There’s always someone else out there. That someone is different – not necessarily better. As you’ve already found, maintaining a relationship is about commitment and investment of time and effort. If you are always second guessing and keeping one foot out of it, you will never settle into a long-term relationship. To “settle” is not settling for something second-rate. To settle is to get comfortable, to know in your heart that you and he are going to work things out for the long run. Settled love is different from early romantic love. From your history, it sounds like you like the excitement of new love so much that it’s hard for you to understand the satisfaction of the next stage.
I agree that talking to a therapist might be helpful for you. Call your insurance company. They will tell you who in your area is on their list of approved clinicians. Then ask your doctor or clergy who they would recommend from the list. If they don’t know anyone on the list, make a series of phone calls to therapists on the list. Most will be glad to chat with you on the phone for a bit to give you an idea of how they would approach your problem. Some may even offer you a free initial session as a way to help you find the right therapist for you.
In the meantime, you might find this article interesting: A Time To Celebrate Many Kinds of Love
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on February 15, 2009.