Dear Thelma: I want a deeper relationship but I keep getting rejected

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Dear Thelma,

I am 25. I am starting to get concerned. I can't seem to start a relationship of my interest.

I had a couple of relationships previously.

I think previously it was all about fun and having a good time. I didn't really care or envision my partners as potential life partners.

When I really started seeing things in the spectrum of marriage and long-term commitments, a lot of things didn't really impress. I am not fixed on anyone yet.

When I graduated from university, I felt a desire to pursue a more profound and meaningful relationship. I have been trying but seemingly I keep getting rejected. What am I doing wrong?

Please help.


Dear Choolwe,

As you have had relationships, you must have mastered the nuts and bolts of dating. Meaning that you can navigate approaching a person, asking them out, and entertaining them so that they are happy to keep seeing you. So far, so awesome.

But the qualities you enjoy in fun partners are not what you want to live with long-term.

Like what? You've not exactly given a lot of detail, have you? It seems to me that a capacity for joy is a good quality in a partner. So is starting off with a friendship where you can both have a laugh and a good time together.

But you're not happy. And now you have a different objective than fun, you are being rejected. I can see two possibilities.

First, it may be that you're approaching the wrong people. Perhaps the people you think are looking for a meaningful relationship are still at the partying stage of life.

Second, you may be approaching the right people but if they know you as a party person, they may perceive you as undesirable in terms of a life partner.

Both may apply if you're trying to find a life partner in the same social bubble you've been partying with.

I think the best approach would be to draw up a list of qualities that you want in a partner. As you've had relationships, you'll know what you like and what you don't. Putting it on paper will clarify what kind of people you ought to try dating.

Usually, that will also suggest where to find suitable matches. For example, if you want someone who shares your enthusiasm for running, you might join a club where everyone is training for a marathon.

Most likely, you will have to change or expand your social circle. However, it's quite hard to leave behind a rep. Therefore, examine yourself honestly. Do people think of you as a player? If so, you will need to work on changing that.

Which brings me to my last point: don't be in too much of a rush. As you have found, many of us will happily dip into a relationship if it's just for a bit of fun. However, we will be careful about committing to a deeper bond.

When you do meet someone you can see a future with, and they feel the same way about you, it will still take time for the relationship to advance and deepen. That's not a problem because slow and steady is more likely to pay off than rushing into things. As the adage goes, marry in haste, repent at leisure.

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