[Two Pronged] To stay or not to stay?

Ryan Songalia
[Two Pronged] To stay or not to stay?
Carla asks if she should hold on to her relationship, despite a lack of affection from her partner

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons. 

Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer, 

I have been living with my boyfriend for almost two years. To this day, we still don’t have a child. He is 41 years old and I am 35 years old. Since the time we started to live together, he has never told me that he loved me. I’ve never even heard the sentence “I miss you.”

He is cold like ice. He only cares for his properties and gadgets. We only sleep together but without any touch or romance. He ignores me. Even if I flirt and tease him, he still ignores me. He always wakes up early and leaves the bed to face his gadgets.

I am desperate already. I feel like I am nothing to him.

He faced trials and complicated circumstances financially and I stayed beside him. He even had health problems and health issues, yet [I stayed].

I even stayed when his ex-girlfriend filed a case against him in court.  I supported him throughout.

Then, another of his exes showed up in the barangay hall and put him through a big scandal. Still I stayed; stayed beside him and supported him.

All of these hurt me a lot and I felt I was going to blow my top any time. Still, I decided to stay beside him.

Recently, his mother got into an accident and was operated on. There was nobody there for them, but I stayed. A month after his mother’s operation, he got sick with hernia and he too was operated on. Still, I decided to stay beside him to support and comfort him. After all these issues and circumstances, ’til today, he is cold as ice to me.

Now, he shouts at me every time and blames me for everything. Even for the small things, he keeps pointing his finger at me.

I feel so much pain now. I am trying to understand the situation. But at the same time, I am almost giving up.

I am emotionally, mentally, and physically in pain now. Please… help me with your advice on how to deal with this situation. I will be waiting for your reply, doc. It will be much appreciated. Thank you.                                     




Dear Carla,

Thank you for your email.

We receive many letters in which the writer bemoans, often at some length, the shortcomings of their partner but they end almost without fail with the seemingly contrary statement that they love him or her. Your letter, however, lacks even this saving grace since you give no reason whatsoever for being with or staying with your boyfriend.

Now there are countless people who persevere in joyless relationships. They may do so for many reasons, such as for the supposed good of the children, or for religious reasons, or because of creature comforts (nice house, credit cards, good education for the kids, etc) and this enables them to live with the deficiencies. You, however, give us no inkling of why you have been prepared to stomach the behavior of your boyfriend.

So, in the absence of any further insight into your situation I suggest you take full advantage of the fact that you have no children tying you to this man, pack your bags, and leave him today. He is nothing but a millstone round your neck, as you have so vividly described, and your life will be hugely enriched by his absence.

All the best,

JAF Baer 

Dear Carla,

Thank you very much for your letter.  Actually, this is one of the few times I fully agree with Mr Baer regarding what you should do.

Mr Baer says, “Your letter, however, lacks even this saving grace [of your mentioning that you love him] since you give no reason whatsoever for being with or staying with your boyfriend.”

My hypothesis is that you did (and probably still) love/d him, and that is why you are so hurt by the things he does and the things he doesn’t.

If you continue being the martyr you are now – crying silently or loudly, but not getting the response you wish from him – then he will continue behaving the way he does.

However, if you show that you will no longer tolerate his behavior and that, if he doesn’t change you will leave him, then there are no guarantees, but there is a possibility he will change and show his appreciation (and, hopefully, love) for you.

You must be willing to carry out your threat, however, because most men seem to have a feral intelligence, knowing when their partner will actually do what she says or not.

I know it won’t be easy, dearest Carla, but surely it will be less painful than living with him under your current circumstances?

Good luck and I so, so hope things get better for you.

MG Holmes

Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email twopronged@rappler.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

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