I'll say it for the gals in the back: YOU DESERVE BETTER.
Years ago, I dated a guy on and off for way too long who, at least twice annually, would decide we shouldn't be together and bail, only to return two weeks later like clockwork. At the time I made a lot of excuses about how we were young and he was just figuring himself out, and I made jokes about being bemused by the inevitability of his return.
But every single time I let it happen, I hated myself a little more. It was pathetic and embarrassing, and I wish I'd known I deserved better.
If I could go back and whisper something in my younger self's ear it would be, "Don't take him back, even once."
I know that sounds like a hard line to take because we all make mistakes but really, a breakup happens because what you have is broken. When one partner looks at the other and says, "I've decided we're done here," it should never ever be done lightly.
Being allowed to renegotiate that decision only instills the idea that he can make the "mistake" of leaving more than once. And just like with any bad habit, a person will keep making the same "mistake" over and over as long as he or she is allowed.
Also, let's quit believing the "But I've changed!" cliché we keep being fed by the types of guys who just want to pick up where they've left off as if they didn't shatter your heart. The idea that a person who once claimed to love you and want to be with you could then make the decision to look you in the eye and declare that he doesn't mean any of those things anymore is bad enough.
But then to suggest that, in a matter of weeks or months, he has completely rehabilitated his entire psyche so he's no longer capable of doing that again, is just an insult to your intelligence. You deserve better.
No, he hasn't changed. He just finally realized he royally screwed up by letting something fantastic go for reasons he now recognizes are bullsh*t.
Granted, this admission on his part does show he's growing and becoming more self-aware but it doesn't magically transform him into the type of person who won't do that again. The truth is twofold and somewhat paradoxical.
First of all, the only way he's going to be motivated to actually make that type of deep, psychological change is if he loses something precious that he values. And secondly, that sort of personal change takes a long time — longer than you should be willing to wait around for.
I'll say it again for the gals in the back: YOU DESERVE BETTER.
If a man leaves, let him. Close the chapter, shut the door, and make space for that guy out there who wouldn't dare walk away, because he's out there waiting for you to quit messing around with someone who sees you as a safety net and not the priority you are.