Dear Dr. Darcy:
I dated my ex for almost 2 yrs. We broke up summer 2017. He up and left one day and blamed it on dealing with a family death and, "this is how I always act when something like this happens."
We remained friendly and friends-with-benefits for a good 8-months. Then he got a new job and did not need me anymore, I guess. Three months after no contact he contacted me and told me he made a huge mistake. Told me everything I wanted to hear. I was a bitch to him the first few months because I was scared he’d leave again. I wanted to embrace him but did not. He told me he changed and was not going to quit anymore, [so we got back together]. Then, he quit. I am now back in the friend zone again because he’s stressed with his father’s illness and his career.
He is the love of my life. Do I stay friends in hopes we can work out things once and for all?
My first rule of dating and relationships is: People Don’t Change.
Don’t date someone who has shown you that he responds to stress by breaking up with you unless you’re cool with him doing that in the future.
He’s already done it to you. TWICE. I don’t mean to yell – I just want to underscore that you already know the ending to this story. It’s already had a sequel. Don’t invite it to turn into a trilogy.
I’m a huge believer that most relationships fail because the partners opt out of doing the hard work – but there’s no amount of heavy lifting you can do if your partner responds to stress by abandoning you.
And by the way, life is fucking stressful. So, it’s not like you can cross your fingers that he won’t feel this way again.
This guy needs to grow a sac and learn how to cope with life like a man.
Meanwhile, you need to plop your ass onto a shrink’s couch to figure out why you ever contemplated giving this guy a second chance after he showed you who he was. There’s undoubtedly something that happened during your childhood that makes setting boundaries feel like you’re asking too much of your partner. Until you identify that wound and heal it, you’ll keep finding yourself attracted to partners who are likely to trigger it – even if your next partner isn’t Mr. Needs To Grow A Sac.