Dear Thelma: I can’t get into a serious relationship

  • Family
  • Sunday, 14 Apr 2019

THIS week, we highlight two letters from young men who find it hard to get into a serious relationship.

Letter 1:

Hi, I’m writing because I think I need some good advice. I have this weird ‘jinx’ when it comes to talking to girls. I’m 25 and have never had a girlfriend. It’s not that I haven’t tried talking to a girl before but in the past, any girl that I talk to usually ends up just being a friend.

I know they say that for a long-lasting relationship, you need to become friends first but after becoming friends, I am always scared of telling the girl about my feelings because I don’t want to risk ruining our friendship.

The fact that my skin is quite dark and I am just a normal guy might contribute to why I lack courage to disclose my feelings. I’m a talkative guy; I just love to talk and share about day-to-day things. But I think I talk too much sometimes and that might turn off some girls.

I’m very patient though. Once, I met this girl and you can say it’s like love at first sight. I tried to be friends with her at first but she did not really respond to me. After three years, I gathered up my courage and told her that I liked her on Valentine’s Day, while giving her a flower. However, she just stood there stunned, and then ran away.

I didn’t give up and after a long while, I tried asking her out again but got rejected again, as she said she just thought of me as a friend.

Maybe because of that incident, plus my lack of confidence in confessing my feelings to a girl, I have become more careful in telling someone that I like her because I do not want to feel hopeless or get rejected again.

I really don’t know how to gain my courage back and I feel that I may now be afraid to love someone. Please help.


Letter 2:

I am 24, yet I have never been in a committed relationship. I understand that in most cases, there are legitimate reasons for someone’s undesirability.Yet I can’t seem to figure out mine, despite having a few hypotheses. I am reaching out to you for your opinion. In terms of appearance, considering my muscular physique and good looks, I would rate myself as above average looking.

This isn’t me blowing my trumpet. I have put in considerable effort to appear attractive, from regular workouts to my attention to style. I am, in no stretch of the imagination, unpleasant to look at.

I am also a social animal, with a good sense of humour and timidity isn’t even in my vocabulary. I have made it a point to always be true to myself in social situations (with men and women) and that has worked out extremely well for me. I flirt and I hardly shy away from asking someone out on a date. I don’t take rejection badly and am never overly enthusiastic over a win.

Career-wise, I am secure. I am a human resource manager and I don’t think I come across as someone without potential. I may not be a millionaire but I wouldn’t consider myself penniless either. In terms of romantic experiences, I’ve had a bad history of short flings with multiple women. They only range from casual dates to flings, never materialising into anything more.

I consistently monitor my behaviour during dates, therefore I’ve never had an awkward or ugly one before (for me, at least). However, it is important to note that my dates are mostly via Tinder, as meeting new people in person is a scarce occurrence now that I have a permanent job.

Given my overall character and nature, I have a couple of hypotheses for my struggle. The first would be that women are turned off by my lack of a relationship track record. We know that women are attracted to a man’s desirability, so I suspect that when a woman learns that I have never been desired as a boyfriend, they immediately conclude that it is perhaps for good reasons. The other hypothesis is that due to my confident nature and non-existent relationship history, I may be giving off the “player vibe”.

I know I cannot amend my history, but I can alter how I present myself. If this is indeed the reason, my only excuse for not acting on it would be my refusal to betray myself.

Dear Thelma, considering all the facts I have provided you, will you point me to where I should dedicate my attention ? I am more than willing to improve.

Mr Confused

Finding a suitable life partner means sticking to some basic principles and these aren’t complicated: you are open about who you are, and your life goals, and then you look for someone who likes who you are and who shares your goals.

Romance is a little different. That is about wooing the other person and creating that spark that makes falling in love magical. If you keep at it, it builds a loving connection that will always support you through the trickier parts of life.

K, you have to be straightforward about your intentions. If you put yourself in the role of a friend, you’ll be thought of as a brother. And girls do not think romantically of their brothers. Also, drop the idea that years of devotion will lead to romance. Love is not a purity test.

Confused, you make an effort to be a charming, well-groomed companion who sets out his attractions methodically. When I read your description, I had the impression of a man baiting a hook for a spot of trophy fishing. You think you come across as a player but to me, you appear calculated.

So, both of you, stop messing about and treat women with honesty and respect. When you like a girl, invite her out on a date. If you have fun, you invite her on a second date.

It takes about two to three dates to get a sense of whether there’s a connection, so be upfront and ask what she’s thinking. Do not guess! If she’s not getting that good vibe about you, accept it and move on. Do not waste your time chasing girls who aren’t into you.

Here is a tip: the standard dinner and movie is always nice, but try and build on the romance element. Aim to kindle a spark. Please note that I’m not talking about gifts of chocolates, flowers and toys. Romance can’t be bought; it’s about connecting. Think a walk on the beach at sunrise, flying a kite in the park, or taking a roller coaster ride together. Be adventurous and share experiences.

Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. E-mail or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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