Dear Dr. Love,I hope you pick this question (or situation, I should say) for free.I am in deep distress. My name is Heathyr and nearly a year ago I fell’in love’ for the first time.However, the guy I was with rejected me and made me feel worthless. Now it is over a year later since the breakup and I cannot bring myself to date anyone more than once or twice. Now psychologically this could be because I have a deep inner fear of being rejected by these guys. But I have the control with these guys! If anything, I’m the one rejecting them because I can always find something wrong that I wouldn’t be able to live with on a long-term basis and end up cutting myself off – even though they are greatly attracted to me. It’s like there’s a leash on me that yanks me back from even going through with a’relationship’.However, I would like to be in a supportive, loving relationship, despite any fears. I know these can be overcome through time. This one guy (who has become a really close friend of mine) is in love with me and would do anything for me. He treats me like a goddess , is very understanding, and accepts all of me. But yet I can’t see him romantically! Now there’s got to be something wrong with me, because I have so many options but I reject them all, even though I Don’t Want to. I know eventually I will find a soulmate, but until then I wish I could just let go and actually date! But I can’t even bring myself to do that!Does it stem from childhood, my past relationship, or something else? And if so how can I get over that? It’s not like I can change who i am and the parents who raised me. Another thing: I never really had a father. I believe I am lacking in a lot of experience about men in general, and yet I also feel like I just can’t settle for whatever is attracted to me, because there are so many aspects about me that aren’t conventional in this society (or world, probably).I’m just wondering if despite all that I grew up with and all the rejection I’ve been through, I can handle another relationship. Because my heart is completely closed off and has been for nearly a year. And I feel it is holding me back. Despite my abnormalities, there has to be people out there that are attracted to me that I can actually date! Unless I’m fated to live my life this way…what do you get from all of this? Please advise!
I totally understand your predicament. You are so afraid to be rejected, that you reject a man before he has a chance to dump you. That’s what I call dying by your own sword. And, you are not alone, this is a very common defensive manoever. The problem with this defense is that even though you may be protected from others’ rejection, you end up suffering from loneliness.You mentioned that you never had a father–talk about rejection. You need to know that because of that early experience your unconscious is programmed to choose men that will reject you. I have said repeatedly that we all recreate the painful wounds of our childhood so that we can work for a happy ending. In your case, your mind will draw you to abandoners in the hope that this time the abandoner will stick around. See my Advice Archives under: repetition compulsion and unfinished business to learn more about this.As I’ve also said many times, we rarely achieve a happy ending by choosing lovers who resemble the parents that damaged us. Leopards don’t change their spots and abandoners don’t stop abandoning.So, you are right on the money to be scared. You sense the urge that rests within your unconscious to choose abandoners. And, this is not fate, it is unfinished business.What can you do?The safest way to heal this problem is to find a good modern psychoanalyst and to form a relationship in which you experience what it is like to love and be loved and not abandoned. From that relationship, you will find yourself seeking out a lover that can give to you instead of abandon.If you do decide to date anyone, assume, for now, that if you are drawn to him that he is an abandoner. And, before jumping in, privately scrutinize the person and look for all the clues that he is an abandoner. Find out how his past relationships ended; find out if he was abandoned as a child (abandoned children oftentimes become abandoners as adults). If the person passes the test, then you might feel safer to move forward.Good luck. This is a tough problem, but one that can be healed.