why can't he go back to being that guy?

Plenty of you know the script. Girl meets guy, he pursues, makes her feel like the centre of his world, peppers conversations with talk of kids, marriage, moving in together and holidays. He’s calling, texting, enailing, IM’ing, and can’t seem to bear to be away from her for too long. It feels like they’re going somewhere special and she dares to believe that this could be ‘it’. Even if she was a little reluctant at first or not even all that interested, all the attention makes her feel on top of the world and special. She starts to believe that he’s ‘The One’. A year goes by and despite the hot out the gate start, the proclamations, and the big plans, things seem to have gone in an entirely different direction.

There are no plans being made. When she mentions that he said stuff about kids and marriage, he gets all arsey with her so she feels reluctant to bring them up again. She’s confused because he was the one that instigated these conversations and had her believe that these were a big priority and had to happen asap. Now that she thinks about it, he’s reluctant to make even small plans, often leaving it right up until the weekend before he’ll confirm that he wants to do something. She remembers when she knew what she was doing before the week had barely started.

The level of contact has fizzled dramatically and now she feels like she’s ‘bothering’ him when she calls and has taken to texting him so that she doesn’t feel so needy. She doesn’t like to ask too many questions about why he won’t pick up calls, why he texts so long to respond to texts, or why he disappears for small chunks of time.

She’s confused and she knows she feels bad but doesn’t know what to do. She feels she’s invested a lot of herself in this relationship and he’s said things. Why would someone say these things and initiate these conversations about serious stuff like marriage and kids if they were not serious?

Obviously, she decides, she has done something to ‘scare him away’.

Deep down she suspects this is not the case but when she thinks about leaving and starting over, she gets nostalgic for how things were at the beginning. I know this could be good. We had such an amazing time together and we were so happy! We have so much in common! She wants to recapture that feeling and get him to go back to his ‘old self’.

When you find yourself wishing for someone to get back to how they were in the beginning, you’re like a disgruntled customer who has started out believing that she has purchased a product with a particular package, that has subsequently expired. When you ask for it to be reinstated, nothing happens and now you’re left with the pared down version. You’re p*ssed off! You wonder why the product has stopped being what you thought it was and fondly remember the good times. You don’t want a refund – you just want what you thought you were paying for.

For most relationships, they start out ‘hot’ with a honeymoon phase where good times abound, you’re looking hot to trot, in good underwear all the time, and you’re both putting forward your best selves.

During this crucial time when you’re dating, which is that period of time where you’re supposed to be discovering one another (not just shagging), many people are asleep on the job with rose tinted glasses.

The things that frustrate you about the person or prove your incompatibility, more often than not, are revealed in the early stages of the relationship, but if we are not aware about red flags, boundaries, and values, we miss key signals that we need to adjust our perceptions and check that this person and what is on offer is still good for us.

A person is not just about the beginning of the relationship and in actual fact, they’re not just about the good times, so you need to see them as a whole person, but you also need to see the relationship in context.

I’ve had women ask me why he can’t go back to the guy he was at the beginning when they’ve been with him for eight years and struggling for 7.5 of them! You do the maths on that one – it’s not good! You need more than ‘good times’ and ‘moments’ to justify sticking in a relationship that has been consistently struggling for longer than it’s been consistently good.

Why can’t he ‘go back’ to being that guy? Because he’s not that guy all the time. The guy he is, is the one he consistently shows you over a longer period of time – trouble is, that’s not the one you want.

Let’s call him Fun Bobby (remember the good time guy from friends that Monica dated?) or even Love Bobby.

At the beginning, probably after a good ‘ole press of The Reset Button (a license many people use to erase time and start over afresh), Love Bobby ‘genuinely’ believed that things could be different this time. He felt excited, horny, affectionate, loving, jealous, possessive, out of control, or whatever it was he felt, and he correlated that with his level of interest and believed that things could be different and started talking up a good game, making plans, and being a Future Faker.

Unfortunately, Love Bobby overestimates his level of interest and capacity for a relationship.

Note that if you or anybody told him that he was less interested than he was or incapable of delivering on promises, he’d deny it and become defensive…and then under-deliver. He gives himself far too much credit and doesn’t understand what he feels and so after he’s gone and made big promises that he can’t keep, he starts blowing hot and cold and being a general pain in the ass, in the hope that your expectations get managed down and you stop expecting to the level that he initially taught you to expect at.

If someone has to ‘go back’ to or ‘become’ something, it is a major sign that you are stuck in the past or betting on potential, and either way, it’s not good, you’re not being real, and you’re denying the reality of that person.

Unless you’re planning to somehow trap yourself in Groundhog day and play out the beginning of your relationship over and over again, it is impossible to maintain that feeling of newness that someone with the attention span of a gnat like this guy needs. If you’re looking for commitment and consistency, you need someone who is actually more than OK with the relationship growing and settling – this is not ‘that guy’.

He can’t go back to being ‘that guy’ because he isn’t and wasn’t that guy in the first place – you had him on temporary hire and your loan key has expired.

Your thoughts?


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