Dating Answers

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: https://ououd.casn.ca/media/documents/the-cycle-of-change.pdf Also, here is a link to the circle of support work sheet in which you can continue to identify your natural supports: https://www.citn.org.uk/resources/circle-of-support/ 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: https://ytp.uoregon.edu/sites/ytp2.uoregon.edu/files/Feelings%20Wheel%20in%20PDF.pdf 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: https://annointing.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/love-types.pdf 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: https://www.mhankyswoh.org/Uploads/files/pdfs/CoDependency-UnderstandTreat_20130813.pdf 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: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c154cf9372b964a03cbccdb/t/5c488d65352f534aa63aa58a/1548258661324/100+Coping+Skills.pdf 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!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
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

How do I demand respect w/o pushing men away? Men try to be players but tell me they not.

Hello Hope,  Building respect is a crucial part of any relationship and it can also be a process that not a lot of people talk about. I am glad you are considering this question as you approach potential relationships. A healthy and happy relationship exists with trust and respect.  There is the respect that considers the other person's feelings thoughts and desires on the basis of being human beings just like you and I. The other respect is the one that we learn from others that also comes from a deep admiration for who they are and what they do.  Some of the ways in which you can command respect and not push others away is to say what you mean and mean what you say. Be honest and consistent with your words and your behavior. Our words carry meaning and when you set boundaries and stick to them that sends a clear message to significant others. Having our own opinions and staying open minded also is a key component this way you can make your own judgements and assessments of what is being said in addition to how they are showing up for you. If you have a sense that they are not being honest or truthful it may be good to ask yourself why. It will be important to consider what specific situations or outcomes has made you feel as though men you talk with are players and say they are not. If their behaviors are not aligned with what you expect in a relationship such as being present, not having wandering eyes, phone face down etc. it's okay to name that in a respectful way.  Although in the end, it all comes down to how others respond to who you are and how you show up. We have no control over how others will respond to our values or boundaries. However by being specific in what you are looking for and what you need in a relationship is a good way to set a boundary and can be done in gentle way that does not push others away.  Eva 
Answered on 11/10/2022

How should I bring this up to my partner without sounding selfish?

Thank you so much for reaching out. I validate all that you have expressed that you are feeling. It must be difficult for you to feel that the relationship with your partner seems to be one-sided. To be honest, long-distanced relationships can be challenging, but not impossible. Here are couple of things that you might consider: First, I think it might be a good idea for you to set aside some time for yourself to process you thoughts about how you truly feel in your long distance relationship. Also, it might be a great idea to create pros and cons of how the relationship is or is not serving you at this current time. Once you have processed your emotions, then the next step will be to reach out to your partner to express your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and concerns about your relationship. Then, allow your partner the space to reflect on everything that you have shared with him. It would be ideal for you to plan a video or live meeting with your partner. At all costs, it is vital that you avoid communicating through text, emails, and even phone calls.  I respect the fact that you are sensitive to the weight that your partner is carrying. I commend you for your compassion, and encourage you to be sensitive to your needs as well. It is okay to express what you need from your partner and still be sensitive to their needs. Both of you matter, and each of you deserve to be heard in the relationship. That is not too much to ask... to be seem, your hurt to be witnessed, your needs to be addressed. Don't allow your voice to be dismissed or silenced. You both have to be intentional about carving out time for one other, especially since it is a long-distance relationship. Also, you pinpointed when you started to feel insecure in the relationship. Let your partner know when you noticed a shift in the relationship and what it feels like to not have the support that you once received from them. Lastly, know that you are enough, put any negative thoughts about your worth and value on trial. Challenge those negative thoughts and replace them with positive counter statements.  Moreover, it is important to express gratitude for what is going well with yourself and allow grace, love, peace, compassion, and self-love to overtake you.  Take charge of your thoughts and reach out to your partner, be transparent with how you feel.  Above all, know that you are enough!!
(LMSW, LICSW)
Answered on 11/09/2022

Did I do the right thing?

Hello Sia! Thank you for taking the time to reach out for support on the BetterHelp platform. I appreciate you asking this important question on the topic of relationships. I am so glad to see that you are seeking out advice and guidance as a means to make sense of the experiences from your past relationship. It is great that you have provided some additional details about your past experiences in the relationship. I really admire your goal of trying to move forward and be able to experience life once again. Going through a relationship break up is never easy. I can tell that you have spent a lot of time contemplating what your next steps could be in regards to moving on from the relationship. Based on your question, it seems like you are considering how your actions may have impacted the outcome of the relationship. It sounds like you are trying to make sense of the hurt and that you have been working through and are trying to discover if you did the right thing by ending the relationship or not. I can tell that you really care for this person, as you mentioned that you want him to be happy. I think it makes sense that you would feel sad and miss him, especially since you have been together for over ten years. I realize that you mentioned in your question that your relationship of over ten years has ended approximately eight months ago. How have you been managing things thus far? Also, how did you come to this decision? What steps did you have to take in order to disengage the relationship? What were some of the barriers that you had noticed come up during the decision making process? Take some time to reflect on these questions and answer them through journaling, in therapy or even with a close friend when you are ready to do so. I can tell that you are feeling concerned about whether or not you have done the right thing by ending your last relationship. In a sense, it seems like you are questioning yourself and second guessing your decision. I would like to encourage you to recognize that every decision that you have made thus far is actually the "right" decision, simply because you made it. Your decisions could actually be a reflection of yourself. I derived this concept from the positive affirmations by Louise Hay. In her work, she has been credited as saying: "Every decision that I make is the right one for me." I recommend taking some time to create a personalized affirmation that works for you. Another example of a Louise Hay affirmation that may inspire you could be: "My heart is open. I speak with loving words." Here is a link to the daily positive affirmations that you can begin to utilize and incorporate in your daily or weekly routine: https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/ It sounds like you have been able to take some time to reflect on your relationship. Would you say that you still need some time to continue to heal? Where would you say that you are at in the healing process? I would like to encourage you to build upon your coping skills and improve your self esteem through art making. If you are willing and are interested, I would recommend that you take some time to engage in the art making or journaling process as a means for healing. Therapeutic writing and drawing interventions can bring a sense of joy, comfort and even serenity for those who are willing to try. In my clinical, professional and personal experience, art making, in its many forms, can be fuel for healing. An art making directive that may be of interest for you is to draw a picture of yourself in your next relationship. Take some time to imagine what qualities you admire in a relationship. Pick your favorite art supplies such as colored pencils, markers or water colors and envision a map to your next relationship. Listen to music, find a peaceful place and light a candle as you practice meditating and deep breathing. Perhaps draw your dreams. Here is a link to more information about how to utilize art therapy: http://melissahager.com/art-therapy-a-coping-mechanism-for-a-stressful-breakup/ In addition, here is a list of art based coping skills for you to check out: https://alexandriaarttherapy.com/blog/2015/11/19/100-coping-skills Be kind to yourself and trust in the creative, healing process. It would be great if you were able to focus on opening up your heart, mind and spirit to the principles of joy, love, peace, light and gratitude. Feel free to check out this resource for more ideas on how to incorporate this concept: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/4-simple-heart-opening-exercises-to-fill-you-with-joy-love-and-light/ In addition, I would like to commission you to make time to write out a daily gratitude list. Taking time to reflect on the things that you are most grateful for may help you to better understand the meaning of your experiences as well as your life's purpose. Lastly, I would like to recommend attending counseling services. I believe that it would be good for you to continue to explore your thoughts, feelings and experiences as you work towards rebuilding your self confidence and inner strength. If you are willing to try, you could also consider attending a weekly therapy group or a groupinar. This may help you to feel more connected with other individuals and allow you to feel a sense of belonging in a therapeutic setting. All of these therapeutic interventions are available on the BetterHelp platform! Thank you again, Sia, for asking this essential question. I truly hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way! I hope that by answering your question, I was able to guide you on this journey of decision making and self discovery. I want to wish you all the best on your journey of self exploration. Take good care and have a nice day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 11/09/2022

I don't understand why no one is ever attracted to me or shows interest in me

Hi PS! Thank you for taking the time to reach out for support on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum! I appreciate you sharing many details about your question related to loneliness, isolation and establishing meaningful relationship connections. I can tell by the information that you have provided that you are looking to further your relationships and address your challenges with intimacy, dating, attraction and romantic relationships. Based on your question, I can tell that you are a very likable person and that you have a strong support system. As I am sure that you already know, having close relationships with family and friends can be an integral part of anyone's social experience. A strong social support system can be vital in managing the challenges of every day life. It is a really great sign that you have close friends, supportive parents and feel good about these connections. I would like to encourage you to continue to build upon these supports. In addition, I can see why you are still feeling alone if you are coping with rejection. Self confidence can be an attractive quality for many individuals. Perhaps you can start the relationship building process by working on improving your self esteem and rebuilding your self confidence. If you are looking to assess your own self concept, I recommend utilizing the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES) as a means to measure self esteem over time. Here is the link to this free, validated and reliable assessment: https://wwnorton.com/college/psych/psychsci/media/rosenberg.htm I would be curious to know more about your thoughts on dating. What would a satisfactory relationship look like for you? What are some aspects in a relationship and qualities of significant other that you are searching for? What are your current positive traits, qualities and strengths that you could bring to a relationship? It is true that dating isn't always easy and that there are many challenges that come with the process of establishing a romantic connection. What have your strategies for dating been like thus far? Would you consider the prospect of online dating? Some people meet their partner through a mutual friend, a friend of a friend or by being connected to someone who knows them both. Have you tried reaching out to your friends and expressing your dating concerns? Do you think that one of them could connect you to another single person who is looking for similar things? It would be good for you to leave your comfort zone behind and meet new people when the opportunity arises to do so. Maybe you can ask some couples how they met in order to give you some ideas for your own future love story. One aspect of dating entails having a set of shared interests with another individual. How would you describe your hobbies and interests? If you are willing, you may want to consider creating a running list on the topic of your strengths, talents, interests, etc. Having an interesting hobby maybe helpful for you to nurture your self confidence, as well. Perhaps you could meet someone special doing one of the activities on your list of interests! Keep track of what you like to do and the things that are of interest to you. When it comes time for a first date, you will be super prepared and be ready to express your hobbies to the person who is getting to know you! I would like to encourage you to begin writing in a therapeutic journal about your strengths as well as explore some barriers to having a fulfilling relationship. Emotional expression can be an incredibly powerful tool when reflected through the journaling and writing process. As a provisionally licensed art therapist, I always recommend making art as a means to communicate, express and process any thought, feeling or experience. The holistic interventions of art therapy may be beneficial for you to incorporate into your therapeutic journey. Did you know that there are many added benefits to art making which includes self esteem building? An art therapy related activity that could work for you is to draw a picture of a potential first date. Take some time to imagine, create and allow yourself to discover a sensory experience. Where would your ideal first date be located? What sounds might you hear? What things would you see around you and surrounding you and your date? What might your date look like? Would there be any tactile sensations, tastes or smells that stand out for you? By creating this guided visualized imagery, you are giving yourself a chance to better understand the things that you are looking for. Perhaps there will be an opportunity for this experience to manifest itself into your life if you would like it to. Aside from recognizing your talents and strengths through writing, creating therapeutic drawings and utilizing sensory visualization exercises, I would like to recommend that you begin individual counseling services on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Having a safe space for you to share your thoughts, express your concerns and come up with a plan for change would likely assist you in building self esteem and attaining your goals. Going to group therapy sessions or a groupinar may be beneficial for you, as well. Essentially, it is up to you what you decide to do regarding your therapy. Lastly, I would like to share an inspirational quote with you written by an anonymous individual, who is full of dating wisdom: "Poor self esteem- everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. Everyone is capable of giving love and deserves to receive love. Everyone." Thank you again, PS, for asking this valuable question on the BetterHelp platform. I truly hope that my response was helpful for you in some way. Take good care, be optimistic and stay positive. Try to have some faith that things will work out in the right time and in the right way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey! Have a wonderful day.
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 11/08/2022

How do I stop overthinking everything and get over insecurities?

Hi! TK Welcome to the BetterHelp platform.  I hope your week is off to a good start.  I'm Maya, one of the therapists here on BetterHelp.  I specialize in relationships and breakup dynamics.  In reply to your question: How do I stop overthinking everything and get over insecurities? Well, those are two separate issues, but I do see how they could feed into one another. How to STOP thinking/feeling/behaving in certain problematic ways, and how to START thinking/feeling/behaving in better more functional ways... that's a great question, and there isn't just one answer!   There are many ways to accomplish CHANGE.... it really depends on which therapist you ask or where you go hunting for self-help guidance.  So bear in mind that my answer is just one of many possible good answers.   I think it would be helpful for you to see that you've got two different challenges here: Overthinking, which is generally related to ANXIETY.  And 'getting over insecurities" with is generally related to LOW SELF ESTEEM, which can sometimes (but not always) be related to a painful past experiences. How to get over Overthinking/Anxiety?  Again, there are hundreds of ways!  A good place to start would be MOVING MEDITATION which can gradually help you gain control of your own cognition (thoughts).  You can Google Moving Meditation to explore how to do it.   Doing something pleasurable or productive when you catch yourself overthinking can also help your thoughts get "unstuck." How to get over Insecurity/Low Self esteem?  Again, it could depend on the probable cause, and there would many ways to do it! But just in general, I would say that the two main "ingredients" of high self esteem are SELF RESPECT and SELF EFFICACY. You can attend to self respect by paying attention to all aspects of SELF CARE and by spending your resources (time and emotional energy, especially!) in ways that bring you a good return on your investment! You can increase your sense of self efficacy by breaking down challenging tasks and goals into baby steps, so that when you accomplish each one it will empower you to take the next step and then the next, building in confidence.  And of course, consider getting into some therapy for a lot more tips and ideas!  Well me and my partner (well ex) are on a break at the moment because I overthink everything and get angry over the little things like her going out to a concert or going to drink without me. That may be a good insight on your part, but there are usually many reasons for a breakup or a break, and some of those reasons may be hard to notice.  So don't put all the blame on yourself.    But I've also been cheated on multiple times and don't really know how to trust again.. I can help you with that issue if you choose to begin therapy with me.  There are specific ways to build or rebuild trust in a relationship.  Committing to being radically honest with one another at all times, for starters!   I'd suggest you consider couples therapy too!  Take care!  Maya 
(MS, LMFT)
Answered on 11/07/2022

How can my girlfriend and I reignite the spark? And how can we better improve our communication?

I would suggest for you both to remember the first time you both got together or met. Also, remember when and how you fell in love. Talk about those times with one another to rekindle the relationship. When it comes to communication, I suggest learning how to fight or learning how to have conversations. This is a must. Using "I feel" statements, are quite powerful. For example, "I feel ________ when ______." Be mindful of tone of voice when having discussions. Remember to speak to each other with love and respect. Taking a 5-minute break, if you feel the conversation is getting heavy, might also be helpful. Do mindful breathing exercises during the 5-minute break, then revisit the conversation. Couples therapy is also very helpful. Having fruitful conversations about the positives of the relationship is key. If it is a long-distance relationship, evaluate if it would be better to move closer together or keeping it like it is. Perhaps each of you taking accountability for actions can also help. When there is ownership of something that went wrong, you or your partner may feel heard, understood and cared for. This also shows that there is an awareness of what struggles are happening in the relationship. Making a list of values that you both share and don't share can also help bond you both. Therefore, you can see each other's differences and learn to embrace the various characteristics of your relationship. This can help you both grow with one another. Deciphering the struggles in the relationship, which led to the break-up, can also illustrate what not to do next time you both give the relationship a go again. Decide to show up for yourselves in the relationship and making communication a priority is also a great way to set the standard for your relationship. Compromise and trust is key. Spending time with one another in person can also be powerful. Hugs and looking into each other's eyes stimulate the bonding and love hormones in your brain. It can bring you both closer to one another. Making a conscious choice to write love notes and send them to one another, will also further help with communication. 
(PsyD, MA, LMFT)
Answered on 11/01/2022

Should I be starting a relationship so soon after ending one?

Hi Jacie! Thank you so much for asking this valuable question! I can tell that you are wondering about a plan to proceed with your next relationship. It sounds like you are debating whether or not you should be starting a relationship soon after ending your last relationship. Essentially, the answer to your question will have to come from you. I will do my best to provide you with some insight and guidance to help you make the best decision for yourself as possible! I know that you mentioned that you and your ex were together for sixteen years until you had separated due to his recent deployment. I would say that sixteen years is a long time to be in a relationship with someone. What were some of the highlights or important memories of this relationship? Did you make the decision to separate due to the physical separation of his deployment? Was this a mutual agreement for you both? Was there a time in which you two had considered getting back together after the deployment had ended? I can certainly imagine that staying with someone who is at risk of deployment at any given point would be a significant challenge for a relationship. It seems like you made the best decision for yourself at the time and chose to end the relationship. In addition, it sounds like since you have separated from your ex, you have started seeing someone else. Now that you have begun a new relationship, are you questioning whether or not you are ready to continue with the relationship with that individual? In what ways are your comparing your current boyfriend with your ex? How would you say that these two individuals are similar? What are some of their major differences? Take some time to contemplate some of these questions. I would like to encourage you to make a list of the qualities that you like to have in a partner. If you are comfortable with making a pros and cons list about each of these relationship experiences, that may be beneficial for you, as well. Perhaps you may also benefit from constructing a timeline of your relationship history. If you truly feel like it is simply too soon to start a new relationship, then it is okay to take a step back, take it slow, take a break and spend time focusing on yourself. Your needs are incredibly important and it is vital to take some time for yourself, especially in between ending a relationship and starting a new one. I realize that sometimes relationships are back to back or even overlap. It is ultimately up to you to decide if it is too soon for you to be with someone new or if you are ready to start fresh with someone else once again. I know that you mentioned that you have been trying to feel happy for some time now. What are some of the things that allow you to feel a sense of happiness? How would you describe your hobbies, interests and values? Perhaps you can begin the process of identifying your thoughts on happiness  and create a brainstorm, write a bullet point running list or start a word splash of your ideals for happiness. I think it makes sense why you would seek happiness for yourself. Maybe you can come up with a flow chart or a step by step list on how you can achieve happiness now and in the future. The fact that you would like to curl up into a ball may indicate that you are searching for a sense of comfort and security. I would like to recommend two different EMDR resourcing activities for you to try. The first one is the Butterfly Hug. The butterfly hug may bring you a sense of security. For this exercise, you cross your arms across your chest and envision your hands as butterfly wings. Gently tap your hands on your shoulders, arms or elbows and envision the flapping wings of a butterfly. This method is thought to bring physiological sense of calmness to individuals who are willing to try this tapping method. Here is a link to the an article of the butterfly hug directive and a YouTube video on this technique : https://emdrfoundation.org/toolkit/butterfly-hug.pdf https://youtu.be/iGGJrqscvtU I also think that it would be a good idea for you to try the inner peaceful place guided visualization activity. In this directive, you can imagine a personalized place of peace. What do you imagine seeing in your peaceful place? What sounds might you hear? What smells would there be? Take your time to imagine any tactile sensations or tastes that you would experience in this place of peace. No matter what you envision, remember that you can trust yourself to return to this place of inner peace at any time. Here is the link to the script for the inner peaceful place strategic: https://emdrtherapyvolusia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Calm_Safe_Place.pdf In addition to trying out some of these techniques, I recommend creating some art work that depicts your vision for yourself and the future of your relationship. One idea could be to draw an image using lines, shapes and colors to represent the feelings, hopes and dreams of your current relationship. Perhaps you might be willing to color in the shapes of a coloring page, such as a mandala. You can also create a small sculpture using clay or Model magic. Contemplate what symbols you might choose to represent your feelings and experiences in your relationship. Lastly, I recommend that you begin attending individual counseling services on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. There is an option for you to attend a group or a groupinar on the BetterHelp platform. Trust in the healing nature of the therapeutic process. Thank you again, Jacie, for taking the time to ask this important question on the BetterHelp platform. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 10/30/2022

How do I start to heal from past relationships?

Nice to meet you Olivia and help you work through your relationship-related concerns. Sometimes an unhealthy relationship seems comfortable if you had been in a previous one without any resolved conflict in the relationship. It seems that we learn relationships and boundaries very early about what we will and won't accept. For example, if we grow up with a co-dependent mother we may develop the tendency to be dependent on others for our self-confidence. It is imperative that we have a healthy relationship with ourselves first. We need to fill our cups and be ok being alone at times. Self-care and learning your values, beliefs, and desires in your life. We need to treat ourselves so well, not harshly and critically or accept a bad relationship because we are bored or lonely. You may have not processed the adjustment and loss from your first relationship so that is still very "raw" and will need healing and resolution. You can do that with some processing of your thoughts. feelings and behaviors attached to that relationship while analyzing the pros and cons of both relationships. Also, look at your relationships and family dynamics over the course of your life. It is important for you to develop healthy attachment and be able to share what qualities you are seeking in a relationship in the future. Take your time working on boundaries, self-confidence, and what a healthy relationship looks like and should feel like. What are the future goals that you want to share with someone? We can meet weekly and develop more detailed and structured goals and objectives for you. We will rule out any other conditions that could be co-morbid such as anxiety and mood questionnaires. I will send you some material to help build on interpersonal relationship skills and self-esteem too. Never feel stupid for wanting to process your feelings and thoughts to gain clarity for future relationships and it is a good learning experience for you as you continue to develop skillsets in these areas. I am looking forward to helping you develop new skills and solutions. Moreover, try some mindfulness skills and journaling for coping strategies. What are your favorite ways to self-soothe? Try grounding techniques that I will send you as well as they can be helpful when feeling emotions intensely. It seems to really help my clients calm down and decompress. I want you to embrace and have compassion for yourself as we will go through some difficult relationships over the course of our life and they will come and we will learn more each time. Being in a relationship is no longer about you it changes to an 'us' and teamwork is key. Learn to embrace your imperfections and not expect someone to live up to your life desire or agenda, learn to embrace the things that make both of you happy and healthy. 
Answered on 10/30/2022

I've had multiple broken relationships. It seems like something is wrong in my behavior and I need to change

Hi Archana! Thank you very much for asking this important question! It is great that you are reaching out for support at this time. I can tell that you are wondering if you need to make changes in your behavior due to the outcome of your last few relationships. It sounds like you are looking for some guidance on how to move forward and process your past relationships. Based on your question, it seems like you are feeling concerned about the various behavioral patterns in your past relationships. It is a really good thing that you are practicing self observational techniques and are willing to commit to change if needed. It appears that you have thought a lot about this and are contemplating what you should do next. Think of the cycle of change as a downward spiral and remember that change does not necessarily occur in a linear format. I know that you had mentioned that you have had multiple broken relationships in the past. I would be interested in hearing more about the context of how you perceive these relationships to be broken. It may be important for you to clarify this for yourself, as well. For example, was there heartbreak, broken communication patterns or a gap in time in which you took a break from the relationship and then resumed? Perhaps you mean something else entirely. At this time, have some hope that one day you will have a relationship that will last. Building healthy, trusting and strong relationships can take a lot of effort, energy and time. Do what you can to practice the principles of gratitude and patience. It might be helpful to write a gratitude list about the things you have learned in your past relationships. In addition, it sounds like you might benefit from creating a timeline which depicts your future goals for your relationships as well as outlines the length of time you spent with your partners in previous relationships. I recommend utilizing colors to depict the emotions that you felt at any given point in time. There is no time like the present to begin the process of healing through drawing, writing and creating. I understand that you may be worried that perhaps your behavior is the root cause of the problem. It is hard for me to say whether or not you need to change your behavior without me knowing exactly how you behaved in the relationships. I realize that you do not know what behavior you would like to change either. Take some time to practice self observational skills and begin to reflect on how you have behaved in the past. It sounds like you have an inkling that you may be giving too much in a relationship or perhaps too little. Are you thinking in terms of giving too much love, energy, effort, trust, etc.? What would you give more of in your next relationship, if you could? I also would like to encourage you to focus on your own strengths and expectations in a relationship. What are some qualities that you admire in a partner? What are some of your strengths and qualities that you bring to the relationship? If you could change the outcome of at least one your relationships, what would that look like for you? I recommend creating a running list or a word splash in order to further keep track of and express your thoughts and ideas. I realize that exploring some of these questions may be a challenge but have some faith in yourself that you can do it. I want to encourage you to trust in the process. Would you be willing to write down your thoughts in a therapeutic journal? I think it would be a great idea to keep track of your concerns on paper. After writing your thoughts down, you may be able to come up with some themes and connect the dots about what you could be doing and what you would do in a relationship. I will share with you the concept of the equality wheel which, in essence, encourages equal partnership and healthy relationships. From my perspective, this concept provides individuals and couples with hope that equal relationships are possible and can be attained. The equality wheel can certainly be a powerful, healing concept especially due to the fact that it is depicted in a circular formation. Circles are thought to be naturally healing as well as comforting in some cultures. After reviewing this resource, you may have a better understanding of what behaviors you could potentially change or what behaviors you want to see from your future partner. Here is a link to the equality wheel: http://www.ncdsv.org/images/equalitywheelnoshading.pdf Lastly, you may want to consider taking some time for yourself. It is okay to take a break from being in a relationship as you work on building your self care skills and your support system. In the meantime, you can make small changes in your life and to your routine. It is completely up to you how you want to move forward in the process of change. At this time, I would like to recommend individual counseling sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The opportunity for therapy can be a foundation for change. In addition to one on one therapy sessions, you may also benefit significantly from group therapy sessions. The group therapy process is a great way to build a therapeutic alliance with other group members. Also, there are some options for groupinars on the BetterHelp platform in which you can learn more about how to improve your skills and process your experience in your past relationships. Thank you again, Archana, for taking the time to ask this vital question about your behavior and relationship patterns on the BetterHelp platform. I hope that my response was beneficial for you in some way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey. Have a nice day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 10/29/2022

How can I better cope or handle my trust issues in my relationship?

Hello, So it's hard to understand based on your message what the timeframe of everything has been like as far as how long the affair had gone on and how long it has been since the divorces. My general suggestion though is for you and your partner to work on two things: Communication and boundaries. It's normal given the circumstances of your relationship for there to be a low level of trust, and probably to some degree avoiding becoming enmeshed too quickly may be healthy. Rather than viewing the lack of trust as something that must be immediately overcome, try to take the approach that you and your partner need to slowly build that trust. That's going to come from communicating how you and your partner are feeling, openly and honestly, even if that does at times create some conflict or tension. Some general communication tips are to use "I feel" statements, being objective about what is occurring that makes you feel that way, making sure you're choosing the right time and place to have these conversations, especially when both of you are calm, and listening openly so that your partner knows that you are hearing her. By the way, many couples choose to participate in couples therapy for help with communication. Having a third party present who can help guide the conversation and make sure that each individual feels heard can improve the quality of the communication and thus the quality of the relationship. So, if your partner is open to couples' therapy, that's something I would consider. Boundaries are also so important in relationships and probably even more so given your circumstances. Her statements that she needs more time alone could be a result of her dealing with stress associated with the children, or having recently been divorced, or wanting to spend some time with friends, or simply because she's more of an introvert. Many people who are introverted would view seeing each other a couple times per week and then sometimes on the weekends as actually spending quite a bit of time with their partner, especially when also needing to take care of other responsibilities, especially children. It's also possible that she's wanting to take the relationship more slowly, not getting too close too quickly to avoid becoming hurt. Regardless of her reasonings, respecting the boundaries that she's setting can improve your relationship and actually help her to build trust as she can know that you're honoring her feelings and giving her the space that she needs.  If you have any additional questions or choose to participate in therapy, please let me know. I wish you the best of luck, and take care of yourself.  -Nick DeFazio
(MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 10/29/2022

I dont know whether to stay in my relationship?

Hi Rand! Thank you for taking the time to ask this valuable question! It is really great that you are reaching out for support about your relationship and are considering setting relationship goals for yourself at this time. I realize that you may be feeling uncertain about whether you should stay in your current relationship with your significant other. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your partner. My hope is that I can guide you in this decision making process by providing you with some ideas on how to make a decision either way. How long have you been in the relationship with your significant other? What themes have you noticed coming up in regards to the arguments that you two have been having? I know that you mentioned that your partner is always starting arguments with you. How long has that been going on? I can tell that you are willing to take accountability and responsibility for certain things in situations when you may be realistically the one at fault. This speaks to your maturity and strength as a partner. I would also like to know how you choose to respond to your partner when arguments do arise. Also, how are you feeling about the situation? How do you react to your partner when they are constantly arguing with you? I can imagine how you must feel when you are blamed for certain things that are not actually within your power to control. Have you had the chance to speak with your partner about the nature of their concerns? In addition, have you spoken with your partner about how the arguing behavior makes you feel? Answering some of these questions may help you in understanding more about you yourself and your relationship. Would you consider journaling about this experience? There is a journal feature on BetterHelp which provides specific journal prompts for you to write about on a daily basis. Therapeutic writing can be incredibly helpful in making sense of specific experiences and is beneficial to the healing process. Try writing an entry that is based on free association techniques or create a world splash that describes your relationship. This technique will allow you to visually see on paper what you are thinking. Free association is when an individual writes down the first thoughts that come to mind in the moment and steps back from evaluating the thoughts or having judgement.  I am also wondering if you would be willing to create a therapeutic drawing of your relationship. You may want to consider creating a kinetic couples drawing. Essentially, this means that you will create a drawing of you and your partner doing something, such as an activity or shared interest. This may give you further insight into your current relationship. Another art based approach would be to draw you and your partner as symbols. Think about what some of your hobbies and interests are and draw yourself and your partner as something in a symbolic and representative way. These art based and drawing activities can be inspiring for you to take part in as a couple. As for one more drawing related idea, you could color in a picture, such as a mandala, together as a team. The circular shape of the mandala can be incredibly powerful, healing and soothing. Coloring within a circle can be relaxing and has been scientifically proven to lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Take turns sharing colored pencils, markers or pens in a shared the space. I hope that you two can practice some team work together and maybe put together a puzzle or build a garden or a sculpture. How can you demonstrate to your partner that you want to improve and that you are paying attention? Based on what you wrote in your question, it seems like your partner is dissatisfied and would like you to do more activities with them. Would you be willing to make a plan to do one activity together per week? Could you both carve out time for a mutually agreed upon activity? You could start this practice by going on a ten minute walk with your partner twice per week. This will also give you two the opportunity to share your thoughts and talk about how things are going in the relationship. It sounds concerning that you have stopped doing the activities that you used to enjoy. Would you say that you are noticing a loss of interests in the activities that you love? Is your relationship impacting your drive to participate in your hobbies? I want to encourage you to take some time to focus on yourself. The best thing that you can do in any given moment is focus on taking care of you. Here is a list of coping skills that you can incorporate in your self care routine: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c154cf9372b964a03cbccdb/t/5c488d65352f534aa63aa58a/1548258661324/100+Coping+Skills.pdf At this time, I will send you the diagram that depicts aspects of a healthy, equal relationship. I hope that things improve over time and that you are able to get to a point of a more equal relationship. http://www.ncdsv.org/images/equalitywheelnoshading.pdf At this time, I recommend individual counseling sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Talking about this situation with a neutral provider might help you to manage the feelings that you are experiencing. When in therapy, it is truly important to trust in the therapeutic process. You can also consider going to couples counseling sessions now or in the future. I hope that the two of you can begin to take on a sense of shared responsibility if you do decide to move forward in the relationship. Thank you again for taking the time to ask this question. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey. I sincerely hope that response has been helpful for you in some way. Take good care and have a nice day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 10/28/2022

How to can I stop being controlling of my boyfriend?

Thank you very much for feeling free to ask such a difficult question.  Being very controlling can push someone away. So when someone becomes too controlling or overbearing, it can push the person they love away from them.  The person being controlled may become resistant and stressed and this may cause conflict within the relationship. One thing you may want to look at is to find out the reason or the need for you to have such control or power. Have you been controlling in your other relationships or has someone controlled you? You are ahead of catching a situation that can turn not so good because you know that you are in the need to want to control and you want to work on not being controlling.  One thing you have to understand is that you are only in control of your self, your actions and your responsibilities. You can not control others and you have to decide if you want to embrace the imperfections of others. Also, imagine how you would feel if someone wants to control you and how would you feel and what would your actions be if someone tried controlling you? What would your reaction be? If there are issues that have happened that have led to trust issues then you will definetly need to deal with those issues. So dig down deep and look at the deeper reason of why you feel the need to have control. Also, sometimes one's need to control is driven by fear, is there something that you are scared of (possibly something bad happening to him, him cheating, him leaving, etc)  You can work on practicing acceptance of the fact that you can't control your significant other. Stay mindful and catch yourself when you are being controlling and ask yourself if this is something you can control or can't control. Try a mantra this will help you keep your goal at the front (example: I don't need to control everything or everyone, I can only control myself, my way isn't the only way, etc.). I hope this helped answer your question. Have a great day. Donica R Pugh Eds. LPC
Answered on 10/28/2022

How do you get over a breakup with a narcissist?

Hello Virginia, It is very nice to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to reach out with your question. You ask a wonderful question. I am very sorry to hear that you have been struggling with the hurt and pain of this breakup. Emotional abuse at the hands of someone we love can be especially difficult to recover and heal from.  If you and I were working together in therapy, I would want to know more about this relationship and what happened. Narcissists are well know to cause pain and hurt within their relationships, as you have unfortunately had experience with. They often have an insatiable need to be in control and have a great deal of difficulty if they lose that control. They often enjoy when others are hurting or sad. Often times a break up with someone who is narcissistic is traumatic and can feel gut wrenching. You are hurting right now, you loved him and know he is with someone new. Be kind to yourself. This is a process and will take time. Be gentle and do not expect too much, too soon.  I would encourage you to think about the reasons why it is better and healthier for you to not be with him. You might try writing out a reasons that it is better to not be with him. Remind yourself of these negatives when you are feeling sad.  Also, remember to practice self care. It is so important that you are taking care of yourself and attending to your needs; proper nutrition, proper sleep, personal hygiene, etc. When you are hurting, reach out to those in your support network. This may include friends, coworkers, family, neighbors, etc.  I would also encourage you to not reach out to him. Someone who has been emotionally abusive craves that attention. While you do not have control over what he did or how he treated you, you do have absolute control over how you react and respond to these things. I hope that you have found this information helpful and I wish you all the best moving forward in your life.
Answered on 10/26/2022

How do you let go of a person you don't want to let go of?

Hi there, I am glad that you reached out. It's always tough when a relationship ends, especially when it's unexpected. Have you taken stock and inventory of how you feel about the relationship? Do you miss the relationship itself or are you still in shock and processing the wound of being let go? Essentially, this comes down to respecting her choices. She has made a choice that she does not want to be in this relationship anymore and she does not want to work on it. What makes you still want to work on this even though she has made it clear that she does not want to be in this relationship and does not want to take the time to work on it? In relationships, sometimes love isn't enough. We can love someone but if our morals, values and vision for the future are not aligned, then it will be very difficult to move forward, even if there is love involved. I would remember that being in a relationship means more than just romantic, good times. It's also a commitment and you want to enter into a commitment with someone who sees things similarly to how you do and vice versa. I would first make sure that you have really processed this break up and also, from what it sounds like, this rejection. Sometimes the wound and the sting of a break up or rejection can make us eager to "work on things" because we want the pain of the experience to go away and we assume that getting back together will make that pain go away. But, if nothing has changed since you broke up, then you will likely get back into a situation that will have the same outcome again. I would encourage you to process this break up with a trusted friend or therapist and then take it from there when you are able to think more clearly and objectively about the entire situation. That may take awhile, but there is no rush. You have to make sure that you are ok before you hop back into a relationship- with her or someone new. 
(MS, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/25/2022

I need to know how to heal and rekindle things with my girlfriend

Hello BB! Thank you for taking the time to check out the BetterHelp "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum. I appreciate you asking this important question about salvaging your relationship with your girlfriend. I realize that this must be a very challenging situation for you to manage at this time. I hope that you have been able to recognize your strengths as a partner in all of this. I really admire your goal of trying to heal and rekindle your relationship with your girlfriend. It makes sense to me that you would initially be feeling shocked about the recent changes in your girlfriend's behavior. When did you find out that she was lying to you? How did you find out that she was lying? Perhaps there are certain aspects of her behavior in which she is communicating something to you in a nonverbal way. Maybe you can ask her more about this when you have a moment to do so. As I am sure you already know, honesty is a pillar of any relationship. Encourage her to be honest with you from here on out no matter what. Hopefully by setting clear expectations and boundaries about how you would like her to behave, this will be overall beneficial and healing for your relationship. Based on what you said in your question, it sounds like she has since apologized for her behavior and has ceased contact with the individual who you feel uncomfortable with her talking to. Have you asked her more about this experience? I wonder what that has been like for her to cut ties completely with this individual. Perhaps asking her some questions in a curious manner might give you some more information about why she acted in the ways she did. Was it a relief for you to hear that she was only connecting with this person on a friendship level? I would be interested in hearing more about the reasons as to why this individual makes you feel uncomfortable. Have you shared your reasons for this with her yet? Would you be willing to participate in an art making activity as a means to find a sense of safety for your current situation? I recommend trying the Rose Bush guided meditation and visualization technique. In this exercise, you can imagine yourself as a Rose Bush. Think about what your Rose Bush might look like. What colors would your petals be? As a rose bush, would you have leaves for photosynthesis or thorns for protection? Imagine that as this rose bush, you have every thing that you need. There is rain water from the clouds, light from the sun and your roots are firmly planted in nutrient dense soil. As the rose bush, imagine that you are cared for by a gardener or maybe the butterflies and bees. Perhaps you are located near a lake, a stream or even a waterfall. And as this rose bush, you have been planted exactly where you were meant to be. Consider that maybe you are surrounded by other rose bushes. After you take some time to contemplate what your rose bush would look like, create a therapeutic drawing, painting or find an image of your rose bush online. Your inner rose bush can bring you a sense of growth, peace, safety and security. If you could picture your relationship as a rose bush, what would that look like? Imagine that your relationship will grow, just like your inner rose bush. You can also begin the process of creating a mandala, which essentially can mean coloring within a circle. By creating a circle drawing, you will be able to find a sense of relaxation. It is scientifically proven that coloring within a circle can help lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure. This method produces a naturally calming effect. Perhaps you can design your own mandala as a means to express your feelings about your long term relationship. Maybe you and your girlfriend can work on a mandala drawing or painting together as a means to re kindle your relationship and give some space between the here and now and the past. Take some time to enjoy the present moment together as a team. In addition to therapeutic drawing and guided visualization techniques, I recommend that you take some time to practice self care skills. You can begin this process by recognizing what your currents hobbies or interests are at this time. Turn your favorite activities into a personalized self care routine. Spend about twenty minutes three times per week focusing solely on yourself and your needs. Practice self love by recognizing your strengths as an individual, as well as your strengths as a partner. You may also want to try some relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing. At this time, I recommend attending individual counseling sessions. Speaking with a trained therapist about your concerns is likely to be beneficial for you as you work towards improving your relationship. Certain aspect of the therapy sessions can absolutely be healing, as well. In addition, you and your girlfriend may want to consider attending couples counseling session if you both are willing to give it a try. Having a safe, shared space to address your mutual concerns could be incredibly helpful for the two of you. This may also give you a chance to practice some relationship building activities, including building trust in the relationship. Lastly, I recommend attending either a group or a groupinar as a means to obtain some additional support and insight into your experience. The groupinars available on the BetterHelp platform cover a myriad of topics and may give you some ideas on how to navigate your current situation. It is certainly a worth while option to check out! Thank you again, BB, for your time asking this vital question. I sincerely hope that my response will be helpful for you in some way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey on BetterHelp. Take good care and have a great day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 10/25/2022

How do I stop feeling uncomfortable when talking to my parents or sister about relationships?

Dear Sam, Thank you so much for reaching out with your concern.  There is very limited information, but I will try my best to help you give you options and probably solutions to your problems.Firsthand, there seems to be an underlying fear of telling your parents that you are in a committed relationship.  There may be several reasons for this. Are you afraid that your relationship is not stable and don't want to disappoint your parents if the relationship ends up breaking up in the near future?  Do you fear your parents reactions and the way they will accept your partner? Whatever the reason, there is a fear behind your decision in not disclosing this very intimate part of your life.It might be good to find a good friend who knows you and your family well to help you understand why you are withholding this from your parents.  Maybe someone close to you who knows your family dynamic can help you gain more insight.  Secondly, since you disclosed that you have an issue disclosing personal things with your parents, it might be good to find a licensed therapist that can help you overcome your feel of speaking up and speaking your truth.  There maybe a fear of rejection from your parents for the decisions you are making for yourself or perhaps you do not want to face criticism; whatever the reason, it may be good for you to entrust a licensed professional like a Marriage and Family Therapist who understands family dynamics and is educated in family modalities in addressing these type of family related concerns.Lastly, I'm curious to know how your parents responded when you said that your boyfriend was only a "friend."  There is something that is inhibiting you from voicing what is personally happening in your life and when you're triggered response is crying, there seems to be a fear behind voicing the truth of your relationship.  It may not be a bad thing to hold back, especially if you are in fear of feeling rejected or criticized by your choices from your parents.   I hope my suggestions and feedback have helped you gain a different perspective on your situation and I wish you nothing but the best in your future.  I hope you are able to come to a resolution to this and understanding behind this.
Answered on 10/23/2022

How do you move on from a long-term crush?

Hi CT, Thank you for reaching out with your questions and concern about your situation.  Hopefully, I can give you some professional feedback that can help you make a decision on what is best for you. First off, it is normal for you to think about someone in the past, especially if you were really interested in them and it never amounted to anything.  Your curiosity is going to get the best of you. With that said, I don't think it would hurt you to see if there is anything on their end in regards to sparking the flames back up again.However, in the past, it seems he wasn't wanting a long distance relationship and shared his thoughts with you. Perhaps, things have changed since then, but I think it would be good for you to see if there is still a spark there first.I do have concerns that he hasn't really shown interest in entertaining anything more of a friendship because his energy is showing that he doesn't even have the time to have a "full conversation" with you. So, if he isn't able to devote a conversation with you, I'm not sure he will devote the energy into this friendship for other things. My best advice is for you to pay attention to his energy towards you and/or his actions and the way he treats your friendship. This may give you clues before you open that door on whether or not he is wanting something more from you.It never hurts to try and figure something out and get answers, even if they aren't what you want to hear.  It is better for you to have an answer to get peace of mind, rather than wondering and questioning if this would go anywhere. Otherwise, your mind will always wonder when you could be putting your energy into another direction or someone else if he is not wanting to invest or entertain this connection at a level that is more than friendship.I hope this advice helps and I wish you the best of luck on whatever you decide.
Answered on 10/23/2022

Relationship/ situations situationship problem

Hi Gee, Thank you for sharing your story and the issues that you are facing.  I'm proud to hear that you are standing in your truth and in your power.  I also like that you decided to speak with your friend. It can be a very tricky dynamic to date a friend's ex, especially if she is your best friend.  Many women would be very upset, but in this case, it seems like the relationship wasn't as strong for her, especially in comparison how he viewed it.  This also gives a big clue and indication of how he is in relationships.  If he is not wanting a long term commitment, then I think it is best that you move on if this is what you are wanting.  Pay attention to what a guy tells you and not just playing scenarios in your head because you want to be with him or make excuses for his behavior.  Many times, women attempt to justify things instead of looking at the "here and now."  A guy that wants to be in a relationship will make the necessary steps and will voice that to you.  His words and his actions will align.  This seems important for you. At this present time, he doesn't seem like he is meeting that need and hasn't since you have been with him.  I think it is important for you to assess your energy and how you feel with him.  It sounds like you don't feel emotionally safe with him and I think that is your answer.I'm proud of you and how you are standing firm in your boundaries.  So, don't waste your time and energy on someone who is not going to give you that in return.  Continue on in your quest of what you want and the universe will match that request.  If you tell the universe that position is filled, it will not continue to move forward to fill that "vacancy spot" to your criteria.  Many best wishes on your journey. Stay strong and in your power of what you want and don't settle ;)
Answered on 10/23/2022