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 three 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.
Trigger warning: The following piece mentions a sexual relationship with a minor.
Editor’s Note: The authors have reached out to the letter writer regarding taking this issue to the authorities.
Dear Dr. Margie and Sir Jeremy:
I’m 32 years old and single. I had a boyfriend for two years and six months – until I found out that he had a new girlfriend. The girl is 14 years old. My boyfriend is 28. Worse, the girl is pregnant by another man – her first cousin.
She and my ex became a couple just last October, and now they are already living in. It hurts me so much and I don’t know how he could replace me with a woman he just recently met. The last time we spoke, I asked him why he did this to me. He said that there was no reason and he still loved me.
I did everything just to save our relationship, but then he chose to be with that girl. We were already living together. That’s why what happened was so painful. I want to forget, but I cannot. I could accept things more easily if he were the father of the child she is carrying, but that is not so.
I cannot understand why he left me. There is no reason for him to do that. Please answer my email. I need your advice.
May God bless you a thousandfold.
Thank you for your email.
We are taught from an early age that we should be masters of our destiny and seek to maximize our potential, but it is a cruel fact of life that so much of what happens to us and around us is outside our control. Just as Nature wreaks havoc with typhoons, floods, and droughts, so too our fellow humans constantly complicate our lives in big ways and in small. It may be a traffic accident, the resident upstairs who leaves the water on and wrecks your ceiling, neighborhood karaoke keeping you awake on just that occasion when you need a good night’s sleep – all these and more prevent us from charting a peril-free course through life.
Relationships are not exempt from these vicissitudes. We may be able to order most things on the internet and be reasonably confident we will get more or less what was offered, but when it comes to a successful emotional, sexual ,and intellectual connection between two human beings, matters are exceptionally complex.
Things are not improved if there is a lack of trust or a refusal to be frank and open, as seems to be the case here. A man who leaves his girlfriend, moves in with a pregnant teenager, and then says he still loves his girlfriend and left for no reason is obviously not credible.
Perhaps he is unwilling to face the fallout from his actions or is feeling some residual guilt. Whatever the reason, the question you must consider is whether this man is really the one for you. Notwithstanding all his good qualities during your halcyon times together, he has now betrayed and abandoned you without any obvious good reason and without any explanation, showing you no respect whatsoever, much less love.
How can you trust such a blatant liar ever again? Perhaps it is time to move on instead.
P.S. While you may want your ex-boyfriend back and you are obviously not friends with his new girlfriend either, we would draw your attention to the statutory rape implications, given the ages of your ex and his girlfriend, and strongly recommend involving the appropriate authorities.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. In it, you say: “I want to forget, but I cannot.” You are 100% correct when it comes to a relationship that ends in heartbreak. None of us can forget a relationship that was such a big part of our lives for two and a half years. Hells bells, none of us can forget a relationship that lasted a year, or even several months.
Many times it will not be because this relationship was perfect (even if we consider it so), but because we are people, and people, unless they have neurocognitive disorders like dementia, do not forget. For example, it is not just relationships that one cannot/does not forget. It can also be issues of inheritance among formerly close siblings that end up in court, or happy events like a long hoped for promotion, or the birth of one’s first child, especially when one has been praying for one for ages.
It is highly likely that part of your devastation is thinking that the fact that you cannot forget is because this relationship means so, so much to you. Not true, Lara. Or not entirely true. You cannot forget because you do not have Alzheimer’s.
And then, other reasons might contribute to it. He is the first love of your life (but there can also be a second or even third, fourth or fifth — though perhaps loves of one’s life do not come as often as crushes or mere “mutual admiration”). Still, women, myself included, have been devastated after a love they thought would last forever ended with a thud…especially if that thud was caused by a former lover who shocked you with all his plans excluding you, that you never saw coming, especially since you were together!
Damn him to death for his rationalizations, refusal to tell the truth, and vulnerability to pedophilia.
The above is a statement therapists who believe in the adage: “Better to get mad than to get depressed” might encourage. It is not necessarily the best kind of therapy for everyone. Some therapists might say it never is, but I disagree with these “some therapists.”
Aristotle said: “Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
It won’t be easy for you right here and right now. I believe, however, that it is the exact therapy you need. You are too devastated and feel so much like a loser that (in my honest opinion) the best way to jolt you out of this depression is through an anger you have every right to feel.
William Arthur Ward, American motivational writer and author once said: “It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” This is exactly what we’ll do when we get to the Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (started by Dr. Albert Ellis) once you “graduate” from this one!
I will explain exactly what this kind of therapy is about in the following week!
With hope in my heart that all will be well,
Please send any comments, questions, or requests for advice to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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