'Imperfect past' undoes this 'OK catch'

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: What's wrong with women these days? I'm an OK catch in today's world. I have little debt, a steady job I love; I cook, I clean, enjoy life, have hobbies and am not too bad looking. But I find that after a few dates with a woman, she begins to ask about my "baggage." I admit to not having a perfect past, and I reply to the question with honesty and openness. It's at about that point the women I attract seem to get weird. If they are OK with my imperfect past, they latch onto me for dear life and are no longer the women I got to know casually just a week or two before. When I tell them this "change" is not working for me, I suddenly become the evil villain. When I end the relationship because they don't reciprocate my values or because I have seen a change I do not like, they will attack me. They revert to high school name-calling, anger and manipulation to keep the relationship. Amy, this is after only three weeks and four or five dates! How can I end a relationship that is barely a relationship? Is it too much to expect to be treated like an adult?--Frustrated Good Guy

DEAR FRUSTRATED: If you find yourself the X factor in a repeating pattern and you want the pattern to change, then you will have to change.

If you are meeting women on E-harpy.com, for instance, you might want to rethink.

Otherwise, slow down. I get the feeling you are perhaps leaping into physical relationships (with attendant pillow talk/sharing) before you have adequately checked for crazy. Don't become intimate -- emotionally or physically -- too fast.

You also need to learn how to break up. Blaming the other person for "changing" (or blaming her for anything) is not necessary.

The best way to break off a new relationship is to use the old standby: "It's not you, it's me." There is a reason it's a classic -- because it works.