She's Too Picky

Q: I'm 22, and I was in a "not so healthy" relationship for a long time, which makes me somewhat picky and conservative in terms of men. I recently decided to begin dating again after a couple years of keeping to myself. Met a nice guy but then I broke it off because I wasn't ready, then decided to go for it again, but he was no longer interested. Meanwhile he was confessing to my sister that he wanted a relationship with her. Second guy I met is a great guy but a bachelor for too many years. He just wasn't interested. The third guy I met far from home. He shows interest, but he has a girlfriend and lives far away, so of course there is no chance. Why is it that the only guys I seem interested in are the ones I can't have? I am an independent woman who works full-time, goes to college full-time, takes care of myself and gets along just fine. It would be nice to have someone to share my life with but it doesn't seem to work out. Am I doing something wrong or is there something wrong with me?? -- Debbie

Dr. Susan: What might be wrong is that you're trying to go from zero to a hundred miles an hour with little preparation. Dating is often a lengthy process of figuring out who you are and what you want in a partner. You seem to equate dating with settling down for keeps with one person. You're not ready for that. So far you've fixated on guys who weren't emotionally available, maybe because you're not ready for a full relationship with all its ups and downs and complications. But this way you get the complications without any of the payoffs. Start over. Get out there and socialize, don't expect to fall passionately in love so quickly (in fact, be suspicious of yourself if you do!), and get to know any man you date quite well before you count him as a success or failure in the dating department. Sure, it would be nice to find someone to share your life with, but give it a little time. Nobody likes to be pressured, least of all men you've barely begun to know.

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