Is this worth a second chance?

Dear Meredith,

I'm 38 and my ex is 28. I have a good income and savings, whereas he is just at the beginning of his career, not earning much and has no savings. We were together for seven months. In the last two months of the relationship, he started nitpicking and criticizing me for every little thing I do, to the point where we would often fight. I expressed that I didn't like it. He said he was subconsciously angry with me and that I sometimes make him feel small.

I think he felt pressured to find a better job and earn more money, even though I never asked him to. He was also having a lot of stress at work and hated his job. I broke it off because despite discussions, things were getting worse.

Since the breakup, we've been seeing each other once a week. He apologized for what happened, and attributes it to realizing that he has unresolved insecurities because of his ex. He said he was behaving the way he did to to push me away. He said he doesn't want it to happen again.

I know I still like him a lot. The last few dates we went on felt as great as our first dates. I want to give him a chance again, but I'm afraid that if the same thing happens, I'll be even more devastated. I also don't know if it's a waste of time to wait for him to "grow up" and learn to better control his emotions. Maybe I should look for someone else, given my age and desire to have children. I'd appreciate your advice on whether people like this can ever change. Should I give him a chance again or just move on?

– Trying Again


People do change and learn from their mistakes. I can't tell you whether this particular man is capable; all I know is that you chose to keep seeing him after the breakup. You were clear in your letter that you "want to give him a chance again." Isn't that your answer? It sounds like you need to know if this can be more.

You say you fear that if it doesn't work out, you'll be even more devastated, but that might not be the case. This time around, you'll be quick to recognize old patterns for what they are. If the nitpicking starts up again, you'll know it's not random – and that you won't put up with it. Instead of feeling devastated at that point, you might be more confident about your decision to walk away for good.

Please know that even if your second try continues to go well, he'll still be the person he is now. If you can't imagine having children with him when he's at the current version of his best, you should ask yourself what you're really looking for.

– Meredith

Readers? Try again?