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He came back a third time

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Relationship advice Having been in a fairly good relationship in the beginning and having it thwarted before by the man I fell in love with because of how I reacted to his friend having cancer (it sucks people but nothing I can do about it considering I didn't know the friend). Don't get me wrong, I do have compassion but the issue at hand was that my person ended our three year long relationship because I told him I didn't know his friend at all.

We went our separate ways and life was moving on, then one afternoon my best friend tells me that this Saga with my ex is not over. I laughed it off. Sure enough, six months later he resurfaces but it's short lived (because I didn't want to watch a football game). Then there was a second time he came back...this time he did some more work to get me back, and so far things were fine and then something set him off again and we went our separate ways again.

A year and a half apart up until a month ago was great. I learned to set aside my feelings for him and move on but not forgetting (I've been in a few relationships: some longer and some shorter, but this was the guy I fell hard and fast for-we made each other better people when we were together). A month ago I get an email from him. He apologized for the way he treated me. Saying he didn't realize just how badly he treated me until his current ex treated him the same way. Great, Mr. Ego had finally apologized! This past month we've been talking and I've been keeping my wits about myself and his intentions at a distance-never really giving him any hope or enthusiasm about jumping back into his arms so quickly. It's evident that there is something between that has been there and it's palpable.

During our conversations he has been changing his tune, first it was him wanting a friendship, then he wanted a friendship within a relationship, then he wanted a relationship saying things that I was the one that got away, that he is certain I am the one he wants, he won't disappear/runaway, etc. Thats all fun and great and reassuring but actions speak louder than words, and he doesn't have the best track record considering he's done this once before. He made a grand gesture; coming out to see me for Easter. It was a nice weekend admittedly, and since we have history it didn't feel awkward when we saw each other. Since he was here with me, I wanted to get some concrete answers; what were his intentions? 1.) Take things slow, 2.) He wanted me and 3.) wanted us to work because he knew we can (most relationships can work if you're both of the same mindset, but getting there is the hard part). So on a particular night together, he was ordering my drink for me and said to the cocktail waitress "...and for my girlfriend..." !!! I was surprised, but I had told him in the next days conversation that I don't want him saying that if it's not true or if thats not how he felt. He said it's how he felt and how he wants it. Cool. But all I asked of him was a piece of mind. For him to communicate with me whats going on with him and his thoughts-I can't read minds! Overall, both of us agreed we were on the same page, we'd tell people that we are not interested in others (should the situation come up) and we'll focus on taking things slow and working through things.

But this week, after he left, not 24 hours later his whole tone and behavior changed. His tone feels guarded and less assured or frank like the past the guy he normally is when he's comfortable. He's not as expressive when we have conversations....the best, wait for it....when I flat out asked him "did something change?" You know when children get scolded they're always addressed with their first name and that tone of authoritative voice? thats what he did...."Lucy, I have a lot to think about right now." I almost lost it! HE has a lot to think about? What about me? He's the one who reached out to me! He's the one who's asking me to give him a chance but he is the one that has a lot to think about.

I don't know what to make of this or how to react to it. All I answered was that I hope he gives us a chance, like he wanted to, and that we take things slow and as they come. I didn't expect him to respond. But now I don't know what to expect or as I mentioned, how to react.
Is he afraid of commitment? what's the deal? Why would a someone come back to several times and then once things get real they get skeeved out? In my eyes, commitment and relationships are acts of selflessness. How is it that I am the brave one (him being in the service; one of the elite teams) and I can say 'sure, fine, take it slow, clean slate' but he can't seem to do the same yet he's the one asking for it.

Any word on how to tackle this selfishness?

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