Jodi Gonsalves Gives Her Best Advice to a Woman
  Jodi Gonsalves
Dear Jodi
June 2015

Jodi Gonsalves graduated from the University of the West Indies, Faculty of Medical Sciences in 2008 with a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology and from Florida A& M University, Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A. in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts, Spanish (Summa cum laude).

She is currently in private practice at No. 38 Hunter Street, Woodbrook, Trinidad and Tobago.

Jodi Gonsalves gives her best advice to a woman who have been in a secret relationship for the past four years and wishes to get out but somehow feels stuck. 


Dear Jodi,

I have been dealing with a situation for the past 4 years. I am embarrassed to admit that I have been in a relationship with a married man and I feel stuck I cannot get out. I am deeply religious and I told him I do not want him to leave the relationship for me; but at the same time, a part of me wants him to leave and start a life with me. He has children and he claims that she trapped him into the marriage. He also keeps making promises to me and breaking them; he says he wants a future and a life with me but he hasn’t made any concrete steps to proving that his words are matching up with his actions. I am frequently frustrated, guilty and unhappy. I have tried leaving several times but he keeps insisting that he needs me to survive and that if I leave it will kill him. I feel so stuck and every time I leave he wears me down, shows up at my door, calls and texts incessantly. I always end up in the same place- unhappy and guilty- guilty for what I am doing to his family and guilty to hurt him. But I know I don’t deserve this- it feels like he’s abusing me but I feel like I am so deeply in love with him. I also feel like I hate him and I have no idea how to get out of this. Please tell me is there any hope for this relationship? And how on earth should I deal with this?

Gabby, 28 years old



Dearest Gabby,

I am so sorry to hear that you are feeling so stuck and frustrated. In some ways you sound a bit confused- a good guide is to check in with your gut feelings. These feelings you keep mentioning: “frustrated, guilty, abused, unhappy” are a pretty good indicator as to what you really think, deep down is best for you.

This is a sticky situation but the good news is that there are several clear cut steps you can take- once you are ready to make the decision to end it. Being involved with a man who is already committed to another lady is not a good idea. You asked if there is any hope for the situation- as it stands, no there is not.  This man is not respecting your moral standards, religious beliefs or your feelings. Are your emotional needs being met by him? Guilt is no reason to remain in an unhealthy situation- while you meet his needs you are allowing yourself to be left undone. The best thing for you to do is start setting some clear boundaries with him; he does not get to use you- either for emotional support or sexual gratification without making concrete steps to commit to you.

 If this man was sincere that he is truly unhappy in his relationship then he would have left it a long time ago. If he was sure about you being the woman he truly loves then nothing would stop him from honoring you and doing right by you. Note: you will see his true colours shine through once you set firm boundaries to protect yourself. Be prepared for him throwing tantrums and using other manipulative techniques. Stand your ground until he makes changes and treats you with respect.

The other aspect of this that you have to consider is if he is treating his wife in this dishonest manner then the likelihood of him treating you in a similar fashion is high. Once again, if he was an honorable man who was truly in love with you and unhappy in his marriage he would not entertain you for 4 years as a mere “outside woman”; he would be upfront with his wife and face the consequences. If you recognize as you mentioned, that you feel like you cannot escape from him then you may need additional support to make a clean break. Remember- do whatever it takes to love yourself and free yourself from this abusive situation. If somehow this was meant to be- he will move heaven and earth to make amends. If not, then you are much better off without him in your life, even though it may hurt for awhile. Trinidad is a small country-imagine when his wife finds out and he ends it with you! You will feel lighter and happier if you make this step and not wait for things to get even worse.

Enlist the support of your friends, your religious leader, your family and God. Yes it may be a bit embarrassing to admit but those who truly love you will not judge you harshly in the end and will do what they can to guide you to what is best for you. You will be accountable to them and they will keep reminding you why you are choosing this healthier path. I am just reminding you of the basic first steps: avoid all places where he may be, change your phone number or block/delete him from all social networks, don’t respond to any of his calls or messages. If he persists, then you change your telephone number, have a friend move in with you temporarily so that he won’t show up at night or move yourself to another location. If you are serious about getting out of this abusive situation you need to make several changes in your lifestyle. Gabby, it may sound drastic, but If need be; move to another apartment if he won’t leave you alone at your present location.

If you still feel too weak then I would even suggest that you consider leaving the country temporarily or going on a retreat in order to get the space and strength you need in order to make a clean break. Spend your free time focusing on loving you instead of him or anyone else.  I know you can do it!                      



The information given in this column is for general guidance only and is not meant to provide advice or professional assistance. If you are dealing with a serious personal issue, you are strongly advised to schedule an appointment and visit with a qualified psychologist or counsellor. 


Do you have a question for Jodi? Email your question to and state "Attention Jodi" in the subject line. Please note that there is no guarantee that your question will be answered since only certain questions will be selected for publication. If your question is selected, only your first name and the town and country of your address will be published (e.g. Jane from St. James, Trinidad and Tobago). If you would prefer that only your initial or a pseudonym be used, place indicate this in your email. 


By: Jodi Gonsalves | Dear Jodi | June 2015