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Looking for Healthy Love

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  • #128415
    Elisabeth
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post. I am 37 and haven’t been extremely lucky in the love arena as I never had a relationship more than two years long. I do realize that I can be quite guarded and sometimes would tend to end things with the other person before it got too serious as I was afraid of being hurt. I also realized that I would attract people who did not treat me the way that I wanted to be treated. I became aware of all of these things over the past year and am working on increasing my self love. I am writing because I would love to hear other people’s point of views on how their met their significant others and how they have a healthy relationship.

    I am a single mom and extremely independent due to my upbringing and personality. Sometimes, I wonder if my independence is a turn off to other men. I look at my person and see that I am the common denominator for why things didn’t work out, so I know that the change needs to start with me. There is a guy (someone who I have known for almost 20 years) that I have an interest in, who says that he has an interest in me, but I don’t see things being reciprocated. We do not live in the same area, so it would be a long distance relationship if something comes from it. Unfortunately, my gut tells me that he does not have the same level of interest as I do in him. I’m not sure if this is an old pattern of mine to want to end things before they actually start or if I’m actually right.

    I know I am not perfect and am hyper aware of my flaws. I am looking for a serious relationship with someone who will accept me for who I am, bu I’m starting to second guess my intuition. Hearing about other perspectives would be great. Most of my friends are married or in long term relationships, so I feel like they can not relate to me. Thank you for reading and sorry if this post seems a bit scattered.

    Ellie

    #128433
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ellie:

    You wrote: “I can be quite guarded… afraid of being hurt…and am working on increasing my self love.”
    Reads to me that what is keeping you from having a long term relationship is fear, not lack of self love.

    You wrote: “I wonder if my independence is a turn off to other men”- maybe it is your efforts “to end things with the other person before it got too serious” that succeeds in turning off men.

    You wrote: “I’m starting to second guess my intuition”- a definition of intuition: the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Problem is, when fear is strong, fear is that “something immediate” in the definition.

    There is a way, or there are ways to break through the fear and find love.

    Does my reply speak to you?
    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by anita.
    #128453
    Elisabeth
    Participant

    Yes it does. This is extremely helpful. Thank you. Do you know of ways for me to dial down the fear?

    #128527
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ellie:

    I think I do. First thing is to respect your fear because it has a valid message: people have hurt you in the past (maybe still do). It could have been a parent whom you looked up to for love and protection who has hurt you. Hurt already happened and can easily happen again. There are abusive or otherwise, unloving people in the world. And lots. This means you have to evaluate any candidate for a close relationship before proceeding. It is only if you trust a man enough, that you will proceed.

    How do you trust a man enough? By trusting your ability to correctly evaluate a man as safe- enough.

    No guarantees, but competent ability on your part to evaluate a man will increase your chances for a safe and loving relationship many times over.

    To evaluate a man, see the first few dates as a series of interviews of sorts. Ask, observe, listen. You can even take notes after the dates (and put together a document, of sorts, about what you are looking for in a man, editing and re-editing what you learn). When you are unclear about something he says, or you notice a contradiction, ask him to clarify. Not in a detective kind of questioning, of course.

    What do you think so far?

    anita

    #128625
    Elisabeth
    Participant

    I wrote a response, but I don’t think it was saved. I appreciate your responses very much as I feel they are accurate. In the past, I’ve been hurt mainly by my father (who never made me and my brother a priority) and by some previous relationships. Nonetheless, all of these things are in the past and I am ready to forgive fully and let it all go so that I can have meaningful, healthy relationships in the future. For a long time, I felt that I was not worthy of having a quality relationship and would take whatever came my way. Now, I see that I am deserving, but didn’t think of the fear factor until you brought it up.

    I am in the midst of finding a therapist to work on this as I do realize that I control my happiness.

    #128669
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ellie:

    You are welcome. I believe in competent psychotherapy as the place to explore and process the past. If it was only possible to simply “forgive fully and let it all go”-

    Thing is, these past experiences exist in the present as connections in our brains. The past is literally part of our brain as it is now, not only as memories, dry memories, but in the form of emotions. Those emotions greatly influence our present. To explore, examine, process those emotions is like untying knots. Eventually, you are left with memories, but those emotional knots get untied, and you become untangled and free to “have meaningful, healthy relationships.”

    Not all therapists are created equal. To find the right one, how do you go about it?

    anita

    #128675
    Peter
    Participant

    You may find the following book helpful
    When Love Meets Fear: How to Become Defense-less and Resource-full – David Richo

    Early fear was felt cellularly and was indeed real. Defensive postures were necessary, but defenses generalize cellularly in adulthood and do not expire. It takes conscious work to undo them. Ironically, as long as we keep using defenses, we actually maintain the original force of the fear. – David Richo

    Most people think of love as a feeling, but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present – David Richo

    “The heart itself cannot break, for its very nature is soft and open. What breaks open when we see things as they are is the protective shell of ego identity we have built around ourselves in order to avoid feeling pain. When the heart breaks out of this shell, we feel quite raw and vulnerable. Yet that is also the beginning of feeling real compassion for ourselves and others. —John Welwood Ordinary Magic

    I would also recommend – When the Past is in the Present also by David Richo

    My observation is that the past is always in the Present even when we let go of it. I know that might sound odd… but if you think about it maybe not….

    #128797
    Elisabeth
    Participant

    You’re right, not all therapists are equal as each one has different philosophies, credentials, and experiences. I live in Northern Alaska, so there aren’t that many professionals around. I’ve been looking on Psychology Today. I would be open to other suggestions. I’m also considering finding a therapist remotely and having sessions online using a secured platform. Thanks for your words of wisdom. I’m a work in progress, but have come a long way.

    #128799
    Elisabeth
    Participant

    Thanks a lot for your suggestion. I’m going to look this up on Amazon right now. 🙂

    #128833
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ellie:

    You are welcome. I do hope you find competent therapy. I have no experience with online therapy; I wonder how it can be helpful without the person-to-person contact.

    You live in Northern Alaska (I live in WA state). You are an “extremely independent (single mom)” living in Northern Alaska. I wonder how it is to live so far north.

    Regarding the guy you know for almost 20 years, and your feeling that he doesn’t have the same interest in you as you have in him, maybe he is extremely independent too, like you?

    anita

    #128859
    Elisabeth
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I am an SLP and do provide online services to some clients in China, so I see the benefit. However, there’s a big difference between one trying to improve their accent modification and one using an online platform to work on fear and trust issues. Then again, some of my clients see their issues as critical as well…so I guess it depends on the perspective.

    Living up North is great, though I wouldn’t want to do it forever. The things I miss the most are cheap flights and having access to choices when it comes to amenities. Once again, you’re right. Chris is independent as well. Since I started that thread, you have given me a different perspective to look at things. Also, I looked into Peter’s suggestion and have found that I like the author’s philosophies. Thanks so much. 🙂

    #128909
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ellie:

    Online therapy may very well work for you, having a parallel experience as a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) online.

    Maybe Chris appears not so interested in you but in reality, maybe, he is emotionally independent, not very needy. Often enough a person appears very interested because of a desperate neediness that gets confused with a personal interest. Maybe Chris and you can communicate as two emotionally independent people who have done well enough alone, for a long time.

    And you are welcome, anytime.

    anita

    #128939
    Elisabeth
    Participant

    This is true. His last relationship was with someone who who depended on him heavily. You gave me a lot to think about and looking at other threads, I see you are wealth of knowledge. Thanks again.

    #129079
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Ellie.
    anita

    #129611
    Elisabeth
    Participant

    I’m going out on a date with someone else. First date and no expectations. 🙂

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)

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