‘Online dating is tedious – how can I unlock my romantic side in relationships?’

‘The longest relationship I’ve had in the last decade is three months (Picture: Neil Webb/Metro.co.uk)

Welcome once again to The Sex Column, our weekly series that dishes out expert advice to struggling daters.

Last week we helped out a woman who just wasn’t feeling secure in her six-month relationship.

Today, we hear from a dater who’s struggling to let out their loved-up side.

The longest relationship he’s had is three months, as he struggles to form emotional intimacy with women.

How can our dater let his inner romantic fly free?

The problem:

‘I’m a romantic at heart and really want to be in a relationship but the longest one I’ve had in the last decade is three months.

‘I mostly meet girls on dating apps, which I find both tedious and convenient.

I recently met a girl who ticked my boxes but I found her hard to get close to so I ended the relationship.

There was another girl I really liked but I was seconded for a few months and, although she was willing to wait, I ended things and regretted it.‘

What the experts say…

Your expectations of relationships don’t appear to be very high.

‘You’re very quick to find reasons for finishing things and seem to be primed for rejection as if nobody can really be bothered with you,’ says Rupert Smith.

It makes you reluctant to invest in others. ‘You describe yourself as a romantic but the whole business seems to be “tedious and convenient”,’ Smith adds.

People who consider themselves romantics tend to become fixated with a certain version of how a relationship should be and don’t accept the reality.

‘Perhaps these unrealistic expectations mean you are quick to leave if it isn’t perfect,’ says Angharad Rudkin. ‘Or it may be that you have some worries about getting too close to someone and so you are attracted to girls who aren’t really interested in a long-term relationship either.’

When an individual fears intimacy, a powerful way of managing their feelings is to avoid commitment.

‘They become an island, which works well until they want to connect but then realise they are too remote to do so with ease,’ says Rudkin. ‘Often adults in this situation had childhoods where their needs weren’t met.’

‘Were your parents warm and open or were they cold and disappointing?’ asks Smith. ‘Was the care they gave you “tedious and convenient”?’

More: Metro newspaper

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Explore how you can resolve those first relational templates.

‘Look compassionately at what it is you can do to change the situation,’ says Rudkin. ‘Work on becoming the kind of a person you want to be in a relationship.’

It’s interesting how you describe your romantic tendencies as being ‘at heart’, says James McConnachie.

‘That tells me you’re hiding your genuine romanticism because hearts are hidden, aren’t they?’ he says. ‘Aim to be vulnerable as it’s the best foundation for strong relationships.’

The experts

Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor

James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)

Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist

Got a sex and dating dilemma?

To get expert advice, send your problem to [email protected]

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