I Compare Everyone to My Ex, But Nobody Gives Me The Same “Feeling.”

Man holing an ace of spades card


Hoping you can give me some advice.  I dated this girl for 2 years and we broke up last year.   We broke up because she realized that she was no longer “in love” with me and that she felt there wasn’t enough of a spark.  Truth be told, there was another guy in the picture who she obviously had a bigger spark with.  This wasn’t my first breakup but it hit me really hard because I was so in love with her.  In my mind she was perfect in every way, (except for the part where she just wasn’t that into me).  I’ve been dating on and off the past year and I have two main problems:

1.  I’ve gone from being a serial monogamist to becoming completely commitment phobic.  The minute a girl starts to get serious with me, I want to run away.  

2.  I compare every girl to her and all I see is flaws in other people.  I keep waiting to have that “feeling” I had with her, because I’m scared that without that feeling, I will not be able to commit.

I’m worried I’m never going to get over this.  Any help is much appreciated.


I would be much more concerned with your second problem than your first.

Your first issue is that you’re commitment phobic. This is a common problem, one that is usually remedied by falling in love with someone. Once you’re crazy about a girl, you won’t have to think twice as to whether you want to be in a relationship with her. Which brings us back to your second problem:

I compare every girl to her and all I see are flaws in other people.  I keep waiting to have that “feeling” I had with her, because I’m scared that without that feeling, I will not be able to commit.

Let’s take these assertions line by line.

I compare every girl to her and all I see are flaws in other people.

Yeah. This isn’t good. Because it’s not real. It’s a rose-colored view of your ex, one that you’re having a hard time letting go of. Do yourself a favor and think of the things that you didn’t like about your ex. Now, I understand that she broke up with you, so you never really developed a chance to hate her. But that doesn’t mean she’s perfect — not by a long shot. Her main flaw, of course, is that she didn’t want to marry you. And any woman who doesn’t want to marry you isn’t really a very good choice for a wife. There are probably many, many more flaws that you glossed over due to your passion for her.

Being “in love” does this to people. In fact, Helen Fisher theorizes in “Why We Love” that being “in love” may be an evolutionary function that causes irrational thinking. In other words, in order to commit to something as irrational as monogamy, we’d sure has hell BETTER be blinded by love. Of course, that blindness wears off, which is why, when you talk to older couples who have been married for 30+ years, they’ll almost always tell you some version of “It’s hard work/We’re really just best friends/We know how to communicate and argue well/We support each other when it’s tough.” Etc, etc….

A favorite cliché says, “It’s not that my partner is perfect, it’s that she’s perfect for me.” We are willing to overlook all sorts of things when we’re in love. This explains a phenomenon like battered wives, who stay because even though their husbands hit them, they always claim to love them as well. Personally, I’ve put up with women who were selfish, delusional, inconsistent, unemployed, mean-spirited, jealous, and bad in bed. Sometimes I did this because I was weak and needy and just wanted someone in my life. Other times I did this because I was so enamored that her bad qualities barely even registered. But the truth only came out after the smoke had long since cleared.

So stop giving your ex a free pass. Apart from dumping you, she undoubtedly had some other character flaws. In a relationship, it’s smart to minimize the focus on your partners’ flaws. But once you’re out, it’s time to realize that she wasn’t as great as she seemed. Holding onto her perfection is unhealthy, since no new dates can possibly live up.

I keep waiting to have that feeling.

That feeling is great, isn’t it? But don’t be fooled. It’s false clarity. You know how I know this?

Because you had that feeling and she dumped you.

And I had that feeling twice and they both dumped me, too.

And, looking back, if those women hadn’t dumped me — if I had GOTTEN these women who made me glow, I would be absolutely MISERABLE right now. Despite their amazing assets, they both lacked some fundamental qualities that my current girlfriend has: Loyalty, compassion, patience, gratitude, big boobs. You know, the important stuff.

Listen, Ken, there are a few people who put it all together. They meet, fall madly in love, and, even when the smoke clears, they’re left standing together as one. My cousin and his wife are college sweethearts who have been together over 25 years. Another cousin met his wife in junior high school. Hey, it happens. And because it happens, because we’ve experienced that intoxicating feeling, we continue to chase it, to our own detriment. In hoping to replicate the simple clarity of puppy love — we usually forget that it doesn’t stick beyond the first year or two.

In hoping to replicate the simple clarity of puppy love- we usually forget that it doesn’t stick beyond the first year or two.

For just about everybody, the rush, the ecstasy, the high…it eventually goes away. And what you’re left with is a friendship that needs to withstand failure and temptation, financial ruin and sickness. And if your amazing ex-girlfriend couldn’t stick with you before any of those awful things challenged you as a couple, why would you ever think that she’d be willing to stick it out afterwards?

I said it in “Why You’re Still Single”, I’ll say it again: you can hit on 20, but you’re most likely gonna bust.

And after a beautiful Christmas with my girlfriend’s family — generations of couples who have stayed together for years – I’m inclined to think that the ultimate reward is far greater than the evanescent feeling you’re chasing, Ken.

The real reward is in building a life.


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  1. 1

    Huge fan of yours but one thing: isn’t the feeling that Ken is chasing just as important as the friendship, faithfulness, compatibility and other qualities (like, big boobs :-))? Can’t he look for both? I think the thought that it has to be one or the other is what can sour people on relationships. I’ve also had the feeling, the relationship ultimately didn’t work out, so now i’m looking for the feeling plus other key, less glamorous qualities. It would break my heart to think I have to give up on the feeling completely.

  2. 2

    Listen, Ken, there are a few people who put it all together. They meet, fall madly in love, and, even when the smoke clears, they’re left standing together as one. My cousin and his wife are college sweethearts who have been together over 25 years. And because it happens, because we’ve experienced that intoxicating feeling, we continue to chase it, to our own detriment. In hoping to replicate the simple clarity of puppy love we usually forget that it doesn’t stick beyond the first year or two.


    For just about everybody, the rush, the ecstasy, the high it eventually goes away. And what you’re left with is a friendship that needs to withstand failure and temptation, financial ruin and sickness.

    Excellent points Evan.

    It is noticing that some people win the lottery then forgetting all about getting an education and building a career because you are waiting to win the lottery.

    One good thing that I have learned from the women in my life is to separate passion and issues that are practical to compatibility when evaluating a potential relationship.

  3. 3

    I love your writing, Evan, but I have to half agree with Jennifer and half with you. I would miss the rush, but I have taken a different approach. I have been on 3 great dates with a great guy. He is beginning to open up and show his feelings towards life and what he does. I don’t get that rush and we are taking it slow. I think I could get the rush later, but after we have built a solid foundation. I have fallen victim to the immediate rush only to feel it fizzle because I get bored and take off my rose-colored glasses. Now, I know that rush will come and because I have spent time building with this guy, it will last; perhaps not a lifetime, but who really knows.

  4. 4


    I agree with Ashleigh’s comments, but have to say that it works both ways. There is no telling when you will find that spark again. But the most sure way to find it is to keep going out there and meeting new people.

    There are many wonderful women whom you will meet in the future. Take the time to know them. You do not have to rush into anything. If you do not feel like committing, be honest and say “I recently got out of a bad relationship and would like to take it slow”. Become friends first and see what happens. Once you get to know other people well, you will discover that your love for whom you considered ‘the one’ is ephemeral.

    Good luck!

    1. 4.1

      “… be honest and say “I recently got out of a bad relationship and would like to take it slow”.”

      I disagree.

      Unfortunately, if a man says anything like that to most women during the first few months of dating, they will drop him fast.
      Mentioning anything like: “I had a bad childhood”, “I had a bad relationship”, boo-hoo etc., say anything like that to most women you are dating is instant water on the fire.
      She will now see you as weak and want you to man-up.   Unless she has a mothering complex, in which case most guys don’t want to date their mother.

      1. 4.1.1

        Well, you’re right on the “they would drop him fast” if he mentioned coming out of a bad relationship and wanted to take it slow. But  its not because it will make him not look manly. Far from it because any confident women would respect a man’s honesty. When I hear that I’m putting my own thoughts into what that means in my head from my own experience when I caught myself saying, “I’m not sure or I got fucked over before so I want to take it slow.” This translates to “I’m still hung up on my ex love or crush and what happened in that situation or you’re not making me feel the sparks because if you did I wouldn’t want to mention the past relationship or let it affect my current relationship or potential one. I’m telling you this because I’m telling you not to expect much when you’re putting in all your chips and I’m not. ” You should be thinking ,”You’re my present and yes I’m cautious or aware of what could happen because we learn from our past and are logical but you’re on my mind and I want this.” You should be happy with any progress in a new relationship if you’re really interested in them. The pace should feel natural regardless if you’re taking it fast or slow as long as you both are on the same page and are happily looking ahead at the possibility of this person being the one you might spend the rest of your life with. If a guy or girl is saying the bad relationship thing it’s best to let them go in my opinion. No, point in sticking around when someone isn’t investing the time and effort you are. When you’re heartbroken it’s best to not jump into relationships so soon. Think about what you can learn from it and surround yourself with people who care for you. Don’t force yourself to move on but don’t avoid potential partners either. You will find someone when the time comes and the past will seem like a dream you had long ago than an obstacle.   I’m a woman so maybe it’s different from others on here but that’s how it is with me. As for the, ” I had a bad childhood or whatever traumatic event occurred” I don’t see it as weak. I know how cut off most guys are to begin with because they think women want a stone wall man. Did you forget we know you’re human?! That you have emotions and you have every right to feel them! No one goes through life without carrying any scars or flaws. If a man is telling me his issues and expressing himself completely by opening up with this much honesty I would feel honored in a way because it’s tells me he trusts me and he feels comfortable showing all of himself to me if not more than what most see. I know there’s things people can overcome and what will always be there. A woman who cares for you wants to make you grow and feel like the man she knows she sees. She doesn’t see you’re emotions or thoughts as a burden. I wouldn’t call this a mothering complex on my part but I do like to nurture and take care of my man’s needs. To me, it shows I care when I use my words and actions to express my love for you. I’m the type to write down or have a mental note of what you like and dislike. What makes you happy, sad, mad, laugh, and etc.   I like for my man to make make me feel protected, loved, respected and understood. Also secure that my feelings aren’t one sided and we see all the good and bad each of us bring to the table but I wouldn’t want it any other way feeling. I’ll like to also say, that looks are 50% and personality is 50%. I’m not going to be with a man that I don’t find sexy mentally or physically. There’s no tradeoffs so for those of you who want girls with big boobs or guys with big dicks it’s perfectly fine but understand that you never have to settle but look for everything that will make you happy in the long run such as a loyal gf/bf and who looks great in your eyes. To me, it’s like how can I settle or say I’m happy when I don’t like my man 100%? That doesn’t mean I don’t see his flaws. I see those really well but they are things I want to handle. Flaws that make him the person I love. I wouldn’t want my guy to settle for me. He should feel attracted to me physically and mentally. I think if a guy is saying something like, “I hate you women because of my past relationships of women constantly hurting me! Or my mother or father abused me so I abuse you or others to feel powerful when I was powerless.” Would turn me off from him. I wouldn’t see him as manly because he isn’t taking into account that not all women are like that and obviously if you’re finding every girl is seeing you as a wreck and you’re letting these type of women in your life then that’s your issue. And you shouldn’t abuse others especially if you were a victim of abuse. You understand how much pain that brings and nothing justifies abusing others as okay. A man doesn’t play the blaming game when it comes to explaining his actions or words. A man owns up to his mistakes and responsibilities. A man doesn’t allow for people to disrespect him either. Holding grudges or labelling us or a group as bad is not attractive and immature. It shows me you need to grow up some more and I’m looking for a man not a little boy. I’m not here to fix you and you’re not here to fix me. Change comes from within and the most I can do is be supportive. These are my thoughts and opinions I just thought you needed to hear a woman say that it isn’t like that for all of us.

        1. Anon Guy

          Enjoyed reading this.

          However, while I get that if you tell someone you want to take it slow it can come off as you’re not totally into them or still hung up on an ex, I don’t know how to reconcile that with my belief that it’s probably smart to take it slow due to past disappointments.

          In my case, I felt the sparks for someone before, and jumped pretty quickly into that involvement, but despite her seeming like a caring and “good” person (which I think she was in a lot of ways), I got blindsided when it came out that she was lying about things. So, to not take it slow in the future seems like one would just be at risk of repeating the same mistake of not doing thorough due diligence.

  5. 5

    In terms of feeling that “rush” I’m more with Ashleigh. With most guys I’ve gone out with, if there’s good conversation on the first date, they’ll almost always get a second one from me, regardless of the physical pull. I’ve read enough articles about people feeling chemistry build after a few dates, and that not all people are their best on the first date, etc, to go on ahead and do this. And sometimes when I’ve had a really enjoyable time, but still feel no physical pull, I’ll go out several more times with the guy, hoping for it to build. But at a certain point, I’ll have to break it off because you do want to feel that rush when you’re in a romantic relationship. It’s what separates a boyfriend (or husband) from a close male friend. It wasn’t until my 3rd date with the guy I’m currently seeing that I felt somehting ignite (and no, it had nothing to do with physical things, especially not big boobs :)) but it was the great aspects of his character and personality that kept me around to the 3rd date, and well beyond.

    And for Ken, my advice would be to make a list of the qualities your ideal spouse would have. And then as you date women, come up with things that you like about them (yes, some lists will be longer than others). You may very well find that many women have qualities your ex did not possess that you want in your spouse, or qualities you didn’t even realized you desired. This will help to shed the image of your ex as a paragon of virtue, and will help you to start viewing your new dates as separate from your dating past. Also, while dating someone with potential compare your ideal list to the woman’s attributes. If she’s matching up in a lot of areas then you may want to give added time for that “feeling” to develop. Because don’t forget, you had two years to develop the feeling of closeness you had with your ex. No woman will be able to do the same in a few dates. Good luck, and keep trying!

  6. 6

    “Your first issue is that you’re commitment phobic. This is a common problem, one that is usually remedied by falling in love with someone. Once you’re crazy about a girl, you won’t have to think twice as to whether you want to be in a relationship with her.”

    ….I dunno, it sounds as if once Ken feels this way he runs for the hills. And it sounds as if his two problems are one in the same. Evan in theory you’re right but I dated a guy once, we were really falling for each other but he pulled back after a couple of months; apparantly this was a pattern with him. And I’m not the only woman who’s experienced this. But that’s a whole different issue.

    The question for Ken, if a girl seems into you, are you also into her or do you run away regardless?

    It’s hard to forget that wonderful feeling – but Evan’s right, once this feeling comes about think of something negative about this person. It’s part of the ‘getting over’ process. And get out there, keep your mind open. You’ll get that feeling again, but take this as a learning experience about what you should be looking for in a girl.

  7. 7


    …yes, go on 3 dates, ’cause, it seems as if things heat up then….

  8. 8

    …most dates take 3 dates to warm up….

  9. 9


    You may want to try the emotional freedom technique. It has been reported that helps with a variety of issues. Just do a search for it on the Net if interested.

    I myself have your same problem. With me it’s a serial problem – I get infatuated with a particular woman, then I cannot get her out of my mind. And I think I’ll never find another one like her again.

    You’ll meet another woman and I’m guessing that once you meet that special person, you’ll suddenly compare her with your ex, and be amazed at how much better you new love seems to you. You will suddenly see flaws in your ex that you never saw before.

    Let’s consider fate for a moment. If the woman didn’t want you, she wasn’t right for you. End of story. You wouldn’t want to have a shotgun wedding where YOU’RE the one with the shotgun forcing her into it!

    If all else fails, call up your ex, ask her for a favor: have her come to your place, and fart in your face. I guarantee, you will suddenly see some flaws in her after that unless you’re congested.

    Good luck, man. Heartache is the worst pain the world, but it will pass.

  10. 10

    Another thought – Ken, it sounds as if you don’t want to get close to women who are into you but you’ve had your heart broken by women who aren’t. Perhaps it could be that you’re pursuing women who aren’t right for you?

    Dating is trial and error. I remember meeting this one guy and we weren’t attracted to each other at first, but remained friends. Long story short, a year later when we ended up spending a day together we both realized each other’s good qualities and ended up falling in love, dating for 3 years. Granted we were young when we first met but had we each known what qualities were good for us we might have hooked up sooner.

  11. 11

    With me it is sooooo much easier to remember to good times and positive attributes of my ex-wife than see the actuality of the real person inside. But when I look a little deeper, there are some things that really stand out now that I didn’t notice then, but I have to dig for them. That’s a human tendancy I think…to look at only the good things that once were…the traditions you forged together, the things she did that you DID like. In fact, she bored the HELL out of me! And she had some real character flaws like co-dependancy that I overlooked because I was “in love”. Those same flaws caused her to be living with a guy shortly after we seperated and eventually marry the guy. It’s been a year and a half since the divorce and I feel I am just now ready to go out and start being serious about building a life with someone…which is, as Evan put it so wisely…the real reward. I takes time to heal properly. The other thing is that love and attraction deepen the more you get to know someone…and it does take time. All of us seem to judge so fast as to weather we are attracted to another person and weather we think it’ll “work out” with that person we just met. You have to give people some time and spend time with them in different social settings, at different times of the day, in different situations ( and not just all positive either), so you’ll know how that person responds to different situations and circumstances. I think we all need a laundry list of 3-5 ‘must haves’…you’ll find that a person can really be attractive and have 20 things that you like, but if she doesn’t have those core things you need in a woman, then it’s not right for you. And don’t be afraid to turn down a woman if it’s not right…it’s very empowering…they get totally befuddled…it’s really quite cute! (sorry!)

  12. 12

    For me, if I were in your shoes, Ken, I would simply conclude to myself… ” she didn’t think I’m as valuable as I think I am. Therefore, she’s not right for me.” No matter what her other wonderful qualities, the fact is she had that one fundamental flaw in her thinking that prevented her from seeing you the way you wanted her to. In a sense, she’s spilt milk that you shouldn’t cry over, so you might as well move on, right?

    But maybe that’s just the way I rationalize my own romantic disappointments. Works for me, but then again I’m very good at manipulating my reality, for better or worse.

    Here’s the thing: I don’t believe you’re ready to move on. Not truly. The fact that you haven’t let go of your idealized image of her suggests to me that you’re not over her and that you haven’t achieved closure to the relationship you shared. Given that you’re not done with the emotional turmoil surrounding your ex, I don’t think you’re ready to be dating.

    I think you should hold off on dates (in fairness to the women you’re presently emotionally unavailable to), and throw all that passion and angst into a new hobby. Seriously, there’s a lot of cool stuff out there in the world to try out. There must be something out there you’ve always been curious about. Set some new challenges for yourself and focus on those for awhile. Maybe take a class, take up a new sport, start a new business, or go some place different. (I bought my first house after a particularly bad breakup; talk about a challenge).

    Just make whatever activity you choose kind of scary and exciting. I guarantee you will be distracted from fond memories of your ex-girlfriend. Then, after you’ve made some headway into your new activity, reached a goal or two and experienced a bump in self esteem, that’s the time to re-evaluate your feelings about her. I think you’ll feel the strength and distance from your relationship to feel over it.

    The key to being over her is to have the clarity of mind to realize she wasn’t THE ONE for you. Dating other women at this time only seems to keep you from achieving that clarity.

    Best of luck to you!

  13. 13

    I’ve had short lived relationships where I had “the feeling” and short lived relationships where I didn’t. The latter were always easier to get over. And in hindsight, those where the spark was intense off the bat, were with guys who really weren’t right for me, but I didn’t want to acknowledge that fact at the time.

    In my long term relationships, the feeling wasn’t intantaneous in the beginning, more that it grew the more I got to know the person. Yes, the ‘high’ wore off after a year or so, but the chemistry didn’t just die off. I can’t imagine staying in a relationship WITHOUT a certain degree of chemistry. I agree with A-L that the spark is what separates a romantic relationship from a friendship.

    If you build a life with someone with whom you don’t feel the spark for the sake of companionship, stability you might find yourself in quite a quandry if someone else comes along with whom you do spark. You may come to feel you’ve cheated yourself, and your partner as well by *settling* for something less.

    As far as fleeing commitment goes, what kind of commitment are you describing? Committing to be exclusive? Committing to see the person x times a week? Living together? Marriage? What is wrong with just dating for a few months and see what happens? I don’t get the idea that you have to look at anyone you date as a potential mate for life. What alot of pressure!

    I think commitment phobia should have a time frame. Less than a year? No. More than 3? Possibly. What is commitment phobic about breaking things off after a month or 3? In my experience, that’s the timeline when we’ve gotten to know each well enough to decide whether or not there’s anything there worth continuing to explore.

  14. 14

    I think Ken’s 2 problems are really only one–he’s not over his ex yet. Both not having ‘feeling’ with someone, and running when they get serious are indicators of just not being ready to be in a new relationship.

    Is there any good reason to rush finding someone else? What’s wrong with taking time to be unattached and let nature take its course in healing?

  15. 15

    You just aren’t ready. Factors like your past love experiences and other attachment issues from your past, and also that it was her dumping you. There is no prescribed healing time. Take a break and she-tox, so to speak. You will run into one or more of the same woman a year later and it will be a whole n’ther ballgame.

  16. 16
    mrs. vee

    Count me in with the Selena and sheseizereason camp. Ken, I don’t think you should be attempting a new relationship until you are past your last one. And you’ll know you’re ready when you can start seeing your ex’s imperfections.

    As far as the “feeling” goes, I think there are just some people who get under your skin, making it harder to let go. But that feeling in and of itself is no measure of compatibility.

    Looking back, the men I felt most strongly for were the ones who made me feel like I was intensely “working” in some way. I admired them. I wanted to be better in some way to impress them. They had something to teach me. They had qualities I wanted for myself. These were men I placed on pedestals. By hanging out with them, I felt somehow “cooler” by association.

    Underlying my feelings for them, though, was this unconscious belief that I wasn’t good enough to be with them. And I think that belief (along with the sense they could drop me at any moment) made for the most exhiliarating feelings I’ve ever had as far as romance goes.

    Thank god I didn’t end up with one of them. Imagine trying to live ’til death do you part while trying to constantly earn the approval of your partner. It’s just not sustainable.

    My husband is someone whom I truly admire. He’s smart, fair, courageous and I still have butterflies for him just by looking at his face. He’s my best friend. But absent from our relationship is that edgy, caffeinated buzz that I associate with those other guys I had the “feeling” for.

    Like Selena and Evan said, when the smoke clears, you realize the ones who you burn hottest for are rarely the ones who are good for you in the long run.

    And judging from the fact that you still see your ex- as “perfect” even after she clearly preferred another man to you, I’m guessing you viewed her in I’m-not-worthy fashion quite a bit.

    My advice to you is to take some time off from the dating game.

  17. 17
    mrs. vee

    When people say the “feeling”, it usually means something very unique to each individual. What they really mean is by “feeling” could be any strong response ellicited by someone who pushes whatever an individual’s buttons are.

    So, for some people, the “feeling” is a good thing, if they value what’s good for them. For others, the “feeling” is self-destructive, particularly if it leads them to just keep returning to partners who make them feel crappy about themselves over and over again.

    By taking a good look at what triggers the “feeling”, one may realize that s/he responds strongly to some very unhealthy qualities in other people or qualities that bring out the worst in themselves. Once a person understands and can name what it is that makes him/her feel that rush, s/hemay be able to prune out those things that hold them back from finding happiness with a partner.

    I for one, would not be happily married today if I were still drawn to the same b.s. that got my attention in my early dating days. I recognized and reprogrammed my “buttons” to respond to aspects in people that nourished and fulfilled me. I feel kind of cheesy for putting it that way, but it’s worked well for me so far.

  18. 18

    Selena asks how one defines committmentphobia.

    Definition of commitmentphobic is simple, it means someone who is afraid of committing to having a serious relationship or beyond. It has nothing to do with whether you’re right for each other or there are feelings involved. Or putting yourself on a time frame.

    If you want someone in your life you’ll be serious about it – you won’t waste your time falling for people who are emotionally unavailable or with whom you are truly compatable and on the same page. And you won’t date someone and then just bail for no reason and without a trace.

  19. 19

    I can’t go through all the responses right now but I want to thank Ken and Evan VERY MUCH for bearing their souls to this extent.

    Ken, I’ve been in your position and have been comparing everyone I’ve met to a girl I dated a year ago.

    I just met someone I am crazy about. While what you’re feeling may not be healthy, looking for someone who has enough of “her” elements can be a positive. Most importantly, remember, if they’re not into you, they’re not worth it.

    “Dig.” Bootsie Collins

  20. 20

    Thanks for sharing your definition of commitmentphobic. I can’t say that I agree though, as I believe people don’t bail for no reason. And that reason might be not feeling right for each other, having feelings, not truly compatible with, or not being on the same page. Why would I WANT to commit myself to someone I was so clearly incompatible with? Huh?

    Gee, if someone is willing to commit despite all those things might they actually really have a fear of being alone? Because to me all those things are what really go into having a GOOD relationship, as opposed to having a relationship period, regardless of the emotional turmoil.

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