It’s time once again for our weekly Sex Column, our regular series where experts advise struggling daters on navigating the sticky world of romance.
Last week, we helped someone work out whether their girlfriend was still fully into them or not.
This time, our dater has an even worse problem: They can’t stop getting dumped. No wonder they’re feeling low after getting broken up with twice in a row.
Is this a problem our dater can solve? Or is it our of their control?
Let’s see what the experts think.
‘I’ve been dumped for the second time in a row and I’m feeling really emotional. It’s been three weeks and I thought I would feel better by now.
‘We were together for six months and I had strong feelings for him and thought we were having a good time.
‘A couple of weeks before we were looking at holidays. He said that he couldn’t give me what I needed and that we had different ideas about the future.
‘I asked him what future he thought I wanted but he skirted over the subject. I messaged him recently and he hasn’t replied, which I regret.
‘The guy before wasn’t as serious but he dumped me over text, which upset me. I feel like I’m driving them away.‘
What the experts say:
Two breakups in quick succession are painful but they do not mean you’re destined for a life of heartbreak.
‘Expect to feel miserable for a while – longer than three weeks, I’m afraid, given your feelings,’ says James McConnachie. ‘But don’t let your sadness over him become generalised sadness about yourself, like a red sock turning all your whites pink.’
Accept that you are sad and hurt and that grieving takes time, and then commit to a process of reflection.
‘Although you didn’t feel strongly about the first guy, it has really hurt this time because you were quite in love with him,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin. ‘But it does not mean that something is wrong with you and it does not mean you are never going to be loved again.’
If we move away from the emotional perspective and toward the rational one, we could say that you have been rejected by individuals who were not appropriate for you.
‘In my lexicon of love, “different ideas about the future” means he was leading you up the garden path,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘Whatever the truth, you are making some sketchy partner choices at the moment, and it might be worth thinking about what attracts you to people who are likely to let you down.’
If your experience with your parents was frustrating and unreliable, you may unconsciously choose partners who repeat that dynamic. To explore this further, a good starting point is to journal on all the parallels you see between your earliest experiences of love and the relationship you have with yourself and with others.
‘On a more practical level, it might also be worth asking a few key questions of any future suitors including “are you actually single?”,’ adds Smith.
We also suggest that you delete his number and remove him from your social media. ‘Surround yourself with people who warm you up instead,’ says Rudkin.
Know that it’s natural to have different relationships. ‘Some will work and some won’t. Some will be longer and some shorter,’ says McConnachie.
As you build awareness around the patterns that require breaking and begin to implement new ones, you will develop a new relationship with yourself and, in turn, the partner you desire.
Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor
James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
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