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Ask Lori Gephart Your Own Question
Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Psychologist, Hypnotherapist & Divorce Coach providing marital therapy for over 20 years.
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Hello, Heres a little back ground that might help with answering

Customer Question

Here's a little back ground that might help with answering my question(s):
I was in a relationship for over a year. We both have trust issues. Mine stem from a long line of set-backs in life, for the most part were out of my control and I had to learn to cope and learn to deal with things on my own. From loosing both parents at separate times before age 7. My mother was out of the picture, before I was a year old and my father died in an accident. Then came the abusive relatives and years of foster care along with a bad marriage of 15 years. Not to mention ALL of my relatives are alcoholics, including my siblings. The ONLY ones that seem to escape this way of life was myself and my children who are all adults with families. I will say that I have made some wrong choices in life, however, I have never been one to run from my mistakes and have always tried to accept responsibility of my actions. I have always, considered myself as the black sheep of the family. I do drink, occassionally, maybe, 5 or 6 times a year and am only one who has graduated from college.

He told me of a long line of abuse in his past also, from his mother being dominant, his first wife cheated on him, his second wife verbally and physically abused him along with he states his father is the one he blames for his (past) alcohol abuse, he has been sober almost 9 years. He also, felt he was the black sheep of his family. He sobered up, went back to school and opened his own business.

Quite an accomplishment, I was impressed, not to mention we liked to do a lot of the same things and always seemed to enjoy each others company.

In the beginning, we told each other what we were looking for and what we wanted in what would hopefully be our last relationship. My thoughts were, "wow, where have you been hiding". Now, I keep asking myself, "OMG, how much more are you hiding."

In the beginning, he told that he had two bad marriages and one was abusive and that he wanted to be very careful not to end up in that type of situtation again. (Totally understandable) He he was not happy in the past and wanted to make a change, so he put himself through school and opened his own business. He became a born again Christian and also became ordained.

These are the things he didn't tell me upfront, but were shared slowly. He has had over a handful of DUI's, been in prison because of them. He too, had been charged with domestic violence (against the abusive wife, I do know that this is true). According to him, his mom was controlling (it took almost six months before he allowed me to meet his family, I don't see her as controlling, however, maybe too giving and no one stands up to him, they don't agrue with him, they always let him have the last word.) He talks about all of these friends he has, but we hung out with non. He does know a lot of people, but they are only acquaintances not friends, I don't know if he knows the difference. Not to mention, he preaches he wants to be with someone, open, honest and communicates. These traits I found are ones he expects from others but does not feel he should have to comply with his own rules. There are also, some sexual issues that I do not feel comfortable sharing, too much.

My question is: is it possible that he is still just a lost soul as I want to believe? Is there is still hope in showing him that life can be wonderful if he would allow it to be or is he too set in his ways? He was single for 5 years before we got together, he did do some dating but was never in a relationship.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for contacting JustAnswer.


I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing. It sounds as if you have learned quite a bit from your past mistakes. I wonder if you believe that this man has learned from his. We all have choices to make about whether we will repeat our past mistakes or those of our parents or if we will learn from them and make other choices. Keep in mind that you cannot change anyone else other than yourself. Remember that actions speak louder than words, so his telling you that he wants to change is much less credible than his showing you change.


One thing I would add is that it seems that you have been doing quite a bit of emotional work about this relationship. In order for this to be a healthy relationship, we would expect your partner to do a relatively equal amount of emotional work (if you balance it out over time). This may be one way to evaluate if someone is committed to a relationship and to changing in order to make the relationship work. You deserve someone who will put the work into the relationship as well, since it takes two people to make it work. Also, I definitely believe in trusting your gut. It is often a very good indicator of red flags that should not be ignored. Feelings of love tend to be very irrational, while the gut is a good barometer of danger, both physical and emotional. I hope this is helpful and I wish you the best.


You may find the following website helpful to clarify about abuse:


While you can't change his behavior, you can begin to be clear with him that you will no longer accept these behaviors. You can set boundaries where you need to and not tolerate unacceptable behavior.


It can be a difficult balance to judge whether it is better to stay in an unhealthy relationship or to end it. This is a decision only you can make. In the meantime, you may want to try couples therapy to help him understand how serious your concerns are and work on a resolution. If he refuses, then you may want to consider individual therapy as well in order to get some support for yourself, build up your self esteem, help you to set boundaries, and take good care of yourself. In the meantime, be sure to take care of yourself through healthy eating, exercise, rest and reaching out to supportive people in your life. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.