Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s letter is answered by freelance writer, Rachel East, AKA ReginaRey.
Truthfully, I yearn to find that person that I’m meant to be with. I know I am capable of falling in love, very deeply so, as well. About a year ago, I fell in love with one of my best friends, but he had a LOT of baggage and emotional issues that eventually tore us apart in a matter of a few months. He doesn’t even speak to me anymore. I’ve never felt like that about anyone before and haven’t since.
So, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get excited about dating a new guy like all these other women are? Why is it I just don’t feel that connection with any of these men I go out with? I am worried I’ll be destined to be alone if I can’t fix this weird behavior. All I want is to be normal and feel okay about dating someone new. — Commitaphobe
Telling you what’s wrong is practically impossible because I don’t know your life’s history. There are countless possible reasons why you repeat this pattern, and without more information I’m just as lost as you are. But like most wannabe therapists, I’m pretty good at making a lot of assumptions and formulating theories using very little information. So let’s start conjecturing, shall we?
It’s telling to me that you aren’t interested in men who are “sweet, attentive, and attractive,” while the one person who you’ve loved the most in your lifetime came with “a LOT” of baggage and emotional issues. What does this mean? Well, it could mean that you gravitate toward “projects.” You know, the kind of guys who need nurturing and who will be wonderful partners as soon as they get a job, find direction and work through their abandonment issues?
Or maybe you’re not interested in the “nice” guys because they’re actually paying attention to you. Perhaps you aren’t confident or secure, and you’re turned off by men who like about you what you fail to like about yourself. After all, “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” (Random Sex & The City quote FTW! Don’t hate me!)
But seriously, Carrie Bradshaw had a point there. If you aren’t happy with yourself, if your life is leaving you unfulfilled, then you’re never going to find the kind of serious, meaningful, healthy, long-term relationship that you so badly want. If you both don’t love YOU, then you’re lacking a pretty important common denominator, and setting yourself up for perpetual relationship imbalance.
Or maybe you didn’t have the best childhood. Maybe your parents didn’t make you feel worthwhile and confident, and that led you to feel unworthy of a deep, meaningful relationship. Maybe your parents got divorced while you were young and it scared you so much that you actively avoid any sort of relationship that has lasting potential.
And maybe the problem is simply that you haven’t found the right guy yet. The point of dating is to test compatibility, to determine if you have the kind of chemistry and connection to begin a long-term relationship. Just because dudes are sweet, attentive and good-looking doesn’t mean you’re going to click with them. Maybe the problem is that you keep looking for dudes in the wrong place. Maybe you need to cast your net in different directions! Maybe you’re so focused on finding any guy to connect with that you’re forgetting to concentrate on what makes a good partner for you.
I have an endless amount of theories, but I have no idea if any of them will resonate with you. But what I am sure of? You don’t know why you keep repeating this pattern, and as long as you’re in the dark, it will keep happening.
I suggest that if you’re interested in breaking the pattern, sit down with a real therapist, not a poser like me. While you’re there, realize that this isn’t really about “fixing” your issue with relationships; it’s about learning to understand yourself as a whole person. Along the way, you’ll probably figure out why you repeat this frustrating pattern, but more importantly, you’re going to learn a lot about yourself. And once you’ve figured YOU out, the relationships will follow suit.
*ReginaRey (Real Name: Rachel East) is a full-time Events & Promotions Coordinator and a part-time freelance writer focusing on dating and relationships. One day, after tackling grad school, she plans to be your Marriage and Family Therapist…because the only thing better than talking about relationships all day is getting paid to talk about relationships all day. You can check out her weekly column here and follow her on Twitter @MissRachelEast.