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    Nobody “watched” Kitty Genovese get repeatedly stabbed. The original report overstated the case wildly. There were witnesses, but no one realised what was really going on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Kitty_Genovese#Attack

    The bystander effect clearly doesn’t just effect you, though. It’s a known, unfortunate feature of humans the world over. Why should you carry particular guilt for acting in accordance with human nature – especially if you clearly didn’t mean to?

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 1 month ago by Will.

    “I went out for runs and he’d accompany me without me knowing.”

    How… how does that work? I’m really confused about the situation you’re describing.

    As for what you should do, not make so many assumptions and communicate directly. I’m sorry. I fully understand if that doesn’t feel safe right now. But if you want clarity on where you are with this guy, you’ll have to ask.

    Congratulations on climbing out of your depression. I hope your recovery continues and your life will be beautiful from now on. Be well.

    Aside to Veena: How does this person’s gender make a difference?


    Just chiming in to agree, really. I see no reason for you to hate him, but if it would do your sense of mental peace good not to talk to him at all and let it be done, then that’s fine. Say it’s done. Tell him, thanks for the good times and goodbye.

    I think circumstances just got in the way for you guys. It’s sad but it happens, especially when you’re young.

    Hope you can find a way to let it go. All my best wishes.


    I see. Well, that doesn’t sound so much like “stealing” a kiss as “sort of stumbling into it”. If you both thought of the same thing, then that’s fine. These things do happen naturally.

    When it comes to intimacy, I don’t think it depends on your “label” so much as it does on how you and your partner are ready for and into the same level of contact. It’s OK to ask, “Can I kiss you?” just like it’s ok to ask, “How do you feel about being exclusive right from the start?”

    And yes, she didn’t treat you as well as she should have. And life happens every day.

    All the best.


    You can’t logic away your feelings.

    It seems to me your problem is not so much having “negative” thoughts, but the feelings that underly these thoughts. If you’re constantly asking for reassurance, those feelings may be fear, anxiety, guilt? Your thoughts may prompt these feelings, but they also arise from these feelings. Simply trying to over-write the thoughts may not be working for this reason.

    Let’s pretend, as a metaphor, that your feelings are small creatures that give you thoughts to think and want something from you. Perhaps paying closer, quiet attention to the feelings themselves, without trying to “get rid” or piling too much thinking on top of them, will help these “creatures” feel heard and appreciated and they’ll have less need to be so noisy. That means, once you learn to be with the feeling, the thoughts will tune out by themselves.

    Or maybe there’s some stuff going on in your life that just makes you really, really worried for legitimate reasons. If that’s the case, no amount of positive thinking or reassurance will make those worries go away. Pay attention to what it is you fear and thinking of ways to increase your sense of safety and security. That might be helpful.

    I hope you find peace and safety. My best wishes.


    Wow, that is so sad. I’m impressed at how quickly you went from a pattern to the deep, great, true hurt underlying it all. Of course you’re afraid to get close to people. You’ve lost everyone before. And of course your heart lights up like Vegas whenever someone reaches for you. You’re all alone. You need people like we all do.

    It must be so hard to be stuck between that need and that fear, and all the while still grieving for your girl. I don’t even know what to say other than, I see your pain. I see the strength you must have to carry it all. Please don’t ever be hard on yourself for anything. You carry so much. And you are doing well.

    You ask good questions. How has this affected you? How can you begin again? How can you learn to love and trust again? How can you begin to dare to feel with a heart so bruised and broken?

    I’m not going to give you neat little answers. Whatever I could say is just fluff. But I will say that I believe there are answers to these questions, and that you will find them. Because I can see how strong and brave you are, and you will keep looking until they appear.

    May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering.

    I’m so sorry about your little girl.


    I’d like to argue for the other side, if that’s ok. You’ve had some good advice already, and I don’t disagree with much of it, but I think there are some things you could consider that might both help you in the future and make this situation a little less painful.

    So, first, I think she handled this badly. She tells you no, she tells you yes, she picks the other guy after all… it’s a mess. And I’m not absolving her at all. But. This was her first relationship. It was your first relationship. You were both learing how to do relationships and getting to know each other at the same time. Relationships are hard. The first couple times we try we mess a lot of stuff up. She didn’t know what she was doing, what exactly she wanted or how to make either clear to you or this other guy. How could she have known? She’s never been in a situation like this. Maybe thinking about it that way will help you find some forgiveness?

    As I said, you were brand new to this too. And it’s possible you didn’t handle things as well as you would have done with more experience. There may be some ways in which you contributed to the mess, not intending to, of course. I wonder what you mean, for example, when you say you “stole” her first kiss. Does that mean you kissed her without her expecting it? Without her being ready for it? And it was her first kiss? If so, you put her into a difficult situation. Here she is, having had her first kiss, and now there’s a level of connection between you that she may not have been ready for yet. Maybe she likes you, maybe you’re the kind of guy she would have liked to kiss at some point, once she got to know you better, but it’s too late for that. It’s already done. She never had a chance to pick you as her first kisser, so how can she now be sure how she feels about you?

    This may all sound silly to you. You were close afterwards so clearly she liked it and no problem, right? But you shouldn’t underestimate the pressure you put on her in doing that. Of course she liked you before, but now that you’d kissed, she had to either like you more, enough to keep kissing, or throw you away. She had no chance to naturally grow to like you enough to kiss willingly. There’s a reason you’re not supposed to engage in physical intimacy with someone unless you know they want to do that thing, want to do it with you and are ready to it here and now. If you are not sure of that, do not proceed. It messes things up. You messed with her feelings.

    You also say you made her choose between you and this other guy before you started dating. This is not unreasonable. Many people like to be explicitly exclusive right from date number one. On the other hand, many people take a different approach and go on casual dates here and there with more than one person to feel them out and make an informed choice on who suits them best. Either can work in growing relationships, but if one of you is one way, and the other the other, it’s not going to work. Because she’d never been in a relationship before, she didn’t know if she was one way or the other. She may have been told all sorts of things about how she should be. All of this comes together when you ask her to choose before she is ready to, and she chooses wrong. So she has to change her mind later. I don’t think that’s her fault, or your fault. It’s just an incompatibility neither of you had any way of knowing about.

    But if you want to draw a lesson from this, I would suggest this: if you push intimacy or commitment on someone who isn’t ready for it, they will either tell you “no” straight away, or they tell you “yes” and you’ve just put a time bomb under your relationship.

    One more thing: please don’t fall for the myth that someone who stopped loving you never loved you in the first place. It’s not true. Feelings can change over time, and if you believe that myth, it will turn all your relationships that end, and most of your relationships will, into dirt and lies. And they don’t have to be. You can have something beautiful, and then it goes bad and then it dies. But it was beautiful when it started, and you can hold the memory gladly.

    I hope you can move companies soon, because yeah, it sucks to be around an ex all the time. I hope your future relationships will be better and end less painfully. I hope your depression and anxiety will get better, because that is some heavy shit you’re dealing with. Give yourself some credit for dealing with that, and a heartbreak.

    All my best wishes.


    I want to be clear that I come at this from a very dry early Buddhist point of view. Others will see things differently, this is just my view.

    I think this stuff, the shadows and darkness, the dreams, the special numbers, is just so much spiritual drama. Maybe you’re hanging out with some bad folk on some spiritual level. OK, well, so what? How is it different from hanging out with the wrong people on the bog standard human level? It’s not great, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in sometimes.

    If you’re afraid to let go of something, try to calm yourself. Practice observation of the breath. Practice the basics. Observe kindness, compassion, equanimity. Be un-impressed with your fear and your dreams and your spiritual attachments. It’s really not that important. Just walk the path. Continue letting go. Continue to investigate your mind and your emotions. Observe things arising and falling away. See the impermanence of all this stuff.

    There’s a book about Zen called “Sit down and shut up”, which I believe is the best title for a Zen book ever. (I haven’t read the book, I just love the title.) Sit down and shut up. It’s rude, but it’s actually good advice. Just sit, that’s all. Just practice. All this stuff is no big deal.

    I recognise this is probably not the kind of advice you were hoping for. I hope it will be of use to you. If not, know that I wish you wellness, happiness and spiritual freedom. Good luck on your path.

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 1 month ago by Will.

    Okay, so maybe she’s not moved on. What does that have to do with you?

    We can’t help you fix this woman. She’s not the one posting here. You’re the one who’s upset and talking to us, so you’re the only one we can advise. What about this text bothers you so much?


    Hi Susie,

    You’ve noticed the pattern, so you’re doing well, really. Now you can identify the different links to the chain, and try to create some wriggle room so you can respond in different ways.

    But you sound so panicked when you describe this. They’re only thoughts, they’re not going to injure you. Can you tell us more about why this bothers you quite so much? What are you afraid will happen? What are the thoughts that are hurting you? What’s so terrible about getting worked up about someone giving you attention?


    Don’t expect yourself to snap out of it. Don’t be angry with yourself for being upset. Don’t bully yourself for not having the appropriate emotions vis a vis your mother’s chemo and your broken heart. Emotions don’t follow rational rules.

    Think of emotional you as a small child. It doesn’t know what’s appropriate or how it ought to feel about this or that. It doesn’t know what it needs. It just knows it’s in pain, so it’s screaming its head off. You wouldn’t yell at a small child for being in pain. You’d comfort it. You’d give it time. You’d give it love. You’d hold it as it wailed away.

    Try doing that for the hurt part of your heart.


    “You’re not a villain. You’re not a bad person. But you’re doing bad things, and I want to help you stop.”

    This is a really tough situation to be in. I think some outside help is definitely needed, but I’m not sure the police will be the best first step, if only because it’s such a serious thing to do. His mother won’t take it well, and I’m not sure the police would be able to do much. It depends on what his father would say, but as he’s not called the police himself, he may downplay the situation to prevent her being getting mad at him. Abuse victims will generally try to calm and appease their abuser, even when it’s obvious that this is not a strategy that gets them anywhere.

    There may be a domestic abuse helpline or organisation that would have a better idea of the services available in your area in this situation. Find out who and what organisation might be able to help, then take that information to his father. You’re in an awkward position as the son’s girlfriend, but doing research and talking to both the son and the father about their options is completely within your range of appropriate things to do.

    I don’t really feel fit to advise on this. Find someone who is and take their advice. Calling the police is not going to be an easy fix. You may end up making things worse. Move carefully.

    And look after yourself and you boyfriend. This is not easy on either of you.

    I hope you’ll find a way forward.


    Wow, that sucks. And is it truly a deep dark mystery to you why you run? If you keep running, it’s probably because you’re afraid, right? So what could be some of the things you’re afraid of?

    If you know what you’re afraid of, you might be able to do things in such a way that you feel safe even while you push forward. And then you can do things other than run when you’re dealing with this fear.


    It’s a little odd, but without any context I don’t see how it’s a massive problem. Is it appropriate to ask a question about your personal life and relationships as if you didn’t play a role in it?

    How does he feel about this? What’s their relationship? How do you feel, and what about it makes you say it’s inappropriate? What are you worried will happen? What does he say when you talk to him about it?

    This is one of those interpersonal snags that you’ll have to figure out between you. You can’t get an impartial judgement from the internet to settle your conflict once and for all.

    Also, hey Matt! Good to see you again.


    OK, I will make this fast also.
    The fact that he’s not in love with you has nothing to do with your qualities. Most people are not in love with any given person, even if they’re lovely. He doesn’t love you. That has nothing to do with how loveable you are, and everything to do with him, what he likes, etc.

    You’ll have to grow your confidence yourself, without looking for a boy to give it to you. If you work on your feelings and your outlook on life, you’ll have a better life regardless of whether someone is attracted to you. Though, if it helps motivate you, they will be once you become a mature, confident and self-contained person.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 264 total)