I spend a lot of time responding to the questions I am asked about dating & relationships and I’m not shy about sharing my thoughts about what to expect in a relationship. If you would like any advice, feel free to message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.
Here are just some of the questions I’ve been asked this week.
Q: Why would an ex-partner avoid all kind of contact even years after the breakup? For example, avoiding meetings with friends-in-common or even looking in the general direction I’m standing?
A: It depends on why you broke up. If you were unfaithful or unkind then it’s understandable that your ex may not forgive you.
Some people take a very long time to forgive – if at all and if it was something really bad you may have to resign yourself to being ignored by this person forever.
It’s a little less understandable if they left you. Possibly they may feel guilty or even be unable to admit that they really want you back – but after years I think they would probably have made some effort to reach out to you by now.
I’m sure that if they are behaving like this towards you your friends have noticed. What do they think? Does anyone say anything? This must be quite embarrassing for everyone, not just you and arguably your ex is making themselves look a little daft by what lots of people would consider quite immature behaviour.
You could avoid contact and try to see your friends separately. Or, if you are brave enough you could confront your ex about their behaviour and see if you can at least repair some level of friendship and find out what’s going on.
Be aware though that this might risk opening the whole matter up again so if it was you who was the guilty party, I’d suggest letting sleeping dogs lie lest you give false hope.
Q: Why hasn’t my ex-boyfriend taken all of his stuff from our apartment weeks after our break up?
A: Are you secretly hoping he will come back? It may just be that he hasn’t got around to it or needs to arrange a van hire (or similar) to transport his stuff.
He would probably rather take his things when you are not there which means having to talk to you to arrange that.
You don’t say who was responsible for the break-up but it sounds like there is certainly either hurt or bad feeling on his side.
If there are just one or two things, he may have just written them off and have no intention of picking them up.
If there are lots of things then contact him and ask him to remove his things within a deadline or you’ll assume he doesn’t want them and they’ll go to charity.
If you want him back, then your best hope is to arrange to be there when he turns up and see if you can talk.
It is possible that he has left stuff with you because he can’t quite bear the final separation but the only way you will find this out is to talk to him.
Q: Regarding a relationship between a man and a woman – when does a woman start to be considered as desperate?
I am a 28-year-old woman. When I fall in love – it’s to the fullest. However, when I really start to care, I start to think I’m not good enough and that I have to do more for the other half.
I finally am with a guy I liked for a couple of years. It was great in the beginning. Now I feel insecure…
A: My advice to you would be to stop analysing your relationships. A relationship is not a science project or a maths equation.
Very often one partner loves more than the other or does more than the other but it still works. You don’t have to try so hard.
Feeling insecure is normal. It comes with that emotion we call love. If we didn’t love, we wouldn’t worry about the loss. You can’t have one without the other and at 28 you are old enough to understand that.
Concentrate on yourself a bit more. Build up your self-confidence The world does not revolve around men, or being in a relationship, getting married or having kids.
If you can focus on making yourself a strong, independent woman with whom any man would be honoured to have a relationship you’ll be on the right track.
Take the word desperation out of your vocabulary. Nobody is really ‘desperate’. We all just want to be loved.
If this is the right guy for you, he’ll understand if you tell him you’re feeling a bit down and need a hug.
Don’t forget your female friends. When we’re feeling down, having a network of supportive women friends can do more for our confidence than relying on the opinion of just one man.
Q: We’ve been friends for a while, she showed mutual interest but she says she doesn’t want a man in her life right now. What do I do?
I actually haven’t seen her in about 2 months, but I will when I go back to school. I haven’t gone out of my way to talk but recently, she’s been initiating conversations. Why is it that when I make plans, she agrees to them almost all of the time? I’m very confused.
A: There’s a difference between wanting to have a male friend and a boyfriend.
There are also some women who like the reassurance of knowing that someone finds them attractive, even though they don’t really want to be in a relationship with them.
The fact that two months have passed since you saw her last suggest that the latter is closer to the truth.
You say she initiates conversations – about what? I take it you are pleasant and responsive. What do you mean when you say you ‘make plans’ – are you still asking her out on a date when she has told you clearly that she doesn’t want a man in her life right now?
I think this girl enjoys your attention but is not interested enough to go out on a date so I would stop focusing on her and find a girl who is interested.
It sounds as if she is playing games with you – and you, to be quite honest, are letting her.
Q: Why do boyfriends always like to tickle us?
I’ve dated a number of guys and nearly half of them really liked tickling me, especially my feet. Is this something about guys or maybe a cultural thing in the US? I probably started it with my boyfriend. I started it by tickling his feet.
A: This is a new one on me! I think it is more to do with the kind of men you are attracting – many of whom seem to have a thing about feet.
Perhaps you have a really infectious giggle and the easiest way to make you laugh is to tickle your feet?
You freely admit that you started it with your boyfriend and perhaps he interprets it as a kind of foreplay?
Anyway, it’s certainly not a cultural thing I’m aware of – but if you enjoy it and it’s not hurting anybody then carry on I say.
Q: How can I get back together with my girl after she left me for a senior at my college?
We were great together in the first year, but she started to drift away from me in the second year. She started going out with this senior and would not even tell me about him. I want to get back the same spark with her.
A: Short answer. Unless she wants to come back to you, you can’t and would you really want to be responsible for breaking up her current relationship?
Sometimes we really want to be with people because we can’t have them whereas if they did come back we may wonder what all the fuss was about.
Once a spark is gone, it is very difficult to get it back and, hard though it is to accept, your ex-girlfriend has moved on.
I get the feeling you are even more hurt because she chose a ‘senior’.
Why not concentrate on finding a new girlfriend and trying to act with the same level of maturity that your ex found attractive in her new guy? By that I mean, move on, find someone new and don’t try to break up her new relationship.
You could tell her that you miss her and want her back and see what she says but if you do, you’ll have her current boyfriend to deal with.
Unless she has given any indication that she wants to come back, it’s time to move on – particularly since she was unfaithful to you behind your back. Aren’t you worth more than that?
Q: Do women really like funny guys when they say they like them?
In many dating apps, I see women saying “I like when a man makes me laugh”. I have two questions. Firstly, are men supposed to be funny? Is this our role in a relationship – to make a girl laugh? Secondly, I see many amazing women with madmen. Men that they insult them and maybe even hit them. But women love them. why?
A: Firstly, yes we do like men who make us laugh but that is a tiny part of the equation.
Truth is it’s a mystery why some couples are attracted to one another but we try to analyse the factors that seem to work and humour does seem to be one.
Of course, a man’s role isn’t to make a girl laugh – it’s an advantage if he can. No woman wants to spend her time with a guy who is entirely serious and who can never see the funny side of things. Worse is if a man cannot laugh at himself.
On dating apps it is impossible to say exactly what we want in a relationship because most of us don’t know ourselves – so we pick on humour as one that ticks at least one of the boxes.
As to why women stay with men who hit them, that is an entirely different issue and the psychology of domestic violence (which is what we are basically talking about) is not something that can be distilled into one or two sentences.
And it’s not just women who are the victims of domestic violence either so I’m not sure it’s a gender-specific issue.
Personally, I would never stay with a man who insulted or mistreated me but the women who do may well love their partners and hope against hope that they may one day change.
Again, it is not easy to say why we love who we love.
All you can do is concentrate on being you and find someone who appreciates your unique qualities – but try to see the funny side occasionally.
Q: How can I make a girl be sure that she likes me?
A: How can you make a girl know for sure that she likes you? A better question is how can I make myself as attractive as possible to a girl?
It really is quite simple. Be a nice, kind, attentive person who listens and shows respect. Be faithful and honest. Be willing to compromise.
In terms of personal appearance, be clean, dress as well as you can and make sure your manners are impeccable.
Other than that, you cannot control her feelings. If she doesn’t not find you attractive, then you just have to shrug your shoulders and move on. You cannot make someone love you.
It may not even be personal. Some people have a ‘type’ or want certain things.
What about you? How will you know when you have met the right girl for you?
That’s an even better question.
How would you have responded to these questions? I’d love to know.
Knowing what to expect in a relationship can be quite tricky and you’ll find more dating advice on my weekly 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.