Dear Dr. Love, I am in need of some really good advice. I am a 21 year old male and just got divorced. I was married at the age of 16 up until last year, the marriage was bad because of her addiction to drugs and alcohol.Recently I met, via a friend, a wonderful young lady who seems to be intrested in me and wants to start a relationship (she told this to my friend). The problem is that since I was married for most of my teenage years the concept of dating is well, kinda new.Since most of my freinds are the ‘male dog’ type I can’t ask there advice out of fear of what they might tell me. I’m ready to start dating again but not really sure on what to do or say, she is a wonderful young women and I would hate to see things not spark between us because I’m a chicken.Please HELP! Thank you for the time you took to read this letter.
Of course you are scared. Any time we enter into unknown territory it is normal to feel frightened. But, don’t think you are alone. Men with lots of dating experience under their belt (no pun intended) also feel frightened to date women who they really like. The higher the stakes (the more you like the other person), the greater the pain if you strike out.I don’t think you will strike out because you sound very appealing, and capable of love, intimacy and attachment. You just need a few pointers.Here are some guidelines for dating and relationship success. To get off on the right foot: Let her know what you find appealing about her (we are all are drawn to people who like us).Ask her lots of questions about herself, her interests, and her thoughts and feelings. Make her feel like number one by being responsive to her expressed needs and wishes. Women need to feel like they are first in your mind and heart. Telling her in words is excellent. But, also make sure that your actions back up your words. Listen carefully to what she says she needs and give her just that.Many relationships go sour because people practice the Golden Rule and do unto their parnters what they themselves want. For example, if a woman wants flowers for her birthday, she gives flowers to her boyfriend (he hates to receive flowers) hoping he’ll get the hint. The only thing he gets is flowers that he doesn’t want.To make your relationship successful, practice the Platinum Rule and do unto her what she wants you to do. To stay on track (ongoing maintenance): Be a good listener, especially when she is upset with something that you’ve done or said (my new book shows you step-by-step how to do this). Learn how to properly communicate your negative feelings, a skill that is vital to relationship survival. Remember, improperly handled anger erodes love. My book will also guide you in this area as well. Make sure that you discuss your thoughts and feelings (research shows that self-disclosure is highly linked to relationship satisfaction).I have given you a lot to work with. Let my book take you the rest of the way. You will be fine. Speak from your heart as much as possible, including telling her that she means a lot to you and that you don’t want to screw up with her.Telling her the truth shows how important she is to you, which means that you are following one of my guidelines. While your fear of messing up is normal, keep in mind that your fear may also be fueled by other issues. You may also be struggling with the fear of losing another relationship. Make sure that you have fully healed from the last break up so that residual feelings don’t taint this new relationship. Let me know how you do.