Want to build a relationship that’ll last? This is the way to take things with a woman you’re serious with.
By Bryce Warnes
Lonely and sick of it? Feeling like you’re going to get dumped? Not sure how that first date went? Wondering what that rash is? These and many other confusing dating issues can be solved for you by the inimitable Bryce Warnes. Put your happiness in his capable hands (Note: Bryce Warnes is not a medical doctor) and email him your dating/love/sex/Tinder questions at [email protected].
I am 24 years old, turning 25 soon. When I was in high school I fell in love with this amazing girl, and we had a relationship for around 3 years. Then she decided to leave me for another guy she met in Rome. She broke up with me on the phone and I haven’t seen her since the day I left her at the airport for her to travel to Rome.
Anyways, since then I have been single and I’ve met beautiful women from all over the globe, young and old, even married mothers. I was in a reality series as well, which was broadcasted in Singapore on national TV. This did not make my life easier; instead, I met women on a daily basis. I must say I did enjoy my life as a single guy, but in the long run something happened. I started to feel sick of myself, and with the amount of women and intercourse I had.
I started to feel empty and cold inside my body. I felt that all the passion and emotions I once had were gone. I started to objectify women and it made me sick. Today I have the same behavior: once I have been with a girl, I just move on to the next one. I feel like I am never going to fall in love again; I feel so empty. I want to feel something real for a woman again instead of just jumping into bed with them.
This is really a crisis. Any help would be lovely.
Your high school relationship ended the way high school relationships are meant to end: abruptly and stupidly. Don’t feel bad; it was a necessary learning experience. And don’t look back wistfully. Hormones + inexperience = batsh*t crazy infatuation. You’ll never have that again, because you’re not as pubescent or ignorant as you used to be.
You’re almost twenty-five. It’s time to look ahead and work towards something grown-up. If you’re feeling lost now, it’s because your development has not been a tidy, straightforward narrative.
Serial monogamists have it easy. Date someone for a couple of years, break up, date someone else for like four years, break up, next time make it two and a half years… Even if your relationships are falling apart, you’re learning how to work with another person within the bounds of monogamy. In the words of Samuel Beckett: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Sowing your wild oats as a former Singaporean reality TV celebrity doesn’t cultivate the same wisdom. But you’ve learned a different, important lesson: Living your life according to our culture’s masculine sexual ideal, copulating with as many women as possible and never committing to one, doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. In fact, it can open up an emotional abyss — the kind you’re staring into right now.
Time to grow up. Time to sow something a little more nourishing than wild oats — some emotional quinoa.
Here’s what you do. First, let go of your high school relationship. It failed. Now it’s time to fail better.
Find a date online. That way, in addition to visual appeal, you’ll at least get some rough indicators as to mutual compatibility (distaste for reality TV, unshakeable suspicious attitude towards Italians, etc).
Go on a date. Get some food. Walk in the park. Visit an art gallery. Afterwards, thank her for the lovely evening. If the two of you click, make plans for another date. Then, go home alone.
Rinse and repeat. Leave sex until the third date, and only then if you are happily anticipating a fourth. When you make sex an expression of growing trust, and not a way to feed your own neediness, that cold, empty feeling starts to go away.
Keep at it. Maybe by the fifth or sixth date the two of you go your separate ways. Maybe it’s in the fifth or sixth month together. Either way, you’re beginning to learn how adult relationships are formed. You’re learning how to fail better.
I was recently dumped after a 6 month relationship with a woman I really care for. I’m 38, divorced, and she will be 26 soon. A few months after dating, I began drinking after two years of sobriety and became angry with the world, again, and my personal life crumbled just as before. I betrayed her trust (I didn’t cheat) and became unbearable to be around. I now know and am working on correcting my behaviors to be a better partner.
Due to our financial situations, we are still living together, and I am doing all I can to give her privacy and space, but I feel our attempts at casual conversation may be misunderstood at times. She says she wants to be friends and may consider trying again one day, but just doesn’t want to date anyone right now. I’ve heard this before, but this woman has proved to be unlike past girlfriends in every way, and I have done well not to project past experiences onto her to give her a fair chance. I also know that she was hurt badly by an ex-fiance.
Besides the obvious (regain sobriety, get back to my friends and hobbies, work on my personal happiness), is there anything I can do to regain her trust and have a shot at working this out?
I’ve never met a woman so trustworthy and supportive as her before, and feel I may have lost the best woman I’ve ever known who was willing to accept me as I was, before the drinking got bad. My family has a history with terrible alcoholism, by the way, so it didn’t take long to spiral out of control. Before the drinking, we had nothing but great times and I believe we were definitely falling for each other, despite our relationship beginning as a casual hookup. She was the treasure I wasn’t looking for.
Should I take this as lessons learned and move on (I’m not really good at meeting women, so that scares me) or hang on to the hope that we may one day work things out? Please help. I’m scared and confused about how to handle this and don’t want to lose her completely. Thank you for your advice.
Let’s order your priorities. If you keep drinking, you could die. So sobriety is priority number one. You might be sober and heartbroken and that might really, really suck. But it’s way better than ending up sick, or dead, or hitting a new level of rock bottom.
You’re not going to hold onto your sobriety and stay in a relationship with someone unless they’re there to support you one hundred percent. If you want to have a real, meaningful relationship with someone, you can’t let your recovery become an elephant in the room. So long as you can’t share it, front and center, with your partner, your recovery will become a big, messy elephant, the kind that takes elephant-sized dumps all over the carpet.
The person you love won’t be there for you in that capacity. She doesn’t want to date. She doesn’t want to share in your recovery. You can’t control what she wants, no matter what variety of new leaf you’re trying to turn over. Let it go.
And get out of that house as soon as possible. Living side-by-side with your estranged partner is unhealthy, regardless of your mental or emotional state. Right now your focus should be getting sober. Dwelling in the wreckage of your former relationship won’t help with that.
It’s a rough road, but it’s the only way to go. I don’t know if you’re doing this sobriety thing solo or if you’re a friend of Bill W. But a good mindset right now is summed up in the slogan “One day at a time.” Maybe someday down the line, the two of you will reunite. But that’s out of your hands. Do your best today. When you wake up tomorrow, do your best then. Don’t worry about true love right now. Romance can wait. Your wellbeing can’t.
Email Bryce your dating/love/sex/Tinder questions at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on AskMen.
Photo credit: rabiem22/flickr