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  • #150031

    X
    Participant

    Hello everybody!

    I have been a regular guest on Tiny Buddha for over a year now – ever since a guy to whom I slowly started warming up after a harsh breakup in May/July 2015 stopped communicating (he resurfaced a couple of times later, but our communication further on was akin to pulling his teeth, so I stopped initiating communication completely).

    I tend to give too many details – I think I don’t ever know what might be important and what not, so I spill it all out resulting in REALLY lengthy letters – so I’d rather wait for specific questions.

    I also need to apologise in advance more my really long developed sentences. They are best read at slow speed 😉

    What I hope to find out is a) what are the reasons for my more than weird choice of partners given that I grew up in a totally normal family with NO dysfunctional relationships and b) why out of the few men that currently meet my “requirements” for unavailability (helas – this seems to be so and I hope to find out why), education (I have two M.A. degrees and believe that a man needs to be a little bit more knowledgeable than a woman), and physical attraction (that to me is simply whether I can see myself together with that man behind my shoulder in a supposed family picture) I can’t get that guy I mentioned in the first sentence out of my head even though I last communicated with him in mid-January and looked up his Twitter account maybe a dozen times since then (he doesn’t post a lot – merely landscapes or people (NOT family, but acquaintances or friends) that he happens to meet.

    As for my family, I am an only child, have a half-sister (my father’s previous marriage) who is 11 years older than me and with whom I am not too close. My father is 15 years older than my mother, and I believed for a long time that that was one of the reasons for my penchant for older men (however, there were several exceptions); the other one being that I have always found men (or rather, boys) of my own age immature and not attractive physically. Now that I look back at the men I chose, it seems to me that I “catch” that particular, rather short, moment after which they (men) start to get old, meaning right now one can still give them 40-42 years (even though they might be 45-47) and quite soon – yes, it is a full 50-55. Now that I am 32 years old, it is not a big deal, but imagine when I fell for such men when I was 17 or 24!

    There are two more characteristics of my relationship with my parents that I need to mention. The first one is that I considered my father to be the most intelligent man on Earth well into my primary school years and the second that when I became a teenager, I was sort of jealous of my parents being together and enjoying each other’s company whereas I was kind of an additional alien element. Say, if all of us were out for a walk or something, we (as a group) would go where my father suggested. Certainly, there were multiple exceptions and there were many case when my father would say, “She wants it – let’s (or “let her”) do it, but still, at the age of 15 I stopped going with them on holidays preferring to be on my own.

    After reading lots of psychological books and knowing how important the father figure is for the daughter AND knowing that we tend to copy the situation we are used to no matter how uncomfortable that might have been, I can’t help but ask whether there is any slightest way a girl might escape that covert competition with her mother if all girls in full families live with fathers and mothers?

    As for my relationships with me, I briefly touched upon them when answering laelithia’s posts in the Getting over infatuation with someone who wasn’t real thread.

    The one I referred to as #1 was 42 when we met (I was 23), he told me straight away that he had a partner. I was so conceited and sure of myself that I said that didn’t matter. We never had sex because I didn’t want to stop being a virgin that way (no matter how infatuated and head over heels in love with him I was, I still caught some disturbing vibes that he was not to be fully trusted). Overall, we spent two full days and one half day together over the course of, basically, four or five weeks. It ended when I graduated from a graduate school and was to leave to another state for work. Even though before that he had said he would come and see me, then he threw a tantrum (such a scene!) over the phone and that was it. Interestingly enough, a week or two before that, when he stopped calling or emailing me (now I know what that means!), I had a dream just like what happened later in reality.

    #2 was 58 at the moment (yes, a 35-year difference) AND a devout Christian who had never ever cheated on his wife. Well, he didn’t technically cheat on her with me, ‘cause we never went all the way. Again, at the time, I was so in love with him (and just a little over three months after my breakup with #1) that I literally felt warmth in his presence and it seemed to me that he was enveloped in a cloud of sunshine.

    He, in fact, did give me some sort of a deadline when he would start divorce proceedings with his wife, but then stopped mentioning it and just one or two months after the deadline had passed and I was internally ready to wait for him (even though I knew deep inside that nothing would take place), I met #3.

    #3 is very well described in the other thread, but I do need to add that there was a 21-year difference and – yes – he was married, too. And it was an LDR as well. I did some calculations later and found out that out of our six years together, we spent about 18 months living together. No matter how low my opinion of him is right now, I do believe that if his work conditions had been more cooperative back then, he would have divorced his wife of six years (then) and married me. Now I am fairly certain that he would leave me just as he had left his wife and me later on, but that is another story. There was so much passion on his side and mine that there was simply no avoiding this romance, no way.

    He stopped communicating in May 2015, had the guts to tell me the truth in July.

    In June, out of the blue, that guy I can’t stop thinking about now (very mildly compared to the other crushes), wrote to me. We had met before, met in the autumn of 2015, met several times for joint assignments… Besides that, I remember posting for some picture together in front of other people, my elbow against his arm, something was there… Then at a corporate meeting he barely noticed me, so I forgot about him. Then in June, I saw him again after his return from a business trip, and was surprised that he remembered my name. Then he wrote to me out of the blue. We kept the correspondence for six weeks or so (I remember thinking, “What is going on? If you want to ask me out, just ask me out!”) then he invited me to a get-together with other friends and colleagues, I couldn’t come because I had to be elsewhere because of work. Hadn’t heard from him until October 2015 when we started corresponding again (he wrote to me again). That one went pretty well until February 2016 when he stopped for good. We had one full day together talking plus met for a couple of hours for a walk and had a small talk at work one day. During that one-day meeting, he told me about his family troubles. To cut the long story short, he had been married to his high school sweatheart for 20+ years, then met somebody and went crazy. I don’t know why he didn’t divorce for that other woman, but their romance was stopped. He still couldn’t forget her all the way. So needless to say that no counselling for getting back together with his wife helped. I can count at least three times when he put his wedding ring back on and four times when he took it off. The last one was in February 2016 (put on), took off in June or July 2016. But didn’t write to me again. There were a couple of lines from him, but nothing leading to a meaningful discussion of his behavior. He flirted several times and (I think) tried to find out whether I was still single. But nothing. And oh yes, and in December 2015, after a particularly nasty quarrel with his wife, he wanted to crash on my floor. We had never even kissed, just hugged, and I had no intention to sleep with him, and by then I had read advice from men that in similar cases men should be treated as friends (one doesn’t obsess about friends if they don’t write every day, does one?), so I tried to treat him as a friend. He cancelled his visit that night adding that he “can’t have a serious relationship now. I can only be a friend, a good friend, a fun friend, but nothing more than a friend.” Well, we never went out even as friends after that, so I guess he wasn’t such a good friend after all. Then he stopped writing at all, as I mentioned above. Our paths crossed at work a couple of times, our eyes locked for what seemed like eternity, but he never wrote of his own accord. Once we even met at a friend’s party, he sought a place opposite mine, even blushed (he is red, so it is easy to see), but nothing. And then he left work altogether. I found about that on his Twitter, wrote to him a thankful letter to which received a very kind reply saying that he enjoyed our talks and correspondence and adding, “My crazy life is still crazy.” After that I forwarded him some fun stuff with no text from me, he would always reply. A couple of times, he would even ask something pertaining to those fun forward links from me. But nothing developed into meaningful discussions like before.

    Maybe that’s for the better, since I remember that in 2016, I thought that he had got to know each other so well and the spark is obviously there, so come on, stop procrastinating, let’s start dating (after divorce, of course – his wife asked him out of their house and he had been renting an apartment for several months).

    After reading Tiny Buddha and following similar situations with either divorcing or recently divorced men (this one is not even divorcing yet – presumably waiting for his younger daughter to whom he is very attached to graduate (in three years; son graduating this year)), I know that he has a lot of issues to address within himself, find out himself before he is good dating material. Even if he divorced and we got together, I doubt that it would last. And when he divorces (I don’t see how they can stay together given what I know and feel), he may very well seek that other woman whom he still can’t forget, he may reach out to me – again! – like he did two times already or – like my #3 – he could meet somebody new, fall in love and divorce his wife for that new lady. No guarantee that it would last either.

    I remember how I was thrown aback when we met in November 2015 after that renewed correspondence lasting for one month. I thought it was some kind of a date, and he goes – straight away, upon seeing me – “I don’t want to marry, I just want to pass a nice evening” (which we did, staying up cuddling and talking until 2:30 in the morning, didn’t even kiss). Or, on that very day, he told me that he would never marry his wife again (like Elizabeth Taylor did), and then, after two or three months tried to get back with her, however involuntarily that might have been.

    So whatever is happening is the best it can happen because this is what is happening, but I can’t help but wonder what makes me hold so much to him when other crushes of mine were forgotten after three or four months at most and not necessarily through meeting other guys? Also, I did have some meaningful conversations and hugs (in case the reason lies in our cuddling) with a few other men whom I could call just as charismatic (or with whom I could see myself in that family photo) as him since, but I don’t think about them, but I do think about him.

    As for this “family photo”, I once told a male friend about this criterion of mine (for physical compatibility, likeness or readiness to have sex, if you will), and he said it was the same for him.

    For instance, I didn’t have it with one other man who tried to court me after this crush ghosted on me last year, and I don’t have it with the guy who is probably thinking that he has a good chance with me now and is behaving slowly, like a true gentleman, asking me only when he will see me again at the shooting range for now.

    So it is all a bit mess, any insights are highly appreciated! I really think it is time I got to the bottom of this, especially now when I feel just right, whole and complete on my own and stopped imagining that I am sharing my experiences either with an imaginary partner or an ex of mine.

    Thank you so very much!

    X

    #150033

    X
    Participant

     

    Hello everybody!

    I have been a regular guest on Tiny Buddha for over a year now – ever since a guy to whom I slowly started warming up after a harsh breakup in May/July 2015 stopped communicating (he resurfaced a couple of times later, but our communication further on was akin to pulling his teeth, so I stopped initiating communication completely).

    I tend to give too many details – I think I don’t ever know what might be important and what not, so I spill it all out resulting in REALLY lengthy letters – so I’d rather wait for specific questions.

    I also need to apologise in advance more my really long developed sentences. They are best read at slow speed 😉

    What I hope to find out is a) what are the reasons for my more than weird choice of partners given that I grew up in a totally normal family with NO dysfunctional relationships and b) why out of the few men that currently meet my “requirements” for unavailability (helas – this seems to be so and I hope to find out why), education (I have two M.A. degrees and believe that a man needs to be a little bit more knowledgeable than a woman), and physical attraction (that to me is simply whether I can see myself together with that man behind my shoulder in a supposed family picture) I can’t get that guy I mentioned in the first sentence out of my head even though I last communicated with him in mid-January and looked up his Twitter account maybe a dozen times since then (he doesn’t post a lot – merely landscapes or people (NOT family, but acquaintances or friends) that he happens to meet.

    As for my family, I am an only child, have a half-sister (my father’s previous marriage) who is 11 years older than me and with whom I am not too close. My father is 15 years older than my mother, and I believed for a long time that that was one of the reasons for my penchant for older men (however, there were several exceptions); the other one being that I have always found men (or rather, boys) of my own age immature and not attractive physically. Now that I look back at the men I chose, it seems to me that I “catch” that particular, rather short, moment after which they (men) start to get old, meaning right now one can still give them 40-42 years (even though they might be 45-47) and quite soon – yes, it is a full 50-55. Now that I am 32 years old, it is not a big deal, but imagine when I fell for such men when I was 17 or 24!

    There are two more characteristics of my relationship with my parents that I need to mention. The first one is that I considered my father to be the most intelligent man on Earth well into my primary school years and the second that when I became a teenager, I was sort of jealous of my parents being together and enjoying each other’s company whereas I was kind of an additional alien element. Say, if all of us were out for a walk or something, we (as a group) would go where my father suggested. Certainly, there were multiple exceptions and there were many case when my father would say, “She wants it – let’s (or “let her”) do it, but still, at the age of 15 I stopped going with them on holidays preferring to be on my own.

    After reading lots of psychological books and knowing how important the father figure is for the daughter AND knowing that we tend to copy the situation we are used to no matter how uncomfortable that might have been, I can’t help but ask whether there is any slightest way a girl might escape that covert competition with her mother if all girls in full families live with fathers and mothers?

    As for my relationships with me, I briefly touched upon them when answering laelithia’s posts in the Getting over infatuation with someone who wasn’t real thread.

    The one I referred to as #1 was 42 when we met (I was 23), he told me straight away that he had a partner. I was so conceited and sure of myself that I said that didn’t matter. We never had sex because I didn’t want to stop being a virgin that way (no matter how infatuated and head over heels in love with him I was, I still caught some disturbing vibes that he was not to be fully trusted). Overall, we spent two full days and one half day together over the course of, basically, four or five weeks. It ended when I graduated from a graduate school and was to leave to another state for work. Even though before that he had said he would come and see me, then he threw a tantrum (such a scene!) over the phone and that was it. Interestingly enough, a week or two before that, when he stopped calling or emailing me (now I know what that means!), I had a dream just like what happened later in reality.

    #2 was 58 at the moment (yes, a 35-year difference) AND a devout Christian who had never ever cheated on his wife. Well, he didn’t technically cheat on her with me, ‘cause we never went all the way. Again, at the time, I was so in love with him (and just a little over three months after my breakup with #1) that I literally felt warmth in his presence and it seemed to me that he was enveloped in a cloud of sunshine.

    He, in fact, did give me some sort of a deadline when he would start divorce proceedings with his wife, but then stopped mentioning it and just one or two months after the deadline had passed and I was internally ready to wait for him (even though I knew deep inside that nothing would take place), I met #3.

    #3 is very well described in the other thread, but I do need to add that there was a 21-year difference and – yes – he was married, too. And it was an LDR as well. I did some calculations later and found out that out of our six years together, we spent about 18 months living together. No matter how low my opinion of him is right now, I do believe that if his work conditions had been more cooperative back then, he would have divorced his wife of six years (then) and married me. Now I am fairly certain that he would leave me just as he had left his wife and me later on, but that is another story. There was so much passion on his side and mine that there was simply no avoiding this romance, no way.

    He stopped communicating in May 2015, had the guts to tell me the truth in July.

    In June, out of the blue, that guy I can’t stop thinking about now (very mildly compared to the other crushes), wrote to me. We had met before, met in the autumn of 2015, met several times for joint assignments… Besides that, I remember posting for some picture together in front of other people, my elbow against his arm, something was there… Then at a corporate meeting he barely noticed me, so I forgot about him. Then in June, I saw him again after his return from a business trip, and was surprised that he remembered my name. Then he wrote to me out of the blue. We kept the correspondence for six weeks or so (I remember thinking, “What is going on? If you want to ask me out, just ask me out!”) then he invited me to a get-together with other friends and colleagues, I couldn’t come because I had to be elsewhere because of work. Hadn’t heard from him until October 2015 when we started corresponding again (he wrote to me again). That one went pretty well until February 2016 when he stopped for good. We had one full day together talking plus met for a couple of hours for a walk and had a small talk at work one day. During that one-day meeting, he told me about his family troubles. To cut the long story short, he had been married to his high school sweatheart for 20+ years, then met somebody and went crazy. I don’t know why he didn’t divorce for that other woman, but their romance was stopped. He still couldn’t forget her all the way. So needless to say that no counselling for getting back together with his wife helped. I can count at least three times when he put his wedding ring back on and four times when he took it off. The last one was in February 2016 (put on), took off in June or July 2016. But didn’t write to me again. There were a couple of lines from him, but nothing leading to a meaningful discussion of his behavior. He flirted several times and (I think) tried to find out whether I was still single. But nothing. And oh yes, and in December 2015, after a particularly nasty quarrel with his wife, he wanted to crash on my floor. We had never even kissed, just hugged, and I had no intention to sleep with him, and by then I had read advice from men that in similar cases men should be treated as friends (one doesn’t obsess about friends if they don’t write every day, does one?), so I tried to treat him as a friend. He cancelled his visit that night adding that he “can’t have a serious relationship now. I can only be a friend, a good friend, a fun friend, but nothing more than a friend.” Well, we never went out even as friends after that, so I guess he wasn’t such a good friend after all. Then he stopped writing at all, as I mentioned above. Our paths crossed at work a couple of times, our eyes locked for what seemed like eternity, but he never wrote of his own accord. Once we even met at a friend’s party, he sought a place opposite mine, even blushed (he is red, so it is easy to see), but nothing. And then he left work altogether. I found about that on his Twitter, wrote to him a thankful letter to which received a very kind reply saying that he enjoyed our talks and correspondence and adding, “My crazy life is still crazy.” After that I forwarded him some fun stuff with no text from me, he would always reply. A couple of times, he would even ask something pertaining to those fun forward links from me. But nothing developed into meaningful discussions like before.

    Maybe that’s for the better, since I remember that in 2016, I thought that he had got to know each other so well and the spark is obviously there, so come on, stop procrastinating, let’s start dating (after divorce, of course – his wife asked him out of their house and he had been renting an apartment for several months).

    After reading Tiny Buddha and following similar situations with either divorcing or recently divorced men (this one is not even divorcing yet – presumably waiting for his younger daughter to whom he is very attached to graduate (in three years; son graduating this year)), I know that he has a lot of issues to address within himself, find out himself before he is good dating material. Even if he divorced and we got together, I doubt that it would last. And when he divorces (I don’t see how they can stay together given what I know and feel), he may very well seek that other woman whom he still can’t forget, he may reach out to me – again! – like he did two times already or – like my #3 – he could meet somebody new, fall in love and divorce his wife for that new lady. No guarantee that it would last either.

    I remember how I was thrown aback when we met in November 2015 after that renewed correspondence lasting for one month. I thought it was some kind of a date, and he goes – straight away, upon seeing me – “I don’t want to marry, I just want to pass a nice evening” (which we did, staying up cuddling and talking until 2:30 in the morning, didn’t even kiss). Or, on that very day, he told me that he would never marry his wife again (like Elizabeth Taylor did), and then, after two or three months tried to get back with her, however involuntarily that might have been.

    So whatever is happening is the best it can happen because this is what is happening, but I can’t help but wonder what makes me hold so much to him when other crushes of mine were forgotten after three or four months at most and not necessarily through meeting other guys? Also, I did have some meaningful conversations and hugs (in case the reason lies in our cuddling) with a few other men whom I could call just as charismatic (or with whom I could see myself in that family photo) as him since, but I don’t think about them, but I do think about him.

    As for this “family photo”, I once told a male friend about this criterion of mine (for physical compatibility, likeness or readiness to have sex, if you will), and he said it was the same for him.

    For instance, I didn’t have it with one other man who tried to court me after this crush ghosted on me last year, and I don’t have it with the guy who is probably thinking that he has a good chance with me now and is behaving slowly, like a true gentleman, asking me only when he will see me again at the shooting range for now.

    So it is all a bit mess, any insights are highly appreciated! I really think it is time I got to the bottom of this, especially now when I feel just right, whole and complete on my own and stopped imagining that I am sharing my experiences either with an imaginary partner or an ex of mine.

    Thank you so very much!

    X

     

    P.S. Forgot to add that my father always believed that his elder daughter (my sister) had been spoilt by her mother (my father’s first wife left him for another man when my sister was 6 or 7), so he tried to do all he could for me not to grow up into a spoilt princess. I was literally afraid of him when a kid. I remember how I shook my head when my grandmother, his mother, told me how much he loved me. Now, as an adult, I can see that my father had always been there for me, ready to catch me if I fell, but he did let me try everything for myself and fall down on my own. I guess I didn’t see it when a child. Not sure how this can explain why I am attracted by the men I am attracted to. On the one hand, I can see how two crushes (#2 and one more) fully fit the image of an ideal father that I thought I wanted to have instead of mine, but never did. And that fear may easily translate into the need to admire my partner in order to be able to love him. Which is not such a bad thing in itself, is it? Even if this is the reason (I don’t know), what can I do about it? Wait till I meet a man whom I admire, but who is not hot and cold (as all of my partners were)?

    #150043

    anita
    Participant

    Dear X:

    I am glad you started your own thread! I will be back to the computer in about ten hours from now and will be glad to read and reply to you then. Take care.

    anita

    #150047

    X
    Participant

    Dear anita:

    Thank you for your note. I do hope we can figure it out because I often do not see the forest for the trees.

    I have been thinking about what I have written so far, and I think I ought add a few clarifications / additions (again, sorry for the sheer volume of it!).

    One of the “list items” that the men I fall for have in common is their proficiency in what they do. They all are relatively well-known within their respective fields. Sort of. It depends. I guess given how much I have achieved and my background (don’t want to sound superintelligent or something, but at least four members of my immediate family, including my father, have Ph.Ds), I simply cannot fall for a plumber or a bus driver. However, there have been a few exceptions, the “three-year” guy being the most recent one – he was a waiter at a restaurant I stopped by, and I did have a crush on him for about two months until he completely stopped writing and the colleague “took over”.

    The age difference also may seem to be a pattern, but in fact, it is closer to a tendency (now less so as I am already 32). I have had two crushes on guys with a 7-year difference (the “three-year” guy being the most recent one), one with a 12-year, etc. So this is not a given, either.

    Also, some of the men were single, albeit in name only (like the “three-year” guy who still was not yet over his girlfriend).

    I believe I also need to define what a “crush” for me is. This is a spark, some connection, desire to be with that I feel towards a man. The vast majority of my “crushes” have been one-sided, I could see that the man liked me, but not more than that.

    I use “like” not in the meaning close to “love”, but more in the meaning of some chemistry, connection that people feel that could be explored and that might (or might not) bring them closer together as friends or more than friends.

    Other than that, I have had only one sexual partner so far; it was my #3.

    That colleague, by the way, did say that he liked me, but I don’t know what to make of that. We had a phone conversation (it was this past December), and I complained about another colleague of mine who had such an influence on men that they were willing to do almost anything for her despite having met her for the first time. I said something like, “as for me, some men like me, some don’t”. To which he replied that I was pretty and that men did like me. Then there was a slight hesitation and he added, “I like you.” I am not sure whether the hesitation was due to the fact that he didn’t want me to think that he liked in the “love” sense (now that I think about all of our interactions, I am not sure he is that tactful or really thinking in advance about what other people would make of this or that wording (like in December 2015, he wrote to me that he was hoping to figure out his “crazy life” and then went for a “last-ditch” counselling session with his wife one week long)) OR his hesitation was due to him confessing that connection that he felt as well.

    Anyway, I am not contacting him again on my own, so it doesn’t matter.

    It might also be relevant to add that I have never wanted children, nor have been much into what is considered female activities, i.e. cooking, sewing and the like. So somebody who wants a wife and the mother of his children and the mistress of his house would simply be looking the wrong way.

    I would like my partner to be my best friend, to explore the world and have fun together. I am extremely responsible, keep my promises and expect the same in return – this in case of diseases and the like.

    In the end, I would like to add that it does seem to me now that the reason for one falling for somebody does not lie in that “somebody”, but in the one who is falling for. I have met fantastic women who were single and fantastic women who were happily married and I have met women whom one would call a b**** with no qualms at all and again, some were single (no wonder why), but some had husbands and some husbands would be adoring them.

    It does seem that so many things depend on the chance.

    Looking forward to what you might be able to see here!

    X

    #150059

    anita
    Participant

    Dear X:

    After reading your three posts on this thread, the key sentences, for me, are: “I tend to give too many details- I think I don’t ever know what might be important and what not, so I spill it all” and “I often do not see the forest for the trees.”

    Your last line is: “Looking forward to what you might be able to see here!”

    This is what I see: the reason you often do not see the forest (the whole picture) for the trees (the details); the reason you “don’t ever know what (details) might be important and what not”- is because there are some important details about your childhood that you closed your eyes to, not wanting to see them, not wanting to be aware of them. Seeing those details, as a child, was too distressing, so you closed your eyes to them.

    It is not for lack of intelligence or formal education, that you still don’t see the important details so to make up the whole forest,  of course. it is for the understandable unwillingness to feel the distress.

    You wrote: “What I hope to find out is a) what are the reasons for my more than weird choice of partners given that I grew up in a totally normal family with NO dysfunctional relationship”-

    Before attending to the first part (the reasons…), I will ask you a question. Only following your answer, if it is positive, will I continue:

    Are you willing to consider the possibility that there was significant dysfunction in your family relationships?

    anita

     

     

    #150131

    X
    Participant

    Dear anita:

    Thank you for reading all that I have written so far (I don’t think there is much to add at this point) – it is truly hard work requiring lots of diligence and patience.

    I have always tried to live with an open mind, so yes, I am willing to consider anything, anything at all.

    I do have to make two points here. The first one being that I always try to come up with as many theories and/or explanations as I possibly can (not only to this situation, but to everything happening in my life) and normally I never guess, or, rather, guess partially, because either it is something that I didn’t even consider (the idea simply escaped me OR it was due to something that I didn’t know at the time) or it is a mix of a few things. Hardly anything is ever black or white.

    The second point is that education in my home country is very particular about details. It would be just as important (if not more!) to know exceptions to a rule as the rule itself to pass an exam. Since I have always been an A- or A student, I couldn’t help but pay attention to details, both in school, high school and university. My feeling is that this is the reason for my obsession with details. I may be wrong, of course, but this would be my explanation.

    Wishing to move forward if my answer is satisfactory enough for you!

    Thank you,

    X

    #150159

    anita
    Participant

    Dear X:

    Your answer is fine with me and so I proceed.

    You wrote in your last post: “Hardly anything is ever black or white.”

    And “It would be just as important (if not more!) to know exceptions to a rule as the rule itself to pass an exam.”

    This is the case in studying Law, isn’t it? A person not educated in it may think this or that case is simple, black or white, not knowing that this one detail he missed brings about an exception to the rule that causes the resolution to the legal case to land on an unexpected colorful spot between the black and white ends of a spectrum.

    On the other hand, there are simple cases in a person’s life that are either black or white. Particularly: was a child approved of by a parent? Either yes or no, black or white. It is so because children think in either-or, black or white. They don’t have any other life experience than the one they are experiencing, nothing to compare their experience to, and therefore, no colors, only black and white.

    Back to your statement: “I grew up in a totally normal family with NO dysfunctional relationship”-

    “no dysfunctional relationship” is quite black or white, all or nothing thinking, isn’t it? Especially when “no” is stated in all capitals, “NO dysfunctional relationship”-

    and so, I challenge it. Will you share about the relationship between you and your mother (one-to-one context), you and your father (one-to-one context), you and your parents (one-to-two context),  your mother and father(any one of those four contexts or more)?

    anita

     

    #150257

    X
    Participant

    Dear anita:

    I think I capitalised “No” to emphasise that no abuse was taking place. You know, I have spent some time on this website, and I have often encountered that people who started threads would either state straight away or when prompted by you or other members that they had been abused or harassed, their parents had been drinking, they had taken drugs and things like that. None of that ever happened to me. Of course, lack of physical impact does not mean that a dysfunction could not have taken place in another way (psychological). And here, I could bring examples that would prove that any one of those four contexts was dysfunctional. But, at the same time, I cannot help but ask: what defines a dysfunction? Is there ever such a thing in real life as a 100% functional relationship? Besides, what one may qualify as a dysfunction, another would say it is normal… I would be glad to read what you think about it.

    By the way, this is one more problem of mine. I always try to look at things from different angles, different perspectives, to see all the pros and cons, pluses or minuses, which often leaves me hitting a dead end: I can see the two different points of view, both have a right to exist, but no compromise can be found… Or those lists, the bottom lines – so often the weight is equal, so I don’t know what to choose or where to go… In fact, “I don’t know” happens very often to me – because of the above and because I know too well that there may be lots of additional factors at play in any given situation, factors that I (or others) may not (yet) be aware of… Yet, the desire to control hasn’t served me well so far, so I am slowly learning to go with the flow, to let things take their own course and shape…

    Would you like me to tell about the four contexts the way I see them now, i.e. how it was when I was a child and how it has changed now that I am a grown-up?

    Oh, and one more question for you, if you don’t mind. I have always wondered whether it is overall possible to provide advice in the context of this website when only one party presents his or her views. What I mean is that we don’t know what the other party or parties involved think about the situation. Maybe the author has exaggerated or saw something that was not even there? I see such misunderstandings very often in real life, and when everything is in the written form, that might be making it even worse since we don’t hear the intonation, we only see the written text.

    And one more thing that I have learnt so far (I am not trying to digress, I simply have too many questions and have searched for answers in vain for too long) – if one is trying to prove something, one will inevitably find proofs that what s/he is trying to prove is indeed so. That is, if I wanted to show that the four contexts were dysfunctional, I can do that. I could also show that I was and am very loved by my next of kin, albeit loved in the way in which everybody involved can love and understands love.

    I don’t know – see…

    X

    #150259

    X
    Participant

    Or do you mean the general trend? ‘Cause in one situation a child can be approved of by a parent (“Sure, go ahead and try playing that new game”) and in another disapproved (“You haven’t done your homework, have a quiz tomorrow and yet, you are watching TV till late at night”) (all just examples). Frankly, I would agree with the approval and the disapproval in this case. Or do you mean what I might have expected from any of the contexts, how I would characterise them in general, without going into details? Paint the big picture? Since what matters is how I see it?

    #150268

    anita
    Participant

    Dear X:

    I will be glad to answer your questions at another time. For now, I will withdraw my previous question (too general) and ask a specific question:

    In an earlier post you wrote: “when I became a teenager, I was sort of jealous of my parents being together and enjoying each other’s company whereas I was kind of an additional alien element”. Can you elaborate on you feeling like “an additional alien element”?

    We mentioned the forest and the trees analogy before. The reason I choose to not answer your questions in the last post, at this point, is because there are very many trees in that forest of your thoughts: “I always try to look at things from different angles… to see all the pros and cons (trees) , pluses and minuses (trees), which often leaves me hitting a dead end (not seeing the forest)”

    You have two M.A degrees. You have read and can read further (more) answers to any questions you have, answers from the most educated, famous scholars in the world, past and present. As I see it, you don’t need, at this point, more “trees”. You need to see the “forest”.

    If you want to see the forest, there are specific trees you are not seeing and without seeing those you cannot see the forest. I am pointing to a specific tree, at this point: it is in the specific question I asked you at the beginning of this post.

    It is your right to not answer it, of course. Answer it only if you are okay with answering it. You do not owe me an answer, not at all. Really, it is up to you.

    anita

     

     

     

    #150272

    anita
    Participant

    double post..

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by  anita.
    #150324

    X
    Participant

    Dear anita:

    First, I do hope that you will share at some point what you think is an answer to the questions I posted above.

    Second, yes, I agree, I have read and can read more, but – this is my problem as you have already pinpointed it (and this is even more true for science and/or academia, where people (say, scientists) believe that A is A, for instance, but then something happens, something new is discovered and A is no longer A, but B… I have had that phrase on my mind for quite some time now, so I’ll put it forward here – drowning. I sometimes literally feel like I am drowning in all the minute details, when it seems that A is A, but if you look at another angle, then A is no longer A. Like those parallel lines that can be parallel and never crossing each other in Euclid geometry, but then in Lobachevsky’s geometry they can be 100% parallel and still intersecting.

    So yes, I agree, I would like to see a little bit of the big picture.

    So back to my parents and me. Forgive me if I run forward of your train of thoughts a little bit, but I can’t help but showing how, on the one hand, it does seem to fit together, but on the other – not that it doesn’t, but I have the problem on my hands, but don’t know what to do with it, where the way out is.

    So the general picture of my relationship with men does seem to fit the pattern that I noticed when I was with my parents. That is, if there are three of us, say, we go for a walk, my parents are together, hand in hand, and I am on the side, either forward or behind them, like a dog on a leash. Forward or behind – mostly because most sidewalks or paths are not enough for three people to walk together hand in hand. And so it is natural for my parents, as partners, to be together and I am sort of on the side.

    And, if there are three of us, then, say, if I want to go to the left, my parents would most likely be in agreement and want to go to the right. So I have to comply. (Again, there are numerous exceptions, but this is the general trend – at least this is how I feel (but my feelings may be deceiving – that is why I asked all those questions in my previous post).)

    That led me to a) start dreaming of the time when my wishes are taken into account more than they are “now” – that is when I find my partner (I am talking about me being a teenager and starting dreaming about love, Prince Charming and all that romantic staff) and b) if there are going to be three of us, I am not going.

    This “on the side” and option b) seems to perfectly match the stance I take with my partners. First, I find an unavailable man (and start pining over him and how poor I am that he is not fully available for me – just like my father or mother – because he is with somebody else), second, I wait – and oh, I can be VERY patient – till he is done with his partner for the time being and comes back to me.

    This pattern is indeed a pattern. What I don’t know is where to go from here because (and I have come across several posts on the web from women in similar situations, so I am not alone)… it literally seems like I have some inbuilt radar for married (or unavailable) men. In all of my entire life, I have only been attracted to four men who were not married, and out of those four one was not yet over his girlfriend (the “three-year” guy) and one was a confirmed bachelor not looking for romance at all (and older than me by 20+). When I say “attracted” here, I mean that I enjoyed looking at them, would love to hug them and be hugged by them and – no matter how that would seem to other people – could definitely see myself with them in a picture and would enjoy spending lots of time together. No matter how my head works, no matter if my mind better controls my emotions and I am able to stop any action leading in the wrong direction now, I don’t know how to prevent my being attracted to men like this.

    Because I did meet a guy last year (I used the word “courted” in my brief description somewhere above), but I – literally! – cringe at the thought of him taking my hand. Complete aversion.

    Or that other guy who seems set on dating me now (the one from the shooting range). With him, it is neutral. And I don’t see it growing anywhere from there. If I don’t like a guy within the first hour of communicating with him, it is hopeless.

    So this is what I have been able to figure out based on my reading and the problem that I don’t know how to approach (that of basic attraction).

    My only hope is (based on reading) that I can somehow change something inside myself and then – potentially – I could become attracted to right partners.

    So maybe I overlooked something and you could point me to that – or just say what you think.

    Oh yes, I will repeat myself about that my parents and I thing – since all little girls have parents (well, most) and it is stressed everywhere that the relationship between the parents comes first – I really, really have trouble understanding why the vast majority of women don’t have the problems that I have. Or maybe they do? Or maybe it is I that is so special and sensitive in this respect? I don’t know.

    This is where the picture is more or less big enough. I would be happy to try and paint the big picture of the other three contexts, as you put it, but – again – it would be my overall impression of my relationship with my father, my mother and their relationship between themselves. Just a generic feeling I get when I hear “What do you think of your father and yourself?” and the like. What I don’t know is that if you are looking for certain symptoms in those relationships, you will for sure find them and the examples of the opposite that I might bring may be treated as exceptions or something – well, I don’t know, it is such a mix, but I could try. Besides, it is one thing how I felt about that relationship when I was 13 or 15 and another what I feel (and know) now that I am 32. Again, it is so mixed and tangled with so many nuances that I don’t know where to start or how to approach it.

    X

    #150368

    anita
    Participant

    Dear X:

    My question was: “In an earlier post you wrote: ‘when I became a teenager, I was sort of jealous of my parents being together and enjoying each other’s company whereas I was kind of an additional alien element’. Can you elaborate on you feeling like ‘an additional alien element’?”

    I had to pull your answer from your long, tree-filled recent post. Here it is: “if there are three of us, say, we go for a walk, my parents are together, hand in hand, and I am on the side, either forward or behind them, like a dog on a leash. Forward or behind – mostly because most sidewalks or paths are not enough for three people to walk together hand in hand. And so it is natural for my parents, as partners, to be together and I am sort of on the side.

    And, if there are three of us, then, say, if I want to go to the left, my parents would most likely be in agreement and want to go to the right. So I have to comply……it is stressed everywhere that the relationship between the parents comes first”

    My thoughts about your answer: your feeling of being “an additional alien element” to your parents’ relationship to each other was not limited to the times the three of you took a walk outdoors where the actual paths were not wide enough for three.

    Your family unit growing up was made of three people: your father, your mother, yourself. Two of the people treated the third as an outsider often.

    No doubt, parents should invest in having a healthy, loving relationship. It is healthy for the child to witness a healthy, loving relationship between the parents-

    but if the relationship between the parents includes rejecting the child as an interference with their adult relationship, expressing to the child that she is in their way, that is damaging to the rejected child.

    You wrote: “……it is stressed everywhere that the relationship between the parents comes first”- I disagree. The relationships between all members of the immediate family (those living in the home) should come first.

    You wrote:  “at least this is how I feel (but my feelings may be deceiving..”- when you felt rejected from the family unit (your mother-father-you), an “alien element”- that feeling was not deceiving. The most accurate information about one’s childhood reality is in what a child feels. Reason is, the child doesn’t have prior experience which affects the perception of her reality. Therefore I trust your feeling of being an alien element in your family unit to be the reality of what was your childhood.

    You wrote:  “I sometimes literally feel like I am drowning in all the minute details, when it seems that A is A, but if you look at another angle, then A is no longer A…mixed and tangled with so many nuances that I don’t know where to start or how to approach it”-

    your drowning in details, seeing trees but not the forest, interferes with effective communication and function in relationships with others, I believe.

    anita

     

     

    #150478

    X
    Participant

    Dear anita:

    Thank you for offering new perspectives on things.

    Regarding my parents vs me, I don’t really see how they could have reacted otherwise to a child. Parents are supposed to present a united front when dealing with a child, that is there shouldn’t be such a thing as one parent says no to something, but the other one says yes – at least, that is what I have read. Yet, there were cases when my mother would say no and then add, “Go ask your father, what he will say”, and my father would say yes. Or he might say no, but explain why so that I could understand and agree.

    Maybe you are right, this is exactly how they behaved – the two of them vs one (me). I also recall what the relationship between my maternal grandparents and me was like (I would spend the three-month long summer vacation with my grandmother and grandfather in the country and, if it is possible to say whom I love most, I would say my grandmother), and yes, I think that if I were to draw lines, I would draw all the three of us with arrows pointing both ways (all-inclusive – my grandmother, my grandfather and I) whereas if I were to draw my relationship with my parents, it would be an arrow pointing both ways between them, them as a separate unit, an arrow much shorter than the ones between my mother and me and my father and me (two long ones).

    But I truly can’t think of other examples when I would feel as “an additional alien element” besides that. Even at the dinner table, with the extended family present or when there were the three of us, I can’t remember ever hearing something like, “This conversation is for the grown-ups, go play.” I would leave myself because I would be bored with what they had to discuss whereas I had an interesting book to read, homework to do or friends to play with (in the summer, in the country).

    I do need to add one more thing. I may be the one who also sort of started (or deepened) the problem. I started to read very early, at the age of four. And I enjoyed fairy tales. And in fairy tales, the most usual plot line is that of an orphan who through hard work, patience, certain adventures and help from others (who show him or her how important it is to be polite) succeeds in life to become a prince or princess (or to find out that s/he is a lost prince or princess). Later on, lots of books for schoolchildren and teenagers (think Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte and lots of others) would also feature an orphan as the protagonist. When I read those books, I would identify myself with the protagonist, see everything through their eyes, think their thoughts. And so I started to distance myself from my parents to the point that my mother still sometimes raises the issue of me treating them as if they were not the closest people that I have on this planet, but somebody else, just regular people, anybody.

    As for the details, again, I don’t know when or where it started. It may be how my brain has always functioned. For instance, I remember that when I wanted to paint landscapes (I paint a little bit), I would find myself powerless to render on paper with the brush all those tiny leaves, all those changes in colour, all the details that I could see with my eyes. When I talked to a colleague of mine who is a painter and sells works of art, she said that this was okay, “This is how your brain works.”

    It may also be (in addition) that way too often I would read recommendations to pay attention to the little things that people do or say. Must have taken (and still be taking) that advice a little too far with the men that I come to care about. Maybe again that Jane Eyre thing – the love story develops in such a way that the reader is kept guessing what is going on, what this or that thing said or done by Mr Rochester means, only to discover that in fact, he is in love with Jane. Oh, how sweet…

    You know, my feeling right now is that I haven’t simply dug a hole (hopefully, have already stopped digging by now), but a whole elaborate underground cave system and don’t know how to get to the surface.

    What I have read might be enough to determine what the problem is, but I sure lack all the competence and knowledge of the professionals to be able to resolve it.

    X

    #150480

    X
    Participant

    And I have no idea why, if I were in the room with lots of men and there was no way to tell whether they had partners or not by their appearance, after interacting with each of them for, say, five minutes, the ones that I would find myself attracted to to a certain degree, would be the ones who had partners. Like in a store, if I like a bag having cast a glance over a number of them (without seeing price tags), the ones that I like are going to be the most expensive ones.

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