Dear Dr. Buckingham,
Thank you so much for writing these wonderful and helpful articles. I would like to get some advice if possible. I was in a marriage to an emotional abuser and a cheater, which ended in divorce after giving it several chances.
I am now dating someone whom I just gave a second chance after I found out he’s been calling his baby mama almost everyday and every chance he gets. He apologizes and promises that it will never happen again.
Nevertheless, it happens over and over. The last time he had pictures of different women in his phone and his phone bill showed he is calling certain women everyday more than 3 times a day. To make matters worse, he doesn’t explain himself and, as a result, I have lost all the trust and respect for him. I do not feel any chemistry with him.
He’s got all the signs my ex-husband had. My questions are:
- Will he ever change like he promised or am I wasting my time?
- Am I the issue here because I have trust issues?
- Is it worth it to stay or should I move on?
My judgment of character is tainted and I am afraid of being abused again. If you cannot answer all of my questions, please answer this one: Should I Rely on my Mind or Heart in My Relationship?
Mind or Heart
Dear Mind or Heart,
I strongly encourage you to trust your heart and God-given instincts. Yes, your logical judgment might be slightly tainted due to previous abuse, but the heart does not lie. How we feel, whether right or wrong, dictates our behavior. If our heart is in pain, we are likely to exhibit painful behavior. The heart is the seat of our emotions and our will. It is also the center of our whole-person.
True happiness resides in the heart, not mind. Although our minds influence how we feel, the heart is where our true happiness dwells. Given this, you should not convince yourself through logic to do what your heart cannot handle emotionally.
Unfortunately, you know what pain feels and looks like. Through personal experience, you have learned about signs of abuse. A man who does not express or feels remorse for causing pain is a man who will likely continue to inflict pain on others.
Unlike your marriage, you are not legally or spiritually interconnected with your boyfriend. I cannot tell you whether or not he will ever change, but I can tell you that he will not change unless he feels a need to do so. Unfortunately, people like him need a little motivation such as “I am Leaving because Abuse is Not an Option.”
Quickly remove yourself from the relationship and do not question your heart in these matters. Always guard your heart and remember that your heart reflects your character. Some people believe that it is better to be a fool in love than to be single. I disagree. You can find and experience love without being a fool.
I recommend that you seek professional counseling and also talk to God about your future relationships. If you seek God’s desires for your relationship, you will be better equipped to guard your heart from foolishness. Take time to nurture your heart so that you can learn how to lay a healthy foundation before trying to build a house of love.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.