Dear Daisy: I've Never Been in a Serious Relationship — What Am I Doing Wrong?

MC's love guru Daisy answers your questions about finding love after a string of meaningless hookups.

Dear Daisy
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In her advice column, MC's love guru Daisy answers your questions about finding love after a string of meaningless hookups.

Dear Daisy,

I'm inching toward 30 and I've never been in a loving, healthy, adult relationship. I've had a ton of hookups and I've been the fun no-strings-attached girl for months at a time, but I've never had a serious relationship where I'm in love with a guy and he is with me. In the past, I wasn't looking for meaningful commitments. But now I am, and I'm starting to worry that I'm unlovable. What am I doing wrong? —Alexis, 29, Pittsburgh

Dear Alexis,

For a long time, you've been training yourself to be satisfied with a certain kind of relationship. (Or let's call it a love affair — that has a nice old-fashioned ring, as if your trysts were conducted under the influence of highballs.) Try looking at it this way: You've been both the scientist and the subject in a behaviorist experiment. For years, the subject (you) was asked by the scientist (also you) to operate under certain conditions and expectations, and had to learn to behave accordingly. By now, I bet you're really skilled at giving the right signals to let swains know you're up for something less than commitment.

You want something different? Act different. Go slower: Check your own impulses. Remember that currently you're a kind of finely tuned casual-relationship machine. So don't trust your instincts; they've been doing some other job for too long. Try doing the opposite of what you've done in the past. The main thing is this: Instead of worrying about whether the guy likes you, worry about whether you like him. Your friends can help you vet the guys you choose. It's going to be exquisitely uncomfortable. You're going to be vulnerable in a new way. And that's good news, because vulnerability is a necessary ingredient in the messy stew that is a committed relationship.