A string of bad relationships

Wayne POWELL

Monday, November 26, 2018

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Dear Counsellor,

I need your help in understanding if I am destined to be alone. I have been having a string of bad relationships for a while now and the last was no different. I met a nice guy online and we spoke often, and things seemed to be going well. We met up one day when he was in town passing through and had a great night, I thought. The next thing was that I got a message saying that he thought I deserved better and he had a lot on his plate.

What does that mean? Do you think I may have said something that could have turned him off and I don't know? Am I just not cut out to be in a relationship? I am starting to doubt myself and I am wondering if this is a sign that I need to be by myself and just be alone. My heart has been broken too often. Help!

People enter relationships with agendas that may not be in alignment with each other and because of the discord at the outset interpersonal challenges occur.

It is always a good idea to establish the rules of engagement in the relationship so that both partners know what to expect from the other. Certainly, meeting someone, especially online, the communication would be superficial without much in-depth probing and detailed discussion about each other. As time passes, they develop an emotional bond and one or both become emotionally attached.

In your situation, was it that you were developing “feelings” for your online friend and he was not ready to deal with the feelings component of the relationship and just wanted to keep everything on the surface? What could also be the case is that he may have been in a current relationship and felt guilty if he were to pursue one with you. It could also be a case of not wanting to start a long-distance relationship and deciding to back out before the emotional ties were concretised.

The statement he made that he thinks you deserve better is quite instructive. Is it that he was in fact protecting you from what could have been heartache and emotional pain? Does he have a history of infidelity that could impair the relationship? His walking away before the foundational roots are grown could be a blessing in disguise. The truth is that some men are terrified of commitment and you may have posed a threat in that regard. Without the benefit of the facts, one can only speculate and give him the benefit of doubt that he does have a lot on his plate as he has indicated.

Have you stopped to determine what are common factors in all the break-ups you have had? Are the men you are attracted to more focused on career and making money and less on affairs of the heart?

Many relatively young men in their 30s and 40s are less inclined to settle down in committed relationships. The woman in a similar age range is more interested in marriage and establishing a family. Is that where your mindset is?

Some women in a series of failed relationships would take full responsibility for the break-ups and say as you have said, “I am destined to be alone”. They retreat to the single life with much discontentment and quickly lose self-confidence and self-esteem.

I implore you not to lock the door on the possibility of finding someone who has a similar agenda as yours. You may want to change and/or expand your social circles to include men who are established in their careers and ready to settle. The online dating services do give you an opportunity to select a profile that would best suit your desires.

So whether you find someone or you chose to remain single, the important thing is to be happy.

Take care.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com or powellw@seekingshalom.org . Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/ .

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