Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Q & A: "relationships never seem to work out for me"

Q: I have a big problem - relationships never seem to work out for me. Every time without fail, it just never seems to work out. I have given my all, but it just hasn't worked out.

Earlier this year I asked a girl I've known for a few years to go out with me. We had been sidestepping each other for a few months, and everyone could see that we were more than friends. The thing is she is really involved in her academics and school life. Me, I'm a total opposite, so naturally I've got more time on my hands than she does.

I asked her out and got good and bad results: She said that she just didn't have time for a boyfriend, but she did like me too and she did want to go out with me, but just not now. I was satisfied, and we decided that we wouldn't go out, but just be together, and both wait till school is over and then go out properly and officially.

Things went well for a month but now exams have started and she doesn't have time for me anymore. She needs to concentrate on her schoolwork. She said that we should just be good friends for the moment, but I can't go back to the way things were a few months ago (can you ever go back?). After what we've shared I can't go back. She is the best girl I've ever met, and I really wanted things to work out well. I just couldn't believe what was happening and still can't because things were going so well.

I just feel that someone like her doesn't come along twice in a lifetime, and I don't want to lose her. I asked her again if she'd want to go out after school was finished and now she says she doesn't know what she'll want in six months. What can I do to make things work out for me? -Waiting

Dear Waiting,
I know you really like this girl, but you need to get a life. You've made her your entire life and now she's busy. Right now you're too dependent on her. What an opportunity for you to spend the next six months creating your own life. This will do several things for you: give you back your self-respect and build some self-esteem, give you a goal to work towards and achieve, and, (this is probably the most important to you) make you more attractive to her. In six months when you have a life, you'll have something to share with her and bring to the relationship. You'll be interesting again because you'll be vibrant, alive and filled with passion.

Q: I love your site. I am a South American transplant. I have read your archive top to bottom and I have been following your advice. I met a wonderful man almost (also from another traditional culture) four months ago. He moved out ten months ago from a really bad whirlwind six-month marriage after only knowing her for six months. He has been legally divorced for about two months. We have become close friends as I patiently listened to him process his "failed marriage". It is obvious to me that he likes me for more than friendship, yet he has told me that he is not ready for another committed relationship yet. He also does not want to lose me. He has respected me like a complete gentleman not wanting to "use" me because he says he values me too much. I am falling hard for this guy since I have never met a nicer human being and I have been divorced for eleven years waiting for a real man like this one.

I am a woman of principles and moral values and I am happy that he respects me. However, I would like some minimal affection. He says he could not do that without moving to the next level in our relationship, which would involve an exclusive commitment because he is not ready for that yet. My question is: How long do I wait for more? I cannot seem to shut down my already lit heart, yet I am being asked to be patient and be just friends and let things happen naturally! It is a little like torture to me yet I have nothing better going on, nor do I want to miss the chance of this being the right one.

I've used your connect the dots and the only missing piece is the passion. Should I ask him for a time out for me to think and see if I can just be friends? Should I just grin and bear it and enjoy his wonderful friendship?--Sleepless in San Diego

Dear Sleepless in San Diego,
Thank you. I'm glad you like my site and have found my advice useful. I don't think you're going to like the advice I'm going to give you.

This man is not ready for a relationship. He's already told you that. He is being honest and respectful. He already jumped into the fire once; he doesn't want history to repeat itself. He's taking his time.

Is the passion missing or is there passion and connection between the two of you but it's not being acted upon? If you can honestly handle being "just" his friend right now, then chill out, enjoy the friendship and let it progress. You can't push the river and you can't push this man. I would also start dating other men. Men sometimes rise to their sense of competition. Since you're not in an exclusive relationship, be the free agent that you are.

If you can't handle being friends, then distance yourself but keep the connection going. Don't cut him off completely. And don't let your frustration about where the relationship isn't going right now impact on the friendship the two of you have built. Good luck.

Q: I would like some advice on how to tell if a man is just shy or not interested? I am shy as well and there is someone I like, but he has a tendency to avoid me in person or seem distant in his responses to my e-mails. Sometimes when I look at him, he looks off immediately. He does know that I like him, but I am unsure of what he is telling me. I appreciate any advice you might have.-Shy Girl

Dear Shy Girl,
Let's look at the evidence. He avoids you in person and is distant in his emails. I'd say that he is telling you that he's not interested. He may be shy, but he also appears not interested.

I'd stop emailing him. You're pursuing him and doing his job. Do you want to be a Queen Bee or a Wannabe? It's your choice. Answer these questions. Does running after him bring you satisfaction or frustration? Do you like the way he is treating you? If the answer is no, then why are you continuing to run after him? If you decided to become a Queen Bee, you might be less frustrated and a whole lot happier. Let me know what happens.

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