Absence doesn’t necessarily make the heart grow fonder

Dear Bunmi,

I met my boyfriend months after my marriage broke up. After a few dates, I moved in with him, though I kept my flat where my two children lived with my mother. It was a complete disaster.

 I discovered he was a heavy drinker and took drugs. He’d disappear on a drinking spree and come home in an awful state. He couldn’t even go after the petty contracts that used to sustain him, and he made it clear he didn’t want a real relationship.

I did all I could to help him, but he’d say I was stupid and useless, and he was a nasty bully. When he was sober though, he could be so nice.  But most of the time, we ended up having violent rows. He even threatened to kill me once.

We eventually broke up recently, and I’ve just found out that he stole a lot of money from me. I’m totally devastated. I don’t even know if I could live without him.

Juliana, by e-mail.

Dear Juliana,

It’s sad you’ve suffered this humiliation. The end of your marriage obviously damaged your self-esteem. At some level, you felt betrayed and abandoned by your ex husband. When you then discovered your boyfriend’s addictions, you hoped that by being patient and kind to him you would eventually gain his love. Instead, as drinkers and drug addicts do, the man clumsily used and manipulated you.

As much as you wanted this hopeless relationship to work, like your marriage, it failed, resulting in an unpleasant ending. Coming to terms with your boyfriend’s cynicism is painful. Only, he didn’t treat you this way because you’re unworthy of love. Your boyfriend had no love to offer you – or any woman for that matter.

As you say, he didn’t even want a relationship – only a means to continue his own destruction. You need to learn from this experience and accept you’re worthy of love, and avoid men who fail to give you the respect and devotion you deserve.

Forget the money you lost and walk away from the memory of this painful relationship with your head held high. With time, you’ll learn to love again. 

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