Inconsistent behavior in dating

None of us were the kind of woman who "needed" a guy in her life at all moments.And yet, we'd all found ourselves tolerating behavior we shouldn't have, in spite of the toll it took on our self-respect.In the book, Nate begins to date a woman named Hannah, who is cool and fun and challenges him in argument.But as Hannah starts to let down her guard and become more comfortable in the relationship, Nate grows restless and begins to pull away.

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Their first three dates were "perfect." Then Tom went out of town for work.

This phenomenon, in which an otherwise together woman turns into a sad, excuse-making doormat, is one my friend Vanessa calls "the downward spiral of shame." Ah, the irony: The worse you feel about it, the more dependent you become on the relationship that's the source of your unhappiness. Vanessa went into her spiral of shame with a guy she says wasn't even a real boyfriend.

You become increasingly desperate to "save" it no matter what the cost to your self-respect. Now she wishes she'd walked away as soon as things began to deteriorate. "I'm embarrassed because he didn't deserve such an honest letter." His response, which wasn't nearly as long — or as heartfelt — made her feel exposed and powerless.

But instead, she began making excuses — classic downward spiral of shame.

After my relationship with Lewis ended, I was more upset at the person I'd become than I was about losing him.

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