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Dear Rene:

I have a problem and am not sure where to turn. I like your common sense advice so I am hoping you can help me out!

I was in a loving relationship for a year with a great man. He was very supportive and we got along well. We each have children from previous relationships and we hoped we would all blend nicely – and we did for a time. Then things began to change. My man was so overbearing with our kids that they could not get along. He’s also a mama’s boy, which meant she was always in the picture.

When things were going well and our relationship was solid we were able to work out our problems. We loved each other so much that we really fought for our relationship.

Then one day all the love and attention just stopped. He blamed stress and his busy schedule.  Soon afterward, he started taking his frustrations out on me and treating me differently. I got tired of his behavior and lashed out with words I regret using and am sorry I said. But it was too late; the words hurt him so deeply, I could see it in his eyes.

I’ve tried everything, apologizing, asking for forgiveness, praying, etc. He said he has forgiven me but that the relationship is over. It has been three months and now we do not get along at all. I am so hurt because I love him so much. But at this point, it has gone from bad to worse and I have no idea how to fix it. Please help.


Sad and missing a good man

Dear Sad:

I’m really sorry you going through all this. Relationships are not easy but when they work well, they are totally worth it. The trick is to know when to call it quits. To be honest, I think the answer to your problem is quite clear. Whether you want to accept it, well that’s a whole different matter.

In any situation, it helps when you take stock of your situation so we’re going to start by looking at the pros and the cons of your relationship…


*You had a loving relationship.

*You got along well and the relationship was solid


* You HAD a loving relationship: The operative word here being HAD

* His meddling mother caused problems

* The love and attention stopped

* He started taking his frustrations out on you

* You don’t get along anymore

Look at this list. There are more than twice as many cons as there are pros. It is possible there are good things you did not include but bottom line, it looks to me like this relationship is over. He even told you it was! It really doesn’t get much clearer than that. Why would you want to hang around and beg for someone’s affection after they told you they were moving on?  Of course there are instances where you stay and fight but given the good to bad ratio, is this worth it?

Here’s the problem as I see it. A man who just stops the love and affection because of scheduling and stress sounds like someone who might be in the habit of using love as a weapon. That’s a very immature approach to a relationship and truthfully, not worth the drama that will ensue. Real relationships are tough; it’s not always about wine, music and fluffy feelings in the pit of your stomach. Growth is achieved when you go through tough stuff together.  If he turns his love on and off like that and then refuses to even work at the relationship, what chance do you have of getting to that point?  Is that the kind of life you want or could settle for? Which leads me to another question. You say he’s a good man. Why? What does he do that makes him so good? He pays the bills, doesn’t run around, what? It’s not like he’s great to your children – even you admit that. He has an overbearing mother and now has decided that though he can forgive you for your words he’s not willing to forget and move on. Why the hell would you hang around for THAT?

Honestly, you sound as if another good man will never enter your life. I don’t buy that at all. But YOU need to believe that. When you do, that will make it easier for you to let go of a relationship that has run its course and open you up to what is possible instead of mourning what has been.

You mention you have kids. Those little people depend on you for their basic needs and so much more. See, you are also modeling behaviors that they will ultimately emulate. If you have sons, they will treat their future girlfriends and wives the way they see you being treated; your daughters will learn to accept bad behavior by the men in their lives if they see you doing it. Is that the legacy you want for them?

You might take this time alone to also work on some of your own issues, like learning how to fight fairly. You said some things that hurt another person very deeply. Understand that words have power and can cut like the sharpest blade. Once they escape your lips, there is no taking them back.

Let me leave you with this. I know breaking up is hard; no one likes to be alone. But being with a man who pays the bills but shortchanges you on the other things that make sharing a life with someone worthwhile is really no way to go.

Good luck, mommy!

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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