September 20, 2020
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Dear Shree: Outlook's Agony Aunt

We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all. From unrequited love, marital discord, sexual tensions, kid tantrums to cheating lovers, horny bosses and interfering parent, ask Shree just about anything. Dear Shree a weekly column on relationships, sex, love, and anything in between.

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Dear Shree: Outlook's Agony Aunt
Dear Shree: Outlook's Agony Aunt

Dear Shree, I just got out of a very long-term relationship about a year ago. My ex and I were married for 6 years and we have 2 beautiful boys together. Now, coming to my present, I met this guy while I was going through my “finding myself” phase. He’s really sweet, he understands my situation with my ex, and he always puts me first. Originally, we agreed to just be in friends with benefits kind of arrangement. We decided so because he too came out of a very serious and hard relationship as well just 3 months prior to meeting me. I didn’t want anything serious. But, after hanging out a couple times together, it became more serious. We literally do everything a couple does.. He’s not seeing anyone else and neither am I. We’re only seeing each other. When I ask him about moving to the next step, he says he just wants to take it slow because of his rough past. We’ve been seeing each other for 3 months now. Is this a lost cause? Should I give up?

-- Nandita Bhojpuria, New Delhi

First question to you is regarding the “finding myself” phase. Do you think you are still going through it? Six years is a long time to be with someone. Pair that with parenting two children together and I can imagine some challenges with the transition. This doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to move on in less than a year, but I would take a deeper dig into what you really want in life and in the next relationship. You owe yourself the time.

I don’t think this relationship sounds like a lost cause, but rather a beautiful start! He sounds like a great guy; sweet, loving, caring and comforting are nice checks on the list. If he’s communicating that he wants to move slow, respect that as it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t see a future with you or appreciate spending time with you. Rather, he’s telling you like it is. He just got out of a serious relationship with a rough past and he doesn’t want to rush things. To make a relationship work, the timing has to work too and that takes both sides being honest, self-aware and respectfully communicating with one another. Keep communicating honestly. It may turn out to be worth the wait.

Dear Shree, My boyfriend I have been together for almost five years. I am about to finish my undergraduate degree and am applying for my MBA. For a long time, I thought he was the one. He wants to stay in our hometown because he wants to be close to his family and he has a great job. However, there aren’t a lot of MBA school opportunities for me here. I love our hometown and would gladly live here, but my dream is to pursue a career in management. We have done long-term long distance before and I don’t want to go through that again especially for the next few years again. What should I do? He has made it clear that he won’t go with me and I’m not willing to give up my dream. Should we call it quits now or just wait and see what happens once I leave?

-- Indrani Rajkhowa, Silchar, Assam

As careers begin to come into focus and questions arise about where you want to put down roots, competing goals can quickly arise. There is no easy answer to this one. You can make a case to focus on the relationship since relationships often mean the most to us in the long run. You can also make a case to focus on career, since a relationship may end but education and your career will be with you for a lifetime.

I would urge you to think about which outcome you would regret more. Would you rather make a clean breakup and later question if you guys would have worked or try to make it work and later find out that it was a waste of time. That question may lead you towards your answer. In order for a relationship to work there has to be compromised. That could take form in a long distance relationship and be trying to make it work, or someone compromising to stay or move. However, if there is no compromise, the road ahead is looking pretty rocky.
Continue applying for MBA schools near and far, whatever you see as the best fit for your next pursuit and career aspirations. Once things start playing out and acceptance letters start rolling in you will have to make some decisions, but in the meantime enjoy yourself. I think breaking up right now because of “what could” happen in the future may cause unnecessary heartbreak.

Dear Shree, why is so little written about hetero men’s troubles in dating? Is it because most men are actually not having any significant trouble? Or because people don’t want to talk about it? For example, if you search “Tinder” in Google News you’ll find 90%+ of the articles are written by women with recommendations for primarily other women on “how to get what you want” or alternatively about the top 1% of guys who get “too much sex” from the app. You won’t find much or anything about the number of guys who are getting zero or near zero matches or ignored by the few matches they get. You won’t find much of anything about the men that are being left out of the online dating world.

Also, why is it assumed that if you are having trouble in dating as a man, despite trying the “conventional” advice (exercise, have hobbies, be successful, be funny, try to find common interests, etc.) it automatically means you hate women? I feel discriminated against by women every day in the dating marketplace for things I can’t control, when I look at the statistics that mirror my experience or I compare my experience to that of some of my male friends, but it doesn’t mean I hate women or that I feel “entitled”. Everyone wants to love and feel loved. Everyone wants to have sex with someone who wants them too. Do you have any advice?

-- Raja Sen, Kolkata

The online dating world is a cluster of excitement, disappointment, opportunity and confusion. My advice? Don’t put all of your eggs in one online dating basket. If you feel there is daily discrimination, what is that doing to your psyche? Ditch it for a while! Look at investing your time in meeting single women in other areas. Where would your “type” hang out? A bar, book store, through mutual pals?

Most people are naturally attracted to people who seem secure and content, regardless of their relationship status. So make sure you are in the right headspace. Instead of trying to decode the algorithms and faults of online dating, put that energy into doing things you love. Trade in dating fatigue for a mental break of fun. Thank you for starting this dialogue but getting bogged down in it isn’t going to improve your situation. Women find men that are positive and upbeat and believe in themselves very attractive. Be THAT guy and maybe your luck will change.


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