They never want to be in a serious relationship with me

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Hi Meredith,

I've been single for four years now. My last real relationship ended badly; I broke up with him because I was moving away and didn't see it lasting. We only dated for a year and a half, and I felt things fading anyway. Long story short, I had to get the police involved because he began threatening me after the breakup.

Anyway, ever since then I find myself in these situations where I will begin seeing someone and it goes well, we go on a few dates and everything is fine. But in the end, they usually decide they don't want something serious and they just want a friends-with-benefits type of thing. Side note: I don't sleep with them on the first date.

In one scenario, I was seeing this guy from September to February, right before the pandemic. Things were going well and I really liked him. We'd have so much fun together and talk all of the time. After about two months, we started talking about where this was going, and he said he had recently gotten out of a relationship (a year before) and didn't want anything serious. We hadn't slept together at that point. Stupidly, I continued to see him because I just really liked being around him, and then one day he just cut me off. A similar situation happened recently with a friend. I didn't see anything happening with him, and he jokingly kept asking to let him take me out. I eventually did and we dated for two months, but then he said he didn't want anything serious. I feel like because this is a recurring thing, the problem is me. But I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I don't know if I'm going after the wrong kind of people or what.

In these two scenarios, we didn't argue or have completely different views on things. Even when we talked about becoming intimate, I never said it's something I don't want to do. In the first scenario, he was the one who brought up not sleeping together on the first date. And don't get me wrong, there have been some good ones who want to be in a relationship, but I just don't feel as strongly about them as I have about these two people in particular. I have a good job and I feel like the one thing I need right now is a healthy relationship (especially when everyone around me is getting engaged). What do I do?

– Forever alone

First, you are not forever alone. You've dated a bunch of people over the years.

Second, everyone else might be getting engaged, but your story can be different. I know it's easier said than done, but please don't compare yourself to others.

Third, please understand that you might not be the problem here. There might not be a problem. All you're doing is dating, hoping for the best, and making decisions as you go. The guy you dated before the pandemic might have continued to want your company. You had to play it out, I think. That's OK.

A thing to think about: you seem to tie physical intimacy to the success of a relationship (if I'm understanding you right). Do whatever feels right and create your own pace, but please know that the timing of sex doesn't have much to do with whether someone wants a serious relationship. Again, do whatever you want (or don't), but please don't link the fate of a relationship to that one thing.

Another thing: you say you don’t feel as strongly about the people who have wanted to be in a relationship with you. I believe you, and it's good you can hear your gut telling you what feels right. All I'll say is that emotional intimacy can grow over time, and sometimes when we experience drama with someone, it feels like we’re getting closer to them in an important way, when actually ... it’s just drama. It doesn’t help to compare new people to the two who rejected you. With a new person, you'd be starting from scratch, and the burn would be slower.

Good luck, keep looking, and give yourself breaks. Always remember that being single is nice too.

– Meredith

Readers? Anything wrong in the process here? Forever single or not?