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This topic contains 83 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  X 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #290319

    X
    Participant

    Michelle and GL, I am going to my home country for about a month tomorrow. Am planning to be able to write back, so still count on your replies. If – very unlikely, but who knows? – I don’t get down to it, I will be sure to respond when I get back at the end of May. Thank you in advance!

    In the meantime, Michelle, I hope that you get a sunny spring! I do know what it means to live under low grey skies, so wishing you as many rays of sunshine as possible!

    GL – same thing if this is your case, too.

    Take care.

    X

    P.S. My reply to Michelle contained a couple of external links, so it will take some time to post.

    #290331

    Michelle
    Participant

    Hey X.

    Hmm, online dating….not something I have any personal experience of but I have a variety of friends who have used it.  My opinion, it’s like any tool – it’s success or not is going to depend on how you use it and your mind-set/reasons behind it.  For example, I have a friend who is very anxious, nervous and is only physically attracted to ‘bad boys’, similar to you in not being able to like ‘nice men’ physically enough to date them. Her experience of online dating didn’t go well because she was still repeating that pattern, just more frequently.  Whereas two other friends who for a variety of reasons were ‘ready’ for a good relationship very quickly ended up finding partners they’re still still happily married to ten years later.   So do I think it can help – absolutely. Do I think you have a big risk of simply repeating your current pattern – also absolutely unless you change it first…

    If you think about Shelby/Kkasxo’s issues objectively, it becomes clear that their biggest problem is they are both refusing to see the reality of their partners – preferring to stubbornly cling to the version that lives only in their heads to be able to avoid change.  Dreaming of what they would each like their guy to be, what he could be – another romantic fantasy of sorts. Though Kkasxo has actually made really good progress in opening her eyes lately which is hugely encouraging.

    It’s the same thing you are doing when you invest time and energy imagining what a potential partner is like when you get a crush on someone. The crush isn’t about the real person as you don’t know them – it’s about the fantasy of what you imagine he is. So (knowingly or unknowingly) you assign him all the characteristics you want in a man, imagine he will be perfect, he will whisk you off your feet and look after your happy ever after. And then unsurprisingly reality crashes in as you get to know him more – how can anybody live up to perfection in your head afterall. So you get disappointed, decide you are better off back alone and retreat to your safe place where you don’t have to deal with this upsetting reality. Then after a while, you are ready to try again or someone sparks a new glimmer of interest and the cycle begins again.

    So I think whilst you can definitely improve your chances of meeting a good man for you – I think you will repeat this pattern until you change it, break it.

    One way I know helped me on how to do this is to invest effort in recognising and separating your thought patterns from your actions ( the book I recommended to Shelby/Kkasxo is good at this ). Rather than spending time imagining, guessing, dreaming, hoping – it’s doing the scarier thing of finding out, asking, doing, determining reality for yourself.

    Enjoy your trip back home – and if it’s to visit your parents – don’t let your mother make you feel bad. I’m not that dissimilar to you, tom-boy as a kid, lots of male friends, worked in a male-dominated environment, no real interest in traditional female activities etc etc ( though I can cook now after 20 years! ). It’s not what stops you finding the right man for you, trust me on that one…

    We are off to Granada in Spain in a couple of weeks so will get some sun there if not here – though it’s still great at the moment. Nothing better than sitting outside with a book and a glass of something chilled!

    Take care.

    #290357

    X
    Participant

    Hey Michelle,

    I am somewhat reluctant to try online dating now. Maybe because I want to check off a few items off my list of books to read, films to watch, places to visit first or because I am afraid to be overwhelmed by the options out there – when there are too many, one loses sense of what one wants or is looking for. It’s somewhat akin to being online – always a new link to click, a new item to follow, a new girl out there. But Anita is very actively advocating for online dating on Tiny Buddha even suggesting a strategy (from which I borrowed a meeting over a cup of coffee or a light meal), so I thought I’d ask your opinion.

    It may be also the simple fact that I just got disappointed (very slightly, I would give it no more than 3 on a scale of 1 to 10) that I didn’t get to see that man before my departure nor did I happen to cross him in the corridor. It is not too big a crush, but if he made a step, it could definitely become something.

    I can’t say that I am investing a lot of time and energy in imagining things with him. I’d say that I hardly thought about him at the weekend, but “it would be nice”.

    The crush isn’t about the real person as you don’t know them – it’s about the fantasy of what you imagine he is. So (knowingly or unknowingly) you assign him all the characteristics you want in a man, imagine he will be perfect, he will whisk you off your feet and look after your happy ever after.

    Yes, very much so. And I might add that I imagine what he is because there was something in his appearance that appealed to me so I started thinking about him actively OR there still had been something teeny-tiny that I had brushed off and forgot, but then he himself approached me – and off I went…

    And then unsurprisingly reality crashes in as you get to know him more – how can anybody live up to perfection in your head afterall. So you get disappointed, decide you are better off back alone and retreat to your safe place where you don’t have to deal with this upsetting reality.

    Well, this part is not exactly so. I either don’t get to know him more because he never makes a step in my direction (mostly likely the current case – but who knows – maybe he’ll miss me now that I am out for a month (not actively counting on this) ;)) OR, if he (any man here) does, I continue to like him more and more, getting to know him, making excuses for his behaviour, being understanding until HE retreats himself because he had his own issues he should have dealt with before approaching me.

    Rather than spending time imagining, guessing, dreaming, hoping – it’s doing the scarier thing of finding out, asking, doing, determining reality for yourself.

    I think I do just that – I don’t get my hopes high, watch the man, if he doesn’t reciprocate, after a while my interest goes down. I become upset, get busy with my life, but then nature calls again (aren’t we all supposed to be looking for a mate to procreate?), and I start looking around – does anybody see me? – and I get men whom I can’t stand or do I see anybody? – and I get men whom I like but who don’t see me or are not ready even if they do.

    If he reciprocates, I ask all the questions, am not shy at all, but I am already biased in his favour, so will keep making excuses until he does something really unacceptable or until he disappears into thin air.

    Enjoy your trip back home – and if it’s to visit your parents – don’t let your mother make you feel bad.

    Thank you so very much for this note. Yes, I’ll be glad to see all the familiar faces and the environment (we will be also going out to the country, a small village in which both my family and my aunt and uncle and other friends of the family all happen to have cottages), but Michelle, I am already getting ready to make a mental effort to ignore my mother’s remarks and seemingly matter-of-fact questions (like “So when is your ex coming to your work place again?”).

    For a very long time, since probably my teenage years, I thought how cool it would be to be in the family circle with that special someone. The village is located in a very picturesque place, and, even though I was not born there, I spent all my summer holidays there and consider it my sanctuary. Everyone seems to be coupled – my parents, my aunt and uncle, our family’s friends. My cousins stopped coming there as soon as they could, though my elder cousin doesn’t mind, but he lives in still another country now. My childhood friend, a daughter of one more friendly couple all of a sudden said that she hated it there when she entered the university and stopped coming. So now, as for so many years, everyone around me is coupled and I am again alone 20 years later still wishing for somebody to be by my side.

    Oh well…

    I’m not that dissimilar to you, tom-boy as a kid, lots of male friends, worked in a male-dominated environment, no real interest in traditional female activities etc etc ( though I can cook now after 20 years! ). It’s not what stops you finding the right man for you, trust me on that one…

    It is so nice to be able to talk to somebody who is similar in spirit and made it! Thank you for your words and encouragement!

    The fact that my ex said that he didn’t mind at all eating out and “you’ll learn to cook when you’ll need to learn to cook” – those were still one more reason for me to believe that yes, my expectations were not exaggerated and that I had found HIM.

    So yeah, so many things that he did and said were a 100% match for how I though it should be.

    And then that “guy who led me on” – all that my ex was and even more, similarly understanding and non-judgemental, but younger and better looking… It almost feels as if we were SUPPOSED TO have gotten together in earnest (with him divorcing of course since everything had been a mess long before I came into the picture), but life is not a novel and unfortunately, I am not the author.

    We are off to Granada in Spain in a couple of weeks so will get some sun there if not here – though it’s still great at the moment. Nothing better than sitting outside with a book and a glass of something chilled!

    Well, I must say that there is certainly something cozy full of hygge sitting by a lit fireplace with a book and a glass of wine and listening to the wind and rain outside. But it is good for several days, after that one gets tired and wants the sunshine. Very glad that you have the opportunity to travel like that! I still tend to think that even if I had more time and money, travelling somewhere more often than once in three months would be too overwhelming for me. But it is just me.

    Okay, now to the finishing touches before I get picked up for the airport…

    Maybe will be able to write on Friday or Saturday, if not then after May 13<sup>th</sup> ‘cause there is no internet in the village and mobile phone coverage is very spotty.

    X

     

    #291219

    Michelle
    Participant

    Hey X,

    Apols I wasn’t clear. I think online dating is a very good idea for you to meet men who are seriously interested in dating you, getting to know you. As said, it is a tool, not a solution. So it’s success will depend on you being ready to use it in a way that doesn’t simply see you repeating your old/current patterns.  The only way your life is going to change is by thinking and doing something different.

    Don’t let fear of the unknown and potential overwhelming input stop you, you are in control of this, you stop it when you want it to stop. Be brave, courageous – like a book heroine – overcome your fears.  You are actually the author of your own life story.  You hold the pen on what happens, on how the heroine reacts to everything that life throws at her, how she responds, what she does and thinks. Does she sit around and wait for life to passively happen to her, waiting for others to lead the way and take charge of her life so she doesn’t have to? Are there pages full of endlessly reliving past events, blaming others for their faults? Or does she accept what has happened, learn from the experiences and move on, trying something different next time, accepting the lessons taught and wisdom gained, however painful, becoming stronger, wiser.

    Life will always throw things at us that we don’t like or want. It is how we choose to respond to them that sets out our story. Think about the story you are writing for yourself whilst you are away.

    Have a great trip.

    #291471

    X
    Participant

    Hey, Michelle,

    Back in my home country now.

    Going to theatre performance tonight with my extended family and out to the country tomorrow morning.

    Met my girlfriend yesterday – the one with whom, even though we are so different, somehow we always reconnect no matter whether a week has passed since we talked last or two months. Talked for three hours and a half straight and will meet again a few times more for walking routes in the centre of the city when I am back from the country in two weeks.

    In your last but one reply to me you mentioned that one of the books that you had recommened to Shelby and Kkasxo could be helpful in recognising and separating my thought patterns from my actions. Were you talking about “You Can Be Happy No Matter What”?

    #291671

    Michelle
    Participant

    Hey X,

    Sounds good, it’s wonderful to have friends like that who you can just pick up with and be yourself.

    That was the book I first learned about it in, yes. Though I think Mark Manson’s free blog does a pretty good job of explaining the concept in his own style, just not as in-depth.  So you could start there if you can’t get a copy easily.

    #292733

    GL
    Participant

    Hello X,

    Pardon me, but life got busier than anticipated.

    Happy endings are nice, but it feels incomplete. Also, if the protagonist(s) was happy, then the villain(s) was probably unhappy. After all, they both wanted different things, but only one side would get their desire result while the other side would fail. And as much as the villains are unlikable, it is also unfair to them that they, as the villain, are likely to fail to achieved their goal simply for the fact that they are the ‘villain’. Reverse the point of view and the ‘hero’ is probably the villain from the view of the ‘villain’ since it was the ‘hero’ that became an obstacle to the ‘villain’s’ plans. But more than the endings, it was more interesting to read about the character’s motives that led to their actions and its consequences.

    Of course, the child goes with whatever s/he is “fed” – I learnt about all these “real” versions only much later in life.

    I will have to disagree with this. The child may not have been taught that they have the freedom to explore beyond what they can see, but that didn’t mean that they couldn’t. Though it largely depend on the nature of the child and nature of their exploration.

    The same a few years later when I was looking at his picture. Somehow at that point the features that are now so pronounced (for me and I don’t like them) became also very apparent, he had started to lose hair, by that time he had already grown a belly (why do men do it once they hit 50 – the “guy who led me on” also put on weight), but I was lovingly thinking and recalling him the way he had been when we first met and for the first year of our romance, what pulled me to him “…But I still love you, notwithstanding.” Isn’t this what they call the conscious choice to love somebody?

    Don’t quite understand this point. People age, the cells dictate so (unless by some miracle scientists have found a way to reinvigorate the human body) there’s no turning back the cells’ death. So for you to focus on the fact that irregardless of how your partner may look in the present as compared to the past, are you focusing on the fact that you still wish to feel sexual attraction to him?

    What is interesting is that psychology-wise there is no “norm”. If you are “functioning”, you are “normal.”

    You can be functioning (surviving), but that doesn’t mean you can’t be/aren’t riddled with depression/melancholia.

    I am afraid I stop following you at this point – why is one partner always dissatisfied? Why can’t the two find a way that would satisfy both?

    You have things you wish to do, yes? Then can you give up all or at least a half of that for your partner to do what they want? If you can and will not resent your partner for putting you in that kind of situation, then go for it. But not many people can give up a life that has a certain meaning to them. For as much as both partners may compromise, it does not always lead to a life that is great, or even okay. They have compromised and made changes, but there is always the feeling that something is missing. And that missing is maybe where they want to live, the kind of career they want, the people they want to surround themselves with, what they wish to learn, etc. No two people will always wish for the same thing, and sometimes that ‘want’ is especially important to one person, but focusing on it (i. e. geographical location) may barred the other person from doing what they want: no career opportunity, geographical location, future (or no) children, etc. People can give it up (similar to an unfulfilled dream), but there’s a high possibility of regret leading to resentment if what they gave up was more important to them than they had allowed themselves to believed. When that happens, both partners have a choice to make. They can have a long distance relationship/partnership or separate. Keep in mind that not many people are suited to long distance relationship and even after all the changes, both isn’t really happy with their life. So they separate because they wish to find someone who they can share a life that is 70-80% similar to what they want, which is not what their current partner desires. So to repeat, you can love someone, but that doesn’t mean that you love a life with them. (And a reason why people should know if they desire children or not.) To put it in a simple equation, the start of love is chemistry and life is compatibility.

    Besides, when has life ever gone the way anyone wish it would?

    But generosity and willingness to put oneself in another’s shoes (even if it is as little as noticing whether I am cold or tired) goes a much longer way.

    Now, wanting your partner to be generous is fine, but determining it by a person’s generosity with money is one part too small of the whole. Just because a person is generous with money does not mean that they are generous with their heart or affection. A person can pay for you on a date, but that will not change the fact that they are a jerk; they are merely a jerk that paid during the first date. And many of those with money will donate a lot to charities to get out of tax duties; don’t be so sure that money generosity is a good thing. But in that end, the generosity is still dedicated to you in that the other person should do his best to woo you, in which most of them are doing since they are asking for your opinion for the first date. Yet you’ve expressed that you wished that they would simply make a decision, ask for your free time slot and then fill you in the plans. Isn’t that a bit controversial? You believe that the other person asking you where you’d like the date to be is them not doing the leg work, but you still wish for them to take you into consideration?

    You wish the other person to pay attention to your needs, yet how much attention are you paying to their needs?

    Also, I do like to underscore that I am independent and that the mere fact that you asked me out (or want to pay for me) doesn’t mean that I will sleep with you.

    There is a subvert entitlement to paying on the date. When a person pays, usually the male, they are unconsciously putting the other party in debt to them so they feel that they are owed something from the other party. And that something is usually something sexual. So splitting the bill is usually the safer bet for many first dates since no one owes anyone anything.

    By the way, is there is need to state your independence every few posts? Many of the posts have one or two sentences about how you’re financially able and able to do your own things without worrying about other people, but what is the necessity to include those points? Are you worry about others judging you for being desperate or ‘less than’?

    I have been brought up on the premise of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you do upon others”

    It is fortunate that your parents had the sound of mind to teach you such things, but not everyone had the fortune of having balance parents, or a family, for that matter.

    Anita likes to stress that compromising (meaning conceding) doesn’t work. What works is win-win. What would you say?

    A relationship shouldn’t be about winning or losing. If you continuously keep scores and grudges against your partner, then you’re only trying to fix them or appear superior to them. Making the relationship a competition will only wear out all the involved parties. But no human likes being wrong, much less being told that they are wrong. So there is compromise, in that the parties give up a little of something to reach the middle ground. Compromise is about balance, not tipping the scale toward one side.

    Now this is a only a thought, but you might be too comfortable in your thinking/feeling. You have a certain view on things and you tend to hold onto that point. It’s fine to be steadfast when it comes to having a different perspective from others, but when a person tend to ignore ‘different’ and focus on similar, then the viewpoint become too narrow that there’s only one perspective that might be correct (or incorrect) which hem in possibilities. One example for you is your insistent on categorizing your ex as an narcissist. Though you understand that you have no relative knowledge of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you still compared your ex to to a checklist (from a relationship help website) of some traits that NPD can showcase therefore labeling him as a narcissist.

    Looking at what you’ve written, the checklist seems to go: ego-centric fuel by affection and admiration, serial cheater (inability to stay too long in any relationship), manipulating your hope and intentions, obviously has issues with intimacy and the ability to speak somewhat eloquently yet has done little to back up his words (dishonesty and poor communications, MIA for few months). Did he enabled you as a person, but also tried to control you in turn, has he ever shown you his absolute vulnerable side (no?), does he resent his exes, former friends, colleagues or family for any of his ‘misfortune/depression’, did he like being depended on (took responsibility for you in some way), did he show sign of needing approval from those around him (work and friends), was he able to take criticism from you (no?), did he have a quick temper or issues concerning anger?

    If you place a check next to many of the questions above, then your ex’s problem probably doesn’t lie in NPD but codependency addiction. Codependency is described as the ‘addiction to the potential of things’ or ‘relationship addiction’. If he is selfish and self-centered in some ways, that’s not surprising because those who tend to be codependent has detached themselves from their own emotions as a defense mechanism from a difficult past. The same thing can be written of NPD, but what differs is that the two are looking for different things. Your ex was seeking for love, but was unable to trust and commit himself to a relationship. Also, he was addicted to the chase of any new potential relationships so it is any wonders he’d have side mistresses?

    He is/was chasing after passion, pretending it to be love. It was easy for you to love that him whom spouted words without actions. Maybe you were hoping that he would eventually commit himself, but I wonder if you didn’t also unconsciously knew that after 4-6 years of ‘spoken love’, he was only a mask of no-risk passion. He was not going to commit yet you were able to delude yourself otherwise. Were you hoping to save him or be ‘the one’ for him? It seems you also knew of his past sordid affairs outside of his marriage? Then you found someone similar to your ex, labeling him as ‘the one who led you on’.

    And the cycle of spark, infatuation, waiting, then fading. You are used to that yet have made little attempt at changing it. Rather, you seek answers to why you should wait, why you want this or that, why your biology compel you to mate or seek affection or seek safety. Then you use that as a generalization for most women because there is safety in numbers.For someone who prefers to have a measure of control over their life, I wonder if the cycle is something safe for you? The cycle of waiting and moving on is predictable, their reaction is predictable and the outcome is predictable. It is a boring cycle to be sure, but it’s predictability is safe. It’s safe in that you can intuit their reaction and actions thus react according to your script of waiting until a year or more has passed before moving on to the next cycle. You first relationship was with someone who spoke of love yet could not commit. Then it happened again and again until now. In between, you acted the script of infatuation then disappointment. That script has not changed, or if it did, very little of the content has. You first chose a man that was unhappy with his relationship and that has not changed even now. Though you may find those that are seemingly ‘healthy’, you also gave up relatively quick, or was it that you weren’t attracted to them?

    There’s also the family portrait comparison. Are you looking for a trophy husband? Because you seem to want someone who would look good with you even if you don’t care about the particulars of their appearance. But does it matter all that much since it can’t predict whether that person will decide to commit to a relationship? Or it is how you determine whether you can kiss someone? What importance that does family portrait hold for you? You also wish for someone who seems smarter than you? Is it that you wish for someone to be responsible for many of the things in your relationship as a whole? Or at least to be in charge of plans and what not? Or are you so used to dating those who took charge before that it is safer to date someone who is similar in that aspect?

    You also have a lot of expectations for any potential partner, writing off those who doesn’t catch your eyes after the first date (though if there’s a red flag, get away as quick as possible) yet the moment that someone does show interest, you lose most of your rationale and wait. (Your expectations is decided by what you can see yet chemistry is what decides for you your infatuation.) You wait, hoping that they’ll give signals or signs that they reciprocate and that they might be interested enough to test out a few dates, if any at all. You wait, even when they are giving you mix signals, hot and cold. You wait, daydreaming of what could be and the potential future. You wait until the feelings fade away, even if it takes months. You wait, not taking much actions. You wait, because the cycle is safe, it’s predictable and you don’t have to change much of its content.

    But what does waiting serve in the long term?

    Do you also have the tendency to take on/pick up/draw in other people’s emotions unconsciously?

    The philosopher David Hume had advocated the view that ‘should you doubt someone’s point/argument/statement/stance, then you should also doubt yourself in turn’. So I will reiterate, take my conjectures with a grain of salt. I do not understand you personally as an acquaintance or friend so all my conjectures are based on the data you’ve presented so far. It’s questionable how complete the puzzle is and even if you feel it is complete, it is only complete in your point of view. There is no other point of view that can be take into consideration so there are only puzzle pieces for yourself and not others.

    I hope you are enjoying fair weather and time with family on your vacation.

    #293463

    X
    Participant

    Hey, GL and Michelle,

    I am in the city now, but will still be going to the country at the weekends. Now very busy with meeting up with friends and family and going to doctors. Healthcare in the country where I normally live leaves much to be desired whereas in my home country the quality and affordabilty of procedures, both free and private, has greatly improved in the past decade, so I am making use of it.

    GL, thanks a lot for getting back to me. I was not sure whether you normally respond just once or don’t mind having a discussion back and forth. May I ask you if you have any background in psychology? I had seen your replies on other threads before and thought that it would be really cool if you would reply to mine 😉 So thank you!

    As before, your replies give me a lot of food for thought. I am going to mull it all over and will reply probably two weeks or two weeks and a half from now, that is when I get back. I have too much going on here now and don’t want to reply in a haste without having done careful thinking line by line.

    I hope that you will be coming back to my thread and will notice my reply then!

    #296317

    GL
    Participant

    Hello X,

    It’s fine to take your time. It’s also busy on my end so I don’t have much time to visit any threads right now. But it’s surprising you’ve found some of my posts since I only visit the threads when my schedule allow it; even then, it’s sporadic.

    I don’t mind a back and forth, it’s just that people usually post something then I post something then they might reply, but that’s the end of that. That, and my posts are usually very long, as you’ve seen for yourself, and most people don’t want to wade through much nor reflect on it. They either want a quick solution or someone to vent to, but that’s not my strong suit so I’ll leave that to the other commenter.

    And I am actually going back to school for psychology so it’s a yes and no.

    Hope your days fare pleasantly.

    #297547

    X
    Participant

    Hello X,

    Hello, GL,

    Pardon me, but life got busier than anticipated.

    No problem. Glad that you haven’t forgotten this thread of mine.

    I am back here, last week was a little bit overwhelming because of my long absence, but now things seem to be settling down. One more week – and it will start feeling as if I hadn’t been away at all. I already have my next vacation, so that is something to look forward to once it starts feeling more like a routine.

    Happy endings are nice, but it feels incomplete. Also, if the protagonist(s) was happy, then the villain(s) was probably unhappy. After all, they both wanted different things, but only one side would get their desire result while the other side would fail. And as much as the villains are unlikable, it is also unfair to them that they, as the villain, are likely to fail to achieved their goal simply for the fact that they are the ‘villain’. Reverse the point of view and the ‘hero’ is probably the villain from the view of the ‘villain’ since it was the ‘hero’ that became an obstacle to the ‘villain’s’ plans. But more than the endings, it was more interesting to read about the character’s motives that led to their actions and its consequences.

    Generally speaking, I agree. I would also agree with the statement that villains are “bad,” because they murder others – but heroes also murder, so from that point of view heroes are “bad,” too. Still, heroes hardly ever torture villains, but villains do it all the time. So there might be a very fine line that, nevertheless, makes all the difference.

    The child may not have been taught that they have the freedom to explore beyond what they can see, but that didn’t mean that they couldn’t. Though it largely depend on the nature of the child and nature of their exploration.

    Not quite. The child may have the freedom to explore beyond, but s/he can get his/her hands only on what is out there in that “beyond.” I am glad that I had a good library of books to choose from at home, I also borrowed books from one of the biggest libraries in the city. Yet, the children’s section wouldn’t have the grown-up versions of the familiar fairy-tales, so even if I had known about them and wanted to read them, I wouldn’t have been able to do it in a regular fashion.

    The same a few years later when I was looking at his picture. Somehow at that point the features that are now so pronounced (for me and I don’t like them) became also very apparent, he had started to lose hair, by that time he had already grown a belly (why do men do it once they hit 50 – the “guy who led me on” also put on weight), but I was lovingly thinking and recalling him the way he had been when we first met and for the first year of our romance, what pulled me to him “…But I still love you, notwithstanding.” Isn’t this what they call the conscious choice to love somebody?

    Don’t quite understand this point. People age, the cells dictate so (unless by some miracle scientists have found a way to reinvigorate the human body) there’s no turning back the cells’ death. So for you to focus on the fact that irregardless of how your partner may look in the present as compared to the past, are you focusing on the fact that you still wish to feel sexual attraction to him?

    Yes, I was consciously telling myself that I still felt sexual attraction to him and will feel.

    And by the “pronounced features,” I mean something elusive, in his case, it was trying to be objective and feeling nevertheless that this person, just the way he looked, could stab a knife into your back. Which he actually did several years later. (Funnily enough, he was the one who used that expression referring to how somebody had acted towards him – and a couple of times about different people! Yet doing it himself to me.)

    Now that something that tells me that he can do nasty things springs into my eyes. And it is not because he did what he did to me. I am trying to be as objective as I can looking at him, and now I shudder in aversion. Some people say that eventually one’s life, one’s acts and one’s thoughts show up in your face as you age – I guess that would be the case with him now.

    Or with the “guy who led me on.” Now with some time passed, some photos show to me that he can be mean, like looking at you with cold, cold eyes and saying mean things to you.

    You can be functioning (surviving), but that doesn’t mean you can’t be/aren’t riddled with depression/melancholia.

    I would argue that if you are riddled with depression, you are hardly functioning. I have read accounts of people who can’t get out of bed because of depression.

    Or if you are suffering because of lack of sleep due to depression or anxiety, you are hardly yourself. I’d say that is beyond “surviving.”

    For as much as both partners may compromise, it does not always lead to a life that is great, or even okay. They have compromised and made changes, but there is always the feeling that something is missing. And that missing is maybe where they want to live, the kind of career they want, the people they want to surround themselves with, what they wish to learn, etc. No two people will always wish for the same thing, and sometimes that ‘want’ is especially important to one person, but focusing on it (i. e. geographical location) may barred the other person from doing what they want: no career opportunity, geographical location, future (or no) children, etc. People can give it up (similar to an unfulfilled dream), but there’s a high possibility of regret leading to resentment if what they gave up was more important to them than they had allowed themselves to believed. When that happens, both partners have a choice to make. They can have a long distance relationship/partnership or separate. Keep in mind that not many people are suited to long distance relationship and even after all the changes, both isn’t really happy with their life. So they separate because they wish to find someone who they can share a life that is 70-80% similar to what they want, which is not what their current partner desires. So to repeat, you can love someone, but that doesn’t mean that you love a life with them. (And a reason why people should know if they desire children or not.) To put it in a simple equation, the start of love is chemistry and life is compatibility.

    I may be too naïve and/or too romantic, but even though logically I agree that one’s own, personal fulfillment in life should be one’s priority, I can’t help but think that being with the one you love is worth all those compromises provided that the person is worth it. But that s/he was worth it, you would ultimately learn only on deathbed, when no other developments are possible, whereas the choice is sometimes to be made here and now.

    Hey, I was even ready to move back to my home country, giving up my comfortable life here, better living conditions, career, travel to be with my ex. We tentatively discussed that. Of course, life in my home country is not bad, and my ex was counting on a huge career advancement with many more advantages, but we wouldn’t be able to travel as much as I travelled then and travel now (I am so much more free now that I don’t have to make do with his schedule and that one is often too shaky to plan anything in a reliable manner – remember how he values his career?) and I would have to make lots of effort to find a job or assignments as fulfilling as the ones I have now.

    You asked what I was willing to give up for him. Well, I was even thinking about children. I thought he would look great with a baby and make a great father. He is not that bad of a father to his only son (from his second marriage).

    Dido’s Look No Further song summarises my feelings at that point.

    At the same time, I agree that I don’t know how soon I would have gotten tired of it. Normally, what helps me to decide whether to go for it or not, is to imagine really hard how I would feel in that situation a year from then or two years. Well, I tried to imagine myself living with him in my home city, and I didn’t feel any apprehension or doubts. That is until I learnt about his new love. Now I am convinced that if I had moved back, he would have fallen in love just like that after several years side by side, and I would have been left high and dry and back at square one. And there would have been no coming back here where I am now and where I really enjoy my life (if we don’t count lack of a partner).

    What is “real love” in your opinion? There are plenty of examples in literature when the person loves in such a manner that s/he is ready to give his or her life for the person in question, but only if it is here and now, but not ready to toil for a long time in squalid conditions.

    Say, I love my grandmother very, very much. I would do anything for her. But ask me to move in with her to look after her – I wouldn’t be able to do it long-term.

    Similarly, don’t they say onboard the plane that first, you put the oxygen mask on yourself and only then do you put it on your child?

    Just because a person is generous with money does not mean that they are generous with their heart or affection. A person can pay for you on a date, but that will not change the fact that they are a jerk; they are merely a jerk that paid during the first date.

    Agree. But I am not basing my opinion only on whether they paid for me or not. Isn’t dating just that – determining how compatible you are and what kind of person the other party is? The problem is that I felt so much physical aversion to those who invited me out that I couldn’t continue. And I haven’t really met anyone to whom I would be neutral and they, on the other hand, were willing to win me over and be consistent. In modern world, I am afraid, the mantra is as follows: I like you – you like me = good, let’s sleep together OR I like you – you don’t like me = no prob, I’ll find another one. Knights willing to win over a fair princess’s heart and spend some time doing it are long gone.

    But in that end, the generosity is still dedicated to you in that the other person should do his best to woo you, in which most of them are doing since they are asking for your opinion for the first date. Yet you’ve expressed that you wished that they would simply make a decision, ask for your free time slot and then fill you in the plans. Isn’t that a bit controversial? You believe that the other person asking you where you’d like the date to be is them not doing the leg work, but you still wish for them to take you into consideration?

    Not quite. What is the problem with saying something along the lines “I would like to suggest the following for our date. Would you like to do it or do you have anything else in mind?” That shows that they have put in their own effort AND that they value my needs and opinion at the same time.

    I agree that none of it is a good indicator. The waiter guy from the trip took my sightseeing requests into consideration, was willing to pay for me (I insisted on going Dutch, but really, really appreciated him pulling out all the cash that he had on hand), but was so bad in following up and later communication that I simply had to let go.

    You wish the other person to pay attention to your needs, yet how much attention are you paying to their needs?

    I am willing to compromise. Say, I don’t like Japanese food, you don’t like Italian, let’s go to a French place. Or I am willing to be introduced to Japanese food and get some recommendations, but it would be very unkind to take me to a Japanese food when I don’t generally like it and, in addition, make me pay for it.

    It would be easier if you asked me whether I do X, Y, or Z. You wrote earlier that I seem to be a highly emphatic person. Well, don’t emphatic people pay a lot (maybe even too much) attention to the needs of others?

    There is a subvert entitlement to paying on the date. When a person pays, usually the male, they are unconsciously putting the other party in debt to them so they feel that they are owed something from the other party. And that something is usually something sexual. So splitting the bill is usually the safer bet for many first dates since no one owes anyone anything.

    Exactly. That is why when they ask where I would like to go, I choose a place that I can afford if I had to pay for myself. Accordingly, if they are willing to pay for me, it is not going to break the bank – and I count on them appreciating that I hadn’t asked for a Michelin restaurant nor for super expensive dishes.

    Accordingly, if I am ordering not very expensive dishes or if the place is too expensive for me to be comfortable, I’ll just say that I am not hungry and get a mineral water. Surely, they can’t me expect to sleep with them for a glass of mineral water?

    By the way, is there is need to state your independence every few posts? Many of the posts have one or two sentences about how you’re financially able and able to do your own things without worrying about other people, but what is the necessity to include those points? Are you worry about others judging you for being desperate or ‘less than’?

    Yes. You see, stereotypes are alive and well. It is generally assumed that all women want to get married. It is generally assumed that any woman past 30 wants to get married even more. It is generally assumed that all women want to have children. So a woman in her mid-30s must be desperate to get married and have children.

    Worse than that. The stereotype about women from my country is that they are pretty and make great wives or housewives.

    So when men meet me, see that I am in my mid-30s, pretty and learn that I am of such and such nationality, their immediate assumption is that I am driven by a desire to marry, have children and be a housewife / homecoming queen. That is what they think where I am coming from, and only a few have tried to get acquainted with “me” as I am and not a “pretty girl from XYZ.”

    Now this is a only a thought, but you might be too comfortable in your thinking/feeling. You have a certain view on things and you tend to hold onto that point. It’s fine to be steadfast when it comes to having a different perspective from others, but when a person tend to ignore ‘different’ and focus on similar, then the viewpoint become too narrow that there’s only one perspective that might be correct (or incorrect) which hem in possibilities. One example for you is your insistent on categorizing your ex as an narcissist. Though you understand that you have no relative knowledge of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you still compared your ex to to a checklist (from a relationship help website) of some traits that NPD can showcase therefore labeling him as a narcissist.

    GL, you might have noticed that I tend to write “I think,” “I suppose,” “in my opinion.” That is why I asked you whether you had any background in psychology because I would really love to know what kind of a person my ex was. I read a whole series on man-woman relationship written by a Ph. D. in psychology. Those books were NOT popular articles that sometimes pop up on the internet or can be found in a Cosmopolitan magazine. Now he would often make a caveat that there is a possibility you are dealing with a psychologically peculiar man, but “such cases are few and far between, it is very unlikely that yours is one of them.” Yet, narcissism, especially covert narcissism can be masked under so many “normal” things that it might not be easy to learn the true nature of the guy in question unless you are a specialist.

    Besides, for some situations, he would say that they could be excused only if “your man is in a special task force, test pilot, explorer, geologist, deep-sea captain – or any of those adrenaline-driven professions.” Well, to complicate the matters, my ex and the area he works in is exactly one of those rare adventurous fields. So “normal” could not be applied to him by definition. Not an office job.

    And finally, hardly anything that I would find on the internet (and in a few languages – I tried websites in all the languages I speak!) on the husband-wife-mistress triangle really applied to our situation. More on this below.

    Looking at what you’ve written, the checklist seems to go:

    • ego-centric fuel by affection and admiration

    Maybe. I can’t really tell since he was taking all his successes in a dignified manner and hiding his satisfaction with his achievements all too well. He surely doesn’t behave like Mr. Trump.

    • serial cheater (inability to stay too long in any relationship)

    “Inability to stay too long in any relationship” would be more to the point.

    To set the record straight, here is the short synopsis of my ex’s love life (my ex = #3 in my other post):

    Wife #1 was from college. Married for two years. She gives birth to a child. He knows that his sperm count is low and asks for a genetic test. The baby is not his. They divorce never to communicate again.

    Wife #2. Married for seven years. A son born in Year 5 of the relationship. He doesn’t want to upset his parents looking forward to a grandchild, so doesn’t ask for a genetic test. Still doesn’t know whether the boy is his or not. Says the relationship with the wife had turned bad even before the son was born. Divorced in Year 7. By the way, she was the initiator – and he would say that this fact was of paramount importance for his subsequent career in the industry.

    Between marriages 2 and 3 had several affairs, two of which were with married women who (very wisely – I am surprised they did it or, rather, didn’t do it) decided against divorcing their husbands and marrying him.

    Wife #3. In Year 6 meets me. Our relationship goes on until Year 12 when he meets his current wife and for three months or so tells me nothing. Divorces his wife #3 six months after meeting the current wife.

    In summary, his affair with me that started when he was 45 years old was the first one for him outside of wedlock. He broke his own record six years later when for half a year his wife knew him to be having two mistresses simultaneously. Yet, he ghosted me just one month after having met his new love (who became his wife after those six months).

    • manipulating your hope and intentions

    Again, I cannot confirm it. Doesn’t life get in the way of the best intentions? Just look at John’s thread “I feel like i ruined my girlfriends life.” He has wanted to part ways with his girlfriend since October, made some progress, but now too many things have happened (grandmother in hospital, grandpa having a heart attack, pregnant daughter bleeding in emergency room, etc. etc.) to continue. I can’t say that I would have behaved differently if I had been in his place. Though I do have that “leave it to fate” attitude. That is if I said that I would do it by time X, I have to do it by time X and come what may be. He said he couldn’t do it then. Isn’t it his choice? Besides, I am probably not that into my career as he was. And no regular definitions would apply to his field, so who am I to judge?

    • obviously has issues with intimacy

    How can you tell??? This fits a narcissist, doesn’t it?

    • and the ability to speak somewhat eloquently yet has done little to back up his words (dishonesty and poor communications, MIA for few months)

    Again, I can’t say that I would have behaved in a different way if I had been in his shoes. There were a lot of things that I wouldn’t know – and he wouldn’t tell (and aren’t men supposed to sit in their caves and not divulge a word to women?) And when I talked to his peers, 90% of what he had told me was confirmed by them when they discussed similar situations that had happened to them.

    As for ghosting me (MIA for two months one month after meeting his new love), isn’t it unfortunately how more and more people choose to end relationships nowadays? It seems like a pandemic now. True, not very nice of him, but he is by far not the only one. Even one of my girlfriends did that to me out of desire to be nice, I presume. She said that she was going to another country and would write to me once settled. After I poked her with emails three times (I do three), to no avail, I left her alone.

    • Did he enabled you as a person, but also tried to control you in turn

    Not sure if his desire to phone me in the morning and in the evening would be a sign of control. Isn’t it natural for couples to communicate regularly?

    • Has he ever shown you his absolute vulnerable side (no?)

    That probably no. Although, a couple of times he mentioned how afraid he had been of something, but I would learn of it only long time after the event. But again, don’t “real men” keep silent about their fears?

    • Does he resent his exes, former friends, colleagues or family for any of his ‘misfortune/depression’?

    Well, I first learnt about the out-of-wedlock baby from Wife #1 from a older lady who had worked with him a long time ago. She wasn’t even telling the story to me, she was gossiping with another lady, and I happened to overhear. However, when he told me about it himself, he simply recounted it as a story from a book – as I may recount my love story with him after so many years now.

    As for Wife #2, he does resent her somewhat. At the same time, his coworkers were not of too high opinion of her, so I don’t know how well-grounded that resentment is. In fact, I even wonder if he is resenting me now because he convinced himself that I had cheated on him with the “guy who led me on” chronologically before he cheated on me – and so I was the one to leave him per say?

    You know, we first agreed to stay friends. We agreed that he would monitor my travel mobile phone balance and I would watch over his bank account in this country. And then some time later, I decided to check my phone balance and it was closer to zero! Imagine what a wonderful surprise that would have been if I had been travelling!

    Then he borrowed some money from me promising to return in a year’s time. A year passes, nothing happens. He comes to this country and at the same time I go to mine. No email, no phone message upon return. No one passes the money to me on his behalf. I write him an email. He doesn’t respond for two weeks. I write another one. No response. (Need to add that he religiously checks his email every evening and has all text notifications set on his phone.) Only after I angrily sent him two texts one after another did he write back. Sorry, sorry, was on a business trip, see your message only now. Sorry, I don’t buy it. He did return everything in the end and, on my side, I closed his bank account here and returned the balance to him, but he had never behaved in a similar way with me in our six years nor is he known to behave like that to anybody.

    And when he comes here, he brings small tokens of appreciation to everybody – sweets, boxes of chocolates and gives them to everybody in my presence, but not me.

    More than that. Once when I happened to be in the room, he was calling somebody to reserve a business ticket for his wife. I still wonder whether that was intentional (he could have done that before I had come in – he knew I would be coming) or he merely crossed me out of his life so he doesn’t care what I hear or see. He doesn’t need me now, so he ignores me and shows his appreciation to those who can still be of use to him. But it does all seem like small acts of revenge, doesn’t it? What would you say?

    Around the time when he was supposed to return me the money, he deleted me from all of the social accounts except one. (He added me on all the ones he could find the day after we met.) I don’t know why that one became an exception – can be because everyone can see when someone is no longer friends (?) or because his new wife doesn’t have an account there (she was mostly likely annoyed by constant automatic requests to befriend me on the other three – just like I was) or because he wanted to leave the door slightly open and to be able to tell himself (or me) that he didn’t delete me from ALL of the accounts. Very typical of a narcissist, isn’t it? Just like when I reproached him not coming for Christmas again and again the next year, he would point out that he had come that particular year (oh yes, four years ago).

    Now back to his resentment.

    One more thing about Wife #2. However he disliked her, he still begrudgingly told me that when he was coming home after a major career accomplishment (which she should have been aware of), she went off to sea with a new beau. It does feel somewhat that he treats me kind of like her. I do wonder if I do have my revenge in him believing that I was the one who cheated on him first, only didn’t tell him?…

    Wife #3 – sometimes, he would speak in a resentful manner (as when he described what she wanted in alimony), sometimes he would sound as if he was only too understanding of what she was going through because of him and me.

    The ladies in-between Wifes 2 & 3. With one he doesn’t communicate at all. With another, they are merely colleagues, nothing out of the ordinary. With still another (who happened to be a close friend of Wife #3) he was in a very close friendship throughout his marriage to Wife #3 that even I was a little bit jealous. These two latter ladies had decided to stay with their husbands, as for the former one, he claims that they were too different to remain together. I don’t know who left whom.

    He doesn’t have male friends, only colleagues. Had one from school, but they lost touch a decade ago.

    As for colleagues, don’t we all have those we go along with and those we don’t?

    • Did he like being depended on (took responsibility for you in some way)?

    Yes, but it wasn’t without contradictions. He would insist on waking me up with a phone call and on me saying good night to him, but at the same time once didn’t phone me for an entire week (it was in Year 3), so I started to worry. Yet, when I called him out on it, he said that nothing had happened, and similar things never repeated until the fateful Year 6.

    Likewise, I remember a couple of cases when he knew that I would be late home, yet he didn’t phone to make sure I did get home. But it was literally a couple of times.

    You write that I may have known after Year 4 or so that he was a “only a mask of no-risk passion.” Not at all. Actually, Year 3 was the bottom when I first decided to “punish” him for not divorcing at the time indicated (but he had his own reasons that I had to accept afterwards) and we communicated only via texts for four months. Then, after one more event that should have brought about the divorce, I stopped communication all together. He wrote me a very touching letter after three weeks of silence, explained his reasons, and I had to give in. At the same time, some encouraging things took place: he started phoning me at lunch and EVERY DAY before going to bed no matter whether his wife was at home or not (she worked shifts), he arranged for a six-month business trip here (his coworkers later told me that he was “desperate” to go on that business trip) and then one more six-month business trip here next year.

    When I booked a trip of my own in a very distant country, he bought me a travel phone with a few SIM cards and took care of it watching the balance. He also took care of all my computer-related stuff (antivirus and similar).

    Yet, when I look back now, it kind of feels as if he decided that, since he was so much in love, he was supposed to do X, Y, and Z. As if he did those things to prove to himself, to show to himself to what degree he was in love with me, but was not doing all those things out of real love or concern for me.

    It does feel as if he lacked empathy (again, a sign of a narcissist). For instance, when we lived here together, he witnessed my fall from a horse. Nevertheless, not a single time he asked me afterwards how I felt. Barely a week later I hit myself badly on a corner. Developed a huge bruise. Never did he ask me how that bruise was doing. I compare him to my father – my father would have asked me for several days in a row until I would say that it nearly stopped hurting.

    Or else he would ask me how I was doing just to start a conversation. He would never ask me how my grandmother was doing even though I would often communicate my concerns about her health to her and even though he knew how dear I held her.

    On the other hand, to do him justice, he noticed something that I repeatedly did and what could be a symptom of a grave illness and made me go to check it out. Not even my parents had paid attention to that.

    Or a few other examples. Say, when I broke my limb at a martial arts class and told him, he immediately arranged for me to see a doctor friend of his, without telling me first. That is after our conversation, he phoned me again and told me to go and see such and such.

    My old place was infested with cockroaches. Even my #2 would do nothing about them. My ex undertook buying all sorts of traps and basically barricaded the perimeter of the location with them. I didn’t have the pest problem any more.

    When I moved to a new place, he assembled all the furniture items for me (to do my #2 justice, he helped me to move a sofa and a bed and assembled a writing table when my ex was out of the country), patiently spent hours in stores choosing appliances (and giving valuable advice) and worked on the lighting fixtures and wiring where he knew what to do. At the beginning of his stay, I would tell him what needed to be done and he would do it whenever he had time. Sometimes, something would not be done until the eve of his departure, but he would still remember that and still do it even if it meant going to bed later. (I wouldn’t remind him on purpose to see if he would remember.)

    Also regarding those phone calls. At that time, he would have to buy cards in order to phone me. It was cheaper for him to phone me using those cards than for me to Skype him on his mobile phone, yet his salary was about one-third of mine at the time, so all those phone bills represented a considerable financial investment on his part not to mention his investing time and attention as I am describing above. When we Skyped each other and it was his morning, we would talk for at least 40 minutes before he was off to work.

    I sometimes think that he falls in love (read feels sexual arousal towards a woman) so rarely that every time this happens, he thinks that the woman is sent from above and starts rooting for her.

    • Did he show sign of needing approval from those around him (work and friends)?

    No. And I don’t know whether he was hiding it deep down as narcissists might.

    He did ask me a few times whether I thought he was not becoming too fat (he wasn’t, but he had lost his lean figure when he turned 46 – all of a sudden – and never returned).

    • Was he able to take criticism from you (no?)?

    Again, not sure. He would just calmly say, “This is not so” or “You are mistaken.”

    • Did he have a quick temper or issues concerning anger?

    Definitely not.

    If you place a check next to many of the questions above, then your ex’s problem probably doesn’t lie in NPD but codependency addiction. Codependency is described as the ‘addiction to the potential of things’ or ‘relationship addiction’. If he is selfish and self-centered in some ways, that’s not surprising because those who tend to be codependent has detached themselves from their own emotions as a defense mechanism from a difficult past. The same thing can be written of NPD, but what differs is that the two are looking for different things.

    What is NPD looking for?

    Your ex was seeking for love, but was unable to trust and commit himself to a relationship. Also, he was addicted to the chase of any new potential relationships so it is any wonders he’d have side mistresses?

    He never had side mistresses before me. And when he fell in love anew, he happened to have two (but he stopped communicating with me after one month).

    He is/was chasing after passion, pretending it to be love. It was easy for you to love that him whom spouted words without actions. Maybe you were hoping that he would eventually commit himself, but I wonder if you didn’t also unconsciously knew that after 4-6 years of ‘spoken love’, he was only a mask of no-risk passion.

    Please see above. I can list a few more things that, to my mind, were a clear indication of his serious intentions at the time. When he (according to him) realized that the career situation was still not conducive to his divorce, he started saying that he didn’t know when he could divorce and he would not give me any new date since he had already given a few and could not hold them. But he would divorce, that is for sure. (How noble, wasn’t it?)

    I also need to add that in Year 6, my voicemail got an accidental recording of his quarrel with his wife over their holiday together. They never went anywhere except to his parents’. (With me, we travelled as much as I wanted and as much as his schedule would allow him.) That recording confirmed to me as to the nature of their relationship and that his wife still thought she could have him back (again, just as he was telling me). So frankly, given how much time had passed and all that, I was 100% positive, as sure as never, that he would sooner or later divorce.

    He was not going to commit yet you were able to delude yourself otherwise.

     

    I still stand by my view that sometime in that fateful Year 6, he got too comfortable knowing that I was still there and maybe got bored by the ritual of phoning me two times a day (I insisted on him calling since texts are too voiceless and too easy). Since he wouldn’t tell when he would be divorcing and also because he couldn’t tell when he could come here again, I was hesitant to make any plans – so for the last six months or so there was not much we could talk about. And then he met this new lady and jumped into a new passion heads-on.

    I do believe that if we had met at that point in his career and not six years earlier, he would have divorced his wife just like he divorced her for this new lady.

    Only, as mentioned above, I don’t know how long that would have lasted, and I would have probably gone over to my home country to live with him and then he would have repeated the cycle falling in love with somebody again.

    As far as I know, they are still together, but for some reason or other, her posts now of their happy life together are few and far between. I think I wrote already how he presented her with a plush toy, a balloon and flowers for two birthdays in a row? Well, this year there was nothing. And for two years in a row she writes an essay on “How much I love him” on his birthday and posts it for her friends to see, and he doesn’t even bother to say, “Thank you, my love.”

    Were you hoping to save him or be ‘the one’ for him?

    To be the “one” for him. I thought we had a lot in common and where we didn’t, he complemented me so much. But I had thought the same of my #1 and #2, so nothing new here.

    It seems you also knew of his past sordid affairs outside of his marriage?

    GL, I wrote about his past love life. I’d say it is a mix of things, but I was the only one with whom he had an affair outside of his marriage before his current wife. I don’t think that any of his love stories can be called “sordid.” More than that, when I asked around, a few of my friends aged 25 or so said that they had had more partners than his number of six at that point at the age of 45. So I thought that he had made some poor choices pure and simple. But so hadn’t I, with my #1 and 2?

    Then you found someone similar to your ex, labeling him as ‘the one who led you on’.

    Again, I believe there is a difference between a guy with a story of love affairs like my exes and a guy who married his high school sweetheart, had two children by her and remained faithful to her until the mid-life crisis after turning 40 or thereabouts. My ex would have divorced his wife if his career hadn’t been so important to him, of that I am sure. I don’t know why this guy didn’t given how wistfully he still spoke of that other woman when we had our correspondence for four months.

    In fact, my mother’s cousin has just did something similar. Good solid family, a daughter my age and a grandson. She falls in love with an alcoholic, insists on divorcing her husband, he doesn’t want to then agrees. The guy lives with his mother, ditches her for another woman, then his mother dies, then he dies. The property goes to his daughter, and both mistresses are left with nothing. She returns to her ex-husband who by then had had a platonic affair (or so he says). Now they live together as a family, only don’t sleep together. Real story.

    And the cycle of spark, infatuation, waiting, then fading. You are used to that yet have made little attempt at changing it. Rather, you seek answers to why you should wait, why you want this or that, why your biology compel you to mate or seek affection or seek safety. Then you use that as a generalization for most women because there is safety in numbers. For someone who prefers to have a measure of control over their life, I wonder if the cycle is something safe for you? The cycle of waiting and moving on is predictable, their reaction is predictable and the outcome is predictable. It is a boring cycle to be sure, but it’s predictability is safe. It’s safe in that you can intuit their reaction and actions thus react according to your script of waiting until a year or more has passed before moving on to the next cycle. You first relationship was with someone who spoke of love yet could not commit. Then it happened again and again until now. In between, you acted the script of infatuation then disappointment. That script has not changed, or if it did, very little of the content has. You first chose a man that was unhappy with his relationship and that has not changed even now. Though you may find those that are seemingly ‘healthy’, you also gave up relatively quick, or was it that you weren’t attracted to them?

    How can I change the cycle? I agree that potentially I might fall in love with someone to whom I don’t feel aversion (so that I don’t feel that I am wasting time with him), but for that he would need to make up his mind to court me, to be patient, to win me over. I haven’t yet met such a man.

    So far, as far as single guys go, I have met a guy seven years older than me on a trip (who mentioned his ex and ghosted me) – is that seemingly healthy?

    Next, a guy from work with greasy disheveled hair who invited me to a game, but I couldn’t stand the site of him and still can’t.

    The guy from the shooting range whom I didn’t like even before the coffee incident.

    A guy of my ex’s age who looked more like a grandfather and was (and is) spookily too happy to see him so that I feel that he will jump out of his pants on me.

    A guy from seamanship training who first approached me and then stopped initiating anything despite me starting to initiate something myself.

    A guy from work even older than my ex, whom I really liked, but no future for us is rationally possible. He didn’t hint at anything, only it felt terribly nice to have him hold my hand.

    And finally, a guy sent over by my aunt’s friend to meet me. We didn’t like each other and he did seem to be meeting me only because he was asked to. The same was true for me.

    So out of seven, one mutually neutral, two who stopped communication even though I was happy to maintain it, three whom I didn’t like and one who is not a match because of age and with whom nothing was said about mutual (?) attraction.

    I would say that initiating three times and not getting a response or getting a half-hearted response is more than enough to understand that the other party is not interested, don’t you think? I hate to think that I impose myself, I don’t want to chase guys since I know that if you like someone, you take every small gesture as a sign that something bigger is possible. So they were not that into me, pure and simple.

    There’s also the family portrait comparison. Are you looking for a trophy husband? Because you seem to want someone who would look good with you even if you don’t care about the particulars of their appearance. But does it matter all that much since it can’t predict whether that person will decide to commit to a relationship? Or it is how you determine whether you can kiss someone? What importance that does family portrait hold for you?

    The family portrait comparison determines whether the man is attractive to me, that is whether potentially I could kiss him and make love to him. Yet, I have met men whom I liked at first glance, but after a few chit-chats didn’t like them or  they were not interested or, worse, I felt their bad breath, so my liking them disappeared into thin air.

    You also wish for someone who seems smarter than you? Is it that you wish for someone to be responsible for many of the things in your relationship as a whole? Or at least to be in charge of plans and what not? Or are you so used to dating those who took charge before that it is safer to date someone who is similar in that aspect?

    I don’t think it is a question of being safer or not. I guess I just like the position of somebody who is offered a choice or an assortment (of activities, for instance) and that I am the one who chooses. Don’t they say that it is the woman who eventually chooses the man? With a caveat, though – the woman can choose the man only from those who offer themselves to her. That is where I have a bit of a problem as described above. I think my ex was the only one so far who persisted in communicating with me and trying to win me over for two months after our initial meeting. And all that communication was done from another country. And we hadn’t even kissed by that point. I have yet to meet a man who would like me enough to want to show me that he is a reliable person whom I can fall in love with.

    Like I write above, nowadays it is either “I like you – you like me = good, let’s sleep together” OR “I like you – you don’t like me = no prob, I’ll find another one.” Neither one suits me even if I like the man.

    You also have a lot of expectations for any potential partner, writing off those who doesn’t catch your eyes after the first date (though if there’s a red flag, get away as quick as possible) yet the moment that someone does show interest, you lose most of your rationale and wait. (Your expectations is decided by what you can see yet chemistry is what decides for you your infatuation.)

    Not quite. If I don’t like the guy, it doesn’t matter whether he shows interest or not.

    You wait, hoping that they’ll give signals or signs that they reciprocate and that they might be interested enough to test out a few dates, if any at all. You wait, even when they are giving you mix signals, hot and cold. You wait, daydreaming of what could be and the potential future. You wait until the feelings fade away, even if it takes months. You wait, not taking much actions. You wait, because the cycle is safe, it’s predictable and you don’t have to change much of its content.

    Well, I suppose that if I like them, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, that is all. And then, if they do show up now and then, I end up getting attached hence my original title of this thread – “Need Help Understanding Why.” Now I realise that with the guy “who led me on,” it was only a matter of time. I met him too soon after the breakup with my ex, for four months it felt as if our communication was going to lead to a real romance, and I didn’t meet anybody who would take my focus off him when he stopped our interaction.

    But what does waiting serve in the long term?

    First, I am convinced that the first step must be made by the man. The woman can give out signs that she likes the man, but the first invitation needs to come from the man. I broke that rule with #1 beings so enthralled by feelings and emotions (I threw my arms around his neck the minute we were left alone and told him that I had waited for him for 12 years!) and by “the guy who led me on” – I told him I was romantically interested in him and before that I had offered to watch a few films together. But in neither case, anything serious came out of it.

    Besides, don’t they often say that women are often dreaming and fantasizing about a “prince on a white horse” and don’t notice good hard-working guys around them? Well, I look around and I don’t see any good reliable guy who keeps hinting me that he is the one for me. And when I looked around and made a conscious effort to like somebody, I ended up with #1 and, to an extent, #2.

    Sometimes they say that my bar is too high, but when I looked around and found somebody, see whom I found. At the same time, I know women both those who are very demanding and adored by their husbands nevertheless and those who are very demanding, so they are told that they are alone exactly because they are so demanding. Isn’t the love always in the eye of the beholder – so ultimately it doesn’t matter what kind of person I am, ‘cause “every pot has its lid”?

    Don’t you think that liking each other should come effortlessly to both people in question? Without either one chasing the other?

    I am also a very list-oriented person. Say, I am never bored ‘cause I always have a list of activities that I can choose from to keep myself busy. After I graduated, I had a list of books and materials to study that were relevant to my field, recommended by professors, but to which I could never get down to because of lack of time. So I acknowledge that I had that additional element of not feeling that I earned my diploma until I had read all those books. Accordingly, I had always been under the impression that I first needed to graduate and get a job and then I could look for romance.

    BUT there are a whole lot of women who say that that was their starting point, but then “life happened”, and they married before graduation or had a child or something else.

    I don’t believe that that ingredient of my having to check off all the items on my lists (there will always be a few – that is who I am!) is a serious impediment to romance. Actually, when I really like somebody, I easily give up my regular activities (skip the pool on Monday because of the day – no prob!), so I have to remind myself to stick to my schedule and not to be too available.

    On the other hand, it is sort of a sign that I don’t like somebody when I am reluctant to meet up because I have something else planned. Like a latmus test – what is easier to give up – my hobby or the chance to talk to somebody.

    In addition, it seems like I oscillate between “I am in love so I am totally co-dependent on my partner and have to make a mental effort to get down to things that I enjoyed doing before meeting him” and “I enjoy being busy in my own way that I have no time for romance.” One of the psychologists back from the 70s whose essays on love I read when recovering from the breakup with my ex, wrote that the remedy to co-dependency lies in the mantra “It is good to be with you, but if I am by my self, it is even better!” I wonder if I have unconsciously taken that to the extreme?

    Do you also have the tendency to take on/pick up/draw in other people’s emotions unconsciously?

    Don’t know. I have always felt that I could tell how trustworthy and reliable people are, but my recent experiences with handymen, contractors and men in general show that I was wrong.

    So now even if I think I feel that this person is so and so, I reserve my judgement until s/he shows with his or her actions what s/he is worth. And if it is just a one-time meeting, like with a taxi driver, who cares how I feel if I will never see that person again?

    The philosopher David Hume had advocated the view that ‘should you doubt someone’s point/argument/statement/stance, then you should also doubt yourself in turn’. So I will reiterate, take my conjectures with a grain of salt. I do not understand you personally as an acquaintance or friend so all my conjectures are based on the data you’ve presented so far. It’s questionable how complete the puzzle is and even if you feel it is complete, it is only complete in your point of view. There is no other point of view that can be take into consideration so there are only puzzle pieces for yourself and not others.

    Thank you. I am trying to be as objective as I possibly can and I really give thought to everything written by you or others. Looking forward to your reply to this super long letter!

    I hope you are enjoying fair weather and time with family on your vacation.

    Thank you. The weather cooperated, was just right – not too hot nor too cold, just a little bit of rain for a change. I did everything that was planned, so am absolutely happy with the way I spent this holiday.

    #297599

    Michelle
    Participant

    Hi X,

    Welcome back, good to hear from you again and good to hear the trip went well.

    Did you get a chance to think about my reply to online dating/read the books suggested at all?

    Few thoughts stand out from the above for me.  You have some very strong and fixed ideas about what is the “right” way for a relationship to start. In fact, you have pretty fixed ideas about relationships in general it seems to me. Although you read widely and consider lots of other angles, all your posts tend towards finding points that make your existing ideas/beliefs stronger – I don’t recall an instance where you have changed your beliefs on this subject, is there one you can share with us?

    As you will know – it is very common for people to suffer from strong confirmation bias, viewing and filtering the world through such strong pre-existing views in order to make sure they don’t need to change their own beliefs. This is not especially helpful or conducive to growing as a person and changing/breaking the unhelpful relationship cycle you are stuck in.

    What I get when I read your posts is a strong view of someone who despite all evidence read/presented and experience to date is still holding strongly to her views of how exactly “the one” relationship should be. But how often in anything does reality match up to a pre-conceived notion? That’s why as humans we experiment, we learn, we feel our forwards as much as think our way through – it’s a balancing act of risk/reward and conscious decisions, determining what is actually real, not what we hoped/thought it should be.

    Example 1;  First, I am convinced that the first step must be made by the man. The woman can give out signs that she likes the man, but the first invitation needs to come from the man.  Why? Why does it have to be the man to put himself at risk and not you – this is quite an old-fashioned view, very traditional.  How do you give enough signs that the risk is worth taking for him? E.g. many of the signs of your crushes that you have described could just as easily be read/interpreted as normal behaviour – not of that of someone interested in developing the relationship further. How good are you at actually letting a man know you are interested before he is asking you out?

    Example 2; I think my ex was the only one so far who persisted in communicating with me and trying to win me over for two months after our initial meeting. And all that communication was done from another country. And we hadn’t even kissed by that point.  Why do you need to be won over? Throughout your posts, it sounds like you consider yourself a prize, of something to be worked for, earned.  Do you worry or feel shame if moving too quickly, like you have given yourself away cheaply if you do not wait such a time period? It can be hard if that is the culture grown up with, when then dealing with an entirely different culture in a new country.  I would also say this is another way of how you feel you should be able to wait around and pick from your willing suitors – without exposing yourself to any of the risk involved in doing so.

    Example 3;I have yet to meet a man who would like me enough to want to show me that he is a reliable person whom I can fall in love with Per above – yet again you are looking to remove all the risk before considering it safe to love. Life doesn’t operate on such certainties. It is a gradual exposure, deciding. Getting to know someone, letting them know you are interested, exposing yourself to some risk as you do. And being ok when the risk fails, knowing you are strong enough to try again. Just like in science, failure is how we learn, how we grow.

    Example 4; “I like you – you like me = good, let’s sleep together” OR “I like you – you don’t like me = no prob, I’ll find another one.”  So it can certainly seem that way but like everything, is not true for the entire world.  What do you consider “wrong” with the idea of sleeping with someone if you like them? I am not saying it is right or wrong, it is whatever fits the individuals involved. Is it that you must be in love to sleep with someone and expect the same from them? Do you consider that being in love will take the risk out of sleeping with someone and being that open, that close. With your romantic/idealised beliefs – is it more that you feel it isn’t what “a good princess” does?

    This is not about lowering your standards and accepting what is on offer – as agreed, none of those options you presented would tempted me either tbh. But you do expect a lot from potential partners before you are willing to expose yourself to even a small degree of risk. Do you think that is fair?

    #297727

    X
    Participant

    Hi, Michelle,

    Thank you for your input.

    It seems to me you are too quick to want to provide constructive criticism and tend to overlook a few important items.

    I do consider all the angles, but I have already tried acting in a few different manners. So now I am speaking from my own experience that confirmed what my mother had told me, what I had read in that huge series on man-woman relationships (one of the books contained the results of polls of modern men and women on a number of different relationship subjects, and sometimes answers were about the same, but sometimes the answers that the majority (again, the majority – not all!!!) men gave were different from the answers given by the majority of the women (again, not 100% of the respondents) – and when answers differ like 70 to 30, that speaks volume, doesn’t it?) I also saw a few things confirmed in other people’s relationships around me. So isn’t it just like it is supposed to be in science that you mention – take a few hypotheses and check them out in practice to see what works and what not.

    Back to my personal experience. I myself chased #1 and no good came out of it. I let #3 chase me and my experience was much more pleasant, although it didn’t end quite as I expected.

    I have personally witnessed a couple of relationships where the woman was more proactive than the man, and yes, she did end in a relationship (though not always), but that was a relationship where she continues to be proactive courting her now husband. I for one don’t want such a relationship for myself.

    True, you can say that all people are different and what didn’t work out with #1 because of my poor choice of the application of my affections might have worked with another man. Or else my ex’s current wife behaved in just about the same way as I did (even worse – at that point her beau (my ex) had both a wife and yet another mistress (me)), yet she is now his wife and he dumped me and divorced his then wife for her. (It is another question though how happy those proactive women are, how happy my ex’s current wife is, how happy the men are and how long all these marriages would last. Actually, one of my quite feminist friends divorced her husband öf 20 years four years ago (and they are both in their 70s), barely half a year after I visited them, and when I visited them, I thought, “Wow, how they love each other and how patient he is with her demands.)

    But this is exactly my point. If everybody – men and women – are so different, then no relationship is the same by definition because EVEN IF (“even if” since we all change minute to minute and me today doesn’t equal me two months ago) I am one of the entities entering a relationship and I am the same, the other entity is a totally new one. Hence how can one expect one and the same outcome? Hence how can we talk about “unhelpful relationship cycle” at all? (I am merely contemplating.)

    Michelle, I am afraid I don’t recall any instance where you said that I was COMPLETELY wrong. You would point out something, I would say “yes, but”, and you would say, “okay, I concede that your “but” makes sense.” Just like you are saying that none of the men I have encountered in the past four years would have tempted you.

    Since I am eager to learn, what best course to take than to observe women happy in their relationship? Well, the ones I have observed actually do let themselves be courted.

    I know that I am not good at flirting, I am studying what it is, how others do it.

    But at the same time don’t they say “be yourself”? If you want to be liked for who you are and what you are, then don’t put on masks that hide the real you?

    I am getting to learn men better in real life (besides reading psychology books). As you know, I have a few good male acquaintances. This was not the case ten years ago.

    As for taking risks, don’t you think I have already taken enough risks? Throughing my arms around #1 proclaiming that he is the one I had been waiting for since the tender age of 12; exchanging playful innuendos with married Christian #2; sleeping with married #3 on the second day of his second trip here (after two months of constant long-distance communication) – don’t you think it is time I followed Anita’s advice on Tiny Buddha and got to know the man patiently and gradually, step by step?

    But here I run into the problem of mostly liking men who are already taken (you surely wouldn’t expect me to flirt with them, would you?) and not finding any single men whom I would like myself enough at first for myself to make the first step. I am not saying I never ever fall in love with those who approach me themselves (the guy from the trip had no problem doing it and I liked him; the guy from the shooting range did the same thing, but I couldn’t stand him), I simply haven’t had anybody approach me to whom I would feel neutral (of course, it would be better if I liked him) so that I could be friends with him and he would like and want me enough to wait for romance to develop from friendship. I believe that was your point when you said that I could give some more time to certain guys. I just don’t have anybody like me single and happy as my friend keeping regularly in touch in order for me to get to know him so that love could develop (maybe) and vice versa.

    I wonder what is “a lot” in your opinion when you say that I do expect a lot from potential partners? Is it “a lot” to say, “Hey, would you like to go to a game with or maybe you would like to check out that new exhibition?” instead of “Let’s go out to eat” and then “Where would you like to go?”

    And what is “even a small degree of risk” to you? I think I am doing quite a favour to the person agreeing to meet up when all the times when we exchanged a few remarks the only thing I could think of was “I hope you never talk to me again.”

    I am going to check out the book on how to be happy that you mentioned, but I only got back last week, and it has been a bit too overwhelming to get up-to-date with what was going on at work, with cleaning my place after my long absence, dealing with a leak that developed after bad weather here not to mention the jet lag.

    #297763

    Michelle
    Participant

    Hi X,

    Interesting, not intended to come across as constructive criticism, just an alternative viewpoint on the info you provide.  Understand it’s unhelpful to you, no problem, as said at the start, I’ll help where I can but there are others who are better suited to helping you with this going forwards.

    Before I ‘go’ from your thread, I’ll answer your last q’s/comments best I can, as ever.

    – Taking more risk. Not meant as chasing men per se or pretending to be something you are not. Meant as not expecting the man to take all the early risk of displaying his interest and investing heavily in you before you are open and investing in him, instead expecting for it to be fair and balanced on both. That’s a good strong foundation. Not meant as leaping into bed with them, agree with Anita there on getting to know people at a pace that is right for you.  But meant as being open yourself, clearly showing your interest to get to know them better. People are not all too good at reading very subtle signs.

    – Expecting a lot. Again, I was talking about the emotional risk aspect, not effort/style. The balanced approach, instead of wanting the man to take all the risk. Not sure I quite understood your examples, I think you mean you want to be involved in choosing the dates, to be consulted and not informed. Which is fair but comes back to that balanced approach. You can suggest dates too for example.

    I think I am doing quite a favour to the person agreeing to meet up when all the times when we exchanged a few remarks the only thing I could think of was “I hope you never talk to me again.”  I’d take this the opposite way ( but you knew that! ) in that why is it a favour to continue to meet up with someone you know you don’t like. I’d say you are doing them a disservice, better to kindly say no thanks.

    I’m not convinced you are going to enjoy the book but if it helps, great. Wish you all the best with working through this and hope you get what you want.

    #298005

    X
    Participant

    Hi, Michelle,

    I think I must say (pardon my French!) that I was a little bit taken aback when I saw that post of yours two days ago.

    It felt as if you had taken specific separate sentences you could pick up on, not only out of the context, but also as if you had completely forgotten where I was coming from (say, that I did initiate a relationship and was very (maybe even too much) proactive).

    A general statement of mine would be that I hate unbalanced relationships where investments (in feelings and/or actions) on one side are bigger than on the other. I guess it all ultimately boils down to how much I like the man in question. If I do like him and that liking doesn’t go away after some time, I start searching for ways to make him notice me. It may be asking him for advice on music (like I did when I had a crush on my dance teacher at 19) – approaching him to have a little chit-chat.

    But yes, I expect him to take it on from where. I assume that if he has already noticed me and is shy OR if he hasn’t noticed me, but felt something during our interaction, he (don’t we all when we like somebody?) will start analysing what I did, what I said, how I did it, how I said it. When we like somebody, don’t we all – irrespective of gender – deliberately look for signs that we are liked in return – and find them??? Isn’t my approaching him to talk such a sign?

    I may be wrong here. It may depend on the man in question. Say, I am now avoiding that guy whom I described as jumping out of his pants when he sees me like plague. I am afraid to even ask him how he is doing when I see him. Hey, there may be some gender differences, too. I do need to reread a few psychology books.

    For instance, after my ex (finally!) broke up with me in words, I longed for somebody by my side. I am aware now that my psyche was desperately looking for somebody who could substitute him so that I felt comfortable again and didn’t have to face that huge hole. Well, in the pool, I saw a man with his mother and younger sister. The man’s features seemed appealing, vaguely reminding me of my childhood girlfriend’s cousin whom I liked at a distance. Well, I didn’t have any problem talking to him and making his acquaintance. But – and here is the big “but” – the minute we started talking, I realised that he wasn’t as appealing as he seemed on the outside. I lost interest almost immediately. The vibe disappeared, no chemistry at all. He later even found me on Facebook (just by my name and location – I didn’t tell him my last name), but I didn’t want him at all by then. A very short-term rebound it was. But now I know what a rebound is and how it feels.

    Which leads me to another consideration. I don’t want men to believe that I am so much into them when in fact I might not. Or I may be a little bit at the beginning, but it evaporates very quickly. So if I show that I am that interested, not only do I lose the “comfort” in being able to tell them (or myself), “Hey, I didn’t even notice you, you noticed me yourself, so it’s your problem” if I – very quickly – realise I don’t like them, but also I might have already led them on like in “Oops, I did it again.” They may be just as quick as I am in getting attached if they really liked me and then – seemingly out of nowhere – I stop initiating just because we have spent a tad more time together and now I clearly see that I am not interested. I don’t want to hurt them unless I am convinced that – at least for the foreseeable future – I am not going to hurt them.

    I never want to play games. With all of my exes, I acted as if we were both super transparent and clear on where we stood. I did all I could to be a partner, a friend, to be supportive, understanding, looking first for flaws in myself before raising an issue with them (#3 was excellent at it – he would often say, “But don’t / didn’t you yourself…?” and I would agree and that would be his excuse). I am afraid that both #1 and #3 eventually started using it to their advantage and got the impression they could walk over me, that I was a doormat.

    I don’t believe I should change here.

    But I do believe that the man in question needs to be on the same page as I am in this. Only then would he appreciate what I do and who I am.

    That, combined with how few men I can actually imaging myself kissing, is my main issue now. I am investigating the following:

    – Does my approach to how I interact with men need corrections?

    – Is there anything I can do so that there are more men whom I know to be good and reliable and with whom there is chemistry? And that there are more of those whom I know to be good and reliable and who stick around as friends so that – maybe – I can develop chemistry?

    Just as you say, people meet partners at all stages in professional life and at all stages of their emotional life. Life isn’t a predictable script. So it might not matter that I am sort of stuck in a cycle, right?

    In short, my concern is that I want to increase my chances of meeting somebody whom I really like, with whom I am compatible AND who likes me, too, AND is ready to work on it. And that our romance has potential and doesn’t wither in a couple of months.

    I thought it won’t hurt to look deep into myself first. Hence this back and forth.

    #298015

    X
    Participant

    For GL. Two more items to add to that super long post of mine from the 5<sup>th</sup> of June.

    First, if I look very deep inside, I maybe afraid of what they call “family life,” pure and simple.

    My father does a lot of household chores compared to other men, he not only takes out rubbish, but also does the weekly shopping, peels potatoes, other vegetables when my mother cooks and always vacuums the place at the weekends. If my mother is late, he always warms up the meal for her to eat the minute she gets home. (That in addition to all the other regular “male” things such as fixing things, hanging something, etc.) Yet image my mind conjures when I hear “family life” is my mother in the kitchen busy cooking meals for the week ahead, washing the dishes (they don’t yet have the dishwasher) for 40 minutes after the meal, dusting furniture, scrubbing the bathroom and the loo while my father is watching TV, reading a newspaper or listening to the radio.

    I might be okay with, say, painting a picture instead of cooking since I find painting pleasant, but cooking not so. But even if I like painting, doing something that one likes for so many times does turn one’s hobby into a chore.

    It does seem to me that the regular distribution of chores is highly unbalanced. And very unfair given that women work no less than men and have to spend more time to be “beautiful” (in order to be appealing to the same men). And I am not even talking about families where there are kids. I am an introvert, I can’t imagine having to take care of somebody (a child) when I sometimes have trouble taking care of myself. And even if I had a partner who would help me and share responsibility, I know that life is unpredictable, and that partner may be here or may not be here tomorrow.

    So yes, I may be I am afraid of having what they consider “proper family,” so I don’t attract those guys who would make “proper husbands” and “proper fathers” in the traditional view.

    Second. My ex and mine romance started in a very similar way to my parents’. I didn’t like him at first, that is I didn’t like him for two hours before we had a brief word exchange and – sorry for how romantic it sounds – before I looked straight into his eyes.

    But it’s not like I didn’t like him for two weeks and then suddenly started liking.

    My mother says she didn’t notice my father at first (note that when I specified, she didn’t say she felt aversion to him like I was towards a vast majority of my proactive “suitors,” she said she was neutral), but he, not discouraged, kept doing all sorts little things for her (they met at a winter ski resort), so after those two weeks, they came back to the city as an item. That was in February. In July same year they were married, and one year later I was born. They are still together, and mother is saying that they have had their ups and downs, but now, some 35 years down the road, they are as happy and as used to each other as a couple who have been together for that long can be.

    So they way my ex was showering me with attention didn’t ring any danger to me. I merely thought, “That’s it! Finally! The real one, whom I have been waiting for! The Mr Right!!!”

    Really looking forward to what I may be missing.

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