The Better it Gets, the Faster They Run

By Cheryl Lavin

January 24, 2014 3 min read

It makes sense to try and get out of a bad situation. But why do some people need to get out of a good one? Why is it that the better a relationship is, the more some people need to destroy it?

Kayla, 25, is a graduate student in social work, and she and her girlfriends go to bars to meet men. Singles bars are the most important meeting place for her generation, she says, and the clientele runs the gamut. She has met her share of jerks there —"They'll buy you drinks, they'll say you've got the most beautiful eyes they've ever seen, they'll tell you how 'different' you are" — but she has met some nice guys, too.

It was at a bar that Kayla met Tom, 30, an artist. They made eye contact the way people do in bars, and then he asked her to dance. "I consider myself a little offbeat; I like to stand back and watch, and he was kind of different, too. He seemed to be laughing at the scene as well," she recalls. They spent the whole night dancing and laughing, and before he left, Tom took her phone number. He called her, and they started dating.

"We had a lot of fun together. He has a really good sense of humor. We both liked to dance a lot. We'd go to dinner, movies, clubs. We'd see each other a couple of times a week."

Tom had an aloof quality that Kayla always finds attractive, and he wanted to keep her at arm's length, but she pushed past it and got him to really open up about his life and his work and his feelings about his ex-wife. He'd been divorced for three years and still wasn't over it, but Kayla drew him out, and they made a real connection. She was sure he was the man of her dreams.

And then ...

"He started standing me up. He'd make a date and not show up. I'd wait a few days and then call and start yelling at him. He'd be so sorry and he said he'd make it up to me. We'd make another date, and then he'd do it again."

Finally, Kayla stopped calling to scold him, and the romance simply fizzled out.

"I ran into him not long after that, and he was really nervous about seeing me. But I'm a social worker, so I pressed him about what had happened, and he told me he couldn't take it; he liked me too much. This isn't the first time this has happened to me. I was dating a guy about a year ago, and whenever we would really get close and things would really be nice, he'd start cheating on me or doing whatever he could to hurt me.

"There are a lot of guys out there who get very involved very quickly — everything is wonderful — but then they can't handle the involvement, it makes them feel too vulnerable, so they stop seeing you. The better it feels, the faster they dump you."

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