A reader who had her heart broken at 17, is afraid to try love again.
You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Q: “I had crushes before, but the one I developed over a guy I was talking to online in 2010 has left me afraid and disconnected from myself. I found myself trying to change for him and to desperately get his attention, even though he didn’t feel the same and just wanted to be friends. It’s now two years later and I’m terrified of feeling my feelings, being happy and vulnerable with life and myself. I get great advice, but it’s hard for me to believe it and build up enough courage to let go of this fear. I’m 19, and I know I’m too young to be tripping over an ex-crush (I say ex-crush because I don’t even think about him anymore). How do I begin to build the courage to let go of fear and find myself, and my happiness, again?” – Shannon
A: Shannon you are absolutely right, you are too young to be “tripping over an ex crush.” You are also right in that he should be no more than an “ex.” You say that he did not feel the same about you and only wanted to be friends. When someone tells you things like this, believe them! You cannot make a person like or love you. If you continue to pursue that type of relationship, it will lead to the same dead end street and you will be hurt each time. You deserve much more. When you are young, all your relationships or encounters may seem to be serious and life changing. This is often because you are being lead by your raw feelings and you want to believe that the other person feels the same as you do.
Online relationships are often difficult to establish and even harder to maintain. I would caution you from becoming totally emotionally committed in any relationship until you get to know the person. I would also caution you to avoid trying to change yourself to please someone else or for the sake of being in a relationship. Any changes you make should be about you and not the other person. Never allow anyone to define you or to rob you of your sense of self. Chalk this relationship up to experience. Rather than getting stuck in the negative aspects of it, look at the positive: It’s over and you are out of it. Take what you have learned to the next relationship and move on! -- Dr. Sherry
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