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Want to raise your dating game? Need to solve a relationship dilemma? Ask the Singlescoach®! Post your confidential question here. By submitting your question, you agree to have your question and answer published by Nina Atwood and/or Singlescoach® both on this site and elsewhere. All published questions become the copyrighted property of Nina Atwood Enterprises. Only select questions will be answered. If yours is chosen, you’ll receive an email from Singlescoach® letting you know when it will be posted. To protect your identity, only your first name or a pseudonym will be used if your question is posted.

Among the Rebounding Relationships, Someone is Bound to Drop the Ball

Cherie writes about her Ex dating a crack addict while continuing to see her (Cherie) on the side. She asks: Number 1- Do we still have a chance to get back together? Number 2- Will he stay with her? She says, “he is in a rebound relationship and I don’t think it will last much longer.” Cherie, your focus is entirely in the wrong place. Instead of wondering if you can get back together with this guy, you should be wondering why you want him back. You describe the relationship as a drama-rama of fighting and breaking up, followed by his hooking [...]

Continue Reading Add comment June 8th, 2010

Dream Dates or a Nightmare of a Situation?

Suzy asked: “I have been on four wonderful dates, I feel like this could be the beginning of a wonderful thing. How do I know when it’s ok to get physical? I don’t want to move too fast but I also would love to take that step.” Before I could answer her question, she wrote this: “We have been on 3 wonderful, wishing it never ends dates but somehow the last date seemed to have ended unlike the others in that he has bailed out of two other plans. He still texts and still puts sweety as the opening but [...]

Continue Reading Add comment May 31st, 2010

Don’t Cheat Yourself Out of a Great Relationship by Settling for Less

Dear Nina: I read your advice regarding love addicton and I have also ordered your book. I can’t wait to read it when it arrives. My question for you is this…is it ok to forgive a cheater? I have just spent almost 4 years with a man who I thought was the love of my life. We had been talking about marriage and I have been waiting for him to propose. Two weeks ago I found out that he was seeing someone else. I confronted both of them and ended my relationship with him. He says he’s sorry and wants me to forgive him. I don’t know if I could ever trust him again. Can a couple truly overcome cheating? Is it ok to forgive or should I move on? Am I just addicted to the idea of him? This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. I know that I love him, but I don’t know if I should forgive him or move on. – Confused, Michelle

Dear Michelle: I hope you do forgive him eventually, although you’ll need time. Carrying forward resentment or bitterness hurts YOU, so yes, forgive in time. But forgiveness is only one small part of this equation, and just because you forgive doesn’t necessarily mean you go back into the relationship.

There are many, many issues that must be resolved after infidelity in order to have a healthy relationship. The biggest is the loss of trust, without which you don’t have a relationship. Right now, you don’t know who this man is – he wasn’t honest and authentic with you, so at best you love an illusion – the man you thought he was, as you pointed out. So a huge step in this process would be to understand who he really is. Questions you must explore in depth with him include:

  • Why did he seek another relationship? What was missing in this one for him that left him so unsatisfied that he looked for it with another woman?
  • What was his commitment to her? Did he tell her he loved her, too? (if so, he may still be involved with her, despite what he says)
  • If he says it wasn’t love with her, then the next question is: could he have a sexual addiction problem? How many other women has he cheated on in the past? Does he use pornography? What is his pattern?
  • Why does he want you back? Is it loneliness, fear, feelings of abandonment because you left?
  • If he says it’s you he wants, then you must ask: If I’m so wonderful, why did you feel compelled to do another woman?

If you were married to this guy for ten years and had three children, Michelle, I would recommend marriage counseling and a good solid effort to save your relationship. Couples can recover from infidelity as long as it isn’t a pattern and as long as there are many other qualities in the marriage that are positive, plus genuine, deep remorse on the part of the cheating person.

You’re in the middle of the Temptation to Settle for Less than a truly great relationship. You’re not married, you don’t have children, and you are in a position to move on to a man whom you can totally trust. Believe me, there are many, many men of good character out there who would find your boyfriend’s behavior disgusting, who wouldn’t even think of cheating. Before you try to put this one back together, I recommend you take your time and really consider moving on. The book will help you understand how you got here and what it takes to have a truly great relationship with a good man.

If you can’t bring yourself to move on, then the burden for fixing this broken pseudo-relationship is on him, not you. He should be crawling over broken glass begging your forgiveness. He should be setting up counseling to help the healing process. He should be doing everything in his power to prove that you can trust him, that you’re safe with him. He should be expressing deep remorse and offering the ring, proposal, and a plan for healing. Anything less than a gargantuan effort on his part is crumbs and you’ll be settling for less.

I don’t recommend that you accept the ring if he offers. Your “push back,” which is a test of character for him, would be to tell him it’s too soon for that, but if he’s intentional to ask again further down the path. If he’s an insecure man, which I suspect he is, he’ll back away and look for a woman who will take care of his needs first. This whole incident gives you the opportunity to take off the blinders and see his real character, who he really is, not the illusion you were in love with. Though you are in pain, you are lucky to find these things out now, not after marriage.

Catch Nina on the radio for “Love Strategies”!


Add comment May 7th, 2010

When Dating and Marriage Don’t Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage

Dear Nina: Is there anything wrong with dating just for the fun of dating? Yes, I understand the partner should not be misled. Generally speaking, it sounds as if you feel that if a relationship is not headed toward marriage, it should be over.   – Brian Brian: People date for all kinds of reasons: For companionship, for intimacy, to look for a significant partner, and yes, for fun. There’s nothing wrong with dating for fun – it’s human nature to seek companionship in life, to enjoy being with another with no particular goal in mind. On the other side [...]

Continue Reading Add comment April 27th, 2010

In My Search for the Next Best Thing, Have I Passed up My Soul Mate?

Dear Nina: I read your book Be Your Own Dating Service and loved it; however I found myself startled when I read the term “Westbound Train” because I realize, I think I am one! I mostly relate to the ‘I Love you but.. ‘ syndrome–In all my relationships I’ve never wanted to fully commit thinking there might be better. I’ve tended to never be fully satisfied with the person, only finding them attractive conditionally (if they wore their hair a certain way, wore certain clothes, did certain things etc.), and eventually break up with them because I feel like I [...]

Continue Reading 1 comment April 19th, 2010

How Do You Keep An On-Again/Off-Again Relationship On?

Dear Nina: I have been dating a woman on and off for several years. I moved out of state six months ago and haven’t seen her but twice. The last time she visited, I noticed that she was distant after our intimate moments – not cuddling like she had in the past. One night when I was rubbing her back she said “you are smothering me.” Her distant behavior during this visit was very out of character. She has always liked being intimate with me but avoided it this last visit. I called her after she went home to tell [...]

Continue Reading Add comment April 2nd, 2010

Anger Management: Don’t Scare Her Away

Dear Nina: My ex-girlfriend and I met on Myspace, emailed for a week, phoned for a week, then met for dinner and a walk. We dated for two and a half weeks, walking along the beach holding hands. Then she blew me off, saying it was just a friendship and she didn’t have time for a relationship. I was angry but I moved on. A month later, she called me, apologized and wanted another chance. We dated for three months and it went well. Her only complaint was that it was annoying to witness me getting mad at drivers in [...]

Continue Reading Add comment March 31st, 2010

All Things Considered Equal: Myth or Reality in Relationships?

How does an accomplished woman go about finding a suitable mate, meaning someone who is an equal in the general sense of the word? I have little time or energy to hang around the traditional hunting grounds and I’m not sure about dating services. What do you suggest?  – Marci Marci: This is for you and for all accomplished single women. I believe that today’s woman faces unique challenges in the search for a mate, especially if she is a person of intelligence and depth. The traditional roles no longer have appeal for this kind of woman. She tends to be [...]

Continue Reading Add comment March 17th, 2010

By Definition, Can a Rebound Relationship Work Out?

Dear Nina: What is the definition of a “rebound relationship”? Is it true they can be unhealthy? I’ve recently started dating someone who is barely divorced. My friends say she’s on the rebound. - David David: Rebound relationships occur very shortly after the end of a significant love, and sometimes begin before the end. The problem with a rebound is that it doesn’t allow time for the grieving and healing process to be complete. When this happens, there is emotional confusion. Sometimes, the feelings for the old partner simply transfer to the new one, and that results in the illusion that you’ve [...]

Continue Reading 3 comments March 11th, 2010

Taking the Friend Out of Friendship and Making it Something More

Dear Nina: I have been spending time with a man for about six months. We’ve had lunch, gone to sporting events, etc. Sometimes he asks, sometimes I ask (I asked first). We started out in a business relationship. I’m attracted to him so I would be interested in our friendship developing romantically. I don’t know how to let him know without making things uncomfortable if he doesn’t feel the same way.  - Carole Carole: I hear stories like this from women a lot. Your biggest temptation here is to take the lead and cheat yourself out of the experience of being [...]

Continue Reading 1 comment March 5th, 2010

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