Dear Miss Emily,

I've been close to this guy since December of 2008. He and I used to really like each other. He swept me off my feet and before I knew it, I thought I had found "the one". I told him I loved him, but he never once said it back to me, even though he was okay with me saying it to him and expressing myself. I was okay with that and I figured that maybe I fell faster than he did. But then I soon found out about his last relationship with another girl. We stayed very close even thought he was still hurt, and I spent months trying to "heal" him and show him that I could be good for him. I've fought to hold onto him for so long, but in the process I've gotten so hurt from his lack in returned feelings. I knew I was getting myself into something difficult, and I promised to wait it out and stick to it until he was happy again and we were together, but it's wearing me out. We argue often even though I do everything possible to keep him happy. I know we could be happy together if he tried, but he can't seem to get over his ex. He really loved her. I will admit that I get very jealous whenever he talks about her. He gave her everyhting and she treated him like he meant nothing to her. He's still so loyal to her despite everything she's done to hurt him, but he doesn't seem to notice me right in front of him, willing to love him and make him happy. Whenever I talk with him about our problems, he shuts me out after saying a simple and almost careless "I know". It's so hard for me to want to be with him now, but I keep holding on. I've sat down with my girlfriends and talked with them, trying to get advice, but the only thing they have to say is "leave him." I don't want to walk away from someone that I love so much. Just recently, we got into another argument and we haven't spoken until yesterday when I went to text him and try to talk things out since we both had our space for the last few days. When I texted him, he said he was glad that I said something because only a few minutes before, he was falling apart. I asked him why that was and his response made me sick. His ex was talking to him a few days ago and they were getting to be on good terms again. He invited her to stay with him for the weekend and he even gave her a key to his appartment. But everything went downhill when she turned around and said to him the following day that she was done with him and didn't want anything to do with him. He was crushed. I called him and we spent the evening talking and I listened as he cried and told me everything. I'm disappointed that he would go back to her instantly like that, but I guess that's what happens when your in love with someone. Ever since then, I've been shaken. I feel like I never meant anything to him, despite all the trust we had. I look back at all the good times we've had together and I wish I could go back to those days. I was cleaning up after his ex and trying to help him like  I've been doing the whole time, but he was able to be happy with me then. now he's never happy with me and I feel worthless even though I'm trying everything I can to make things better. I just need some guidance. I need someone to give me some good, honest advice and some encouragement. Please help. Thank you for reading this. It means a lot that there's someone out there that will listen and try to help. Thanks so much.

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

Your friends tell you to leave him, but you want, what -- me to tell you to hang in there? You have invested a great deal of your time with this man hoping that he would see how much you were sacrificing and reward you with his love -- yet he pined for another woman, and treated you more like a friend (or parent) with whom he could vent his hurt and anger that the woman he truly loved rejected him. His response "I know" was nothing more than an agreement to his not being in love with you, and you kept letting it happen, objecting to it and hoping he was only naive, or just plan wrong about his feelings. He's not in denial, you are! Now, after his attempt to get his ex back, she throws him under the bus, again, and you are there to listen. Here's the thing:  If all this time you weren't enough for him -- but he suddenly had a turnaround, would you ever really believe he loved you, now, after all you did to win his love and only got "I know" from him the entire time you were together? And how long would that last? It's time to take responsibility for your part in this drama and pinpoint where the problem exists. To me, I can't imagine hanging on to a man like this, unless I was incapable of having any love for myself. And that may be the nucleus of the problem -- how you see yourself. If you have any self-respect, you'll walk away and work on your self-esteem.  When you give in a relationship and get little or nothing back, the reason for staying is more your problem than his.