BR--
Actually if he meets your conditions (which I wonder if he can) then he is surrendering a little of that control for the moment, which may or may not be part of his manipulation. I understand both sides of the control issue. My ex was paranoid about control. I can't tell you how many times it came up!! But I also recognize it in myself, and sometimes find myself intentionally denying people I care about things if they seem too needy or desperate or wanting becuase I don't want to feel like I am being controlled or cajoled into doing something that was not originally my idea. My mother is a prime example. We have a shaky relationship, and she is very insecure. She uses guilt and manipulation better than anyone I know. Because of her insecurities, she often tries to "get me" to show her love and affection. I often withhold it from her out of frustration and a rebellious and selfish spirit. I am angry for her perceived attempts to control me. Therefore, I withdraw.

It does kind of look like he left in order to gain control of the situation. I think being aware of this new angle is a good thing, but just don't over analyze it. Just be aware of it maybe. I don't know if anything you do will ever be perceived as anything less than controlling to him until he deals with his own problems. I just wish he would. But you are taking control of your life, and that is good. Even if it means letting him come back ON YOUR TERMS.

LetsTry, my ex left me for an 18 year old that looked at him with stars in her eyes and who he could take care of--that needed him. His mom was a manic depressive and their own marriage was troubled; he was often (as a child) turned to for counsel--how sick is that. This little girl is screwed up (eating disorders, depression, suicide attempts, diabetes) he feels like he is able to take care of her and she needs him, believes in him, and sees him as God. Translation: she can be controlled and manipulated. Our marriage started to become strained and questions of control and his disatisfaction came to light when I started questioning his excessive drinking. I was controlling him. Classic passive-aggressives like him are terrified of losing control. I was more responsible than he, more educated, more grounded, more mature, and more talented. He was threatened, and cried that I made him feel less like a man. I think I was guilty of withholding some of the strokes that would have helped his fragile ego. But most of the time I simply tried to ask for what was right for our life and for me. I suppose any 18 year old can make him feel like a man for sure.

I really do think that some people are drawn to people with problems, who are less intelligent, poorer, weaker, or younger if they have no sense of self or true strength. Theirs is derived from this fake sense of power by default. Yeah, I when I tried to set those boundaries, I got called controlling over and over again. But I believe I have codependent tendencies that I am exploring, and control is an weakness for me to work on.