Dr. Frankie, Am I a Commitment-phobe?
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I like being single, with all its freedoms, but I hate being alone. And yet when I do get a girlfriend I feel tied down and I hate the routine. It feels cloying to me and then I push her away. It always comes apart within a year. My last girlfriend told me I am commitment-phobe. Am I? I’m about to turn 30 and I’m ready to settle down. I think. —Ms. Maybe
Dear Ms. Maybe,
I don’t think “commitment-phobe” is necessarily the right label. It sounds like you need to know what qualities to look for in a potential girlfriend. Companionship is a basic human need and I believe it enriches our lives in almost every way. Since you really cherish your freedom and hate the monotony that relationships can sometimes bring, it’s important for you to look for very specific characteristics while you’re dating. Any potential girlfriend material should be independent and have an active and fulfilling life that’s separate of your relationship. It’s very important that she’s confident, trusting and has a certain level of maturity that allows the two of you to spend time apart with your own friends and engage in separate activities but pick up where you left off when you reconnect.
Something that will help steer you towards the right kind of woman is being clear about your expectations up front, and then tread slowly. Women often tend to develop intense, emotional connections very quickly. We jump into a good situation too quickly and smother the embers right out of the flame. Don’t look for someone to replace your feelings of loneliness, look for someone to add to your enjoyment of life. For you the key will be finding the girlfriend who’s the cherry on top of your already delightful sundae.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I was seeing a woman off and on for three years but she was in the closet, was scared to go out with me or go to a gay bar in case someone saw her. She always disliked my friends who looked like lesbians. I am a free spirit and love a good laugh and a good time. I do not care what people think of me. I hung onto her as long as I could because I was crazy about her, but it was just too difficult in the end. Now I think I didn’t try hard enough. Should I try again? —Trace
Move on. Three years is quite a long time in this day and age for such a lack of forward progress. Despite her many wonderful qualities you deserve to be with someone who can enjoy being together in public as well as behind closed doors. It sounds as if you are completely comfortable in your own skin and until you find a girlfriend who shares that comfort in her own sexuality you won’t be able to enjoy the full spectrum of your relationship.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I am always attracted to bitches. I just can’t help it. There’s something about them, especially the beautiful ones, but in the end they take my money and usually end up in bed with one of my best friends. What am I doing wrong? – Patsy
Why do you not feel deserving of a kind and wonderful partner? What is it that attracts you to bitches? Why are you drawn to emotionally unavailable, selfish women? You will continue to repeat this unsuccessful pattern that won’t end until you identify the source of your self-sabotaging tendencies. What are you doing financially that seems to attract these gold diggers? Establish boundaries early in the relationship and be consistent. Stop ignoring the red flags flying in your face. Red flags show up early on, it’s up to you to identify them and decide you deserve more.
Since you know you cannot trust your own instincts when it comes to dating, ask your friends introduce you to their quality, single friends. Go on a date with a woman who doesn’t fit the “bitch” mold, with which you are so well acquainted. Since this is outside your norm, you’ll probably not be initially attracted to her and the date might feel uncomfortable and perhaps even boring. By exposing yourself to this different type of woman you are changing the unsuccessful pattern of behavior that keeps leading you to inevitably doomed relationships. Push yourself to go on a second date even if the first one doesn’t feel just right. And I’ll be up front with you; it probably won’t because it’s not what you are used to. See what it feels like to date someone who shows you respect and kindness. It will take time and introspection to readjust your expectations of a girlfriend. Remember, physical attraction fades, but I know for a fact there are some hotties out there with hearts of gold.
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