Do Men Want Love, or Just Sex?

Dear Sara: I am a 40-year-old woman who is healthy, happy, and open to life. I am single currently and have not had a real relationship for almost 15 years. The two big relationships I had when I was younger died, and when I look back I think one of the major factors was my desire to not have sex.

I was 25 and grew up in a regular middle-class Indian family, liberal and progressive in most aspects. However, I was also raised Catholic and studying in a convent-educated school may have led me believe that sex was taboo/bad/off-limits till marriage.

Anyway, I believe I have a healthy appetite and have been attracted to many men over the course of my life. However, somewhere in my head I have the idea that men are not looking for love, but sex—i.e. no matter how loving, beautiful, funny, smart the woman is, all they are thinking of is how she will be/perform in bed. And that thought puts me off men. (more…)

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‘I’m Afraid To Get Hurt Again’

Dear Sara: I am scared of dating or trusting a guy again because the last relationship I had almost destroyed me. He broke my heart into pieces. I had never fallen in love like this before. I gave him everything. I almost forgot to leave anything for myself. Now I am scared that if I am going to go back and date again I’m going to get hurt and heartbroken again. I feel like all men are just the same. I don’t trust all men. My ex destroyed all my hopes that someone will love me for who I am and not just use me. Now I don’t know if I can be a good girlfriend. I am scared to try again and take a risk, especially since I have kids and I don’t want to see my kids get hurt by someone they love. – K

Dear K: There is nothing wrong with being afraid to fall in love again—everyone feels that way sometimes. So fear itself is not the problem—it’s just a feeling and it actually won’t hurt you. The problem comes when you allow fear to limit your ability to move forward. That’s why I’m very fond of a quote by Susan Jeffers: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” (more…)

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‘I’m Afraid to Get Back Out There’

Dear Sara: I have been divorced for a little over 6 years now. My daughter wants me to start dating again, which I’m very fearful of doing. I have had a few relationships since my divorce, but the last relationship left me broken and fearful of ever getting back out in the dating world again.

My relationship with this guy was on-again off-again. I fell pretty hard for him, and to be honest it was a horrible relationship. I was alienated from my family and friends, which you could say I allowed to happen only because I was so deeply in love that I couldn’t see past him. (more…)

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‘Should I Try to Get Him Back?’

Dear Sara: About a month ago, my boyfriend of two years broke up with me (I’m 30 and he is 31). It came as a heartbreaking surprise. I’ve been in several serious relationships, and this one seemed like a wonderful fit—loving, easy, drama-free. He took most of the steps to advance the relationship in the first year or so, and we had continued to deepen our bond since then.  

He couldn’t really give a satisfying explanation for ending things, and seemed confused himself. We were living in a temporary apartment together (he recently moved to my city after finishing grad school) and were about to get a more permanent place, but he said that [he] was having doubts about the city we live in, the job he has, or what kind of lifestyle he wants, and that he needed some time on his own (single) to figure things out—which I suppose means he had doubts about the relationship, too. He’s also going to start therapy to try to work through some of these issues.

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‘I’m Tired of Being Rejected’

Dear Sara: I am a 29-year-old single male with social awkwardness, and I’m depressed because I’m getting nowhere with women. I have met some women online, and I’m lucky to get a second date with just one of them. I take it personally, like it’s me, and have had a psychic tell me it’s because I have bad mantras so I therefore have had a doomed love life. I really want commitment, but want to know what I’m doing wrong. I don’t want any more rejection. I’m sick of being alone and depressed. Help me. — R

Dear R: First, please don’t listen to the words of a self-described psychic who tells you something so mean and disempowering. I can’t believe anyone who truly has spiritual depth or insight would say anything like that.

This psychic sounds like a fraud, and my guess is she perpetuates this particular kind of deception by reaffirming beliefs customers already have. (more…)

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‘How Do I Not Screw This Up?’

Dear Sara: A few months back, I was at a friend’s party and met a guy who, it turns out, I met last year at the same friend’s party. We met very briefly and he made a great impression on me but I was feeling totally introverted and sort of scampered away from him. When we met this time, I was pretty determined to see if there was something there, and he was apparently on the same page (“I heard you talking about liking board games; we should play some time!”). So, we’ve been dating for a few weeks now and I feel ludicrously happy.

But that happiness is tainted with a sort of general relationship anxiety. I feel like that’s not spoken to very frequently–it’s like, either you’re single and going on terrible dates and making fun of them with your friends, or you’re in a relationship and things are figured out. For someone who’s been single for years, I feel this added pressure that this might be the end of the road, and I better not screw this up! So I better not be too much myself and instead parcel out my “quirks” lest he run terrified off into the night. As someone who’s not used to being in a relationship, how do I get over the intense pressure I’m putting on myself now that I’m dating a person I see a future with? — R

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