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Should I Move On?

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have been dating a guy on and off for almost two years. We met in college and although when we first met we had no desire for a relationship, we both fell for each other and starting seeing each other. The problem is, he has had really bad relationship experience in high school where he really thought he loved someone and she constantly cheated on him. He tried desperatley to salvage the relationship, but she embarrassed him badly in front of his family and broke his heart. He grew bitter and resentful and dated girls he knew he had no future with since then. When he and I started dating, he realized taht i am a different girl, more serious. I feel like that scared him, to really care about a girl and i realized that amist all his wonderful qualities, he simply couldnt trust me and would do things out of stubborness to see if I really cared about him or not. Often times we would get into a fight over his distrust in my saying I cared about him, and he would break it off and go talk to some other girl. Then he would come back and tell me right away and would want another chance, to which i give him because I understand where he is coming from and i appreciated the honesty. As crazy as it sounds, i felt like by being there for him, he might finally realize taht not all girls are the same and that there is someone in front of him who really cares about him so much. After 2 years of this instability and distrust, I feel like there is nothing else I can do to show him i really DO care and really DO want to be with him. I have never been disloyal, and have only talked and flirted innocently with other guys at the most when we broke up. Now all his distrust in me, and his actions to “pay me back” for what he thikns I am doing, have resulted in me not trusting him so i broke it all off. At the present time, we are broken up still and he has been telling me that for the past few months he has really realized that I am the one for him and he desperately wants to work things out. He has told me that he has been blind and has apologized profusely for everything he has done. He genuinely seems to want to work things out, but I just don’t trust him anymore. I feel like what is different this time, since he has said it before. I really really want to believe him and work things out, although it would be tough for us both, but I am so scared of this continuing on further. I just cannot seem to move on, however, because I really do love him. Should I believe him this time? Can a couple months really change someone that fast? And has his distrust affected me now?

People can change but your hesitation is warranted. You’ve spent the last two years trying in vain to prove your loyalty and fidelity. You did this even when it was he who was not being faithful or honest. I cannot tell you whether or not he deserves another chance. This is a personal decision that only you can answer. You love him and the two of you have a history together. It would be difficult to simply ignore someone you love.

Should you decide to give him another chance, I would advise you to do it on a provisional basis. Proceed with caution. What I mean is that he will have to prove that he has changed through his actions, not just his words. Yes, he said he has changed but at this point you have nothing to prove the truthfulness of his statement. History has shown you otherwise. Therefore it will be up to him to prove that he has changed.

You may want to try couples counseling. It could be helpful for a few reasons. First, if your ex were to agree to couples counseling then it would show that he’s serious about changing his behavior and making a relationship work. Secondly, you’d have at your disposal a mental health professional trained to advise individuals about how to behave in relationships. He or she may be able to guide you regarding the most appropriate way to reengage the relationship. Finally, a therapist might provide an objective opinion about whether this relationship is worthy of your time and personal investment.

As a rule, you should always treat people as they treat you. If you give him another chance and he continues to behave towards you in his usual manner then this relationship may be over unless he is willing to undergo counseling.

I wish you the best of luck.

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