other again. It only means that you have come to some agreement that what you thought you had no longer exists, and the world does not have to come to an end because of it.  There is something to be learned from all of this, and it is time you figured out what it is and be a better man.  Good luck to you both.