Too Busy for Love

Q: At 31, I've never yet been in any type of loving relationship. I am truly lost on how to go about meeting men that are interested in me. I am great at being interested in men that would not even dare to glance my way. My friends tell me that I definitely have an outgoing personality, but I become very nervous around any man I may be attracted to.

And worse, I am so involved in my work right now that I can't even remember the last guy I even found attractive because there has been no time to meet any. My career is pretty dominated by women, so it becomes difficult to meet anyone through work, and again, if someone were to set me up, where is the time to pursue it? My confidence in the relationship field is non-existent, but I really want to welcome someone into my life. Yet, the older I get, the more fearful I become of SO many things.

Can you give me a few key points to push me in the right direction?- Sophie, 31

Dr. Susan: Sophie, your fear and ambivalence show through every line of your letter. I hear longing, but I also hear fear and lack of confidence, along with rationalizations about time and lack of opportunity.

Try making a short list of your priorities in life. Then, alongside that, make a list of where your time goes. If they match up, fine. But if you truly want a relationship, yet all your time goes into work, then something has to change. If you're afraid to make changes, afraid to put yourself out there at social events — or even online dating — then consider whether your fear is really some kind of anxiety issue with which a therapist might help. There's only so much I can say in bullet points that will make a difference!

Key question: where would you like to be five years from now? Then make a couple small changes in your life and schedule. And remember, some of the nicest men are nervous around a new woman too. Just be real and someone will respond.

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