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How Can Someone Change Their Feeling About Someone So Fast?

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I dated a divorced man for almost a year who had 3 kids. When I met him he told me he would get his vasectomy reversed if he met a woman he married who wanted to have kids. We always got along and never fought. We would talk out the few things we disagreed on but we never had any major issues that we disagreed or fought over. I saw him about 3 to 4 days a week over the time we dated because he traveled for his job but he called me every night to talk for hours while he was out of town. He found a new job that would allow him to see his kids and me more, after the first 6 months of traveling for training.

A few days before he started the new job he told me how happy he was with me and that what we had was too good to be real. He also told me, choked up, that he loved his kids to death and would go back in time through all the hell with the ex and have those kids all over again because he loved them but he wished he’d had his kids with me. He also told me the weekend before he started the job he was so excited to see more of me after the first 6 months of traveling/training and wanted to make sure I was. I told him I was but I wanted us to ease our way into it. Not be with each other 24/7 and then be sick of each other and have it end because I loved him. He agreed and was glad we were on the same page.

Two weeks after telling me this he ran in a race, got drunk and wasn’t sure if he’d be able to see me that night. I told him I wanted to see him but if he didn’t want to that was fine. He told me he would call me later and let me know what was going on. I never heard from him. I called him a few times worrying because this was not at all like him and since he said he was drunk I was worried. He never called me back so I was worried sick. He was so mad at me the next day.

That night, two weeks of being on the new job, he told me I talk about when I have kids someday and it stresses him out and we never talked about kids, when we did. He said it stresses him out to where he can’t sleep and when he’s supposed to be doing other things all he can do is think of this. He told me he feels pressure to be with him all the time and he feels that if he doesn’t call I’ll be mad. He told me he felt like I was his mom for calling looking for him. I had never done that before.

He thought we needed to rethink our relationship. He wanted to know if he could see less of me like when we first met (angry with me during this conversation). I told him just a few weekends ago he was excited to see more of me. Then he asked if we could take a break and I told him no because they were for screwing around. He then asked if we could be friends and I told him no. He was schocked I said this but I was so confused that 2 weeks before he was so happy and now he was telling me the things he was telling me. He told me he wanted to be in my life someway. I told him he was either with me or he wasn’t.

He avoided my one phone call and e-mail I sent over the next month. I finally called to get my things back and he told me he just woke up and felt different about me. He brought my things back a few days later. I told him I loved him and this wasn’t the ending I wanted. He wouldn’t look at me, said bye, turned around and walked away. He hasn’t spoken to me since.

I read a book on letting go and went to a few therapy sessions. I read and was told since we had such a loving and positive relationship I should consider contacting him to make peace and to give forgiveness so I could move on. I sent him an e-mail and he never responded. How can someone be so loving, attentive, caring, and then you have your first fight and they turn around and never look back? Honestly, I never treated him bad and he never treated me bad while we dated. We had a respectful, loving relationship. I’m not so sure the kid thing was the issue anymore. Help me understand why he is doing this. Thank you.

You are correct. It is not normal for someone to behave in this manner. It does not make sense that he would engage in a loving relationship with you and then after your first argument break it off abruptly. Something clearly is not right with his behavior.

His behavior should send you a clear signal. His behavior indicates that he may not be a psychologically healthy person. There is probably more to the story that I do not know but I can tell you that no psychologically healthy individual would simply end a relationship on a whim, without a good explanation.

Maybe he has a fear of commitment. That is, just as the relationship was going well he felt trapped. Another possibility is that he was not truly interested in you. That could explain why he could lose his “loving feeling” so fast. If he were really interested in you and cared about you, he would find it difficult to walk away as he did. It is also possible that he met someone else. Without more insight into the situation, it is difficult to know why he behaved the way he did.

You may never know why he left. Unless he comes to you with a very good and logical explanation about his behavior, this relationship should not merit any more of your time, energy or effort. It is a shame that the relationship ended the way it did but there may be a silver lining. Aren’t you glad he revealed his true colors now and not years into the relationship? Thanks for your question.

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