Red Responds: Why Does She Keep Coming Back?

John in Baltimore writes:

My girlfriend and I broke up for the fourth time in two years. Why does she keep coming back and why do I keep taking her back? Breakups have always been tough for me, but this one in particular is destroying me. I open up to her and she exploits my weaknesses (or tries to anyway). I believe that she has brought past problems into our relationship. I thought I was getting through to her, but she fooled me. Her parents and son love me to death. This has become a recurring bad dream. She refuses to give me closure. I believe this is on purpose. Is this how she keeps her foot in the door – is she trying to punish me? I refuse to believe that she dosen’t know how I feel, though I don’t think she cared as much for me as I did for her.

Dear John,

Your ex-girlfriend doesn’t wake up in the morning thinking about new ways to torture you, nor does she spend her time reliving moments of the past when she has caused you heartache and pain. She just isn’t ready to be settled in a stable and lasting relationship. From time to time, she finds herself staring through the fence, believing that greener pastures lay on the other side.

Everyone brings past problems into current relationships. While she has her baggage, you have yours. Sadly, much of your baggage has accumulated or been exacerbated due to your time with her, and with every breakup your suitcase becomes a little heavier.

You keep taking her back because some part of you refuses to believe that everything you have invested in time and emotion can lead to nothing. But, the problem with patterns are that they tend to repeat – unless someone does something to change them. When you two get back together, you seem to fall into the same patterns as before, and you end up with the same result. She feels the need for freedom, and you are left broken-hearted. It is that same broken-heartedness that is helping to keep the door open. I’m not quite sure what you are looking for in terms of closure from her, because she has given you as much closure as she is capable of giving.

Even though she loves you, she isn’t going to love you the way you want her to. If the love that she offers you, when she is being loving, is enough, I would suggest that the two of you participate in couple’s counseling as a term of reconciliation for round five. Counseling could be an invaluable tool to help break the destructive patterns that have been set in this relationship. Even with counseling, there is no guarantee. When your lady starts feeling oppressed or challenged, she has a tendency to run.

The best piece of advice that I can give you is to let her go. Just because her parents and son may agree that you are the best thing that has ever happened to her doesn’t mean that she is the best thing for you. Having her love does validate or vindicate your feelings, but holding on to that hope that “this time will be different,” is holding you back from finding the strength to be free.

Good luck,
Ext. 9226

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