Reality Steve

Dr. Reality Steve

The Final “Dr. Reality Steve” Column of the Calendar Year

Hi Steve,

One of my exes recently came back into my life after more than a year of not speaking to each other and is asking for a second chance. We dated on and off for about two years and we were long distance. We didn’t have the best relationship he wasn’t fully committing, put his needs first only, wasn’t the most respectful and was at times a d**k. Yes we have things in common and when it was good it was really good. I guess I always wonder how things could have been had he fully committed which makes me ask what if.

He’s asking for another chance saying that he knows he doesn’t deserve me and he didn’t realize what he had until it was too late. He’s asking that I forgive him and he’s ready to be serious and come where I am. He says he’s changed, that he’s matured, he’s had time to build a career, understand what’s important in life and wants to start a family with me now. I guess only time can tell if he’s really changed, but I do not want to be that girl who goes back to date the guy everyone around her hates.

I know maybe I shouldn’t care what people think but do you believe people can change? Would it be crazy to give someone another chance who was in and out of your life? And how would you go about evaluating if he’s actually serious this time around.

Please help!!

Comment: Do I believe people can change? Sure. But each person is a case by case basis. I just don’t have enough info here to go off of in terms of him and his personality. The most important thing though is he can say he’ll change all he wants. Those are just words. So if you do decide to give him another chance, make sure his actions back that up. Because if they don’t, he’s just saying things because he likes the chase. You’ll know he’s changed if you don’t see any of the same behavior as before.

Hello Steve,

I’ve wanted to write this for a very long time and since this is the last chance for a long time, I might as well. This isn’t for me but for a friend and this is going to be a long one. I set up my best friend Mia with my boyfriends cousins friend Julian. I was under the impression they hated each other from the first meeting mainly because Julian was being an ass. But Julian asked to meet up again so the next time we all went out and Mia wasn’t happy. But a few weeks later we all find out they had been hooking up since the first night, they kept saying they hated each other but we all could see. They ended up really falling for each other and became an actual couple, love and everything. They were basically living together and we’d never seen either happier. He never left her side after a car accident, they went away together, his co-workers loved her. His family loved her, hers loved his, they were amazing together.

Well… Julian had had his heart broken by his ex Taylor who went back home to nurse her sick mother. Taylor out of the blue calls Julian when her mother had passed and he gets out of bed and flies to her. He was in bed with Mia, didn’t talk to her for days and his brother had to explain their relationship to her. Mia forgave him and they continued. But Taylor went to Mia’s business telling her to give up Julian or she would have to take him from her. Julian talked to Taylor and while talking to her he did tell her he still loved her, which Mia overheard. Mia fought for him, she’s a better woman than I am. She even let him go talk to her about business in an effort to move on.

Julian ended up cheating on her with Taylor while Mia and I went on a girls trip with some friends. Mia left him for a weekend but did agree to give him another chance. After he took her home he left her to go cheat again with Taylor. Mia found out about that one when after sleeping together she saw provocative photos Taylor had sent Julian with a necklace that he had just bought her. So Mia sent one back to her in wrapped up in sheets. When Julian found out he was upset with Mia of all people. The next day Mia was fed up and left him, he seemed more interested in Taylor’s well being than hers.

In the months they’ve been apart Mia is fine and has managed to focus on work and a few dates here and there. Julian and Taylor are together and here starts the actual dilemma. Julian has love for Taylor because of their past and all that she went through with her mother. It’s obvious he was happier with Mia and Taylor can see it, Julian would even contact me to see how Mia was. All that “passion” he and Taylor had wasn’t going to sustain an actual relationship. Taylor has unfortunately turned to drugs and while she and Julian are no longer seeing each other he’s really trying to be there for her, sometimes it feels like he’s her dad even when they were together. They both have moved on and found closure. She’s getting the help she really needed that he couldn’t do.

Mia and Julian have been talking and we’ve all been able to go out together. Obviously he knows what he lost and she really loves him too. But the level of betrayal is not something that you can just get over. I would love to tell her to give him another chance but I watched her break over this situation. She lost a man she truly loved and who didn’t fight for her when he needed to. Julian is doing everything he can and all I can do is tell him to be patient and be willing to let her go if that’s what she ends up choosing. I know she just wants to be with him again and she’s terrified, and rightfully so. I know he’ll never do that again, he knows what he threw away. I want together and they want to be together. I just want to know from a male perspective the advice I should give. What are the boundaries I should tell her to set, what are ideas on re-defining their relationship, what should he have to do to gain her trust back.

Thank you, I just want my best friend to be happy.

Comment: I think you should pretty much mind your own business and let Mia make her own decisions. Why are you so invested in whether Mia and Julian are together? Because you set them up? He sounds like a pretty sh***y guy for cheating on her twice. I’d let Mia figure it out for herself that she shouldn’t be with a guy who cheated on her twice with an ex. Mia and Julian have trouble written all over them if they get back together. I’d let it go and tell her to not give him another chance. Too much baggage there.

I would like to get a guy’s opinion on a situation. There is this guy who I’ve gone on a couple dates with and every time it’s great. However, our different schedules at this time make it difficult to see each other a whole lot. The pattern is, we will go on a date and have a great time, then won’t talk for about 2 weeks aside from maybe a couple snapchats. Then he will ask if I have any free evenings in the next week or two and I will offer a couple dates and times and we will line something up. The last date we went on, we grabbed something to eat at a nice restaurant, then took a long walk around a lake, stopped for a while at a swing by the lake to watch the ducks and chat, then he came over to my place and we watched a movie. Our conversations consisted of stuff that would make me think he is interested in a relationship in the future – going camping, going to plays, etc. He even offered to fly out to NY for one day while I am on vacation there to go to dinner and a Broadway play (he is a pilot so that type of thing isn’t way out there for him). He is also very open to the fact I have a son and seems interested in meeting him in the future.

Here is where it seems off, we have only kissed a couple times and each time it’s because I initiate it and that is more of a goodbye kiss. This last date we went on, while we were watching the movie I leaned over and kissed him, he kissed back but then pulled away and that was it. Now keep in mind I just recently went through a divorce and he knows I’m not ready for anything serious as of yet, and things are changing with his job so he is in the same boat, but seriously, not seeming to want to share even a small kiss seems a little weird for a male in his upper 30s – I do have a kid so it’s not like this is my first rodeo. Additionally, we have known each other for about 6-7 years. I really appreciate him not wanting to jump into the physical aspect of a relationship, but a little physical is really OK. Also, is it a little odd that I don’t hear from him for weeks on end? Anyway, just a little insight from a guy’s perspective would be great. Thank you so much

Comment: He’s a pilot. He’s banging other women on the side when you’re not around. I’ve heard story after story after story about pilots. Of course you don’t hear from him for a couple weeks. He’s traveling and with other women. I’m sure you’re next question will be, “Well why does he even contact me when we’re not even having sex and he barely touches me?” That’s a question for him. I have no idea. Guys do weird things. Could be many reasons. He might just like the chase of you. He might just be bored. He might’ve already tried 5 different girls that night and they were all busy. All I know is you’re not a priority to him, so he should not be a priority to you. Period. Don’t look for the why he’s doing things. Just see he puts out minimal effort and doesn’t seem all that interested.

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  1. rob22

    September 8, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    To the woman with a disrespectful Boyfriend’s sister: This is not an uncommon problem. There’s always someone in the family that’s not well liked & adds to the drama factor. But it’s an easy problem to solve. In short, minimize contact. When you have to be around her at holidays, be polite but keep conversations to a minimum. Do not seek apologies, explanations, etc. Do not tell her parents what they should/should not do with their daughter. Do not talk with them at all about it. That just adds to the drama. If she brings up anything to your boyfriend, he should just tell her he’s not interested in talking to her about his girlfriend. If his parents bring anything up, just tell them you’ve moved on & are not concerned with what the sister says/doesn’t say, etc. There cannot be drama and a fight without two participants. Stop participating. Most likely the family will eventually move in the same direction, but if not, just keep your distance, stay polite and life should be fine.

  2. maddie17

    September 8, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    Hi Rob! I sent the question on page 2 about an ex coming back into my life and if he’s really changed. You always seem to have great insight, it’d be great to hear your thoughts on the situation.

  3. rob22

    September 8, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    @maddie17- I’ll take a crack. I’m not sure that I’m going to be too far off what RS already noted. Right now you have some statements that your ex has made and that’s it. There is no info presented in terms of him actually acting different, so to guess how he’s going to behave is speculative. But, past behavior does tend to predict future behavior. So, the odds are that you will see many of the same behaviors repeated. I deal with change for a living. And the number one takeaway is that people don’t change unless they are highly motivated to do so.

    So, in the past, I did take back some exes. Most times, especially when you’re talking about jerky behavior, that didn’t change.

    So, putting on my fortune teller hat. I could see the level of commitment changing. People grow up and want different things. However, I find it highly unlikely that the self centered, disrespectful, d**k behavior will change.

    If you decide to take him back, I would have him on a very short leash as far as behavior goes. Things can spiral very quickly & there is no need to prolong the agony.

  4. rob22

    September 8, 2016 at 2:22 PM

    In Texas with no Exes. So, you don’t date, at all. And your main concern is that your not dating will be a red flag? Presumably to people you never speak with or actually meet because… well…. you don’t date anyone…. at least not to the point of them actually being a boyfriend.

    Let’s stay on point. The issue is getting you on the horse, not what people might think because you’ve never been on a horse. I’m not a psychotherapist, but there is a lot of fear in your commentary. You had fears of lack of money growing up, and some trauma around your Dad’s illness that obviously impacted you. Dad and money are things that, if they are right, make you feel secure in life. You’ve never felt secure because Dad was sick and money was a big problem. So, somehow that lack of security has led to the fear of dating and, no doubt, other things as well.

    It seems like you need some counseling to get a grip on your fears. Otherwise, fears can really put a crimp in personal growth, which includes dating, marriage, etc. I’d say that’s the place to start. Work on your fears & security issues & then work on getting dates. With your current level of fear and anxiety, even if you get dates, my concern would be that healthy men would not be drawn to you. You’d get the “other” types of guys. All that will do is feed your fears and make dating & long term healthy relationships nearly impossible. It feels like you’ve got too much going on in your psyche to just tell you to “go do it”. Get some counseling first, and then go from there.

  5. rob22

    September 8, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    Insecure-ish in Idaho: So, cheating is a big deal. Some people never get over it, so I can understand feeling insecure with this guy. And, it’s not really normal to feel insecure every couple of weeks. Normal, healthy people, in healthy relationships don’t feel insecure very often. Maybe never. So, your insecurities are an issue. I’m not saying there is no reason for your insecurities. The guy cheated. And now, things have changed. He’s walking on egg shells around you while (he hopes) trust is rebuilt. So, I disagree with RS. This is a very big deal.

    When someone decides to forgive someone for cheating, it is a herculean act. Because to really forgive someone means letting go. Letting go of what he did, letting go of the anxiety that he might do it again, and letting go of the distrust. That’s not easy and most people can’t do it. This is not a snap your fingers thing. It takes time. But you’re either going to get all the way there… and no longer be feeling insecure every few weeks. Or, you’re just never going to totally trust him ever again. It’s a process and you’re not there yet. The question is whether you ever will get there.

    You do have to talk to one another & discuss things that are on your mind. But you have to also reassure him that you are working on the trust, have made progress, still love him and want things to work. I suspect that some couples counseling would help surface the issues more quickly and a good counselor could help you work through them. I’m just not sure you’re going to get there without some help. You’re acting like you’ve forgiven him totally, but you haven’t. That says to me that you have unresolved issues you need to get to. Cheating is a tough one to get through. Good luck!

  6. RaRa

    September 11, 2016 at 5:49 PM

    To “In Texas with no Exes”: I was in a similar situation as yours although for a different reason. I have some caveats for you, for whatever they are worth. First of all, you need to be aware that if you have not started dating until your 20s, it can be difficult to spot a “pick-up line” and you will quite likely find yourself in some situations in which the guy (especially if he is in his twneties) expects relationships to progress more quickly than you are comfortable with.

    My advice to you is to become active in some sort of mixed-gender social group which meets and goes out together for the purpose of engaging in an activity or hobby. It could be a church singles group, signing up for a ballroom dancing class, joining a sports booster fan club, working for a charity, etc., or joining friends at work who get together after work. Fraternizing in a small, intimate group setting allows you to practice your social skills with the both women and men, in a no-pressure situation, and to learn by observing how other, more experienced women and women interact with each other and among themselves. Also, you can take things as slowly as you like if you meet a guy in the group you like, since it is a group and not a date. And as you make friends in the group, you can have female friends bring guys to the group get-togethers for you to meet. Good luck!

  7. maddie17

    September 12, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    Thank you! And you were right! He basically immediately went back to being a jerk. He was consistent and communicating regularly, when I believe he thought it was a done deal, he went right back to being the person he used to be (or always was). It’s weird to me the concept of getting back with someone only to hurt them again. He thought posting on social media was better than just saying a quick hi during the day. I learned my lesson!

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