Some men cling to the ghost of past relationships, idealizing an old love and deciding they'll never find a person like that again. It feels safer to hold onto the past than risk failure with someone who is available today. These men prefer to well in a memory than to face the reality of present day life.
For some, this memory goes back to their mothers. No woman can live up to mom, or to any other woman they idealize. They begin to imagine that these other women were perfect and gave them unconditional love. Whatever their present girlfriend does is compared with that. No woman can win over an idealized memory. These men are living in dreams.
Other men leave seeking excitement and challenge. Being with someone who loves them becomes boring and flat. After years of dating beautiful women who adored him but for whom he felt little,
"I was in love with Fern for three years, he said. "But I left her three times and each time she came back, wanting me again. No other woman had done that before. Fern was very neurotic. I guess thats what attracted me.
Some men find the lack of stability in a woman to be challenging, exciting and erotic. The unpredictability creates a situation where there is a constant sense of danger and threat of loss. This keeps these men constantly on the alert, so things never become routine. Excitement is confused with passion. There is a sense that, because of the turmoil, they are finally alive. After awhile it usually becomes too much.
"I finally left Fern and never went back,
When men are attracted to neurotic women, it is interesting to note that these men are often attracting a partner who is expressing what he is also going through inside. She may be acting out what he is feeling and not able to express. When he finally becomes angry with the woman, he is really angry with himself. What we cannot accept in another is always something we haven't been able to accept in ourselves.
Other stresses also cause men to leave relationships. When a man is unhappy at his job, or when he feels pressured to commit, before he is ready, old dreams that havent been fulfilled will come up to haunt him. He then will begin to feel that this is the time to live out these dreams. These men often feel justified in abruptly leave unsatisfying relationships in search of their fantasies and dreams.
When Renee, handsome, strong, the successful owner of a well know beauty salon left for a new woman he said, No one leaves if they're happy. After awhile you just begin to feel time is running out and you get tired of the bad stuff. You feel you don't need it anymore. You paid your dues. You're tired."
When asked why he felt the attraction to a different woman, he said, Part of it is just plain beauty. But also she was much younger. I like that. A young woman looks up to a guy because he's older and can do all these things for her, and he adores her because she's young, pretty and makes him look good and feel good and proud."
Implicit in this is a deep need men have to be looked up to, valued, respected and recognized, not only by his peers, but by the woman he's with. Especially at a time in life when a man's sense of himself is wavering, it is extremely uplifting to have a woman who looks up to him and what he has achieved. Unfortunately, at this point, some wives of long standing can only see their mans deficits. If they then remind him of his failings constantly, it's often more than his ego can bear.
Though there are many more factors contributing to men leaving relationships, a common theme appears through all of them. The men are not necessarily responding to the woman they are leaving, but to their own inner needs, conflicts and dreams.
Often they experience the woman in their lives simply as a part of their own sense of self. It is not the woman herself who necessarily causes the man to leave, but the man's feelings about himself, his own inner fantasy and quest.