Is He a Viable “Relationship Candidate”?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I recently got back together with an old flame of 22 years. He has a few ‘life/emotion’ issues/turmoil one being relationships. He pulled me in meaning my heart, soul, and body and now is saying he wants/needs the cat&mouse game. He has been married twice, has 2 children (12 & 17) and they want him to be stable and happy. I also need the same and want the same for him. I am not the ‘cat & mouse’ type but want to learn if this is a possible avenue to bring him to the point of sharing, committing, stability, happiness, love, etc. Am I dreaming? Is he a viable ‘relationship candidate’? Who is he in general terms based on what I described in our meeting and now, his desires for our relationship course? Thank you for trying to answer this complex question.

A. I am not sure that I fully understand the question but I think you are asking two questions: 1) Is this new/old boyfriend right for you, and 2) if it’s possible to change him into what you want him to be. The answer to the first question is one only you can answer. You mentioned that he wants to play “cat and mouse” (I also not sure what this means) games and you don’t want this. This is one clear sign that he might not be right for you but I cannot give you specific answers since as I mentioned, I am not clear about the abovementioned aspects of your question.

The other potential problem with this relationship has to do with your second question regarding your desire to change him. You cannot change a person. I know that some people, women in particular (sorry ladies) think that they can change a person and mold him or her into what they want. It never works and it’s never a wise idea to think that it is possible. If you are at the point where you think that there is a major change that is needed with your partner, then it’s time to re-evaluate whether your partner is truly the correct match for you. Please critically evaluate why you reconnected with him. He may be a great guy for you and I may have misinterpreted your letter but based on the information you have presented, I am not so sure you and he are exactly relationship compatible. Again, I really need more information to give you a specific answer. If you would like to write in to clarify or offer more specific information, I would be happy to give you a more complete answer. Take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jan 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Is He a Viable “Relationship Candidate”?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/01/08/is-he-a-viable-%e2%80%9crelationship-candidate%e2%80%9d/