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Baggage Check: Finding good men

By Andrea Bonior By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: I have spent my adult life dating the world’s most emotionally unavailable men. Now that I’m 28 and newly single (again), I wonder if I’m just cursed?

Some friends and family tell me that it must be the type of men I’m picking, but the truth is, I never pick them. They pick me. Now if I could legally complete a relationship background check on every potential date, there wouldn’t be a problem. But since I can’t, how do I distinguish the wasteful rubbish from the good guys?

“I never pick them. They pick me.” There’s your first problem. My guess is that you don’t give yourself permission to seek out good people and to have the confidence to believe that you deserve them. And, yes, the not-so-good ones might smell this lack of assertiveness and believe you’ll be a convenient, low-effort choice.

You talk about wanting to know more about these men, but what you really could use is to learn more about yourself. A good counselor can help illuminate the beliefs and emotions that are leading you down paths that aren’t good for you and put a plan in place to help you choose better.

Q: My best friend is dishonest about a lot of stuff, especially related to money. I know for a fact she fudges on her taxes and overstates on her expense reports, and I once caught her giving me the wrong amounts of money for rent and utilities. (That’s one of the reasons we don’t live together anymore.) She has lots of good qualities in other ways, but I’m wondering how to confront her to get this other behavior to stop.

How did you manage to move out without a confrontation about this? What, did you blame it on her style of dishwashing?

You’ve got to examine what your goals are here. Are you hoping to steer her toward insight and treatment? Punish her? Give her an ultimatum about whether your friendship will continue? It’s admirable that you want to change this behavior. But the fact is that, at best, she has a pattern of thievery, dishonesty and manipulation and may always have that – despite whatever magical “good” qualities she has. And, at worst, she’s breaking into your bank account as we speak.

There’s only so much you can do for her. Say your piece, couched as concern about her well-being. If she chooses to listen to you, help her get connected with a professional to work on breaking these patterns. If she doesn’t listen, though, you need to come up with your exit strategy – before your paychecks go missing.

Andrea Bonior is a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Friendship Fix.” www.drandreabonior.com.
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