Attraction Answers

How can I look at future relationships without letting trust issues cause a problem?

Dear Joann, First of all, I am deeply sorry to hear this news. This is devastating. What happened to the marriage? Did you two seek marital counseling? Did you two try to work it out? There are a lot of reasons why infidelity happens. When problems in the marriage is dealt with, in an appropriate manner, including infidelity, there are high chances for reconciliation, and therefore a deeper and long term trusting relationship.  The Gottman Institute, well known couples counseling team of psycho-education providers, highlights reasons infidelity happens: - Lack of affection - Loss of fondness for each other - Imbalance of give and take  - Breakdown of the communication as far as the emotional and relationship needs - Physical health issues such as chronic pain and disability - Mental health issues such as bipolar, major depression, and severe anxiety - Addiction to substances such as lethal chemicals and/ or impulsive behaviors such as sex or gambling  - Fear of intimacy or avoidance of conflict - Life changes such as transition to Parenthood or becoming Empty Nesters - Stressful period such as long distance relationships due to military deployments or long term work travels - Personal dissatisfaction and low self-esteem Finding out the facts, and connecting the dots, then ultimately coming to the conclusion, validated by the partner, of the deep unfathomable deception, can undeniably be hurtful for you. As you mentioned in your posted question, it could not have been easy for you, because you already had a history of infidelity, before having a family with your recent husband.  Your question is now how do you go on into finding a new partner after these events have transpired. First off, definitely take a pause in starting a new relationship for now. I highly recommend just taking a break and instead learn to date yourself for the time being. Focus on yourself first for now. Spend time healing yourself at this time. You cannot enter a new relationship or even give this recent one (your husband) a second chance, if you are still clearly very distraught about it.  Some proven helpful coping techniques for now: - Stay distracted - Pick a task to do that you never had the time before because you were always with that other person - Gather your thoughts and isolate the ones that have been centered on your relationship first, then redirect them to automatically focus on self-healing starting now ("I can't do this because my husband will say something." Turn this thought around to, "I CAN do this now because my husband can't say anything now!")  - Do something nice for yourself for a change - Take good care of yourself - Work for yourself (and your children) - Set goals towards happiness and kindness towards others - Journal, Paint, Draw, Read, Exercise!  - Surround yourself with positive and supportive people - Recognize you are vulnerable right now and ask for help. Realize that you need to take it one step at a time.  - Remember You Are Good Enough.  - Do what you can. Do not overdo it.  - Do spend quality time with the kids and make sure their needs are met including therapy for them as needed.  - Assure the kids that no matter what happens to mom and dad, they will always be loved first, and make it intentional that this will always be true. - Whenever you are ready, focus on forgiveness. This will be better with an individuals therapist.  - If you want to give your husband a second chance, I recommend a couples counselor.  Good luck! Wishing you the best on your self-healing journey. 🙏🏼 Very respectfully, Grace, LCPC, Maryland Therapist
Answered on 02/05/2023

Is it possible for a person to fall back in love and build desire back in a relationship?

Hi Issa,  Thank you for your question, and I hope that my answer can provide some further clarity for you. It is certainly possible to fall back in love and re-build desire in a relationship. It is a common experience for these feelings to wane in a relationship after a child comes on the scene, as the priorities of both partners change, the dynamics are shifted and there is simply less time/energy that can be devoted to each other when so much of that is devoted to your child. The key throughout all of this will be communication, with you and your partner checking in on each other's feelings and needs to ensure that you feel heard, understood and supported within your relationship.  In order to re-build these feelings, it takes time and work from both partners. It is first of all important to be able to recognize what sparked that initial love and desire when your relationship was first being built. What was it about him that you found attractive? What traits did he have that you fell for? Is there anything that he would do for you towards the beginning of the relationship that you do not feel is done now? In order to tap into those initial feelings of attraction that you had to one another, it may be a good idea to bring some of these elements back into your current-day relationship. Doing so may not be easy and it would require you both to prioritize the time that is needed to do so. However, working on these elements of the relationship may bring some of that initial 'spark' back.  Sometimes it may be as simple as taking the time to spend with one another, and check in with each other. As relationships go on, and particularly when children are in the picture, it can be tough to remember to prioritize your partner as there are so many other responsibilities to be juggling. Over 10 years, you and your partner have likely changed a lot, and it can be an exciting process to re-discover each other in the present day. Spending time discussing in and engaging in each other's hobbies and interests can be a great place to start with this, as spending time doing something fun with your partner can give you an insight into where they're currently at, and seeing them engage in something that they enjoy can be a reminder of those positive qualities that you fell in love with in the first place.  Though it sounds regimented, it can be of great benefit to schedule in time for intimacy. One night a week where you can engage in an intimate way with your partner can re-build the desire that you initially felt. This does not have to be on purely sexual terms, but through intimate activities such as massages and cuddling. Engaging in physical affection can allow the feelings of desire to develop naturally.  Spending time appreciating your partner and practicing gratitude can strengthen the bond between you both. How often do you take the time to appreciate your partner and their qualities? How often do you communicate these things to him, letting him know of your appreciation for him? And vice versa. Taking this time to think of each other positively and to communicate these feelings to one another can be a great reminder to you both of what you mean to each other. Hearing compliments and positive feedback from your partner can also give a big boost of confidence, which in itself can often be an attractive trait.  Discussing the past and forward-planning for the future could help you to maintain the relationship going forward. How do you think you got to the point that you are at now? Is there anything that you could do in the future to avoid getting back to this place? What signs should you look out for that you are not experiencing the love and desire that you once did? Having a clear-cut idea of where the relationship has been and where you both want the relationship to be going ensures that you are both working from the same page in the relationship, and aiming for the same goals.  I hope that some of these suggestions are helpful to you, and that they help you work towards re-building these feelings in your relationship. If you and your partner feel that you would benefit from doing so, seeking support from a relationship therapist can be of benefit. A therapist would be able to guide you through some of the strategies described above, as well as others. They would also be able to work through any issues or barriers in your relationship with you so that you and your partner can reach a place of increased happiness. 
Answered on 02/03/2023

I don't know how to deal. I need some coping mechanisms to deal with my first ever major heartbreak.

Breakup It's rough when we attach to someone and then lose them. After not being committed to anyone, you might find yourself a little lost in a year and a half of bonding. I think addressing the reality of your current emotional and mental state is beneficial at this time. When we are no longer with someone after making life plans and forming a future and identity, it just sucks. Identity is lost when the other person decides to go away for whatever reason. There is probably nobody you've attached with as much as you have with them. Maybe even your mom and dad are foreigners to what you felt with them, and now, that part of you is gone, dead, no more there is a part of you that you lose as well. It's extreme, but the mind is left to try to make sense of it all.  Often this is when people struggle with identity or being adequate. Sometimes we don't even know we struggled with ourselves until we break up with someone, and we are left alone to fend for ourselves, no longer supported and reassured by another. Also, when we are in a relationship, we like ourselves with that person, and now that the person is gone, so is that version of ourselves.  But is it? Once your mind can conceive a part of you that didn't before, you know it's there. You will always know there is a part of you that felt complete. Unfortunately, you might attribute that feeling to the other person and them alone; after all, you bonded with them. But you can support and love yourself, unlike that person could. You can be kind to yourself and notice the good things like you would with a friend. You can literally be your best advocate in all of this because heartbreak tears you from others, but it cannot tear you from yourself.  So, what can you do? How do you cope? You ask yourself, why does this hurt? It is probably bits and pieces of things, but try to identify what exactly you notice that causes you to struggle in this breakup and learn to sit with that part of you the most. The weakest part is the one we have to get to know and love. We have to love like we imagined this other person did. We imagine this other person loved all of us, enough for both of us. However, where they lacked long-term, you can do for yourself to at least get through this time and move forward into the next relationship. 
Answered on 02/01/2023

Need support to help me emotionally leave this situation

Hi Shaun! Welcome to the Better Help platform! Thank you so much for asking this great question on the topic about leaving your current situation. Based on what you wrote in your question, it sounds like you have been trying to break ties with your significant other and end your current relationship. How long have you been trying to leave this situation? It appears that you have already made the conscious decision to end your time together. Congratulations on making this important choice. What has this decision making process been like for you? What barriers do you foresee as holding you back from following through with your decision? Would you say that you are experiencing a sense of hesitation about leaving your significant other? It sounds like you are preparing to make a big change at this point. My hope is that I will be able to help you to navigate this experience and assist you in coming up with a plan to move forward with leaving this situation. First and foremost, I would like to commend you for your courage in seeking out guidance on how to navigate your current situation. It is very brave of you to reach out for support on this topic. Ending a relationship can cause significant distress for anybody. Making the decision to end things is a really good first step. I can see why ending this relationship would be a challenge for you as you had mentioned that you have a soul tie to your significant other and that you two talk together frequently. Therefore, it is vital to be kind to yourself and continue to understand your own feelings about the situation. In addition, it may be important for you to recognize your personal strengths as well as make note of your admirable qualities. Doing so can be a means to foster your self confidence, which in turn can aid you in implementing your plan of terminating the relationship. One of the most effective ways to boost self confidence is through therapeutic writing. Take some time to write about your plan of action. Explore your positive qualities through therapeutic journaling. The therapeutic writing process can be an incredibly powerful tool to begin discovering more about your self and can be a wonderful tool to better understand your strengths and skills. You can start this process by writing a pro's and con's list about your decision to end the relationship. For more information about the benefits of journaling, check out the free resources online from the International Association for Journal Writing. The website is: As a registered art therapist, I always recommend that individuals participate in art based interventions. The therapeutic art making process can be incredibly inspiring, healing and informative. It is true that painting, drawing, coloring, weaving and sculpting activities can build self confidence, strengthen self awareness and boost self esteem. There are countless options for art therapy interventions that you could put into practice if you are willing to do so. For more information about the therapeutic benefits of art therapy, check out the website for the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). The AATA website is: An example of an art therapy directive that you could try is to draw a time line of your current relationship. Choose a starting point, such as the time when you first met or your first date. Utilize arrows to signify the direction in which the relationship has been going. Mark down major milestones on your time line using shapes to reflect important moments. Apply a variety of colors to indicate how you were feeling at any given moment in time. This art based directive may help you to reflect on your relationship and determine how you want things to end. Once you have completed your timeline, take a moment to reflect on your relationship. Draw a picture of your feelings about ending the relationship. Utilize this image as a source of strength as you move forward with your plan to leave your current situation. Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide when the right time is to end the relationship and leave your current situation. You may need to break ties with this individual completely in order to be able to fully disengage the relationship. I know that you mentioned that the two of you talk every day so it may be challenging at first to cease that ongoing communication. You also noted that your significant other is not trying to move forward with the break up. It seems like you will have to put into practice assertive communication skills in order to successfully employ your plan of action. Despite the challenge you are facing, it is important that you have faith in yourself that you can do this! I want to thank you again, Shaun, for asking this invaluable question on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum. Also, I would like to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey on BetterHelp. I sincerely hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. Take good care and have a great day!
Answered on 01/25/2023

What actions should I take? How do I go about fixing this? Should I leave?

Hi, I am so sorry to hear about your current situation with your boyfriend. It does become very difficult to survive in this type of an environment where your emotional needs are not being met. I know how challenging it can become to raise children while balancing work when you are emotionally not taken care of. I want you to start by shifting your perspective about yourself and your relationship. First, I want you to work on your own personal growth. This would include taking care of your physical health as well as your mental health. It is extremely important as if you are feeling good about yourself and your environment you will be able to look at the world from a different lens. Once you feel confident in your own skin then you can start working on your relationship as chances are when he sees a changed person he may become attracted to you again. if the relationship is meant to be and if he is the right person for you it will bring both of you closer and if he is not meant to be with you then this would be a point where it will get terminated. However, we are going to try to make the relationship work as you have children involved. I want you to do a swot analysis for him and your relationship where you would look at his strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. SWOT Analysis is a tool to help you analyze your relationship in depth and to think about the potential of the relationship. The goal of this exercise would be to increase your awareness of your partner and how it affects your relationship. Some other things to consider are his ability as a parent. The strengths and weaknesses are some parts that you may have control over relatively in your relationships. This will help you develop a plan in setting boundaries and future goals for your relationship. I hope this was helpful and I do encourage you to seek help from a mental health professional for your personal growth and for your relationship. Best, Dr. Saima 
Answered on 01/25/2023

Do I put my emotional and mental health first?

YES! You aren't good for anybody if you are in a situation where you are being bogged down, made to feel less-than, and unsupported to grow into other areas of life. Look, being a man, and being honest with you, "flirting" isn't harmless. It's insidious how the mind works; we cross a line a little bit, then a little more, then a little more, always aware of what we are doing, but getting better at justifying our actions. Certain thoughts from your boyfriend might be, "oh, we are just friends." Or, "Well, I didn't sleep with them."  Maybe a point of argument could be placed on you, that "you are just jealous." Even if none of these have actually been spoken about, the best-case scenario is that they have been conceived. The reason I say, "best case" is because if your boyfriend is engaging in flirtatious behavior and doesn't have to justify it, it means he genuinely doesn't see anything wrong with it, and that shows a deep belief in his lack of respect for you and your feelings. Even though ignorance can gain a pass when revealed for what it is, that he, "didn't know," it still leaves the question of what are you going to do with a man like that. Are you willing to teach him and work with him through it if willing? You mention it has already been five years. How much are you willing to accept that the best the relationship can get is with someone who doesn't know better, or if he does, justifies it? If he isn't willing to work on this or sees it as his weakness, what are you left with but settling for the less than? You, too, will have to accept you are less than, because a weak or unconfident man cannot be with a strong confident woman, and ma'am, he does seem weak. Flirting is Weakness Flirting is validation. Flirting is admitting that though I am in a committed relationship and have a child I could invest in, I would rather get the attention of these women. Someone like that needs it to feel good about himself. a man like that has a shallow self-image, one requiring another's validation of him, which he manipulates to be viewed as adequate.  Coward Not to speculate too much, but in my experience, his not engaging in any extra relational affairs is because the women won't go that far, and he is a coward. That's what happens with weak men, though. They are scared of getting in trouble or being embarrassed. Don't mistake his not cheating as being a good man, but take it as cowardice. Unless he is willing to do what is necessary on some interpersonal work, see a therapist, deal with the inadequate self, admit that he feels inadequate, etc., could stuff get better. If he isn't willing to do that or go there with it, he isn't going to change, and the behaviors get worse as he gets fed up, gets bolder, better at flirting, and then one day goes too far physically with someone. Look for these signs. If you tell him these things I am saying and he gets angry, and says it's not true, you have to then notice that he became angry, because....? Why do people get angry? This is usually from a place of hurt. Why do people get defensive, justify, and blame, because they are victims, and a victim makes everyone and everything their persecutor. None of this is about you doing better or me not saying anything, but it is about him being able to admit the nature of his actions and not admitting the actions.  Now, the part you play, if he can confess the nature of his sins, is if you have been disengaged as well. Or, if he reports that you don't seem to care or something to show he's not feeling connected to you. I don't mean that he is right if he blames you for what he has done, but there could be some truth there. Unfortunately, the truth could be that you are confident and willing to leave; he knows you could do better (mostly because of his poor self-perspective) and therefore wants to break you down. There is always truth in what someone says, but take it in context. If one cannot admit their part and immediately blames them, then that is their problem. If there is self-admission and connecting it to feeling like you are disconnected or don't care, that could be worth investing in to. Lastly Don't get too much advice here. People love to get relationship advice and say what sounds like a dramatic response. It's easy to say, "leave him," but it's hard to stay and work on things. However, if you choose to stay and work on things, then work on things, don't let this moment pass. Hold him accountable, and you hold yourself accountable. You should be allowed to ask questions to learn more about him and what he wants/needs in life. Try to love him again and learn to forgive. That is key here, if you choose to be with him, you have a lot of work to do, not to get bitter, which you do this by forgiving. You will have to make peace with the former, and if you cannot do that, then I have to say it probably won't work together. You will become bitter, justify your bitterness, and then get angry, resentful, and then be mad at yourself for wasting your life on him. He put you in a tough spot, but you are here now. Honesty is always the best policy, so get to know what you feel and think so you can present that. What I mention here is to help frame thoughts and ideas going forward and ask questions to help guide you to where you want to go. 
Answered on 01/21/2023

How do I feel hope after another failed relationship?

Hi Sum,  Thank you for your question. It can be so draining to find yourself caught in cycles like this. Not only do you have to go through the feelings of loss from the break ups that you have had, but it is so tough to be left feeling as though there is something wrong with you, or that you won't be able to find the 'right' partner for you. I'm glad that you've decided to reach out for support to break this cycle, and I certainly hope that my answer may be able to provide some clarity for you. I also consider it important to emphasize that there is not necessarily anything 'wrong' with you for these relationships not working out. However, there are ways that you can explore why you find yourself in such relationships.  When finding yourself in a position where you're repeating similar patterns of behavior over and over again, the first step to breaking out of this pattern is to build your awareness of the warning signs. It would be beneficial to reflect back on the relationships that you have had. Asking questions like how did the relationships start? Where did you meet your partners? How were each of the relationships developed? What was it about your partners that caught your attention?  Try to find as many similarities between the relationships as possible. The key word there is relationships - you're not only looking for similarities between the partners themselves, but the actual relationship dynamics that were at play. A couple of random examples could be that you may find that in all of your relationships, your partner initiated the first date, or maybe you find that your partners don't open up to you very easily.  Once you've identified some of those patterns, they can act as 'warning signs' the next time you meet someone. The earlier you can identify that a partner is playing into the same patterns that haven't worked for you previously, the earlier that you can remove yourself from the situation. You may also be able to see more clearly when somebody is acting in a way that is different to your previous partners, which could be beneficial for you to explore.  It may also be worthwhile to take this time to understand your own wants and needs from relationships. What is it about being in a relationship that you are seeking? What would you want this relationship to look like? What qualities are you looking for in a partner? Are these wants and needs something that you have previously felt comfortable communicating with your partners? The more understanding that you have about yourself and your own expectations, the more clearly that these can be communicated to potential partners. Healthy relationships are founded on lots of communication with one another, and even at the very beginning of a relationship it is important to express your wants and needs to a partner so that both of you are on the same page. If you are worried about communicating your needs to a partner (or potential partner) it would be helpful to consider why this may be, and what worries you have about expressing your wants/needs in such a way.  To break the patterns that you are in, you may also have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Finding new ways to meet partners can open up lots of different opportunities and introduce you to people that you may not have previously met. For example, if you tend to find partners on dating apps, you may want to try a singles night instead. A great way to push your comfort zone and meet others is to engage in a hobby that interests you - finding local groups/clubs (book clubs for example) is a great way to meet different people. Not only does it increase your own happiness and sense of fulfillment, but it can allow you to meet people that you can build a relationship with based on a common interest, which is a great foundation for a relationship.  Alongside all of this is the importance of really taking time for yourself - spending time engaging in self care and taking the time to learn about yourself. There is a saying along the lines of "people get into relationships that they think they deserve". Is there a part of you that feels like you don't deserve better from your relationships? Or that feels like you wouldn't be able to attract a partner better than the ones that you have had previously? If so, taking the time to get to know yourself and spend time with yourself can be a great way of building your self-esteem, and re-discovering your value as a person.  It is of course also beneficial to engage in therapy. Therapy is a place where you can explore relationship patterns in a non-judgemental space, with an empathetic person there to support you as you untangle this very complicated topic!  I hope that this answer has helped in some way. As previously said - it can be so easy to fall into the habit of blaming ourselves when things seem to go continuously wrong. It is also easy to fall into the same old patterns, even ones that don't work for us or aren't healthy for us. I would encourage you to continue reflecting on this topic for yourself so that you can find a partner who is on the same page - and more importantly, a partner that you deserve!
Answered on 01/17/2023

How can I lessen my anxious attachment to a partner?

Hello, First, I appreciate you sharing what's going on and I can provide some guidance around this. I'll list a few different ideas on how to approach your casual relationship with him here. I might start out with acknowledging that the relationship has changed and it's normal to feel anxious about the unknown when you both initially decided on being casual together and noticing now you have stronger feelings for him. I think this is very important and overlooked. Often times we will act on anxiety and avoid how we feel, talking about things, etc. I might suggest asking yourself what feels effective around this? An example might be... I'm at a place where I want to problem solve my anxiety and ask if he'd like to have a relationship with me, etc.? I'm giving a hypothetical on this.  I can understand why you might not want to rock the boat either if you're enjoying your time with him and are fearful that it might end what feels pretty good right now.  Another piece that is more on a micro level is to notice when feeling anxious you may check things more often, which can increase your anxiety drastically. An example might be texting and checking your phone over and over and hoping for a response. I can understand how it can be validating and reassuring to hear from him and understand it can be painful when you don't get the response in the time frame you're looking for. often times, I will try to urge surf or notice my checking behavior and try to block it essentially (not look at my phone and instead notice the intensity or sensation of wanting to look at my phone for his text or snap, etc. My last idea to help you process this further is I'll often ask myself this question... Is keeping the peace now going to keep me miserable going forward? This is for you to recognize and decide when you're not okay any longer as a casual relationship. All these things may help alleviate your anxiety around the relationship and likely lead to you being more relaxed around him and silly. I hope this all helps and I understand this isn't a solve all. I wish you the best, Mitchell Daas, MA, LPCC
Answered on 01/15/2023

Why am I wanting to end my relationship with a good guy?

Perspective Your situation demonstrates the power of perspective and how your state of mind determines what you want. You think you could go without when you have him and are assured. Then, when you are alone, you question it and want him back. You know the relationship serves some emptiness or lack of self-assurance because when you are with him, his niceness reassures you that you are good. You conclude that you don't want to be here anymore from that good space.  It's a pretty good assessment of how we are doing if we are able to be by ourselves or not. Since you are struggling with being alone, I think you know that you aren't ready for it. It seems as though because you are alone, you lose that reassurance and therefore question yourself and question the relationship, and who knows what you start to think disrupting your life.  Now, it's not good to be in a relationship to "make you better" or to "be completed" that is called codependency, and it usually doesn't go well. When you are with him, you feel solid if it is because you are confident with him that you are healthy. If his presence provides a solid you, now you have an unhealthy dependence on him to make you feel better. You are not defined by the person you are with, and if you feel better with them than without, often that can mean you aren't fully established or confident in yourself. You need to ask yourself who you are, what you like, and what those likes and dislikes, independent of others, say about yourself.  Here's the deal with codependency. You are relying on your partner, whom you find unsatisfying, to reassure you of yourself. However, someone else could always come along who does it better or seems to be what your current man is not. It often happens when someone gets into a relationship without knowing it is unhealthy, only to have enough confidence from the relationship to be with someone else. Then the other person leaves them, and they are a mess.  You have to do what serves you best. What serves you is any situation where you get to discover who you are, probably in those uncomfortable alone times. Who you are, what you want, what you need, and how you define yourself. Maybe be alone for a while if you are questioning whether he is the right guy. You can always come back if you are meant to be together. As long as you stay in the relationship, you never get to know who you are when not with that person. Set boundaries with your current significant other, and learn how to cope when you are alone. 
Answered on 01/14/2023

Why can't I let go of the past?

Hi, Thank you for reaching out. You have taken the right step by getting help from a mental health professional. You are not alone when it comes to not being able to break from the cycle of attracting and being with the same type of a person. There are many reasons for this. It is that you are becoming aware of this situation and want to take a step to take control of your situation.  One of the reasons why women tend to choose the same type of men as their ex is due to following the same pattern. Many times women are not self aware and don’t recognize their emotional needs and their love language. In the initial stages the infatuation takes over the rational thought and they fall in the trap of being attracted to the same kind. For this reason, it is extremely important for women to take some time and recover from their past relationship- this would require for them to fully understand their previous relationship, why and how it failed and where they were wrong and where their ex was wrong. Once one gains clarity in this then they come to realize their own weaknesses and strengths in relationships- as for weakness if you take time in recovering you can start working on the weaknesses and opt for personal growth before you step in future relationships. As you work on yourself you will understand yourself more and will know which boundaries you want to have and where you are willing to be flexible. You will understand what matters to you most and what your values are. The more clarity you have about yourself the easier it will be for you to handle yourself in relationships.   When you feel ready for your next relationship, that's when you can start to think about the type of person you want to get involved with. Now you are aware of the issues you had with your ex and understand that some of the issues were perhaps related to your own shortcomings and some were related to them. This is when it is best to see if the person holds the same values as you, think logically and then emotionally. After going through these steps, if you decide to move on with a person who is similar to your ex, you will still be in better shape to keep your boundaries so that you don’t fall into the same cycle again. I wish you the best and hope this was helpful.  Thanks, Dr. Saima   
Answered on 01/07/2023

How do I get over my crush?

The first thing I would do is communicate your feelings with her.  You are assuming that she is not attracted to you. However, that is not a fact.  It's coming from your own insecurities. If she does not have the same feelings then I would pinpoint why you are attracted to her in the first place in order to remove the mystery and become aware of what it is. It will help you understand why you should not act on it. Second, I would redirect my feelings when spending time with her. Whenever it comes up in your mind think about why you are such good friends and how that is important to you.  The third thing I would keep in mind is how that attraction if acted on can create issues and could break up the friendship in the long run. Think about how it can be destructive. Fourth thing is to take some space. Take a few steps back from hanging out often and refocus on other things. The last think I would do is start dating other people. Maybe take that extra time from taking space and go out on dates with others. This will help you understand if your attraction comes from a place of being lonely or if it's really authentic. Sometimes we feel attraction to our friends out of a place of feeling lonely. This is why dating other people may help you understand more if this is just a passing phase because she is the closest person to you. It is nothing to be ashamed of and that is why it's important to let her know what is going on in your head as well. This way if you have to pull away she will understand why. Attraction on her end cannot be forced. However, you are basing her lack of interest in you off of an assumption and not a fact. You will never truly know unless you let her know that you have stronger feelings for her.  You may think you are not good looking but other people may feel differently.
Answered on 12/17/2022

I wanna know what to do

Hi Praise.  Thank you for taking that first step to reach out for help.  From my understanding, I gather you do not feel chosen, wanted, or valued by your partner. You may be feeling alone by your partner not spending time together and choosing others over you.  This type of rejection can be painful and affect how we feel and act. Relationship issues can also affect our self esteem, motivation and ability to focus and work, and connect emotionally with others. Are you together as a couple or has the relationship ended? In a relationship we need to have open, honest communication with our partner.  By expressing your feelings and making your needs known you can ensure you and your partner are on the same page and want the same outcomes in your relationship. There must be mutual respect and understanding to accomplish this.  It's important to focus on what is in your control.  Do what you need to take care of your mental health and well being.  Engage in hobbies and activities that bring you joy and help calm and distract you from the stress you are experiencing.  Get outside for exercise and sunlight.  Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol. Do not isolate.  Socially and emotionally connect with friends and family.  Lean into your support system to manage the hurt and loneliness. Talk about your feelings to those who support and care about you. Go out and meet with friends. Volunteer and help others.  Journal your feelings. Listen to music.  Practice mindfulness and focus on gratitudes. Pray and meditate.  Relationship difficulties can lead to depression and anxiety. Get professional help to manage your mental health. In individual counseling you meet with an experienced, licensed therapist in a safe space to self reflect, express your feelings,  and learn skills to help navigate this situation.  You will develop techniques to build confidence, learn healthy boundaries, understand how to effectively communicate, and form healthy relationships.  You are not alone.  Find the support and help you need to be a healthier, happier you. Take care of yourself.  Wishing you all the best.  
Answered on 12/15/2022

Why am I never good enough?

I wonder if you have fallen into a pattern of choosing unhealthy relationships? Do you feel an endless sense of being let down? Feeling that you give your all but do not feel you get anything back? You absolutely deserve to be loved and cherished, but often we fall into a pattern of choosing a particular type of person, whether this may be toxic friendships or selfish or emotionally unavailable people who will never be able to meet your needs. This pattern will probably have been formed / learned as a child, something known as 'childhood programming'. This may have left you with a core belief that is controlling your choices when it comes to relationships!  I really think it may help you to look within and ask yourself some questions, this will help you to become aware of your own self-worth. For example, how do you feel about your personal boundaries? Do you let people know what they are and what is not acceptable to you? If we fail to do this or even know what they are, we will endlessly give and find it hard to say no! This ultimately will leave you feeling your needs are not met and a sense of being let down. Spending some time thinking about what your boundaries are may help you to have a better understanding of what and who you want in your life. Also cultivate self compassion, be kind to your self ask what is important to YOU in relationship, be honest about how you would receive what you need. Would you for instance find it hard to accept unconditional love if this has not been something you've received before? It is of course possible to change the core beliefs we have and replace them with new healthy core beliefs. Having some counseling therapy would be so helpful. Spending time working on your personal development would help you find better, deeper understanding about who you are, how to love you and be happy and contented with yourself first and then others in more healthy and fulfilling relationships. Please know we are here to help you through the challenges and sadness you feel whenever you you are ready. I wish you well and hope you find some happiness and contentment within your relationships. Very warm regards, Gina Kelly.
Answered on 12/12/2022

Why do I always sabotage my romantic relationships with my partners?

Hi Amal.  Thanks for reaching out.  It's hard to take the first step to ask for help. Romantic relationships can be difficult to navigate.  Relationships require us to be intimate and open up to another person.  This makes us vulnerable.  Healthy relationships require boundaries and effective communication to work well.  Try to work together to find out what you both want in a relationship.  This is  part of communicating in a healthy manner. Unless we know what we want and need in a relationship, we may make mistakes and hurt the person we are with.  We are human, we make mistakes. It's important to understand the reasons behind our actions.  Are they intentionally hurting a loved one? You mentioned messing up and hurting your partner and not knowing how to fix it.  Have you asked him what he needs to feel safe, loved, and cared for in your relationship?  Are you able to provide those things, and do you say what you need too?   How do we deal with hurting those we care about? Do we acknowledge the mistakes and take accountability? This may mean apologizing and working to change our behaviors and actions.  Repeatedly sabotaging the relationship and hurting the other person can mean we are not ready to commit to a relationship, we are with the wrong person, or possibly stuck in a  destructive pattern of behaviors.  Individual and couples counseling can be helpful to determine how past relationships and upbringing affect us and influence our choices and behaviors in our current relationships.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can help us identify how our thoughts affect our feelings and determine our actions.  Skill building with CBT can improve our relationships as well by learning to communicate, be there for each other, and manage our moods. Reaching out for help is a step in the right direction.  Working with an experienced, knowledgeable Counselor can you give you the safe space you need to have an objective person hear you out and work with you to develop the skills you need to form healthy relationships.  Wishing you all the best on your journey to health and wellness.  
Answered on 12/10/2022

How do I stop self doubt and overcome anxiety. Also how do I stop thinking the worst case scenario?

Hello, What you're describing is pretty common--you've been in an unhealthy relationship and now you're feeling insecure in your current one. I don't know what the trauma with your ex was like, but "forgetting" about what happened probably isn't realistic. There are a few things I'd recommend, however: 1. Pay attention to what you are telling yourself about the past and current relationship as well as what messages you've acquired about yourself. Once you identify the beliefs/messages behind your thoughts, you can then challenge and counter those thoughts with healthier thoughts. By changing the way you think, you change the way you feel. It does take work, and what I'm describing is what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seeks to do.  2. Learn and practice coping skills. Journaling can be one coping skill that allows you to express your anxiety and fear. Deep breathing can help you to lower your anxiety. There are a number of coping skills that can be helpful here. 3. If you experienced physical or sexual trauma in your last relationship, I encourage you to look in to working with a therapist who is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). The goal of EMDR is to reprocess (not forget) traumatic memories in healthier ways. It's extremely effective. 4. It sounds like your current boyfriend is being understanding, and so continue to allow him to help you be assured in the relationship. Continue to talk to him about your feelings. 5. Challenge yourself to spend a little time away from your boyfriend. What I mean is that, if you find that it's distressing any time that you're away from him, challenge yourself to participate in some activities without him. A little time apart can not only help you work on your anxiety, but it can also improve the quality of the relationship and make your time with him even more special. I do encourage you to reach out for help. The answer to dealing with trauma is not to try to forget it, and the answer to recovering from an unhealthy relationship is not to bury yourself in a new relationship. It can take some time and practice, but you can move forward in your new relationship by addressing what transpired in your last one. Take care, Nicholas DeFazio, MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC
Answered on 12/01/2022

How Can I Have a Normal Relationship With People?

Hi Misha! Thank you for asking this important question on the BetterHelp platform. It is really great that you are willing to address the topic of building and maintaining healthy relationships. It is a really good thing that you have reached out for support at this time. Have you attended counseling or therapy services in the past? I hope that you consider participating in online therapy sessions on BetterHelp! Based on what you wrote in your question, I can see why you are feeling concerned about having a normal relationship with other people. When did you first notice that you were feeling this way? Who is in your circle of support? Would you be able to reflect on some of your relationship strengths? What would an ideal relationship look like for you? What efforts would you need to put forward in order to get there? I recommend that you answer and address some of these questions, as well as some of your own thoughts, through therapeutic writing. Have you tried journaling in the past? Journaling and writing poetry are wonderful and creative outlets that allow for safe emotional expression as well as contemplation. There are daily journal prompts on the BetterHelp app if you would like to respond to some pre-written prompts as a means to get started with establishing ideas for the creative writing process. Also, if you are interested in hearing more about the nature and benefits of writing and journaling, feel free to look up the Therapeutic Writing Institute! They consistently have classes and trainings on the phenomenal effects of writing on the brain. I realize that you had mentioned that you are unable to make healthy and meaningful relationships with people in your life. When you say that you are experiencing a weird feeling, what are the ways in which you would describe this sensation? It sounds like you have considered the possibility that this would be the flight or fight response, which is a physiological response to fear or perceived danger. It sounds like you feel like making eye contact with people does not feel normal for you. What behaviors or actions allow you to feel normal? I can imagine that these experiences must be very uncomfortable for you, to say the least. I think that you have some very good insight into your experience. I see what you mean when you mention that you feel as if you can only interact with others on a surface level. It seems like you are willing to connect with other individuals on a deeper level but perhaps you are unsure as to how to go about doing this. I would like to encourage you to steer clear of thinking that something is inherently wrong with yourself. Try to be kind to yourself and practice being patient and understanding with who you are. There is always going to be room for personal growth and change if you are willing to give it a try! I truly appreciate your sense of determination. What are some of your other strengths and positive qualities? I hear what you are saying when you state that you have some fears about failure in pursuing deeper and meaningful connections. I know that you mentioned that you feel like you are "destined to fail." I realize that the concept of failure may seem to be inevitable for you. I would be interested in hearing more about why you think that you will fail. How would it feel to hear someone say, "You won't fail." If you can, take some time to try to adapt to this way of thinking. Changing thoughts is one of the fundamental attributes of the cognitive behavioral therapy approach. Take some time to consider how your thoughts, feelings, and behavior are interrelated. I recommend looking into some positive affirmations online. A positive, self affirmation statement, once said by H. Jackson Brown Jr., is: "When you can't change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails." In addition to utilizing positive affirmations and motivational quotes, I would like to encourage you to participate in art based interventions. You had mentioned that you set some goals for yourself. Would you be willing to draw a timeline about how long it will take to realistically attain those goals? Would you consider participating in therapeutic drawing and painting techniques as a means to build self esteem and establish a sense of control? Paint a picture of yourself in the future. Also, draw a person in the rain. This is a standardized, reliable, and validated art therapy directive that could help you to further realize your resiliency. Try to think of resilience in terms of being a form of flexibility. Have some hope that you can improve your current relationships as well as build new connections in the future. At this time, I recommend attending individual counseling sessions It sounds like you could benefit from talking to a licensed mental health counselor about how you have been doing. A trained therapist can assist you in addressing your relationship concerns as well as your aspirations for future relationships. You may have the opportunity to review important information on topics such as attachment style, boundaries and socialization skills. If you are interested in joining a group therapy session or groupinar, those are additional options on BetterHelp. A cohesive group setting can assist individual participants in developing social skills and establishing healthy connections. Check out Irvin David Yalom's book titled: "The Gift of Therapy." In his book, Yalom outlines eleven principles of group therapy. There are many resources online if you would like to learn more about the therapeutic nature of group therapy. Thank you again for your time asking this vital question on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" Forum. I wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey. I hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. Take good care and enjoy your day!
Answered on 12/01/2022

Should I ask my coworker out on a date?

Go for what aligns with your values.  Right off the bat, I love this question for a few reasons. You are honest here. You can admit shortcomings in life. You see someone you like, admit that it might not work, and you also admit that you believe you should go for it.  Fear is a funny thing, right? Fear says you shouldn't do something because of this or that. Fear here says that you don't want to impede on her. You don't want to embarrass or upset her. Because this is a concern of yours, I can tell you, you won't have the effect you fear, mostly because you genuinely care about her. You admit that she could end up with someone else. Here's the kicker: You admit that you can at least say you tried even if she does not want to be with you.  My title was, "go with what aligns with your values" because when we make decisions based on attributes we want to see in ourselves and others, we cannot fail. We cannot truly fail if we follow-through on our authentic self, which here is to ask her out, despite all the fears. Remember this too, your mind secretes thoughts like the pancreas secretes bile. Thoughts are what your mind does, just allow them to exist and stop trying to challenge or deny or fix these thoughts. Let old thoughts that get your attention pass by like leaves on a stream. You value being authentic and putting yourself in situations with others that you truly like and believe they like and could be good for you and you for them. You care about other people and think about them, which aligns with your values because you do these things. If you did not care about people, you would not consider these ideas.  If you do not ask, you will regret it. Think about you in five years. If you find some time machine and come back from five years in the future, what would you then tell you today? I highly doubt the older/wiser version of ourselves would ever come back to us today and say, "oh no, you shouldn't try; you should just put your nose down and admit defeat." Here's the bigger picture. Even if she says no. Even if she laughs, and says she feels uncomfortable (which is her issue and not yours), even if it ends horribly, you did something you can keep doing to start new habits.  How many times do people miss out on life because of stagnant beliefs or fears and don't even try to take a chance? People lay on their deathbeds and think about what could have been if only they had done the uncomfortable and challenging thing for a reward they really wanted. You, sir have the future you's possibility in your hand today. It is a lot of responsibility, but this power has been granted to you. You need to do with the power as a responsible caregiver would do, and that is to act on the opportunity given. Ask her out, stand there and see what she does. Don't get lost in your head, be present. Focus on the bottoms of your feet and stay grounded in all the awkwardness that is the moment. If she indicates discomfort, that is her issue and not yours to remedy. You could end up making an impact on her life as well, all the while living for what you care about. 
Answered on 11/28/2022

How do I open myself up for a fulfilled single life?

Hi Tori! Thank you for reaching out and asking this valuable question on the topic of making improvements in your relationships. Welcome to the BetterHelp platform! I can tell that you have been looking for ideas on how to prepare for your next relationship as well as improve and build upon your current friendships. What are some of your relationship goals? I hope that my response to your question will assist you in making changes in your current and future relationships. Sometimes advice and guidance is all we need in order to take the next steps! I can tell that you have been feeling motivated for change based on what you had written in your question. It is a really good sign that you have been reaching out for support. Who else is in your support system? What institutions would you consider to be supportive for you? Are you familiar with the cycle of change? What are some things that you can realistically do as you prepare for change? Here is a link to more information on the cycle of change: Also, here is a link to the circle of support work sheet in which you can continue to identify your natural supports: In addition to reaching out for support and preparing to make change, I can see that you are trying to focus on your needs. Have you taken some time to focus on your feelings, as well? First and foremost, I recommend that you take some time to focus on recognizing your feelings and assessing how your emotions may have changed over time. I will share with you the link to the feelings wheel in order for you to practice feeling identification strategies: It appears that you have already begun the process of setting some really good goals for yourself! I realize that you would like to learn how to live a fulfilling, single life. That sounds really great! What are some of the things that would make life fulfilling for you? Perhaps you can make a list of your hobbies, talents and interests in order to have a better understanding on how to answer this question. What are some of your personality traits that you would consider to be your greatest strengths? Take some time to assess your own personal favorite qualities that you recognize within yourself. In addition, you mentioned in your question that you had moved to London for love. It sounds like that plan did not work out in the way that you initially expected it to. I realize that this experience could come with some feelings of disappointment or perhaps even feelings of devastation. Those are just some of my first thoughts. I am wondering if you are familiar with the four types of Greek love- stergo, phileo, agape and eros. I understand that you had moved to London searching for love and did not find the type of love you had anticipated. Perhaps you can still find love but maybe a love that comes in a different form!Below is the link to an article that explains the four types of Greek love for your review: On another note, I understand that you were able to recognize some of warning signs of codependency in your last relationship. Have you noticed codependency signs in your past relationships, as well? Take some time to clarify some of the signs of codependency. I would like to encourage you to look into more information on the topic of codependency. Below are the titles of two books that you could read in order to explore more on this topic: "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie "Understanding and Treating Co dependnce" by James A. Kitchens Also, check out this web link for a quick synopsis about understanding co dependency: In responding to your question, I would be interested in hearing more about what you have been doing to live a fulfilling life so far. What can you do to take action in order to live a more fulfilling life? Would you be able to envision yourself feeling fulfilled in other ways? I recommend that you try to visualize your life feeling fulfilled. Would you be willing to prioritize yourself over other people? It sounds like you could benefit from self care skills. Essentially, from my perspective, self care skills mean practicing any activity that brings you joy and fosters a sense of self love. It is okay to be selfish. Not in a bad, rude and "no one matters but me" way but rather in an "I love you" (yourself) type of way! I hope that you can carve out twenty minutes or so in your day to practice self care. Here is a link to some more ideas for self care skills: I recommend that you begin the process of journaling or creating art on a regular basis. Would you be willing to participate in creative writing or therapeutic drawing interventions? You could keep a daily journal as a means to record and keep track of your thoughts and feelings. At this time, I would like to recommend that you you begin attending individual counseling sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It sounds like you could find meeting with a therapist one on one will be helpful for you overall. In individual therapy, you can have the chance to address your concerns with attachment. Ask your therapist about the attachment theory! You may also want to consider attending a group therapy session or a groupinar. The group therapy process has very unique benefits that you may find to be helpful for you! Lastly, I want to thank you again for your time asking this important question. Also, I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey on BetterHelp. I hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. Take good care and have a nice day!
Answered on 11/17/2022

How do I commit myself in to a relationship?

Hello Lisa, Thank you for reaching out for your question. I will try my best to answer this as best as possible on the limited information.First of all, it is very hard to find good men these days.  Society has taken a modern turn and communication and steps to build a relationship don't seem to really exist.  People are wanting to "rush order" dating and relationships and they usually end up with someone who has a personality disorder or co-dependency issues, especially on a dating application where that platform is really attractive for someone who quickly wants their ego fed.With that said, if you are wanting to find someone of quality, I strongly recommend that you do things that you do and love and then someone who is also interested in the same things will find you there. For example, if you love to kayak, play tennis, etc. then gravitate to those type of activities.  In addition, volunteering for community service especially during the holidays is a nice way to help out.Lastly, when you do meet someone, the key is to take your time.  Take one step at a time and really get to know someone instead of rushing in a physical relationship.  This way, you can study their personality, see if they are a good fit and you have things in common, and develop a sense of trust.  It takes time to build trust and most people rush into things and then end up getting hurt.  It also might be good for you to seek professional counseling with a licensed therapist to see if you keep gravitating towards the same type of toxic guy. Perhaps, there is a pattern where you are drawn to more toxic men and this is why you continue to get hurt.  A licensed therapist can help you under why you are drawn to certain men and help you shift out of old patterns and perhaps help your "picker" find more trustworthy fellas.Hope this helps and I wish you the best on your journey of love.  Remember, do things that you love, learn to love yourself, and in return... you will attract love to you.
Answered on 11/15/2022

Why do I feel like I'm going to be alone forever?

Thank you for taking the time to reach out and for posing such a courageous question.  I can certainly feel the pain contained within your question and can only hope to provide more clarity toward your experience with my answer.   Loneliness is a deeply existential experience that contains a unique and profound paradox within its overall presentation.  Often, loneliness is produced by underlying sub-feelings, experiences, and perceptions of being abandoned, rejected, alone, stuck, ostracized, or isolated.  Yet, we do not realize that when we experience these difficult sub-feelings, we are very much connected to other human beings.  Truly, loneliness is a common experience shared by many individuals on a cross-cultural level.  Naturally, when we have multiple experiences that foster a deep sense of loneliness, the fear can easily become: "Is this awful experience going to last forever?  Am I destined to remain alone for eternity?"  Often, when we meet these anxiety invoking thoughts with facts, hope can be salvaged.  Although I do not know the full extent of your circumstances, I invite for you to consider the facts pertaining directly to your experiences.  Allow yourself to separate what is actually known from what is being imagined or dictated by the emotion of fear.  As human beings, we become easily prone to living in the imagined future.  Unfortunately, as much as we would like to predict the trajectory of our lives, we can never be absolute certain about anything.  All of this is to say, that even if you have had profound experiences of loneliness in the past, the future remains poised with opportunity.   Strength and growth can also be elicited whenever we can begin to recognize behavioral patterns that we tend to easily fall into, follow, or employ within our lives.  Perhaps, the question of, "What personality characteristics am I most attracted to within people?," can serve as a preliminary platform that further motivates future insight and direction.  Awareness, Boundary Formation, and Commitment tend to prove as being useful within our navigation of friendships and relationship dynamics.  When searching for love, we must be mindful to practice self-compassion, empathy, and true self-love.  As an early Pre-Socratic Philosopher once stated, "How can we give what we do not have?"   Becoming comfortable with entering into and exploring the love in which we have for ourselves, may prove as being a guiding light that is meaningful in our quest toward self-discovery.   While the pain of the past requires renegotiation in order to derive meaning and incorporation into our lives, we can be empowered from the lessons in which we have learned and applied.  Success is in the trying.  Returning to the safety of ourselves and allowing the love in which we have for ourself to be sufficient, may assist in remedying any hurt that still lingers or remains.  Similarly, once we have a stable foundation that is rooted firm in self-love, future encounters of abandonment or isolation will prove as being less painful. 
Answered on 11/13/2022