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Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

Janine wrote:

I think I have a problem with relationships. It seems that I follow the same habits over and over again when it comes to friendships, romance, family ... I need to know why and how can I change this. I am so tired of feeling empty when people let me down. (Which they always do.)

Most recently a man I had known as a casual-sex-friend was sent to prison for 8 months. While he was in prison we developed a very serious and intimate relationship. I continued to date while he was away but always knew I wasn't going to get serious with anybody else. I had committed to giving our relationship a 100% effort to see if it would work.

Mike and I had discussed this between us and he was very positive and adament about saying "we could get through anything as long as we communicated". He sent me 27 letters, numerous cards and gifts and we had many phone calls along with twice a month visits.

Well, he got out June 23, and by June 30, he had moved his stuff in, told me he wasn't ready for a relationship and moved his stuff out! Emotionally I was shocked. It was too much too fast. The anticipation and anxiety leading up to June 23, was enough on its own and then to have everything turn completely upside down really through me for a loop. I know I was not imagining the things he wrote and said yet when all is said and done ... I was totally taken for a ride.

He didn't mean any of it! I know this because I confronted him on everything. He basically just said "yea well, maybe that's how I felt at the time". I feel so betrayed and used. I am glad I found out so early, but i just can't believe how stupid I feel. This kind of thing has happened so many times in my life I almost don't expect anything less. I get used by platonic friends just as much.

Here's the thing ... I am a very intelligent, successfull, 34 year old. The only thing I feel is my downfall is that I believe in the human race, and when people say things I believe them. I refuse to believe that this is wrong but I cannot go on like this. I am also very spiritual, and have a close personal relationship with God.

I'm finding myself questioning my faith when things like this go on because I believe God doesn't want these things to happen to me but yet I'm at a loss of why then they continue to happen.

I am now totally depressed and can't seem to focus on anything. I feel like a complete failure. Unfortunately, if I don't take control of this situation, no-one will. I am single, never married, no children and have lived on my own since I was 18. I find myself falling deep into regression instead of progression. Does any of this make sense? help.

Dear Janine:

What you say makes perfect sense, and, as you know - you are not alone. We all get used, we all get let down .. some more than others.
No-one deserves to be treated badly, but the trick is to learn from your experience (and others), and not get caught again.

This doesn't mean don't trust, don't believe, don't form relationships - but it does mean know what you want, know who you like, and never forget who you are.

On the specifics, you don't say how this casual relationship turned serious; I suspect you felt sorry for him, felt he was dependent, and liked it. How do you think he felt? Guilty or not, he was imprisoned, devoid of female company, maybe frightened. You helped him through that experience, and your fee was that he stay dependent.

You took yourself in, is my guess. He, weak, foolish and male, went along with it.

Take control of your life, live it, don't drift. You say you have a relationship with God; then learn not to deceive yourself.You want relationships - don't cheat, build them.

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