I am 25 years old and have been in and out of committed relationships for roughly the last 10 years. While I don't have any trouble starting up relationships, I can't manage to maintain them past a few months (six months is my personal best). Though the circumstances obviously vary in each case, the bottom line is the same — I break up with every man I date because sooner or later, I become uncontrollably irritated by almost everything he says. Irritated to the point that even a mundane text message will leave me shaking my head in disgust. Sometimes it's one particular action on his part that gets me into this mentality and other times I just gradually find him less and less charming until one day I suddenly wake up wanting to duct tape his mouth shut! I realize that the 'honeymoon period' can't last forever, but surely it's not normal to feel this way about every man I date. I have tons of friends (male and female) that I've stayed close with for years without this problem happening, so I don't see what the difference is when it comes to my romantic life. I hate this tendency about myself, so can you please help? — Picky Penny
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Dear Picky Penny,
It sounds to me like you're just really picky when it comes to the people you date, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. The good news is that you're capable of being in a relationship — the bad news is that you just haven't met the right person yet. Long-term friendship is a completely different relationship next to being romantic with someone and essentially sizing them up for a serious commitment. Have you ever asked yourself if you're truly ready to meet someone special? Perhaps this irritable reaction is your subconscious telling you that the timing just isn't right. If you feel like you are in a place to seriously date someone exclusively, be patient. Meeting a quality guy can be really difficult, especially when you aren't settling. When you do finally meet someone you're compatible with, things that typically used to annoy you will become endearing — I know that might seem hard to believe, but it's true.
Hang in there and keep playing the field. Since it usually takes a few months for people's true colors to show, it might be a longer process than you'd like but unfortunately trial and error is the only way to weed out the bad seeds. Good luck!