Emotional Sinkhole

Straight Talk

The Question

I have been involved in a six-year relationship with a man I have given my all to. I really feel that I have bent over backwards for him. I saw myself as supplying his needs before he even asked in hopes that he would see the amount of love I had for him. He’s had two DUI’s in the past three years and his financial status has far decreased. I looked past all of these things and continued to show support for him by loaning $ and trying to give him words of encouragement. Now I feel like I’m overwhelmed and stressed. I expressed that to him and he said I am better off without him. How can a person who has been down in the dumps for so long betray the #1 person who has been there for him?

— M. from Dinwiddie, Vermont

The Answer
Part 1: Get real so you can climb out
Part 2: Moving forward

Get real so you can climb out (Part 1)

I’m going to dig right in and this may be hard to hear. Still, I am doing you no favors by patting you on the back and commiserating with you about how poorly you have been treated.

Your boyfriend expressed that you are better off without him. He is correct. Perhaps that’s the best and most honest thing he’s said to you in six years. The reason he can “betray the #1 person who has been there for him” is because he is broken and dysfunctional and has nothing to give you in return for all you have given him. You have become trapped in a great emotional sinkhole.

The thing for you to try to understand is why. Why have you accepted that as your assignment in life? Did God give you that assignment? Does the life you have led for the last six years fit this: “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11) You are stressed and overwhelmed but if you think about it with a clear eye, isn’t that your own doing?

Questions to ask yourself which may help you to move forward:


  • Do you feel that this kind of man is all you really deserve?
  • In your childhood, did adults (like mom and dad) model unhealthy relationships so that you feel this is normal or acceptable?
  • Can YOU actually change another person or is that something only God can do?
  • If you give up being this man’s savior, will you feel you have lost your significance?


As you ask yourself these questions, do so prayerfully. Only God can help us face the things we have avoided or hidden deep inside ourselves. Additionally, only he can open a path out of “enabling” into productive emotional health.

Moving forward (Part 2)

Suppose you somehow navigate through this destructive relationship and gain the courage and strength to permanently disconnect from it. It’s likely that you will need some help. Take all that you can get whether through professional Christian counselors or support groups. Hearing the stories of the multitude of other women just like you will help you see things for the way they really were and that will help your resolve to move to a healthier life.

I want to encourage you regarding moving forward. God thinks of you as his treasure and he wants to send you good things – and good relationships. “I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” –Psalm 139:14 You will want to settle that deep inside yourself (BELIEVE IT) so that you will protect yourself from getting too near the edge of another sinkhole.

Perhaps the process will be difficult but it has great reward. Don’t give up or fall back. God is right there beside you. I’m rooting for you and so is he!