Q: Dive been in this relationship for 7 years We’ve been through it all: lies, stealing, drugs, and finally cheating on me. We are married but separated. Six months, no contact. I finally saw him again, two days ago, he found me. We talked, he wants to keep our marriage, he says he still loves me. I’m scared. I still love him.

Everyone says run, fast and far. How do I get over the anger and being scared?

A: Your last two statements answer your own question rather well: If you “run, fast and far” you can eventually “get over the anger and being scared.” And if you don’t get away from him, you can’t.

Of course you should stay away from anyone who hurt you so much!

Often people stay with people who mistreat them so much because they’ve always had a lot of anger and fear – even before they met this person – and they don’t understand this about themselves. By being around someone like that, your feelings can make more sense to you. You can see that your fears are very reasonable, and he can even give you the bonus of being an excellent target for all that stored up anger!

You say you love him but that’s irrelevant compared to how dependent you are on him. You simply don’t have enough good people in your life, so someone with his problems looks good to you! You need more good friends and enough confidence to attract good men. You need to change a whole lot about your style of life.

You absolutely need to look at your own issues. And it is very likely that you either have a lot of self hate, or a lot of unresolved feelings from earlier mistreatment, or both. You’ve written to me, so you know you need to talk to a therapist. Please do find one, and talk with them regularly for a while. Don’t focus on how long it takes, focus on how much your life is improving as you face the things you fear.

Make a vow that you are going to change your opinion of yourself, release your anger and fear, and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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