Maybe I should just settle

How's your relationship life? What's stressing you out? Send a question about it to [email protected] or fill out this form.

I can't do chat today, but I hope that if you're in Massachusetts you use the time to enjoy weather. We'll resume next week.

I hate to say this, but I miss my ex. I'm in my late 40s and I broke up with him about eight months ago. Our relationship was very toxic.

I coupled up with him after I got a divorce from my ex-husband, but I actually knew this man since we were kids. The reason we broke up was that I found out he had a baby with someone else during one of our breaks but he wasn't honest enough about any of it. He tried to act like the child was older and it happened at another time, but none of it made sense.

I had to go through his phone to find the information. Texts confirmed that they were talking about a young child, that they were getting DNA tests to make sure the baby is his. I confronted him and he told me some lie, so I played it cool. It just so happened he got COVID at this time so he had to quarantine. I used those days to pack up his stuff. I dropped it all in front of his house, rang the doorbell, and never spoke to him after that.

But now I miss him – only because the dating world seems crazy. I don't want to settle, but getting to know someone new is hard because I'm set in my ways. I do still love my ex and sometimes I think about settling because I know people cheat. It's just that the dating world is horrible so far.

– Settling

I'd rather go on 20 awkward first dates than sit in a room with someone telling me terrible lies. You might not feel the same, but ... I think you do.

Here's the thing: you might not even be ready to date yet. Maybe the process of meeting new people seems horrible and overwhelming because you haven't given yourself time to grieve this relationship and figure out life on your own. It sounds like you went from marriage to relationship to dating. I know it's been eight months, but there's no deadline for this.

I believe people become better at dating when they have a lot going on in the other parts of their lives. Picking up new hobbies – or embracing old ones – would give you a break and keep you busy. Also, the more cool stuff you do and people you see, the more you have to share about yourself on a potentially good date.

Set up plans with people in your life who don't lie to you about important things and never would. Make that the standard, and soon enough, settling will be be off the table.

– Meredith

Readers? How to you get through that uncomfortable "it's hard to be newly single, I should go back to the bad thing I had" phase?