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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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Meantime Girl

January 2008

Hi Dr. Michelle,

I have major commitment issues, I believe. I’m 23 years old and have only had one serious relationship and that was when I was around 19. I’m not sure if my relationship issues are related to the failure from that relationship or what but since then I haven’t been able to keep a boyfriend. Like another article I read earlier, I feel the same way as one of the individuals in the sense that guys seem to be smitten with me at the beginning and then somewhere down the line they find somebody else to move on to and it happens before I even know what’s going on. I guess I just feel like I’m always the meantime girl for a guy until someone better comes along and I’m just so tired of always being second best. I’m not at a point in life where I’m ready to settle down and get married or anything and to be honest I don’t know if I ever want to get married but I do need companionship. I would like a steady boyfriend at least but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for me. The weird thing is I know they say that women who have issues with their fathers tend to have issues dating men but I’m actually really close to my dad and he has always been apart of my life and that’s rare to have a devoted father when the parents are divorced like mine are. Now on the other hand I’ve always felt that my mom looked down on me and no matter what I do in life I can never compare to my older brother and maybe that’s why I feel the way I do when it comes to dating. I feel like I just can’t measure up to the ideal girl that guys are attracted to. Currently I’m with a guy that I’ve been seeing for a few months but he still doesn’t consider me a girlfriend but yet when his friends start hitting on me suddenly he’s holding my hand and putting his arms around me and I’m just so confused. I guess I feel like I’m just a meantime girl for him to so I kind of keep my guard up a little. Its horrible because I’m still going on other dates with other guys to keep my options open as a safety in case he dumps me too just like the others and that’s kind of not fair to him. The thing is I am a loyal partner as long as I know where I stand with a guy but if I’m not sure and scared that the guy is going to cheat then I cheat first to spare my own hurt. Can you please give me some advice on this matter? Thank you!

The Meantime Girl

Dear Girl,

I am hearing a few different issues you might want to be aware of. First, it does not sound as if you are communicating with the men you are dating. Let them know how you feel. Ask them how they feel. Ask them where they see the relationship going. Tell them what you want from the relationship. The more you can have open conversations regarding your relationship, the healthier it will be. If you cannot talk with your partner about your relationship, then it is not very healthy. Another thing that I am hearing is that you do not know what you want. Stop and ask yourself if the guy you are dating know has any meaning in your life. If he is just a playmate, that is fine, but be honest and do not get upset if he won’t act as if you are the love of his life. If you want that commitment of a relationship then you need to act as If you are in a committed relationship. DO not date other people. Be committed. Decide what you want.

It does sound like you have some wounds from your childhood that are making it difficult for you to create a healthy relationship. You need to stop and look at those wounds. Talk about them. Process them. If it would be helpful in the healing process to talk to a therapist, do that.

Be true to you. But first you need to find out who you are. Enjoy the journey,

Dr. Michelle

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