He's Feeling Used
Q: I'm in love with a 21-year-old girl. I've never felt like this for a girl in my whole life. The sad thing is that I feel she's been using me this whole time for financial reasons. We have been really intimate together, with lots of sexual foreplay kind of games, but we never had intercourse because she said she wanted to remain abstinent. She used to call me a lot and I thought she was also feeling something for me. But now that she has what she wanted from me (material help), and she finally got a job, she stopped calling me. Last time I talked to her she told me that she didn't want to commit and that she has her dreams (aspiring singer) and wants to pursue them and would prefer that things stay like that between us. Would you give me advice on how to forget about her? Because right now it hurts so bad and the pain is really unbearable. I want to get my life on track and never have to be hurt like that anymore. -- Sam, 26
Dr. Susan: Cupid's really a mean little critter, always making one half of a couple more in love than the other. You fell in love quickly and wanted to move the relationship forward, while this girl never got to that point and wanted to keep things cooler between you. Such things happen all the time among couples, and it doesn't always mean the girl is a gold-digger or is using you until she's gotten a job or whatever. Maybe she stopped calling because now that she has a job, she has other outlets for her energies and conversation, and also because she could sense your seriousness and was worried that it would derail her singing career if she stuck with you.
Oh, Sam, how I wish I could give you a magic formula for finding love but never having to risk the terrible pain you're enduring now. But it doesn't work that way. In each relationship, you have to take a risk and be your best self and give whatever you have to give (without being a total jerk and sucker, of course). Then if the other person shows no signs of giving back, you back off. You're right to want to get your life back on track and forget her. The way to make the pain lessen is to get involved in activities of any kind, whether you feel like it at the moment or not. Get yourself some music that always makes you feel energetic, get some exercise, join just about anything but with no expectation that you'll meet the love of your life instantaneously. Try not to let your experience with this girl color your feelings about every girl you meet from now on. That would be absolutely the wrong way to look for love. Good luck!
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.