Can't Lose What You Don't Have
Q: I met this wonderful girl (20) and we dated for about three weeks. We have so much in common. We never lied to one another. We had sex twice. I then get a phone call from her telling me that she is confused about us and about how she feels about me. I go over to talk to her and comfort her. She tells me that she's not sure where her heart is. So we decide to break up and slow down and become better friends before trying again. Now when I try to talk to her or go see her, I get my feelings thrown back in my face, but she still cares if I talk to other people about what I should do. How can you be friends when the other doesn't take the time to get to know you? I'm a loving and caring guy who has had only four girlfriends in my life. They all ended for me the same way, with me broken-hearted. Have I lost the one person that I cared so much for or do I keep trying to win her heart? -- Mark, 27
Dr. Susan: Three weeks of dating isn't a whole lot to base any decisions on, much less enough time to let your heart get broken. That may be the key right there, Mark. You jump in whole-heartedly to each beginning relationship, and when it doesn't work out, you're devastated. Your neediness may be driving women away. You're comparing each of your efforts and coming up empty, feeling worse about yourself. But no relationship will work out, until the one that does! It's that way for everyone.
In this instance, you need to take this girl at face value. She's confused. Maybe she didn't mean to get so deeply involved so soon. You don't even know for sure that she hasn't lied to you at some point. How can anyone know that in only three weeks of going out? So, slow down. Keep all mention of feelings on a back burner. If she'll consent, just do things that friends do, like a movie date or go miniature golfing or whatever. See if you can still be comfortable with one another. If things don't go back to being fun and easy, you may have to cross this one off. See if you can learn anything about what went wrong. Maybe this very honest girl will talk to you about that at some later point.
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Advice for Her
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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.