Millett, 26, feels battle-scarred from the ambiguous romances that have dominated her dating life, when months of regular sleepovers and daily text chats do not a boyfriend make."There are a lot of mixed signals," said Millett, of Denver, who has noticed she has begun protecting against potential heartache by being noncommittal herself.Relationships have always been a reliable source of angst and anguish.One is cultural, he said, as the first generation of children to grow up witnessing mass divorce (now in their 20s and 30s) worry that relationships are so risky that they constantly hedge their bets.In addition, some people who personally experienced "attachment disruptions" in childhood, often as a result of their own parents' divorce and the comings and goings of their parents' subsequent romantic partners, carry a legacy of insecurity in relationships and may cope by avoiding intimacy, feeling safer with one foot out the door, Stanley said.Shifting foundations Brent Mattingly, assistant professor of psychology at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., near Philadelphia, wonders if the rising incidence of narcissism that researchers are seeing among younger generations also could be boosting the desire for romantic ambiguity, because people primarily concerned about themselves may shun the responsibility of caring for someone else.Massa believes discomfort with rejection among the everyone-gets-a-trophy generation is behind some of the vague intentions, facilitated by technology that lets people test the waters from behind the safety of a screen.Can you help give me a clue on how to be more successful with the ladies? If it looks like a relationship, and it feels like a relationship, Sarah Millett has learned, it does not necessarily mean it's a relationship.
She's a full time student and doesn’t have a lot of free time.But dating today has strayed so far from the structured progression most couples followed in decades past that one leading relationship researcher believes we have entered, with some peril, an "age of ambiguity.""Ambiguity is now the norm as opposed to clarity," said Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver and a research professor in psychology.Ambiguity can run the gamut from friends with benefits to long-term relationships fraught with indecision about committing to a more permanent future.Dear Lauren, I’m a good-looking guy, so I know my looks are not the problem. Hi Lauren, I’m friends with this guy and we really get along. He used to text me all the time and now he never texts me unless I text him first. But every time I try talking to a girl, getting close to a girl, or try to take “dating” to the next level, it never works out. My question is, what do you do if you’re dating a narcissist? It seems like every relationship I start, it’s all about what HE wants to do, or what HE wants to talk about, which is usually himself. What’s your advice when you’re dating a selfish man? He seems like he isn’t interested in maintaining our relationship anymore and I’m not sure why.