Dear Dr. Romance:
My partner whom I have been in a relationship with for the past year has changed and let me down twice. We were first friends for several years & became a couple for the last year. We both fell in love instantly and desire to live together to build towards a good future, financially, & with family. We both have children from past relationships & are content with it.

We're happy that we're not looking to have any more kids at of our own. We're both hard dedicated working individuals. At first we shared the cost of rent. I paid all the utility bills which is fine with me. Then one day he left and left me to pay rent all on my own, which became a small burden to me. Of course I was upset and felt let down but I managed and I made ends meet to pay the entire rent and other bills by myself.

A month later we got back together and this time he declared that he wouldn't move out for nothing. We had a disagreement and this time he left again without the help of paying rent. And now a month later, he still tells me he loves me and he wants to work on our relationship. So that tells me he wants what we have. I'm all for it but at what cost?

Twice this man has walked out/moved out without paying his agreed portion of rent leaving me in desperate measures. I'm heart broken by his action. No matter what our faults are in this relationship, twice I have been let down by this man I so love dearly. I have prayed and spoken positive words of forgiveness for myself and for him because his friendship means the world to me. I am truly in love with him. But as of now I am also in a lot of doubt of his actions. 

Dear Reader:

I'm so sorry. You must be feeling terribly betrayed by this unreliable man. He sounds like a conflict-avoider to me, but one with no sense of empathy or responsibility. You will never be able to trust him, because he seems to feel entitled to just flake on his responsibility whenever he's not happy. This is a serious problem, and part of his character.

If you decide to try living with him again, insist that he pay you a deposit of at least one month of his share of the rent in advance. A few months would be better. That way, if he just walks out, you have the rent covered for a little while, until you can make different arrangements or until he comes back. He will probably not like this, but it's a way to make sure he understands his responsibility. You don't say whether your children are living with both of you? If so, all this back-and-forth must be really hard for the children, too. That's another inconsiderate thing he's doing to his own child, and yours.

I know you're bonded to this man, but he doesn't seem very bonded to you -- at least, not enough to realize that he has obligations not to just leave you with his share of the rent, with no notice. He is saying he loves you, but he's not acting like it. Pay more attention to his actions than to his words. The truth is in his actions. "You Be The Judge"  "Couples Can Cooperate for Success"  and "Less Talk, More Action" will help you see your situation more clearly and give you ideas for what to do.

How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together contains exercises, information and examples you and your partner can use to improve your relationship.

Happy Partners cover

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.