Why do I keep getting back with my ex?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

So I’ve been dating on and off this guy for almost 3 years. He is 3 years younger than me. During our relationship we had always had issues. First he wouldn’t call me, he would prefer to go out with his friends than me, he wouldn’t even remember the day of our anniversary, or things like that we kind of tried to work all that out but I’ve always felt that he really doesn’t love and care about me, even though he says he loves me. Also he has lied to me during this time, first once he went to a party and when I asked him if he did he lied to me in my face. What bothered me was the fact that he had pictures dancing, almost rubbing himself, with another girl. He lied in my face when I asked!
After that we had trust issues and I told him that he would need to help me out to solve that and he said yeah, he would make me trust him again. Months later I found out he is talking to a girl over the internet and he even met her and when I asked him if he knew her he said no again, lie to me in my face looking at my eyes. After that he went away in a trip and disappear for the whole trip without trying to reach me and also told me that his phone didn’t have coverage there, that’s why he didn’t take it…(another lie!) after all that I broke up with him…I think he doesn’t respect me because he is always adding girls on myspace and trying to meet girls…we meet 5 months after we broke up and now he is asking me for a second chance…we had sex once after the breakup, I think he only looks for me whenever he wants to have sex…I still have feelings for him that’s why I always end up accepting whatever he says but I know it is not good…
What do I do? Should I give him a second chance or just forget about him? He says he is gonna make it up, that he has change an that now he is more mature but he had lied and hurt me so much that I feel that I love him but I have some anger towards him for making me cry so many times….why do I keep getting back with him every time he does something that hurts me? I Feel that I can get someone better, someone that would make me happy and don’t hurt me that much…but I don’t know why I keep going back with him.

A: I am glad you are questioning yourself about staying with your boyfriend.

While it would be hard to know for certain in your situation, the typical reason people stay in unfulfilling relationships is that they do not have high enough self-esteem and cannot tolerate being alone.

By your own description your boyfriend does not treat you well, makes you cry, lies, and regularly does something to hurt you. This doesn’t sound promising.

Treat yourself better and take care of yourself. It tends to be that when we focus on taking care of ourselves, which includes being okay spending time alone, we are usually able to make better and healthier intimate connections.

My guess is you already know what to do.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Apr 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Why do I keep getting back with my ex?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/04/18/why-do-i-keep-getting-back-with-my-ex/