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  • #179623

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    Matt,

    Glad you are back for our “back and forth.” Just saw your post and have a few short ideas to throw in before I forget. (But this should not distract you from all the rest and all that you wanted to write.)

    “…how fast the kids are growing up. Have to enjoy it while I have it.”

    Reminds me of one more parable, this time from Paolo Coelho’s Alchemist. The secret of happiness is to be able to enjoy life, to observe the world with wonder, but at the same time not to forget about the oil in the spoon one is carrying – and not to spill it out! Something like this, not an exact quote.

    Oh, I see what you meant by “upgrading the character.” Yes, I wholeheartedly agree! “Tell me who your friend is” is as true as ever – it is number one. And number two is that I do indeed believe that somehow (have no idea how it works speaking of the physics of the process – maybe the scent picked up unconsciously in addition to the appearance and body language ’cause we do choose those who look alike to interact with if everybody around is a stranger) we do attract those who are on the same level of consciousness as we are (or want to be or seem to be from afar as I learnt on the example of my ex). So yes, if a person is – for some reason – developing spiritually, s/he is not going to find his or her old circle of acquaintances satisfactory for a long time.

    One more sentence to add to that space image in answer to your original question. “Reboosts” are possible and necessary, but that initial immense power of “lifting off acceleration” is to be experienced only once (or twice in rare circumstances – after a prolonged separation) is what is meant, I think.

    Had one more thought about flower vs bridge. You know, after all my reading about narcissists (and how a child grows up to become one), I think I started seeing signs that my ex was devoid of empathy. I guess this feature fits into the vague feeling that I had that he was doing things that he believed a man in love who is a romantic should be doing (and he IS in love – no doubt about that (his thinking), so he is doing all that without really feeling it all). If I develop it further building on your words about the bridge, it can be compared to doing maintenance so that the car is running (i.e. the relationship or, rather, the comfort he was getting from that relationship at the time). But the bridge or the car is not a live thing (I hope I don’t hurt your feelings if you are an bridge builder or a fan of motor vehicles), has no soul (well, some would argue against that, but still…) whereas a flower is fragile and vulnerable and alive.

    But here again, I don’t know. I mean normally, people say that as the distance and time separating us from the event grows, we start to see it more clearly. On the other hand, some can become nostalgic (this is especially common with older people who would insist that “back then” everything was better, purer, more honest, cheaper, healthier, etc., etc., etc.) OR, if the event did not end well (would be my case), they start to demonise it. I do all my best to be as objective as I possibly can, but here again I can’t help but wish for a psychology-trained professional (whom I would trust!!!) to tell me exactly what it is or was all about.

    Over to you now and sorry for the interruption – had to add it.

    X

    #179421

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    Participant

    Matt,

    The right thing for me to have done was to write a quick note about taking a break to deal with work and such. Instead I just poof, disappeared.

    Well, first, I can say that I have witnessed all sorts of developments on Tiny Buddha: people taking the trouble to register and start a thread, making only that one initial post and not bothering to answer any clarifying questions that other members pose them; people answering steadily and regularly until one day when they don’t answer, but then I would see them start a new thread after a month or so the old one still left hanging; and finally people who would be answering regularly until their problem they have posted about resolved itself in one way or another, a member (usually anita) would analyse the outcome in great detail, but the author wouldn’t even say thank you…

    And yes, you are right – I though that even if your wife had asked you not to communicate with me any more, it would have just been common courtesy to drop me a couple of lines and all.

    I can fully admit that is something my wife has complained to me about in the past. It is hard to see/admit, but at the same time very freeing being able to recognize/accept a fault and address it. I have found that I am a person who is able to get things started, but have a hard time closing the loop. I think this impacts all aspects of my life and is something that I really need to work on.  As hard as these past few months have been on my wife and me, I think a larger problem exists.

    And second, this gives me an insight into why so many people ghost on others in real life. True, it has become easier to do with technology (meaning that people tend to think there is a deeper bond whereas in reality there is nothing except random texts and/or emails), but people used to write paper letters to each other in the past and those bonds were in reality probably no less ephemeral than “electronic” bonds of today. So I’d venture to say there is indeed something in the character of the folks who “get things started, but have a hard time closing the loop” as you put it.

    It may be in my character per se, but I am pretty sure that the vast majority of people were brought up by people and books and films and culture who would be teaching them how uncool it is to promise something and not to do it or to start something and not to finish it. Is it not?

    The only reason for this that I can see (if we talk about growing up) is the child watching his or her parents (or other important figure) promise something, but not do it. Hope this is not your case.

    By the way, what is going on with my remark about closing that one more loop on this thread from 9:44 p.m., 20 October (above, on this thread)? I think I am now mentioning it for the fourth time. (Normally, I only do three times with people I know and then make my own conclusions, but here, anonymously, I can push for as much as I want ;))

    …that all of the things I have convinced myself make me happy over the past few years may all be an illusion. As I sit here typing, I can’t help but look at all of the areas in my life and realize that there is not much there anymore, and that unease or unhappiness may in fact be the root cause of these issues with my wife. I have fallen into working at a job that isn’t fulfilling, I don’t play volleyball anymore, and being able to go out and spend an afternoon taking pictures feels like a pipe dream. I have also noticed that my veiws on life/politics/news has been really fluctuating recently. I am starting to see the world different, and my goals of what I want/need out of life are changing. 

    Wow, this does sound like a midlife crisis!

    First, congratulations on realizing that you are no longer able to do all the many things that you used to like doing in the past AND that that is getting down on you.

    Second, any practical steps to bring more of enjoyment into your life? Especially, steps where your enjoyment does not depend on another person? Something that you really love to do and it doesn’t matter to you that no one among your family or friends shares that passion (if they do, even better, but if they don’t, what should matter to you is that you enjoy it (I really struggled with this one following my breakup because I was so madly in love (or rather, dependent on love) that, as I put it, I was taking nearly everything that life was offering me thought the lens of my ex – and even if he would jokingly mock me for doing something, so much the better, I did need to show him that I was not THAT dependent on his opinion (whereas in fact, I was))

    I don’t feel like it is a depression thing, I am fairly in tune with my emotions when I get down and sad. I don’t feel sad, I feel uninspired.

    Matt, I suggest you seriously think more about this, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. You see, it is a common misconception that depression means being sad. In fact, depression is lack of interest, lack of inspiration, lack of energy and desire to do something. We are even more likely to be talking about depression if this is happening with activities that the individual used to like and enjoyed doing.

    … and since I have started focusing on my breathe it has made a huge difference.

    I even read about a study that convincingly proved that if one adopts a straight posture, one immediately starts feeling important, convincing, assured, not threatened and in control – one more reason to keep one’s back straight.

    I am really surprised at how my “most recent guy” changed physically (for the worse – and I can swear that there is no improvement in his relationship with his wife and he is not in love with anybody else (yet?))

    I was eating like garbage, potato chips and soda, and greasy crap, you know easy feel good food. I woke up one day and felt like I had been hit by a freight train. My body hurt, I actually felt old, sleeping patterns changed, the way I ate changed. It was not a good look for me. And it was hard to get it back on track, still trying to reign it in and the soda. Anyway, if I were to throw in a few drinks a night, the stress with the wife and kids, work sucking, no physical activity, at 42 I think two months of all that would be enough to age me 5 years and 30+lbs.

    Yeah, I think this is exactly what he is doing. I have a suspicion (based on some indirect evidence) that his wife doesn’t cook for him unless the kids are at home, kind of making him lead a separate life within their household, he isn’t a fan of cooking himself and it is hard to do when one is out of town so often as he is, so he is eating junk food and yes, a couple of photos make me think of him as of someone who had been photographed in the morning after going late to bed after quite a few drinks. He does go to the gym, but it is probably not enough to shake off those extra calories. I looked at his pictures the other day and caught myself addressing him, “What are doing to yourself?!?”

    On the other hand, at least with my ex, there was a very clear watershed when he stopped looking ten years younger (it was after one business trip with exceptionally good, hearty food, so he thought he had simply been eating too much for too long, but after that trip, no matter how hard he tried, even now with that new wife of his who is a “nutrition specialist”, he still never got back to that youthful slender figure of his that he had had for the first two years of our romance) and started looking his age. I wonder if “the most recent guy” has crossed the same threshold.

    X

    #179373

    X
    Participant

    Hi, Matt!

    Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, not like the 52% of Americans who secretly wish they were away from the mess and the relatives and the crowds…

    I think most people treat their relationship the way most bridges are maintained, as long as it is functional no worries right, and then one day you wake up and the supports are eroding and it is too late to save you HAVE to build a new one.

    Well, this turned out to be true, but I was under the impression that, as an engineer, he should know better. Besides, if one is doing one’s job properly, one inspects the bridge now and then, decides what needs to be done, what minor maintenance to do, etc.

    Which is probably why he jumped to the new bridge, he knew the structural support of your relationship was degrading.

    I certainly don’t want to sound presumptuous or anything, but the only support that was degrading was on his part. Which doesn’t make this statement false – even if one support of the two collapses, the entire structure will collapse as a result…

    The parable of the woman shopping is interesting and makes sense to a degree, but when you are shopping on each floor aren’t you stopping to try things on. you know the first floor has perfume, stop and try a few, then onto the shoe floor, and then the sundresses and on and on. The parable doesn’t talk about how long she spends on each floor.

    The message of the parable is that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. One keeps going on in search of something better even though what one already has is good enough.

    I think in life most successful people continue to upgrade the character of people that they keep in their life, even once they are in a relationship, the couple friends that they have change.

    Hm-m, I am not sure that “upgrading the character” is a feature of successful people. I think that even a couple’s friends can change because life circumstances change, people change, etc. It should not be a conscious process – hey, I don’t think one absolutely must see a change of one’s circles with one’s life’s changes. In fact, don’t all good books tout friendships that last a lifetime? It is just that if, say, one couple (or person – doesn’t matter) got rich or moved upward, they or s/he might start to find in inappropriate to mingle with those who are “beneath” them (but I hope that you will agree that this is not to their credit) OR the other couple/person starts feeling that they somehow embarrass their friends exactly because they are not as successful as their friends are and start to distance themselves.

    Okay I see that the steady rock portion of the relationship should become the normal state of any relationship over time, and obviously you don’t want to live in that butterflies state indefinitely, but should it be a goal to bring it back every now and then or is it gone forever?

    Here a good example of how it should be according to that favourite Russian psychologist of mine (Zberovskiy) comes to mind. If blissful life as a couple is the goal, let’s compare it to a space ship in orbit. To reach that orbit, to get rid of Earth’s gravity, one needs enormous power provided by boosters and exorbitant acceleration. That would be the stage of infatuation. Next you are in orbit, everything is going well, but for a space ship to remain in orbit, one needs to do reboosts from time to time. Note that a reboost is not the same as that initial insertion in orbit. In practice, those reboosts are all those things that are suggested the couple do to remain in love, i.e. candle light dinners, beach walks, etc.

    That is, in short, after Mother Nature has done its job providing you with hormones to do the lift-off, it is up to you, as a couple (it takes two to tango – remember?), to perform those conscious reboosts to stay in orbit. And that is where my ex is making his mistake – believing that hormones and Mother Nature is enough. They may be enough, but one will be going from relationship to relationship in pursuit of high feelings to fill the gaps one has in oneself instead of addressing them properly.

    If you were to wait for the other person to make a move and that person doesn’t, then the opportunity is an open ended “what if”

    Agree. That is why normally a woman would be giving all sorts of hints that she would like the man to approach – asking questions or for assistance in something, for instance. Besides, the body language, other things that are harder to control (such as pupil widening or being unable to turn one’s gaze away) should do the trick. Of course, if the man is not super shy and if the man is not indifferent to that woman in the first place.

    Lets simplify your groupings. A = Men you are attracted to!  B= Men you are not attracted to!, which group do you think your significant other is going to come from? Can you have friendships from group B, yes I think you can. Sometimes men move from group A to group B, that may take 5 mins, or it may take a couple of dates. But every man you meet will fall into one of these two groups, you can disregard the men in group B romantically, and deal with the group A men as they come.

    This was really funny. Yes, at the end of the day, all my groupings do boil down to “men with whom I can see myself” [to me it is decided in the first five minutes of interaction – could I see myself in bed with that man and would I like to see him in a bathrobe at a breakfast table in the morning for the rest of my life] and “men with whom I can’t see myself.”

    I think that the only case of men moving from A to B is those men with whom I would look very well together, but after a few minutes of talking can see that there is no chemistry and they can only be friends, albeit very good ones.

    In your groupings would you settle with anyone other than the +1 group?

    Well, maybe I should elevate those three others to +1 as well, because, as I said, I could fall in love with any one of them just like that provided they showed their prolonged interest in me – something more than hugging me every single time we meet in a hallway and smiling really big.

    I think that the reason for your feelings towards your most recent guy and the three others have changed is your perception of where you are at.

    Can you elaborate more on this one?

    But also to think that any of the three, except maybe the divorced one, are stable, calm, or reliable might be an illusion that you have given them for some reason.

    Oh, I am not thinking that they are stable and reliable for sure. I just guess it is so because they seem to be happy in their marriages. And since I believe that I am happy and calm now, it only makes sense if I were attracted to happy and calm men. Naturally, there are many more happy and calm married men than happy and calm single men of the age group that is of interest to me. That is my logic.

    Of course, one never knows what goes on behind closed doors in reality.

    No one who is married and would be willing to get in a relationship outside of their marriage is stable calm, or would be reliable… With the married guys, you will be adding water to something that is getting water somewhere else as well.

    Matt, nothing is going on with any one of the three except hugs every single time we see each other and huge smiles (and that butterfly feeling in my stomach, but I am not at all sure that they are feeling it, too, or, even if they are, that it is pronounced enough for them to become aware of it). With the one who is only 10 years older than me, I can’t even tell how it started – I think I once saw him hug my colleague, he decided to hug me, too, and we have been hugging each other whenever we meet ever since.

    The short and bald one has a very outgoing personality, so no wonder he hugs nearly everybody whom he knows.

    The divorced guy once went as far as trying to warm my cold hands in his when it was cold. Don’t know what all the others around us thought. But that was as far as he went and where he stopped. I could feel some kind of flirtation from another woman (who also comes here on business trips from my country last year and is divorced, too) directed at him, but I know for a fact that he is still single. He should be back here in several months, would be interesting to observe what the chemistry between us will be. But he is 20+ years older than me, so I don’t think it is a good idea to consider him a romantic partner. So I am merely registering my feelings and trying to analyse them.

    Explain the osicllation between good and bad some more, and that you are the good and not you is the bad. Are they escaping the reality in which they live? I kind of feel like my this is what my wife was doing. Our relationship was in a bad spot, and here this guy comes along and offers a “good” and she had to oscillate between the good and the bad.

    Unfortunately, I can’t speak for #1, I know absolutely nothing about his partner. For #3 (most often referred to here as “my ex”) and for “the most recent guy,” I would certainly be “the good” because neither one of them loved their wives when we met. So I am here, they love me (let’s imagine that for a second for “the most recent guy”), I love them (isn’t it “good”?) and, since they love me, we could do so many things together – paint the world in different colours – go on trips, explore the Earth; I am a tomboy, so I don’t mind all sorts of noisy activities, shooting, football, paintball – you name it. I am far from shy in the bedroom. AND I am so much into fair play and monitoring my motives that they can be sure I am not after their fortune or fame, I love them for who they are, not for what they can give ME.

    That would be even more true for #2, because he has led a typical life – a Christian, holding his father in a very high esteem (sure something for a psychotherapist to examine), he obeyed him when his now wife got accidentally pregnant and married her. His wife has no college education, has always been a housewife. Three nice kids. The intellectual gap between him and his wife is enormous. Despite that she finds it is all right to call him “silly” outloud in other people’s presence. His life is predictable and monotonous. She has no clue he is unhappy. And here come I into the scene. A very typical story.

    Still, I don’t think anything of this applies to you or your situation, unfortunately.

    This, and the way you break down how you put men you meet into these groups. Now these isnt a good or bad thing, but the way you group the guys you meet is a safety net in itself. You can always tell yourself that he won’t work out because I grouped him into the wrong group before even knowing anything about him. I am not saying this is what you do, but it seems that this has the potential to lead to a subconscious decision. But on the other side of the equation everybody does this at some point in time, so I might just be talking hot air.

    Well, I can only say that this is certainly possible, but I am monitoring myself as closely as I possibly can, and I am always trying to keep an open mind, reserve judgement, etc.

    I don’t think you need to work on yourself feeling safe and secure (you are there when you are there), and it is interesting that you wrote “unavailable” in your response describing your feeling.

    Again, I am not calling myself “unavailable,” I am merely saying that this is what a bunch of psychologists would call me. And they might be right, I don’t know.

    You see, what I would really love to happen is for me to stumble upon a really expert psychologist or psychotherapist whom I could trust, so I would trust his or her judgement. There is a good documentary about an architect directed by Sydney Pollack called Sketches of Frank Gehry. Well, Gehry was okay with Pollack interviewing his therapist. Well, if I had that kind of a therapist, I would trust him 100% and do all that he tells me. Actually, this was the main reason for me starting this thread, “Need Help Understanding Why…” – because on the one hand it seems like it is so, but on the other, there are lots of signs that it is not so, and in the end I have not idea what is really going on.

    What if you just say that you are enjoying life, and living life to the fullest with all of these activities that you are enjoying.

    I like this one! 🙂

    Or do you mean that I should be blocking all “what ifs” if a man with a partner is pursuing me? That I won’t be missing my chance at fairy-tale romance if I don’t open myself up to a possibility of being happy with the man IF the man has a partner, that no matter what as long as he has a partner, he is off limits? And forget about happy endings that started as adultery?

    Forgot to add that one girlfriend of mine told me that she stops viewing any man romantically as soon as she learns that he has a partner. Must have saved her a lot of heartache.

    I am interested in this thought. In my situation, what was/is Jay expecting with the relationship he has with my wife? Does it matter that it is opposite from what you are experiencing, Were your exes and my wife being dishonest, pretending that something more is available. Or are they serious about pursuing something new outside of their marriage with the knowledge that it may lead to something else and the end of their marriage. In my wife’s case, I don’t think she wants a new husband, I just think she likes the idea of something new, but is this something that she has talked with Jay about. If not, is she leading him on in a dishonest way, were your execs doing the same thing? There is no way for me to know the answer to these questions.

    Matt, I have only one thing to say to this whole paragraph of yours. Unfortunately, A LOT OF people in this world live responding to external stimuli and thinking very little (or not thinking at all) what that automatic response (* up – that means I am in love – that means I want that woman – that means I am marrying her [until * up for another woman] – that is my ex’s train of response or so I think now) will mean for them in the future and even less what that will mean for others around them (even for the object of their adoration for the time being).

    That is if such people are honest with themselves and others and have really given in to their feelings.

    There are others who are not experiencing feelings of love so intensely (or not at all!), but their train of thoughts goes something like, if it comes, let it – why not, what do I personally lose?

    My guess is the former is your wife, while Jay might be either the former or the latter. She may not be leading Jay on at all – she may not even be mentioning her divorce, and he (if he is really in love and wants her for his own) might be thinking that it is not appropriate for him to ask those questions, that if she loves him, she must be doing something to be free. (This was my initial premise with all of my exes – how naïve of me!) Well, you said that your wife had proposed an open marriage, and if you had met Jay, then that means that that what he had been told as well. Now, he might think this is only temporary, that she will become more and more enamored with him, and there it is…

    Or he may be okay with where things stand. And he may be okay with it indefinitely.

    So reading everything between number #2 and the most recent guy, there was a lot there. It seems that number 2 had you in all sorts of knots and when the most recent guy same into the scene you were finally able to pull away from the spell of #2. But that turned into more unknowns and what if’s with the most recent guy. And how hard is it to get closure with the most recent guy, he won’t be able to do it unless he were to finally get divorced. Until then it will be up to you to decide but I think you are out of those molds and ready and open to finding something else or new.

    You surely meant #3 (#2 being that married Christian guy with three kids and 35 years older than me), but overall yes – I would say exactly so (and thank you for believing that I am ready and open to finding something else or new).

    had you in all sorts of knots – nicely put, couldn’t find a better phrasing.

    This was exactly what I told the “most recent guy” in my final email to him (that also served as my closure of sorts) – that he had unknowingly acted as a skilled psychotherapist. Do you know how psychotherapists help their clients to fall out of love? They make them fall in love with themselves, but know how to make that love interest evaporate, vanish into thin air. Thanks to him being still married (and it would have been extremely reckless of me to get out of one married love triangle into another one for the third time (or even fourth if you count #1)) and to all his displayed red flags, I wanted to believe that he was so much into me, but would constantly steady myself because of those red flags. And it didn’t last that long either – only four months, not six years.

    I am going to look into The Passion Trap. I still think I need help and….

    I also recommend The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman. It is very practical and may give you an idea of what it is your wife is missing in your relationship and looking for in the relationship with Jay.

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    #178859

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    Participant

    Matt,

    Thank you again for paying such a thorough attention to all that I have written (no matter how complicated my style and convoluted my sentences)!

    I am digesting what you wrote and will be back with comments to your comments, as usual, one of these days.

    I would also like to gently remind you about my post from October 20, 2017, 9:44 p.m. on your thread “Need some space to vent…” that would also benefit from your insights. So that we can close all the loops 😉

    Hope it is all right with you for our conversation to continue on both threads…

    “Talk” to you soon,

    X

     

    #178695

    X
    Participant

    *didn’t update

    #178643

    X
    Participant

    Matt,

    I think the challenge is inherent. There are enough challenges living life and holding a steady relationship is challenging for anyone.

    Oh, that reminds me of the talks my ex and I had. He was comparing love and tending to a relationship to a bridge (as in between two people) maintenance; I liked the image of a flower that needs to be watered regularly. Now I don’t even know how to tell a keeper from somebody who is not – it may be starting splendidly, but then it just dies out and while you are getting signs that love is on the wane, you keep convincing yourself that one can’t “be high” all the time… As you know he left our “bridge” and started building a new one with that new woman…

    I think I am becoming more and more intolerant towards men (and people in general) who don’t walk the talk, “the most recent guy” including (“Yes, we [WE!!!] need [to go and watch the game]”; “Good topic for a pillow talk”, etc.)

    I don’t think you need to lower your standards. You should never settle, but that does not mean that you cannot find all sorts of men interesting, and on the same note not all men you find interesting are going to be worth settling down with.

    “…not all men you find interesting are going to be worth settling down with” – that is important to remember. Not sure where I can go from here though…

    As for lowering my standards… It is tricky and reminds me of a parable about a woman who goes to a department store to pick up a husband. She is warned that she won’t be able to go back to any previous floor. So on she goes from floor to floor until she reaches the upper one where the sign reads that the sale is over.

    I can see that all of a sudden I become so enthusiastic about my relationship that I have the man CONSTANTLY on my mind when doing anything, even those activities that normally would captivate me so much that I would forget anything

    This is the phase of a relationship that might be the most fun. It is infatuation/lust whatever. I think there is probably a biological and evolutionary reason for this.

    Yes, it is exactly that. Mother Nature wants us to procreate ASAP.

    But this is the biggest challenge in a relationship, how do you keep this feeling after so many years. Should a relationship be over once this feeling is gone? Can I rediscover this relationship in my marriage after 7 years? I actually think it is possible, but I am finding out it takes a lot of work.

    You might find answers to the following plea for help interesting: https://tinybuddha.com/topic/i-love-him-but-im-suddenly-not-in-love/

    Personally, I believe that that infatuation, under normal circumstances, should be morphing into that quiet and steady feeling. Given that when I ran into my #2 (and also with #3, my ex, months after the breakup), I could still tell why it was I had been so attracted to him before, I would say that this is what probably should remain as a reminder of why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place.

    I seriously doubt one can live on that “high” and keep experiencing fireworks indefinitely.

     treat all men as you would treat friends until they explicitly say that they want to be something more than a friend.

    Devils advocate: Besides saving yourself from heartache, why not be true to those feelings that you might have? If you meet someone who makes things move inside you, what are the risks of addressing those feelings? So you have committed to behaving like this and so far it hasn’t worked, why not try something different. Get out of your comfort level, approach some guy you find attractive and be the initiator.

    Well, I did see all the signs that #1 liked me a lot, and I liked him tremendously, so me, being a naïve, romantic 23-year old one, having (finally!) met somebody whom I liked physically and intellectually and on whom I had developed an enormous crush AND (most importantly!) who seemed to like me back, started emailing him. He was eager to respond. Finally, we met (he was my martial arts instructor and away because of a death in the family when I took the initiative and emailed him offering my condolences), and I rushed to hug him exclaiming that I had been waiting for him for 12 years. I don’t know what exactly he felt for me (he told me that very evening that he had a partner, but seemed okay to continue our romance or whatever it was), but later on I read a female view on why a female should wait for the male to make the first step (besides the usual gender role distribution and the fact that the female might be viewed as light-headed and an easy conquest, hence not a valued one). The piece basically read that if a female makes the first step and it turns out (for instance) that the guy has a bad breath, and she is put off, it would be much harder for her to go back on her signs of liking him than if he advances and she merely states that he has misinterpreted her.

    Also, with the ”most recent guy”, I figured that everybody likes to know that they are appreciated by somebody, that I might finally learn what it was that was going on between us for four months (or even eight if you count the first bout of correspondence lasting for three or four weeks) and that, if he eventually does divorce and starts looking for somebody, he will have an even better incentive to contact me (we did had that amazing chemistry besides confiding into each other!) if he does go through his list of contacts as men normally do after breakups or when feeling lonely. And I was sure that I would know whether he was still mentally unavailable because of that other woman or his ex-wife (by then), so I was losing nothing. And that was my last email to him on June 6, 2017. I quoted his reply in one of my posts to you.

    Oh yes, and before that final email of mine, I tried to drag him out to chat like we used to do in 2015-early 2016. He would reply straight away, but his answers would be short, he would never ask me anything (stark contrast to how our chats had flown before he stopped contacting me two times, in July 2015 and then in February 2016), and it literally felt as if I was pulling his teeth. So I stopped.

    In addition, there are not too many men whom I fancy AND who are not married. Right now the number is zero.

    Matt, I’d like to go back to my grouping of men in my life. It is from Page 2 of your thread (“Need space to vent…”)

    I have recently come up with a classification of men as regards my feelings for them. There are some for whom I feel complete aversion – just like there exists love at first sight, which I haven’t experienced, there exists hate at first sight, which I have. The worst thing here is that they did nothing wrong at all (yet), but I already can’t stand them. Physically.

    For brevity sake, I could call this group “-1”.

    There are some whom I don’t find pleasant to be around. Again on that basic chemical level. A guy like that tried to date me several months ago. I did what I could, gave him a try, but it turned out that I had been right – no matter how much time I give to a man, if he doesn’t interest me when we first talk, he never will.

    “-0.5”

    There are some to whom I am completely neutral. Those would be (or are) good male friends. No sexual feelings added, none whatsoever. Proof (at least in my eyes) that friendship between men and women, no matter what they say, is possible.

    “0”

    Next group consists of two subgroups. One is represented by men with whom I would look great in a family photo (I talked to one male acquaintance of mine, funny enough that was also his criterion for finding a woman attractive), but who don’t really interest me on the physical level and whom I don’t really interest.

    Actually, as I think more about these men, to whom I am attracted at first side, but whom I stop finding interesting after a chat or two (and who are not interested in me either – maybe that is why I lose interest? Though I tend to think chemistry always comes first, so it is just the fact that we would look good in that family photo is what attracts me to them in the first place, but it all stops right there), so the more I think about them, the more I am inclined to put them into the -0.5 group. Mainly because after talking to them, all my body is screaming “Not interested! Boring! Get out!!!”

    The other one is with whom we might flirt a little bit and with whom, if only they were free and took the matters in their hands, something would definitely happen between us. But I don’t lose sleep because of them (or may be daydreaming for a couple of hours, that is all).

    “+0.5”

    A separate group is men for whom I feel that basic animal pull, but my mind somehow finds it extremely easy to extinguish that pull. I know they are not right for me from the start and have no problem thinking about something else.

    The top one would the one with whom I am in love. Emotions running high. Very, very few men and never one-sided. Or one-sided for a very brief amount of time after which I do somehow manage to change focus.

    “+1”

     

     

    That is I can hardly imagine being intimate with them, but I know that they would make great partners AND I also know that if any other guy like “most recent guy” or either one of those two came along, I would be smitten and it would be unfair to these “great partners.”

    So do you think there is a difference between a great partner and someone who lights your fire and you can be smitten with.

    Yes, it seems like it. “Great partners” (that is, -0.5 guys) are boring. Can feel that at a mile’s distance. (Which, in conjunction with my propensity for melancholy and depression doesn’t bode well for the relationship.)

    And the ones I can be smitten with are either unavailable physically (like those two married guys (+0.5) or the divorced one who is happy on his own, who could very well compete with the “most recent guy” – “+1”, because I could fall in love with him just like that) or mentally (and physically, too).

    Now my stunning discovery from last weekend.

    You know, I like to think that I am good at projecting myself into a situation, that is how I would feel if I were (if we are talking about relationships) with X, Y, or Z. Well, I played with it and was surprised to feel that if I were with the “most recent guy,” and one of those three came along, I might find myself thinking about him (NOT “most recent guy” – my partner in my “projection”). In fact, I had the same experience with my ex, which was relieving at the time ‘cause I thought that that meant that I was not deadly dependent on him and his feelings for me.

    BUT if I imagined myself with one of those three (and it wouldn’t matter which one of the three!), and the “most recent guy” came along, I wouldn’t pay attention to him (!!!).

    Now, isn’t that weird? The only explanation that I have is that my ex the “most recent guy” and give me thrills, which is not good long-term and, as Evan Marc Katz says in his blog (I believe I sent you a link to one of his (or some say, it is a company, Evan Marc Katz, not a live person) posts about physical attraction), whereas these three give me a sense of stability and safety and reliability, which makes mу 100% happy with my relationship.

    But then I wonder – is it they who give me a sense of stability or, as I thought I should now believe, is it simply me who is more stable, calm, feeling safer, etc. now, hence I find men who mirror me here (are stable, calm, reliable, etc.) more appealing.

    But then, again, how do I know that those two married guys and one divorced guy are stable, calm, reliable, etc. – I haven’t interacted enough with them to be able to say that for sure, and marriage facades, as you pointed out, are often just that – facades…

    Now, I don’t like the fact that ANY one of the three “would do,” but I don’t know whether I need to uncover this one now. May be not worth it.

    There is one more interesting thing that all of my exes had in common, and what seems to be applicable to the “most recent guy.” Now, I don’t know whether this thing in common was in them before they met me (and that is what pulled them to me) or whether they become that once our romance started (me being the reason on the surface and them being unhappy (because otherwise, they wouldn’t notice me if they were spiritually advanced enough to resist temptations (well, #3 may be the exception here, if we talk about resisting temptations, though he did tell me when we were discussing our breakup that he had had temptations when he was with me, but was able to resist them, but with that new woman (the one who married), he failed))… Anyway, that thing in common is what I would call the “oscillation between “the good” and “the bad”. Of course, I am “the good” in their lives (irony intended) and not me is “the bad.” I say that this is what they have in common, because after we break up, and I am no longer in their lives, if I meet them again or look up their pictures several years later (out of sheer curiosity), I can see how unappealing they look, and am nearly certain that I wouldn’t pick them out if we were to start again. (Well, if we were still together, that would be another matter, I would be with them through thick and thin.) It is as if I meet those men when they are at that threshold where one can still see what they looked like younger (I am attracted to the 35-55-year old men for the most part), but can’t yet tell what they are going to look like when old. Well, soon after we break up, they change so much that I can see what they are going to look like when old, and I don’t like that, because their appearance illustrates Coco Chanel’s quote, “…but at fifty you get the face you deserve.”

    I see you might be trying to lower your own expectations.

    You mean going with “great partners” (-0.5) and not waiting for the one who sweeps me off his feet AND is a great partner (available goes without saying)?

    Are you scared of being totally heart broken? It feels like there are all sorts of safety nets around your relationship life.

    Matt, I am sorry, but what safety nets are you seeing?

    I can see that I almost risked my career and reputation for my ex; made myself seem a totally crazy and obsessed gal to #1, etc.

    Or do you mean that I choose these unavailable men exactly because their unavailability IS my safety net? A few articles point this out. That is that women like I are subconsciously boycotting the idea of a happy and loving relationship with a man for some reason and, naturally, choosing unavailable men, with whom they can be in love, busying themselves in this love, suffering, but at the same time knowing that they are safe because these men are unavailable?

    But then here we are coming to that question of mine – how come I manage to find an unavailable man attractive EVEN BEFORE I know that he is unavailable? Your answer that it might be the aura of safety and assurance around them that attracts me, may very well be true.

    And the aura may be only skin-deep (#3 being the best case in point).

    So does that mean that I need to work on feeling safe and secure in my own skin? We have made full circle here, haven’t we? Or am I missing something?

    And what is the chicken here and what is the egg? Am I unavailable because I have so many hobbies and interests in my life or I “haven’t met him yet” (as two good male acquaintances put it in answer to what do I do) that is why I have all those hobbies and interests?

    Heartbreak is scary as hell, the thought of my wife leaving me and breaking my heart would be the worst thing that could happen. I would be devastated. But I have come to a realization that if my wife chose someone else over me, it would not be the end of the world. It would suck, and hurt, and be awful, but I would hope that I would figure it all out and move on with life.

    I am very glad that you are thinking this way. I now think this way, too. Or rather, I am not really concerned now about whether I am going to meet somebody with whom I am happy long-term or not.

    But before that, oh well, before that I was convinced that if I do fall in love, if that love is mutual and happy (like it was with my ex), then our life simply MUST be the “happily ever after” and us breaking up is simply not on the agenda. And since – yes! – he was all I wanted in a man (ALL the items on my checklist were checked off except for the marriage status, but I was positive it was only a question of time) AND since I waited that long and finally found him and he did become my first man, that meant that him leaving me would be something so horrible, better not think of it. It simply couldn’t happen.

    And if he were, say, to die, then I was completely prepared to mourn him all my life. No less.

    you don’t need to be in relationships with men who are unavailable from the beginning” – again, the same question – how do I know that “from the beginning”? Unless, of course, I know that they have a partner. Or do you mean that I should be blocking all “what ifs” if a man with a partner is pursuing me? That I won’t be missing my chance at fairy-tale romance if I don’t open myself up to a possibility of being happy with the man IF the man has a partner, that no matter what as long as he has a partner, he is off limits? And forget about happy endings that started as adultery?

    So here is a question I have with your relationships, even though the men you fell for were already taken, how hard should you fight for someone you love? I don’t really know how to get this thought out of my head. Do you think you loved someone so much that you would fight for them.

    Well, I am not really a fighter. I like to think that both lovers need to be committed enough to fight for their “flower,” their love for each other. I don’t think one-sided fighting ever worked (or worked only short-term), no matter what Christian websites claim.

    As a side note, I tried my best to give a synopsis of a huge book on breakups and how to recover from them written by a Russian psychologist for whom I have a lot of respect. One of his premises is that somebody who has tried to leave you more than once, will leave you eventually no matter what. You can find the entire thing here: https://tinybuddha.com/topic/some-suggestions-that-might-help-for-people-going-through-breakup-or-divorce/page/2/

    I sure hope it is a bit premature for you, but just so you know where to find tried and tested advice.

    With #1, the romance was so quick, I had no idea who his partner was, so much believed in that we were bound to be together no matter what, so had no inclination to fight.

    Basically, that premise – that if it is meant to be, it will be – led me through all my likings and mild crushes until I met #3.

    With #2, well, I despised his wife. There was no way I would be competing with her. Simply beneath me.

    With #3, at first, he had talked to her and they seemed to agree to keep up appearances until he got his promotion. So for about six months, there was no need to fight (and I wouldn’t, because we had so much understanding, bliss, honeymoon stage, etc.)

    Next, when his wife decided that she couldn’t let him go, I didn’t have to fight, because my ex would always be there for me assuring me that I was the one and only.

    I didn’t fight for him when he announced that he was breaking up with me.

    However, I did try to fight when I saw him again, just one month after the breakup was announced and four months after he had met his current wife and fell in love with her.

    I tried to fight because when we met, he acted so confused and strange. He acted as if he was still under my spell. He was not the same he whom I had known, he was a stranger with my ex’s face, voice, figure, manners, habits; there was something “off.” But he would suggest going out, doing all the things we used to do when we were together “for real”… It was like a full reset of our relationship.

    AND was like trying to win a stranger who is your love’s clone.

    He was the first one to hug me, to kiss me on the lips. Yet, I couldn’t shake that “off” feeling.

    For two weeks it felt as if an enormous ship was slowly changing course in my favour. But then (and I am not particularly proud of it), when feeling that powerful pull towards him, I tried to seduce him into making love with me. He succumbed. Well, it was not a rape, because I wanted it so badly, but it was so mechanical, no tenderness – I guess that how clients have sex with a prostitute. I broke out in tears and we stopped it there. That is how I knew that my ex, the way I knew him, the one who loved me, was gone forever. He even suggested we get back together several times (denied it later, during his next trip here), I said that he needed to go back home, see that other woman and then decide. He said that I was an amazing girl. He called me from the airport as he used to do when we were still a couple, but never called me when he landed. I knew that was it.

    He came again a couple of times for work, and we would meet at work as regular colleagues. Nevertheless, I did feel that pull again (I think I told you about it). But that was over a year ago, and I haven’t seen him since. Hope I never will.

    His “good-bye” action towards me was unfriending me on all but one social networks in June this year. He, who claimed he admired how cool it was in Scandinavia where all the exes get together for birthdays, confirmations, marriages, etc. unfriended me. Besides, we were (and are still, to an extent) co-workers.

    Now, I don’t know whether this was done at the request of his wife (she would keep popping up as my friend suggestion as I am sure I would pop up as hers) – that would be unusual because he wouldn’t unfriend his exes at my request or at the request of his then wife and he only unfriended me, not his other exes.

    Even if this is at his wife’s request, this shows that he continues behaving in such a way that she feels threatened in her position as a wife. Even though I let him go at once, never called him or her, didn’t make scenes, etc. And it has been two years now since they married.

    I have a tiny hope that he unfriended me because I reminded him of his broken promises and he as a narcissist can’t stand being the one to blame (and he can hardly reproach me anything in my behavior – yes, I called a few times and wrote polite emails asking him to tell me the truth when he went MIA, but it only showed that I cared for him, as my partner of six years).

    But mainly I hope that he couldn’t stand the fact that I (as I hope I made him believe) found a very quick consolation in the arms of my “most recent guy”. Back when I thought that something might come out of it with the “most recent guy,” I asked my ex for advice. Since my ex has no problems being in a relationship when married, and a lot of people at work believe that the “most recent guy” is divorced, plus my ex and the “most recent guy” met at an event in another country and the “most recent guy” no more wears his wedding ring, I would very much like to think that my ex couldn’t stand the thought of me not only not sobbing after him (as his ex wife is doing), not creating drama and problems for him, but also being now with a guy who is more successful career-wise, younger and better-looking than my ex.

    I would really love to believe it is so. If I am right, this is the best revenge.

    Well, it would be even better if the “most recent guy” and I were together for real AND the “most recent guy” were divorced AND mentally available, but it is what it is.

    I love my wife, that love is so strong that I would do almost anything to keep that love. But day to day, that Love is up and down….

    Matt, I think you should read The Passion Trap. How to Right an Unbalanced Relationship by Dean C. Delis, Ph.D. with Cassandra Phillips. It talks a lot about ups and downs in a relationship, and that story about a couple who were clear about the problem, still loved each other, but nevertheless decided to part ways (the decision made at a counsellor’s office) is from there.

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    #178563

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    Participant

    Matt,

    Thank you for going through this one. As usual, I have something to reply to some if not all of your comments and a couple of ideas are worth looking deeper into. That funny (as in “strange”) thought that I came up with last weekend will fit logically in one of my responses to your responses.

    I should have time to reply tomorrow after my sail training. If not (or partially), then on Sunday. Maybe by then you will have addressed my huge post from October 20 on the other thread as well.

    Have a great weekend in case I don’t hear from you until Sunday or next week.

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    #178455

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    Participant

    Matt,

    Thanks a lot for your response. Our interaction has been beneficial on at least two counts for me – first, as I was typing all those memories AND my thoughts down, I was getting that final closure from my hectic decade or so of love attachments of different sorts (might be just my version of getting older and mature going through all those hormonal changes that people go through in their youth (actually, these changes last well into our mid-twenties)) and second, I was getting a response from a live person, a male (double value here ;)) and sometimes a different angle, a new perspective OR a confirmation of my observations, beliefs, etc. So please forgive me, but I would sure like to read any comments that you might have to those posts of mine where it all ended a month ago. One more thank you in advance (and I hope that while doing so, you might find or stumble upon something useful for you, too)!

    Lots of things that you write make (or, rather, made – I did get 90% or so out, I believe) me think of something else to write in response, but I would wait half a day or a day or so and I would write it only if after this “time test” I still think I should put it down.

    So after those posts from a month ago, I had only a couple of minor additions left, but I can hardly remember what they were and/or don’t think now that they are that necessary to mention. So it does seem like it all indeed boiled down and/or got out. This may be the main reason for my feeling at peace, a sense of relief and of going back to the times when I had mild youthful crushes on professors and not those crazy, all-consuming infatuations that I experienced with #1 and #3 (#2 on to a lesser degree (or so it seems now)).

    As I mentioned though, I did come upon one funny observation, and I would like to know what you would make of it and of my analysis of it.

    But I think, since it sounds like you don’t mind going through those posts for me again, I should wait till you write your comments to that stuff and then I’ll be responding to all of your comments at once.

    Thank you!

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    #178419

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    Participant

    Wow, Matt! “Wow” because it has been a month and I have seen quite a few regular communications stop abruptly in life and on this very website as well, that I was prepared never to hear from you again.

    To tell you the truth, I thought that you had showed her our correspondence, she became jealous and said that you ought to stop communicating with me, and you dutifully obliged. Ha-ha 🙂

    Your unexpected response also proves a couple of my not-so-recent “discoveries,” the first one being that most of things are indeed in our heads and are real only there, and the second – that there is really no telling what will happen (even though there may be trends and tendencies pointing in certain directions).

    I am glad you reached that state of peace with yourself. I have a great respect for meditation and breathing techniques though I was never able to learn the former no matter how hard I tried and the latter is something that I flatter myself I do naturally (breathing with the abdomen, for instance), so I can’t really credit them with my coming to terms with events in my life. I guess with me it is mostly getting tired of and bored with pouring out stuff and rehashing the same thing over and over again. I don’t even notice when or how I stop, only at some point I become aware that something is no longer bothering me or bothering me on a much lesser scale.

    I did come across one interesting observation when thinking further about “types” of men that I encounter and feelings that some of them stir up in me. I would like to share it with you – maybe you will have some insights as to why it is so or what is what there.

    You mentioned being busy at work and (before that) some significant changes in your work life, so I don’t know if you are willing to continue our exploration of various matters. If you do, I would also be very grateful to you if you could spare some time and recall and let me know what it was you wanted to share after reading my two super lengthy posts from a month ago.

    If not, it is perfectly okay. I am really surprised at how my “most recent guy” changed physically (for the worse – and I can swear that there is no improvement in his relationship with his wife and he is not in love with anybody else (yet?)) in just two months. He almost looks like a total stranger now in his twitter pictures, so I don’t even know if the chemistry would still be there if we met. Frankly, I don’t think the chemistry would go away (all my other experiences show that it never does, when I meet men whom I fancied in the past, I can exactly say and feel why I fancied them, but those feelings merely have no more power over me), but I am even more at peace now than I ever was. I think the realisation that we can only help those who are willing to accept our help (and who are doing something themselves for that help to work!) has finally been fully processed by my psyche and “sunk in.” I can safely say that I am now letting life happen and am really taking life day by day and – wouldn’t have believed that a couple of years ago when I literally lived “through” my ex! – am happier than I have been in a long, long time, even before I met #1! I also think that now, for the first time in nine or ten years (!), I am not actively daydreaming about anybody at all.

    I don’t want to rain on your cautious parade (and I don’t know what and for how long you are willing to put up with if neither of the other parties takes action, the status quo remaining), but I personally do remember how happy I was when my ex and I reached that stage when we lived just like any couple who are committed to each other would live in a long-distance relationship (I mean that stage when even the suspicious me stopped doubting him and his relationship with his wife, etc.) only to realise later that that just-one-step-away-from-divorce stage had been lasting for a couple of years with no further changes.

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    #177979

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    Participant

    Hey, Matt!

    Now that it has been almost a month, I can’t help but wonder how things are going with your wife? Hope that you are on your second honeymoon and Jay is a thing of a remote, remote past!

    Take care,

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    #174099

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    Also, “don’t play the game anymore” – what game are you referring to?

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    #174097

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    Participant

    Matt,

    I need some time to digest your posts and provide some insight

    Please take as much time as you need. I don’t know if I am going to have some qualitative jump in my relationships with men as a result out of this interaction of ours, but it feels good to put ALL of those thoughts running through my head in writing. I am not sure whether it is a good idea to stir all those emotions and thoughts anew (especially the ones I thought I was over and done with, and it felt certainly like too much to write back then), but I can feel that there is some process ongoing in the background of my subconsciousness.

    Given that I am sharing personal details concerning my feelings about my wife/marriage/life, do you think that it is something that I should share with my wife? My gut tells me that I should show her and let her read all of these posts, but on the flip side I also like the fact that this is my outlet. Maybe all I need to share with her is that I have been posting thoughts and feelings on an anonymous as a way to work through my thoughts. Or maybe it is something that does not need to be mentioned. I am not sure about this one, I can see benefits and negatives in all of them.

    I can see your dilemma. I may be wrong, but this question of yours and your seeing benefits and negatives in all of them sure feels like my seeing all the aspects of my situation (all the pros and cons regarding everything – basically everywhere I say, “but there is also this” and “I don’t know”) and literally craving for some authority that I trust 100% to come in and say, “Yes, what you are doing is enough,” etc. That is why I like reading all those psychological books. BUT, Matt, in psychology there is no “norm” like in other medical disciplines. If a person is functional and is not hurting others, s/he is “normal.” That is why psychotherapists work with patients from the patients’ point of departure. That is what the patient needs to feel good and how to achieve it for that very patient. And those two things would differ from person to person. One just need to find a good expert (and that is far from being easy). I also have a great belief in psychotherapy because I was exposed to it when I had trouble falling asleep in the last year of high school before final exams. I read all sorts of books about insomnia and worry, and I needed that one small final push to get me out of the predicament. Luckily, I came across a Ph.D. practicing in our local ambulatory clinic. He was wrong as to the reason for my insomnia (he didn’t believe me that it was because of my exams and worry to get into the university of my choosing; he thought I was suffering from unrequited love), but he suggested one exercise. Matt, I talked to him once, started doing his exercise, and the next time I saw him in one week’s time was to get my clean bill of health. By the way, insomnia never returned.

    So back to your question, I’d say it is just like with the other questions of yours (I needed a space where I could explore whether  a) the jealousy I was feeling was healthy, or if it meant that I should get out of my marriage b) or not a marriage is worth keeping if the two people are open and honest with each other c) if I should still love my wife knowing what I know d) if being intimate with someone else proved that you don’t love the other person anymore) – you are the one who decides. You can listen to what others are saying, take their views into account, but the ultimate decision rests upon your shoulders. By the way, not deciding anything is also a decision. Scary, huh? – Nothing is a given, nothing is certain. Just like life itself.

    But back to earth. (In fact, I was wondering how your wife texting with Joe is feeling about your typing and typing something for prolonged periods of times at the same time 😉 – and maybe you stirred her jealousy a little bit in turn, hence your discussions and openness???)

    Just one question for you to consider.

    Does your wife show you her texts with Joe?

    I am very much into fair play. So if your wife started all this in your family, and is not willing to share what she is sharing with Joe, I wouldn’t want to do more than she does for your union. Furthermore, you know that Joe is her love interest (of whatever kind and for whatever reason) and you and I are not even acquainted.

    Personally, I don’t mind you sharing with her. I am aware that what I am writing here can be seen by anybody (and posts can’t be deleted once posted). I prefer to ask for men’s opinions regarding my dealings with men (that is why I ignore relationship books written by women), but I always welcome insights. Maybe she would have something to tell me as well.

    The choice is yours. 😉

    Or maybe you can tell her that you are exploring your feelings anonymously and ask her if she is okay with it. Maybe she won’t even want to take a look.

    My ex, in-between his marriages (actually, while still in love with a married woman) was doing something similar on a dating site (see how he was surrounding himself with backup options?). He and the girl never met (even though his married love interest told him no two months later), but their communication was very insightful and deep. He emailed it all to me (omitting pictures and personal details) when trying to convince me that I shouldn’t be afraid of his advances and that he was a thinking person worth falling for.

    I wish I could be of more help…

    Have a fantastic weekend, no rush in replying. Funny how I stumbled across somebody on this site again, purely by accident (I didn’t make that many attempts, but still) and it proved to be such a great communication. Chance does rule the world! 😉

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    #174057

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    Participant

    Matt,

    Okay, wow, now that is a relationship to wrap my head around. No wonder about the confusion.  Your Ex sounds like he could use  some alone time to straighten himself out first.

    Yes. But he won’t. He doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with him. No wonder I wanted him to read a few of the men vs women psychology books that I had read, mainly about love and relationships. But now I know that he wouldn’t read them – he is too sure of himself and of his way of living life.

    There is a whole lot of selfishness there to be able to walk into peoples lifes like that and rip everything apart, throw it onto the ground, and walk away with no remorse. That is like a picture of a Tornado ripping through the landscape leaving devastation behind.

    YES!!! Matt, this is absolutely stunning, but that was the exact image I had in my head when it was all over, and that I have still when thinking about his way of going through life. Exactly like a tornado moving from one structure (i.e. woman) to another leaving nothing but destruction and devastation in its wake.

    I am sure there were many fun times, and times of hope, but he was a master manipulator that was able to get everything that he wanted.

    How can you tell from what I wrote that he was a master manipulator?

    I mean, narcissists are brilliant manipulators, and I do believe that he was one.

    But then I am not a psychologist myself, and I can’t give diagnoses, especially such serious ones.

    But it sure felt like he fitted the description and behaviour patterns of a narcissist. (There is an excellent site by Natalie Lue called Baggage Reclaim on narcissists.)

    But again, maybe I think he is a narcissist because I want him to be one, that is I am looking for the proof of it and I find proof.

    Just like in the past, when I was with him, my mother would say that he was manipulating me, but I in all honesty couldn’t see how exactly he might be manipulating me.

    Everything that he said made sense. We discussed lots of things, too, naturally, and he proved to be observant and tolerant etc., etc. In fact, he was the first one who said that I might be afraid of life. (I’ll say in parentheses that he might be afraid of life, too – and actually mirroring me on a few other levels, otherwise we wouldn’t have been attracted to each other. But again, maybe I am seeing this only because I want to see it.)

    Narcissists often choose deep-feeling people who tend to analyse (and maybe overanalyse) themselves. So did he. He would never try to prove me that I was wrong when I was accusing him of something (or, rather, venturing a guess as to why he was doing what he was doing). He would say, “I can’t make you believe that it is not so if you don’t want to believe it. It is not so – that is all that I can say.” And then I would turn to myself, try to put myself into his shoes, and I would see that I would be behaving exactly like he was – in a calm and dignified manner. Just an example. Or that other time, when it seemed like he wasn’t as willing to leave no stone unturned as he had been before to come and see me. I would complain that he stopped coming to spend Christmas with me, and he would say, “But didn’t I come and spent two Christmases with you?” And that was true, but that was – what, five years ago? And again, he had perfect reasons for not doing it like waiting for his entry visa be done through work two months later rather than applying for it as an individual. Again, I am not sure whether I wouldn’t be doing the same if I were in his place and still feeling all that I was feeling. Or one more. I would ask him, “What would you do in my place?” And he would go, “I can’t give advice, I am an interested party.”

    And that love life of his. I heard of his two failed marriages from a colleague of his who had known him for twenty years and was gossiping to other ladies before his arrival. (No one could predict that he and I would be working on a joint project back then.) No wonder, almost any woman who would fall under his charm (and he IS charming, chivalrous, generous (also in bed, by the way), knowledgeable, was about to achieve that position that he had been dreaming about – so there was literally no resisting) would pity him, think that she – oh she would show him, poor thing, what true love is and hurry to his “rescue”.

    Out of curiosity, what is the biggest thing that you take away from that relationship?

    My main take is that there are no soul mates. You see, I was so romantic (and stubborn) thinking that if I do everything right, sincerely believe, wait long enough, my “prince” would come (“as certain as the sunrise in the East…”). In fact, I was trying to implement in my love life the same rules that had worked for me in my work life – play by the rules, be fair, work hard, and with a bit of luck, you’ll get there.

    Now I tend to think that chance (or luck) plays a far bigger role that any one of us wants to acknowledge.

    Maybe if I consistently went on dates, sooner or later I would come across somebody with whom I have chemistry and with whom we match on the intellectual level and the level of values. Just out of the sheer number of people I would meet, increasing the probability so to speak. Maybe, as I said in that other post, when I have nothing else to do, this will be what I’ll busy myself with.

    I am not sure that getting close too quick is such a big no-no. My parents met at a ski resort in February, got married in July, and I was born in March next year. They have had their issues (and have still), but, as my mother says, they both (having been married before) knew what they were looking for when they met, so they both were willing to adjust for the sake of being together after they “clicked” initially. They are still together.

    But I sure do now think that if something sounds too good to be true, it most probably is. I can’t deny that throughout the duration of the relationship I was mentally ready for him to ghost on me. Only five years passed, and that never happened (and we had lapses of about a year of not seeing each other two times plus those attempts of mine to break loose), he kept communicating constantly (I insisted on phone calls, and he complied), and just when I relaxed and thought that there was nothing to fear, that he got used to me, that one can’t be infatuated that long, so it must now be love that is calmer, but more solid – right then he fell in love anew. Turned out that his passion never becomes love, it burns out, and then he craves a new passion.

    And all the psychology books and articles would claim that “infatuation lasts for about a year”; even with long-distance, we had exceeded that limit by much. Later on, about narcissists, women would experience that drop in their interest for them after several months, with me it was still going strong in Year 6. He and I were at my acquaintances’ place, and I was told by an elderly lady (again, talk about experience!) that I was very lucky and he was a keeper (!). Even my girlfriend who visited us at some point said that it was obvious that he loved me very much. He charmed a few ladies at my work (I can safely say that I (we) somehow managed to keep it a secret from everybody at work thanks to that joint project).

    There were some things that I noticed and didn’t quite like, but when I tried to reason, they were balanced off by other things, that couldn’t be ignored either (have a whole list in that sealed envelope). He wished me a happy birthday in our last year, said that he loved me very, very much and then, just one month later, met that woman and it all went rapidly downhill.

    Also psychologists don’t write about narcissists claiming that such cases are very few and far between. Well, they seem to pop up more often now, and I ran into one head-on. Reading all those psychological books and trying to be understanding of his “male nature” was akin to trying to raise a wolf puppy as a regular dog puppy – this simply can’t be done and regular rules don’t apply here.

    There was also that ingrained respect for older people and people with more experience, etc. Well, now I have proof that indeed age, experience, past relationships do not necessarily lead to emotional intelligence. I was also looking for somebody to tell me how it should be, to answer my questions. Now I know that all those answers are not all-encompassing, they would be different for other people AND I need to look for those answers in myself and not in another person.

    There were a few things though that made my recovery much easier than that of his wife #3, for instance (she STILL has their pictures together on her social network sites).

    One is that it was long-distance. I also wonder whether it was long-distance that prolonged his love’s “shelf life” as I call it.

    Another one is that I “keep scores.” My Dad somewhat scolds me for that (he goes something like “It is not good or worthy of you to think and pay attention to what and how much the other person has done for you for you to do something for the other person”). And it is not like I am calculating or anything. It is more like I am too sensitive to the concept of fair play, give and take and the nuances in the other person’s responses. I hate being a nuisance, so I normally easily notice the unwillingness or less eagerness to maintain interaction on the same level. I retreat then. It is certainly harder if I grew attached to the individual (like it happened with the “most recent guy”), but I can’t stand imposing myself. Along the same lines, I have some internal sensor that prevents me from physically investing more than the other person. I may be pining over him emotionally, but I am watching my actions very carefully. With my ex, I would insist on going Dutch everywhere unless he was very vocal about paying for me. We did have a joint account for his expenses in this country, and it was technically easier for him to pay my cell phone bills in our home country, but that was about it. So there were not that many legal ties to cut when the breakup occurred.

    The final nail in the coffin was him deleting me from his friends on all the social networks that his wife has access to (he left me on the one where she is not present and where he hasn’t been for two or three years) – I presume I would constantly pop up as a friend suggestion for her as she would for me. THAT given that we are still coworkers; that I wished him well and didn’t bother him with calls or texts or emails after he finally told me about that new love of his; that given that we had talked about how cool it was in Scandinavia where all the exes remain friends and visit each other!!! Not to mention that when we got acquainted and he fell for me, he befriended me on ALL the social networks where he could find me…

    Also as for “keeping scores,” if I really like the person (no matter what age or sex), I can do a lot for him or her just because. I tell myself that I, myself, would feel better if I did XYZ or would feel bad afterwards if I didn’t do XYZ and I do it expecting nothing in return. If I get something from them, so much the better, if not – I won’t hold any grudges and it won’t matter at all.

    I suppose I also reinforced my natural inclination not to judge people. We truly never know what the other person is going through or where s/he is coming from.

    Oh, and one more thing. Since he was not the last person on the corporate ladder, even though I never revered people in high places (well, not that high), I would be wary of them and a little bit shy and awkward. Now I don’t care. No matter what position a person holds, I treat him or her even and with respect and that is it. Like I would treat anybody else.

    In terms of the most recent guy, that does go to show how important chemistry is, and how powerful it is. For you to have gone through what you did with your ex and still continue to put yourself in a situation which has all of the makings of a very hard relationship to make work.

    Oh yes, those were exactly the thoughts that raced through my mind as I went to bed after our cuddling that night. I even made a list as to why I shouldn’t be pinning my hopes on having a new relationship with him. And I was still in that in-between state. It was super nice to cuddle with him, but I still had too many memories of how it felt to cuddle with my ex (the mind already struck that relationship out, I knew that it was not something I should wish for myself, but I still hadn’t yet got out of the habit of thinking about him) to embrace him coming into my life. But then he texted me the next morning asking how I felt after that half-night because of him, we started communicating very often, he wrote that he was figuring his life out, that his wife and his upcoming counselling trip was the “last-ditch attempt”, so I kind of started thinking that I simply happened to come into his life when everything was more or less settled in his mind regarding his marriage. At the same time, there were other signs, like that “don’t fall in love with me, I can’t even fix my marriage”, so deep down I was ready for him to ghost on me sooner or later. That basically happened four months later.

    Now, looking back, I think I can see that life turned out exactly how my gut was telling me it would, but probably later than I thought it would. But it still did. But again, maybe I am trying to prove to myself that I had known it all along in my gut.

    As for a very hard relationship to make work, am I not romantic wishing to fight for the love of my life??? Just kidding.

    So lets talk about challenges. From everything you have wrote about, I can assume that you are extremely intelligent, and have worked really hard to get where you are. 

    Matt, I am also pretty. One woman in a meeting, very stylish and elegantly dressed, once told me that I could email all my friends pictures of Robin Tunney’s photo session and tell them that they were mine (Prison Break series). “You are simply not wearing proper make-up [I only do mascara and powder], but if you were, you would be a copy of hers.” Women don’t normally acknowledge other women’s appeal.

    Even my mother, who sometimes exclaims in mocked despair, “Who would ever marry you?!!” (after I do or can’t do X, Y or Z) quite often looks at me and says that I am very pretty and she can’t understand why I don’t have a line of men waiting by my door to invite me somewhere. She herself has always had a few admirers.

    Is there something there about the challenge of winning the affection of these men who on the outside look unattainable.

    That was the reason for my starting the “Need Help Understanding Why” thread. Yes, they are unattainable (or are they – with the divorce rate of today?), but what on their outside make them look unattainable to me? And I am positive that I meet many unattainable men every day; what makes me fall for some, but not for the others? Well, now that I think about it (and that I am no longer a student falling for her male professors), I think it may be that I get some signs from them that they might be interested, might be experiencing those first symptoms of liking me. Knowing that men are reserved and keep feelings to themselves, I dwell on it and decide that they are feeling more for me than they show. So my attachment is born. They may forget about their natural male interest in me after several minutes, but I would still be thinking about it, maybe making it grow out of proportions, like a true romantic would.

    As for the challenge per se, I don’t know. I still tend to think that they should be showing some initial interest in me first, for me to start thinking about them. But then they decide against it or forget about it, but I have already grown attached to the idea (if there was chemistry in the first place).

    I thought long and hard about the Electra complex as well. I do believe my mother, on her deep subconscious level, is competing with me. But – interestingly enough – even though I do have deep respect and love (now that I am a grown-up) for my father, I never wanted a partner like him. Or maybe I never wanted a partner like him physically. In fact, I am looking for almost everything in contrast – glasses is a no-no, I am normally attracted to tall men, etc. Still, as I was writing in that other thread, I have been attracted to men who don’t fit one image at all. Even with glasses, I kind of liked one of my shooting instructors in January, and he was bespectacled!

    I would probably agree that all my likes of men closer to 60 (professors and #2 and one more man with whom though I managed to remain on purely father-daughter positions (a host father)) were an attempt to compensate for that love and care that my father felt for me (and still feels), but decided against showing on the outside for fear of spoiling me.

    I would like to think that I overcame that, outgrew that sort of attachment now (thanks to #2!)

    Also, as I am getting older, the age range of men for whom I have always felt attraction (35-50) is much closer to my age now than it was twenty years ago. So there is hope here, too.

    Still, it would be fun to go on that type of date where you meet a lot of men for only 5-10 minutes and then decide to whom you are attracted. I wonder if that group of men to choose from also had married men, how many married men would I be attracted to?

    So the only viable scenario that I can envision (but that is very unlikely) is that we somehow run into each other again, the chemistry still being there and him being already free AND healed and ready for a relationship (from what I could see on his Twitter, nothing has changed in that respect for him – he is still mentally unavailable), and off we go from scratch. As if nothing had ever taken place before.

    After reading everything, I think that unfortunately you served a purpose in his life and did not get anything in return.

    Not quite. First, I didn’t invest more than he did. I “kept scores.” Noticed that, for instance, he never asked me when my birthday was even though I had given him a book for his. Or that he didn’t check up on me during inclement weather even though he posted about it on his Twitter. I am understanding, I think I know where this is coming from (besides him “just being not that into me”), but I didn’t ignore that completely.

    Second, since my breakup was still very fresh in my memory and most of our cuddling and conversation that night evolved around the messes both of us had made in our lives, our written exchanges allowed me to put in writing a lot about my love for my ex and my outlook on life in general (kind of like I am doing it here with you). He also shared some of his observations. He said that my writings (and for the first two months or so he was reading them very attentively, asking questions and answering mine) were also helping him. That was about healing, but there were also a lot of exchanges about almost everything in life, travelling, hobbies, books, films, sexes, and whatnot. All of that sure felt like getting to know each other.

    So as I was slowly turning towards him (and he sure felt like a step forward from my ex – younger, taller, just as good-looking, same position, even slightly higher AND without that heavy love life baggage that my ex had), he suddenly went out of sight. And my “turn” was almost complete. I am NOT in love with him (I could just as well fall in love with at least three other men (more in my other thread) if anyone of them spoke up) and was not in love with him yet (keeping my guard up because of those tiny things that I noticed), but I could easily imagine myself kissing him and being intimate with him. Still can. A very interesting thing happened. I had never experienced orgasm with my ex (and he tried very, very hard). I always felt I was about to break the ceiling and get it, but right there it would all stop for me. Well, I have already had two dreams about me and that “most recent guy.” I can’t say whether we were making love or not in my dream, but he was close, just like he was when we cuddled, and I got it. Two separate dreams, two times.

    I like that you have decided to turn the page, it sounds like continuing to actively pursue/think anything will happen would only serve to hamper you growing more. As an aside, I do believe that if it were meant to be it will show itself and the picture you are painting for yourself is correct.

    Thank you for your opinion, Matt. It was also a good lesson in learning to let go. And to try and live on without closure. Well, I believe I got mine, though, when I confessed my interest in him and got that reply. Now I played all my cards, I know that he is not being shy when he wants to get in touch with somebody (even after a prolonged silence – did that two times already), so the ball is totally in his court. For some reason, that “confession” was liberating for me.

    I also believe in things coming and going naturally. I can feel it in a lot of areas in my life that I can do something and will do something after a certain amount of time has elapsed, after I have “ripened” enough so to speak. And then the thing that I have been procrastinating about gets done quickly and with no pain at all.

    There is one funny thing though. When my ex came to this country six weeks after our announced breakup, he was a total stranger to me on the inside despite being of the same appearance and having all those gestures, mimics, habits, features that I knew by heart. (That get-together after the breakup and my trying to win him back even though he felt as a complete stranger might be worth a separate paragraph at some point, it was ugly, and there were some things I am not particularly proud of and that left a bitter taste, but couldn’t help doing.)

    But when I ran into the “most recent guy” several times after he stopped communication, it was totally different. It felt as if we were of the same blood, like accomplices, soulmates of sorts on the level of feelings and chemistry, but the “data portion” of our mutual time together had been erased. You know, like interference or noise on a TV screen. Like he knew and felt (and behaved) that I was somebody whom he could trust 100%, but couldn’t remember how it came to be that way. I had the same feeling when he started writing to me the second time, after that six weeks’ lapse. That is why I wrote that if we ever start again, it will be “from scratch”. Well, whatever…

    It feels now the same as it feels with my writing to you. If you stop writing (and you are more than welcome to if you feel that this is too much work and emotional and intellectual effort to go through my writings), I’ll be okay.

    By the way, I do feel a slight disparity between how much you give me and how much I give you during this interaction of ours. And I don’t like it. So if there is anything I can help you with with your problems, please don’t hesitate.

    Correct, with my wife, as unsexy as this sounds, it was like your favorite pair of slippers they just fit and they always feel so damn good to put on. We have some very challenging times and the relationship has not been enjoyable all the time, kinda like when those slippers get stinky, the thought of throwing them away never crosses your mind. I have never had that feeling with my wife that something was missing.

    Do you believe this (“always feel so damn good”) happened just because you came across the right person for you? Or do you think you did something, went through some growth that contributed to your being happy with her?

    Again, how contradictory people can be. My ex liked a particular type of tennis shoes, a particular type of sweater, etc. So when his old ones would wear out, he would go looking for exactly the same ones, only new. (And so would I with my stuff.) That made me believe that he was a keeper, too. BUT when it comes to software, to electronics, he always upgrades (if he likes the new one) without waiting till the old one breaks down or stops working. It seems to be the same with the women in his life – he is constantly looking for an “upgrade.” Or maybe not so much an upgrade, but something new that that new woman would bring him. Also a feature of a narcissist – I can probably name exactly what he was getting from his wife #3, from me, what he decided he wanted to get from his current wife.

    But then, didn’t I stop doing martial arts when I reached a certain point and decided to pursue another interest of mine? And I don’t think I am a narcissist…

    I think that when you stop looking for that ideal man, and start looking for people that meet some small need on yours that you will find there are a lot of people out there that can provide you with fulfillment.

    I believe that is what I have been doing since I realized that there were a lot of good people on this Earth who would help me if I needed, and I don’t need to have my boyfriend there all the time for me to help me whenever I have a problem. Is that what you meant?

    Then that partner in crime will show up. I also don’t entirely agree that a husband must be more experienced and intelligent than the wife. I think that when you find your partner, you will realize that you compliment each other. Sure there are certain things that I know more about than my wife, but there are lots of ways that my wife is way more intelligent than I am, and that is one of the things that turns me on about her. Granted there are some men out there that aren’t looking for that, because they are intimidated buy intelligent women. They know that they can’t control intelligent women the same way, and are probably the ones that you want to stay away from. My wife knows my weaknesses and doesn’t want to use those against me, but rather help me grow through them. You should want that equal partner that holds the same attitude on life as you. Now my wife and I are also very opposite when it comes to certain things and that is okay too. Like I said it is about complimenting each other.

    I think what I meant was that fact of life that if, say, a highly educated man marries a woman who dropped out of high school, it is very likely that she will rise to his level on her own, but if is the other way around, it is highly likely that she will go down to his level of a high-school dropout (and start drinking if he drinks – this is a bit of too harsh, but I wanted to convey the idea). This is in general, I am not talking about people who do self-education, who may not have an education, but are smarter than the ones who do. I am talking about the disparity in the intellectual level and how this or that type of the couple would normally end.

    #174055

    X
    Participant

    You are setting the bar way too high for someone that outwardly says they want to find the love of your life, but inwardly all the signs point to not wanting to give up those alone times.

    You mean “I want to find the love of my life, but…”?

    I agree that it may feel like that.

    But don’t they say (Steve Harvey, for instance, in his Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment) that women of today have lowered the bar impossibly low for men? That men need a challenge? I read about it in another book, too.

    And when I look back at all of my romances, and especially #3, I can see that all of a sudden I become so enthusiastic about my relationship that I have the man CONSTANTLY on my mind when doing anything, even those activities that normally would captivate me so much that I would forget anything. And I would always find time for them. Maybe even to the detriment of other relationships and activities. Again, I don’t know. It kind of feels like that, but maybe it feels like that because I haven’t yet (after #3) met a man for whom I would fall hard? (“The most recent guy” doesn’t count here – there was no need to make room for him because he never asked for it.)

    What type of signal do you think you are giving the men that you run into?

    I am trying to be totally neutral and business-like (I meet a lot of men at work). Partially because there a few men to whom I feel an immediate connection and partially because that was the advice given by a guy, and I find that advice very helpful – treat all men as you would treat friends until they explicitly say that they want to be something more than a friend. Turns out that advice saves a lot of heartbreak to somebody who likes to see signs of affection that is often very temporary.

    If I do like a man, I wait for him to do something – ask for my number, email, whatever. If he calls, I answer; if he texts, I always reply. If I don’t quite like him, I won’t be replying immediately and will do my best to show how unenthusiastic I am.

    But Matt, love (or initial likeness) is indeed in the eye of the beholder. I can name at least four men who were totally unable to see how reluctant I was (or am) to communicate with them! And I wonder if they ever tried to imagine both of us together side by side…

    I am not looking for a model, far from it. I felt connection and chemistry for all sorts of men (again, am I a narcissist, like my ex – sure one more feature in common?) But if I don’t feel chemistry, the law of attraction comes into play. And that law says that like attracts like, on the physical level, too.

    AS far as cooking, nah no big deal.

    SO GLAD to hear, cooking is a big challenge for me. I moved out of my parents’ place in 2006, but still don’t cook.

    See yourself doing what with? It all goes back to enjoying life, you might find someone at the shooting range who gives you tips on shooting, absolutely no physical attraction, but you respect their opinion. It would be worth hanging around them at the range interacting. Those are the guys who have friends, and most guys hang out with guys who are similar to themselves. You find the type of guy who has the values/interests that you share and one day Bob from the shooting range brings his friend Mark to the range, and your heart goes all aflutter. That’s how it happens, out of the blue. Does that make sense about why I say that you should still find people to interact and have fun with even though there is nothing physical.

    Now I look at relationships totally different, I feel like everyone I meet has something to offer me, something that I can learn. I no longer measure people, they just are, and I have made some amazing acquaintances.  I took a job working with Habitat for Humanity helping volunteers learn how to use the tools, and the various tasks that we had them doing. Through that I met amazing people and had some very engaging conversations about lots of different topics. I think that is what is most important in life, filling your life with people that you find stimulating both physically, mentally, and emotionally. You know my wife stimulates all three of those, but there are other people who may be great conversationalists, or who may be one of those people that needs an ear for all of their problems.

    Yes, I see what you mean. Thank you for recollecting and putting down your process of arriving to that place where you are now (and I don’t mean family issues!)

    I also see that I forgot to add family’s friends and friends’ friends to that most common meeting place of one’s partner.

    I like a few things that guys like (like shooting, fencing, martial arts, etc., have a penchant for the military) and I know that I have trouble finding men that I like in general, so it is one more, additional incentive for me to do all that in my spare time. A similar idea – that I should be exposed to a greater number of men possible in my everyday life – was also taken into account when I applied for my current job.

    It was when I was looking for “the one,” I came across #1. #2 happened because I needed someone after #1 (but it was not a rebound since I hardly knew #1 at all and it was mostly in my head). My ex came up totally unexpectedly just as a minor crush after our breakup during my solo trip. The “most recent guy” also started writing to me two times totally unexpectedly. I have had a few unexpected propositions from a few other guys, but since I didn’t feel good in their present (that sickening feeling, “unlove” at first sight), I was unable to continue after one or two get-togethers.

    I can’t say that I desperately WANT to be in a relationship right now. It would be nice if… But if I am frank, I’d say that it would be even nicer if “the most recent guy” and I could try it out. But I am still okay. Besides, there are two more guys with whom I could see myself if they did anything (but, of course, they are married and they are happy and I know their wives and I never do anything myself ever). And here is the crucial difference – with most guys, as I wrote before, I feel neutral, pure friendship or sister love, if you want. That is I can hardly imagine being intimate with them, but I know that they would make great partners AND I also know that if any other guy like “most recent guy” or either one of those two came along, I would be smitten and it would be unfair to these “great partners.” That is why most “good guys” (and yes, I know – there are plenty of “good guys” out there) are not an option for me. At the same time, if I imagine myself with one of that top tier (with whom I could fall in love NO MATTER their appearance (one is only 11 years older than me and tall, the other one is bald and short, but both have charisma just like the “most recent guy”)) and then think of another one from the same tier, I know that I would have no problem resisting the temptation even though now those three make up kind of the same group with the “most recent guy” being on the top. Interesting, huh?

    I think most of them (the ones whom I interact with at work, the “neutral” ones) feel the same towards me, that is why we sometimes discuss topics of love and relationship, and I have reasons to believe that what they say about me is an honest, undisguised opinion.

    However, they hardly ever invite me somewhere to hang out – maybe because most of these guys (but not all) are from my home country and on a business trip here, however long (can be up to half a year) or short, or because they have a girlfriend.

    That is why I am mostly on my own as to where to look for a man and be noticed by a man. So I continue to do what I love in my spare time and, of course, there are seemingly nearly endless possibilities at work. Lots of my coworkers married others from my work.

    If I try to detach and look at it, I would say I am close to where you seem to have been. That is a) I am not desperate for a relationship, I quite enjoy being by myself, in fact, I think I am closer to nor really care at all; b) I do my best to have as much exposure to men as I possibly can; c) I have finally reached a point where I can live in the present moment and look forward to how any given day is going to unfold.

    I am not sure if there is anything else I can do. Or am I missing something?

    I am closer to philosophically wonder “What is wrong with me?“ The worst thing is that I try to get an objective look and to find some patterns and common things, but I can’t with the exception of what you pointed out – security that might be there even when I don’t know the marital status and unattainability of ALL of my love interests. On the other hand, I personally know a few couples who started off as affairs, but are still together. I know other couples. I know all sorts of men and women, happy and unhappy, in good relationships and in bad. All that in addition makes the case for my just throwing my arms up and living in the present. The classic “I like those who don’t like me (or can’t like me), and I don’t like those who like me.” Besides, I have NO idea how to approach the unattainability problem.

    Finally, I would like to give you some more food for thought about love.

    I like the following oriental saying about love very much. It basically says that the attraction of the mind gives birth to respect. A similar attraction of heart gives birth to friendship. The pull on the lower level (the lowest chakra) gives birth to the sexual desire. All the three mean love.

    It is fun to play with it. Like, say, I respect one lady, but I am far from being friends with her and there is no sexual desire for sure. I am not sure true friendship can exist without respect, etc.

    Matt, I wrote a lot on your original thread, but it didn’t get posted two times. I’ll try again now. Maybe you’ll get three identical posts. If nothing shows up tomorrow, I’ll post again tomorrow.

    Really glad that you and your wife are having those conversations. I remember reading a book written by a couple therapist about a couple attending his therapy. They were clear about the problem, still loved each other, but nevertheless decided to part ways. I couldn’t understand it and still can’t, the romantic in me screaming, “But you love each other!!!”

    Please keep on going exploring your selves!

    X

    #173833

    X
    Participant

    P.S. I had exposure to a very mild depression (I would qualify it as 1 or 2 on a scale of 10), which ended with my taking the lowest dose possible of antidepressants for a short period of time in 2015, so if you have any questions that may help you to understand your wife’s state of mind, please don’t hesitate!

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