I have been in a relationship for 10 years and have three children. My boyfriend, and the father of my children, has been emotionally abusive for most of the time we have been together. He has no intention of making me his wife and has been cheating repeatedly. He continuously complains about my weight gain and the “baby fat” that remains on my body. In one of his many unkind utterances he told me that no man would be interested in me because I am “overweight and ugly”.
I am emotionally wounded by these comments and have been trying to lift myself from the dumps he has placed me in. How can I remain committed to someone who has put me down and demoralised me? I need your advice.
It must be difficult to live with someone who not only demoralises you, but disrespects you as the mother of his three children. The unkind comment about baby fat is most disturbing when one considers that he contributed to the pregnancy that resulted in the extra weight gain. Surely if he wanted you to remain in the same physical condition he met you in 10 years ago then impregnating you and having children may have not been a good idea. The option of adoption could have been considered so that you could have maintained the picture-perfect body that he desires.
To add fuel to the flame, the father of your children, in an effort to crush your confidence and deflate your self-esteem, goes on to suggest that you will not be desired by other men. That is the utterance of a desperate man who is worried that he may in fact lose his woman, and so to ensure you stick around, he is hoping that you will remain on the canvas after that low blow.
My advice to you is get up off the floor, brush yourself off, and regroup. Don't allow him to steal your joy of being a good mother and a beautiful woman. What you are experiencing is emotional abuse that some men resort to, especially when they know and won't admit that they have a woman who is dedicated and committed to the relationship and will hesitate to walk away, particularly when children are involved.
You obviously want to maintain the family unit and so you have been enduring the abuse, hoping that one day he will cease the verbal attacks and treat you with the respect you deserve. The truth is, he may or he may not, so you have to tune out and dismiss his negativity and embrace the positive strokes you get from friends and family members. You must embark on a self-esteem-building personal development plan which could include an exercise programme and wardrobe redo. Treat yourself to the spa — pedicure, manicure, hairdo — the whole nine yards. You must first love yourself and not depend on your partner to affirm you.
Out of the negative can come positive. This may be a wake-up call for you to look in your mirror and move away from the mother-only role and assume your rightful role as an attractive partner. Too many women, when they become mothers, resign from the partner role and do not make themselves visually appealing to their partners. So they adorn themselves in the washed-out house dress that is food-stained, torn and tattered. This picture is turn-off and will drive your partner away in a rush as soon as he enters the home.
Do everything you can to separate your mother and girlfriend roles, but more importantly, look after you. Take care.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to email@example.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.