"My boyfriend has changed for the worst"

This is the request for help from 'Natalie', who is at her wits end, because her boyfriend - once her knight in shining armour - now frequently changes his mind about what he really wants.

Roger absolutely swept me off my feet, he was amazing... not like anyone I had ever dated before. Caring, out going, FUN, compassionate, he really took the time to break through my security walls and get to know the real me. He treated me like a princess, made me feel secure, special, truly loved. I GLOWED with passion and happiness. 

My name is Natalie, I'm 26 and Roger is 28. We been dating now for two and a half years and 8 months ago we bought a house.

In my past relationships/break-ups I never really taken the time in between to heal and figure out what I really wanted or needed in a relationship. When I met Robert I was single for almost a year and a half having taken my mother's advice to have some ME TIME!

Throughout this time I got to know a lot about him as well as the women of his past, who literally needed him (and one was violent towards him). They had no job, money, place to live, nor a car. One was called Renee - they were together on and off for two years.

He decided he didn't want that anymore and found me, I am the exact opposite of that. I take care of my self.

Throughout the first 6 months of our relationship he fed me with nothing but negative things about Renee. He wanted nothing to do with her, he hated her, never wanted to talk to her. Then one day that all started changing, he wanted to spend time with her… just like "hang out" at the bar, get lunch. This made me extremely uncomfortable.

One night when I had to work early I stayed home while he went out... he neglected to tell me he was meeting up with Renee. He spend the whole night at the bar with her. I also found pictures and texts of other women.

He has stopped being my prince charming, and was just blah towards me. Now the majority of his attention now goes towards other girls… nothing every physical, but more emotional and verbal. It's like he doesn't understand that relationships have boundaries. 

Now we are going through the some what of same 'boundaries' issues. All of a sudden he's telling me that he has commitment issues and that he gets "bored" with relationships easy. Not that I'm boring, but that he gets bored. He says he realises that he neglects me as his girlfriend, that he wants to treat me the way I deserve to be treated. He understands that our issues are him because these same issues arise in every relationship.

I love this man but I am at my wits end. We can't sell the house because we just bought it... and he refuses to move out even though everything in the house is mine. We have been broken up for a little less then 2 months now and living together!

He suggested that we remain "roommates" It's like wants to have his cake and eat it. Since we have been broken up he has started being more of the man I fell in love with and he claims that's because he doesn't have the stresses of our relationship, that he doesn't feel obligated to me or trapped.

A few weeks ago we talked and now he wants to try and "start over/rebuild" our relationship. He tells me that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, that he's happy with me, that I'm good to him. Now he tells me that sometimes he wants a girlfriend and other times he doesn't. I'm not a bad girlfriend, I'm not clingy, possessive, controlling, I'm super easy-going and have a lot going for my self. 

I don't know what to do... and it sucks, because i'm a fixer. HELP!!!! =( Do you think it's worth it to try a counsellor? Or I should I cut ties...i  I'm torn on what to do... I love him, but I deserve and want better.  

If you don't love yourself, you cannot love others. Dalai Lama

Elly's advice

Natalie, I am sorry to know that you have been so hurt. It sounds like you feel torn between what your heart tells you and what your head tells you. That can be such a tricky situation.

We can look for all kinds of reasons as to why Robert is acting in that way and what that means, but that isn't going to change the situation. Neither do you or I have any real influence over him. And I suspect that is what really bugs you, because as you say - you are a 'fixer'.

So, where do we start? I think your idea of getting some counseling for yourself is great. However, you need to want it for yourself, not for wanting to hear from someone else how you could change in Robert.

You'll only get the most out of the counselling when you deal with questions that relate to you. What led to you getting caught up with a man who is not 'emotionally available'? What happened in your previous relationships? How and why did they end? Why did you not take any "me-time" before? What causes you to want to be a "fixer"?

I know that is not going to solve your present predicament - living in the same house with a man you feel you love, but who cannot commit. There is no easy answer to that and unlikely an 'ideal solution' under the present circumstances - certainly not one that I can begin to address on this page.

You may also find my Relationship Test very useful in figuring out what you value in this relationship, what you need to accept and what you can change yourself. It will help you to consider factors that are important in developing a relationship that works - other that those that occupy your thinking so much at the moment.

I wish you all the very best for your happiness, Natalie.


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