Engaged Too Soon: Sandra

Engaged Too Soon: Sandra

"I regret each and every one of my marriages," says 30-year-old Sandra. She has been engaged six times and married four. Each marriage has ended in divorce.

The first time Sandra got engaged, she was 14 years old and had been dating her 19-year-old boyfriend for three months. Three months later, she found out she was pregnant. "I definitely know that I pressured him," she says. "He wanted to back out. I would not let him. I wanted to be married because I wanted that family. I was caught up in the moment. It was like a fairy tale ending. Finally, there was someone who wanted to be with me. I had low self-esteem, and he was the only man who had ever paid any attention to me. I felt if I said no, that I would never get another chance."

Over the last 12 years, Sandra has gained 130 pounds and hates getting on the scale. "With my first marriage, I gained 50 pounds. I was very unhappy, and when I'm unhappy, I eat.

"I think my relationships have negatively affected my son. He's seen so many people come in and out of our lives. After having my son so young, I just wanted to make sure that I could give him the father that I didn't have.


"I would say yes in the past to someone even though I knew the relationship would fail. I would really like Dr. Phil to explain why I say yes even when I want to say no."

Dr. Phil asks Sandra if anything from his conversation with his previous guest, Darcy, popped out at her.

"You see them get down on the knee, and they're giving so much emotion and you don't want to say no," she says. "You know, you don't want to break their hearts right there in that moment. But I know that it's wrong, that I shouldn't even have considered."

"You don't have to wait until they're on their knee and then go, 'No. No. You joking? You kidding me?'" says Dr. Phil. "You don't have to do that. But you see it coming. You know it's headed that way, right?"  Sandra agrees. "So why don't you stop it before they get in that position?" Dr. Phil probes.

"Because I'm afraid that I'll be alone," she tells him.

"That's the whole point, isn't it? You're saying, 'I don't really want to marry him, but I'd rather marry him than be alone.'"


"OK. That doesn't work, right?" says Dr. Phil. "If you marry somebody not because you want them but because you don't want to be alone, then you've got a real problem, right? When you marry somebody it's because I want to be with that specific person. Not that I want to be married, I mean, it's not that you're looking for a vertical biped with a pulse. It's just like, 'This is better than nothing. He walks upright, he's got a pulse, and I'm lonely, so yes.' You know, I talk about in Love Smart, that you can love dumb, or you can love smart. And if you're loving dumb, you have no standards. You're just kind of anybody's dog that will hunt with you. You're just like, 'Sure. If you'll take me out in the field, I'll go.' You know, no standard whatsoever. And you're so afraid to be alone that you do what I call panic marriage. It's like, this isn't what I really want, but it may be my last chance. I better grab on."

"That's pretty much just exactly how it is," says Sandra.

"What you want to do is you want to approach any relationship from a position of strength, not from a position of weakness. You don't want to go in there saying, 'I'm desperate. I have to close this deal; I'm desperate. If they'll ask, I'll answer.' What you have to do is get right with you first. And, let me promise you, rotating men in and out of your life is not good for your child, because they learn, 'I cannot depend on men. They come. They go.' And you haven't always chosen the best examples, the best role models. So, you know, it's not just who is there, but it's the fact that you're rotating through. And what I want you to do is I want you to decide, 'You know what? If I'm going to be alone, I'm not a bad person to do it with. But I don't want to be alone. I don't have to be married, but I want to be married,' and there is some serious and important work that you have to do with yourself first. And if I walk you through some of that, if I give you some things to do — serious work things to do — will you do them?"

"Yes," Sandra says.

Dr. Phil says he'll walk Sandra through the work she has to do. "And when you get through with that, if you say, 'Look, I need some professional help with this as well,' I'm happy to arrange that for you. But I want you to do some things first. And the reason I'm not saying that I want to get you some professional help right now is because I want you to rely on you for a change. I want to give you some things to do for you. This is all about you getting along with you first, OK?"


Sandra agrees.