My ex girlfriend was immature and after a while of dating her, I felt like I was going to work instead of having fun with her. We could basically never get on the same page with each other about what we liked, expected, wanted and didn't want. It got bad quickly. We also only saw each other a total of 6 or 7 visits. And every phone conversation we had after the first month or two felt nervous and new. It felt awkward. She drained me and made me cynical towards affection. After a few years in therapy figuring out who I am, I'm ready to at least try dating. How do I let myself chat and enjoy a girls company? How to start dating again?
Dan, 33
Answered by:
Relationship Guide, Author, Guy's Guy

It appears you have two issues challenging you. The first concerns your ex girlfriend. It does not seem that you two were on the same page. When you feel like you are going to work versus seeing your girlfriend, that’s a red flag. Relationships can be tricky, but when things do not line up seamlessly, there can be a cause for concern. You mentioned that you were not aligned in your likes, dislikes and expectations. Based on these differences and your other comments about the discomfort triggered by your interactions with your partner, it does not sound like this was right fit for either of you. That’s okay. No one wants to remain in a relationship that causes more stress than joy.

The more pressing issue is your cynicism and nervousness about meeting and communicating with new women. It’s easy to get down on ourselves and down on love, but creating the right connection can be and needs to be a joyful journey. I think the best way for you to get started is by asking yourself who you are, what type of  woman you want as a partner, and what you can offer a woman. You may be surprised at your answers, but whatever they may be, own them and don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone is different and all of us possess a unique set of talents. The most important thing is that we love ourselves and are comfortable in our own skin. Let your authentic self shine a light through any nervous pangs when they pop up. Relax, be yourself, and let the women you meet get to know the real you without your anxiety getting in the way.

Dating is a fun sport. It is not supposed to be work. In my experience I’ve found that when people make room in their heart for someone else they always find a partner. Stay positive and believe in yourself. Don’t worry and have fun. You’ll get there. Good luck.

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