As you may know, I spend a lot of time responding to the questions I am asked about dating & 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: How can I tell if he is my soulmate or am I just infatuated?
I have the tendency to overthink, especially on the emotions I have for my partner. Part of me feels like he’s my soulmate while a part of me says I’m just infatuated. My partner has always been great.
A: In a way, they’re the same thing. ‘Soulmate’ is a term straight out of romantic fiction – it’s Mr Darcy in Pride & Prejudice territory. If you are both happy and have a great relationship, why do you need to label it?
Whilst I believe there is ‘someone for everyone’, I’m not sure that there is just one. Times change, people change – nothing is carved in stone.
Rather than focus on your feelings, it would be more sensible to see how he is feeling and whether your feelings are reciprocated. Is he treating you well?
Surely that’s far more important?
Q: My boyfriend came back to me and confessed he’s still in love with a married girl he had an affair with. Should I let go?
He tells me he cares for me and he says he loves the way I love him but he is still not over this other girl. Should I dump him and never look back? I’m in love with him and he treats me as if he really loved me…
A: Why would you want to be with someone who has openly admitted he loves someone else? What is the point?
Why do you value yourself so low that you are prepared to be a friend with benefits?
It doesn’t matter about the fact the girl is married. It does matter he had an affair and he doesn’t sound remotely guilty about it.
Definitely, time to move on.
Q: What do you do when your boyfriend loves you but you don’t love him yet?
A: It sounds as if there is no spark. I don’t believe you can manufacture love. If you don’t feel the same way as your boyfriend you are being unfair and should set him free.
That said, is it possible that you do actually love him but have issues admitting it to yourself or are expecting fanfares and roses every time you see him.
You don’t sound very experienced so you may be better off dating a few more guys until you find one who you really do feel something for.
Q: My girlfriend is now too serious about our relationship, but wasn’t before when I was. What should I do?
She wants to start the relationship in a new way, but I am more focused on my career right now than starting a new relationship. I am afraid to start everything from the beginning again. When I talk about a breakup, she starts crying which makes me feel bad, what should I do?
A: You have to stand firm and be honest. She may well cry but you are being unkind to give her false hope if you feel that your relationship has run its course.
Are you sure though that wanting to focus on your career is the real reason you’d rather break up? Is it possibly the case that now the ‘chase’ is over you have lost interest?
Whatever it is, you are doing this girl no favours by keeping her dangling. Tell her it’s over quickly and kindly so that she can start to heal and move on as soon as possible.
Q: How do I text a guy I like but he doesn’t know me?
A: You don’t. You get to know him a little first to see if he is interested in you and would like to be in contact.
Texting guys you don’t know is a little ‘stalker-ish’, don’t you think?
It’s probably an old-fashioned sentiment these days but I still believe guys like to do the chasing so if I were you, I’d concentrate on how to get him to ask for YOUR number.
Q: What can I do to a car to get back at my lying boyfriend?
A: Nothing. Because if you do, not only will he have got away with lying but he will have pushed you into embarrassing yourself and committing a criminal act.
Haven’t you heard the expression “revenge is a dish best served cold”?
Glam up, go out and show him you don’t need him – that’s the true revenge.
Q: Do you think my boyfriend will forgive me for barely kissing someone else when blackout drunk?
A: If he’s not completely turned off by the fact that you were that drunk, possibly. Whether you were ‘barely’ kissing someone else or not, you are putting yourself at risk from something far worse than the odd kiss by being that drunk.
But, most of us have drunk too much, whether intentionally or not at one point in our lives so, as long as it’s not a regular thing for you, I’d make a joke of it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
If your boyfriend won’t forgive you you’ll just have to take it on the chin – but remember that I’ll bet he’s no angel either.
Q: Due to our vastly different upbringings and experiences, my significant other is losing faith in our relationship. What can I say to comfort him?
A: Our differences are what makes our relationship a learning experience for me — which I take as an opportunity to grow. My boyfriend, however, feels that I struggle to see the world through his eyes and am insensitive to what’s going on in America recently within the black community (I’m also black).
We all show our emotions in different ways and just because you don’t show yours in the same way as your boyfriend does not mean you are insensitive. Despite the fact that you say you have vastly different upbringings and experiences, I believe that, at heart, most human experience is the same – it’s not so much what we think, but what we feel – that’s what holds us all together – particularly at times of terrible events such as those experienced in the US recently.
It is our human capacity to love and reach out that matters. I would tell your boyfriend that you process emotion in your own way and that part of being in a relationship is giving each other space to experience emotion in your individual ways. You don’t deserve his censure and neither does he deserve yours.
Why not focus on the emotions that brought you together and how you feel together as a couple.
Ultimately, you can think the same things, hold the same opinions but if there’s no feeling, all you have is a friendship. You are not a cookie-cutter version of your boyfriend, you are a unique individual and you should celebrate your individuality and encourage your boyfriend to value that too.
That’s the way to help your relationship grow and endure.
Q: How long does it take for a friendship to grow into a relationship between a guy and a girl?
A: It very much depends if there was a spark there to start with and the reason why the couple became friends.
Shared interests and a sense of humour may not be instant relationship starters but they are the bedrock upon which a relationship will endure, but you have to have the sexual attraction there too.
It’s quite easy to tell if a relationship is going to turn into something more because the couple will want to spend every waking moment together. They will not be able to stop touching one another, however, innocently.
They will talk about each other to their friends and family when they are not together.
They will, as the saying goes, only have eyes for each other.
Shared companionship and feeling comfortable with each other is great and for some, it’s enough, but when you’re younger, I think it’s natural to want the full romantic relationship.
I think deep down we all know where our relationships are going – and it’s sometimes hard to admit that they may not be ‘the one’.
And if we’re not sure, our closest friends are usually able to tell us the truth with uncanny accuracy.
How would you have responded to these questions? You can find more dating advice on my problem page.
Want 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.