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[QUOTE=Music4All]The answer to both questions is that women that do not allow themselves to be taken for granted are the women that are not taken for granted.

You have identified your boyfriend as a jerk. If he wants to change, he can. But if he can be a jerk with no consequences, that will probably be his choice.[/QUOTE]

This is so true!! When I read your initial post on this thread, I smiled and thought, hmmm, I think I'm what people mean when they talk about maneaters. I've never lacked for boyfriends, never had guys act like jerks to me, and always have been the one to end relationships and/or wrap guys around my little finger, especially when I was younger and less grounded. So I can tell you for sure that Music4All's first statement is 100% accurate. I can't explain why, but somehow the women who have the spunk and temper to stand up to guys who treat them poorly never end up with those guys, who seem to have an innate radar for nice girls who will put up with their nonsense.

Then I realized I'm probably not in the best position to give you advice, because I'm going through a similar situation myself. My fiance and I have been having issues about dealing with his family, which all came to a head two weeks ago. He decided he needed some time and space alone (partially because he has been in the middle of a serious of job interviews he considers crucial, and partially to give him time to think through how to best handle our issues). Anyway, he wants to work everything out and has consistently maintained that it should never even cross my mind that we won't stay together and get through this, but that really doesn't make it any easier. He hates confrontation and has been trying to put off talking through our issues as long as possible, leaving me feeling uncertain, nervous, and frustrated. Deep down we have a solid enough foundation, bond, and love for each other that I agree with him that we'll be okay, but the separation is so difficult to handle after living together as partners for so long. The thought that unlike before, when he'd come to me for comfort when something was troubling him, now he needs time away from me to cope is extremely sad and unsettling. I'm hoping it's just because he doesn't want to get mad and say something wrong, being that his family is a very sensitive and emotional issue for him, and that does fit with his past behavior and chronic avoidance of confrontations. But those nagging doubts in the pit of my stomach make getting through each day quite an ordeal. I know my relationship problems aren't as serious as yours, and I certainly don't mean to minimize what you're going through by comparing our situations, but I just hoped it might help to hear that someone else understands how you're feeling and how difficult it is to cope with a separation like this.

Anyway, sorry for all the talk about my problems. My point is just that I know how frustrating, confusing, sad, and scary it is when a relationship all of a sudden takes a big step backward. To go from living together to not being sure what will happen to the relationship is really devestating and tumultuous. I think you have three options here. If you decide that this guy and this relationship aren't worth pursuing and devoting any more energy to, then my advice is to just end it. If you do want to continue your relationship, then you have two options: you can put 100% of your energy and effort into demonstrating your love for him and making him feel welcomed back with open arms, or you can try to make him jealous enough that he sees what he's missing out on. The first option requires being understanding, open, a good listener, and very willing to compromise and cooperate without disregarding your own needs and desires. The idea is to remind him of how happy he is with you, what a loving girlfriend you are, and how lucky he is to have you. Hopefully at the end of this, he would move back in and commit to working out your past issues and strengthening your bond in the future.

You could also take some of the advice offered here and take the attitude that you are too good to sit around waiting for him to realize he's being stupid and come back. You could tell him that you're still interested in seeing how things turn out, and that you're not giving up on him entirely, but while you're on a break, you want to date around like you suspect he is doing (you don't have to make any specific, concrete accusations and reveal your snooping :D). If he sees your profile on his dating site or hears about you having dates with other guys, his jealous and competitive instincts may kick in and make him realize that he really wants to be with you after all. I wouldn't recommend this if you were generally content with your relationship and felt that you were treated with the consideration and respect you deserve, but the jealousy card often works best on guys who can be selfish jerks at times. If his mindset is totally focused on himself, feeling upstaged or threatened by another man may just infuriate him to the point where he realizes that he doesn't want to let you go.

I really wish I had some simple, fool-proof advice to offer you, but like you, I'm just doing the best I can at dealing with this situation as it unfolds. My best advice is to trust your instincts, follow your heart, and think about what you would tell your sister or best friend to do if she was in your shoes. I would also think long and hard--as objectively as possible--about everything your BF has said since the separation and try to get a sense of what he's envisioning as the future of your relationship. One way or another, things have a way of working out for the best in the long run, and even the best relationships go through times of tension and uncertainty. I really hope everything works out well for sound like a great girl who deserves a guy who realizes that and treats you accordingly. Please don't hesitate to rely on the great people here for support and advice, and keep us posted, OK?

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