Getting Her Back?
Q: I was dating a woman for about a year, and then I started doing some really crazy things like talking to other women on the internet and giving my number out at work for women to call me. I lost my job because of it, and ever since, our relationship has gone considerably downhill. I still love her and I'd love for her to be my girlfriend again but she still doesn't trust me. And besides, she says she doesn't want a relationship right now because she says she has other priorities in her life. I think maybe it's because now she has someone else and just doesn't want to hurt my feelings. At one time she really was madly in love with me. Can a person ever get those feelings back, so that I'd have a chance to win back her heart? -- Adam, 42
Dr. Susan: It's a big world out there, and sometimes it doesn't pay to put your energies into what's better left behind. The most important thing for you to do now is figure out who YOU are and what you really want out of a relationship. You messed up badly before, you lost this woman's trust, and now she's telling you in more than one way that she's no longer interested. Yes, she may have another man in her life, and yes, she doesn't want to hurt your feelings too much. Either way, you need to move on. Expecting her to get back those "madly in love" feelings for you is just about impossible. It's over.
Meanwhile, if you don't pay close attention to your own part in your previous relationship's decay and dissolution, points out Stephan B. Poulter, Ph.D., author of Your Ex-Factor: Overcome Heartbreak & Build a Better Life (Prometheus Books, 2009), you may repeat "the cycle of despair and frustration." Think about what makes you feel loved and cared for. By understanding that, you can begin to figure out how such feelings work in another person's life. How much talking/communicating do you need, how much physical intimacy, how much affection? Know yourself better, and then be ready to apply that learning to an intimate other. Good luck starting over.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.