I've been chatting with a woman on Facebook for three years, and recently asked if we could finally meet.
She saw the message, but hasn't responded.
I feel terrible, but I’m also thinking about another woman I knew back in high school.
There's also a lady I see on the bus (we go to different community colleges). She gently turned me down due to wanting to focus on school, but I think of her as well.
I’d planned out my adult life near the end of high school, saying that I'd be in a long-term relationship by age 20.
I'm 24 and while I’ve tried, I'm still not in a relationship. How do I get my life goals back on track, and get out of this "love rectangle?"
In A Rut
Get out of your high-school mindset. Your “goal” was a teenager’s unrealistic dream, based on no adult experience.
Even at 24, there’s no compelling deadline regarding a relationship.
But it’s time to learn that a relationship is NOT about pressuring yourself, and someone else you really don’t know, into being a couple just to achieve that label.
Here’s a more realistic goal: Make friends with women in person.
When you find that you like someone, don’t rush things. Relationships can last if they’re built, but not if they’re grabbed.
If you have trouble making connections, discuss your approach and social skills with a trusted friend and/or relative.
To handle any difficult changes in your thinking, get counselling to help you understand yourself better, as well as others.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose divorced friend constantly flirts with her husband (March 23):
Reader – “I strongly disagree with your advice to basically cut this person out, without first addressing the situation head on, at a very difficult time in her life.
“One of the hardest things about divorce is the loss of social circles and social support. Study after study shows that divorce adjustment and recovery is made easier when people have adequate support and understanding.
“There’s an assumption that this woman is predatory and after the man. She may be. She most likely is not, but is struggling to adjust to her role as a single woman and with having to look after areas of life in which she feels lost.
“She wants friendships. She may unconsciously need male friendships, as that’s what she lost in divorce. She may not be going about it the right way, but cutting her out is passive and lacks compassion.
“I’ve had several clients where this assumption was erroneously made and they were abandoned by close friends. They cite this abandonment by friends as akin to a second divorce.
“The divorced woman may not be behaving appropriately, and is making her friends uncomfortable, but why not address that?
“The man should say he feels uncomfortable with the flirting and level of contact, that he’s sure she doesn't mean to make him uncomfortable, but that's what the result is.
“And that he and his wife, as a couple, want to maintain a friendship and be supportive. He can find her someone else to deal with for work-related matters.
“The wife should invite her to group things when appropriate.”
Ellie – This is a very thoughtful reading of the divorce situation and I agree that it’s the better way to respond, if possible.
From the wife’s original (and longer than I could publish) letter, which I received, the flirtatious woman had ignored the wife while flirting with her husband.
FEEDBACK Regarding the children who dislike their step-brother (March 23):
Reader – “All the kids are being asked to adjust to too much. They deserve to be put first by their parents.
“The absent father is inexcusable. His wife abandoned their son, and he has to find different work so he can care for him.
“This couple shouldn't be living together while their children are so unhappy. It’s not fair to foist not only a new parent, but a new sibling(s) on them. The seven-year-old needs his father.
“Often blended families work for the parents but not for the children.”
Ellie – You make a good point about the father finding work in town. It should be considered.
Yet, economically it may be impossible, or the couple may believe that’s so.
Teaching children to be accepting of others and adapt is generally a healthy goal, especially guided by love, which the mother feels for all three kids.
Tip of the day:
Relationships will more likely last if built over time, less likely if grabbed.