John Aiken, is a relationship and dating expert featured on Nine’s hit show Married At First Sight. He is a best-selling author, regularly appears on radio and in magazines, and runs exclusive couples’ retreats.
Every Saturday, John joins 9Honey exclusively to answer your questions on love and relationships*.
If you have a question for John, email: email@example.com.
I recently ended a three-year relationship and started to connect with people via online dating apps. I’ve had a few conversations and met a couple of men in person but there was no deeper connection and no chemistry, so nothing came of it. Then a week ago I connected with a man online who seems amazing. I am 50 and he is 51 and we both have children from our previous marriages.
In the first couple of days we had very lengthy text exchanges, which then progressed to calls and then FaceTiming. It’s only been a week but we have spoken for many hours (usually three hours at a time) and have formed a very strong mental and emotional bond. We are so aligned in our world view and our values. He is also an excellent communicator, is open, and is in touch with his emotions. It has amazed both of us how deeply we feel so quickly.
The only problem is that I am not physically attracted to him. I am concerned as physical intimacy is important to me. Do you think this is something that can grow?
I could tell you to dump him and move on because you’re not feeling it, but in your situation, I would just slow down and be a little more patient. Right now you’ve only spoken to this guy for one week and you haven’t even met him in person yet. I know you might not think that there’s any physical chemistry there, but at least give it a chance. Relationships need some time to get moving, and from what you’re saying there are some real positives about this guy. I’m not telling you that this is going to work out long-term, but I am encouraging you to have a couple of face-to-face meetings with him before you make any big decisions.
The fact is, when you meet someone online you can only get so much from this type of connection. In your case, you’ve had virtual interactions from a new potential love interest over texts, calls and Face time. While you’ve discovered a lot about one another, it’s still not progressed to face-to-face meetings. Once this happens, this is when you’re going to be able to really get a sense of chemistry and compatibility. In this setting, there’ll be eye contact, flirting, touch, voice and tone differences, humour and visual elements that you don’t have online or on FaceTime. You need all this to be able to confidently say whether or not there’s a physical attraction.
So when you can arrange it, move this relationship into the real world and go out for several dates. You have to give this guy a chance to be with you in person to really see what he’s like, and how you feel towards him. I would also ask you to keep an open mind. Right now you think it’s not going to work out, but get curious and really zero in on how you are together. He may surprise you, and it may be the start of something amazing. If after several dates you simply don’t feel it, then by all means let him go. You have your answer. But for now, take it a step further and meet with him and watch what unfolds. He might just turn you on.
I am currently very happy with my boyfriend and my relationship. We live together, but have only been ‘official’ less than a year.
Last year, we weren’t official for a long time due to not knowing where we were going after uni. At the time, he told me I was the only girl he was seeing, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. It was incredibly hurtful at the time, but we worked through it together and I set some strict boundaries if we chose to continue seeing each other. We didn’t become official for a few months after that, while we rebuilt trust and whatnot.
I 100 per cent trust that he wouldn’t do anything like that again, and certainly wouldn’t cheat on me, but I am really struggling moving past one of the other girls. I have unwanted thoughts so often and I get upset about it and then more upset that I am doing this to myself.
I feel almost obsessive, I suppose, and I hate it. He has no contact with her, deleted her off all social media and yet I can’t seem to move past it. I imagine different scenarios that I acknowledge are my narrative, not the truth, but it hurts so much. It’s just this one person I can’t seem to shake from my mind.
I would love any help in moving forward because I don’t want to be stuck forever.
This is a very normal reaction after having your heart broken by a cheating partner. Things simply don’t get back on track quickly. Nor should they. Let’s be honest here, he’s lied to you and you’ve caught him out cheating with another woman. So your ability to trust him and feel safe and secure about your future together has been severely damaged. It’s going to take more time and some very heavy lifting from him to turn this around. You may think that you’ve rebuilt trust but you’re not there yet. It’s time to change your mindset and start thinking about this as a work in process. Continue to overhaul and re-fresh what you have together, and depending upon his actions, hopefully you’ll get there and these obsessive thoughts will resolve.
What you have to understand is that these thoughts are happening for a reason because you’ve been traumatised. They’re protecting you and reminding you to take things slowly and carefully with this guy. There are things about this other woman that don’t sit comfortably with you and you’re not ready to let your walls down. So go easy on yourself and stop thinking that you have to move on. Rather, look at these obsessive thoughts as an indicator of where you’re at with this betrayal. Right now, it would appear that you still have question marks, and he still needs to show some major changes to win you back and re-build your trust. That’s OK, it’s time to talk to him.
You need to tell him again about how this has hurt you, and he needs to display genuine remorse, empathy and accountability. It sounds to me like you still have some unanswered questions about the affair that he needs to respond to, and he has to do this openly, honestly and without becoming defensive. I also think you’re going to need to give him some more rules and expectations that he has to follow so to show you that he’s 100 per cent committed to this relationship. Finally, I would like to see him talk to you about your long-term future plans, because this has been an issue for you both right from the start. If you can address all of this with him, and he has a mindset of ‘whatever it takes’, then in time your obsessive thoughts should subside, and you’ll go to a safer and more trusting level with him. Remember – this takes time and you still have plenty of work to do with him.
After two years with my boyfriend, he’s started dropping strong hints his wants me to convert to his religion. When we got together, he was aware we were tied to different faiths, and it wasn’t a problem for him. Now, it seems like that’s changed. He’s often commenting on the traditional dress women from his religion wear, and asking what I think, slipping in lessons from his holy book and even bought me my own copy to read.
I’ve been open to hearing about his world, but it’s not one I wish to adopt for myself. I’m scared that if I tell him I have no intention of changing my beliefs he’ll leave me after two years.
My head and my heart are at war with each other. And I don’t know which one to listen to!
You need to figure out if this is a deal breaker for you – and fast! Right now, your man is strongly suggesting that he wants you to convert to his religion and it’s not something that you’ve previously been prepared to do. After 2 years together, it would seem that you’re not going to be able to stay with this course of action. It appears that he wants you to become a part of his religion. So you have get clear with him about exactly what he really wants, and then look inside yourself and decide if this is something you can do.
This regularly happens with couples. Something that you had an agreement on earlier in the relationship changes. It might be that you’ve agreed not to get married, not to have kids, not to go overseas for work, not to put the kids into private schooling, or not to share bank accounts. But things change. For you, it’s all about religion. You started out as a couple who were happy to have different faiths. However, now It would appear that he wants you to convert. So it’s time to get very clear on this, and then decide if you can live with it for the rest of your life.
Don’t assume yet from his actions that he absolutely wants you to convert. Instead, go in curious and ask him where he stands on this particular issue. Point out the actions that you’ve noticed from him, and see what he says. Then find out if this is really a deal breaker for him or not? And try to understand why this is so important for him?
Once you have all this information, then you can step back and see how it sits with you. If it’s black and white for him, and you want to be with him forever, then you’re going to have to convert. If on the other hand it’s a deal breaker for you, then tell him it’s not ever going to happen and it’s time to move on. Having this conversation will reveal his true beliefs and needs, and from there you can make an informed decision. It’s not going to be easy, but at least you’re having this conversation after 2 years, rather than finding out after many years of being together.
The opinions expressed in this column are for general informational purposes only, are based on limited information and are not professional advice. You should always seek your own professional advice for your circumstances. Any actions taken are the sole responsibility of the reader, not the author or 9Honey.