I’M Tiara and I am 28. I have known a guy for about a year plus now. When we first started chatting online, he became close to me and we decided to exchange our numbers after a month of knowing each other.

We met after a few times of talking on the phone. He was sweet and did all the possible things a guy would do to flatter a girl. He once asked if there was anything between us and I told him that I have feelings for him and he said he did too.

But after a week, he stopped texting me and gave me mixed signals. When I confronted him, he said he was afraid of being in a relationship. The biggest shock was that he told me he was divorced.

I even told him that I was not bothered about his past and wanted to be his partner. But that did not seem to convince him and we parted ways.

I had a hard time trying to overcome this but I managed to distract myself by working out and taking up classes.

After a few months, he messaged me saying that what he did was wrong and he apologised. I thought he was genuine. We even spent time together.

I was happy that he made plans to meet and spend time with me. But when I asked him what was that all about earlier, he said he didn’t know and started showing mixed feelings again.

I feel that I shouldn’t be in this type of relationship and tried to walk away but it seems difficult. I tried to mix with others but I end up knowing people who are emotionally unavailable and those who seek friendship with benefits, which is not what I want.

What do I need to do to avoid all this from happening in my life? I feel like giving up on relationships and my self-esteem is getting lower day by day.

This man clearly likes you a lot but he’s not ready to commit, whereas you are. As such, I think you did the right thing in walking away.
There is no point in staying with a person who doesn’t share your goals. That’s common sense, right? To stick with him just means heartache in the long run. So, much better to walk away and look for someone suitable.

Despite knowing it’s best, moving on is painful when we feel we’ve invested in someone. It is relatively easy to break off a one month relationship but not so easy to walk away after a year. Also, if you had hopes that this was ‘the one’, that adds to the pain.

I think you need to remind yourself of the facts, and congratulate yourself for being sensible. Do this consciously, so it helps you heal. It should also boost your self-esteem.

Now, moving on is not working for you because you find yourself meeting only people who are shut down or who want to play games rather than commit.

Please know that you are not the only person who is coming across this! Sadly, there are many people who just have never learned to be open and honest about their needs and feelings. It makes it a challenge to find an authentic connection.

What I would do is this: look into all your friends, neighbours, schoolmates, colleagues, acquaintances and search very particularly for happy, outgoing, friendly families. Parents, kids and relatives within these should communicate openly and with love, not be bullying each other or pretending to be what they are not.

Look at them and their immediate connections to people in your age group. This should give you a pool of people who think the way you do.
Spending time with them should allow you to meet better potential partners. I know it sounds a little cold, but there is some truth in the adage, birds of a feather flock together.

Also, date a lot and do lots of talking. Don’t hope for the best and assume they share your goals: ask! And check for specific behaviour that confirms you are on the same page.

Again, it doesn’t sound like a romance story but this is only practical advice. You don’t want to have your heart broken because you were too shy to make sure you shared the same goals.

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