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A date with a coworker felt like a bright spot in 2020 (and maybe it was)?

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Viewing 15 posts - 106 through 120 (of 137 total)
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  • #378712
    Ry
    Participant

    Dear TeaK and Anita,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply… Wanted to write a quick reply before I head to the gym.

    To address your posts, TeaK. I do not know if it’s that I cannot say “no” to women. Part of me wanted to have sex because it has been quite some time since I had. While I could convince myself to the first time, there simply wasn’t a connection/attraction to her to continue to simply have sex for purely carnal or selfish reasons.

    I think my issue is more that I feel a sense of guilt/shame when I hurt or disappoint women. It feels as though women see me as something that I may not always be: A good man or a better man than most. I try to live up to their expectancies but often don’t. I’m sure some of it can be traced back to not wanting to disappoint my mother, but I honestly do not know.

    I did deal with anger issues with I was younger. I have never been physically violent with any woman, but I did kick a wall when I was maybe 21 after a fight with my wife at the time. I been in therapy off and on for 15+ years now, and time and work on myself and lessened the fire inside me.

    Anita, yes, I have certainly felt Acute distress and despair (and continue to do so at times). There are days—or periods of time during a day—when I am in the throughs of a dark spiral and cannot find a way to stop. I’ve learned that poor sleep or undereating “feeds” these feelings, so often a good meal or simply taking a nap may help a bit.

    As far as joy is concerned, it is a rare emotion. I have often been asked by counselors over the years if I feel joy, and my responses is nearly always no. While I treasure having the ability to get outside, and feel the endorphins when I go for a hike or a walk, I rarely find joy in it. I recognize that I am fortunate (blessed?) to have the physical ability to explore the world with all my senses, but there simply isn’t joy in it for me.

    I’ll try to expound more later.

    Ryan

    #378718
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ryan:

    I will read and reply to you in about 7- 18 hours from now.

    anita

    #378742
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Ryan,

    I think my issue is more that I feel a sense of guilt/shame when I hurt or disappoint women. It feels as though women see me as something that I may not always be: A good man or a better man than most. I try to live up to their expectancies but often don’t.

    Right, so this would be a problem of feeling not good enough, even though e.g. your ex was singing your praises how good and amazing man you are.

    But if we don’t feel good enough – if we feel there’s something inherently wrong with us – no amount of outside praise and convincing will do. Sooner or later we’ll do something to “mess up”, and it will be a proof to ourselves and our partner that we indeed aren’t good enough. Self-fulfilling prophecy….

    Earlier we talked about your lack of self-worth, and this is similar, feeling not good enough, perhaps feeling unlovable? It all has to do with your childhood. Did your mother frequently criticize you? I know she scolded you for not using proper language, but did she criticize you a lot? How about praise – did she ever praise you? How about your father?

    If you’d like, describe a little bit your relationship with your parents, specially your mother, because I believe that’s the key to understanding your current problems.

     

    #378755
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ryan:

    In your recent post, you shared that you are afraid to disappoint women, that you feel guilt and shame when you hurt or disappoint them.  As to the suggestion by TeaK that you may have suppressed your anger since you were a child, you answered that you kicked a wall in anger when you were 21, after a fight with your wife at the time, and that you’ve been in therapy for over 15 years, and that has “lessened the fire inside” you.

    As to my suggestion/ question about your ongoing emotional experiencing which you described in the past as “flat”, and which I called “an emotional monotone”, an ongoing low-intensity distress, no significant ups or downs, you answered that you certainly felt acute distress and despair and still do, at times, being in a “dark spiral and cannot find a way to stop”, especially if you lack sleep and food.

    You shared that joy is “a rare emotion.. nearly always no (joy)”. You do “feel the endorphins” when you go out for a hike or for a walk, but you “rarely find joy in it”. You have the ability, you say, to explore the world with all your senses, but for you, “there simply isn’t joy in it”.

    There was a time when you did feel joy, I know it because you were so moved when your former girlfriend’s toddler felt and expressed joy when you came to visit him: “Nearly every time I’d visit.. when I would walk in the door of their place, he would run around and scream, ‘(My name) is here! Mommy, (my name) is here!!'” (from your second thread, Sept 2020).

    When you visited he ran around and screamed with joy!

    Seeing, hearing, sensing his joy connected you to him, and through him- to your own, distanced, withdrawn, and rarely felt joy: “my practice at keeping my feelings and emotions at a distance… I have fleeting moments of happiness, but largely feel mirthless. It makes it hard to describe exactly what I’m feeling. Emotional withdrawal.. I just remain flat”, August 2, 2020.

    You wrote about your connection to her son: “my connection with her sweet son certainly helped to  break my walls of disconnect and withdrawal“, August 3, 2020, “I truly love her son and my relationship with him likely caused me to stay with her longer than I should have”.

    My closing thoughts for today with one more quote: at an early age, you withdrew, closing much of your emotions inside walls, then removed yourself from inside those walls and took residence outside of those walls. Her son gave you a glimpse into what’s inside those walls, the joy and desire!

    Often in your threads, you inserted long messages that your former girlfriend sent you, and messages that your former coworker and love-interest sent you. I used to wonder why you did that, since this is the first time I came across this practice in these forums. I think that I understand it now: you were trying to get a glimpse at what’s happening inside those walls in those messages. It’s as if you were hearing the women tell you what they see and hear inside those walls.

    “For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with accepting love and embracing it”, August 2, 2020- love was withdrawn from you when you were too young to remember, and as a result, you removed your need for love (and the joy at embracing love) from you and enclosed them within walls, stepping outside those walls.

    When your former girlfriend’s son ran around with joy when seeing you, it was like a cement block in that wall crumbled and you could see, still standing outside,  your joy that resides inside the walls.

    When a woman in your life shows up, wanting to embrace you (former girlfriend), even if a woman shows up that you want to embrace (former work colleague)- the embrace doesn’t happen, or couldn’t happen for more than a fleeting moment here and there, because you (your awareness) are residing outside the walls that enclose your need for love, as well as your joy at embracing love.

    anita

    #378978
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ryan:

    I just submitted a post to another member who I believe have a lot in common with you. I think that you will find it very interesting to read his threads, particularly his subjective emotional experience of life. Both of you experienced lots of that flat emotional experience that you mentioned, rarely any joy, most of the time was either distress (sometimes acute distress) or that flat, dull affect.

    I understand more today than ever before, that the lack of joy is about not feeling connected to another person. For a social animal, such as a human, joy is in connecting and feeling connected to another person. To live while not feeling connected to another person is equivalent to living in a prison cell of sorts, the experience within that prison cell is a combination of distress and flatness, but rarely is there any joy. The rare joy you experienced some time ago was when you felt connected to the woman your thread is about.

    If you want to read the post I submitted to the other member, just before submitting this post to you, click on my name and you will find that post, plus the member’s threads.

    anita

    #387044
    Ry
    Participant

    Hello,

    I haven’t written here in some time and thought it time to again…

    With COVID still a major issue in the US (as it is in most of the world), I am still living here in Appalachia and have not yet had to make the move to the new job. However, as things are beginning to normalize in the corporate and government worlds, the move will happen by the end of the year.

    The job, while less monotonous and and a less overwhelming workload than my former job, it’s still largely an “administrative job.” Meaning it’s just a lot of managing different programs via emails and system software. While it certainly doesn’t provide much “meaning,” it is within an agency that does provide for the betterment of humanity, so at least there is the possibility of moving into a more meaningful role. Or, as my counselor has said, perhaps I need to find meaning and a sense of purpose outside of work through volunteering or a similar avenue.

    For the yang to my yin, I met someone back in May. Actually, we had connected via a dating app in the autumn of 2020 but only rarely chatted. She is, and was then, working both as a nurse and an instructor and had little time for socializing. We finally went out in May one her teaching gig ended for the summer, and have spent most weekends together since.

    Where I selfishly erred was not telling her from the start that I would be leaving.

    I tried to justify it by telling myself that I was going to be leaving and it wouldn’t be a long relationship. But the weeks turned into months and here we are.

    Things had been casual in a sense–we were not dating other people and didn’t talk too much about the future. Even that sounds like a copout. We spend nearly every weekend together and had gone away on a road trip on Independence Day weekend. I did things that people do in relationships: Bought her gifts, helped her work on her home, dinners, drinks, etc.

    There were many opportunities to tell her I would not be staying but I allowed fear to stop me. I was “waiting for the right time” or telling myself the opportunity would present itself. My plan was to wait until the fiscal year (Oct 1) and tell her I had been given the job offer since the agency would be hiring with the start of new funding. (Thought it would hurt less than to tell her I’d been working for the agency since we’d first gone out.)

    Things had become more serious for her in recent weeks. She asked me two weeks ago to tell her if I ever wanted to end things, then to tell her and not just ghost her. (While I know only snippets, she has had some bad relationships in the past. She is also a divorcee like me.) On Saturday night, we were out for drinks, and while driving home, she asked me to share one intimate detail about myself. I hemmed and hawed for a bit, and in her inebriated state told me that she’s falling for me. Shit. I mumbled some sort of reply that I care about her and she is important to me. The last of the alcohol has kicked in by the time we got to her place, and she asked me to go home.

    We texted a bit when I got home before she passed out. I tried to explain to her that I really don’t love myself and it’s hard to love another. She replied, “I see what is beautiful. You have so much to offer. You are wonderful. And beautiful and smart and funny Once you see it you will know.”

    We texted yesterday morning and I tried to explain that I wasn’t “feeling it.” She replied:

    “I appreciate your candor. I’m not “worried” about falling for someone who is transient…I just like to know their plans. I’m not opposed to it. I do understand how it can be hard to give part of yourself…that’s why I’ve been a bit worried lately because I wasn’t sure on your feelings… I wouldn’t feel guilty for falling hard if it was reciprocated. You aren’t awful. Really, it’s my own insecurities wanting allayed when I push for intel. I’m not confident in why anyone would like me myself. I’ve always struggled with insecurities.”

    “I just…when I’m with you…it’s just good. I’m just happy. I didn’t want to lose that. Sorry.”

    “I’m never good enough. I don’t know what it is that makes me unlovable. What would you change?”

    “I am hurt…but I don’t blame you. You didn’t deliberately hurt me. You are absolutely wonderful and kind. When I’m with you I am a different person. Happy and peaceful and life is wonderful. ☺️ I thank you for that.”

    “It could be a book… ‘One Magic Summer’. Two lost souls came together and experienced bliss for short time.”

    “So this is how this goes. For approximately 1-2 weeks I will panic about the change in my life/loss of a person I care for etc. sooo….I won’t do anything crazy…but…I will probably blow up your phone A LOT…it’s just hard for me to adjust…after a few weeks, I’m fine & you’ll probably never hear from me again unless you text me or something.”

    While I did my best to let her down easy, she is left in limbo. She has a rare day off today and wants to have me over for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, it is tonight that I’ll have to tell her that I’m leaving and break her heart.

    I feel like such absolute garbage.

    She is very special to me and I do care deeply for her. While I wanted to be a positive influence in her life, I know my selfishness or unwillingness to be truthful with her from the start allowed her to develop strong feelings for me. I know her insecurities and my aloofness fed her uncertainty about the relationship. And the alcohol allowed her to be vulnerable. To take a chance and pour her heart out only for it to go unreciprocated. Not only is the relationship ending but I’ll soon be leaving as well.

    I wish that I loved her. Or felt like a deeper love could develop in me. It’s just not there. So, I’ll be leaving another woman in pain. I’ve tried to justify the relationship by telling myself that I showed her what a good man can be. However, truthfulness comes with goodness, and I’ve kept that from her from the start.

    I have enjoyed our time together and valued the relationship. She’s very easy to get along with–a “goes with the flow” type of person. Like me, she too battles with self-esteem issues and depression. She has also been cheated on in the past and had men treat her poorly. With her return to teaching in early September, she has been falling into a depression, as the workload and general feeling of no longer being fulfilled in that role.

    I robbed her of her ability to choose if she wanted a relationship or not. Maybe we wouldn’t have had a second date, or maybe she wouldn’t have developed feelings for me. Or maybe she would have and this would have been painful anyway. I don’t know. I feel wracked with guilt and know that I made it worse than it needed to be for her.

    I’ll see her for dinner tonight, and will have to be honest with her.

    Ryan

    #387048
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Ryan,

    welcome  back!

    Your experience with this latest girlfriend is quite similar to your previous girlfriend, the one with the small son. She too was very much into you and praised you a lot, but you chose not to stay with her. This is what you wrote in your last post in April:

    I think my issue is more that I feel a sense of guilt/shame when I hurt or disappoint women. It feels as though women see me as something that I may not always be: A good man or a better man than most. I try to live up to their expectancies but often don’t.

    It’s the same now. The new girl wrote this to you:

    You are absolutely wonderful and kind. When I’m with you I am a different person. Happy and peaceful and life is wonderful. I thank you for that.

    They were both head over heals for you. But something in you couldn’t stay…  something in you sabotaged it, and you ended up leaving and disappointing them. Now you are beating yourself up for not being honest with her, feeling like “absolute garbage”.

    As I said back in April, I believe it’s the lack of self-worth that causes you to sabotage your relationships. This is what I wrote back then:

    But if we don’t feel good enough – if we feel there’s something inherently wrong with us – no amount of outside praise and convincing will do. Sooner or later we’ll do something to “mess up”, and it will be a proof to ourselves and our partner that we indeed aren’t good enough. Self-fulfilling prophecy….

    It seems this is happening again – you are again in the situation where you feel you’ve “messed up” and proven to yourself how unworthy you are.

     

    #387052
    Ry
    Participant

    Hello TeaK,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply…

    Yes, I agree that is a similar-type relationship. However, I don’t feel the guilt/shame of the demise of the relationship this time. I do feel that I’m “worthy” of being loved and praised. To me, part of my stress is that I again do not feel the same way about the girl as she does for me. Perhaps this is normality in relationships, but there is a frustration in me from never quite feeling that way about another. And I tend to attract those who have suffered from bad relationships in the past.

    As I’ve written before, I beat myself up when I hurt people close to me. I’ve worked quite a bit with my counselor on being more vulnerable this past year, which I incorporated into this relationship (to an extent). I do feel that I could/should have been more truthful from the start, I wasn’t sure how this relationship would progress. I would certainly feel shame if I encouraged her to accompany me on my relocation while knowing that isn’t what truly want. So, I will not give her that option.

    The disillusionment of this relationship will be painful for her, which brings me no pleasure. I know that I was different from others she’s dated in the past, and that she wants to cling to those feelings of safety and security. I’ve tried to placate myself by thinking that I’ve shown her a bit of what’s possible so she’s better prepared for someone better in the future; however, I know that I’ll leave a scar that will take time to heal. Guess every relationship leaves its marks?

    Ryan

    #387053
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Ryan,

    you are welcome.

    I do feel that I’m “worthy” of being loved and praised.

    Do you? You said you feel like garbage.

    Where I selfishly erred was not telling her from the start that I would be leaving.

    I know my selfishness or unwillingness to be truthful with her from the start allowed her to develop strong feelings for me.

    Here you also say you are selfish and manipulative (unwillingness to be truthful).

    Do you really love and value yourself, believing these things about yourself?

    Another thing I notice is that in this relationship too, like in your previous relationship, you wanted to be a “positive influence” in the woman’s life (“While I wanted to be a positive influence in her life”,  “I’ve shown her a bit of what’s possible”). You stayed with her even though you knew you would be leaving and you also knew that she isn’t “what you truly want”. So you thought she could still profit from your “positive influence”, even if you knew you would be leaving her sometime down the road.

    I see a dichotomy here: on one hand you believe you’re praise-worthy and in fact so wonderful that it’s better you stay with a woman whom you intend to leave, so she could benefit from your presence. On the other hand, you believe you are like garbage, selfish and will cause disappointment sooner or later. So it seems to me there is an inflated, superior sense of self, and an inferior, self-deprecating sense of self, both living in you simultaneously.

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by TeaK.
    #387056
    Ry
    Participant

    Oh, TeaK, that is spot on!

    So it seems to me there is an inflated, superior sense of self, and an inferior, self-deprecating sense of self, both living in you simultaneously.

    To answer your question, I don’t really know if I value myself. I feel that I can be a very good friend–which is what I should have aimed for in this relationship–but also understand that a relationship with me can be emotionally painful. It feels so egocentric to believe my presence in her life was a positive while the disillusionment of our relationship will cut her so. I know she’s angry, as she lashed out yesterday: “I can’t believe I wasted all this time.” I know that is anger and sadness in her reply rather than logic.

    I think a part of the dichotomy comes from feeling like I can be a positive influence in someone’s life, but knowing I’m incapable of giving them what they may need. In this case, it was safety, security, and kindness. However, I was unwilling or unable to give her love (or at least the type of love she wanted). I can chalk it up to that risk in any relationship, but I wonder how things may have been different had I been honest with her from the start? Based on past experiences, I believed that she would have still developed romantic feelings, or pushed for them in an attempt to hang onto me.

    As before, I do hope that she and I can eventually find a friendship. She is a very good person and one I value, and I know she feels the same about me. While I know once I share with her tonight that I’m relocating for work, she will react as she stated. Perhaps in time, we can have some semblance of a friendship.

    I appreciate you responding here, TeaK. It helps me to flesh out my thoughts rather than continue to ruminate on them.

    Ryan

    #387060
    anita
    Participant

    Hello Ryan:

    I wrote to you in my post before last, April 26 on this page: “Often in your threads, you inserted long messages that your former girlfriend sent you, and messages that your former coworker and love-interest sent you. I used to wonder why you did that, since this is the first time I came across this practice in these forums”-

    – the first time you inserted a message that an ex-girlfriend wrote to you was on Aug 2 2020, in your first thread. You inserted this, in part: “Don’t downplay yourself. R. If there were words in the English language to express how amazing you are, what a light in my day/life you are, and just how damn near perfect you are then I might come close to describing how much you mean to me. I don’t know if you feel like you don’t deserve to be loved or if it’s one of the other several scenarios running around in my head, but please don’t find it so hard to believe that someone could be so overwhelmingly fond of you“-

    As you proceeded to describe that particular ex-girlfriend as an impatient woman who often lost her temper with her son, I remember thinking about the incongruence between her short temper and other descriptions of her and her writing style and content, including her elaborate self-reflection and the great length of her texts.

    Today, it occurred to me: the texts you insert, supposedly from different women,  they all sound the same, as if authored by one person, and that person is you.

    Let’s look at some of the text of another woman that you inserted into your post today: “I appreciate your candor. I’m not “worried” about falling for someone who is transient…I just like to know their plans. I’m not opposed to it. I do understand how it can be hard to give part of yourself … I wouldn’t feel guilty for falling hard if it was reciprocated. You aren’t awful. Really, it’s my own insecurities wanting allayed.. You are absolutely wonderful and kind. When I’m with you I am a different person. Happy and peaceful and life is wonderful. I thank you for that.“- these are your words, your style: formal language as opposed to casual language, big words, and the strong inclination to self reflect… in texts. You are often very complimentary to yourself in these texts: “how amazing you are.. how damn near perfect you are” says one woman in Aug 2020, “You are absolutely wonderful and kind“, says another Oct 2021

    The current woman texted you: “It could be a book… ‘One Magic Summer’. Two lost souls came together and experienced bliss for short time“- reads to me that you are .. in the process of writing a book, or books..

    anita

     

    #387062
    Ry
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    Hmmm… I can see how you would be skeptical, but I only insert copies of their text messages her for a bit of context. I try to give their side of my interpretation of our relationship, and felt that including snippets from our conversations may be helpful. However, now that you’ve summarized them into a post, I can see how they read like they could have been authored by the same individual.

    I can assure you that I am not writing a book and my posts here are genuine. Though it is a bit mind blowing to me seeing how similar to each other they read.

    Ryan

    #387063
    anita
    Participant

    Hello again Ryan:

    it is a bit mind blowing to me seeing how similar to each other they read“-  mind blowing indeed.. it’s as if they are the same woman, self-reflecting, talking about their insecurities.. in long text messages, using fancy words.. as if they all have the same educational background, the same vocabulary, the same temperament.. hmmm…

    anita

    #387065
    Ry
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    This may speak more to me about the type of woman I seem to attract? I don’t know…

    The ex with the son was very empathic but also suffered from an abusive father, which she blamed on the uncontrollable angry outburst. The nurse seems to have a lovely relationship with her parents, but does also suffer from depression as my ex with the son does. Both deal with self-esteem issues and a deep longing for real companionship.

    I am sorry if it came across as I was writing a story here. I can assure you that I would not waste your time or the time of the other contributors as well.  This current post may be a bit of rinse and repeat as TeaK pointed out, so I can understand your suspicions.

    I write here to journal in a sense, and now that I’ve written, I can see that I put myself in a similar situation again. My apologies if it came across as though I were writing about the same person. Your identification of this has me a bit shaken, as it was something I did not realize.

    Ryan

    #387068
    anita
    Participant

    Hello Ryan:

    Your identification of this has me a bit shaken, as it was something I did not realize“- I was shaken too when I realized. I was also embarrassed at not having noticed before. But now that I noticed and realized, I don’t think that I can go back and un-notice, or un-realize.. and it takes the wind out of my wings in regard to being motivated to further analyze a story with too much fiction in it.

    anita

     

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