Then, in May, I dated a guy who was closer to where I lived. I was skeptical and still hurt from my ex, but this guy seemed promising. We were both open and honest about a lot of things; I even met his parents after a few weeks of talking (and they fell in love with me instantly). We dated from May until the end of July when he confessed (via a text message) that he wanted to break up with me (he has Asperger’s Syndrome and he says he couldn’t give me the love I deserved) and, so, another heartbreak started to take the form of bitterness and depression. I’m a great girlfriend, but I seem to attract guys who aren’t serious about commitment, at least with me.
In mid-September, there was a guy on Facebook (he’s 34) who reached out to me about a comment I made on a post, saying he liked my style. He even sent me a friend request, mentioning he’s an artist, and he showed me some of his work. After a while, we started talking about art, video games (even playing a lot together), our lives, and that we have a lot in common. He told that he loved my company and loves our common interests, but he’s not looking to date, only looking for friends and that he can’t do LDR again (he met his ex-wife online). I told him the feeling was mutual.
Then in October, he tells me how he felt bad because he started to really like me. Now we’re texting and calling each other, and he even calls me “babe,” “beautiful” and other similar things. It’s really sweet, but I still have shields up from the previous relationships that went south. He understands, but tells me he’ll be patient and will show me in time that he’s different.
Wendy, I do really like him, but I’ve heard that line too much this year, and I’m afraid to open up again. Your thoughts? — Terrified to Love Again
Have you met the 34-year-old guy from Facebook or have you just interacted online?
Ok, no. Just, no. Only weeks before you connected with this guy on Facebook, you report feeling bitter and depressed. You claimed to not want an LDR. The guy claimed to not want an LDR. You’ve never met each other and have no plans to meet each other for, like, seven more months. You have a bad track record with LDRs/guys you’ve met online. And yet — and YET! — you seem willing — eager, even — to see where this relationship goes? I’ll tell you where it goes: it goes nowhere. It goes nowhere because neither of you actually wants a real relationship. You seem content with online flirting and so does he. You’ve both said as much to each other.
You want to know why you keep ending up with these guys who don’t want a commitment? Because you keep giving them your time! Even despite their telling you point-blank they don’t want a relationship, you still give them your time and attention and then wonder why things don’t work out. And, honestly, it seems like maybe it’s not just the guys who don’t want commitments. I think maybe you don’t really want one either. Why else do you keep pursuing guys who don’t live near you? Why else are you still on the prowl when you say yourself that you’re bitter, depressed, and skeptical? Does that seem like someone who is open to a happy and committed relationship? Or does it sound like someone who’s sabotaging herself before even getting out of the gate?
Listen, take some time off. Maybe delete your social media accounts and spend more time offline. Be single for a while. It’s really not that bad. Clean your dating palate before you set out to date again. How will you know when you’re dating palate is clean? When you no longer feel skeptical and depressed and bitter. Until then, focus your energy elsewhere, cause ain’t nothing good grows on the foundation of depression and bitterness. At least, not when it comes to relationships.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.
Firestar December 1, 2016, 8:22 am
Be single. The 34 year old likes the attention, and I’m sure thinks you are great and all, but don’t get it twisted – if a hot woman crosses his path, he isn’t saying no. And then you’ll be upset he “cheated” assuming you even know. All the while committing yourself. And letting valid opportunities pass by. Dumb.
Be single. Set a deadline that you aren’t even going to think about dating. 3 months. Whatever. Think about what you really want and how to recognize those traits in others. And then date local.
Also, your ex was an asshole to put the girl he was cheating with on the phone with you. They wanted a show and you gave it to them. Next time hang up.
Brise December 1, 2016, 8:57 am
If you start making a list of all the guys who don’t answer your expectations, you are in a really bad place. Don’t be so desperate, seeking validation in men at any cost. What did your ex-boyfriend was cowardly wrong. I think it happens to everybody to experience a bad break-up by a douchebag. So don’t repeat that. Forget about this artist. Enjoy your college life, now. Meet the college activities, go out, have fun. Life is not all about duties and desperate online flirting. Embrace real life. Love is there.
bagge72 December 1, 2016, 9:11 am
If you are having such trouble in your dating life, why are you willing to commit yourself to someone you have never met for another seven months or so? I’m guessing you have already removed yourself form the dating scene because of this guy, and that just seems absurd to me. If you want a friend to play online games with, that’s cool, but you need to keep moving on with your life, before you are stuck in this shitty rut again, which it actually seems like you are already there. You need to find a guy that is willing to show you he wants to be with you, not guys who make up excuses why they can’t be with you.
Essie December 1, 2016, 9:38 am
@Brise is so right. Well, everyone is, starting with Wendy, but the key thing is to stop desperately jumping from guy to guy. Stop latching on to every guy who says something nice to you and shows you a little attention.
It’s OK to be single. Sometimes, it’s *necessary* to be single. It creates the space in your life that you need to be able to develop good relationships. How many really good guys have you not even noticed because you’re skyping with a guy who’s hundreds or thousands of miles away, desperately trying to make a relationship happen?
Just stop dating, enjoy college, do stuff with your friends. If you meet a guy who seems nice, try being friends for awhile. Take it slow and easy. Actually get to know him before you decide he’s your next boyfriend.
And for heaven’s sake, stop responding to thirty-something randos who hit on you on Facebook.
Miss Anne Thrope December 1, 2016, 9:51 am
It seems like you have a pattern of overestimating the commitment level of your relationships (your last breakup perhaps being the exception. )
To use a tired analogy, you don’t go fishing for tuna in the Great Lakes. You want a committed, long term relationship. Where are you meeting the majority of the men you’re dating? Because odds are the 34 year old man who “likes your style” stereotypically isn’t looking for the same thing. If you’re ready for a relationship, you have to 1- be proactive about it and 2- figure out the basic values you’re looking for in a partner, give people a chance, but don’t feel guilty for shutting it down when you figure out they don’t have those qualities you need.
Fyodor December 1, 2016, 10:22 am
You need to be more deliberative and for lack of a better word, procedural, in your dating. Go on dates with people and try to determine if you’re a good match and let the attachment build gradually. You shouldn’t become emotionally attached to someone who gives you compliments on facebook. You shouldn’t be meeting some dude’s parents after two weeks.
To answer the title question, you keep becoming attached to men who aren’t good prospects because most people aren’t good long term relationship prospects for each other. The process of socializing and dating are supposed to help you figure out which people are good romantic prospects. But you’re diving headfirst into these pseudo-relationships with virtual strangers without performing that sorting/discriminating.
csp December 1, 2016, 12:51 pm
Totally agree! Most people you start dating aren’t going to get past 3 months. That is the point of those early dates. I think the LW is grabbing at scraps.
Janelle December 1, 2016, 11:37 am
This may sound harsh but it is not meant to be, but you seem just obsessed with being in a relationship. You need to heal from past wounds, focus on yourself and find your own happiness. You will never find what you want in life, or a relationship otherwise.
dinoceros December 1, 2016, 11:54 am
I think you are overreacting to an extent. You gave three examples that are not related to each other at all. One is a long-term relationship that ended, one is a guy who broke up after a few months (didn’t cite that he doesn’t want commitment), and a guy you talked to on Facebook who isn’t wanting something serious. But you’re saying this is proof that you attract guys who don’t want commitment. Not every breakup or lack of interest means they can’t commit and seeing as how these are totally unsimilar, I don’t see how it could be a reflection of you. Aside from maybe you getting too invested too early, so what would otherwise be a very passing thing for other people becomes an actual breakup or other heartache to you. Plenty of people speak with someone and then find out they want different things and move on. If asked to describe relationship problems, they probably wouldn’t even list it because it was a non-event. You’ve very sensitive to this, so that’s probably why you are seeing a pattern because it upsets you.
One piece of advice is to learn to distance yourself from the dating process a bit. If you talk with someone in person or social media, don’t start visualizing them as a potential partner immediately. You need to take time to get to know them and learn what they want. If they say they want to be friends or be casual, then move on. Don’t meet someone’s parents in a few weeks. Doing those things aren’t a sign that they want a commitment or that they really like you. It’s usually that they are bad at understanding the trajectory of relationships and fail to understand that rushing in meeting the parents or rushing into whatever else is bad, not good. Sometimes it’s even a sign the person is addicted to the feeling of falling in love, versus being OK with the gradual building of a real relationship. On the other side, don’t take *too* much time. It’s OK to ask someone what they are looking for. Don’t date someone for three months just to find out that they never wanted a relationship to begin with and “thought you knew that.” Dating is very much a logical process of finding someone who works well with you. A lot of people think it’s just some kind of wonderland where your heart leads you to wonderful passion and love, but you need to also be realistic and practical and not dive in with someone you barely know.
artsygirl December 1, 2016, 2:15 pm
LW – Relationships can be validating and comforting. You have someone who knows you, loves you, and is able to support you. It is apparent that you are still adrift about the betrayal of your ex and are looking to replicate those feelings, but this is not the way to do it. You know what else can be validating and comforting, friends and family. Instead of trying to find a guy to commit, why not build off the support network you already have. Schedule nights out with girlfriends, plan coffee meet ups with family, perhaps pursue some hobbies (book club, rock climbing, brewing) which would expand your contact with people. Don’t tie yourself up over a guy that is not available. Best of luck!
bittergaymark December 1, 2016, 2:33 pm
Dear Wendy! HELP!!! Somehow, rather mysteriously, I keep deliberately dating messed up guys with lots of issues. And then — somehow they won’t ever seem to be able to get their shit together and date me. But now I think I have it all sorted out. I am going to waste many many months on a fantasy LDR whom I’ve never met and will surely be all that I hope and desire. Wait, why am I writing you again? I seem to have this all figured out! Love you! Bye!
Penrod December 7, 2016, 10:04 am
Get a book by Barbra DeAngelis-called “Are you the one for me?” -finding who is right,avoiding who is wrong. This is a great resource to avoid making poor dating choices. The best part is you really figure out who you are and what you want and can access a potential relationship to see if it may be aa good one.