I know how to hook a guy, but how do you sustain a relationship? My dates never turn into long-term relationships.
The word “hook” implies that you are fishing for attention, not searching for a life partner. For example, if you wear sexy clothes, drop seductive verbal hints and have sex indiscriminately, you present yourself as one-dimensional. The message is that you are useful for sex. American pop culture celebrates images of people objectifying themselves. While their appearance is eye-catching, the chaos in their personal lives should warn you not to follow their lead. Remember, love will get you through times without sex better than sex will get you through times without love.
A relationship that is sex-centered is like living in a house that has no foundation or flooring. By contrast, the first step in creating a long-term connection is to nurture a friendship. Be honest as you evaluate what you like (or dislike) about this person, what values and ethics you share, and whether he exhibits attitudes and behaviors that signal his concern for your welfare. If you’re still uncertain, consider whether you would be friends if there were no sexual attraction. If not, it’s time to part. Of course, if you’re an emotional person, sex will stir feelings within you that make it difficult to end a relationship—even if there is no friendship or potential for one. That doesn’t mean you’re in love. It means you’ve been hooked.
Another reason why relationships don’t last is that they shouldn’t. You may have to sort through a bevy of bad dates before you meet someone who is right for you. Rather than feeling desperate, take heart. In the process, you can learn about yourself and become more discerning about the qualities you need in a partner.
I just ended a relationship with a woman who said she wanted the same things in life that I wanted, like a family. She intentionally got pregnant. It was the first time for me. I tried everything to get her to keep the baby, but she’s getting an abortion. It’s killing me. We have such different values. I know that I have to accept it, but it is so painful. I will always pray for my “little spirit.” I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I just don’t know what else to do.
I am grateful that you opened up during this painful passage in your life. Reach out to family, friends and your faith community, too. With help, you can examine your grief at the death of the dream of having a family with this woman, your grief at the death of the baby, and how you contributed to this crisis. One lesson is that if someone has the same goals as you but different values, it’s not necessarily a match. In a long-term, committed relationship, it’s more important to share values than goals. A person’s values tell us what is important to them. But what we think we value is actually what we would like to value. So, a person’s true values are expressed in their actions, their decision-making and where they invest their time.
You also must honestly reconsider your idea that this woman became pregnant “intentionally.” You both carried the intention of starting a family and probably fantasized about creating that together. So, you both had an “intention.” Plus, pregnancy is always a potential outcome of heterosexual sex, so this can’t be a surprise. If you failed to create a “what happens if we get pregnant” plan before having sex, you now know why it’s necessary. Search the online Ask Joey archives at www.newsreview.com for my columns on the difference between love and infatuation, so you can make saner choices in the future.