I’ve been dating a man for three months who is attractive, smart, has a great career, makes plans and follows through. However, while we were out with friends he had two hostile outbursts to minor things. His reaction surprised everyone. He left without telling anyone, which was very upsetting. He goes to therapy because he gets extremely upset with his co-workers for not doing a good job.
When we spoke about the night out he said he was drunk and stressed. He also said that he leaves when he feels like it and he was unsure where our relationship was at, so he wanted to see how I would react to him leaving. I said I won’t tolerate someone who can’t communicate maturely, or who abandons me when we’re out. I know these are red flags, but also that people can work on their weaknesses. Should I give him another chance?
No. A man who abandons you so he could observe your reaction is dangerous. He isn’t treating you as someone to cherish. He doesn’t see you as an equal. You are a creature he can manipulate, analyze and control. He orchestrated an experiment to test you. That’s not acceptable. End the relationship immediately. Do not keep in contact for any reason. He may not cherish you, but you must cherish yourself. Stepping away proves it.
Let’s look at how to determine whether to stay or go when a new relationship skids into drama. What we tend to do is get hooked on how perfect someone appears to be on paper: a great career, attractive appearance and seemingly thoughtful habits. But stay woke. Don’t be distracted by what can be manufactured. It’s more important to notice whether a person’s behavior aligns with their words and your values. If you will not tolerate someone who can’t communicate maturely or who abandons you while out together, keep your word. The way you treat yourself teaches others how best to treat you. In other words, remaining in this relationship would be an act of self-abandonment. You would be telling yourself that it’s acceptable for a man to leave you without a word while the two of you are on a date. You deserve better.
Does that mean people cannot change? No. You’re correct: People can work on their weaknesses. Small shifts in attitude and behavior often initiate meaningful transformation. Change is possible for everyone, except sociopaths, pedophiles, ephebophiles and narcissists. But therapy alone doesn’t inspire change. Good therapy supports growth in self-awareness, and that, in turn, helps us be more open to developing the resilience and emotional stability needed to heal our brokenness and become a better version of ourselves. That’s not where the man you’ve been dating has landed, not at the moment. We can’t yet know if he will change. We can know that he is in therapy. What’s clear is that you deserve a change of heart. Start here: When a man you’re dating shows you who he is, believe him. Doing so will nourish self-trust, a quality that will make letting go of unhealthy relationships much easier in the future.