Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Ok so my boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year. When we met it was love at first sight (as cheesy as it sounds) and I knew I wanted to be with a man like him in the future. We met 3 days before I was going home across the country. I had been in another state for my junior year of college and we met the beginning of that summer. He didn’t go to college. We spent 3 great days together and before I left he asked me to be his girlfriend. I initially agreed, but then he told me he had something that I might be uncomfortable with, he had a baby with his ex girlfriend. I told him I couldn’t date someone with a kid, but agreed to remain friends. I learned the baby was born 2 months before we met, and he wanted a paternity test because she had been cheating with multiple guys. It ended up being his.

Long story short, I fell deeper in love with him and we ended up dating my whole senior year of college. He even moved into my apartment because he couldn’t afford his own. He was also using my car on a daily basis to get to work. I was always unhappy about the kid, but looked past it because when we were together I thought he was worth it. It was frustrating seeing him be a deadbeat dad and not being involved in the child’s life, but at the same time I didn’t want to hear about the kid either.

When I graduated and planned to move back home across the country, we decided to try and stay together. I knew he had a drinking problem when I left, and i asked him to tell me when he would drink. I recently learned that he has been lying for the past 3 months and getting drunk almost every night. I would call and hear it in his voice, and he would still deny it. His mom even called me concerned and wanted me to talk to him about it. The night she called me I asked him if he was drunk (he was) but denied it to me. He then proceeded to push me off the phone saying he was “tired”. I learned the next day that it was so he could go out and drink more.

He finally he admitted he was lying to me and that he wanted help, but it was too late. I will never be able to trust him again. I asked him to go to AA and he went, but its been 2 weeks and he hasn’t gone again. He is asking me for forgiveness and to get back with him, and I don’t know what to do. I am on track to get my masters degree, and he never even went to college. We live very separate lives, and have very separate upbringings, but my love for him is undeniable. I want him, but without the alcoholism, lack of job/money, and without the baby. I would be willing to overlook the baby, if there wasn’t so much else in the way.
Is there any way to find the man I love under all this deceit? Part of me wants to run, the other wants to keep hoping things will change. I don’t know what to do.

A: The short answer to your question is “no.” There isn’t a way to find the man you love under the deceit because the man you think you love is a fantasy. This man is a user.

The larger question for me is this: Why on earth did you stay with a guy who doesn’t man up to his responsibilities to his child, who consistently lies to you, who didn’t contribute to rent, who somehow didn’t have money even though he works, and who isn’t willing to deal with his alcoholism? What you see is what you get. The way he treats his ex and his child is the way he’ll treat you and any children you have with him. The way your relationship has gone is the way it will keep going.

Please ask yourself why you don’t think you deserve better. It’s long past time you ditched this guy and found someone who is your peer.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Should I Stay or Should I Go?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/08/12/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go/