General Dating Questions/I'm So Confused

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I am a single mother to a 3 year old little girl. Her father and I have not been together since before she was born. Since he and I broke up, I have only had one real relationship. I mean, I've gone on dates here and there, but there was only one guy that I was truly interested in.

I had been friends with him for about 6 years. When we first met, I was attracted to him and secretly liked him. But I ended up going to school and met my daughter's father. He moved a little ways away and met his ex-girlfriend, with whom he has a child.  We lost touch.

About a year ago, he moved close to me after having broken up with his ex.  He got in contact with me via a social media site. We started spending time together.  Looking back, though, I think it is safe to say I was his "booty call."  

He would come over, but then I wouldn't hear from hi for a while.  Then, in June, something happened. I'm not exactly sure what. It was like we just clicked. We began spending 3 - 4 nights a week together, we went on dates, and he often slept over.  

I felt like we had something good going. He was great with my daughter and he even would bring his little girl over sometimes.  

Then, we started fighting...a lot. He would get angry with me over silly things. He had such a temper. Sometimes, I felt like I was walking on egg shells. He was never abusive, though.

One night, we had a heart-to-heart. He told me that he liked me a lot and that I was "one of a kind." I told him I liked him a lot also. I also talked to him about the fact that my daughter seemed to have grown attached to him and that I was worried about the possibility of him just deciding he didn't want to be with me anymore. I talked to him about how not only would that hurt me, but it would hurt my daughter as well.

He told me he wouldn't ever just disappear. He made the point that nobody knows what the future holds. But he talked about planning to stick around for quite a while.  

A few weeks later, it was like he disappeared off the face of the planet. He stopped coming over, calling, and texting. And he would not take my calls. I was left wondering what I had done to drive him away.  My daughter asked about him frequently. I had no closure, but slowly I began to come to grips with the fact that he was gone.  

Then, out of nowhere, he popped back into my life. After nearly three months of not a single word from him, he called me. He asked to see me and I agreed.  

It was so odd. He acted like nothing had changed between us, like he hadn't just disappeared for three months. When I confronted him about why it was that he just disappeared like that, he gave me a bizarre story about how he went through a severe depression and how he had to get his "head right." He then went on and on about how he missed me.

Anyway, he has been keeping in contact with me. I know it is probably weak and dumb of me to allow him back into my life like that...but I think I am in love with him. And he is a good person. I am so fearful that he will just choose to disappear again. I don't know if I could go through that again. And I don't want to put my daughter through the instability either.  

What's worse is I don't even know where I stand with him. I don't know what he wants or expects from me. He does seem different, happier. He has been on meds for his mental illnesses and I truly notice a difference. But I just have all these what-ifs.  I don't know what to do.

Answer
Hello Chantel!

Regardless of how you feel, there are number of practical issues you need to consider.

First, remember that story from your childhood about the horse "Flica"? If you don't, the story is about a horse that didn't want to be tamed. He would just bolt whenever anyone tried to get close to him. The story however is fantasy because a girl works hard and finally tames Flica. This doesn't work in real life however.

This guy is your Flica. The problem however is that you're not going to change him and keep him from bolting whenever he feels the need. I don't care what he's told you or even the promises he's made to you. Out of one side of his mouth he says he'd never just disappear and then what does he do? Exactly that.

So, what's to make all of that change? Just because you claim to love him? Do you really think that's enough?

Worse yet, the person being hurt by this isn't you - it's your daughter. You (as an adult) get to process things through a filter and you have experiences you can draw from to create strength. What does she have? Worse yet, what lessons is she learning from all of this? Answer: don't attach to anyone or anything because it'll be gone some day.

Sounds like a sad way to grow up to me.

So, what's changed now that he's back? Medication? Really? Is that the answer to this problem? I don't think so. First off, if he's on meds like this he will either be on them for the rest of his life (which is very likely to affect your sex lives in a pretty profound way) or you're just going to be waiting around for him to get tired of the meds and the changes they make in him until he decides to go off of them.

They are changing him on a chemical level. The unfortunate thing is that these changes are likely not the ones you want. They aren't enough to keep him around as that seems to be his way of coping with even the smallest issue. Trust me, there WAS an issue - maybe multiple ones. Just because he hasn't told you what they were doesn't mean they don't exist. What happens the next time these exact same issues come up? (And, they WILL come up - they haven't been solved at all.) Answer: you and I both know: he'll pull a Flica again.

I hate to say it, but I think the very thing that makes him bolt like this is probably a big part of what you think you love in him. Maybe the biggest problem here isn't him, but you and your choices. Notice how your daughter's father isn't around either?

Something to think about.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
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Dr. Dennis W. Neder

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I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: http://beingaman.com. You can email me directly at: dwneder@beingaman.com.

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I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

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