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General Dating Questions/Afraid to get hurt again..



I recently had a very bad break up where I was being cheated on. Now, I met a guy online who I have been very wary of, because frankly speaking, I hardly know him yet he seems to be showing so much interest in me. He said that my profile picture and my personality attracted him to approach me for friendship. Obviously, I am not interested in anything else right now other than friendship unless I become sure that he is a good guy. He hasn't directly approached me for a relationship or anything but the things he says lead me to think that he's interested, such as the way he always talks about his family and he even introduced me to his sister! I know you can not read his mind but I wanted your opinion on this situation. I am afraid to get hurt again and I am having trust issues after my last relationship but I understand this is a risk I have to take and I am responsible to fix myself. Do you think I am in a dangerous situation? How should I deal with this? Should I give him a chance to prove himself or should I back away immediately? What are some red flags which I should be looking out for? Is there anything I should say to him, or if I need to back away, how should I do this in a way that won't hurt anyone?


ANSWER: Hello Tania!

Ok, so let's get this straight:

You want this guy (whom you don't know) to jump through all these hoops, make all these crazy promises, absolutely insure you that you'd never get hurt again and then, maybe, just maybe you'll consider liking him. That about sums things up, don't you think?

Seriously Tania? In what universe would THAT ever work? How could that ever come about and result in something happy OR healthy? Answer: in no universe I've ever heard about!

You wrote to me asking my help to protect yourself against him. In fact that's not what you need at all! You need help protecting yourself against yourself!

Yes. Sure. Fine. If you're afraid of being hurt again and you have trust issues then simply do nothing. Spend the next 10 years cultivating your fears and insecurities and make sure they really set in so that you don't have to worry about being without them. When great guys come along, just assume up front that they're there to really kick your (emotional) ass and then simply avoid them. Be alone because that way you'll be absolutely assured of not getting hurt again.

How does that sound?

Tania! Stop this crazy bullshit! I know you don't want to hear this, but let me give you a little dose of reality: it's terrible that you got hurt. I'm sorry you're going through this but in fact when someone cheats, it's BOTH people's fault - not just one "victim" and one "perpetrator". No, there are no exceptions. Until you accept the fact that you had responsibility for the problems just like your ex did, you're never going to get past all of this.

That's not my rule by the way. It has been here way, WAY since before I arrived.

Here's the second point: the only men who will play your game of invest-invest-invest are those guys you wouldn't want to be with in the first place. They'll play your little game of denial, withdrawal, self-protection, etc., only to find that they get nothing for it and walk away or worse, you'll actually start believing them and will wind up in bed only to get dumped. Then, you'll turn around and blame THEM for it!

I agree with you: if you can't get passed your past, you're not ready for a relationship. However, expecting everyone else to walk around on eggshells because YOU got hurt, isn't a very healthy way of dealing with this problem. You have the responsibility (whoops! There's that word again!) to get yourself healed and not only be available for a relationship, but be able to deliver a strong, healthy one.

Look: EVERYONE has been hurt before. That's part of growing up and being in the game. It's terrible when it happens, but in fact, I'd never want you in a relationship where you couldn't get hurt. What bland, banal and worthless would that sort of thing be? You deserve much better but to get it YOU have to accept responsibility for things and take those risks.

Any guy worth being with is also going to expect you bring your game - at the same time, in the same measure. You won't get all the security and assurance you seek only to THEN bring some undefined value tainted with a hell of a lot of jadedness.

Please don't do that Tania. Get your insecurities dealt with and become stronger by doing so. Then, open yourself up to possibilities. I'm sure you're a great, special girl, but trust me, you're not SO special as to fail every single time! There's a great relationship out there for you - but YOU have to do the work to get it. Maybe it's with this guy or maybe it's with the next. If you expect some huge down-payment up front, you're just never going to know.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the quick reply!

It's just that this guy randomly added me out of nowhere and is taking so much interest in my life that it's all so overwhelming and feels too good to be true. I have known him for about a week and he already introduced me to his sister! I just wanted your opinion on this.. do you think things are the way they seem or is this just far from reality?

About my ex, he was from an abusive family and he has cheated in every single relationship he has been in. I guess I was responsible for the breakup since I couldn't satisfy his needs, and even if I did I am sure he would have still cheated on me. Not only that, he was also verbally abuse, which makes it even harder for me to trust men out there.

Anyhow, should I continue with this guy or not? Could you also give me some tips on how to build what you call a 'healthy relationship', Thanks.

Hello again Tania!

After many, many years of working with people in relationships I've discovered one important rule: there is no such thing as a "regular relationship" or a "regular situation".

Yes, this guy obvious saw you and is showing interest. I'm glad he approached you at all. In fact, most guy don't even know how to do this. Is it over the top? Yes, but it's certainly not unheard of. Many guys do this. Again, they simply don't know what to do and so they tend to go to extremes.

I can't tell you what you really want to know: if he's a good guy or a bad guy, but I'll bet he's both. YOU Tania have a lot to do with which guy you meet! Think about that for a moment.

Let's talk about trust for a moment. You claim to not trust men, but you actually have that backwards. Let's use your ex as an example. You don't trust him with your heart - I get that. But, when you were together, if you called him and asked him to pick up some bread from the store would you trust him to get it? If you were out of town and coming in by plane would you trust him to pick you up at the airport?

Of course you would. It's because if he didn't come through you could go get your own bread or take a taxi home or call another friend to get you from the airport. In other words, you trust him and other people (men too) based on YOUR OWN ability to handle situations - NOT based on them. This comes right back to responsibility again. When you trust yourself to handle situations where you can get hurt, you're going to be much more open to possibilities. Right now that's not the case.

As to this guy and whether you should continue with him or not it depends far more on you than on him. Do you "trust yourself" to make good decisions about him, his intentions (as presented) and his actions? If you don't then you're not ready to go any farther with him. If you do trust yourself then you should move forward.

Tania, of course you risk getting hurt again. That's just the way life is. However not every man out there is trying to cause you grief. The vast, VAST majority of men want to be happy - just like you do. They also want to make someone happy - just like you do. Men and women sometimes go about getting that happiness in different ways and make mistakes along the way but that's not a good reason to just shut people out. Grow your own personal power and be open to others. Then if they don't deliver you don't have to be devastated by it. Instead, you'll just recognize that they are on a different path than you are and you get to keep looking.

Ultimately that's also what builds "healthy relationships" as well. Interesting, no?

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

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Dr. Dennis W. Neder


I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: You can email me directly at:


I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

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