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November 24, 2017 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Love

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How do I break the pattern?

Question:

In the past 10 years I have dated 3 men. Each man, when I met him, stated that he was going through a divorce or was recently separated and wanted a divorce. I stood by them, supported them, even tried to get them to realize what they might be giving up, and suggested that they should possibly reconsider their decision. Each one defiantly stated that they wanted to move on and start anew. They wanted to be with me. One went as far as to show his divorce papers to prove that what he was saying was true.

Slowly but surely, however, it started turning into, "My wife this, and my wife that....", "It will only be a short time now..." I swore to myself that when I heard any of these statements or something similar, I would leave! Unfortunately, by this point, I have usually invested a lot of time in the relationship and truly started to believe that this one may be different - only to find that it is exactly the same as before. The saddest part is that they usually leave me for another girl - who now has the perfect man, the man that I helped to be himself. They've come back to their fun, self-confident, "I have a lot to live for" attitude. They always thank me and move on. I am left baffled and bewildered.

Now, I won't even date a man that might be in a relationship of any type. But this only leaves me to a very selective few. The widowers are too needy and the lonely are too lonely. I have the strangest feeling that I am going to be alone for a long....long....long....time.

Any suggestions as to how I can change this pattern to prevent a possibly lonely future? Is there a way I can continue to help people without destroying myself?

Meg, 40-year-old woman

Answer:

Meg,

You are looking for the wrong thing and finding it. Looking for "the right man" usually leads to exactly what you're experiencing: Guys who will use you like a trapeze. They flourish in your efforts to make them feel important, but they see you as fertilizer.

Try becoming involved in something in the world around you, like an activity, a church, a charity, an educational setting, a local Y, etc. When you are really involved and enjoying it, friendships will develop. From those friendships, opportunities for real relationships will grow. In order to get real love we must first love ourselves, and loving ourselves means that we find joy within, not from someone else.

By the way, stay away from clubs, bars, and gyms that emphasize singles. If you work, don't even think about the guys who ask you out for a drink, which brings up the final point: Make sure the guy already loves himself, not narcissistically but really, and that he's involved in his own life and has a life to share.

Kenneth A. Weene, Ph.D

This question was answered by Kenneth A. Weene. Ken Weene is a graduate of The Institute For Advance Psychological Studies at Adelphi University is a licensed psychologist practicing on Long Island, New York. His orientation is holistic and eclectic. In addition to a variety of contributions to the professional literature, Dr. Weene has published a number of poems. Before entering private practice, he directed Children, Adolescent, and Family Services for The Counseling Service of The Long Island Council of Churches. Ken's central belief is that life is a gift to be experienced, enjoyed, and celebrated. He knows that this is sometimes difficult in the face of physical, emotional, and other forms of distress and sees his goal as helping people to find their inner peace and joy in the face of stress and anguish.

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