I get a lot of wacky emails from readers. By which I mean they make me want to bang my head against the desk. For example, one woman wrote to say she’s crazy about her boyfriend, and how can she get over his having had sex with her best friend while she was out of town?
A guy wrote to say that his wife has treated him badly for years, and as a final desperate move he convinced her to get into swinging with other couples. The relationship is still no good, why not? I don’t really believe people are this stupid – they must be motivated by some twisted psychology. Perhaps a mixture of denial and self-loathing.
Most requests for advice are not quite so ridiculous, but they often do contain elements of denial, lack of boundaries, anxiety and low self-esteem. I hear from people who are getting tromped on, hoping to hear that their circumstances don’t necessarily spell doom for the romance. Here are ten of the most common things people describe when they’re worried about their relationships:
1. He isn’t sure he wants a relationship.
If a guy says this, he 100% doesn’t want a relationship. No guy who ever wanted to date a woman said this to her. If you haven’t got F_ck Yeah! you haven’t got anything.
2. She’s really, really busy at work right now.
What does this mean? I worked 80 hours a week as a management consultant and did not hesitate to be in a committed relationship with my now-husband. What this really means is that she doesn’t want a relationship, full stop. Her top priority is working hard to advance her career, and she doesn’t want you hanging around her neck as dead weight while she zooms ahead.
3. Contact is irregular.
Here’s how a relationship timeline should look: —–> —–> —–> —–> ad infinitum
Here’s how a lot of quasi-relationships look: —–> ↵↵↓… —–>………..—–> ← —> ← –> ← *fizzle sound* ??? *radio silence*
4. He admits to cheating on his ex.
Cheaters may be born, they may be made, but either way they do not change.
5. She hates her ex. And is not totally over him.
Hate is a very strong emotion. You want to avoid people who have strong emotions for someone else. You also want to avoid getting involved with ambivalent people. Ambivalence is the opposite of commitment.
6. He is planning to relocate for work, school or because he hates your city.
Someone who knows they are on their way out of town is not going to go all in. They have every good reason to keep things casual. And they aren’t interested in your assurances that you might be willing to come along for the ride. People on the move are unsettled. Unsettled people don’t make good relationship material.
7. She is tired of casual flings, and is ready for a committed relationship.
Don’t put a ring on the finger of a casual flinger. Unless you’re the same kind of person, sexually speaking. This is definitely a case where opposites make each other miserable.
8. He is a mystery man.
What is he doing on the days you don’t hear from him? Where does he go? Who is he with? If he’s not open and transparent, he’s keeping his distance. He doesn’t want to feel obligated to report to anyone, especially you. His life is probably not nearly as interesting as you assume, but that’s beside the point. He’s hiding from you.
9. She says she never felt the need to tell you about the guy because he is just a friend.
Maybe you saw some questionable pic on Instagram. Maybe she got tagged in a FB photo that you had no idea was taken. Maybe your best friend saw her out at a bar flirting with another guy. This is often the end game for #8. You assumed the best of her when she was delivering her worst.
10. He says you’ve changed him.
Many women find this intoxicating. They hear this and they’re riding high for weeks. But people don’t ever change for another person. The man who says you’ve changed him for the better was (and is) a bad man. His chances of reverting to his previous bad behavior are 100%.
In most cases, it’s very clear to me when I read the email that the writer knows the answer to their question already. They can feel in their gut that they’re dealing with a poor match at best, a really terrible person at worst. They’re hoping that I will offer examples of other couples who encountered the same obstacles and whose love carried them through.
I have no examples like that. These stories, always, always end the same way.
In reading over this, I realize it’s kind of a bummer. :-/ I promise, for my next post I’ll share 10 Signs Your Romance is The One.
Let’s discuss – do any of these ring a bell?