I want to settle down but I do not trust women

What you need to know:

I was left with a broken heart. This came after several other break-ups.

Last year, I dated a woman and although I loved her very much, it was short-lived and I was left with a broken heart. This came after several other break-ups. Since then, I have found it hard to date again because I do not trust women. I would, however, like to find that one person I can settle down with. Please advise.

Mulongo 

Dear Mulongo,

I understand how frightening it can be to try and settle down after a past heartbreak. I also want to let you know that you are not alone. Many people go through this same phase after a heartbreak. As human beings, we were created to connect and it is human to want to feel loved by someone at each stage of our lives. When this emotional part is not fulfilled, it can lead to frustration, forcing one to give up on themselves or resort to negative coping strategies.

Falling in love is one of the most exciting things that one can experience if everything remains constant. However, it is not a given that the experience will be the same for everyone. It is important to note that human beings can change, depending on the circumstances at that particular time.

The good news is that finding someone else who will accept you is possible. However, you might need to also learn a few skills to act as a guide as you embark on this journey again. When we go through a loss, which includes the loss of a relationship, we go through moments of grief.

You will feel anger, denial, and at some point depression or even move into acceptance. Each of the stages is important in the healing process and if one gets locked into denial, they might not move on but instead acquire negative coping strategies to avoid facing the pain of loss. This is where most people get stuck and withdraw from the idea of ever dating again. Seek support from a professional counsellor to get more skills on how to work through a heartbreak. Also, undergo a self-introspection and analyse your own self-perception.

Do you have a strong relationship with yourself so much so that you accept that you are good enough? Do you feel empty inside? You might need to fill these gaps before you venture into dating again. Starting to date again before you totally get over the past or build your self esteem will make all your efforts fruitless.

It is possible to find new love if you can take time to work on the few areas mentioned above and should you need support, find a professional counsellor to take you through this process.

Experts say when you are ready to date again, do not overthink it. It is easy to overthink when we are nervous and vulnerable. We get stuck in our heads with a cycle of judgement of ourselves and others. You might be thinking about how you have nothing to talk about or how the person you are meeting is not going to find you very interesting. To help with this negative self-talk, before your date, take 30 minutes to relax and slowly get ready.

During the date, try not to overthink the small details of the date, instead if things are feeling awkward or you are feeling nervous, try to bring humour and honesty to the situation.

Expressing that it has been a while since you have engaged in dating helps to find connection and break the tension. For example, joke about some of the silly and quirky things such as how your pet and you spend every day all day together and your heart hurts a bit when you and your ‘bestie’ are apart for any length of time.

Reader advice

Take your time

Phoebe Miriam. It is obvious you are looking in the wrong places for a good woman. Pray about it and take your time; there are many good women out there. It is just a matter of time before you actually meet the right one.

First love yourself

Enid Kahubire Mulongo. First take a break from searching and just learn to love yourself. Start your own business and care for your loved ones. If you start now with broken heart, you will not make it. The foundations of love are trust and respect. Try also falling in love with someone’s heart and not their beauty.

She was not the one

Emilly Nyap’bitek. She was not meant for you.  God is up-to something, the reason it had to end briefly.  When you find the right person, you will never be hurt again. Always pray for the best and see what happened in positive light.

People are different

Patience Natie Nampa. Getting over heartbreaks can be challenging. Focus on improving yourself by engaging in activities that make you happy. Spoil yourself and only do what you feel is best for you. Once you do that you will appreciate yourself and get to concentrate on others later. And once you venture into dating again, focus more on appreciating a person for who she is and what she is capable of, without making comparisons between her and your past relationships. Focus on the good side and know that different people have different characters.

Search your heart

Bart Nsubuga. All the women cannot be wrong; there is something you are not telling us. Tell us everything.

Seek God’s guidance

Lydia Sharon. Find yourself first, forgive yourself, trust in the Lord and all will be fine. Not all women are the same, by the way, so take your time as you seek clear guidance from God, then eventually what belongs to you will come at the right time.

Why the breakups?

Kennedy Okumu. Dear Mulongo, I feel how troubled you are. But then, I have just a handful of submissions to make. Refer to all the relationships you have been in and list down the reasons for the breakups. This will help you know your weaknesses and work on them. Test the new strategies and see if they work.

Commit from the start

Donavan Alecs Nyakojo. Get a woman who is ready to be your wife, and avoid undecided girls who will just waste your time. Tell potential partners that you are looking for a wife and not a girlfriend. 

Start again

Lola Liana. If we all gave up because of failure or bad turn of events, we would never achieve anything worthwhile. Disappointment is part of life, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. So get up, dust yourself off and start again.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation