I’ve been seeing a guy on and off for over a year. Even though we both really like each other, even love each other, both of us have been hesitant to commit, each for our own reasons. Finally I realized that the casual nature of our relationship was wearing me down — I was constantly pining for someone who was rarely available (due to work, travel for work, and personal issues). I finally spoke up, in an attempt to end the relationship. Since then, he has tried repeatedly to get back together with me, each time coming a little closer to offering full commitment and a long-term plan. Each time I’ve said no, not wanting to be hurt. The third time, though, I couldn’t resist, and we’re giving it another try, having now been talking openly about our feelings for the two months we were broken up.
My question is: can a commitment-phobe change for love?
Your question comes at a very poignant time for me, as I basically just went through the same situation. I understand the pain associated with loving somebody and not being able to make it work, no matter what you do. It’s good until it’s not and then it starts all over again. You put it perfectly: it wears you down. My own situation always had me on Cloud Nine one week and then cry-screaming Hot-N-Cold by Katy Perry in the fetal position in my shower the next. It was so hard to find the strength to keep doing it, but it wasn’t hard to find the reason. I loved him, we had so much fun together, blah blah. You know the story.
Yet, for reasons both of us don’t seem to understand or agree on, the end results never came. The outcome we both supposedly wanted remained unattainable. While I mostly felt loved and I know that I will forever be changed by this non-relationship, I never felt chosen and there was no way I could commit to that.
My brain, due to past experience, wants me to tell you that the answer to this question is no. But my heart tells me that it’s not a black and white scenario. There can be so many factors at hand here, and since only you know them you will have to fill in some of the blanks for me. It sounds to me like this is just a classic case of bad timing. Most of the time relationships can’t recover from this, mostly because people give up. Usually because it’s too frustrating in the moment but sometimes just through acceptance that things might not ever be less frustrating. It sounds like neither of you want to give each other up and I think that could possibly be a pretty good sign that you can give it one more chance.
You really need to make sure, though, that this is all going down for the right reasons. It’s easy to believe that if someone is relentless in pursuit of us that s/he must really love and cherish us but that’s not always true. Sometimes people are just afraid of being lonely and they cling on to whoever and whatever is available, no matter how unhealthy it may be for themselves or for the other person involved. They allow themselves to get just close enough but pull away just as things are about to get too serious for them to handle. This is selfish behaviour but is usually rooted in fear and/or past trauma.
It’s pretty much impossible to ever know what another person is thinking; all you have to go by are words, actions and how much your gut trusts both those things. If you truly believe and trust what you’re hearing and seeing then go for it, but I’d advise you to be a bit more cautious this time around. Protect your heart and your sanity from being worn down any further by setting clear boundaries and guidelines for what you will and will not tolerate this time around, but make it less of an ultimatum-slash-threat and more of a promise. You don’t want to be doing this for another year of your life; he probably doesn’t either. It looks cute in the movies or in, like, Sex and The City but in real life this could lead to some kind of murder-sui deal. Google it, I’m sure it has happened.
In all seriousness, you both deserve to be happy, in the present and in the future. If you can do that together, great. If you can’t because it simply it ultimately proves to be impossible, that’s too bad. If he’s jerking you around and wasting your precious time in general, you deserve better. Because while I don’t think you can change anybody from a Mr. Big to an Aiden (it’s not you, it’s them, for real) I think it’s absolutely worth it to find out where this is going once and for all.
I wish you all the very best of luck and I would really like to hear what ends up happening. Hopefully for you, there will be a happy ending.
Send your love questions to Celina at Celina@montrealrampage.com