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Need Help Understanding Why

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This topic contains 45 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  X 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #173657

    Matt
    Participant

    X,

    Okay here goes….. For a long time I felt this same way. I had my last serious girlfriend who wasn’t my current wife when I was about 26, then I went about 9 years before me and my wife got re-united where I stayed single for the most part. I just couldn’t find someone who was available who I felt like having a serious relationship with.

    I want to think that I am whole and complete on my own, but so far I don’t have the proof of it in the form of a healthy relationship with a man.

    Why do you think that having a healthy relationship with a man as being proof that you are whole and complete on your own. There may in fact be a shortage of free whole and complete men, but I would counter that even thought that is what you are looking for maybe it is the wrong way to go about it. I know how much stress I put myself under during that time frame, I got stuck, constantly seeing all of my college friends getting married and having kids. I felt like I would be uncle Matty forever to all of my friends children. Single uncle Matty who always comes around and shows them a good time. I got to a point where I just accepted the fact that I was going to let go of trying so hard to find someone, and I spent a year travelling across the country on little vacations visiting all of my friends and spending time with their new families. I  would listen to all of them tell me to enjoy the time not having a family, they would say that once the family came everything would change. And I did just that, I started enjoying myself. I went out on dates with women who didn’t initially meet all of my criteria, and I did it just to have a good time. I changed my perspective on what I thought a date should be, I went out on dates just for the date, that one date, whether it was coffee on a Sunday morning, Kayaking Saturday afternoon, or dinner/drinks and dancing. Some of the dates were out right fun, some were absolutely horrible, and some were just good conversation. Very few of them ended with anything physical ever coming out of it. But I really enjoyed that period, and then it happened, I had a work trip where I had to spend a long weekend in Charlotte, and one week before the trip, my wife came up as a “people you may know” on facebook and it said she lived in Charlotte. And the rest is history.

    I would challenge you to go out on dates, make a goal of going out on a couple of dates with men who you would never see yourself in a serious relationships with. Be smart about it, but find people who you could enjoy for one reason or another and go out. Some will be good, and some will be bad, but it will show you that you can have fun and not put so much pressure on yourself. I got stuck saying that it was a waster of time to go out on a date with someone who I knew wasn’t going to work out, but I was missing the point that whole time. There are people that will provide you with some insight, and there will be people where it is just fun. But hopefully it will just show you to live life and allow it to happen while trying to be the best you.

    I am not sure this will help, but it is some insight, I will elaborate and that dating time if you need me to but I think the point is to just live life and stop limiting yourself because situations aren’t perfect. Have a great evening

    Matt

    #173829

    X
    Participant

    Matt,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your story with me! The more I “talk” to you, the more I become convinced that I am normal and that two different guys from work with whom I discussed my relationship problems (mostly about the fact that there are not so many guys with whom I feel connection and that those with whom I feel something are taken) were right. One of them said, “You just haven’t found him yet.” And the other one said, “Are you telling me you want to feel that special connection to every other guy, to fall in love with every other guy? Patience!”

    I wouldn’t stay that I put myself under a lot of stress these days, now that I a) had that experience of looking for love, thus being needy and vulnerable and falling for guys that were absolutely bad for me and probably just as needy, looking for somebody to fill their holes as I was; b) actually had the experience of being in love, being loved (by whatever love my exes were capable of), being in a couple (of whatever dubious quality), and c) went through all that reading and came back to enjoying life as it is and taking it day by day as if I were again on vacations in that small cottage in the countryside of mine. I mean it. I am really enjoying and living in the “now.” Finally. After having looked forward to vacations, graduations, acceptance at work, arrivals of my lover, etc. for so long.

    But I can’t help wondering what is going on because it feels as if no matter whether I think about it or not, I am still alone, travelling alone (not that I don’t enjoy it, but now I have reached the point of being willing to share my experiences with somebody special not to mention that it would be nice to have somebody drive, haul luggage and be able to go to the restroom with no stuff leaving it in my partner’s care), going alone about my everyday business, doing what I love in my spare time, but also alone.

    At the same time, when I start enumerating, I find that there were numerous encounters that could have led to something, but didn’t. But it doesn’t mean that similar encounters won’t in the future.

    At the same time, just like you are saying, if I compare my life to that of my girlfriends, I wouldn’t want to trade places. Maybe the biggest reason for it is that I wouldn’t want any husband of theirs for mine, so I am even more appreciative of the fact that I can do what I want, have no small children to take care of, that I can travel and practise my hobbies.

    But your challenge to go on dates is really a problem.

    I am an introvert. I do love to spend time alone. Even when my ex and I lived together, even though I was so much in love with him that I was almost enjoying life “through” him (like in “I should be feeling guilty being here and enjoying it because he is not here and is not enjoying it with me” and even worse “I should be feeling guilty being here and enjoying it because, even though he said he didn’t like it, he doesn’t know what he is missing” – what a distorted way of thinking!!!), I still felt the need to take my time and be at home alone.

    I tend to think that I know almost immediately if the man and I are going to “click.” That is, I know immediately if I can imagine myself having sex with him, being in his arms, even him touching my hand. If I can’t see me there, I consider any further interaction (if it is not work-related) useless. My mother said that I should be giving myself more time. Well, I tried with this guy whom I met at the shooting range. I was right, not my mother. You see, when ten minutes into the conversation I start wishing I was at home making myself a cup of tea and opening a book, it is no good.

    It all also boils down to the desire to control. If only I could know that at Date 10 I will fall in love with him, I could stand dates 1-9. But this is not going to happen. So I quit or don’t even start.

    I guess I just don’t like being around people that much.

    I also have to interact with a lot of people at work, so after work, I crave alone time (and silence) even more.

    One more thought. After my breakup with my ex (aka as #3) two years ago, I panicked, nearly had a rebound that I mentioned briefly (checked myself the same day) and did a lot of research. Well, it turns out that most people meet through school, work or hobbies. At work, I meet a lot of men. As for the hobbies, I go swimming, to a shooting range, used to do martial arts, now do fencing, took up those seamanship classes and am thinking about resuming horseback riding when we have a break from the ship. I am not shy about travelling solo, and they say that men are more likely to approach a single lady rather than somebody who is there with a friend.

    So I guess I am doing all I could.

    As for online dating, I am afraid this is something I would consider a major waste of time. Well, after I am done with my bucket list (could see how that could happen ten years from now or so, though I am sure I would find something else to do (I never experience boredom)), I could very well take up online dating like one takes up a job, but right now I don’t think I am ready for it. I don’t even have a smartphone – there is a computer at home, a computer at work, and a smartphone in-between is such a distraction!

    I am afraid I am too thorough a person to be ready to make an effort and remember something about somebody whom I don’t like at first sight (and there are few men whom I do like at first sight). Hey, I don’t even bother to remember people’s names at parties ‘cause I know we will most likely never see each other again. Not being good with faces doesn’t help either.

    Does that sound like a long excuse and a proof of that I don’t really want to be in a relationship deep down?

    Oh, one more thing. I am used to men making the first step. I made the first step myself with #1, didn’t end well. The farthest I can go is ask a question.

    My mother says that I need to be more feminine, like start painting nails (believe it or not, never painted mine – don’t like the look of it!) and learn to cook. A female colleague of mine, who had trouble finding a partner but is finally getting married this December, says that cooking is not something that anybody thinks about these days. The “most recent” guy said that men do notice me. And I do get approached, but the vast majority of those men are not somebody I could see myself with. My ex was an exception, so was the “most recent” guy and one more guy from my trip in 2015, but no happy ending in any of those cases. And the ones I could see myself with are few and far between and are all taken. But then that guy said “Patience!”

    So I guess that I am now getting tired of all those games with my life – think about a relationship, don’t think about a relationship, try to be whole and complete, become aware of whom and what you need, etc. Thankfully, I am able to live my life now day in and day out without worrying too much about the future, so I am doing just that (I’d like to think): live life and allow it to happen while trying to be the best you.

    What would you say to all of the above?

    Have a fantastic evening!

    X

    #173837

    Matt
    Participant

    Right off the bat, first thought, I would say relax. I think it all does point to the fact that you are scared of that connection. You are setting the bar way to high for someone that outwardly says they want to find the love of your life, but inwardly all the signs point to not wanting to give up those alone times. Relationships are scary as hell, and I am by no means saying that you should settle for something other than what you really want.

    I was alone for a long stretch of time as well and it sucks to, but there are lots of benefits to being alone. Learning to be accepting of it can be freeing. But  I still think you need to re-focus your thoughts about the process of meeting that man. I think that you are personally right where you need to be, have fun/live life/excel at work/follow your passions. The special someone will show up, and you know what; if he doesn’t your still going to be living a spectacular life. Sure you will be missing out on some things, but I am missing out on being able to travel to different locations, I am missing out on being able to fully immerse myself into my passion with photography, I am missing out on being able to drop everything and just go somewhere by myself, I can’t just quit my job and decide to move somewhere else just for the experience, there are things that because of my family just aren’t realistic anymore. But I am comfortable with that, because sometimes like you daydreaming about Mr. Right, I daydream about just leaving it all, packing my bags and buying a plane ticket to a foreign country and getting lost. But that is what daydreaming is all about, then my daughter will walk in the room and need something to drink, or want me to color with her, and I go about my day excited to see the smile on my daughters face.

    Oh, one more thing. I am used to men making the first step. I made the first step myself with #1, didn’t end well. The farthest I can go is ask a question

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

    My mother says that I need to be more feminine, like start painting nails (believe it or not, never painted mine – don’t like the look of it!) and learn to cook

    I say you need to be yourself, honest and who you are, that is the only way you will meet someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, or even meet someone that you would be willing to spend anytime with. AS far as cooking, nah no big deal. I enjoy cooking, and get great pleasure cooking my wife a meal while she sips on a glass of wine with me.

    And the ones I could see myself with are few and far between and are all taken. But then that guy said “Patience!”

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

    I hope that all makes sense, don’t play the game anymore, accept where you are, have fun and enjoy life.

    Thoughts

    Matt

    #174053

    Matt
    Participant

    I have been thinking a lot about where I am at (married with kids), versus where I was at when I was single and thinking that I didn’t measure up to all of my friends who were already married with kids. Most of my close college friends got married soon after college, I think I went to 6 weddings in the first couple of years after we graduated. At first it was cool being the single one, I had way more freedom, which allowed me to be wide open. As the time went by it did start to get to me. I would often ask myself “what is wrong with me” I kept putting more and more pressure on myself and I think it really started to hurt my self confidence. I am by no means model material, but I know now that I can clean up nicely and am not too hard on the eyes. Back then when I was single I had a very different view of myself. I am really not sure what it was, but I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I had no confidence, but I also think part of it was that I hung my future on every date on went out on. Like you, I could tell whether things would work out  or whether we had the physical connection within the first couple of minutes of talking to someone to my date, and if it wasn’t there I would shut down. Instead of just going out and having a great time, I was always looking for the one. I guess one day I woke up with a different attitude, out of the blue I asked this lady out for coffee. We would run into each other at a place that we both ate lunch at frequently, and one day standing in line I nervously  turned and probably said something very awkward. But she said coffee sounded good, I think we met up that weekend, had coffee and a great conversation, but at the end of it we agreed that romantically we weren’t a fit, but we enjoy each others company. I remember she had the greatest laugh. You know one of those that immediately make you giggle. The point of that story was that we hung out every now and then, and in the process I ended up meeting someone who I went out with for a couple of months. At the end of that relationship is when my business trip to Charlotte was and where I re-connected with my wife.  I think my comfort zone was the fact that I could never find the right one, that nobody met my standards, and until I stepped out of that zone and just started meeting different people for the sake of meeting different people, the feelings I had for myself changed.

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

    My wife and I have been having a great couple of weeks, and we have really found this renewed vigor in our relationship. It makes me very happy, but we continue to expand our conversations and are able to have really honest conversation about what Jay represents, and what we want our relationship to look like as we get older.

    I will have more later

    Matt

    #174055

    X
    Participant

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

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

    I agree that it may feel like that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    AS far as cooking, nah no big deal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Please keep on going exploring your selves!

    X

    #174099

    X
    Participant

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

    X

    #178469

    Matt
    Participant

    X,

     

    Okay here goes, lets see if we can close some of these loops.

    That men need a challenge? I read about it in another book, too.

    I think the challenge is inherent. There are enough challenges living life and holding a steady relationship is challenging for anyone. I don’t think you need to lower your standards. You should never settle, but that does not mean that you can not find all sorts of men interesting, and on the same note not all men you find interesting are going to be worth settling down with.

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

    This is the phase of a relationship that might be the most fun. It is infatuation/lust whatever. I think there is probably a biological and evolutionary reason for this.But this is the biggest challenge in a relationship, how do you keep this feeling after so many years. Should a relationship be over once this feeling is gone? Can I rediscover this relationship in my marriage after 7 years? I actually think it is possible, but I am finding out it takes a lot of work.

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

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

     

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

    So do you think there is a difference between a great partner and someone who lights your fire and you can be smitten with. I see you might be trying to lower your own expectations. Are you scared of being totally heart broken? It feels like there are all sorts of safety nets around your relationship life. Heartbreak is scary as hell, the thought of my wife leaving me and breaking my heart would be the worst thing that could happen. I would be devastated. But I have come to a realization that if my wife chose someone else over me, it would not be the end of the world. It would suck, and hurt, and be awful, but I would hope that I would figure it all out and move on with life.

     

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

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

    I think you are where you need to be, living life, having fun, and enjoying every minute you can. But you do need to realize that you don’t need to be in relationships with men who are unavailable from the beginning, and that in order to find love you need to be able to risk losing love and heartbreak.

    They were clear about the problem, still loved each other, but nevertheless decided to part ways. I couldn’t understand it and still can’t, the romantic in me screaming, “But you love each other!!!”

    This is very thought provoking, relationships are hard, and are always changing. People change and to stay in love you need to be able to find a way to keep the relationship fresh. So here is a question I have with your relationships, even though the men you fell for were already taken, how hard should you fight for someone you love? I don’t really know how to get this thought out of my head. Do you think you loved someone so much that you would fight for them. That isn’t exactly what I am trying to ask, but I can’t find the right sentence structure for this. I love my wife, that love is so strong that I would do almost anything to keep that love. But day to day, that Love is up and down….Does that make sense?

    I think I am starting to ramble now, I will continue with the other post tomorrow evening. let me know what that interesting thought you came up with is. Have a great day and I will have more later.

     

    Matt

     

    #178563

    X
    Participant

    Matt,

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

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

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

    X

    #178643

    X
    Participant

    Matt,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “-0.5”

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

    “0”

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

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

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

    “+0.5”

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

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

    “+1”

     

     

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

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

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

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

    Now my stunning discovery from last weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    X

    #178695

    X
    Participant

    *didn’t update

    #178837

    Matt
    Participant

    X,

    Lots to digest with this one….

    I liked the image of a flower that needs to be watered regularly. Now I don’t even know how to tell a keeper from somebody who is not – it may be starting splendidly, but then it just dies out and while you are getting signs that love is on the wane, you keep convincing yourself that one can’t “be high” all the time… As you know he left our “bridge” and started building a new one with that new woman…

    I like the flower analogy because with a flower, there may be not enough water, there may be too much water, there might not be enough sunlight, and there might be too much sun light, and this changes throughout the year as the temperature rises and falls. I think most people treat their relationship the way most bridges are maintained, as long as it is functional no worries right, and then one day you wake up and the supports are eroding and it is too late to save you HAVE to build a new one. Which is probably why he jumped to the new bridge, he knew the structural support of your relationship was degrading.

    The parable of the woman shopping is interesting and makes sense to a degree, but when you are shopping on each floor aren’t you stopping to try things on. you know the first floor has perfume, stop and try a few, then onto the shoe floor, and then the sundresses and on and on. The parable doesn’t talk about how long she spends on each floor. I think in life most successful people continue to upgrade the character of people that they keep in their life, even once the are in a relationship, the couple friends that they have change.

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

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

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

    The piece basically read that if a female makes the first step and it turns out (for instance) that the guy has a bad breath, and she is put off, it would be much harder for her to go back on her signs of liking him than if he advances and she merely states that he has misinterpreted her.

    I sort of see the point here, but the way I look at it is that if I you were to initially think someone is cute and might be interesting and pursue that person only to find out that you couldn’t get through a dinner because their breathe was foul, at least you know, and you have a funny story. If you were to wait for the other person to make a move and that person doesn’t, then the opportunity is an open ended “what if”

     

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

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

     

    I think that the reason for your feelings towards your most recent guy and the three others have changed is your perception of where you are at. But also to think that any of the three, except maybe the divorced one, are stable, calm, or reliable might be an illusion that you have given them for some reason. No one who is married and would be willing to get in a relationship outside of their marriage is stable calm, or would be reliable. I think that the fact you said it yourself about not interacting with any of them enough to be able to say for sure is the important point. I think those initial feelings of attraction provide just that, a little or big spark, a clue, a indication that something could bloom. But you will never know unless you add water. With the married guys, you will be adding water to something that is getting water somewhere else as well.

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

    I am going to post this now because I hope we can continue this talk about the good and bad picture some more?

    but I will continue writing about the rest of your post.

    Matt

    #178853

    Matt
    Participant

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

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

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

    I don’t think you need to work on yourself feeling safe and secure (you are there when you are there), and it is interesting that you wrote “unavailable” in your response describing your feeling. What if you just say that you are enjoying life, and living life to the fullest with all of these activities that you are enjoying.

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

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

     

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

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

     

    Matt

    #178859

    X
    Participant

    Matt,

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

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

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

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

    “Talk” to you soon,

    X

     

    #179373

    X
    Participant

    Hi, Matt!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Can you elaborate more on this one?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I like this one! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    X

    #179619

    Matt
    Participant

    X,

    I did have a good Thanksgiving, ate too much, but the time with the family is nice, and it reminds me how fast the kids are growing up. Have to enjoy it while I have it

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

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

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

    Doesn’t that parable go against what you said in response to the second response. I do think that friendships last a lifetime, I have 5 or 6 friends who will stand by my side for eternity. My point was that as you become more successful you run in different circles and meet people with higher standards. I can’t remember who said it but the saying, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” as time goes on those five people change.

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

    So true and really hits the point of what I think the goals of my marriage should be.

     

    ………I have to go take care of something, I will be back

    Matt

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