Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I am a 34-year-old Jewish woman living in Sydney, Australia. I'm good looking, meet lots of guys and get asked out. But I never seem to date the same guy more than a couple of times. I guess I am superficial to some degree and am put off by people who I consider very unattractive. But, even when a date or prospective date seems like the kind of person I'd like to get to know, I apparently act "cold" towards him.

Can you tell me how I can be more "friendly" and let a guy know that I am interested in going out again, or any other advice you think will help me. Thank you.

Cheryl

Dear Cheryl,

The fact that you are able to recognize an unproductive dating pattern and ask for advice is a big step toward getting on the right track.

Sit down with a close friend and pretend you're looking at a "movie" of your last several dates. This will help you understand what role you play in the "pattern." You seem to think that your attitude turns away men. If your "movie" reinforces this instinct, try to understand the reason you act this way. Have you been hurt in the past, and project a tough image to shield yourself from more hurt, or to release your anger? Are you anxious about being rejected at a later point in dating, or are you afraid of emotional intimacy, so that you give your date a "reason" to keep the relationship from developing?

Frankly, this sort of self-analysis isn't always easy. You might benefit from the help of a trained professional. (Try to find a therapist who endorses a goal-oriented approach -- i.e. someone who is willing to help you identify the reasons for your attitude toward your dates and then work on resolving the conflicts that caused this attitude.) However, no amount of coaching from us on how to be "nice" to people will mask the underlying emotions that, up until now, have made you a less-than-pleasant date.

Hopefully, you will be able to identify what's been eating at you and then work on resolving your feelings -- either through acceptance, understanding, etc. At that point, figure out what you would like to accomplish in your life in six months, a year and five years from now. Think in terms of lifestyle, finances, career, family, community involvement, creativity, leisure and spiritual growth. Try to date men whose goals are similar to yours. This should be a natural starting point for good conversation and friendship.

Rosie & Sherry



Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I've been dating the same woman for six months. I care about her and enjoy her company. She is nice, intelligent and easy to talk to. I am not as physically attracted to her as I originally thought. Should I give it more time, or think about moving on?

David W.

Dear David,

We wish we had a little more information, so that we could zero in on the "right" answer for you. Since we don't, it will be up to you to fill in the blanks.

Start with comparing the physical attraction you felt in the beginning with what you feel now. What has changed? Did you feel a sense of electricity or strong desire that has given way to other feelings? People who experience intense physical attraction at the beginning of a relationship (and this only happens to about half of all couples) always see that intensity subside over time. For unlucky couples, this change signals the end of their relationship. However, couples who are fortunate to have become emotionally intimate realize that they have something far more enduring than simple physical attraction. They have a growing relationship with someone who is a trusted friend, confidante, and life partner. The physical attraction still exists, but it is more balanced in the relationship.

There could be other reasons why your level of physical attraction has changed. You may be afraid of intimacy (emotional or physical)... or of marriage, and now that you've been dating for six months you may be feeling some pressure to move the relationship to a higher level. Ambivalence and/or anxiety may have caused you to look at your friend with a little less ardor.

Ask yourself if something like this has ever occurred in an earlier relationship. Do you see a pattern that keeps repeating -- physical attraction diminishing at about the same point in each relationship? If so, take some time to evaluate how the pattern replays itself and what may be motivating you to react this way.

No matter what scenario applies to your situation, we think that at the six-month point in a dating relationship you should have an idea about your long-term expectations. Are you dating with the goal of marriage in the near future? It could very well be that you haven't figured out what you want out of this relationship, and because of this discomfort you unconsciously have found a convenient justification to end it. But before you think about "moving on," clarify your short and long-term goals, and rethink what role your friend plays in them.

Rosie & Sherry



Don't miss Sherry & Rosie's dynamic lecture for friends and parents of singles - "How to Help Someone You Care About Meet and Marry Their Bashert," Tuesday, July 10 @ The Israel Center, 10 Strauss Street in Jerusalem.