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What should I do?

I dated a guy for 2 years and it was an emotionally abusive rollercoaster. He would be perfect for a few days at a time and then treat me less then I deserved and apologize for it later. This was just one of his downfalls as a person. I was in love with him but finally realized that I was never going to change him so I gave up and walked away. We did not speak for about ten months and we both went on to date other people. He has recently come back into my life... He contacted me and told me how much he was in love with me and that I was the person he would always want to be with and that he was ready to grow up and treat me right because he didn't want to lose me. I started talking to him again at first because I liked the attention and then because I was reminded how no one else makes me feel the way he does. I do love him, but it wasn't worth the stress and mistreatment before and I promised myself it wouldn't be again. We've been talking for a few weeks now and at first it was going perfect, it was as if he was a completely different mature adult that really loved and cared about my feelings and showing me that attention. But now for the past week he has resorted to his old ways of being short tempered, uncaring, shady, and expecting me to chase after him. I know the obvious answer is for me to run away and never look back, but I'm afraid that I'll always have these feelings and that there's an explanation for why he could be so perfect one minute and so disappointing the next. I want an answer I can work with, because for two years, everyone told me to walk away and logic never worked... Now it's been almost 3 years and I need something my head as well as my heart can wrap around... please help me.

Hi Taz4444, I wish I had an

Hi Taz4444,

I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I don't. But I can tell you that I have heard your story from many other women - different names, same scenario.

Guys like the one you describe can be very charming and seductively irresistable - when they are on their best behavior. But as you have experienced many times over, it doesn't last for long and then their true colors appear.

They are masters at making women feel very special (they are excellent at playing on your vulnerabilities). That is exhilarating, and why women have a hard time walking away.

True to this type, they apologize, sound very sincere, make promises that they will change - but it is a rare guy that actually does (and please, please don't assume he is one of the rare guys that will!!).

While no one can predict the future, I would say the odds are very high that this pattern will continue for as long as you give him a place in your life. You had the courage to walk away before. It's up to you if you want to continue on this roller coaster.

Yes, you have very strong feelings for him and those are hard to let go (and it takes time). But the question you need to ask yourself is do you really believe you deserve better? Because, in my experience, these men typically have relationships with women who have low self-esteem and a lot of insecurities. Deep down they don't believe they are worthy of someone who treats them well (consistently) or that they will ever find someone else that they can love as much.

Logic isn't very helpful, but sometimes you have to make a decision that goes against what you feel in your heart. I suspect your biggest obstacle is being able to believe that there is someone better for you than this guy. The highs are very high with him, but the lows are very low. Even if the highs become less frequent, they're very powerful and keep reinforcing what you feel. Also, every time you accept his apology and continue in the relationship, it reinforces his bad behavior - it lets him know that he can get away with it.

Unless you want to continue on this roller coaster, then as others have suggested, you need to walk away. In these situations it is best to stop all contact - make a clean break. Otherwise, he will keep tugging at your heart every time you interact and that will make it much harder for you to truly let him go.

It is not going to be easy. But it is doubtful he will truly ever change. If he really loved you, he wouldn't mistreat you. Love is a verb - not just a feeling. He may say the words, but his actions indicate otherwise. He may not be capable of a truly loving relationship unless he does a lot of work on his own issues - and that could take a very long time. Even then, he may not change much.

My apologies for such a lengthy response - I hope this helps at least a little.

Dr. Lane

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