Relationship Advice is a column in CLEO where we ask relationship coaches, psychologists and experts on problems that twenty-something women in Singapore might face in different stages of their relationship. If you have a question for an expert, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is contributed by Cindy Leong from Relationship Studio. Cindy is an Enneagram Personality Coach and Corporate Trainer who helps people make sense of their professional and personal relationships.
It’s perfectly normal to not feel the need to be in a relationship. I work with the Enneagram personality type, and it is true that some people have a lesser need to be in a relationship. In fact, being with people drain them.
They have a high need for privacy, high need for personal space to “do their own things” and they highly value this space! However, the question is: is this healthy for personal growth?
We all need people to sharpen us, to bounce off ideas, to share our joy and a shoulder to cry on. Thus, as much as some personality type has lesser need to be in a relationship, as humans, we all need some form of connection to feel safe and belonged. Here’s a food for thought: do you want to grow in life, to receive feedback from someone who can to help you be better, to have someone to share our joy and sorrows with?
How do I know if I’m emotionally unavailable or if I’m just not interested?
When you are simply uninterested, you might be emotionally available, but only to selected few people. In other words, there are people whom you are interested in.
On the other hand, when you are emotionally unavailable, no matter how many dates you have gone on, nothing seems to interest you. Or worse, you fall in love with people who are physically or emotionally unavailable. Once, I have a client who fall in love with a Japanese race queen, and another who is constantly seeking Taiwanese partner to date. Some keep falling for married men or men who have no intention to take the relationship further.
If you are constantly “uninterested” after going on a dozen of dates, you might wish to explore the fact that you might be emotionally unavailable or even commitment-phobic.
I’m sexually attracted to men, but I don’t want to be in a relationship with them. Is there something wrong with me?
As mentioned, some people have a lesser need to be in a relationship. They like their personal space and doing their own things. But these people could also not be in relationships due to fear—fear of uncertainty; fear of commitment, and fear of being vulnerable in a relationship. In fact, this is very common. These fears could be induced by external circumstances (e.g. parents are divorced, all my friends ended up in horrible relationships) or internal struggles (e.g. inherently having trust issues).
I find dating troublesome, which is why I don’t go on dates. People tell me it’s not normal. Are they right? Should I try to change my mindset?
Of course dating is a troublesome process! However, without the challenge, where is the satisfaction? The question you need to ask yourself is: Do you wish to have a meaningful relationship?
If you feel that you lack relationship-building skills, I would highly advice you to attend personal improvement classes, relationship building classes or coaching to work on your relationship blind spots. Start understanding yourself, increase your self-awareness and start showing a genuine interest in people. If you think you have deep-seated trust issues, start seeing a coach to resolve these issues. Sometimes, relationship-building blind spots can also lead to leadership blind spots.