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Michelle

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  • #377150
    Michelle
    Participant

    Luz I feel that you are right, that this is about me, my growth and development as much as it is about him, and while I do not feel that we have reached the end of our road and growth together, I am going to take a lot more time to focus on my own path and what I see for myself. I feel as when I continue to do this it will just give me more strength and may give me even more insight into the action I must take in time with him. For now the action I feel is best for me is a wait and see, with a bit of a twist. I am going to start honouring his words and reflecting them back to him in a way. As he says he does not see me as someone for his future, I will allow him more autonomy to carve out what he does see and to show that to me without as much persistence on my part. It will be as simple as matching his energy and investment. I will continue to communicate openly, but I will allow him to take more of a lead or more of a back seat, depending on how he reacts. I think words are important but I do need to see how they are congruent with actions that he spurs on his own. I will make less plans unless he asks to do something. I want to see how he feels when he isn’t simply submitting to me because I’m around, but when he decides “hey where is she, what is she doing?” I agree that he does need to feel that this is his choice and it won’t happen because of an ultimatum or a threat that I will see other men. It will have to be something inside of him that changes and the more I need to keep changing on my own as well. With this I feel time will show what is true. If he said we should break up I don’t want to see you I would agree that I should move forward, but because he is simply staying he can’t make promises, I’m not sure thar this is enough. I know what I will do if he does not invest on his own, but I do want him to make that decision. My decision is to keep pursuing my self development with as much vigor as I do him.

    #377142
    Michelle
    Participant

    Anita, regarding my voice… I felt strongly that the man I was with in the past needed to sort out some issues of his to be able to see clearly, and that our journey wasn’t over. Not that we needed to spend life together, but I wanted to see where it went if he also tried to do some of the work that he needed to do on himself. I did not have strong feelings about men before or after him up until this man really. With my last ex I ended things, and with one of my first loves I ended as well. So there were relationships I felt that were not meant to be, and many other casual ones in between. I am always willing to reassess my voice and feelings as time moves on as well. So no, I don’t feel that this voice has necessarily steered me wrong in the past, as the relationship still had some development left at the time (that one specifically in the past), and others I left because they felt over. This is the one that has been the most difficult for me.

    I use others’ perspectives as a way to reinforce what I feel, or bring about the truth of what I feel, like holding up a mirror. You may be right in that I still do feel hope even in the face of some of his assertions. I meant to say I am trying to take him at face value, but it has not been easy, as I don’t feel like he is being fully honest with himself. I feel hope for us as there have been changes up until this point and I feel like we aren’t a simple case of “not meant to be.” It wouldn’t feel conclusive as he is teetering on the verge of a breakthrough or a more enlightened path. I guess I feel that, and I feel that his view will change completely in some ways and it may change us for the better. In the past I would’ve left because I did not feel that change was imminent and that all options had played out. There isn’t enough of a solid conclusion here for me to feel good about moving on prematurely. As we try to make assertions about the future we move into it, like it or not, and some things cannot be determined between us, some will be revealed in due time.

    If I felt like other parts of the relationship weren’t working, I would suggest a break.

    #377098
    Michelle
    Participant

    So anyways, while it may seem simplistic in that I stay in the face of a lack of security which I seem to need, and my anxious attachment style is what keeps me bonded to him, forever trying to confirm some insecurity I feel about myself…. I feel that there are concrete reasons to stay as well and many good things between us, and that not all are soaked in unawareness of our patterns and behaviours. Some are good and true reasons.

    #377091
    Michelle
    Participant

    I realize my grammar for some of the posts has been atrocious and I haven’t gone back to edit as I should have. I was just trying to get some of the thoughts out, haha.

    #377090
    Michelle
    Participant

    I feel like I spend so much time discussing the negative aspects about our relationship, that it can be hard to see the positives. and like you said Luz, it’s not clear based on my posts what it is about him that is drawing me so deeply to him.

    In many ways he is consistent. He is consistent in that he never ignores my communication or my desire for it, he liked to see me, likes to spend time, he makes the time. He never treats me like an afterthought. I suppose this was a huge night and day difference from men in my past, from the short term flings who demonstrates complete abandon of concern for me and seeing me, to the long-term relationships who allows addictions or depression to excuse why we couldn’t spend time together. He has never let his depression or his occasional binge drinking affect me.

    He does express a lot of concern for me and he does choose his hurtful words carefully. I can tell because he spends more time before he releases them, and he always apologizes after expressing them. I have had other major life events affect me recently and he has phoned and been there for me to make sure that I am okay (holding my hand in person, hugging, giving words of encouragement and affection). The past few days since our latest discussion about us he has seemed quite down, having restless sleep etc. I know all of this affects him and he does ask how I am doing and if I am okay.

    Like I’ve said one of the biggest reasons I have been sticking around despite great moments of doubt is due to the improvements in behaviour and the progress within the relationship that I feel have been shown. Looking back to a year ago when we first broke up and he declared he could never see us together and I would never be his girlfriend. That day as he told me he was extremely defensive, felt he didn’t owe me a more detailed explanation and he tried to hold my hand but as I cried and started to get angry, he left quite abruptly after 10 mins and said it was up to me whether I wanted to see him again. He was so completely emotionally unavailable and at the time I was dead sure that kind of behaviour would not be acceptable in the man I would be with. Fast forward to another discussion we had in person in the spring of covid last year, I expressed to him what I wanted and needed in a partner. I cried and while he listened he again made light of my crying as something undesirable that he didn’t need to be around. Something changed in me that day, and I began to be truthful with him. I told him if he left again while I was expressing emotion that I would not accept this and he would not be someone I could be around. I said this was extremely rude and immature behaviour and I was not going to tolerate it anymore. I started to ask for what I needed, and to call him out on some of the things that were no longer working. Since that day he has never again acted this way with me, and responds in a mature and comforting manner when I express my emotions or am facing an upsetting situation. This on it’s own is immense progress to me.  Fast forward to a little towards the end of the summer when I again told him i didn’t want to see other people and we were either together and trying or were not. He responded with he really didn’t know what the future held but he was scared of committing. He did not want me as his gf at that time and we should take a break. We took a bit of a break, but he was miserable and so I suggested he date if he wanted to but i decided to be more secure and stated that I would not be and that I wanted to be with him. I started to show him what commitment would look like with me, while at the same time giving him freedom. This seemed to change him entirely, yes because he was getting me on his terms, but he also began inviting me more into his life, family, friends, holidays and began acting as if we were a couple. When pressed about whether I was am his gf and whether we are in a relationship he says that he acknowledges that completely. Contrast back to a year ago when he said I would never be and we could never have a relationship, only something casual where we would not go on dates, or share in any romance (which we do regularly now)…. Hmmm is this someone who is clear about what he wants and sticks to his word? Is this someone I really can take at face value, or is this someone scared, who changes, but needs time to adjust. The more I seem to lay down what I want on the table, the more he seems to move in that direction. He definitely still challenges at first, but it’s like he dips his toes in, sees there isn’t a threat and decides to stay for a while and see what happens. He was keeping his options open for some time there, but has since cut off all seeking elsewhere behaviour and has said he will not be doing that anytime soon. I’m not ruling out that behaviour as something that couldn’t return, but I could not be around for that. Around Valentine’s day that was what I was most upset about, and when i asked him whether he was still doing it, it was going to be my deal breaker that day. If he was I was going to bow out. Same with asking him whether he would move in together. This was something I thought would shock him and yet he’d been thinking about it on his own before I brought it up, to the extent that he’d pictured where we could live and how our furniture would mesh. I do not feel that someone who can’t picture any sort of future with you, wonders whether they could live with you. That is definitely not a move he would see as short term or as a temporary measure. There is nothing he would gain financially or even really emotionally from that move. I mean to say that it would be entirely new territory for him (in that he’s never done it with a woman before) and it would be a move of investment. So to go from saying he would never want a relationship with me, to considering moving in with me a year later (on his own) is progress. Yes, his major fear of what all of that means seems to be ever present. His doubt of whether he’d be disappointed or he’d disappoint me is still there. He still says I could find a man who is more emotional than him and wouldn’t be so afraid of commitment. These are clearly things he is insecure about and feels that I am displeased about when I do bring up the future. This seems to send him into a tailspin because it contradicts that my happiness in the relationship and probably signals to him that I may never be okay with how things are, taking them day by day. In my eyes though, while partly driven by my anxiety, each time I ask, I ask because I have seen changes in him and progress and I feel that the answer may be different this time. Each time his answer is a little different, and has gone from a complete no, to yes we are this, to let me think about the rest. I don’t think he considers anything in a rash manner, but I also don’t believe that he’s operating from a state of awareness about how he feels. This isn’t just an observation based on our relationship, but how he responds to other people and events in his life. He doesn’t seem to connect the emotional dots so to speak. He will mention a negative event in his life and immediately following that event, feel sad, but be unsure of as to why. He is emotionally convoluted still and he would need to do some clearing of the trees, to be able to see the forest.

    Just as I have my own struggles and things to work on, he does as well. The one thing he does not and cannot seem to give me is the security of the future, and yet he admits that this past year he has been completely wrong about what he saw for us. So perhaps he’s not sending me the most reliable signals, maybe his vision is a little clouded. I also tend to spend so much time thinking about what it is that someone else sees, that when they tell me what I see, I seem to forget that I don’t have to adopt that as my own vision, that I see something all on my own.

    And yet I stay because what he offers me is not anything short of what I would write on the positive qualities side if I did do your paper exercise Luz. He offers me kindness, continued support, reliability in companionship, affection (never withholds that), slowly but surely more expressions of love, consideration for my opinion and my emotions, and we have a chemistry in and out of the bedroom that is hard to find. He is funny and we share a similar sense of humour. This to me is major and I cannot be without that. I don’t easily find that. In terms of long term compatibility I feel that we could share a nice life and enjoy various activities together. The things that remain an issue are the bigger areas of commitment, like living together, marriage and kids. One funny thing is that he always seems to happy about the idea of me getting pregnant. Go figure.

    Surprisingly, the depression and binge drinking mostly just affect him and his view of things for the future. Which of course affects me, but they don’t really change his behaviour day to day, or while he is with me. He just becomes a bit more jolly when he drinks. Nothing obnoxious or detrimental to the relationship. He doesn’t do it instead of spending time with me, there is no lack with that habit. And they’re not necessarily deal breakers for that reason, they’re just flags and things I’d need to monitor over time. They’re not extremely desirable qualities no, but everyone comes with something. I suppose the things I’d write on my negative deal break qualities side of the paper would be disengaged with me, no passion, no humor, unkind, uncooth haha, fooling around, no job and no desire to find one etc etc. In terms of whether I want and need marriage and kids, they’re not something I need to have. I would want to be exclusive and share life with someone and to be equally excited about doing that. So it’s really hard to say that he could never get there, as he has demonstrated that he is unsure of what he wants, and he had shown progress even in the face of his own stubbornness to show any at all.

     

    #377060
    Michelle
    Participant

    Anita, I don’t have an issue with you posting, I just felt that the tone of your latest post was a little different.

    “I believe that this medium here can not be helpful enough for you, if at all, and that you need professional, quality psychotherapy as soon possible.” I mean there may be issues that I struggle with, but I am always trying to work on them and I have been to therapy in the past. I’m not ruling it out in the future, but it is expensive and inaccessible for me on my limited income at this time. I also don’t feel that it is absolutely imperative for me and that without it I will be unable to do any work on my own. Even with the guidance of a therapist, I still need to be the one to do the work, to face the hard stuff, break my habits and thoughts that no longer serve me well. Mental health and mental health discoveries I see as a journey, not a destination. None of us will ever be fully healed enough, suddenly ready for a healthy relationship. I think that as long as two people are trying to work on themselves that there can be intersections of understanding and the rest can continue to be worked on in therapy. This medium has been extremely helpful, but I tend to use it at times when I struggle, looking for reminders on how to achieve equilibrium again. I am not incapable for developing my own insight or taking in the perspectives that are presented here. They’re just all different and some resonate and some don’t. It just depends.

    You also said “Your denial includes denying to yourself (and to others) your state of mind, misrepresenting yourself as calm and collected, unattached and not at all desperate, zen-like, meditative, calm and serene”. There are times where I definitely become anxious again, but it is definitely not my dominant state, and my friends who know me in real life would vouch for this. I am described as being calm, taking things as they come. No I am not always collected or unattached. At times I get downright mad and way too wrapped up in a situation, like I have been recently. Usually when I am trying too hard to strive for security which doesn’t seem to really exist. That is one of my issues, trying to secure something, and so I will push for insight into the future, to ease the anxiety. We’ve talked about this, OCD, easing anxiety etc. It’s hard when I’m facing someone who is so ambivalent, it makes me forget what I know, or feel that I know. It’s also hard when I’m taking in all of this info on here, and forgetting to check with how it is that I’m feeling. I had a breakup in the past where my boyfriend told me he didn’t love me and we were living together and he wanted to separate. I cried for two weeks and couldn’t image my life without him. That’s probably the first time that I found meditation and found some version of my centre. When I finally cleared out his voice and all of the doubt I had about my worthiness, when I started to get over the initial shock and make plans again for my future, I started to see things differently. They seemed so clear, and it had nothing to do with wishful thinking or denial, it was just a sort of voice that said he was lost and he didn’t know how to express that. That he needed to sort through some things, and then he would come back with a new perspective. My family told me I was crazy and that I needed to move on and yet I wasn’t trying to hold on. I was still planning to move out and pursue my own path. I felt very calm about everything. Eventually I might’ve said to him “okay, you do what you need to do, but I don’t fully believe your words”. He was adamant but so was my voice, that this breakup wouldn’t last. I didn’t feel he was meant to be gone from my life at that point, but I did nothing to hold onto it. A month or two later he wrote me an extremely long letter about how he’d been hurting and needing to deal with his internal wounds, etc. and that he was starting to do that now and felt that we could have a completely different relationship if we tried. He’d put all these expectations on me that were expectations he held for himself and it was unfair to do that to me. We were together for 2.5 more years until the depression really got the best of him and he wasn’t really trying to work on himself.

    Sometimes people from the outside can see things that I can’t or won’t, but there is also something to be said about the connection between two people, and the feeling one might have about the outcome of it. There are so many little intricacies that just can’t be viewed from the outside. I have my own unique view and perspective about what I feel about us, and while I respect his, I feel that some of it is clouded. That may or may not end up being about me being in denial about our true fate, but I have had strong convictions in the past about relationships before, and sometimes it all defies logic and psychology etc. Just a simple voice telling me that something will transpire or that words don’t feel true. And believe me at times I wish those feelings weren’t there. I want to take what he is saying at face value. I’ve been through too many relationships that were not right, to hold onto another just to ease the fear of being alone. It’s a scary thought, but I don’t want to be with anyone who isn’t really wanting to be with me. I do always at least come back to that.

    Today I saw that he’d been looking into therapy online as he left his computer open. So maybe there is hope for him to do that yet. Maybe he’s been considering it more since our discussion.

    Anyways,  “I am sure that your father was at times kind in various ways, but he couldn’t have been “extremely emotionally available” to you, as in one who gave you adequate emotional validation and support, because there is no evidence of it in what you shared about your life experience so far. I believe that you magnified his moments of kindness (see Magnifications,  above), which is what children do because they need to feel safe and loved. If he was adequately emotionally resourceful and available to you, you wouldn’t have had the strong motivation to help him with his issues. Instead, he would have helped you with your issues.”

    I have to say unfortunately that you are wrong here, and I have definitely not remembered my dad with any sort of tinted glasses or magnifications. I remember my dad with all of his faults, but he was very emotionally available. Travelling to visit me at school in a different city, meeting me for coffee just to talk. Him and my mom separated early and he wanted me to know he was going to be there. He was kind and loving with me. No doubt. He was not that way with my brother, but that’s a different story.  I believe the desire to help him stemmed from the fact that at some point he couldn’t help himself anymore (physical ailments) and no one else was willing to help. I also wanted to help him with the depression and ocd at an early age, because his apartment was filthy and I hated going there due to the environment. So most of our discussions revolved around that and trying to help him keep it clean. I enjoyed when we’d go out, but the apartment was so dirty that it made me uncomfortable. I truly don’t  believe my desire to help him stemmed in any way from him being emotionally unavailable. He just was not that parent. But I could see how that may fit for someone else.

    As far as my cognitive distortions go. I think at times everyone suffers from some of the ones you mentioned. Cherry picking information when we’re hopeful about a relationship, magnifying and minimizing things etc. I don’t feel that that means that I make believe good things in the relationship, just so that I can feel good. The main issue that I’ve had with this relationship is that there have been so many moments of true joy and love, that it’s hard to meet the contrast of that with words of doubt and rejection. It’s not that I refuse to accept anything he’s said as true. I want to take him at face value as best I can. This is where he is at this moment in time, but I also know that people evolve and change as he has in so many ways, and it definitely does not devalue the true moments we have shared, as something I’ve constructed as a way to bolster the bad times. If I were to bet money on this relationship I’d probably bet a good amount, because my overall feeling about it has been good, my experience of it is good, but there are moments where he has doubt and this creates anxiety for me. I don’t feel that I fool myself when it comes to whether something is working or not. If he truly bowed out and wanted that, I’d respect it and I’d realize that it wouldn’t work with just me alone, but at this point he’s making statements he does not back up with action, so it makes it hard to just take him at his word without any further consideration of the experience we’ve had. Like I said other men have said they don’t feel it with me, and it just made sense. And I would say they held just as much stock in the healing emotional wounds department as this current one does. I just don’t feel that it adds up, but I truly don’t want to hold onto him just for the sake of having someone. If he’s not really in it it would show, and I wouldn’t really have him in the relationship either.

    “– the guy is multi-dimensional: he suffers from OCD and perhaps from depression, and he fears commitment and he is confined by his fear and he is dishonest, self-serving and selfish.” Is it possible that he suffers from all those things, and that he is aware of some of them, feels guilty, but is not trying to be dishonest, and is selfish in that our relationship does make him feel good and it is why he continues it. That perhaps its not about just serving himself until he can decide I’m not longer needed, that perhaps he just truly does not know what the future holds and the fears he have are constantly making him question whether he will disappoint/be disappointed. I feel like he’d put in a lot less effort if he was just using me for now. I don’t think he would be having hearts to hearts with his friends about us either. It’s just not like him to do those things for someone he only truly sees as temporary. But that’s my view from the inside, based on what I know about him. Time will do the talking, years will do the walking, time will tell you baby, what you can’t hear now.

    #377057
    Michelle
    Participant

    I do understand that you’re trying to help. And I have appreciated all of your help. I still don’t think I am complete denial (I know, coming from someone you think is in denial), I have been trying to adopt mindfulness and other strategies honestly to sort through the muck of this relation ship. Imagine if we took everything at face value, without any consideration.

    #377056
    Michelle
    Participant

    Anita, I will respond further to your latest post, and while some of your observations may be true, I feel that your assertions are a little presumptuous, cherry picked and you nor any one else should ever make the assumption that I need serious psychotherapy right now. This latest post is jsut a reminder that maybe I shouldn’t go sharing everything in the internet and I’m inviting the overdissection of things by strangers who only know a small fragment of who I am and how I feel. I also don’t like that you assumed I would get nothing from your post and almost posted it for others, like a case study for other women of what not to do, and who not to follow. I’m not super pleased and not just because of what you said about me. Will respond more later.

    #376908
    Michelle
    Participant

    TeaK, thanks for that latest post. I do think I look for men like my father but my father weirdly enough was extremely emotionally available, yet he wasn’t willing to work on his depression or his OCD. And this affected things for my mother long before I knew about it and eventually my brother. So it could be that sticking around for men in my life that are like him is like trying to help them in a way that I wanted to help my dad with his issues. I got old enough and did point them out to my dad and he would be highly defensive and say “where do you come up with this stuff, you’re only 13?”

    It could also be why these men ultimately treat me well, despite their issues, because my dad was very kind.

     

    But I also recognize the limits of trying to help or heal someone else, so I’m not sure that is my true wound, it might be more that I am looking for love that my mother was not able to give at a young age, though our relationship now is very different. She says I love you often and offers me a lot of emotional support. I really don’t know why I stay despite the lack of long term direction. In the past like I said I have been willing to leave men who were disinterested in a future quite easily. This one may be harder because he satisfies everything else, checks all other boxes. I don’t even want to really kiss another man. We still have a very passionate relationship even after a year and a half of seeing each other. It’s funny though he doesn’t say his gut tells him no about me, he just says hes lacking the feeling he thinks is supposed to be there. But maybe tomato tomado. Despite everything I have some stupid voice that tells me we’re tied together and it will be okay. It’s a voice beyond reason, and wishful thinking. It comes during meditation, similar to when I broke up with an ex and my mind said “bullshit he doesn’t love you, wait another month”. That ex took back everything he said a month later and wanted to try again, once I told him I was leaving. I was so serene post breakup that it made him realize he’d said everything in haste. We were together for another row years and I left him due to his depression.

    This guy says he’s disinterested in a future and yet his actions completely contradict it, so it’s is hard to come to terms with what he says. I’m trying. Trying to see that I could have a different life, tell myself I don’t want someone who doesn’t want me, and I keep coming back to “he doesn’t know what he wants, he’s lying to himself, he needs time”. What an annoying voice. We both might need to leave each other and yet we both want the other to take the reigns. I guess if he dumped me I’d feel more like I had to move on. I’d still feel that he’d have a lot of regret though.

    #376892
    Michelle
    Participant

    Thank you ladies for the latest posts. It does help me to try and make what little sense I can of all of it. Yes I do believe he is imprisoned by OCD and he demonstrates a lot of symptoms of rocd like needing to feel like he should feel more for me, worrying that he’s not good enough, that we’re not right, when everything is actually going well. Someone on an rocd forum said someone with OCD trying to trust their gut is a recipe for disaster, as the anxious mind will usually let fear be the deciding factor, or the doubt that they may have. Even if the gut feeling allows them to make a positive decision about someone, feelings come and go and doubts will always come and go, just in a new way. Decisions based on values and what the facts are seem to be better than relying on intuition. In his case he’s waiting for a feeling that will never come, a complete cease of anxiety and doubt. In my case I may be allowing my intuition to lead me into a relationship that is uncertain as for the moment it eases a larger anxiety, a fear of being without him.

    I’ve been alone before and been excited to be dating men again but I don’t feel excited this time. I wonder if I should try again for the sake of my sanity and he says he thinks I will find someone better than him, but I still don’t want to leave him. I don’t think he will find a other woman. I think he could and he could fool himself for a while, but I agree the same features of this relationship would rear their ugly head.  He seems to want to let me end things more for me than him. He seems to know that he won’t be better off. It’s like he’s trying to do what’s fair. I asked if he felt he would feel relief and he said no.

    #376885
    Michelle
    Participant

    Well we haven’t broken up. I don’t know what do to with it. We both want to continue. He just doesn’t know, and I don’t know either about the future.

    #376879
    Michelle
    Participant

    I am having a very hard time right now, as as soon as we make progress, things seem to retreat back to square one. Chickadee 33 would use this as further proof that he is showing me all of his cards and I’m refusing to see them, but as I’ve gotten to know him, I see that he has certain patterns and fears.

    So he again told me that he doesnt see me as a life partner and he thought the relationship would eventually end. He thinks that there isomeone who could give more emotionally and offer a promise of long term commitment. He still says he sees the possibility but since I’ve brought it up more he wants to be honest that he doesn’t really see it happening. He says he’s not looking for other women though and doesn’t expect to find someone else. He wants to continue things the way they’re going and says on one hand maybe he is just messed up in the head and needs to sort through that. He says he can’t see the future and doesn’t know for sure what he wants.  He says he would probably regret it if we ended things now. I just don’t really know where to go anymore. I don’t feel that it is over.  He says he’s worried about disappointing me and being disappointed. He says he’s never felt that anyone had fulfilled him this way before.

    It just seems like if it’s going to end I’m going to have to do it. But it doesn’t feel over, I just think hes messed up.

     

     

    #376871
    Michelle
    Participant

    TeaK, the thing is I feel that he is and has tried a lot to work on his issues so that they do not affect the relationship. He takes my feelings into consideration, will hear them now, won’t try to escape or leave the room or belittle them. He will sit and be comfortable with me crying. I know he still will need to go deeper, in order to feel things on a deeper level, but he really does try to give all that he can within his limits at this time. He didn’t say he’s never willing to work on himself, just that he isn’t ready right now. I am trying to have a little faith.

    Maybe love can come close to having complete stability, where someone really promises to stand by your side no matter what. I guess they can hold that intention at least. I meant that the intensity of love changes as does our other feelings and one day love ends, as everything does, and then renews again. I’m probably getting too philosophical here about it all.

    I wanted to clarify a few things today and expressed to him that I wish to live together in the next few years. That he should take this time for himself now and live alone if that is what he wants, but that I do see that as a goal and I want him to see that with me. I am willing to see how things go and I am very happy now, but that I probably don’t want to eat alone forever. He seems to see it too but has a lot of practical fears. I think he’s quite afraid to have any sort of unhappiness within a relationship. He seems to rely on it to maintain a bit of equilibrium, so it’s as if he’s trying to create a situation that will instil maximum contentment and peace. I mean I think even having a conversation about how we would deal with issues as they arise before we’d live together would be important as well. He did have a terrible experience with his last roommate and that seems to have scarred him. He’s also never lived with a woman and he seems to have skewed views of what it might be like. When he does move out and live alone again, I think showing him that things can be good when I’m over there and that I don’t invade his space, might go a long way to ease some of his fears.

    Luz, yes I agree I do believe that I do suppress some of my own needs to communicate out of a fear that they are arising due to my attachment style. I do agree that words of affection (my main love language) will be something I will want to practice more with him and encourage. It may start with me expressing what I feel more and being okay with not hearing it back sometimes. I know I am not his ideal love, but we have admitted love to each other and it would be nice to express that more. It still exists and is what it is.

    Sometimes I have hard time coming to terms with what it is I want, vs what I am supposed to want. Society says I should be married now with kids and I don’t really see any of that for myself, but sometimes I think that would be nice. I just feel that I will never be one of those women who can demand it. I want that to come naturally if it’s meant to go in that direction. At the same time, I’ve usually been the one pushing and men are always fine to keep things status quo. My last major ex was willing to get married he just wanted to further his career a little more, but there were other issues there. Marriage wouldn’t change a lot for me, it would just give me a fairy tale moment of someone proposing. My friend says but it shows a bigger intention that someone wants the ultimate commitment. I just feel like it’s sort of out of my hands, especially with the custom of the man asking in our culture.

    I try to live in the present most days, so I do just take things as they come and I know how swiftly everything can change, even the best laid plans coming from people with the best of intentions. So I’m not completely against just letting things unfold as they do, but I know I need to at least voice my potential dreams for things, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I just feel like I had grand romantic ideals when I was younger that I held on too tightly too, and now I want what I have, something more real. I just want to give him all the lee way he gives me to be who I am, but try not to sacrifice myself too much in the process.

    He is a grand communicator through acts of service and gifts. He will do anything for me that I ask. He has gotten much better at expressing affection and love, saying “I miss you” and “I can’t wait to see you” etc. We just haven’t gotten to the point of saying I love you with any kind of frequency. It means more in a way when I do hear him express words of love.

    I don’t know, it would be very hard to end things right now. Things are good and I am happy with him, I just see a future with him and want to at least sketch a plan for that. He seems receptive to possibilities so we will see.

    #376851
    Michelle
    Participant

    Chickadee33, I no longer feel the need to justify what I feel to you or defend myself. I have tried to explain why I feel that this is different, and you are insistent on calling the kettle black. You accuse me of being redundant, and yet you remain unwavering in your assessment of an intimate relationship of mine, a view from the outside. You, nor anyone else knows the future of my relationship, as you are not some all seeing woman with a crystal ball. You continue to make judgments about me that I do not resonate with and no it is not because I am unwilling to see other perspectives aside from us ending up together. I have admitted that I do not know if we will and do not hold out for this as the end goal, and I have been very open to others’ interpretations and suggestions. Anita too has highlighted some of my patterns and I am working on things.

    You take my words and twist them and take them out of context. I am definitely not just there for him when he feels like it. He has put in equal if not more effort most days than I have. He takes regular trips to visit me on weekdays and weekends and we have many leisure activities that we both enjoy, indoors and outdoors (I also do not live nearby). He has encouraged my involvement with friends and family and everyone has been accepting of me as his gf. I mentioned that we were not exclusive in the summer as a demonstration of how things evolve and change, even when you think they may not or you should throw in the towel. It did not feel over when he said he wanted to see other people and as I resisted this suggestion of his, the happier he seemed to become and the more he secure he acted. Do I have surveillance on him 24/7? Do I know for sure if he had casual sex or dated other women, no, but I trust him and he is honest. If he did it couldn’t have been of much significance and it definitely didn’t take up his weekends as he’s spent every weekend with me since we met. His weekdays consist of no leisure time, except for an occasional dinner with me when he can muster up the energy. He’s just not a casanova and I’d be almost impressed to find out that he’d been one, without my knowledge of it. It seems that maybe you’ve dealt with some men you could not trust in the past, who may have betrayed your trust.

    Your entire aggressive black and white view of relationships tells me that there are a lot of unresolved issues between you and men. You almost seem angry with me, and without fulling knowing your story, I wouldn’t be able to determine why. Do you see yourself in me? Maybe you had a similar relationship in the past, and got burned. Now you are either closed off because of it and have very high expectations of men, or are in a better situation, but I can’t fully understand the reason for your need to scold me, or preach to me. You see me as some sort of foolish woman, who can’t get her pretty little head around the fact that this man does not love her. He does not keep me on the edge of his life, he has me quite fully immersed, he’s just admitted that I’m not what he pictured, but I don’t see that as him denouncing what we have. I’ve said time and time again that if he feels the need to date and still keep searching, he should do that. I don’t have any desire to hold him back from complete happiness. Something seems to have changed with our relationship, where he does not feel the need to do that, and says he is happy with me. He is not some lothario who keeps me on my toes, never returning calls, answering texts, seeing me infrequently, completely ignoring my feelings or my daily life stresses. This is a man who is giving and kind and completely there for me but is currently asking to have a relationship, while living apart. I don’t think that makes our relationship something to leave, or something outrageous, if it works for us.

    If he met someone who truly knocked his socks off, there would be a discussion. He doesn’t think it will happen, and he admits that he has trouble being knocked off his socks because of his own eternal sadness. But do I leave a man who is there for me out of fear that he might one day leave me for someone else? I would then truly be at the mercy of an anxious avoidant attachment style if I did that. One day at a time, like I said being in love in impermanent, love is fluid in that in changes, it surprises you. I do believe it can be constant, and no I don’t think it has to be desperate. It does slip between our fingers from time to time though. It takes effort to keep loving someone. It becomes a practice. It’s not just a choice you make once, or the divorce lawyers of the world would be out of business.

    #376845
    Michelle
    Participant

    Anita, thank you for your continued insight. Your latest post about my OCD tendencies and compulsions is very true, and I check myself often to ask myself why I am needing something, and whether I need to ask for it right away. I usually try to sit with my anxious thoughts for a few days before bringing them out into the light.

    TeaK, you are new to my topic here but I really appreciate your insight, and I have been thinking a lot about my wounded girl and how to keep feeding her on my own, so that I am not looking for him or someone else to do that. It is so true, when you are full you become a fountain, overflowing and the love does not become something you are seeking, it becomes something that you already own, that you are at home with. I also agree that I cannot tip toe around him forever and his issues and there needs to be open and honest communication. We have since started this discussion and I will address this below.

    Luz (Rosalina), lovely to meet you and have you share your unique experience. I appreciate the overlaps that you see in our stories and I am happy for you having found the love that you did not in the past, embracing it fully now. I do agree with a lot of what you shared, the importance of expressing what I want, and continuing to ask for what it is I believe I need. This is where I feel there is a lack of understanding on Chickadee33’s part. She says that I am hung up on psychoanalyzing him and needing to create excuses for why he will not fully commit to me or for why he is not in love with me. You also addressed this as a pattern of yours with your past twin flame. I have no desire to get him to fall in love with me. Being in love would not be the goal of my continued relationship with him. There have been many men before him that expressed a lack of a desire to continue a relationship and I did not spend time psychoanalyzing them. I could’ve taken a few guesses for sure, but I did not feel like there was a need for a continued relationship and we parted ways. I don’t feel that I have a need to make someone love me. I am not simply chasing or psychoanalyzing this man out of a desperate attempt to hold out for a sliver of love. I don’t think he will realize one day that he is in love with me. What I am looking for is what we currently have. A relationship where there is undisputed love (whether we are in love or not is beside the point for me), affection, care, support, honesty, trust and an agreed upon level of commitment.

    I do not wish to be his therapist and have told him this. I recently suggested that he might want to consider therapy in the future as his lifelong sadness and numbness (as he puts it) has plagued him from early childhood, and I feel that it might keep him from feeling the depth of his emotions fully. That may or may not apply to our relationship. That is for him to discern and attempt at his leisure. Do I believe from my very intimate view of him that it does keep him from experiencing love fully, and has him holding out for an ideal that doesn’t exist? Yes I do. He admits this also.  Is this because I hope we will one day have a fairy tale romance and that I need for him to be the one? No. I don’t believe in fairy tales, I just believe in what we have shared up until this point which has grown to be a consistent expression of love and support and a slow and steady submission to greater awareness of each other and ourselves. Growth in a relationship? What an absurd thing to strive for, haha.

    Chickadee33 while I respect the “he’s just not that into you” approach to dating and relationships, it will forever be far too black and white for me, and my deal breakers are completely subjective and unique to my experience. I would never want there to be blanket deal breaker, except that I am not physically or mentally abused, and treated with respect and kindness. That’s the basis for all relationships. As far as, this man or woman should do this, within this amount of days, in this exact way, or else the relationship is worthless and the love isn’t real…. Well those are expectations I do not want to be wrapped up in. I come from a background of psychology, and I know how multi-dimensional people are, it’s too hard to ignore that. Should we make excuses for people, and not consider our own needs first? No. I made it clear that I was not accepting of him still being on the apps and it was not behaviour I would accept if it continued. But he needed to make that choice himself.

    Chickadee33, I might even have agreed with you if this was a few years ago. That he’s just an object of my obsession and all of my hopes and dreams are wrapped up in him. In other relationships I pushed for the advancement of things, just out of a need for security and love that was false. But I also left men in those relationships when my needs weren’t being met, including an alcoholic, another depressed man and a man who was lying about not dating his ex when he was. I have moved on from men who don’t meet my needs, and have since learned a lot about what my needs are. Now it’s more about balancing my needs with my compulsions for security. I deserve love and commitment and all of the things I’ve mentioned, as we all do, as I am trying to balance those desires with a healthy dose of reality and understanding of the other person in the relationship. I am trying to be aware of myself, while also not being too demanding. No one is going to be able to give me everything instantaneously and I do not wish to leave someone who is giving me a lot, due to a lack of acceptance of where he comes from. I feel the need to at least try to reconcile that with my own experience and see if we can find a happy medium. You cannot have a relationship of growth without fully accounting for the other persons’ experience. Do I need to ask for basic things that I feel that I deserve? Yes.

    Most recently we had a very open and honest conversation and I laid my cards out on the table. I said I would like to be in a fully committed relationship where I am his girlfriend and we do not see other people. I said at this point that is where I felt we stood. He said he calls me his gf and has not been on the apps and will not be going back to them since we had a convo about that about a month ago. He says he loves me and values me in his life, even though it is not the romeo and juliet ideal he had in his head. He admits that he does not believe that that is real and that we have a lot of good between us and he wants a future with me. He does not want to move in together at this time (since we had been discussing that more recently), as he wants to be on his own with his own space for a while and his early schedule for work (middle of the night wakeup) would either disrupt me, or he would be disrupted by me. He says we can definitely revisit the idea in the future. He looks forward to having me stay over with him on weekends and bringing my dog. He seemed very anxious that I would be upset by this, but I just said that it’s fine for now, and it’s something we could always try down the road.

    Are we madly in love? No. Would I want that? Not really, as the rush and the height of that eventually comes tumbling down, and I feel that being “in love” is impermanent and ultimately just a state of intense infatuation. I want something consistent and real and supportive and that has depth. I am still wildly attracted to him, more sexually satisfied with him than I have even been, and really enjoy spending time with him. I was with a guy before him that I was definitely highly infatuated with and it just burned out so quickly. There was so much that was unmet in that relationship.  He has been a very slow simmer, but such a wonderful one at that. Had there not been any progress up until now, I would be feeling very despondent about our relationship. Even just last summer I was told he did not want to be exclusive and this resulted in my many posts on this forum. If anything when we agreed that we would date other people, I did and he did not. Not one date. I had a few almost other relationships. I know what lies out there for me, and I am not giving it up just for the chance to psychoanalyze and get what I want from someone who won’t give it. I just don’t see love as something to attain and hold onto desperately. I just feel that it is something fluid that slips in and out of our grasp, dancing around us, reflecting back what is already there.

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