Dear Andy, I am 35 years old. I am Hispanic and I think that my boyfriend has no respect for me and doesn’t make me feel that I have worth. He’s always interrupting me when I’m talking and wants me to focus on his day. If I have a problem, he tells me that there’s nothing he can do. He won’t listen to the problem and just be there for me. He has slowly taken me away from my parents and siblings. I used to see them all the time and now I’m lucky if I see them for the holidays. He makes up excuses that we’re busy so I don’t go. When we go out with his friends, he embarrasses me to no end. He doesn’t call me names, he just says things that are not true or make me look like an idiot and his friends laugh at me. Most of them have low IQs. I tested him once for fun. He didn’t notice it. I don’t have friends anymore. No one wants to come over to visit because he makes them feel uncomfortable. They stopped inviting me to go out to the theatre or to plays because he doesn’t like anything that’s not on TV. [He] calls my friends elitist and condescending. They’re not–I met my friends in college in art and theatre classes. We all have Masters in various fields. My boyfriend barely graduated from college. He boasts on how he slept with the school’s English teacher who was 10 years older than he. She was married and had three kids. I’m tired of him making me do this. What can I do?

Sincerely, Dropped IQ

Dear Dropped IQ,

I know how it can be when you’re with someone that does not have respect for you and also makes you feel that your IQ is dropping. I had an ex just like that. I had to stop seeing him because my head hurt as my IQ was dropping. Lucky for me, my family had a stronger hold on me than he did. I was not about to give up my siblings’ needs for him. There is a line and there is a decision that you have to make. It’s a judgment call by all means. I realized that I was in a harmful relationship when I could have an intelligent conversation with a five-year-old and not with a 50-year-old.

I confronted him about his behavior. He laughed. After our coffee and cake, he left as if nothing had happened and never called me back. I called him twice after to see what was up with his behavior and he never called me back. It’s been over a year and until now, I had not thought about him at all. None of my friends or family asks about him. One family member took me out to a fancy dinner in celebration of getting my life back. She noticed how I withdrew from the world, stopped writing literature, and how I almost began to stop living.

You need to make a decision. You can either not be with him and be alive, or be with him and get no respect and have a lonely death.

  1. Do you want to live your life to the fullest? Which means you go back to having intelligent friends, watching plays, going to concerts, and enjoying a cultured life. You can find someone who can be part of your family, rather than isolating you from them. I’m sure it hurts that you are not being with your siblings and cannot share their happiness.
  2. Do you want to not live your life and focus your energy on him? Do what he wants, what he says, and what he wishes? What happens when he gets bored with you? Or he trades you in for a younger model? What if you become too stupid to him and he can’t hurt you any more? Do you really want someone else’s life?

I made my decision and I am very happy with it. I hope you are happy with whatever decision you make.

Let me know what you decide and share with the rest of us: Part II The New Beginning of Your Story.