Advice for: “I Want A Real Relationship”

I want a real relationship

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

What is a “real relationship?” I feel like I can answer that question because I have been in relationships that didn’t really feel “real” and I’ve also been in “real relationships,” and I can tell you, the two are very very different. I can also say that real is unbelievably better and more fulfilling! Here is an email I received from someone seeking advice, who says, “I want a real relationship.”

 I’m in my late-thirties and it’s been a couple years since my divorce. I have recently been seeing a guy (33, single, no kids) who has been through a couple of bad breakups that really did a number on him. Now he lives in this sort of isolation to avoid suffering. I like him but his disconnection is damaging my already damaged self-esteem. I decided to end it because I want more than this. I want a real relationship.

We only see each other once a week, no calls or texts in between “dates” and when things tend to get a little bit closer he “disappears” for a couple of weeks and then comes back. We recently talked about this issue and he made it clear he likes me and likes spending time with me but doesn’t want to have any attachments with me because he’ll not risk being hurt ever again. 

My advice for: “I want a real relationship”

You poor thing! This sounds awful. I completely understand this scenario because in my younger days, I dated a few people like this man. What I finally realized was that I was choosing unavailable men, most likely because subconsciously I didn’t want the pressure of commitment.


My Divorce Solution


I even dated someone for several years, and the minute he committed I couldn’t go through with it. So I guess what I’m saying is, you might want to think about whether you have real feelings for him, or if his commitment-phobia is the attraction. That said, you are saying, “I want a real relationship,” which makes me believe you have self-awareness and you are realizing what you want, which is wonderful. You should be very proud of yourself. It’s not easy to break up with someone who you are attracted to, who you like, and who you feel comfortable around. It’s also hard to think about being alone.


Alyssa Dineen -
Online Dating Coach and Stylist


In your email, you talk a lot about HIM—HE went through a bad breakup that did a number on HIM, HE made it clear that he won’t risk being hurt, HE disappears… Try to remember that this isn’t about HIM, but rather about YOU. HE sounds like he needs to be in therapy, and needs to think of how his behavior is making YOU feel. By the way, I’m not judging him, I’m just saying he sounds like he has issues.

You have already been married. So, now, don’t you want someone who really, truly wants what you want? Who wants YOU? I’d say at this stage, you should settle for nothing less than a man who is dying to be with you, who adores you, who cherishes you—and for exactly who you are.

You nailed it. There is nothing worse for self-esteem than someone who is hot and cold. No calls or texts between dates? That must make you feel horrible, after the two of you have been intimate. You deserve better! I’m not even saying he isn’t a good guy, but the relationship needs to change or you need to get out of it.


Vestor Capital



I think you owe it to yourself to have a talk with him. Tell him how you are feeling and basically ask in a really nice way, “In or out?” Tell him, “I want a real relationship.”

You can tell him you love him, that you won’t hurt him, that you will do your best to be there for him. And then you have to leave the ball in his court. If he walks away for good, then you are better off. And, you never know what can happen in the future. Or, he might surprise you and say he will try to be a more committed boyfriend. Whatever ends up happening, you will be better off than you are now. If you continue on this path, your self-esteem will get worse and worse, and you will become more frustrated, disappointed, unhappy, and maybe even bitter.


Michele Heffron, Divorce Coach, Life Strategist


There are so many wonderful men your age out there who want a commitment, who want to be in love and have that nauseating relationship where the two of you talk and kiss and text each other every minute. For me, there is no better feeling, and if you want that, I bet you can have it. But first, ask yourself if you really do, or if this guy is what you subconsciously want because YOU don’t want to get hurt again.

I hope I helped, and I hope you find a “real relationship,” whether it’s with him or someone else.

Like this post? Check out my article, “9 Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship”

Listen to the Divorced Girl Smiling podcast View the DGS trusted divorce professionals! Divorced Girl Smiling is now offering a private, no-cost, one-on-one phone consult

Sign up for the Divorced Girl Smiling newsletter to get articles on divorce and dating.

Sign up


    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    3 Responses to “Advice for: “I Want A Real Relationship””

    1. Alan Honey

      Sounds tough Jackie, you are probably right to end things with that guy, but it’s also a shame as it sounds like it could have worked. The awful thing is I think I can recognise myself in the guy you are talking about – which has made me think! But I can understand you wanting more than he seems to be willing to give. Good luck!

    2. Kirsty L

      At some stage of everyone’s life, they will eventually want to seek a man that’s committed. when we’re young we don’t consider the adult stuff like financial implications, careers, family etc, however, as we grow older we start to then seek different types of men, all of which have long-term sustainability.

      When I was younger I always wanted to get into a relationship with the naughty boys, the cool ones, but right now, at 25 years of age, I couldn’t think of anything worse!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *