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RosaliaLuz

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  • #386528
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    Hi Candice – I’m very late to your thread here, but just wanted to say that I was moved by everything you’ve written and by how quickly your relationship with M spiraled downhill.  I can only imagine how much emotional pain and turmoil you’re in right now, and how much the cheating, lying, and betrayal you’ve experienced has eaten away at your self-esteem and made you feel worthless, vulnerable, and expendable.  I think it’s completely normal, after experiencing what you have, to have those feelings, and it’s absolutely worth acknowledging that they’re there…but remember that just because a particular thought or emotion enters your reality doesn’t make it true.  You’re not worthless.  There is nothing wrong with you, and you are more than enough despite being cheated on.  You seem like a bright, resourceful and introspective woman, and sometimes it’s only when we’re pushed into situations like these that we discover an inner reserve of strength and self-confidence that we never imagined we had access to.

    It’s not your fault that you’ve been in relationships with S, M, or any other man that may have turned out to be a complete and utter a-hole.   Analyzing and reflecting why you entered those relationships or when you could have first seen the red flags has value up to a certain point, but remember that you don’t have to figure out the why now.  At a certain point,  rather lamenting past choices or blaming ourselves for what we’ve experienced, we just have to accept that a combination of different factors may have led us to be in a certain relationship with someone who wasn’t good for us, and that we NOW recognize those aren’t people that can adequately fulfill our needs or that we can have strong, stable, loving relationships with.

    In dealing with painful situations like this, I’ve sometimes found it helpful to frame the setback as a challenge of some sort, an opportunity in disguise.  Maybe–particularly since you mentioned that he lives 10 minutes from you–this is an opportunity to develop healthy boundaries and focus on yourself and all the things that drive you as a person.  To show yourself the same love, understanding, and empathy that you clearly showed him.  As much as it hurts and as it difficult as it sounds, you may want to use this as an opportunity to shift all your attention away from S or M and towards the things in your life that ARE working.  That bring you joy.  Use this as an opportunity to explore your spirituality, reconnect with old friends, develop a new exercise or morning routine (doing the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod on a consistent basis has helped me through many a breakup), accomplish a new goal (no matter how small), meditate, read books on topics you’ve always wanted to know more about–the list goes on.  Just because he’s close by doesn’t mean you have to engage with him in any meaningful way or continue to give him your energy and attention. And if he comes back, asking for your forgiveness and chalking up his shitty behavior to childhood trauma, drug addiction, [fill in the blank], take that as an opportunity to practice saying no. Go away. Even if it hurts in the moment.  The more you recognize and acknowledge your wholeness and self-worth, the easier saying no becomes.

    Also, you’re 28–you’re so young!  If you want a romantic partner, that relationship will eventually come.  You don’t have to just accept that you might never find someone (I’ve had well-meaning friends tell me similar things, by the way, and they were wrong).  You will eventually find someone amazing–even though it doesn’t feel that way now–when the timing is right and when you probably least expect it.  But sometimes the process of getting there can be winding and painful, and the more we can just relax and lean into the opportunities we’re given to learn, grow, and heal our wounds, the easier it is to be in the frame of mind that actually gives rise to the things we most desire.

    #377145
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    Michelle, thanks for clarifying what it was about your partner that draws him to you. It’s natural that you would focus on the negatives in discussing the problems of your relationship on this forum, but bringing up the positives I think sheds light on what this relationship is fulfilling for you and why you’re so reluctant to separate from it.  In some ways, it sounds like this relationship has been a huge improvement compared to past experiences you’ve had men, and since you’ve seem to have made a lot of progress in this relationship—in terms of asserting your needs, being clear with him that withdrawing or recoiling at the sight of any emotion you show is not something you would accept, etc—maybe you’re especially invested it in now, because to you this relationship has acquired a deeper meaning, a deeper significance: this is the relationship where you started to discover your voice and personal power. This is the relationship that has triggered spiritual growth and experiences for you (meditation, introspection, finding ways of self-soothing, etc.)  I think that’s why it probably feels fated and super important.  In some ways it IS—but that does not mean that staying in the relationship is what’s healthiest for you or would help you stay on the path and momentum towards growth that you’ve seen to be on.

    What’s important to recognize is that, this has nothing to do with HIM.  All this progress that you point to is actually coming from YOU and your increased ability, compared to the past, to draw boundaries/handle your anxieties and fears/express your needs, etc.  There is nothing you’ve said about your partner that really points to meaningful growth on his part, in my opinion.  Just because he is now open to the possibility of moving in together or because he is no longer actively seeking other partners doesn’t mean that YOU are the partner he’s looking for, and he’s stuck to that story since day 1.  While I understand your sentiment that his actions don’t align with his words and he’s not being honest with himself—that he’s turned out to be much more open to long-term commitment than what he initially portrayed—in some ways, in a healthy relationship, we have no choice but to accept our partners’ words.  To decide that we’re going to ignore their words and carve out our own interpretations and meanings is essentially to diminish their sense of autonomy and free will.  Imagine if someone told you, “I hear you buttttt I just don’t believe you for xyz reasons” to something you did actually mean.  Even if the person had valid points, it would feel pretty defeating  and demoralizing, because in your mind, it IS true.  Perspective is everything.  And from his perspective, he probably does mean what he says.  Even if his actions did somehow belie his words, he is probably not just going to snap out of it and realize “oh wait you were right all along..I can totally see the future together now!” It’s a narrative and choice HE has to be willing to accept and strives towards.

    My advice—and again, I’m not looking to convince you of anything, just give you input—is to thank the universe for providing you an experience that allows you to recognize you own power and inner reserves of strength…and then move forward.  Allow yourself to be open to the possibility of a relationship where you don’t have to seek for inner layers of meaning or play the analyst, where the person is very clear about what he wants and is not eternally ambivalent, dragging you along for the ride.  It seems like you’ve been the person driving this relationship forward ….showing him what commitment would look like, what a relationship with you would be like, etc.  Why does he need to be convinced?  I’m not sure that always being the teacher (and in a way, salesperson) in a romantic relationship is a positive thing.  It’s natural for one person to adopt the role of teacher at times and student at other times—we’re all constantly learning and teaching each other as we interact—but when one person is stuck with the role of teacher most of the time, it can make things feel lopsided and burdensome and unfair.  Especially when it’s not a role that you were ready to be thrust upon you or 100% willing to accept.

    I remember a therapist once told me, years ago, a story that resonated with me about attachment theory.   Apparently, a lot of studies around attachment theory began during World War II, when many children in the UK, Romania etc became separated from their caregivers for wartime reasons.  Psychologists realized that people separated from their caregivers tended to have different emotional and behavioral reactions to the separation, depending in part on their attachment styles.  Some children, when they had a substitute caregiver, were able to bond with their new caregiver and adapt to their new circumstances despite missing their primary caregiver.  Others, however, never bonded with the substitute caregiver and displayed intense anxiety, depression etc.—even when that new caregiver fulfilled their needs.  Not sure if I’m remembering this super accurately lol, but at the time I was stuck on an ex and I remember thinking…damn.  I’m that kid that refuses to have anyone except that primary caregiver, because I’m convinced that no one else can fulfill what he fulfilled.  Which of course, wasn’t true—at all.  Sometimes we just have to trust that there’s someone out there better suited for us, while acknowledging and honoring the love we did have had that no longer serves us or that we’ve outgrown.

    #377068
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    Sorry–weird formatting issues posting through my phone!  Posting from my computer instead 🙂

    First of all, I want to say that I completely understand that all of us have a limited view and understanding of your situation given that we are not in it and given that we don’t know you beyond what you’ve stated in this virtual platform.  So I agree that you should take everything others tell you with a grain of salt and question everything.  Even what society tells you about what relationships should look like.  What your favorite YouTube spiritual guru tells you, or what your friends or family tell you.  That’s part of the spiritual path—realizing that no one has the answers for us, we have to reach in and uncover them ourselves. Towards the end of my so-called “twin flame” journey, I stopped asking for others’ input, not because it wasn’t valuable or valid but because my feelings towards my twin couldn’t be rationalized and it felt frustrating talking about those feelings just to be met with analysis from well-meaning friends who wanted to get to the root of my fixation with this guy. Weirdly enough, it’s only when I stopped analyzing and just accepting feelings for him—and stopped caring about whether he felt them too, because I would never be able to truly know that and wondering would just trigger another episode of futile analysis—that my feelings of anxiety lessened considerably and I was able to enjoy the love I felt for him without any expectations about the future or regrets about the past.  And eventually, I met someone else that I now have a healthy, fulfilling relationship with, and my TF became someone who still evokes positive feelings in me, but is not someone I could ever see myself pining for again.

    That being said, some level of analysis may be useful, and to an outsider like me, it seems like you’re attributing your anxiousness and need for certainty as the source of the problem in the relationship (rather than anything your partner has done).  So your response to your anxiousness has been to fiercely cling to something that many people (particularly those with more secure attachment styles) would have left by now, because on some level you’re clinging to the perception that you can gain control if you just learn to reign in your anxiousness. It’s okay to accept that you’re not giving up—you’re not letting your anxious attachment style dominate your love life—by letting this person go. You’ve already spent plenty of time in this relationship, given it time and energy and opportunity to grow, and at this point you’ve received clear-as-day signals that he’s not going to be able to reciprocate the way you’d like him to.

    You’re not making a premature decision to bow out of this; in fact, it’s your anxious attachment style that’s likely been keeping you in this for so long.  His ambivalence and mixed signals is fueling your anxiety, fueling your hope one day, before crushing it the next, so that you’re left in a perpetual state of disequilibrium and confusion where you no longer know what’s real and what’s not.  You react by staying and hoping that things sort of figure themselves out on their own, that he gets clarity as to what he feels, when all signs indicate that’s likely not going to happen.

    I agree with Anita that he seems quite selfish, in that he’s clearly aware of his own ambivalence and yet doesn’t seem to be considering, or caring about, the negative consequences that ambivalence may be having on you.  Has he expressed concern for your well-being, for the impact the relationship is having on your psyche and emotional state?  Does he know or care about the impact of his words—words that are immensely hurtful, yet give you just enough hope to stick around?  One of the qualities I realized I needed in a partner was being impeccable to one’s word, being cognizant of the impact words can have on others before carelessly throwing them around.  I also need a partner that is considerate and truly cares about my well/being, and wants to help ameliorate my Anxiety rather than contribute to it.

    I suggest trying out an exercise that I’ve found helpful in restoring a sense of equilibrium and balance in my romantic interactions with men.  Take a piece of paper and fold it in half.  On one side, make a list of all the qualities you absolutely DON’T want in a person.  Think back to your failed relationships and the reasons why you  or your partner ultimately ended things, and qualities you saw in past partners that made you realize you weren’t compatible.  Then, on the other half of the piece of paper, use the negative statements to create positive statements about what you do want—so, if one of the things you didn’t want was “I do not want a person who is flaky and inconsistent,” on the right, write, “I need a partner who demonstrates consistency and sticks to plans.”  Or “I do not want someone who does drugs or binge drinks all the time” becomes “I want someone who is moderate in their consumption of alcohol and avoids drugs.”  Then transfer the “positive” list on the right to a new piece of paper and take your time re-writing it and making it pretty lol—something that you’ll want to re-reference in the future.

    At the end, if you’ve done this exercise thoughtfully and are honest about what you need in someone else and what has led to the demise of relationships in the past, you’ll be left with a list of qualities that can help guide you in determining how close someone is to meeting your needs and desires.  In my case, by referring to this list every time I started to date someone, it felt like I was using a concrete tool that I had created for myself that was based on years of introspection and growing to know myself. I started fully comprehending my pattern of letting intense chemistry drive my relationships, while ignoring all the ways those relationships were detrimental to me.

    I also allowed myself to dream big and imagine that a person with all those qualities really did exist—in some ways, I felt encouraged to embody those qualities myself, since it felt hypocritical to want things in others that I myself did not have.  It might be worth trying out and assessing how many qualities your current partner embodies, since it’s not clear to me based on your posts what about him it is that is drawing you to him so deeply.

    #377067
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Hi Michelle,</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>First of all, I want to say that I completely understand that all of us have a limited view and understanding of your situation given that we are not in it and given that we don’t know you beyond what you’ve stated in this virtual platform.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>So I agree that you should take everything others tell you with a grain of salt and question everything.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Even what society tells you about what relationships should look like.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>What your favorite YouTube spiritual guru tells you, or what your friends or family tell you.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>That’s part of the spiritual path—realizing that no one has the answers for us, we have to reach in and uncover them ourselves. Towards the end of my so-called “twin flame” journey, I stopped asking for others’ input, not because it wasn’t valuable or valid but because my feelings towards my twin couldn’t be rationalized and it felt frustrating talking about those feelings just to be met with analysis from well-meaning friends who wanted to get to the root of my fixation with this guy. Weirdly enough, it’s only when I stopped analyzing and just accepting feelings for him—and stopped caring about whether he felt them too, because I would never be able to truly know that and wondering would just trigger another episode of futile analysis—that my feelings of anxiety lessened considerably and I was able to enjoy the love I felt for him without any expectations about the future or regrets about the past.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>And eventually, I met someone else that I now have a healthy, fulfilling relationship with, and my TF became someone who still evokes positive feelings in me, but is not someone I could ever see myself pining for again. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>That being said, some level of analysis may be useful, and to an outsider like me, it seems like you’re attributing your anxiousness and need for certainty as the source of the problem in the relationship (rather than anything your partner has done).<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>So your response to your anxiousness has been to fiercely cling to something that many people (particularly those with more secure attachment styles) would have left by now, because on some level you’re clinging to the perception that you can gain control if you just learn to reign in your anxiousness. It’s okay to accept that you’re not giving up—you’re not letting your anxious attachment style dominate your love life—by letting this person go. You’ve already spent plenty of time in this relationship, given it time and energy and opportunity to grow, and at this point you’ve received clear-as-day signals that he’s not going to be able to reciprocate the way you’d like him to. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>You’re not making a premature decision to bow out of this; in fact, it’s your anxious attachment style that’s likely been keeping you in this for so long.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>His ambivalence and mixed signals is fueling your anxiety, fueling your hope one day, before crushing it the next, so that you’re left in a perpetual state of disequilibrium and confusion where you no longer know what’s real and what’s not.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>You react by staying and hoping that things sort of figure themselves out on their own, that he gets clarity as to what he feels, when all signs indicate that’s likely not going to happen. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I agree with Anita that he seems quite selfish, in that he’s clearly aware of his own ambivalence and yet doesn’t seem to be considering, or caring about, the negative consequences that ambivalence may be having on you.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Has he expressed concern for your well-being, for the impact the relationship is having on your psyche and emotional state?<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Does he know or care about the impact of his words—words that are immensely hurtful, yet give you just enough hope to stick around?<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>One of the qualities I realized I needed in a partner was being impeccable to one’s word, being cognizant of the impact words can have on others before carelessly throwing them around.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>I also need a partner that is considerate and truly cares about my well/being, and wants to help ameliorate my</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Anxiety rather than contribute to it. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I suggest trying out an exercise that I’ve found helpful in restoring a sense of equilibrium and balance in my romantic interactions with men.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Take a piece of paper and fold it in half.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>On one side, make a list of all the qualities you absolutely DON’T want in a person.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Think back to your failed relationships and the reasons why you<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>or your partner ultimately ended things, and qualities you saw in past partners that made you realize you weren’t compatible.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Then, on the other half of the piece of paper, use the negative statements to create positive statements about what you do want—so, if one of the things you didn’t want was “I do not want a person who is flaky and inconsistent,” on the right, write, “I need a partner who demonstrates consistency and sticks to plans.”<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Or “I do not want someone who does drugs or binge drinks all the time” becomes “I want someone who is moderate in their consumption of alcohol and avoids drugs.”<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>Then transfer the “positive” list on the right to a new piece of paper and take your time re-writing it and making it pretty lol—something that you’ll want to re-reference in the future.</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>At the end, if you’ve done this exercise thoughtfully and are honest about what you need in someone else and what has led to the demise of relationships in the past, you’ll be left with a list of qualities that can help guide you in determining how close someone is to meeting your needs and desires.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>In my case, by referring to this list every time I started to date someone, it felt like I was using a concrete tool that I had created for myself that was based on years of introspection and growing to know myself. I started fully comprehending my pattern of letting intense chemistry drive my relationships, while ignoring all the ways those relationships were detrimental to me. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>I also allowed myself to dream big and imagine that a person with all those qualities really did exist—in some ways, I felt encouraged to embody those qualities myself, since it felt hypocritical to want things in others that I myself did not have.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>It might be worth trying out and assessing how many qualities your current partner embodies, since it’s not clear to me based on your posts what about him it is that is drawing you to him so deeply. </span></p>

    #376917
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    Hi Michelle,

    I think you hit the nail on the head earlier when you suggested that fear of being without him is what’s keeping you in your current situation.  Ending things with someone you’re emotional invested in and feel an intense, even fated, connection with can be incredibly difficult.  But remaining in a relationship where there is inequality and imbalance—where those involved have two different levels of commitment, two different sets of expectations surrounding the relationship and two very different communication styles—is much more difficult in the long-run.

    I know there’s always a temptation to adopt the wait and see approach and allow things to “unfold naturally”—sometimes it feels like we’re expecting too much too soon and that we just have to take things day by day.  But I’ve noticed, with myself and friends who have been in similar romantic situations, that we often tell ourselves that when we’re holding out hope that the situation is going to change, that the other person is going to change and they will suddenly, one day, be in a position to [insert here…fulfill our needs/address their psychological wounds/say I love you/figure out what they want/etc]. We’re attached to a specific outcome, whether we realize it or not, and in the meantime that attachment has become detrimental to our current emotional and mental well-being and has prevented us from considering and being open to the wide range of other potential outcomes.  I think truly living in the moment is accepting the current realities of a relationship—the other person does not reciprocate the way I’d like them to.  They have issues that prevent them for being open in the romantic context, and that causes them to doubt and question things all the time, and this is taking a toll on my emotional (and perhaps spiritual) wellbeing.

    You’ve been open and vulnerable with him, found the courage to express what you need, and that has been met with words that suggest that nothing has really changed.  Perhaps he’s made some outward progress—probably because he sensed he needed to take some actions in order to preserve the status quo and maintain a relationship that clearly has benefits for him—but inwardly, it seems he is very much the same person who you began seeing many months ago.  Change and personal growth sometimes unfolds quickly, but when one doesn’t have the drive and initiative to drive the growth oneself, change tends to unfold very slowly, if at all. And I don’t think he’s simply going to become the person who can fulfill your relationship desires  (at least as you’ve relayed them to be) anytime soon.

    When you open yourself up to the present moment, you realize that the universe has given you all the information you need to make an informed decision, based on something much less heavy-feeling and limiting than fear.  When you truly rely on your intuition, and look deep within yourself in a more neutral manner that feels affirming and expansive rather than constrictive, that allows trust and faith and stillness to be the main guide instead of anxiety and constant racing thoughts,  we’re more likely find the answer.  You said you meditate, which is great…I believe it can help cut through all the fuzzy layers of thought and fear and the egoic mind that is constantly working overtime and struggling to find an answer.

    You say that his actions contradict his words, but actually it seems they are very much in tune with his words.  He says he doesn’t know what he wants, that he’s ambivalent—and his actions seem to support that.  He spends time with you and takes you on dates, but doesn’t see you moving in together or having something long-term.  He doesn’t think there’s someone else out there that he’ll meet and fall in love with, but he doesn’t think you’re the one either and was on dating apps until not too long ago.  He acknowledges he has a lot of emotional wounds and mental health issues, including OCD, but hasn’t taken any concrete steps towards addressing those issues.  In a lot of ways, he’s exactly what he represents himself to be—a very confused and ambivalent person.  Do you want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t know what they want?

    I agree that he probably is and will continue to be an important person for you—just probably not in the way you expected him to be. Sometimes we just have to trust that life has its own plan that we can’t quite discern in the moment because we’re just seeing one wave of the larger ocean.  The second that you stop fighting what is, and be open to what could be—which eventually reveals itself once we give it a chance to—the second I think you’ll start to make positive changes that will end this cycle of pain and hurt you seem to be in with him.

    #376868
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    Hi Michelle,

    Nice to e-meet you, too! Like TeaK, I’m glad that things seem to be going well for you and that you are experiencing growth and a sense of fulfillment in your current relationship.

    One suggestion I have (besides listening to your own intuition and inner voice, since ultimately we’re just strangers on the Internet!) is don’t be afraid to express your needs openly and frequently, even if you perceive your need for reassurance to be “compulsive” or rooted in your anxious tendencies. Anxious and avoidant attachment styles are two sides of the same coin, and in trying to free ourselves from anxious thoughts and behaviors, I’ve found that sometimes it’s easy to swing the opposite way— where we’re overly tolerant of uncertainty and ambiguity in ways that are unhealthy or inauthentic or shy away from having any conversations where we could be perceived as being needy or insecure. It’s ok to give yourself permission to crave security and stability in a relationship if that’s what you want, and to seek confirmation from the other person that they’re on the same page as you, as long as you do so in a calm and measured way that’s not coming from a place of reactivity. That’s the ying and yang, push and pull of relationships—sometimes we do the giving, and sometimes we receive. It’s fine to ask for gestures and words of love and affection and to ask questions that might make the other person uncomfortable, if doing so will help shed light on the true nature of the relationship

    I agree that not everything, including relationships, can be put into neat little boxes, but sometimes the issues we’re internally struggling with when it comes to romantic relationships really can be boiled down to fairly simple questions—are we both looking for something long-term and committed? Are we both on the same page about what we feel for each other and where we see this heading, or is one person giving considerably more than the other? Those are the gateway questions in any relationship, even friendships, and usually the rest doesn’t quite fall into place unless both people are in agreement about those basic terms.

    Ultimately, I think the real question to figure out is—what do YOU want? Are you looking for a long-term and committed relationship with no expiration date, or are okay with something potentially more fleeting, given the hesitancy your partner has expressed at times around commitment? Rather than focusing on what your partner wants, getting to the root of what YOU truly desire (and don’t desire) may help shed light on how healthy this relationship is for you. It’s fine to be in a relationship that may not be obviously long-term but might develop into something deeper over time as long as you’re honest with yourself that you’re truly fine with this. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we don’t want or need something, when deep down those desires and needs are still there, yearning to be met. And more we tell ourselves “maybe they’ll be met by this person one day,” the more we’re ignoring the current realities that contradict this possibility.

    I would also ask yourself: in a relationship, do I need someone who is a good communicator and able to clearly demonstrate and articulate his feelings towards me? Or am I ok with someone who is unable or uncomfortable with verbalizing certain emotions (which can cause me to doubt at times that those emotions even exist?) I know for me, because I’m very much in my head and can be extremely analytical, a deal breaker for me is when a man constantly struggles to communicate his emotions. If someone doesn’t tell me what they’re feeling I tend to go into panic mode, where I start weaving stories and narratives in my head that may or may not be rooted in reality and filling in the gaps of what the other person didn’t say with my own interpretations. Before, I labeled that tendency to analyze as “bad” and tried to convince myself that that tendency prevented me from fully exploring certain relationships (since I’d go into anxious mode and push the person away). But recently, I’ve stopped judging that side of me and have just accepted that I need a partner who is straightforward and emotionally vulnerable, and whose words I can trust at face value. Which may not be the case for everyone; some people are fine with partners that are more reticent and slow to open up, and that’s ok too. It’s ultimately about pinpointing what you truly want and don’t want and deciding whether your current relationship aligns with those desires. If your current partner doesn’t meet them, the reality is that there is someone out there that is, and sometimes our attachment to someone can prevent us from exploring those other possibilities.

    #376765
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    Dear Michelle,

    I read through your posts and, even though it’s been a while since your first post and I’m not sure if you’re looking for more advice or input into your situation, I feel compelled to comment because of how similar your attachment style and experiences with men are to mine.  Even the way you describe your mom’s parenting style sounds so similar to mine–she, too, was sometimes physically abusive, very strict/authoritarian, would subject me to the silent treatment and was generally someone with whom I had a love-hate relationship growing up.  Our relationship has become much, much better over time, but I still do find it hard to be emotionally open and vulnerable with her (which sometimes extends to other relationships/friendships…my fear of rejection and being vulnerable).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I understand how difficult it is to be in a (semi? sorta?) relationship with someone who is scared of love and has a hard, impenetrable shell around him that prevents him from letting you in.  For about a year and a half, I was very much stuck on a guy that I believed was my “twin flame”–the person who mirrored and reflected my fears and insecurities back to me, who made me feel a sense of kinship and closeness and intimacy I had never before experienced.  I too believed our relationship was fated–there were two many weird synchronicities for it to be anything but, in my mind.  We were born a few days days apart, both November babies (11:11 is a huge thing in the twin flame world), kept running into each other despite living in a huge city, had similar outlooks on life despite how differently we raised and despite our different cultural and religious backgrounds.  I  convinced myself that because he had been through a lot of trauma, he was just a scared little boy who needed time to step out of his shell (even when he quite clearly told me he wasn’t looking for anything serious), and even though physically I checked out of our very short-lived fling, emotionally I was very, very hung up on him for a long time.

    I’m not any more. I’m in a happy, committed relationship with someone I am very much in love with.  Looking back, I now question whether he was my “twin flame” after all and to be honest, I don’t even care if he is or not.   The thing is, once you start truly loving yourself and giving yourself the same time, attention, and care that you gave that person–the second you start prioritizing your needs and realizing that you have to communicate them in order for there to be a shot of those needs being met–the second you’ll realize that you won’t need to spend time journaling and posting and endlessly talking about a man who just doesn’t want something deeper. Plain and simple.  It doesn’t matter why he’s that way, or who made him that way, and whether he will one day change–all that matters is that right now, he’s not someone who has communicated to you that he’s in love with you.  While you can extrapolate and conjecture and imagine a scenario where one day, he says those words to you, the truth is, you don’t know if that scenario will take place, and there’s very little from his actions and words to indicate that that reality will come to be.  While uncertainty is something we all have to deal with in relationships from time to time, I’ve found–in my all too many experiences of dating avoidant men–that the type of man that is truly ready for a committed, loving relationship is someone that will minimize that feeling of uncertainty to the greatest extent possible.  It’s someone whose actions align with their words and indicates clearly and loudly that they’re into you.  It’s someone who doesn’t prowl dating apps just to “people watch” or who makes you wonder if they’re agreeing to move in just to save on rent.  It’s someone who has gone through enough self-growth and has enough insight and self-awareness that they don’t need someone to tear down their defenses for them–they’ve worked on doing that for themselves.  All your kindness and support towards him and eagerness to explore and understand his psyche and why he’s so scared to open up isn’t going to change him.  In the end, he has to take the leap himself.  Be willing to shed some of his old habits and behavioral patterns, difficult as that is.  You can’t do it for him.  And the longer you hang around in the hope that he’ll eventually come around, the longer you’ll be stuck in a place where you’re not truly happy, where there’s a little nagging voice inside that’s telling you that something’s not quite right.  That you deserve better.  You deserve someone that tells you in no uncertain terms that you ARE someone he does see or could see as “the one”,  and that you’re not just a stepping stone to whatever he truly desires (which I doubt he even knows).

    Anyway, I do think it sounds like there’s so much growth and change that he’s igniting within you..that’s the beautiful thing about relationships and intense connections, no matter how fleeting.  They tend to force you to confront the ugly and uncomfortable aspects of yourself.  It sounds like you’re being forced, through your interactions with him, to realize how much YOU’RE now willing to lower your defenses and open up to someone to an extent that maybe you weren’t in the past.  So even if your relationship with him doesn’t work out, I think the upside is that you’re a stronger person for it.  You’re more ready now to plunge in to something deep and scary at times but incredibly satisfying.  Real love, based on trust and commitment and mutual understanding, is a beautiful thing that we all deserve to experience, and sometimes the road getting there is long and winding and messy but it seems like you’re on the way there.

    Peace!

    Rosalia

    #331129
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    A lot of what you said makes sense.  I definitely think the inner child in me likes the excitement and ups and downs that a fling with an inconsistent guy creates.  But on the other hand, there is a part of me that genuinely wants a long-term relationship with someone who shows consistent interest in me.  So the challenge for me has been–how to reconcile those two warring parts of me?  Does it mean to simply reject the guy that I perceive as inconsistent, and make a purposeful, concerted effort to gravitate towards the “stable” “nice”men?  I feel like that’s what I’ve been trying to do, and it hasn’t been working.  For instance, I recently forced myself to stay in a relationship with someone I didn’t have a spark with because I tried to convince myself that I don’t NEED to be attracted to the “bad” boy–and it didn’t work.  Instead, I just caused myself more pain, and caused the guy I was dating pain as well.  I ended up feeling really guilty that I didn’t end things earlier and chose to stay in a relationship with someone I wasn’t in love with–even though he had so many of the qualities I was looking for.

    There’s a part of me that’s just angry at myself for continuously being attracted to guys that I know don’t want a serious relationship.  Which I guess is really anger towards that aspect of myself in me, that part of me that is scared to be vulnerable, that is scared to show my pain and scars to another person.

    #330673
    RosaliaLuz
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for your response. To answer your question, I do get scared in other contexts, especially when I feel excited–I’m definitely an anxious/fearful person by nature, and consider myself just to be a very sensitive and high strung person in general.  For instance, I hate public speaking, have a bit of social phobia, dislike big crowds or loud noises,  etc.  But the funny thing I’ve also scored highly on tests I’ve taken for sensation seeking…it’s like, there’s a part of me that enjoys fear, adrenaline rushes, new experiences.  I’ve definitely done some risky things or things that have pushed me out of my comfort zone, and have enjoyed it.  it’s a strange mix of qualities lol.

    But yea, to answer your second question–I think I’m MORE willing to be emotionally vulnerable than I have in the past, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally to me .  I’m trying to verbalise things more and tell guys early on what I am looking for, but I still find it really difficult.  There’s definitely a part of me that’s  shy and scared of rejection, and that knows that the men I’m dating are probably dating a lot of other women too, and there’s a part of me that’s really scared of just being perceived as too sensitive and too feminine and too needy.

    In the past, I usually only end up having relationships with men that are extremely into me, show me they like me a lot from the very beginning and are almost obsessive about me (at least according to my friends).  But when guys are a bit aloof, I perceive that as complete disinterest, and it’s like there’s a part of me that ends up being drawn to them even more.  Even though they’re exactly the type of guys that I’d probably feel the least safe being emotionally vulnerable with.

    It’s just funny to me that I consider myself to be relatively self-aware and yet find it so hard to change behavioural patterns and to be satisfied and content dating men that i WOULD feel safe being emotionally vulnerable and open with.

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