Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm a single female, never married and no children. I'm ready for a serious relationship, but looking for a true love has been fruitless. I am new to online dating; I've tried it because a friend introduced me to it.
I have been hurt many times, and though I've had experience with relationships, I don't want to get hurt anymore because it was a terrible thing that happened.
It is impossible to go through the dating scene without getting hurt. It's like saying you don't want to go through life without any problems. It's just not going to happen.
Think, Lussy. When you were a child, before you learned how to walk you had to fall, and fall often. That's how you learned. The same thing happened when you learned to ride a bike. It took a few spills and skinned knees, elbows and shoulders before you finally got the idea and learned how to ride that bike. Everything we do, all the experiences we go through in life, should be a learning experience.
Unfortunately, many go through life and get hurt. Then, instead of learning from the experience, they play the blame game and put all the responsibility on the other. Thus, in essence they learn nothing.
I'm not advocating getting into relationships just to get hurt, of course. What I'm saying is that you shouldn't shy away from something just because the potential for getting hurt is there. I promise you, if you live like that you will miss out on all the enjoyment in life.
Instead of saying you don't want to get hurt, have an open mind. Do things and go places where you have a greater chance of meeting men who are interesting and fun. Be very careful of online dating, you must meet someone face to face before you can know if there is a true connection.
The key to minimizing the chance of getting hurt is to go slooooooowly. That way you can make sure what you have is real before you give your heart.
Put yourself out there, Lussy, but carefully. And don't worry so much about getting hurt. It's the learning experiences that will guide you eventually to the right one. Just be sure to have fun along the way. Good luck.