I spend a lot of time responding to the questions I am asked about the most common relationship dilemmas about dating and relationships on Quora.com and I thought I’d share some of my answers with you in case you are going through anything similar.
Obviously, I am not an expert but I am a 50-something married mum of two with quite a few years’ experience under my belt. I take the view that, sometimes, you need to hear it like you would from your own mother – however tough the truth may be.
Here are just some of the questions I’ve been asked this week.
Q: My partner and I broke up because he realized he doesn’t feel ready to fully commit to a relationship at the moment. What should I do, beyond waiting?
He said he’d hit me up when he’d feel ready to fully commit because currently, he doesn’t want a relationship with anyone. We love each other a fair lot, and I’m willing to wait for him to make up his mind and get back together, as unbearable as the wait is.
A: I’m afraid this guy is looking for a way out of the relationship and hasn’t got the guts to tell you. If he loved you that much he would have no hesitation making a commitment.
Your best bet is to try to move on and develop your own social life – you will probably meet someone new who loves and values you and is ready for a commitment.
Pressurising a guy into making a commitment rarely works though and most will run away scared if they are not that into you.
Work on developing your own self-confidence and self-esteem. Men can wait.
Q: My ex-girlfriend who dumped me wants us to give our relationship another try. I don’t know if I’m ready. What should I do?
A: Say no. It’s obvious you’re not really interested and if you go back there is no guarantee she won’t dump you again.
Sometimes in relationships, people do things which are unforgivable. It doesn’t make you a weak person for saying ‘no more’ and standing up for yourself.
You could ask for a bit of space I suppose but the fact that you ‘don’t know if you’re ready’ tells me you should concentrate on finding someone new.
If your ex dumped you because YOU were unfaithful or an idiot, on the other hand, then a bit of time out reflecting on how you could be a better boyfriend is called for, to avoid getting dumped again.
Q: My girlfriend and I got into a fight and now her parents won’t let me talk to her. Are they wrong to block me?
A: As her parents, they have every right to do what they consider best for their daughter’s happiness. If she is not making every effort to talk to you then she agrees with them.
It sounds like this was not a minor argument. If you need to say sorry and apologise then I would do so quickly – and start by apologising to her parents.
That’s the mature thing to do and will win you points from both them and your girlfriend.
Q: I have been hanging out with this girl for about 6 weeks. She’s had bad relationships before and we both like each other but she freaks out if I tell her I love her. Her last relationship was about 3 years ago. I love her and am nice and respectful but she has asked me to wait for her because there are lots of things she needs to think about. How long should I wait for her? What should I do?
A: I’m not surprised. It’s only been 6 weeks and you hardly know each other. Calm down or you will frighten her off! If she has a troubled past you need to take things VERY slowly and build up her trust. Get to know each other. Do lots of talking, particularly if her last relationship was 3 years ago – that’s a long time.
In terms of ‘ waiting for you’, I take it she means she is not ready for a sexual relationship – and again, after 6 weeks this is not surprising.
Why are you in such a hurry? If you keep pressurizing her, she’ll be gone. You can’t keep someone by telling them you love them, you know.
At heart, most of us know these things take time if they are real and if they have a chance of lasting.
Q: Is there anything you can do to ‘unattract‘ someone already attracted to you?
A: Other than being completely horrible or cruel, I’d say no. Why would you want to turn off or hurt someone who has genuine feelings for you? Your responsibility is to find a way to communicate that YOU are not attracted to them or feel the same way. If this is an existing relationship then you need to consider whether you should end it if you don’t feel the same attraction. If this is attention from someone who is causing trouble or you are finding a nuisance, then the adult thing to do is be honest and just make it clear that, while you are flattered, you don’t feel the same way. Giving false hope is cruel. As is encouraging their attention whilst being dishonest about how you really feel.
Q: How can I tell my girlfriend to stop talking to another guy who likes her?
A: This is one of those common relationship dilemmas that is tricky to deal with. In all honesty, you can’t. And the more you go on about it, the more attractive he will seem to her, not least because she will start to view your behaviour as controlling and possessive. If you can’t trust her, it may be worth changing our girlfriend. If all she is doing is having a friendly conversation with him, on the other hand, some exploration of why you are so insecure is needed. Be warned. Jealousy is deeply unattractive.
Q: What do you think of a young Christian man who does not want children ever?
A: It is entirely your choice. The most important thing is that you are honest about your decision with your future partner(s). It would be unkind to develop a loving relationship with a woman who wants children without her being aware of your feelings on the subject. I also think it would be worth exploring your reasons why you don’t want children as it is a little unusual to make that decision quite so young.
Q: I will move soon and it is unlikely that I will see the narcissistic ex-boyfriend who dumped me again. Should I meet him one last time?
A: Not unless you want to give him yet another ego boost. It sounds like you are really not over him and are looking for a way back into the relationship. Running away to the other side of the country won’t help you know. You need to talk to someone like a counsellor or trusted family friend about what happened (NOT him) to understand that this happens to loads of other women and that he WILL do it all again to the next woman. Some people are just intrinsically flawed and there may actually be NO answer, other than he got bored and perhaps felt he could be more adored by someone else. Please don’t keep chasing a man who is beneath your dignity.
Q: Is it natural, in your opinion, for the woman to be the one to make the first unplanned sexual advance?
A: These days, yes. Also if the relationship has been going on for a while and the guy has been reluctant to make a move, then understandably the woman wants to test the waters to find out what’s going on. I’m a little concerned by what you term as ‘unplanned’ – sex doesn’t have a timetable. If you are feeling uneasy then you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. I can’t tell whether you are the woman or man in this question, but I sense that someone, somewhere is feeling a bit uncomfortable.
Sex should be a natural, unforced part of a relationship – not something to be ticked off a checklist.
Q: Why do all the shitty guys get the girlfriends and the nice guys don’t?
A: Probably because they are more confident and employ the “treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen’ approach which most intelligent women will only put up with for so long. The shitty guys may have the girlfriends but do they keep them? Do they get to marry the girl of their dreams? I’m guessing not. You need to develop a bit more confidence in yourself because I’ll bet you have a lot more to offer than men who shore up their frail egos by behaving like complete idiots to women. I do think that the shitty guys might be prepared to take a few more risks and care a little less about rejection – that’s because they think they are so marvellous. And that’s what you need to start thinking about yourself – without acting like an idiot of course.
How would you have coped with these common relationship dilemmas? You can find more advice on my problem page.
Want to read the answers to last week’s questions? They’re here.
All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other healthcare providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom.