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I keep breaking up and getting back together with the man I love. What should I do now?

Dear Stephen,

After two years of long-distance dating, I left my life behind and moved in with my man and two of his adult children. After five years, he told me he was getting back with his ex, for the sake of the children, who had never accepted me. That reunion failed and he begged me to return, which I did, for six months, until he kicked me out again. Now he wants me back yet another time, and I feel I’m still madly in love with him. What should I do?

Forlorn

Dear Forlorn,

You are a character in his play, nothing more. And he is a character in yours. This is not love, this is unconscious do-it-yourself therapy, where two people reenact painful psychodramas from their past with the hope that this time, by some miracle, the story will have a different ending. It won’t.

Many of us seek out partners who we hope will fill the same hole the last partner (or our parents) didn’t fill. The child of an alcoholic marries an alcoholic. The martyr marries a screw-up. The self-hater marries a narcissist. In each of these cases, the partner only validates the underlying issues. The problem isn’t with the partner, it’s with the hole you’re trying to fill.

Without hesitation, I command you to stay away from this man. It will never work. His kids will never accept you. His ex-wife will continue to haunt you. He does not love you, although he does love the sex and comfort you provide when he’s feeling low. And he will never have the insight, emotional honesty and ability to love that you (all of us) so deserve.

If, by some odd chance, he conquers his emotional anorexia/bulimia, let him try his new self out on someone else. You don’t need him.

I suggest that instead of looking for a new relationship with a man right now, you focus on creating a new relationship with yourself. One that is open, easy, loving and kind. I have no doubt that when that starts happening, you’ll meet someone fantastic. Remember, like attracts like.

In the future, when you want drama, turn on the TV.

Ask Stephen anything about love, sex, ethical quandaries and other conundrums. Stephen and his experts are here to help. Email: askspw@gmail.com

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