Dear Dr. Romance:
After experiencing alot of physical and emotional abuse in my life, my last relationship was very damaging emotionally and physically. Now, many years later, I haven't had a serious relationship or even a date since. I've had two opportunities this year, but one wanted to be friends,the other is working on overcoming his addiction,and has been successful for several years.
I used to be shy, but I'm not anymore. I am currently seeing a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and I have a therapist. But at times I feel lonely. I have family and a best friend, but I want a man in my life that I can trust again.
Whatever vibe I give off, men notice me,but won't approach me in public. I was told twice by one ex boyfriend that I project Look but Don't touch. Then someone else that I thought was a friend said the same thing. I'm not into the bar scene anymore. In my online dating experience, the men I contact have unhealthy boundaries, such as stating they love me after two emails and my pic.
What is a Woman to do? I want a friendship, chemistry,and to build trust, and see what develops from there. I don't want to email alot, just one or two msgs, a phone call, then meet for coffee in a public place.
I don't know what I'm doing wrong?? I say I want and treat others with honesty, trust, respect and I am a caring, attractive, loving, kind person.I'm sooo confused.
Although I don't know what you look like, It would not be surprising if you did project a "don't touch me" feeling, after experiencing so much abuse. Yes, there are a lot of people online who have unhealthy boundaries and don't really understand relationships. What you want is not unreasonable, you just need to use the right method to get it. You've had a lot of therapy and treatment, and you sound like you're ready. I'm sure you've done fine work in therapy, but it may not be what you need to prepare for a relationship.
"The Fine Art of Squirrel Hunting" and "Where is Love?" will give you a method for finding a healthy person to date. Build on your friendships, and create an active social life. Regular activities with other like-minded people will give you a chance to get to know people before you date them. When you a potential date interact with others, you get a much better understanding of his character. Choose activities organized around things you enjoy or that are important to you. Whether you take a class, join an activist group, participate in sports or discussion groups, as long as you enjoy the focus of the group you will meet others with whom you have much in common. Being around groups of people will also give you a chance to practice letting down your guard a little, and inviting others to be close to you. I know you can find a safe and satisfying relationship with a little experimentation.
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., "Dr. Romance," is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Long Beach, Calif. since 1978 and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again and Lovestyles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She publishes the Happiness Tips from Tina email newsletter, and the Dr. Romance Blog. She has written for and been interviewed in many national publications, and she has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live and many other TV and radio shows.