After two heartbreaks, I am afraid to date again

What you need to know:

I took a two-year break from dating and later met someone, but after two years I discovered he was a conman who had been jailed several times. I hurt so badly because I loved him. I took another three-year break and God sent me another man; very understanding, caring, loving and he loved my son too

I have been in several relationships, but always ended up so hurt. The most recent, however, yielded a baby boy, who is now seven years old. I separated from his father for fear of contracting HIV since he had numerous partners. I took a two-year break from dating and later met someone, but after two years I discovered he was a conman who had been jailed several times. I hurt so badly because I loved him. I took another three-year break and God sent me another man; very understanding, caring, loving and he loved my son too. I love him but I am scared of showing it because of my past experiences. Please advise me because it seems my past is about to make me lose this heaven-sent angel. Doreen.

Dear Doreen,

Sorry that you have gone through tough times in the past, especially when it comes to love and relationships. According to one Google writer, love is never perfect, although this does not mean it is not the best thing you will ever experience. Relationships bring the utmost joy but at the same time, they can cause the utmost pain. Also, it might not be easy to predict how someone might treat you until you interact more with them.

It is possible to find love again even after a number of breakups. Ideally, a curriculum about relationships would have been ideal since this is one of the ultimate needs of a human being. Unfortunately, it is given the least attention right from dating up until people decide to leave together.

 The good thing is that you have now found someone who you feel loves you and is Angelic. This thought alone goes further to enable you see your new boyfriend’s best side. Sometimes this alone can grow a relationship from one stage to another.

While it is true that people change, it is also usually easier to see some of the red flags while dating, especially if it is not hurried. In most cases, people’s true colours and behaviour might be revealed before things become serious. It can be seen in how one reacts to what happens while relating.

It is important to not only be carried away by feelings but make the right decisions when you spot that the person is overbearing, over controlling or even non affectionate.

Human beings do not change overnight; they might stay with the first behaviors you noticed but may feel they could change or even get better. This is better detected while dating than when married.

As for the past hurting, please find a relationship therapist to take you through steps of healing from the past pain and also help you to assess if you are suffering from any trauma-related pain. If you skip this important step, it will be difficult to love your new boyfriend genuinely. This will cause tension in your relationship since you will be busy comparing situations.

Make time for communication with your new partner and get to know him better. We get to learn people better when we speak to them more often, about different things in life. Your own values are what can help you notice that you are in a good enough relationship. Remember, your happiness also matters and to fully achieve this, you must work on your self-esteem and learn to genuinely love yourself. This way, you can also love someone else without having the doubts you do now.

Reader advice

Forgive yourself

Martin Ssebyala. Forgive yourself first then love with both your brain and the heart. Conquer your fears by facing them boldly. Never give in to love 100 percent so that you are not surprised when bad signs start showing. However, do not be judgmental; we are all not perfect but have a limit of tolerance not to be taken for granted or seem to be weak but rather, to be used as a set standard.

Confide in him

Rebecca Abuo. It can be difficult to be open and honest with another person. While you are getting over the lingering fear of being loved, take steps to confide in this person (and be a bit vulnerable). Emotional intimacy is essential to being close with those you care about.

Communicate honestly

Victoria Mukisa. If you meet someone you can see a future with, but feel hesitant because you are scared of falling in love, communicate that. It is particularly important to be truthful if you find yourself pushing someone you know you could really care about away, especially if you are hurting them. By being honest, you express your current limits, while giving the other person the option to stick it out with you or move forward.

The past is just that

Helly Hellen Nana. Let the past be the past because old keys do not open new doors. While dwelling on the past, you might miss out on a good man who you say even loves your child as his own. Yes heartbreak can mess you up but you have learnt from it; move on.

Give it a try

Western Woods. The fact that things did not go well with your previous partners does not mean the same will happen with the new man. Give it a try but there is need to be extra careful.

Follow your heart

Hillary Mukisa. Love is a feeling, feelings are affection and affection comes from what you love. Follow your heart because it can never lie to you about what is right or wrong.

Forgive who hurt you

Victorious Judy. Heal first and be intentional about forgetting the past. Move on. There is no reason why you are allowing the past control your future even when you believe that the man God has sent your way this time is a good man. Please find it in your heart to forgive those who hurt you but also yourself since this is the only way you will forget, move on and be happy.

Live in the present

Phillip Ssenyomo. Live in the present, forget the past. Definitely be cautious but love genuinely. Unless if you have seen or noticed things about the new man that are making you have these doubts, you have no reason to deny yourself happiness. Sometimes, if you do not take a step of faith and try something, you might loose and stay with regrets.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation