Dear Wendy,

I started dating a man four years ago. We got along great and I thought we were headed somewhere, but six months into it, he told me he was still in a relationship with someone else. He said he’d been trying to get out of it for years, but hadn’t yet (red flag number one). He asked me to give him time to break up. Since I already loved him, I agreed. Still, he continued to see her saying he was waiting for the “right” time (red flag number two).

During this time, his ex’s dad died, and the man I loved began to isolate me. I didn’t hear from him for days, and when I did, I felt annoyed, scared and confused. When I asked him what was going on, he refused to discuss it, accusing me of being needy and insensitive to “her” situation (red flag number three).

We continued to date, but there were numerous incidents where he showed more compassion for others than for me. He was either ignoring, isolating or angry, calling me insensitive or explosive. I was in a never-ending cycle of confusion, but kept going back because I loved him. I thought if I could somehow adjust and change myself, he might begin to change how he treated me. Does someone like this ever change?  Signed… Confused.

Dear Confused,

Sadly no. Dating is when we should show our best side, not our worst. After numerous red flags, why did you stay with someone who wasn’t treating you with kindness and trust? It doesn’t sound like he wanted to be with you. Perhaps he's not capable of a deep and lasting relationship.  Hiding, lying, and then accusing you of his bad behavior is disrespectful and narcissistic. My suggestion is to begin valuing yourself more highly.

Imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone you trusted, rather than someone who confuses you with his behavior; someone who listens and tries to hear what you need. Holding on to someone who isn’t as enthusiastic about you as you are about them is devaluing and a waste of your time. Remember, when you believe you deserve better, you’ll receive better! Valuing yourself doesn’t mean you don’t ever give someone a break. It means that when you know your own core values, it will be easier to decipher red flags early, and say “no thank you” before it goes too far.


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