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This topic contains 91 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  X 1 week, 6 days ago.

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    GL
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    Hello X,

    Glad to hear that you had a good vacation.

    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.

    But not all villains murder just as not all heroes don’t murder. It’s simply how the writer had written their story. Take Rapunzel, the worse the Witch had done was raised Rapunzel in a tower for most of her life since her biological parents had stolen her cabbages. But that’s not all that dissimilar to many ancient societies with females raised in their homes, with not much chance of going outside (though many societies in the Middle East still have a similar setting now), until they were married out to their husband, most of the times the husband could have been their grandfather’s age too. Yet the Witch is the villain while the heroine, Rapunzel, was able to escape her prison and lived with her prince after a few years apart. For all her effort of raising Rapunzel, the Witch was repaid by betrayal of her trust. But she did not killed the prince nor Rapunzel, rather, she gave them a trial to which they both were able to overcome. Of course, her method of raising Rapunzel isn’t all that great since she was sheltering Rapunzel from all the possible evil in the world, not letting Rapunzel make the effort to live on her own feet, but you can’t say that the Witch didn’t care for Rapunzel. Yet, there is not knowing whether the Witch was able to find her own peace after banishing Rapunzel from her childhood home. Fairy tales may have been written a few centuries past, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be adopted to modern terms, just the question of how they were adopted.

    And accordingly, depending on the society and environment that the villains were raised in, it is hardly surprising that they turned cruel, if only that was the best method for survival. Not many have the fortune to not turn to ‘crime’ to survive in their environment.

    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.

    There was a big library with many selections so why did you not venture beyond the children section? Or did your parents check your selections before you were allow to bring home the books? I did not have much interest in fairy tales until my teens, just the usual passing knowledge, but even then, it was due to an interest in Greek mythology so they were just interesting comparisons.

    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.”

    That depends on how good a person is hiding their life behind closed doors. If depression is not new, but a constant companion, people can usually ignore it until they are in a place that they don’t have to act ‘normal’. Normal, of course, is relative since not all things depressing will lead to depression and not all things happy will not lead to it.

    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).

    As much as you can imagine your possible feelings after a year, you’ll have to acknowledge that you don’t know how your ex would have acted. Since you were able to convinced yourself that he loved you enough to divorce, or maybe not since he cared about his career more?, and then married you, the moving hinging on the fact that you would be married, you might have been able to give up your life of where you were to accommodate him. But that raises a lot of questions. You like your job a lot and your many hobbies and it doesn’t seem that you dislike your many colleagues, but to give up all of that without much resistant just because your ‘husband’ wanted you to move to his home country? Just how high of a pedestal did you put your relationship with your ex that you were willing to give up all that? Or is it that while you have hobbies and a good career, it’s not something you feel you should invest into, regardless if it’s something you’re doing for yourself? Then what are you investing in for yourself?

    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.

    I don’t know if my definition of love will do anything for you because your point of view is quite different from mine. Because it seems that love, to you, is a check list of things you do for someone rather than just an emotion you feel for someone. Love seem to conquer all for you, lasting into the human ‘forever’. But for me, you can love someone you don’t want to be with for whatever reasons you may have. Be it romantic, platonic or familial, not all love take on a physical form and I believe that’s fine. Love doesn’t always last and not all relationship will not have it’s deadline. Though I ascribe to the five remembrances of Buddhism of how life is ephemeral so holding on isn’t something I do.

    Knights willing to win over a fair princess’s heart and spend some time doing it are long gone.

    You have to wonder if the princess the knight is wooing is based on the objective reality or someone they have crafted an ideal image of.

    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.

    It is apparently chivalry to ask the female her opinions of where she wants to go and then go to said place to show how open minded the male is. Though if the person was more dominant or just like to make a decision, then they would just choose somewhere to go then inform you. It could show that they have good taste if they take you to somewhere you didn’t know of and liked from first impression. Of course, if the male does not care, then they’ll take you to wherever. But placing so much emphasis on how they ask you out on the first date is a little heavy in that they might not know you nor do you know them, superficial level doesn’t give much info and time doesn’t even give that much information either. If you feel disgust, that’s fine, drop them. But one first date does not give you much information on any person.

    Surely, they can’t me expect to sleep with them for a glass of mineral water?

    For your sake, I hope not.

    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.”

    You’re also projecting your prejudice into your posts. No one can see you nor do they know your background unless you deemed it appropriate to share any informations in your posts. Though I don’t know the kind of men you seem to be meeting, if that’s pretty much the kind of people you are meeting, it might be time to visit a place that you normally don’t visit, but a place that hold an interest of yours should you not meet anyone interesting.

    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.

    As someone with a background in economics, or soon to be past background?, I can’t say that I like many of the books published in the psychological realm, or research paper sometimes. Many of them has participants that doesn’t go past a hundred, so it can’t be compared to the populations of thousands, millions or billions. The researches rarely is peer reviewed, if at all, because not many are willing to read and look over a long book versus a research paper. And to use their own patients mean that there is a factor of subjective bias. That, and for the doctor to excuse people into certain categories just because of their jobs/careers when dopamine and cortisol is still a subject that many neuroscientists are uncertain about? Not to mention that the molecular wiring of the brain is still up for debate. It doesn’t seem that that doctor has taken into consideration neurological factors when women are also part of that high adrenaline career path, if only a little in numbers. Nor does it seem that he has considered gendered stereotypes. And excuse me, but did you happen to read the book ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’? Because that was not peer reviewed. Many others have also called it pseudo-science.

    All humans have a narcissistic characteristic, it’s just show up differently for each person.

    You did give a linked to the definition of narcissism from a relationship help website/podcast.

    • 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.

    There’s covert and subvert egoism. It also depends on how you see egoism. And his satisfactions with his achievement meant to continued receiving praise, he had to work the room to his side, not make enemies.

    • 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?

    His job may be demanding, but he still chose to stayed married for the sake of his career, which means that he had put his career before you. He constantly(?) told you that he would divorce his wife, bordering on five/six years, when his career would stabilized, but he still chose his career. You really can’t judge how difficult his job is, but you can certainly judge his choice to choose his career which means he stayed married even though he told you that he would divorce. And he did, but only to married someone else. You could have judged that his words then meant nothing past the first year so it would have been better to break up and moved on, but you still chose to judged his words as the truth and so decided to wait for him.

    • obviously has issues with intimacy

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

    Anyone with trust issues will have 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)

    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.

    Have you read Virgina Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’? It advocates that every women writer should have money and a room where they can write, but in that sense, it can be translated in that any person with money should have the space to pursue their hobbies and interests, time to themselves, without the interference from anyone, lest of all their family. That your ex didn’t feel the need to communicate with you about important things say a lot about his view on your relationship.

    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.

    Didn’t he ghost you for a month or two, then emailed you about something love and you decided that his ghosting didn’t matter and so got back together with him?

    • 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?

    Wouldn’t you feel hurt if a close friend didn’t ask you for help in times of need? If your ex had trust you, wouldn’t he have been honest with you about his issues and then worked on it with your support?

    • 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?

    You’re over-thinking this. Whether he is or isn’t should not be on your radar, rather, the question is why are you still aware of his actions? Another question, why are you still friend with him?

    • 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.

    He had you hooked. He knew what to do to keep you from leaving him because he probably doesn’t like the fact that people can leave him therefore it is up to him to decide when to end the relationship while you didn’t have a vote. That’s the fear of rejection, doing whatever it is to prevent being rejected and then doing the rejecting. That’s stemmed from the feeling that if he was the one to reject you then he would retain a sense of control over the situation.

    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.

    If he truly didn’t have empathy, then he would be a psychopath. But it doesn’t seem that he has exhibited extreme behavior so that’s on hold. NPD will also exhibit extreme behavior too. But you can’t compared your father to your ex, they are and will always be two different person.

    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.

    If a person isn’t known to him, there’s little need to care about them. But since you are next to him and was his side mistress, then he has to show some concern. And if that concern is noticeable to other people, i e helping you move into a place, then all the better because you can talk about it to other people or other people can notice it and praise him. That’s covert egoism, doing things when other people are in the area so that they can see for themselves what a ‘good person’ he is. It seems that the ‘good person’ is the image he is painting for himself.

    • 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).

    He care immensely for his career, right? Enough to not get a divorce?

    • 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.”

    That’s plainly not caring about your opinion or side of the argument.

    What is NPD looking for?

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder

    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).

    But he did have affairs so let’s called a spade a spade.

    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 might have noble intentions from the beginning, but for it to take six years just doesn’t cut it, at least not for me. Anyone can talk, but for them to walk the walk is much harder. No matter the nature of their relationship and how much he valued his career, your ex did not file for divorce until he met his next wife. What does that tell you?

    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.”

    Why are you still keeping tab on their relationship?

    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?

    Having a range of partners does not mean that they were married while having those relationships, unless they practice polyarmory. That your ex had practice having affairs while married without the consent of his spouses showed that he had little respect for his marriage or his spouse.

    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.

    Each person has different needs at different stages of their life. If having no sexual components, but still doing fine and dandy, then why bother commenting?

    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.

    A relationship takes time so it’s fine to want them to woo you, but you’ll have to do your part by also wooing them. Though I wonder what kind of image are you actually presenting to people. Certainly, biases do exist, but there’s also the impression that you are leaving on people too.

    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.

    So you want someone with good hygiene and not smelly breath. It also seems that your intuition takes on the form of that family portrait.

    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.

    I prefer that both people chose each other irregardless of the choices. So your ex is your first serious relationship then? What exactly is reliable?

    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.

    What would work for you then?

    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.

    Your experiences of wooing and being woo has both gone in a negative direction. So it can’t be said that one way or the other is good or bad, merely situational. If you prefer to being woo, that’s your preference. But the main question for you should be; are you looking at the situation as it is and not how you wish it was? You feel deeply for others, but that can also lead you to excuse the behaviors of others merely because they are someone important to you. Even now, you are defending the actions of your ex. Don’t do that, that’s not helping you. You have to look at your situation without any subjective favor or disfavor, the opposite of what you usually tend to do.

    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.

    I don’t believe I know many that care for the ‘prince on white horse’ analogy, but it does seem that you do. You want to be saved from something, but I can’t determine what that is. Or maybe it’s your idealism that is too high? But the princes that was adopted to modern time was merely a figure head of money and status. In Cinderella; he chose her for passion while nothing is known about him other than he might be handsome, but he at least has the money and status. Snow White; situational saving from death, that or necrophilia. Sleeping beauty; he did defeat the dragon though they made Maleficent to be less than powerful, so rigged in his favor (there was no dragon in the original). Beast was a plot device for Beauty (though it was originally her fault he almost died). In Rapunzel, he lost his sights until he was reunited with Rapunzel again. Mulan saved the country (depending on the dynasty, that might or might not be okay for a woman to be so active outside of her home), Pocahontas chose to sacrifice herself (white-washed story). Aladdin wasn’t even a part of the 1001 tales, the medieval Arabic text. So what exactly is your ideal ‘prince’ seeing as you are still enamored with it, or at least enough to mention it?

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

    Rather than chase, I prefer effort. If the other person is not willing to put in effort for the relationship to thrive, then are they expecting you to do all the work while they frolic around? That’s a big NO to anyone who expects that. But turn that around and question yourself how much effort you are willing to put into the relationship and why. The why is especially important because it lay the foundation for your relationship with each other while the effort is the building block.

    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?

    You might be. It feels that whatever advice you are given to do, you’ll do it just to test if it fits into your schedule, but that eventually wears off. On the other hand, it feels that your check list is there for the sake of ‘control’. You have a schedule that you’ll keep to because it’s easier to follow a schedule, to have something to do, to keep busy. There’s also your criteria for men, in that they have to pursued you for awhile before you are sure you want to be serious? But that’s dating, isn’t it? Enjoying people’s company for a period of time to determined how serious you wish for the relationship to be. But considering that your ex is your first serious relationship, you probably jumped the gun in thinking that he was ‘the one’. The last two relationship didn’t work well and it didn’t seem that they even tried to pursued you. Then come along a man who would gallantly woo you so it set off your romantic clock in thinking, I want this relationship to last ‘forever’. He gave you what you wanted so you didn’t want to let him go. That’s why you excused his selfish behavior, for even now it seems that you have rose tinted glasses when you think of him. You are even trying to look for an excuse for his behavior, for if he is a narcissist, then it can’t be help that he hurt you?

    If you don’t want a family, that’s fine. Simply look for a guy who wants the same thing. But right now, you need to address your hold on your ex. It doesn’t seem you are over him, you still look at his wife’s social media to understand their current relationship status. You still wonder if he is a narcissist, which is why you can’t get over his callous act of dumping you. You don’t wonder if your other exes were narcissist, only this one. Or are you still envious of your parents’ story and relationship that you wondered why it didn’t worked out the same for you? Why does this seem like a competition for you? Why must what happened for your parents occur for you? Or is it that you simply feel more comfortable if life took on a similar path since you can predict the outcome? Again, there’s the control part. It seems as if you don’t wish for any chaotic factor in your life thus hope to replicate what happened to others so that you might predict your partner’s actions and reactions and make the correct reaction in turn. After all, a human forever can only last so long, but death is at least predictable. And a prince on the white horse is perfect in that he’ll love and never leave, or at least you won’t have to worry about the ‘forever’ part.

    Have you heard of the memoir ‘The Art of the Pimp’ by Dennis Hof? Written by a man who owns a brothel, he wrote of his experiences while including some narratives from those around him, namely his prostitutes. It is interesting on how sexist Hof is while also telling the world that he loves women and that his gift to women is his ability to pleasure them. That, and he displayed co-dependent behavior in that he would jump from one relationship to another, lavishing his favorites with gifts and money until he grew bored of them. Interestingly, many of those fell for him, not his money, but no matter what they did, he was unable to trust their affection for him. His fear of rejection drove him to seek sexual pleasure from women, but that fear also kept him from believing in others. He substituted ‘sex’ for ‘love’, his addiction to sex masked his need for love. Though he’ll forever tell the world that he is searching for love, but he won’t even give those who did love him a chance.

    Til next time.

    #299973

    GL
    Participant

    PS. You’re quick to make a judgement and quick to assume that others have made a judgement of you. But you’re not quick to ask for clarifications. Rather, once you’ve made a choice/judgement/decision, you’ll stick to that decision without desiring to change it, for better or worse sometimes.

    So what’s the line between steadfastness and being bullheaded?

    #300143

    GL
    Participant

    PPS.

    Tchaikovsky had written letters to family and friends, discussing his depression. In many of those letters, he had belittled his existence, wondering for whose sake he worked, but all the while desperately clinging on to those days where he was okay with himself, ‘thorns and roses’ as he puts it, even as his depression served as background noise. Van Gogh was not so lucky, constantly visiting the psych ward. Virginia Woolf held on until she could not find the strength to continued. Rembrandt had used his depression as a medium, as did Poe. Keats lamented his inability to put words to paper many times. Hemingway medicated with alcohol. Tolstoy ruminated on his depression in “A Confession”, though he felt a failure for not having the courage to commit suicide. History is littered with despair, but the psychological field is only a century old. There is still much to be studied, but like all science, it must be adapted to the current era.

    It’s fine to not know the particulars, but don’t simply lump or categorized depression as ‘a person who does not have the strength to move from their bed’ when you have only looked so far as a few articles depicting one of the more severe forms of depression. If it took that much to be labeled ‘depression’, then many of the world’s population would not know what to do with themselves since if it’s not depression that they feel, then why does the world look like it was painted in ‘a gray drizzle’, as William Styron had depicted in his memoir, ”Darkness Visible”.

    Whatever might look ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ is perhaps normal to someone, depression and all.

    #300711

    X
    Participant

    Hello X,

    Hi, GL

    Glad to hear that you had a good vacation.

    Thank you. I hope you are doing well, too.

    Your example with Rapunzel’s witch reminds me of what philosophers say: that things or the world per se are neither good or bad. It is our attitude that makes them so. Is that what you were trying to say?

    I don’t mind murderers that much. Sometimes murdering is the only way to save a person from pain or harm.

    That is why I said torture, especially inhumane torture. (“Inhumane” because there do exist masochists who enjoy being inflicted pain, but probably only to a degree.)

    As for Rapunzel, however, I do have an objection. First, I am not sure the Witch herself believed that the world is evil and that Rapunzel is better off and safer inside. I would rather tend to think that the Witch wanted to keep her inside for her (the Witch’s) own purposes (peace of mind or whatnot). Second, the Witch didn’t comply with Rapunzel‘s wish to be let out and go see the world.

    Isn’t our own freedom to do what we want limited by the freedom of others to do what they want?

    There was a big library with many selections so why did you not venture beyond the children section? Or did your parents check your selections before you were allow to bring home the books? I did not have much interest in fairy tales until my teens, just the usual passing knowledge, but even then, it was due to an interest in Greek mythology so they were just interesting comparisons.

    Oh, this one is simple. If one is less than 14 years old, one automatically goes to children’s library. And guess who chooses books for the children’s library shelves (even though it was the biggest library in the city)? Adults. For some reason, adults didn’t think adult versions of books were suitable for children or teens to borrow.

    More than that, in order to select or ask for something, one needs to know that it exists. Say, do you know that there exist literal translations of Shakespeare’s plays for literature specialists in different languages? Yet, I seriously doubt that a regular library for adults would carry it. And you wouldn’t ask about such translations unless you knew that they existed.

    In my case, I gulped down mythologies as long as they were more or less organized (stumbled at Hindu and Chinese – could never draw their family trees) and fairy tales simultaneously. Still, even though that library had brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, I didn’t particularly enjoy those. They were too grim and hardly ever had happy endings. I liked Disney-like fairy tales. I read English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, etc. and even Kazakh and Latvian fairy folk tales, but I don’t know whether the texts printed in those books had been somehow adapted for children’s consumption even though there were no authors and covers merely said “folk (fairy) tales.”

    Bordering with psychology, Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s Women Who Run with the Wolves was a riveting read. I think it is then when I got to know some adult versions of familiar fairy tales. But I was already 20 or 21 years old. Yet, a few of the tales in the books were exactly as I remembered them.

    As much as you can imagine your possible feelings after a year, you’ll have to acknowledge that you don’t know how your ex would have acted.

    True. But then, to extrapolate that further, that means that we can’t tell how others will act, even based on how they have acted in the past.

    How then can we interact with people at all??? That reminds me of neuro-linguistic programming tenets – that the way a person behaves like a jerk with her doesn’t mean that he will behave like a jerk with you – and the NLP is considered by many a pseudoscience.

    And I am not even talking about how fragile and unstable our own memories and impressions are: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160920-four-ways-that-other-people-can-warp-your-memory

    Since you were able to convinced yourself that he loved you enough to divorce, or maybe not since he cared about his career more?, and then married you, the moving hinging on the fact that you would be married, you might have been able to give up your life of where you were to accommodate him. But that raises a lot of questions. You like your job a lot and your many hobbies and it doesn’t seem that you dislike your many colleagues, but to give up all of that without much resistant just because your ‘husband’ wanted you to move to his home country? Just how high of a pedestal did you put your relationship with your ex that you were willing to give up all that? Or is it that while you have hobbies and a good career, it’s not something you feel you should invest into, regardless if it’s something you’re doing for yourself? Then what are you investing in for yourself?

    Well, I am afraid that the answer lies in the way I am wired due either to my grandmother’s depression gene kicking in or due to having read too much and analysed too much. I hardly have any ambition now (last time I remembered myself really competing for good marks with my first childhood friend was in middle school) and prefer leading a quiet life pursuing my interests. I have read about one too many people rich and powerful at one time of their lives and ending in the gutter or on the scaffold not to want to repeat their fate or not to believe in how fickle fame, money and power are.

    At the same time, I am fully aware of the fact that my interests or hobbies are only there to fill up the time. I do tremendously enjoy the process, but I am fully cognizant of the fact that everything passes. I have yet to see evidence of the fact that life on Earth and me specifically is the result of something greater than a mere coincidence and chance. So what is the point if eventually the Sun will become a red giant and swallow Earth?…

    I am not a good team player, I work best on my own or when faced with one-on-one interaction. All my romances brought so many positive upbeat feelings (hormone “high”) that naturally I wanted them to last as long as possible. Just like my ex (I think), I thought that each one would the one “happily ever after” and I was ready to do all I could for it to continue, to become “one” with my partner and to be his pillar of support. I lack drive, and I thought that all my partners had it, knew what they wanted, were willing to do it and that their plans and visions were worthy of my wholehearted support. I could be a good queen or a minister’s or ambassador’s wife.

    But for me, you can love someone you don’t want to be with for whatever reasons you may have.

    I understand this rationally, but I am unable to “feel” it. And when I try to rationalise it further, I just can’t see how you may love someone and yet not to find ways to make it work.

    Though I ascribe to the five remembrances of Buddhism of how life is ephemeral so holding on isn’t something I do.

    You must be much more enlightened than I am. I acknowledge the ephemeral nature of life, but I cannot help getting attached – all those feelings feel too real and last for too long for me not to act on them. Maybe I am still too young 😉 As said, one of my hypotheses is that my ex is similar to me in this respect. That is that he gets aroused at the sight of so few women that every time it happens, he considers it a sign from above. Maybe.

    You have to wonder if the princess the knight is wooing is based on the objective reality or someone they have crafted an ideal image of.

    I glance inside myself. I get attracted based on chemistry (I kept writing “appearance” or “family portrait”, but it is very intertwined with chemistry, that is, he may catch my eye because of his appearance, but if I don’t feel chemistry after further interaction, he stops being appealing to me, so “chemistry” is more appropriate). Later on, I somehow manage to marry the vibes I receive from the person with whatever traits I find that he possesses.

    Besides, I have experienced myself that when somebody thinks high of you, you want to become worthy of those thoughts, to rise above and beyond who and what you used to be. Oscar Wilde’s Ideal Husband is very insightful.

    But one first date does not give you much information on any person.

    I think there is key difference in how I was brought up to approach dating. In my culture, one does not date to find out whether s/he will fall in love – they date exactly because they already like this person more than any other. It is more like going all out together in a group, as friends or colleagues, and then couples start to appear. It is not the “date > sex > I love you” sequence, it is “I love you > date > sex.”

    Accordingly, it is assumed that if one goes out with somebody, they are exclusive. The concept of dating several people at once until that exclusivity rings very foreign to me.

    Though I don’t know the kind of men you seem to be meeting, if that’s pretty much the kind of people you are meeting, it might be time to visit a place that you normally don’t visit, but a place that hold an interest of yours should you not meet anyone interesting.

    That is what I do. I don’t do online dating, all the men whom I have met, I met through work or hobbies. I also hear that one meets through one’s friends and relatives. I have had one such experience (though my aunt’s friend). And I don’t have a wide circle of friends, so maybe that is why I haven’t met anybody yet – just haven’t cycled through a decent number of men. I do prefer quality over quantity.

    As someone with a background in economics, or soon to be past background?, I can’t say that I like many of the books published in the psychological realm, or research paper sometimes. Many of them has participants that doesn’t go past a hundred, so it can’t be compared to the populations of thousands, millions or billions. The researches rarely is peer reviewed, if at all, because not many are willing to read and look over a long book versus a research paper. And to use their own patients mean that there is a factor of subjective bias. That, and for the doctor to excuse people into certain categories just because of their jobs/careers when dopamine and cortisol is still a subject that many neuroscientists are uncertain about? Not to mention that the molecular wiring of the brain is still up for debate. It doesn’t seem that that doctor has taken into consideration neurological factors when women are also part of that high adrenaline career path, if only a little in numbers. Nor does it seem that he has considered gendered stereotypes. And excuse me, but did you happen to read the book ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’? Because that was not peer reviewed. Many others have also called it pseudo-science.

    Well, that series and books were written and first published in the early 2000s, the last one I read came out in 2010. He claims to have had 15 years of experience by then. I do know that he still keeps his practice because I emailed him tentatively suggesting a Skype meeting when my ex announced our breakup. He responded right away. So that must be at least thirty years of practice by now.

    He says that he has polled around 3000 men and 3000 women, I would say that is a good selection.

    I intend to reread those books because it has been five or six years since I read them last, so I cannot give a lot specific examples. Say, I clearly remembered that piece about high-risk occupations, but searched through ten of his books (and the books are thick, 250-300 pages, font 12) and through two more of yet another practising and popular therapist and couldn’t find it. But, say, in terms of excusing, aren’t those two different situations when the guy doesn’t phone even though he potentially can (can’t he step out of a meeting if it is a real emergency, for example?) versus he doesn’t phone because he is out in the wilderness with no mobile service coverage?

    I agree that we don’t know so many things about the brain.

    Yet, his main point is that there are certain things that nearly (never 100%, but it can be 80%) all women tend to think this way whereas nearly all men tend to take it in a different way at different stages of a relationship. And these things are exactly what can undermine the development of the relationship now or become a time bomb that can explode several months or even years down the road, from the way what somebody said when getting acquainted up to all sorts of conflicts between married or living together couples

    But the main reason for my liking his books is that they are extremely practical in nature and do work. He had a book on how to recover from a breakup, and it helped me tremendously. He said that if one followed his advice, one would move past the most acute and horrendous early stage in two-three months no matter how long the relationship had lasted instead of about one year if one doesn’t do anything at all. It took me exactly about two-three months.

    I have read a few others, too, including Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. This one seemed too mass-market and too generalizing to me.

    Robin Norwood’s Women Who Love Too Much was more to my liking, but yet, no matter how hard I looked inside myself, I could not see myself as one of those women (I read it while still with my ex). I had interests outside of the object of my affections AND even though I did want to crawl after my #1 begging to take me back, there was no way I would do it in reality. And isn’t it what we do, not what we think that matters?

    The Five Love Languages was interesting. Yet, when I talked to my ex about it, he replied that all the “languages” were important. If you look deeper, isn’t it so? True, one may stand out, but all the other ones need to be present as well.

    What do you think about Helen Fisher and her love test that involves, among other things, such physical matters as which finger is longer than another one (testing what hormone is prevalent)? When we did it, I turned out to be builder-director and my ex was builder-explorer. Which makes total sense now – he goes from one woman to another “exploring,” and while he is interested, he does “build.”

    His job may be demanding, but he still chose to stayed married for the sake of his career, which means that he had put his career before you. He constantly(?) told you that he would divorce his wife, bordering on five/six years, when his career would stabilized, but he still chose his career. You really can’t judge how difficult his job is, but you can certainly judge his choice to choose his career which means he stayed married even though he told you that he would divorce. And he did, but only to married someone else. You could have judged that his words then meant nothing past the first year so it would have been better to break up and moved on, but you still chose to judged his words as the truth and so decided to wait for him.

    Okay, here we come. Isn’t being flexible a good sign? That one is adapting to life’s changing nature rather than holding fast to what one believed to be true at some point? According to him, the circumstances had changed and he was no longer able to keep his promise. He said that nothing had changed for him, he would keep it, only didn’t know when. And so he stopped giving me deadlines all together, because I “was taking it so hard.”

    I am not trying to defend him, but don’t you agree that potentially a similar thing could occur to anybody?

    You said that you ascribe to Buddhism. Doesn’t Buddhism involves compassion and understanding for all human beings?

    As mentioned earlier, I couldn’t tell that those were empty promises (I still don’t think they were) especially after I listed side by side all that he did and all that he didn’t. He certainly did and kept doing a lot for me, in some areas much more than some of my girlfriends’ husbands or boyfriends or even dates (my high school and university friend (with whom I met now when visiting my home country), when dating through an agency even flew to another country for a week to see her beau, and he left her at home for the entire day because he wanted to meet his bunch of friends in a bar for a football match!).

    Besides, he kept all his other promises to me and other people, was valued by his peers, so his not keeping that particular promise seemed like an unfortunate confluence of circumstances, an exception to the rule.

    Also, moving on after the original deadline of “a couple of years” turned out to be impossible because I was already hooked emotionally. And I am too faithful and steadfast by nature even when emotions are not involved. Like a bull ploughing through no matter what.

    Anyone with trust issues will have issues with intimacy.

    Oops, sorry, I meant here the ability to build and sustain a close relationship, which is a fact now, given how many things he, as it turned out, would keep to himself (and I doubt he tells them even to his current wife now).

    As for our sex life, I cannot imagine a more caring, passionate, tender and varied transition from girlhood to womanhood. I gave a more detailed account of it when replying to Michelle.

    That your ex didn’t feel the need to communicate with you about important things say a lot about his view on your relationship.

    As above, for some reason I suspect that he always maintains what now I perceive to be a distance from everybody. It really stands to reason that, as a young husband of 23 years old, who discovers that his wife will have another man’s baby, he consciously decides not to let everybody approach him too closely from now on.

    I remember him using the stab in the back expression several times. It appears to me that he was very afraid of that stab in the back. And maybe he dumped me because he convinced himself that that would be a preemptive strike so to speak as I surely would dump him myself sooner or later?

    He certainly didn’t fit the typical case of midlife crisis. He was not a man who had married at the age of 20-something, had a couple of children with his wife who wife of whom he got too used to or who stopped being beautiful for him whereas he still looked and felt good and so he tried to catch up on his vanishing youth by getting himself a young mistress hardly older than his now grown-up kids (who might have left the family nest already). There is about a ten-year difference between the age of his son from his second marriage and mine.

    Didn’t he ghost you for a month or two, then emailed you about something love and you decided that his ghosting didn’t matter and so got back together with him?

    No, he didn’t. I was the one who in Year 3 decided to “punish” him for not keeping his promise to divorce and we communicated only by texts and emails for three or four months. Same year, I decided to break free and stopped communicating altogether (having told him so – that I was done). He waited for three weeks and then emailed me a very touching letter, which, again, made me go back to him. I had tried to break loose one year before that, but lasted only two days myself.

    Once he didn’t communicate with me for a week, but never repeated that after I spoke to him about it. It was always constantly being in contact – his phone call waking me up in the morning, his call when going home from work, chats or emails during the day, later on his call during my lunch time, then his call before he went to bed and, finally, my call waking him up.

    Wouldn’t you feel hurt if a close friend didn’t ask you for help in times of need? If your ex had trust you, wouldn’t he have been honest with you about his issues and then worked on it with your support?

    Again, I don’t think he was or would be telling about his problems to any of his women. And frankly, I don’t think I know many men who would. I think men, generally speaking, believe that asking for help makes them less manly.

    You’re over-thinking this. Whether he is or isn’t should not be on your radar, rather, the question is why are you still aware of his actions?

    This is easy. I like to be in the right. On a certain level, I feel as if I can breathe if I am “vindicated” and his lovey-dovey relationship with her doesn’t make it past a certain time. I need to know that it wasn’t me and that any woman in my place wouldn’t have been wiser. I want to make sure that I am right about his inability to sustain a long-term loving relationship, that it is just how he is wired (and not willing to acknowledge it and not seeing the need to work on himself).

    Another question, why are you still friend with him?

    Very easy, too. One, I am not friends with him, I am assigned to do some joint projects with him. I didn’t want to say no to these assignments as we had been working together for a long time, and people were used to us working together. No one knew about our romance, so it would have seemed all the more strange if we hadn’t continued together.

    Two. Immediately following the breakup, I thought that it could be an aberration on his part that he might regret. So I wanted to be close by just in case he did change his mind for good.

    Three. Our joint projects are beneficial for me as a professional, and I am certainly used to keeping my personal life and work separate. But I’d be surprised if I see him again (more on it below).

    He had you hooked. He knew what to do to keep you from leaving him because he probably doesn’t like the fact that people can leave him therefore it is up to him to decide when to end the relationship while you didn’t have a vote. That’s the fear of rejection, doing whatever it is to prevent being rejected and then doing the rejecting. That’s stemmed from the feeling that if he was the one to reject you then he would retain a sense of control over the situation.

    I disagree. First, he knew all too well by then that after my two futile attempts in Year 3, I was throwing in the towel and was not going anywhere – I had tried and failed miserably already, several times. And with each day passing, I was getting more and more invested time-wise.

    Second, he was not merely maintaining the level of hi involvement in my/our life, he was revving it up. Doesn’t make sense.

    As for the fear of rejection translating into rejecting himself, seems about right, especially in the portion of how he treated me with that borrowed money, gifts to others for me to see and his passive-aggressive attitude towards everything I said that was not job-related (he doesn’t doubt my professionalism in my domain, but in all other spheres of life, all of a sudden, he started to contradict me wherever he could). It is as if I started to annoy him.

    But, from what I understand, he did overestimate how much security he had after that career milestone of his. People didn’t like his divorce, didn’t like how he behaved towards his now ex-wife, how he was wooing his current wife. It appears that he is not as bright as he wanted to think he was, and what could be forgiven a brighter person under similar circumstances could not be forgiven when he was involved.

    I suspect that this is where his career advancement stops.

    And, since he knows that he owes it in part to his current wife, he will start to resent her. She, as self-conscious as all the women he chooses (he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with him, and he keeps choosing the same type of women), will inevitably start to think that it is because of her and his divorce to marry her.

    It doesn’t bode well for the relationship long-term.

    At the same time, she conveys the impression of somebody who likes to be wooed, dined and wined. I wouldn’t be surprised that if it turns out that she can’t get more respect and admiration through him (as his wife) and if he can’t go on supporting her at the level she is now used to, she wouldn’t hesitate breaking up with him. And just looking at her, I can tell that in case of a divorce, he will be left with just as much as allowed by law, not a penny more. Funnily enough, my mother is of the same opinion.

    If a person isn’t known to him, there’s little need to care about them. But since you are next to him and was his side mistress, then he has to show some concern. And if that concern is noticeable to other people, i e helping you move into a place, then all the better because you can talk about it to other people or other people can notice it and praise him. That’s covert egoism, doing things when other people are in the area so that they can see for themselves what a ‘good person’ he is. It seems that the ‘good person’ is the image he is painting for himself.

    I am afraid that this one doesn’t fly. You see, no one knew that we were together. I had no friends in the area, and I am a very private person, I wouldn’t talk a lot about who did what for whom and even less so given that he was married, for fear of some accidental detail that might betray his true marriage status.

    He had no male friends (!) to brag about me.

    But I do agree that he did seem to be painting the good person image, only I believe that he was painting that image primarily for himself. He wanted to look good in his own eyes as long as he could.

    He care immensely for his career, right? Enough to not get a divorce?

    He would often talk about some time ago when he “didn’t have proper work nor wife or girlfriend.” I often felt as if for him to feel manly and proper, he had to have a girlfriend or, rather, a wife. Hence his speedy marriages. He also liked to say that the average man had seven women in his life. I was the seventh. Well, sorry for him and his woman #8, I have recently seen an article on the matter that claimed that the average man actually had ten. Given that he is only about sixty now, he can easily fit two more women in his lifetime.

    In fact, sort of like me. When I fell for #1 and later on, it was in a big degree related to the fact that I was there, 23 years old, and I had never had a boyfriend. Something must have been terribly wrong with me. Hastiness never does good, that probably contributed to my poor choices.

    That’s plainly not caring about your opinion or side of the argument.

    I disagree. Say, when I had insomnia during the last year of high school, I read all sorts of books, but I needed that final push from a psychotherapist. I got that push, one session was enough. BUT the funny thing is that the psychotherapist thought that my insomnia was due to my teenage unhappy unrequited love which was not true at all. But how could I prove it to the therapist? The only thing I could do is say “This is not so.”

    He might have noble intentions from the beginning, but for it to take six years just doesn’t cut it, at least not for me. Anyone can talk, but for them to walk the walk is much harder. No matter the nature of their relationship and how much he valued his career, your ex did not file for divorce until he met his next wife. What does that tell you?

    What is it you don’t like in that version of mine that, since love lasts three years and we hadn’t seen each other for over half a year before he met that other lady, he fell – yet again! – head over heels in love and now had the additional incentive (that of a fresh passion) to divorce? He had been putting his divorce off and off looking for the best possible moment (and then got used to still having his wife taking care of the household and me as his love interest), and now with that fresh feeling of love in his veins, it suddenly did seem like the best moment.

    I still maintain my view that he would have divorced for me if that new lady’s and mine entrance in his life had been swapped in their order.

    Why are you still keeping tab on their relationship?

    I have been right about people so many times (more on this below and of course, there were exceptions) that I am really interested in whether I have finally “found him out” – namely that his love / infatuation never transforms into attachment.

    One of his colleagues chatted about his marriage in the following way, “… and we all told him, “Why do you marry? You keep divorcing afterwards!”

    By the way, I have recently had a chat with a former classmate of mine who confessed that he had decided family life was not for him exactly because for him, attachment never formed. Passion / infatuation died and that was it. Nothing took its place.

    That your ex had practice having affairs while married without the consent of his spouses showed that he had little respect for his marriage or his spouse.

    Again, his only love affair (affair as in “sexual relationship, especially a secret one”) outside of wedlock was with me. Two of his partners were married indeed when he fell in love with them. But shouldn’t it have been for those women to ask their husbands’ permission for they were the ones who were cheating on their husbands and not him, for he was single at the time?

    Moreover, he is still very good friends with the woman preceding his now ex-wife (who was his ex-wife’s friend). And he is on excellent terms with her husband. It might have been ménage à trois, for all I know 😉

    A relationship takes time so it’s fine to want them to woo you, but you’ll have to do your part by also wooing them.

    If I truly like somebody, I always try to subtly show my interest in them (approach them, ask questions, ask for help in something, come up with an idea to go somewhere if we are already on such terms). I go from the premise that if he likes me, too, and may be shy, he will jump at the opportunity to talk, to help me out, to suggest something in turn. But I like balance and if I feel that I am initiating contact all too often (three or four times in a row is my benchmark), I take a step back and wait whether the other party will make a step forward. Or not. The guy “who led me” never did, nor did the bald guy from the seamanship programme who initiated not just one, but a couple of steps originally.

    Though I wonder what kind of image are you actually presenting to people.

    I have been wondering that myself. And you know – I don’t know! I remember a friend at the university tell me that I always held my chin high and seemed very dignified, in possession of myself. Another one told me that it seemed to her that I am a swirl of energy, which is certainly not true, because I am an introvert. A professor told me once that I always had that interested look on my face, which he found very polite and appropriate. One of my ex’s colleagues as recently as two months ago told me that he would never try to make a pass at me. He clearly divided women into the ones a man marries and the ones a man has for pleasure. I, it seemed, was in the former category, at least for him.

    Certainly, biases do exist, but there’s also the impression that you are leaving on people too.

    How very interesting! May I ask what made you think so?

    I think I started leaving on people only after my ex left me. As you could see in the above, if I looked deep enough, I certainly could find a few similarities between my ex and me (only I don’t know whether it was the case of finding what one was looking for even though I tried to be as objective as I possibly could).

    One more idea that I came across somewhere made me delve deeper into myself. It was that I was attracted to those I was attracted to because they possessed something or could do something that I wanted to do, but did not allow myself to do because of manners, upbringing, etc.

    Accordingly, I realised that there were at least two people in my life who sort of clung to me just because, without being really invested in the relationship. And I started to move away from them for real. Still haven’t moved completely because one is an elderly lady, and Mum says that that might be too of a shock for her, so I keep saying merry Christmas to her. The other one is my best friend from school (with whom I competed for good marks) who hasn’t bothered to have a real talk and to find out what moves me now, some twenty years after our ways parted, but instead likes to keep me around by never failing to wish a happy birthday and merry Christmas and to say “I miss you,” but when I was in my home country, all meet-ups were on her terms.

    So you want someone with good hygiene and not smelly breath. It also seems that your intuition takes on the form of that family portrait.

    I think the family portrait test means whether the man’s appearance is aesthetically pleasing to me, in my own way of what I personally find “aesthetically pleasing.” (appearance at first and then chemistry). It is a sort of a guarantee that I will glance at him twenty years from now and still find him appealing because I remember what it was what drew me to him in his appearance twenty years earlier and what chemistry I felt.

    So your ex is your first serious relationship then?

    Yes. I think I wrote somewhere that he was my first (and so far the only) sexual partner.

    What exactly is reliable?

    Consistency in his actions and me getting vibes of consistency and trustworthiness from him.

    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.

    What would work for you then?

    Ideally, it would be somebody about whom I could say that I could sleep with him (meaning that my body accepts him, i.e. that there is chemistry on my part besides his looking good according to what  I deem as “looking good”) when we first meet and him singling me out, too, by coming up for a chat and inviting me somewhere (so that I know that we are not just friends).

    Sort of like it is going now with my new mild crush. He has been locking eyes with me every single time our paths have crossed since February (six or seven times total), smiling and asking me how I was, listening to my answer and answering himself – all that not in a matter-of-fact, passing way like it is normally done when somebody is busy. And he is sure a busy guy. At this stage, especially when I see how his eyes flare up when he sees me and how it seems that we could stare in each other’s eyes for eternity, it would be ideal if he asked for my phone number or emailed me. And I am sure that we would catch on like a house on fire from there.

    You feel deeply for others, but that can also lead you to excuse the behaviors of others merely because they are someone important to you.

    Yes, I am aware of the dangers of being biased in favour of somebody.

    Even now, you are defending the actions of your ex. Don’t do that, that’s not helping you. You have to look at your situation without any subjective favor or disfavor, the opposite of what you usually tend to do.

    I do my best to consider all angles. Like you know, a detective does not try to prove one point of view, s/he collects all the facts and looks at them trying to see what they (facts) point at.

    I did just that with my ex, and my list was inconclusive as I pointed above.

    You want to be saved from something, but I can’t determine what that is.

    Easy. First, I want to be able to tell my mother that despite my not cooking, not know how to apply proper make-up, not painting my nails, not liking to wear skirts and dresses, I have a husband who adores me and takes care of me no less than my father takes care of her.

    Second, that my husband can provide for himself, including myself. That means that he is a) intelligent enough for us to have a meaningful connection (like in “Marry somebody you love to talk to. As you get older, your conversation skills will become more and more important”) and b) that he can support me if or when I am not able to take care of myself. (That he can save me from life, in other words, if necessary, say, if my business venture fails.) I am not sure whether just any young man would be interested or capable to have a discussion that you and I are having here, by the way.

    A bonus here, after my ex – that I was able to find somebody more successful and, preferably, younger than he was. Just in spite.

    GL, on the rational, intelligent level, I understand that these are all “wants.” I agree with those who say that what is important, is that he is a good man and that he loves you and you love him. But these emotional “wants” are quite strong, and I can identify exactly what they are.

    (Funny thing here – I always thought that I was attracted to men aged 35 and older. When I was 15, it meant at least a 20-year difference. But now that I am in my mid-thirties, I keep finding appealing men who are now past 45 – that is with whom I still have a 20-year difference. Not always, but there is a trend. I am slightly surprised.)

    And one more thing that is probably more important that them saving me from life. It is that I want him to be of some importance so that I don’t worry that he is with me because of my own money. I am not immensely well-to-do, but I am comfortable, and I would hate to have a husband who would rely on me as the breadwinner of the family.

    I became very aware of this “danger” after I confided in one of my professors about #1. My professor didn’t like the fact that my #1 switched from policy studies, in which he had majored, to the lucrative profession of a lawyer around the age of 40. The same professor tried to instil in us ambition, advising us to always go “up, up and up.” Maybe that is why I myself consciously pay attention to those men who are in a higher position, who stand out. And only then do I select those whom I like based on appearance, then if I feel chemistry and so on. It is the pool of men I look at, but I certainly have a very careful approach and listen to myself if somebody approaches me, no matter his station.

    Same spring, over ten years ago, when my #1 broke up with me, I happened to read “The Portrait of a Lady.” I particularly liked Mrs Touchett (Isabel struck as kind of bland, with no character whatsoever). I even made a list of Mrs Touchett’s quotes, only have it misplaced now. The following one were taken by me as guidance:

    “He has no money ; he has no name ; he has no importance. I value such things and I have the courage to say it ; I think they’re very precious. Many other people think the same, and they show it. But they give some other reason.”

    “She ought to marry some one of whose disinterestedness she shall herself be sure; and there would be no such proof of that as his having a fortune of his own.”

    I don’t want to be any man’s “saviour.” But I am attracted by the role of the one who helps the man to realise that intelligence doesn’t exclude beauty and vice versa and that beautiful women can be faithful. I would really love men to think like Petronius from Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Quo Vadis, the quote went something like, “A beautiful woman is worth her weight in gold, and the one who loves in addition is beyond any value.” I am pretty, I am intelligent, I have so many virtues, why don’t I see worthy men lining up?

    Or maybe it’s your idealism that is too high?

    But then I wouldn’t have liked that waiter on a trip so immensely. Yet, I had reservations, because the difference in our levels of education was obviously felt (he talked about having seen aliens!). I was so enamoured by him that I immediately started to build castles in Spain thinking how we could make it work across two countries and what I should do to guard myself should he not have honest intentions.

    So what exactly is your ideal ‘prince’ seeing as you are still enamored with it, or at least enough to mention it?

    I don’t have a list to put check marks against.

    But I really thought for quite a long time that I only had to be a “good girl” and to wait long enough and my prince would come and we will live happily ever after. Seriously. Up until #1 broke up with me. But then I still could hope for the same thing until I met #3 because I was still a virgin.

    But turn that around and question yourself how much effort you are willing to put into the relationship and why.

    I am willing to go all the way as long as I see the other party go all the way. But I don’t want to be too far ahead, so I always stop and look whether he is still there, still investing.

    Mark on Tiny Buddha often gives advice like this on what constitutes love: https://tinybuddha.com/topic/i-have-feelings-for-another-woman-should-i-tell-her/

    Only I don’t know whether this can help if the feeling simply is no longer there.

    There’s also your criteria for men, in that they have to pursued you for awhile before you are sure you want to be serious? But that’s dating, isn’t it? Enjoying people’s company for a period of time to determined how serious you wish for the relationship to be.

    GL, see above. I think this is where my problem with dating per se lies. I’d rather enjoy the other person’s company BEFORE I decide that I want to learn him better and before I go on a one-on-one date with him. And certainly before the usual sleepover on date 3.

    Also, if they say that only women with low self-esteem allow themselves to get involved with married men (and my #1 had a partner and both 2 & 3 were married, plus the “guy who led me on”), doesn’t it mean that I have a problem with my self-esteem? Shouldn’t I be more careful in what men I allow to approach me? I look around, and I have zero. And even back then, when I (supposedly) had low self-esteem, it was not exactly like men (all sorts of them) were lining up to date me.

    … for even now it seems that you have rose tinted glasses when you think of him. You are even trying to look for an excuse for his behavior, for if he is a narcissist, then it can’t be help that he hurt you?

    No. GL, I never lie to myself. I don’t care whether he is a narcissist or not. I am used to processing what has happened to me, understand what made people do what they did. Like an author writing a novel. With him, I can’t tell. My only explanation for his actions and behaviour is that he is a covert narcissist. Nothing else seems to fit the facts.

    As for the rose-tinted glasses, on the one hand, it is only now that I feel some sort of anger (DABDA stages of grief, in any order) for whatever reason at how he treated me in the end of our relationship and certainly after we officially talked and remained friends (that money borrowed, etc.) and on the other, I merely follow that psychologist’s advice to retain a positive picture of the relationship. After all, I learnt a great deal, as much as one can from a partner who is older and more experienced, I had a good time and all that without any unpleasant consequences like loss of job or pregnancy or damaged reputation, etc.

    But right now, you need to address your hold on your ex. It doesn’t seem you are over him,

    Do you know that parable about two Buddhist monks who helped a woman to cross a stream? One of them went a long way talking about how they shouldn’t have touched the woman, how wrong they had been? Well, in that sense, I am still not over my ex. I want to fully dissect the relationship. Don’t know if I can though.

    But I knew I was over him when I could imagine making love to the “guy who led me on.” Similarly, I am over that one because I can imagine being that close to that big boss guy who keeps locking eyes with me.

    There is one quote in “The Portrait of a Lady” that I wrote out, but can’t find now. It is something along the lines of “when you loved deeply, that love lingers, a trace of it will always be there in your heart, no matter what.”

     you still look at his wife’s social media to understand their current relationship status.

    I addressed that part above. It is more of a question of self-esteem now, I want to know that I was right and that his love and proclaimed devotion to her will not go past Year 6 mark.

    You still wonder if he is a narcissist, which is why you can’t get over his callous act of dumping you.

    Well, this was not the first injustice that has occurred to me in the course of my life and I still remember every one of those people. I think that for some reason I never forget how I felt at different stages in my life, in different places and with different people. My parents are sometimes surprised at how well I remember what took place when I was 6, 9, 11 years old and so on. The answer is simple – I have some anchors in my memory as to what events took place in those years and LOTS of emotions associated with those events. I can very well remember how I felt and how I reasoned then.

    Maybe I was looking too deep and exaggerating, but these posts seemed very familiar and sort of rang true:

    https://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/we-need-to-talk-about-narcissists-20-mindset-shifts-to-help-you-stop-crazy-making-yourself/

    https://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/how-to-spot-an-assclown/

    You don’t wonder if your other exes were narcissist, only this one.

    Oh yes, I do wonder what is going on with #2 whom I still meet now and then. He is the only one whom I can and will call if I have a major problem and with whom we exchange birthday and marry Christmas greetings.

    And I did wonder what motivations #1 had when we spent those two days together followed by nights at my place (no sex) and whether he was honest when he said that he had had a long-distance relationship in the past and could not sustain one more. Then why did he get involve with me I the first place? And how could he get involved with me when he already had a partner? Or him telling me about his partner cleared his conscience?

    Or are you still envious of your parents’ story and relationship that you wondered why it didn’t worked out the same for you? Why does this seem like a competition for you? Why must what happened for your parents occur for you? Or is it that you simply feel more comfortable if life took on a similar path since you can predict the outcome? Again, there’s the control part. It seems as if you don’t wish for any chaotic factor in your life thus hope to replicate what happened to others so that you might predict your partner’s actions and reactions and make the correct reaction in turn.

    Oh no, none of that. It is just that my mother would often bring up the way romance developed between her and my father to point out two things – that one can feel nothing towards somebody (crucial detail – nothing, but not aversion as I normally do) and then fall in love (she) and that a man truly in love would behave just like my father did at that winter ski resort. But I would retort that that was exactly like my ex behaved – he even brought me a kettle with temperature settings for tea when he came back! Not to mention other things comparable to what my Dad was doing when courting Mother.

    After all, a human forever can only last so long, but death is at least predictable. And a prince on the white horse is perfect in that he’ll love and never leave, or at least you won’t have to worry about the ‘forever’ part.

    Oh, I do want “forever.” And yes, you are right, it is a matter of control.

    As for death, I used to think that death is preferable to a betrayal. But now I am not so sure because one never knows what would have happened if the other hadn’t died. It is useless to imagine “what if he hadn’t died,” whereas if one is betrayed, one can still have a chance with that person (what if he repents Dostoyevski-like? (Not that I would want to get back with any of my exes now)) or with another one, even better? One can really talk about 100% faithfulness to each other only when both are on their death beds, can’t one?

    Have you heard of the memoir ‘The Art of the Pimp’ by Dennis Hof? Written by a man who owns a brothel, he wrote of his experiences while including some narratives from those around him, namely his prostitutes. It is interesting on how sexist Hof is while also telling the world that he loves women and that his gift to women is his ability to pleasure them. That, and he displayed co-dependent behavior in that he would jump from one relationship to another, lavishing his favorites with gifts and money until he grew bored of them. Interestingly, many of those fell for him, not his money, but no matter what they did, he was unable to trust their affection for him. His fear of rejection drove him to seek sexual pleasure from women, but that fear also kept him from believing in others. He substituted ‘sex’ for ‘love’, his addiction to sex masked his need for love. Though he’ll forever tell the world that he is searching for love, but he won’t even give those who did love him a chance.

    No, I haven’t heard of this book. But your description of him reminds me of Natalie Lue’s characteristics of narcissists and of my ex – “lather, rinse, repeat.”

    Say, if I reproached him his behaviour, he would tell me exactly that – that I was a grown-up, that I entered the relationship with open eyes, that he never lied to me and that it is not his fault that he fell in love with somebody else – doesn’t it happen all the time all around us?

    1. You’re quick to make a judgement and quick to assume that others have made a judgement of you. But you’re not quick to ask for clarifications. Rather, once you’ve made a choice/judgement/decision, you’ll stick to that decision without desiring to change it, for better or worse sometimes.

    Well, I am right more often than not when I don’t like somebody or something after several interactions.

    Remember that colleague of mine who advised me to pursue men? Well, just two weeks ago she complained that she is now the one who not only takes care of the household, but who also deals with contractors now and deals with handymen. “Somehow” this is now her responsibility. If you ask me, I would say that this is a direct consequence of her desire to take care of everything. Just like I told her.

    Or even with my ex. I told him a couple of times that when the wife and the mistress are locked in a status quo for so long, the man finds a way out in a totally new woman. Exactly what happened.

    One more guy at work. Didn’t like him. A colleague of mine got together with him, had a child and then he got fired and was not very keen on finding a job. She kicked him out.

    One more lady. I have never experienced “love at first sight,” but I did experience, well, not hatrid, but “unlove.” It turned out it was mutual “unlove.” I behaved and continue to behave completely neutral and decent towards her – “nothing personal, business as always.” After some time at work, she decided that she could plot and intrigue around everybody, so now everyone is aware that she is not a good reliable colleague, that one can expect anything from her.

    On the other hand, there was a guy of whom I was wary. I couldn’t decide whether he was to be trusted or not. He just seemed to have too much of that “live and let live attitude.” A good colleague of mine told me that he was totally okay, and after we had worked together on several occasions (and discussed films and he even advised me to read Tolstoy’s Resurrection), I changed my mind about him. (Confession is on my list, too.)

    So I do have reasons to believe that I reserve my judgement until it is absolutely clear what kind of person I am dealing with. No jumping at conclusions.

    Over to you now.

    #300957

    X
    Participant

    * Didn’t update under “Topics.”

    #300959

    X
    Participant

    *

    #303295

    GL
    Participant

    Hi X,

    Life gets so busy, doesn’t it?

    I don’t mind murderers that much. Sometimes murdering is the only way to save a person from pain or harm.

    That is why I said torture, especially inhumane torture. (“Inhumane” because there do exist masochists who enjoy being inflicted pain, but probably only to a degree.)

    Some people are seeking eternity so death won’t be the kindest thing to do for them.

    As for Rapunzel, however, I do have an objection. First, I am not sure the Witch herself believed that the world is evil and that Rapunzel is better off and safer inside. I would rather tend to think that the Witch wanted to keep her inside for her (the Witch’s) own purposes (peace of mind or whatnot). Second, the Witch didn’t comply with Rapunzel‘s wish to be let out and go see the world.

    Isn’t our own freedom to do what we want limited by the freedom of others to do what they want?

    You contradict yourself. If having Rapunzel stayed in the tower was for the Witch’s peace of mind, then what was it that she fear would happen to Rapunzel should she leave the safe tower? And besides, if all Rapunzel knew was the boundaries of the tower, was she ever curious if there was more outside or was she content with not knowing?

    Freedom is decided by how much you are willing to give up to be a part of the society as society have rules to ensured some safety to all those who give up some of their freedom to join in. Though rules are also arbitrary in that it can be used to oppressed people. The company you are a part of has rules, both spoken and unspoken. Which ones you choose to follow is according to your will and which ones your colleagues choose to follow is according to their will. Your freedom lies in your choice to choose what to do as others are afforded the same choice. So if you choose to do something then they are allowed to obstruct not on the basis that they want to not allow you freedom, but precisely because they have the freedom to do so.

    Oh, this one is simple. If one is less than 14 years old, one automatically goes to children’s library. And guess who chooses books for the children’s library shelves (even though it was the biggest library in the city)? Adults. For some reason, adults didn’t think adult versions of books were suitable for children or teens to borrow.

    Pictures books are nice to look at for whatever age you are as it is made to be readable. But that is precisely why children are directed towards them, because their mind has not linked certain words to certain actions. Once you’ve developed the ability to understand the picture that a whole paragraph of words are painting, what stopped you from reaching for novels and fiction? Certainly, the adults around you probably meant well by directing you to the children’s section, but you still had the ability to go further. You had the choice to reach for other books that were not in the children’s section.

    Though I had the predisposition for horror and historical/fantasy fiction as a child so I was reaching the limits of picture books pretty quickly. It was so much more interesting to read about wars and monsters than cute fairy tales. I will have to thank a certain someone who had read to me ‘The Hobbit’ for the fantasy aspects.

    More than that, in order to select or ask for something, one needs to know that it exists. Say, do you know that there exist literal translations of Shakespeare’s plays for literature specialists in different languages? Yet, I seriously doubt that a regular library for adults would carry it. And you wouldn’t ask about such translations unless you knew that they existed.

    Not every book is meant to be read by every person. A specialized translation of Shakespeare are meant for those who wished to understand it further, not for the passing reader who is only interested in the play.

    How then can we interact with people at all??? That reminds me of neuro-linguistic programming tenets – that the way a person behaves like a jerk with her doesn’t mean that he will behave like a jerk with you – and the NLP is considered by many a pseudoscience.

    You’ll have to defined ‘jerk’ since every person has a personal limit of bad attitude. Of course, if you fear human interactions so much because you don’t believe that anyone can be kind, you can denounced all human involvement and leave for the mountains. Human relationships always has some kind of risks to them, and people accept those risks to form relationships.

    At the same time, I am fully aware of the fact that my interests or hobbies are only there to fill up the time. I do tremendously enjoy the process, but I am fully cognizant of the fact that everything passes. I have yet to see evidence of the fact that life on Earth and me specifically is the result of something greater than a mere coincidence and chance. So what is the point if eventually the Sun will become a red giant and swallow Earth?…

    What kind of life do you wish for yourself then? What kind of meaning are you making for yourself?

    I am not a good team player, I work best on my own or when faced with one-on-one interaction. All my romances brought so many positive upbeat feelings (hormone “high”) that naturally I wanted them to last as long as possible. Just like my ex (I think), I thought that each one would the one “happily ever after” and I was ready to do all I could for it to continue, to become “one” with my partner and to be his pillar of support. I lack drive, and I thought that all my partners had it, knew what they wanted, were willing to do it and that their plans and visions were worthy of my wholehearted support. I could be a good queen or a minister’s or ambassador’s wife.

    Ever wonder if the fact that you feel attracted to drive is because you wish for it yourself, but fear the outcome should you actually want fame or fortune therefore the next best thing is to date someone who has it so that you can share that drive, but not take the burden of responsibility? Also, it seems as if you think happiness is something you achieve by being in a relationship, not something you choose.

    I understand this rationally, but I am unable to “feel” it. And when I try to rationalise it further, I just can’t see how you may love someone and yet not to find ways to make it work.

    Have you heard of cystic fibrosis? It’s an disorder that causes severe damage to the lung, digestive systems and for infants who is diagnosed with the genetic disease, the hospital is pretty much ‘home’ for most of their lives. It is very easy for these youths to be infected with bacterias which can be a life or death situations. For those with cystic fibrosis, they cannot come into six feet of those who have the same genetic issue because they can infect each other which, more than not, will lead to death. And wanting any romantic relationships with this genetic diseases is very hard, not to mention the young mortality rate.

    But love, affection, warmth; those are wired into the evolutionary genes that was inherited again and again by the humans on this earth. Even if it’s almost an impossibility for these people who has so little time and energy, they still wish to understand this thing called ‘love’. Of course, whether they engaged in a relationship or not is their choice.

    Love is not always about reciprocation but hoping for the other’s happiness and well-being, even if you can’t be with them.

    You must be much more enlightened than I am. I acknowledge the ephemeral nature of life, but I cannot help getting attached – all those feelings feel too real and last for too long for me not to act on them. 

    It’s not about not forming attachment, but rather letting those attachments go.

    I acknowledge the ephemeral nature of life, but I cannot help getting attached – all those feelings feel too real and last for too long for me not to act on them. 

    Why must you act on these attachments?

    Besides, I have experienced myself that when somebody thinks high of you, you want to become worthy of those thoughts, to rise above and beyond who and what you used to be. Oscar Wilde’s Ideal Husband is very insightful.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray paints a very different picture of ‘meeting’ the standards that someone else has set for you. And I myself have tried too hard to meet the expectations of others only to have more expectations placed on me so I will say that I have had enough of forcing myself to meet other’s high standards of ‘enough’.

    I think there is key difference in how I was brought up to approach dating. In my culture, one does not date to find out whether s/he will fall in love – they date exactly because they already like this person more than any other. It is more like going all out together in a group, as friends or colleagues, and then couples start to appear. It is not the “date > sex > I love you” sequence, it is “I love you > date > sex.”

    You have a very construed view of sex. Not all people will have sex on the first date nor will they have sex after a few dates. And not all people will have sex at all if they so desired. The media has over-exaggerated the need for people to have sex right after meeting each other, but not all people do that nor do they need to do that.

    Accordingly, it is assumed that if one goes out with somebody, they are exclusive. The concept of dating several people at once until that exclusivity rings very foreign to me.

    There are people who prefers polyarmory due to wanting more supports, more friendships and more people in their life. Being a couple in the modern age can be very isolating because the current era has adopted the view of ‘married for love’, but added on the expectations that your partner will be your one support in all of life. From your friend to your partner to your lover to anything, it is expected that your partner be everything as you ‘should’, supposedly, only depend on them. But that is more than a person can do seeing as they have their own life, but other people expect you to pair with your partner where ever you might go; from weddings to baby showers to parties, so it is alarming for you to go alone, or so the expectation goes. That’s why there is always the expectation that you should rely on your partner fire and foremost before relying on family or friends. But that also means that you rarely see friends and sometimes family because of work which makes your partner the person whom you’ll interact with the most yet even that can grate on the nerves. That’s why dating isn’t always about finding a partner, it is also about making connections that might evolved into a friendship.

    He says that he has polled around 3000 men and 3000 women, I would say that is a good selection.

    So if you were to give me his name then I could potentially find a few published articles on sites like JStor and such then? I’ve been more focused on neurology then psychology as of late.

    But, say, in terms of excusing, aren’t those two different situations when the guy doesn’t phone even though he potentially can (can’t he step out of a meeting if it is a real emergency, for example?) versus he doesn’t phone because he is out in the wilderness with no mobile service coverage?

    You’ll have to expand on this to make sense.

    Yet, his main point is that there are certain things that nearly (never 100%, but it can be 80%) all women tend to think this way whereas nearly all men tend to take it in a different way at different stages of a relationship. And these things are exactly what can undermine the development of the relationship now or become a time bomb that can explode several months or even years down the road, from the way what somebody said when getting acquainted up to all sorts of conflicts between married or living together couples.

    Does he mention anything about socialization because depending on the gender that people perceived you to be, they will ask different things of you. ‘Females’ are socialized differently than perceived ‘males’ as any sociologists whom studied culture will tell you. Just as women are socialized to marry young and create a family since generation pasts, men are socialized to be the breadwinner and workers and protectors, etc. That plays a certain role in relationships because perceived were taught to be tough and strong while perceived females were taught to be weak and gentle. So while a female might be asked in when she is getting married, a male might be asked in how many times he is having sex. Different ‘gender’, different expectations.

    But the main reason for my liking his books is that they are extremely practical in nature and do work. He had a book on how to recover from a breakup, and it helped me tremendously. He said that if one followed his advice, one would move past the most acute and horrendous early stage in two-three months no matter how long the relationship had lasted instead of about one year if one doesn’t do anything at all. It took me exactly about two-three months.

    I do not understand your emotional state so you are the one who have decided whether you have moved on, but I will caution you that emotions are something you can ignore so you can program yourself to think that you feel this way or that way without really processing those emotions as they are. Though still wondering about the status of your ex is something to reflect on.

    Robin Norwood’s Women Who Love Too Much was more to my liking, but yet, no matter how hard I looked inside myself, I could not see myself as one of those women (I read it while still with my ex).

    While females of alcoholic partners might continued the relationship on part because suffering is the measurement of their ‘love’; you, in turned, enshrined ‘waiting’ as the depth of your love. You only have hobbies to fill your time while you were willing to drop everything of your current life to follow your ex to his home country once you were married.

    The Five Love Languages was interesting. Yet, when I talked to my ex about it, he replied that all the “languages” were important. If you look deeper, isn’t it so? True, one may stand out, but all the other ones need to be present as well.

    Some people do not like having their birthdays celebrated or being surprised because their childhood dictated that such things were ‘traps’ thus should be avoided at all costs. Some people don’t like physical tough unless they initiated it and even then it’s only to the degrees of hugs or holding hands. Some people can’t listen to another saying “I love you” without being wary of what the other might want/demand from them and they might not be able to say such words themselves. Intimacy is truly individualized.

    What do you think about Helen Fisher and her love test that involves, among other things, such physical matters as which finger is longer than another one (testing what hormone is prevalent)?

    I’m not a physical-friendly person by nature nor do I want to have kids even now so I can’t really relate to caring about a person’s physical/hormonal traits so much. Though having a ‘romantic brain’ is a bit unusual when there are people who identified as aromantics in the world.

    Okay, here we come. Isn’t being flexible a good sign? That one is adapting to life’s changing nature rather than holding fast to what one believed to be true at some point? According to him, the circumstances had changed and he was no longer able to keep his promise.

    The keyword is ‘promise’. He had promised you that he would divorce to marry you yet changed that simply because circumstances dictated that he had to keep his marriage or else what? He would lose his job? How is being ‘married’ so important that he would lose his job? Does he live in China or something? If he really did want to marry you, he would have done everything in his power to make it possible, not sidelined that for his job.

    I am not trying to defend him, but don’t you agree that potentially a similar thing could occur to anybody?

    Nope. I am capable of quitting my job to be with someone who needs me, especially if they are important to me. Work can be found anywhere, relationships, not so much. Though, it also depends on what you make your priorities.

    You said that you ascribe to Buddhism. Doesn’t Buddhism involves compassion and understanding for all human beings?

    The Bible urge people to ‘love thy neighbor’ yet the world is still full of violence and hate. Though if you want compassion in the form of empty platitudes, then I can give you “your ex was a jerk, good riddance. You’ll find someone else soon enough. etc.” And leave it at that. Though if you must, my ‘compassion’ lies in the form of my writing my thoughts as they are rather than shallowly tell you good things happen to those who waits. There are already people who are willing to take the time to tell you such things, so if you expect as much from me then I will have to end our correspondence here since I am not living to work for someone’s else expectations.

    Besides, he kept all his other promises to me and other people, was valued by his peers, so his not keeping that particular promise seemed like an unfortunate confluence of circumstances, an exception to the rule.

    But the question lies in what kind of promises were he willing to make happen and which ones he only gave lip services to.

    As above, for some reason I suspect that he always maintains what now I perceive to be a distance from everybody. It really stands to reason that, as a young husband of 23 years old, who discovers that his wife will have another man’s baby, he consciously decides not to let everybody approach him too closely from now on.

    Did he not pursued married women himself? So what’s the pointing fingers at his own wife when he isn’t such a great person himself? How can he condone his own behavior when he won’t condone others’ much similar behavior? Though how much coincidences is it that he would married someone who is similar to him and then did it again and again, if I’m getting the story correct?

    It is not a mid-life crisis that urges older men to seek out much younger females, it is the need to boost ego again and since ancient times, men who ‘gets the girl’, spoken or unspoken, are seen as high ranking.

    No, he didn’t. I was the one who in Year 3 decided to “punish” him for not keeping his promise to divorce and we communicated only by texts and emails for three or four months. Same year, I decided to break free and stopped communicating altogether (having told him so – that I was done). He waited for three weeks and then emailed me a very touching letter, which, again, made me go back to him. I had tried to break loose one year before that, but lasted only two days myself.

    The keyword is ‘punish’. That you had to ‘punished’ him for not keeping his promise means that you were only throwing a tantrum and wanted him to soothe you. He did and you took him back. Same with walking away; that scream more that you were sulking and needed him to go after you for you to feel secure in the knowledge that he did want you, marriage or no marriage. Also, the ‘touching letter’ is definitely him understanding what buttons to push for you to take him back. He knew what you wanted so he did as such to placate you.

    Once he didn’t communicate with me for a week, but never repeated that after I spoke to him about it. It was always constantly being in contact – his phone call waking me up in the morning, his call when going home from work, chats or emails during the day, later on his call during my lunch time, then his call before he went to bed and, finally, my call waking him up.

    Does that not ring an alarm for you? The fact that you needed him to keep contacting you so that you can feel secure that he has not forgotten you? How insecure were you about the relationship that you needed to hear from him everyday?

    I think men, generally speaking, believe that asking for help makes them less manly.

    I did not realize that this was a socialization that society forces on males until a few years ago. In the view of society, males should only show confidence or anger, never fear or sorrow. And because of that, many of them are emotionally immature since they were not allowed to process their emotions, which caused an emotional stunt which lead to them fearing to show vulnerability to other people, even their partner. And that doesn’t help their intimate relationship because if they cannot express sorrow then they can only express anger which only alienate their partner from them.

    This is easy. I like to be in the right. On a certain level, I feel as if I can breathe if I am “vindicated” and his lovey-dovey relationship with her doesn’t make it past a certain time. I need to know that it wasn’t me and that any woman in my place wouldn’t have been wiser. I want to make sure that I am right about his inability to sustain a long-term loving relationship, that it is just how he is wired (and not willing to acknowledge it and not seeing the need to work on himself).

    By that account, you are still aware of him then. You are making this into a winner or loser scenario in which he was the one with the problems, not you, so that’s mean HE was right to dump you. His loss, right? You are definitely feeling vindicated if you can’t wish him well after your break up.

    Second, he was not merely maintaining the level of hi involvement in my/our life, he was revving it up. Doesn’t make sense.

    A man can buy his girlfriend an engagement ring, give it to her only to end their relationship the next few days. It has happen, it is not a uncommon as you think.

    He had no male friends (!) to brag about me.

    How was it that him having no friend(s) is not a red flag? Also, you then say he has friends now? Or is that before or after? Why is it that he can be on good terms with couples, but not with just people?

    In fact, sort of like me. When I fell for #1 and later on, it was in a big degree related to the fact that I was there, 23 years old, and I had never had a boyfriend. Something must have been terribly wrong with me. Hastiness never does good, that probably contributed to my poor choices.

    Not having a boyfriend is not an indication that you would be attracted to married men and have continued to do so. Somehow, your intuition in finding lonely married men who wouldn’t mind the attention of someone younger is a little too scary. Also, you were so sure that #1 was the person you were waiting for all your life apparently. If that’s not a heavy/quick judgment on your part, then what would it be called?

    I disagree. Say, when I had insomnia during the last year of high school, I read all sorts of books, but I needed that final push from a psychotherapist. I got that push, one session was enough. BUT the funny thing is that the psychotherapist thought that my insomnia was due to my teenage unhappy unrequited love which was not true at all. But how could I prove it to the therapist? The only thing I could do is say “This is not so.”

    So him telling you “this is not so” and shaking his head without considering your point of view as listening to you?

    What is it you don’t like in that version of mine that, since love lasts three years and we hadn’t seen each other for over half a year before he met that other lady, he fell – yet again! – head over heels in love and now had the additional incentive (that of a fresh passion) to divorce?

    What were your thoughts during that half a year that you decided to take him back?

    I still maintain my view that he would have divorced for me if that new lady’s and mine entrance in his life had been swapped in their order.

    Yet he was getting used to having a wife waiting at home and a mistress at the side to have a passionate affair with. Would he have disrupted that ‘balance’ for anything other than something new?

    By the way, I have recently had a chat with a former classmate of mine who confessed that he had decided family life was not for him exactly because for him, attachment never formed. Passion / infatuation died and that was it. Nothing took its place.

    Why are people so quick to decide something based on passion? If you haven’t read the research, ‘passion’ is merely the rush of dopamine in the brain so it’s not meant to be a long term thing. Rather, ‘passion’ is what was evolved from the homo sapien’s need to reproduce.

    Again, his only love affair (affair as in “sexual relationship, especially a secret one”) outside of wedlock was with me. Two of his partners were married indeed when he fell in love with them. But shouldn’t it have been for those women to ask their husbands’ permission for they were the ones who were cheating on their husbands and not him, for he was single at the time?

    So he never cheated on his first/second wife? Or was it an open secret with his wife that he had sex with others? Or is it that you don’t know the extent of his affairs as you think you do? Why would anyone ask for anyone’s permission to have an affair?

    If I truly like somebody, I always try to subtly show my interest in them (approach them, ask questions, ask for help in something, come up with an idea to go somewhere if we are already on such terms). I go from the premise that if he likes me, too, and may be shy, he will jump at the opportunity to talk, to help me out, to suggest something in turn.

    If you try subtlety on someone who is dense, then it’s a wonder if they ever catch on the fact that you might be interested. People flirt all the time, sometimes even unknowingly, that does not mean that they are serious. And their ‘like’ is probably nothing more than a passing attraction to you. Can you really say that ‘like’ can be developed simply because they might be interested in getting into bed with you? Honestly, the best thing to do is to simply ask them out a coffee date to talk.

    Another one told me that it seemed to her that I am a swirl of energy, which is certainly not true, because I am an introvert.

    Friendliness, if that is what you are implying, is not associated with introversion or extroversion. Nor is the level of energy a person has in general, that’s hormonal biology.

    One more idea that I came across somewhere made me delve deeper into myself. It was that I was attracted to those I was attracted to because they possessed something or could do something that I wanted to do, but did not allow myself to do because of manners, upbringing, etc.

    Why must you look for what you want in someone else? Why not try to possess those qualities yourself?

    I think the family portrait test means whether the man’s appearance is aesthetically pleasing to me, in my own way of what I personally find “aesthetically pleasing.” (appearance at first and then chemistry). It is a sort of a guarantee that I will glance at him twenty years from now and still find him appealing because I remember what it was what drew me to him in his appearance twenty years earlier and what chemistry I felt.

    You’re really focus on the chemistry aspect. What about the emotional compatibility?

    And I am sure that we would catch on like a house on fire from there.

    Your ‘like’ feels idealist because you don’t know much about the other person yet you are already fantasizing about them, imagining what they might do for you as a partner. You let that ’emotional’ spark of interest lead by the nose into hoping and waiting for the other to show interest. Because if he is interested, then he’ll asked you out, right?

    I do my best to consider all angles. Like you know, a detective does not try to prove one point of view, s/he collects all the facts and looks at them trying to see what they (facts) point at.

    I did just that with my ex, and my list was inconclusive as I pointed above.

    You list is also very decided on making your ex a narcissist. I gave you my thoughts, but you seem intent on the narcissist part. He has enough emotions to not be a psychopath (narcissist also has little to no emotions) while not really acting on his instinct so he can’t be a sociopath. He’s not anxious enough to have borderline personality disorder, but he’s not autistic as he can still read what your face is expressing. It doesn’t appear as if he has an attention disorder so it can’t be ADHD. He still has his memory intact so it’s can’t be dementia while he hasn’t been hallucinating so it’s doesn’t seem to be schizophrenia. You haven’t mention whether he had episodes of manic depression and then hyper activity so doesn’t seem to be bipolar. He’s not an alcoholic, but he does have a certain addiction if he keeps marrying and divorcing. But he has too much fear of appearing less than manly to let himself be vulnerable. Maybe he found someone to be vulnerable to with his current wife, who knows. It appears your ex certainly has empathy, but that empathy is/was directed towards himself. He also has a big ego and so do you.

    Easy. First, I want to be able to tell my mother that despite my not cooking, not know how to apply proper make-up, not painting my nails, not liking to wear skirts and dresses, I have a husband who adores me and takes care of me no less than my father takes care of her.

    Why is finding a partner about your mother’s low expectations for you, apparently? Why must it be about proving her wrong?

     I am not sure whether just any young man would be interested or capable to have a discussion that you and I are having here, by the way.

    Look at motivational speakers and life coaches if you wish for such a conversational partner.

    GL, on the rational, intelligent level, I understand that these are all “wants.” I agree with those who say that what is important, is that he is a good man and that he loves you and you love him. But these emotional “wants” are quite strong, and I can identify exactly what they are.

    Rather than emotional wants, I would call those qualities a ‘good resume’. Rich, status, career; all the things that society tells women they should look for in a partner. Look for a prince charming to provide for you, let him save you, etc. Hence why men complains that women are greedy and women complain that men aren’t good enough.

    Why do you think you can’t save yourself?

    And part of it, it seems that you are only dating these men because you want to spite someone, however you think you may feel for them.

    I am pretty, I am intelligent, I have so many virtues, why don’t I see worthy men lining up?

    That’s a good way of objectifying yourself. You’re pretty, intelligent, virtuous and so on, so why don’t men like you? But so what if you have all those things? How many women do you think exist on this Earth? How many do you think don’t have those virtues themselves? What makes you any different?

    I think this is where my problem with dating per se lies. I’d rather enjoy the other person’s company BEFORE I decide that I want to learn him better and before I go on a one-on-one date with him. And certainly before the usual sleepover on date 3.

    How would you know whether you’ll enjoy their company until you’ve talked with them?

    Also, if they say that only women with low self-esteem allow themselves to get involved with married men (and my #1 had a partner and both 2 & 3 were married, plus the “guy who led me on”), doesn’t it mean that I have a problem with my self-esteem? Shouldn’t I be more careful in what men I allow to approach me? I look around, and I have zero. And even back then, when I (supposedly) had low self-esteem, it was not exactly like men (all sorts of them) were lining up to date me.

    Rather then self-esteem, you seem to be searching for something in these ‘men’ of yours. And sorry to break it to you, but not everyone has the free time to worry about searching for a date for the weekends.

    I merely follow that psychologist’s advice to retain a positive picture of the relationship.

    Did you not allow yourself to mourn the end of that relationship?

    After all, I learnt a great deal, as much as one can from a partner who is older and more experienced, I had a good time and all that without any unpleasant consequences like loss of job or pregnancy or damaged reputation, etc.

    You seem to have the assumption that wisdom is only found in old age, but you can learn anything from anyone of any age. You only have to open your mind. But that you want ‘intelligent’ in your partner, it’s not surprising that you gravitate towards those older than you since you seem to link intelligence with old age.

    But I knew I was over him when I could imagine making love to the “guy who led me on.” Similarly, I am over that one because I can imagine being that close to that big boss guy who keeps locking eyes with me.

    Care to elaborate? How is that moving on?

    Oh yes, I do wonder what is going on with #2 whom I still meet now and then. He is the only one whom I can and will call if I have a major problem and with whom we exchange birthday and marry Christmas greetings.

    And I did wonder what motivations #1 had when we spent those two days together followed by nights at my place (no sex) and whether he was honest when he said that he had had a long-distance relationship in the past and could not sustain one more. Then why did he get involve with me I the first place? And how could he get involved with me when he already had a partner? Or him telling me about his partner cleared his conscience?

    The lonelier one is, the more one will seek companionship. It seem those men were lonely enough to take on your advances, not because they had desired you sexually, but because they simply wanted a friend or at least someone to talk to. They might have acted like a mentor to you during those times you were together, but it didn’t seem like they wanted you sexually.

    Oh no, none of that. It is just that my mother would often bring up the way romance developed between her and my father to point out two things – that one can feel nothing towards somebody (crucial detail – nothing, but not aversion as I normally do) and then fall in love (she) and that a man truly in love would behave just like my father did at that winter ski resort.

    You can become friends with someone first and then develop romantic feelings for them later. You do not have to feel strongly for them in the beginning, there’s no requirements to forming attachments.

    But I would retort that that was exactly like my ex behaved – he even brought me a kettle with temperature settings for tea when he came back! Not to mention other things comparable to what my Dad was doing when courting Mother.

    It is easy to woo someone; observed their habits and lifestyle then do things that would make them notice that you’ve taken them into consideration. It is especially easy if you are attracted to them in some way.

    One can really talk about 100% faithfulness to each other only when both are on their death beds, can’t one?

    Even if that faithfulness simply mean that they are friends and not partners? That perhaps because they do not have much time left, they settled for a relationship with no feelings or merely the feelings of friendship? Is that so much better than being betrayed and breaking up?

    No, I haven’t heard of this book. But your description of him reminds me of Natalie Lue’s characteristics of narcissists and of my ex – “lather, rinse, repeat.”

    His behavior is labeled as ‘co-dependent’ due to his addiction/need to forming relationships with young women of 20s. He has a large ego which he would not risk vulnerability due to the fear of rejection. He seek validation from women because he cannot soothe his own heart. His emotional maturity is at the level of a adolescent because he is a child trapped in the body of an adult man. Or simply, he has not developed his emotional level to that of an adult.

    Say, if I reproached him his behaviour, he would tell me exactly that – that I was a grown-up, that I entered the relationship with open eyes, that he never lied to me and that it is not his fault that he fell in love with somebody else – doesn’t it happen all the time all around us?

    I don’t know if you entered the relationship with open eyes, but you did allow yourself to be wooed by him. You allowed yourself to believe his promise of marrying you. You allowed yourself to be addicted to this past affair. He might not have lied to you, but he had certainly hid the status of his new relationship. Or did he told you that you were the only one? Because you did write that he stopped mentioning ‘the divorce’ a few years in when it was not possible. While it was not his fault that he fell for someone else, he could have been honest with you rather than kept you in the dark. But did you ever see signs that he was pulling away? The ‘revving things up’ seems more like an admission of guilt than his wanting to keep the relationship going strong. Your #1 and #2 might not have told you that they would divorced, but why is it that you believed #3?

    I can’t say I take promises seriously anymore since people can talk, but it is only when the deed is done can you see that any person’s words were not a lie.

    Well, I am right more often than not when I don’t like somebody or something after several interactions.

    Your reply to Michelle speak otherwise.

    One more lady. I have never experienced “love at first sight,” but I did experience, well, not hatrid, but “unlove.” It turned out it was mutual “unlove.” I behaved and continue to behave completely neutral and decent towards her – “nothing personal, business as always.” After some time at work, she decided that she could plot and intrigue around everybody, so now everyone is aware that she is not a good reliable colleague, that one can expect anything from her.

    Did I not asked whether you were prone to taking on the emotions of other? If that lady didn’t like you, your intuition wouldn’t be quiet about it.

    One concern:

    I think that for some reason I never forget how I felt at different stages in my life, in different places and with different people. My parents are sometimes surprised at how well I remember what took place when I was 6, 9, 11 years old and so on. The answer is simple – I have some anchors in my memory as to what events took place in those years and LOTS of emotions associated with those events. I can very well remember how I felt and how I reasoned then.

    Are you still holding onto these as grudges? Or have you resolved them and are able to let them go?

    Well, have a pleasant week. Til next time.

    #306415

    X
    Participant

    Hi X,

    Life gets so busy, doesn’t it?

    Hi, GL,

    Sorry for the delay, very busy month at work.

    You contradict yourself. If having Rapunzel stayed in the tower was for the Witch’s peace of mind, then what was it that she fear would happen to Rapunzel should she leave the safe tower?

    I am afraid I don’t understand what contradiction you see here.

    The Witch may have been a control freak (as a possible version), so she didn’t care that much for Rapunzel, but for her own (the Witch’s) peace of mind. And for that, she needed Rapunzel in the tower. Why not?

    And besides, if all Rapunzel knew was the boundaries of the tower, was she ever curious if there was more outside or was she content with not knowing?

    GL, here I need to admit that I don’t remember all the details of this fairy tale. I am operating off the recent Disney animated feature film. Besides, to be really able to judge one needs to read the text in the original, unabridged version and, preferably, in the language it was written. Some translations made a long time ago allow for a certain liberty with the text akin to what happens when poems are translated as poems. I don’t know if anyone ever verified translations of fairy tales made, say, in the XIXth century against the original text. Yet, these may be the versions that are reprinted and reprinted. I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised that if these fairy tales were translated now, the final texts may end up being quite different.

    More than that, the mere genre of a fairy tale hardly ever provides insight into the motives or psychology of the protagonists.

    According to Disney, she wanted out, but I cannot say that the Grimms explicitly say that she, like the Little Mermaid, wanted out to explore.

    Fairy tales hardly ever give a full psychological portrait of the protagonists. There is a lot of room for speculation, just like you wrote yourself about Prince Charmings.

    So if you choose to do something then they are allowed to obstruct not on the basis that they want to not allow you freedom, but precisely because they have the freedom to do so.

    But that means the right that one has because one is stronger, doesn’t it?

    I would say that in your example with work they are allowed to obstruct because the rules say that what I do is not allowed. And the rules are written by somebody with his or her own agenda in mind. Who pays the piper, calls the tune – this has always been the case, hasn’t it?

    Pictures books are nice to look at for whatever age you are as it is made to be readable. But that is precisely why children are directed towards them, because their mind has not linked certain words to certain actions.

    I am sorry, GL, why are you talking about books with pictures? Did something make you think I was opting for books with pictures? One of my favourite books that had a lot of fairy tales in it and counted close to 300 pages had no pictures at all. Yet, I kept reading and rereading it when I was 6 or 7 or 8.

    Certainly, the adults around you probably meant well by directing you to the children’s section, but you still had the ability to go further. You had the choice to reach for other books that were not in the children’s section.

    No, I didn’t “have the ability to go further.” You are making assumptions.

    The children’s section was in one huge room, the adults’ (or teenagers’ starting age 14 or so) was in another. If I, a 7 or 8-year old (because at the age of 9 I read “The Three Musketeers” and fairy tales and myths were forgotten in favour of history and adventure novels) had shown up on the threshold of that other section, the librarian sitting by the entrance would have asked for my card (and one couldn’t borrow books without a card issued on the basis of one’s ID that showed date of birth) or, seeing that I was definitely not 14, would have taken me by the hand to the children’s section.

    Again, that if I had known that adult versions existed and had come looking for them. And I didn’t even know that they existed back then.

    Besides, I guess that I would have read a couple of pages of those adult versions and lost interest. Just like I didn’t particularly enjoy the Grimms’ fairy tales or Hans Christian Andersen’s.

    Though I had the predisposition for horror and historical/fantasy fiction as a child so I was reaching the limits of picture books pretty quickly. It was so much more interesting to read about wars and monsters than cute fairy tales. I will have to thank a certain someone who had read to me ‘The Hobbit’ for the fantasy aspects.

    Just a matter of taste, I guess. I tried to start “The Hobbit” several times as my cousins adored it, but my enthusiasm would fade after a couple of chapters. Stopped at the scene with spiders and could continue only when I was 20. Similarly, could never read further than a few pages of “Mary Poppins.” Found her boring and an abhorrent hypocrite. On the other hand, I loved “Nancy Drew,” but one of my professors later said that she thought her to be a terrible snob. Different strokes for different folks as they say.

    Not every book is meant to be read by every person. A specialized translation of Shakespeare are meant for those who wished to understand it further, not for the passing reader who is only interested in the play.

    Exactly. That is why adult versions of fairy tales are meant to be read by adults and are not to be found in library children’s sections.

    What kind of life do you wish for yourself then?

    I relate a lot to Professor Higgins from “My Fair Lady,” just replace “man” with “woman.”

    I’m an ordinary man,

    who desires nothing more than just an ordinary chance

    to live exactly as he likes, and do precisely what he wants.

    An average man am I, of no eccentric whim,

    who likes to live his life free of strife,

    doing whatever he thinks is best for him.

    I’m a quiet living man,

    who prefers to spend the evening in the silence of his room,

    who likes an atmosphere as restful

    as an undiscovered tomb.

    A pensive man am I, of philosophic joys,

    who likes to meditate, contemplate,

    free from humanity’s mad inhuman noise.

    Just a quiet living man.

    With an addition of regular travels to spruce things up a bit. This is exactly the way I live now. BUT I have always dreamt of doing it all with a partner who could also add to my being certain that this way of life will continue and not change. And this is what I am looking for now.

    What kind of meaning are you making for yourself?

    I am no genius. I am highly unlikely to make a discovery that will dramatically improve people’s lives. I won’t find a cure from AIDS or cancer or invent a way to travel close to the speed of light. So I figure that the least I can do is to leave no trace, to inflict as little harm as possible. And on the contrary, to do as much good as possible within my means, as long as it doesn’t deplete my own resources, my own “battery,” which isn’t as powerful as some other folks’.

    Ever wonder if the fact that you feel attracted to drive is because you wish for it yourself,

    Yes, that was one of the things I came across in some article after the breakup and that made me think. Namely, that part of the reason for my being attracted to this guy and that guy is because they possess (or seem to possess) the qualities (or perks / comforts) that I wish for myself.

    but fear the outcome should you actually want fame or fortune therefore the next best thing is to date someone who has it so that you can share that drive, but not take the burden of responsibility?

    GL, I am sorry, I can’t quite make out what you were trying to say here. Could you rephrase or put proper punctuation marks, please?

    So you say I wish the drive for myself, but fear the outcome? Why would I fear the outcome?

    What does it have to do with “should you actually want fame or fortune”?

    Or is it your suggestion that if I want fame and fortune, I should date somebody who has it?

    And yes, I love the position of somebody who has the power to say yes or no, but not have responsibility. Kind of like those French women for whom men still open doors and carry heavy things, but who do have the right to vote and all other rights.

    Also, it seems as if you think happiness is something you achieve by being in a relationship, not something you choose.

    That may be so. I concede that it may very well be that once I am in a healthy loving relationship, after some time, all these feelings and doubts and lack of energy and whatnot will return. And then I’ll know by experience that this is something that I need to figure out myself and that cannot be remedied by a relationship.

    (On the other hand, doesn’t Anita and didn’t Michelle both say to others that this or that mental issue will be healed once in loving relationship with a decent man?)

    The problem is that, looking back, I have never been in a healthy loving relationship, so I can’t tell whether it is true or not.

    Also, I was so elated when in the relationship. That feeling of bliss seemed to be so much more intense and lasting so much longer than feelings of joy, etc. that I had felt before, in any given point of my life.

    That fact (however subjective for the given moment) AND the awareness that everything in life, such as fame, money, luck, etc. is fleeting and not lasting naturally reinforced that idea of me finally finding terra firma, something real to hold on. I took time, I waited, and finally, I found it or rather, my ex found me – just like those good beautiful fairy-tale princesses.

    Throw in here the metaphysical conviction (or consolation) that I had made for myself before – that I hadn’t asked to be born and that I would have no problems trading everything I had in life, all the ups and downs and the uncertainty of existence against never being born, the non-existence.

    So my logic went that since I was born, life or whoever made me born just HAD to make me happy.

    So this relationship had absolutely no right not to be “true life.”

    All that certainly contributed to my holding on for dear life as long as I could.

    I actually need to thank my ex for falling for somebody else and dumping me, because given the character of his now ex-wife and mine, this situation would have lasted for much longer.

    Probably, it would have lasted until I got tired of waiting. (Especially, if it became clear that he wouldn’t be coming to this country on business trips and wouldn’t make any effort to come on his own.). Then my interest would dwindle and then I would meet somebody else, like the guy “who led me on” who would meet my “external” criteria and seemingly meet my internal by pursuing me.

    Love is not always about reciprocation but hoping for the other’s happiness and well-being, even if you can’t be with them.

    What if they say that their happiness and well-being is being with you no matter what?

    Why must you act on these attachments?

    You said so yourself, right above: “But love, affection, warmth; those are wired into the evolutionary genes that was inherited again and again by the humans on this earth.

    I am a pretty healthy woman in my mid-30s and the last time I kissed the man I loved on the lips and made love to him was over five years ago. It was never my intention to become a nun. Do I need to elaborate further?

    And I myself have tried too hard to meet the expectations of others only to have more expectations placed on me so I will say that I have had enough of forcing myself to meet other’s high standards of ‘enough’.

    Key word: too hard. The golden mean of Confucius is a good rule to follow. Of course, one has to use one’s head, but if you acknowledge that the expected improvement on your side will be good for you, you would be a fool not to improve. And it is so much easy to improve when you know that the other side looks forward to it and has trust in you.

    Accordingly, it is assumed that if one goes out with somebody, they are exclusive. The concept of dating several people at once until that exclusivity rings very foreign to me.

    There are people who prefers polyarmory due to wanting more supports, more friendships and more people in their life.

    I am talking about everybody’s tacit understanding that until you and your date have that exclusivity talk, it is assumed that both of you can be dating other people at that same time while figuring out with whom you have the most attraction and the most compatibility. I wouldn’t be able to do it because if I would it consider a waste of time to even date somebody if I am not attracted to him. (Compatibility and initial attraction, which is the same as chemistry for me) hopefully taken care of in previous interactions.)

    That’s why dating isn’t always about finding a partner, it is also about making connections that might evolved into a friendship.

    Sorry, there a million other ways to find friends other than dating.

    And I would hate to lead the other person on if I am not interested in him romantically, but I can see that he is.

    So if you were to give me his name then I could potentially find a few published articles on sites like JStor and such then? I’ve been more focused on neurology then psychology as of late.

    I am not sure he has published any articles. I am only aware of the books I mentioned. I came across his books out there on the web five or six years ago when I was researching relationships in all the languages that I speak. Russian is one of them. This guy is Russian, his name is Andrey Zberovskiy, but I doubt that any of his books have been translated in other languages, even English.

    But, say, in terms of excusing, aren’t those two different situations when the guy doesn’t phone even though he potentially can (can’t he step out of a meeting if it is a real emergency, for example?) versus he doesn’t phone because he is out in the wilderness with no mobile service coverage?

    You’ll have to expand on this to make sense.

    The meeting example is the example of weighing one thing against the other – what is more important – the phone call to be made or the meeting. Whereas if there is no mobile service coverage, one can’t do anything. Similarly, one can’t keep one’s promise to return home safe and sound from war if one is killed.

    But again, GL, I read that five or six years ago, and my memory of this one is rather vague. I am still warming up to the idea of rereading the books because I remember seeing several seemingly contradicting statements and I wanted to jot them down to think them over in a more thorough way.

    ‘Females’ are socialized differently than perceived ‘males’ as any sociologists whom studied culture will tell you. Just as women are socialized to marry young and create a family since generation pasts, men are socialized to be the breadwinner and workers and protectors, etc. That plays a certain role in relationships because perceived were taught to be tough and strong while perceived females were taught to be weak and gentle. So while a female might be asked in when she is getting married, a male might be asked in how many times he is having sex. Different ‘gender’, different expectations.

    So you do agree that males are taught to be tough and strong?

    That guy, Zberovskiy, conducted lots of polls, sometimes describing a situation and asking what men and women would make of it. For instance, it never occurred to me that accepting a man’s invitation to a cup of tea after dinner at a restaurant (where they can’t brew a proper cup of tea, and I so much enjoy a cup of tea after dinner, not to mention the restaurant’s oversweetened desserts that I can hardly eat) at their place is perceived by at least 35% of men (65% act dependent on the situation) as not my accepting to continue the lively discussion we started but didn’t finish at the restaurant, but my accepting to have sex with them. I swear I never thought that men view it like it – and then, after I read it and after I looked back at some hand-holding initiated by men whom I considered to be solid friends and nothing more than friends – I realised how true at least that poll was.

    Again, some polls didn’t show show any major differences in male vs female perceptions of the same situation, but some, like the one above, showed a major one. At least in my own vs men’s view.

    In some cases, I remember, the author would say that to further filter the results he would rephrase the question and still get the same percentage distribution. So I guess that the answer to your question is yes, he took that into account.

    Or else, the author made a point that some young innocent women like to talk about their previous relationships possibly in the hope that if they tell it all, the men will also tell it all. But men are cleverer than that: they listen to the women’s revelations and give only one or two accounts of their previous partners. Men are not fools, so Anita’s advice to talk calmly in a non-threatening tone to find out the truth flies out of the window. My ex would often refer to an anecdote when a woman asks her partner to tell her the truth promising no scenes and when he complies and tells her all the truth, she goes through the roof.

    I do not understand your emotional state so you are the one who have decided whether you have moved on, but I will caution you that emotions are something you can ignore so you can program yourself to think that you feel this way or that way without really processing those emotions as they are. Though still wondering about the status of your ex is something to reflect on.

    I stopped grinding my teeth at night. That was my unconsciousness “biting the bullet.” I started grinding them when the time came for him to keep his promise and he didn’t. That lasted until our breakup. One more sign that that relationship was so toxic for me and that it was good riddance.

    As for wondering about the status, I think I mentioned before that once every two years or so I research my #1, only he doesn’t have a Facebook account and there is virtually zero info on him in Google. I do look up former classmates. I do look up that girlfriend of mine who went MIA telling me she was moving to another country and would write to me once settled. Just plain curiosity and an understandable human desire to make sure that I am not worse than others, maybe even better off in the long run.

    The Five Love Languages was interesting. Yet, when I talked to my ex about it, he replied that all the “languages” were important. If you look deeper, isn’t it so? True, one may stand out, but all the other ones need to be present as well.

    Some people do not like having their birthdays celebrated or being surprised because their childhood dictated that such things were ‘traps’ thus should be avoided at all costs. Some people don’t like physical tough unless they initiated it and even then it’s only to the degrees of hugs or holding hands. Some people can’t listen to another saying “I love you” without being wary of what the other might want/demand from them and they might not be able to say such words themselves. Intimacy is truly individualized.

    Eh, I think that he just didn’t like to look deep into himself despite him claiming that he “always tried to figure out why he didn’t like somebody.” Or I should have just taken his word literally and assumed that he only looked deep into himself when he didn’t like somebody. I extrapolated to that he ALWAYS looked deep into himself figuring out why he felt this or that. (Which I normally do.)

    He did like to point out details (“The devil is in details – a Mercedes and a cart have four wheels, but they are mighty different vehicles, aren’t they?”) or, on the contrary, made generalising statements to include everything like in the example above.

    The keyword is ‘promise’. He had promised you that he would divorce to marry you yet changed that simply because circumstances dictated that he had to keep his marriage or else what? He would lose his job? How is being ‘married’ so important that he would lose his job? Does he live in China or something? If he really did want to marry you, he would have done everything in his power to make it possible, not sidelined that for his job.

    Everyone wants the best for himself or herself, doesn’t s/he? His job comes first or, rather, the way he liked to put it, the job and his relationship with me were of equal weight. Meaning that he wouldn’t be happy without either. Since I was agreeing to wait, he was happy to carry on like that, especially after the novelty of the romance faded (and until struck by Cupid’s new love arrow).

    He wouldn’t have necessarily lost his job, but a lot of what he does, he does together with other men, and no one wants to have an unstable partner. I think that the way he behaved when wooing his current wife #4 turned away a few of them from him. He missed a few deadlines then.

    Worse, his colleagues thought that his parents were ill, that is why he was taking time off work to go to his native city from the city where he worked in our home country. Later on, it turned out that he had been taking time off work to go and see a mistress. Folks didn’t appreciate that.

    When he was with me, one morning, I couldn’t stand the situation (he – wife – I) and phoned him to discuss the future of our relationship and where we stood, he got so excited that failed an important interview that could land him still another promotion. I am bringing this to show that he was indeed very emotionally involved in all his romances.

    And his colleagues all together have a say in what projects he gets to perform and with whom. If no one wants to work with him because they see him unfit because of his constant change of spouses and partners, then he simply stays where he is until retirement. Sort of what is happening to him now, I think.

    But yes, he secured himself an excellent retirement plan upon achieving that important milestone (the one after achieving which he promised me to divorce his wife #3).

    And of course, as a loving woman I was telling myself that I want him to be happy, that if he is happy, I am happy, that I need to trust him, that he might not telling me some things, but if he is asking me to wait a little bit more, he is asking it for us both, that whatever he does, he has OUR happiness in mind, that what he has in mind is intended for BOTH OF US. Exactly like Natalie Lue says narcissists and their victims behave – explaining away and rationalising and putting words in the mouths of their narcissists, words and intentions that the narcissists may have never even thought about enunciating!

    Even though it is not China, I have yet to think of, for instance, a politician who would be marrying and divorcing his wives without thinking about the impact these actions would have on his electors. In any country, even the most advanced ones.

    Nope. I am capable of quitting my job to be with someone who needs me, especially if they are important to me. Work can be found anywhere, relationships, not so much. Though, it also depends on what you make your priorities.

    Depends on the work. If your work is something you have finally landed after twenty years of going towards it and if it is something you have been dreaming of since kindergarten, I am not so sure. Again, it is not an office job that “can be found anywhere” like you put it.

    But just like with saying that all love languages were important to him and that not everything is what it seems, he was putting himself in a very safe position by saying that to be happy, he needs both in equal measure – his job and his beloved.

    You said that you ascribe to Buddhism. Doesn’t Buddhism involves compassion and understanding for all human beings?

    The Bible urge people to ‘love thy neighbor’ yet the world is still full of violence and hate. Though if you want compassion in the form of empty platitudes, then I can give you “your ex was a jerk, good riddance. You’ll find someone else soon enough. etc.” And leave it at that. Though if you must, my ‘compassion’ lies in the form of my writing my thoughts as they are rather than shallowly tell you good things happen to those who waits. There are already people who are willing to take the time to tell you such things, so if you expect as much from me then I will have to end our correspondence here since I am not living to work for someone’s else expectations.

    You misunderstood me. I didn’t mean compassion and understanding for me. I wonder what image your mind has conjured of me, what I have written so far that made you think I was asking you or anybody else for pity???

    I meant compassion and understanding for my ex.

    Also, it sounds like you are the one who keeps stating that my ex was a jerk and not a narcissist for some reason thinking that I want him to be a narcissist so that I can absolve him of what he did.

    I am merely discussing different versions, like an investigator who puts together pieces of a puzzle. Yet, it seems that the mere fact of my ex not keeping his promise if enough for you to say that he is not worthy right off the bat. Are you familiar with the saying “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes”? Not that it is not merely putting his shoes on, but walking the road that that man has walked in those shoes. If he had promised to return from war and didn’t return because he was killed, would you be also saying that “promise” is the key word?

    Is there any difference between stealing a loaf of bread and, say, a car? Both are stealing, but the value of the stolen item is vastly different. Throughout history, some cultures had the same punishment for stealing – no matter of what item, whereas others differentiated between the value of what had been stolen.

    Think of me as a surgeon or an author dissecting motivations and actions. I could never quite make my ex out while I was with him; now the picture is more or less clear. But I would sure like him to fall in love anew and to divorce wife #4 to be able to tell myself that my analysis of his psyche and modus operandi is correct.

    But the question lies in what kind of promises were he willing to make happen and which ones he only gave lip services to.

    He had kept ALL the other promises, and this one had weighty mitigating circumstances around it.

    All our discussions ultimately ran into the wall of his “I cannot divorce her now.” It was an agree-to-disagree situation. And yes, I stayed because it was my choice to stay and still wait.

    I have often wondered the following. How can we ever talk about verbal abuse or verbal harassment if it is entirely our choice how we react to it? Say, if a mad person accosts you, you wouldn’t be in a least offended, would you? The why do people condemn those who abuse verbally? Even on Tiny Buddha, you see so many replies to different posts saying “S/he had no right to treat you (verbally – I am only talking about verbal abuse) like that”

    As above, for some reason I suspect that he always maintains what now I perceive to be a distance from everybody. It really stands to reason that, as a young husband of 23 years old, who discovers that his wife will have another man’s baby, he consciously decides not to let everybody approach him too closely from now on.

    Did he not pursued married women himself? So what’s the pointing fingers at his own wife when he isn’t such a great person himself? How can he condone his own behavior when he won’t condone others’ much similar behavior?

    Hang on, GL. Wife #1 was two years younger than he (they met at college) and she was the one that cheated on him and gave birth to another man’s son. Then he married his wife #2, his age, and he is not sure whether the kid (hmm, now a 25-year old man) is his son or not. He pursued married women LONG AFTER his divorce from Wife #1. And he pursued them AFTER he divorced Wife #2.

    He didn’t have anybody on the side until he met me in Year 6 of his being married to Wife #3. And then in Year 6 of our relationship and in Year 12 of his marriage to Wife #3, he met this other woman who is now his Wife #4.

    Are you reproaching me pointing fingers at his wife or are you reproaching him that he is pointing fingers at her? Where did I say that he was pointing fingers at his own wife?

    It is I who is saying, “it stands to reason that, as a young husband of 23 years old, who discovers that his wife will have another man’s baby, he consciously decides not to let everybody approach him too closely from now on.” I am trying to understand WHY he is the way he is in his relationships.

    And I disagree. Just like in stealing, there is a difference between cheating on with somebody and telling about it to one’s spouse AND cheating on with somebody, not telling about it to one’s spouse and then giving birth to a baby saying it is the spouse’s when in reality it is another man’s baby.

    Though how much coincidences is it that he would married someone who is similar to him and then did it again and again, if I’m getting the story correct?

    Sorry, I don’t understand what you are trying to say. Who is similar to whom and who did what again and again?

    It is not a mid-life crisis that urges older men to seek out much younger females, it is the need to boost ego again and since ancient times, men who ‘gets the girl’, spoken or unspoken, are seen as high ranking.

    Again, I am the only one out of his eight women with whom he had a 20+-year difference. Wife #1 was two years younger than he, wife #2 was the same age, one lady after divorce from wife #2 and two married women – about the same age, wife #3 – four years older than he was, me – 20+ years younger, wife #4 – eight years younger than he.

    Where do you see “much younger females” in plural here?

    No, he didn’t. I was the one who in Year 3 decided to “punish” him for not keeping his promise to divorce and we communicated only by texts and emails for three or four months. Same year, I decided to break free and stopped communicating altogether (having told him so – that I was done). He waited for three weeks and then emailed me a very touching letter, which, again, made me go back to him. I had tried to break loose one year before that, but lasted only two days myself.

    The keyword is ‘punish’. That you had to ‘punished’ him for not keeping his promise means that you were only throwing a tantrum and wanted him to soothe you. He did and you took him back. Same with walking away; that scream more that you were sulking and needed him to go after you for you to feel secure in the knowledge that he did want you, marriage or no marriage. Also, the ‘touching letter’ is definitely him understanding what buttons to push for you to take him back. He knew what you wanted so he did as such to placate you.

    Exactly what Natalie Lue said about narcissists. That they know that all the scenes and words made and spoken by their victims are just that – scenes and words. Nothing more.

    Yet, you dismissed that website right from the start.

    Does that not ring an alarm for you? The fact that you needed him to keep contacting you so that you can feel secure that he has not forgotten you? How insecure were you about the relationship that you needed to hear from him everyday?

    No, it didn’t. Remember, ours was a very long-distance relationship. How can the two stay present in each other’s lives if they are not trying to imitate living side by side as much as they can? Thankfully, technologies permit it now.

    You could restate the question and ask how insecure he was wanting to contact me that often. All the time, after we made up, he would himself say, “All right, I’ll phone you at lunch.” And then, “Will you wake me up as usual?”

    By that account, you are still aware of him then. You are making this into a winner or loser scenario in which he was the one with the problems, not you, so that’s mean HE was right to dump you.

    Sorry, don’t get this part: how come HE was right to dump me if he was the one with problems. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Please rephrase or elaborate.

    His loss, right? You are definitely feeling vindicated if you can’t wish him well after your break up.

    I didn’t like HOW he was breaking up with me (first, not the way we had discussed breaking up if one of us ever would fall for another person; then going MIA for two months; not keeping his promise to ring me when I finally got him on the phone; then what kind of a “friend” he showed himself to be after he himself said he wanted to remain on good friendly terms; how he unfriended me on social media; finally, that story with borrowed money). And it is not the fact that he fell in love with somebody else (I also felt very attracted to a couple of people during the time we were together), it is the fact that he had done nothing to prevent it.

    Besides, GL, like I said, it is how I feel and rationalise on the emotional level.

    On the level of intelligence, I don’t wish him anything at all. De mortuis aut bene, aut nihil – that is my approach to such people.

    That is why I asked you in the previous letter, is it not what we do that matters and not what we think?

    Second, he was not merely maintaining the level of his involvement in my/our life, he was revving it up. Doesn’t make sense.

    A man can buy his girlfriend an engagement ring, give it to her only to end their relationship the next few days. It has happen, it is not a uncommon as you think.

    Yes, stories like that on Tiny Buddha and other forums helped me to see that a lot of people were in the same boat as I was. Even worse when their fiancés broke off engagements, husbands ran off with secretaries, left them with a few kids, etc.

    He had no male friends (!) to brag about me.

    How was it that him having no friend(s) is not a red flag?

    Well, I never thought about it. It is now that I have read so much about relationships, I know that it is not a good sign.

    Besides, I couldn’t say about myself that I had friends, like real friends who stick with you through thick and thin. As I told Michelle, for a long time, including the time when I was with him, I comparmentalised friends and topics and things that I discussed or did with them.

    Say, I have lived in this country for over twelve years now and I still don’t have friends here. I have one real friend, but I had known him before I came over here. But I do have very good colleagues and acquaintances about whom I can sometimes say that they are “friends.”

    This is one more feature that made me think we were made for each other AND that confirms that idea that like attracts like. That I couldn’t have been attracted to him if we hadn’t been so similar in a lot of aspects.

    There was just one red flag for me (if we omit his marriage status). I once said, all elated, “Just imagine, what a chance it is for us, who are so much alike, have so much compatibility and so much chemistry, to have found each other! It is such a rare occurrence!”

    And he goes, “It is not a big deal to find somebody like that.” It was so contradictory to his lovey-dovey behaviour and to his constantly underscoring and saying that I was that one big love of his life, forever and ever.

    I still think that it is so much easier for him to fall in love with a stranger than to rekindle the passion with a past love of his. Just like a switch, as I was saying, – either on or off and never for the same person.

    Also, you then say he has friends now? Or is that before or after?

    Would you mind quoting the sentence? Context does matter.

    Besides, there are friends and friends. In English, “friends” are often the same people that in other languages would be called “good acquaintances.”

    Why is it that he can be on good terms with couples, but not with just people?

    That I don’t know. But it does seem that he is either friends with females or with couples (because of the female?) Or on good terms with men because they can be useful in his career.

    Not having a boyfriend is not an indication that you would be attracted to married men and have continued to do so. Somehow, your intuition in finding lonely married men who wouldn’t mind the attention of someone younger is a little too scary.

    Not quite.

    First, if we talk about single men to whom I have been attracted since my breakup, I can name the “guy on the trip” who was effectively single.

    Next, there was this guy to whom I was attracted even when with my ex. He divorced a long time ago, is single and happy and seemingly not looking for anybody. I described to Matt how he was warming my hands once. Funnily enough, at first glance, I can name men to whom I am much more attracted than to him, but when I imagine myself with him, I can very well see how I would not need or ever think about anybody else. Interesting, huh?

    Finally, the bald guy from the seamanship programme, who approached me first, but when I tried to reciprocate, stopped initiating. He was single and happy, too.

    As for the married men, the fact that none of them pursued me in the way my ex did certainly doesn’t meet your “wouldn’t mind the attention of someone younger.”

    I am more concerned at this stage with why I still like men who are twenty years older. It seems like the twenty-year gap never changes, just shifts with me getting older. Or am I becoming ever wiser and wiser that only those who are twenty years older can keep up with it? I doubt it, but I have no answer. And again, there are a lot of exceptions, it is only a trend that now that I am in my 30s, I find not so many men in their 40+ to look at, like I did when I was 15 or 25, but rather men in their 50s.

    Also, you were so sure that #1 was the person you were waiting for all your life apparently. If that’s not a heavy/quick judgment on your part, then what would it be called?

    I agree that it was a quick judgement. Why are you bringing it up?

    I disagree. Say, when I had insomnia during the last year of high school, I read all sorts of books, but I needed that final push from a psychotherapist. I got that push, one session was enough. BUT the funny thing is that the psychotherapist thought that my insomnia was due to my teenage unhappy unrequited love which was not true at all. But how could I prove it to the therapist? The only thing I could do is say “This is not so.”

    So him telling you “this is not so” and shaking his head without considering your point of view as listening to you?

    Why are you saying “without considering your point of view”? He would listen calmly and attentively to ALL that I had to say, and then would say, “It is not so.” Just what else could he do???

    What is it you don’t like in that version of mine that, since love lasts three years and we hadn’t seen each other for over half a year before he met that other lady, he fell – yet again! – head over heels in love and now had the additional incentive (that of a fresh passion) to divorce?

    What were your thoughts during that half a year that you decided to take him back?

    Oh, now I see where that half a year comes from! GL, ours was a very long-distance relationship. We spent about half a year together in this country, living together, and then he went to our home country. That was in early summer. Next I went to our home country and we met a couple of times during my stay there. I stayed at my parents’, he stayed at his place in a couple of hours’ distance from mine. Note that I had been to his place during my stays in my home country before. It was obvious that his wife and he were living separate lives, by the way. I didn’t go to his place that time.

    And it was in mid-spring next year that he met that new flame of his.

    Hence the roughly half a year of us not seeing each other, not being in the same time and space before he fell in love with her.

    We saw each other again in this country only in mid-summer that next year, some four months after he met his current wife #4.

    I still maintain my view that he would have divorced for me if that new lady’s and mine entrance in his life had been swapped in their order.

    Yet he was getting used to having a wife waiting at home and a mistress at the side to have a passionate affair with. Would he have disrupted that ‘balance’ for anything other than something new?

    Exactly. That is why I am saying that if I was that “something new,” he would have divorced his wife #3 and dumped his mistress. So my point is that it is not the fact that his now wife #4 has some extraordinary exclusive qualities, but merely the timing. It could have been any woman just as his mistress could have been any woman.

    By the way, I have recently had a chat with a former classmate of mine who confessed that he had decided family life was not for him exactly because for him, attachment never formed. Passion / infatuation died and that was it. Nothing took its place.

    Why are people so quick to decide something based on passion? If you haven’t read the research, ‘passion’ is merely the rush of dopamine in the brain so it’s not meant to be a long term thing. Rather, ‘passion’ is what was evolved from the homo sapiens need to reproduce.

    Right, he knows that. He said that normally, passion (or infatuation) transforms into love, attachment, deep care for the other person. Not for him.

    Kind of like my ex. The switch is either on or off. He can either be on the dopamine high or you start doubting whether he really cares for you. I thought that it was my own insecurities taking over, for flowers and fireworks cannot last forever, that it was me, not him. However, it turned out that my intuition was right – in his case passion equals love and there is no love after passion.

    Just my opinion.

    So he never cheated on his first/second wife?

    No, he didn’t. I repeat that his first affair out of wedlock was with me. Second – with his current wife #4 when he cheated both on me and on his wife #3.

    Or was it an open secret with his wife that he had sex with others? Or is it that you don’t know the extent of his affairs as you think you do? Why would anyone ask for anyone’s permission to have an affair?

    Sure, I may not know a lot of things. Of course, we can say that he is no different from all other men, that all men cheat on his wives, that he cheated all his life, that he cheated on me with his wife and with other ladies at the same time and so on and so forth.

    BUT there are two very telling similarities in how he treated me and his wife #3 and how he treated his new mistress and me. He told his wife about me after he had sex with me. He went MIA on me only after he had sex with his new mistress.

    More than that. After he and I said I love you, he started preparing his wife for the news by leaving my picture on their family computer desktop.

    After we had sex and he came back from his second business trip (we didn’t even kiss on his first one, remember?), he talked to her the very same evening.

    After that, for three months, including his one more business trip here, we communicated any time of the day and night. I could sometimes even hear his wife’s voice in the background.

    More than that, they agreed to keep up appearances until he can divorce her. His wife wanted to feel good about the situation and she even sent me a plush toy and some cosmetics.

    I passed on some fashion jewellery to her.

    During that time, there were no red flags, no off feelings, no issues, it was like a honeymoon. I was so happy – he told her about us, she understood, she is okay keeping up appearances for the sake of his job, he and I are living and behaving like a real couple.

    Then, after three months, something happened. She must have decided to fight for him. She started making scenes. After that we had to coordinate times when we would talk (depending on whether she is at home or not).

    Fast forward to Year 4 or so (see, I am already starting to forget dates that used to be so important to me – I do have them all written down as a timeline, but that is in a sealed envelope hidden faraway). He suddenly decides that he can phone me at lunch and before going to bed no matter whether she is at home or not.

    So yes, of course, everything is possible, but I don’t think so.

    If you try subtlety on someone who is dense, then it’s a wonder if they ever catch on the fact that you might be interested.

    Why would I want to date somebody who is dense?

    People flirt all the time, sometimes even unknowingly, that does not mean that they are serious. And their ‘like’ is probably nothing more than a passing attraction to you.

    That is true. Yet, the vibes I get from, say, my manager’s husband who buys me coffee when he has an opportunity, are clearly “passing attraction,” but they are totally different from the vibes I get from the “big boss guy.” True, I can’t imagine myself with my manager’s husband, you could say that this is why I don’t feel it from him. However, I could imagine myself with two guys who keep hugging me every time they see me (I wrote about them to Matt), I do like them, I could see myself with them, BUT I don’t get that kind of romantic vibes from them like I do from the “big boss guy.” Just feels different.

    Yet, I have a very firm intention not to believe anything until I explicitly hear it or see it all spelled out in writing. So all of it pretty much speculation and fleeting feelings of mine at this point.

    Can you really say that ‘like’ can be developed simply because they might be interested in getting into bed with you?

    I am sorry, I don’t get this sentence. Could you please elaborate?

    Honestly, the best thing to do is to simply ask them out a coffee date to talk.

    Sorry, a secretary can’t ask the CEO to a coffee date, no matter what country she lives in, even if it is the XXIst century. I’d have the guts to do it, but I care for my job and there is such a thing as hierarchy.

    Another one told me that it seemed to her that I am a swirl of energy, which is certainly not true, because I am an introvert.

    Friendliness, if that is what you are implying, is not associated with introversion or extroversion. Nor is the level of energy a person has in general, that’s hormonal biology.

    No, not friendliness. She was referring to how many things and activities I manage to fit into my day.

    One more idea that I came across somewhere made me delve deeper into myself. It was that I was attracted to those I was attracted to because they possessed something or could do something that I wanted to do, but did not allow myself to do because of manners, upbringing, etc.

    Why must you look for what you want in someone else? Why not try to possess those qualities yourself?

    Exactly. That is what I started to do. Say, I enjoyed travelling with my ex, I am now finishing off the list of places I wanted to visit with him. Somewhere in the first third of my travels, I stopped missing him (the guy “who led me on” certainly did his part here) except in cases when I needed my suitcase to be pushed into an upper bin or when I couldn’t leave my stuff with somebody when going to the loo.

    That is why I am saying that I feel so much more whole and complete now. But I could subscribe to those on this thread: https://tinybuddha.com/topic/notoriously-single/

    You’re really focus on the chemistry aspect. What about the emotional compatibility?

    That is where that friend > date > sex sequence comes in. Sometimes I think there is chemistry, but after a couple of talks I see that I was wrong.

    Michelle (and others) praised Mark Manson’s blog a lot. At the same time, Manson is known for writing about how fleeting feelings are. Yet, see how much attention he gives to chemistry :

    https://markmanson.net/compatibility-and-chemistry

    Still, I do think that he feels chemistry for many more people than I do. See how he many dates he mentions at the end of the article, “I regularly find myself seeing teachers, nurses, social workers, volunteer workers, etc. multiple times and sometimes having a serious relationship with them.” The way he puts it, plural and such a list, makes me think of him as serial dater and somebody who definitely has chemistry with MANY MORE people than I do. I wouldn’t want to do that or be dated like that.

    Your ‘like’ feels idealist because you don’t know much about the other person yet you are already fantasizing about them, imagining what they might do for you as a partner. You let that ’emotional’ spark of interest lead by the nose into hoping and waiting for the other to show interest. Because if he is interested, then he’ll asked you out, right?

    I don’t get the point. Yes, if he is interested, he would ask me out – what is wrong with this assumption? When I say “like,” I mean “I feel chemistry.” And I think we have established that I can’t date without having chemistry. It is not my fault that I don’t have chemistry with every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

    You list is also very decided on making your ex a narcissist. I gave you my thoughts, but you seem intent on the narcissist part.

    He has enough emotions to not be a psychopath (narcissist also has little to no emotions) while not really acting on his instinct so he can’t be a sociopath. He’s not anxious enough to have borderline personality disorder, but he’s not autistic as he can still read what your face is expressing. It doesn’t appear as if he has an attention disorder so it can’t be ADHD. He still has his memory intact so it’s can’t be dementia while he hasn’t been hallucinating so it’s doesn’t seem to be schizophrenia. You haven’t mention whether he had episodes of manic depression and then hyper activity so doesn’t seem to be bipolar. He’s not an alcoholic, but he does have a certain addiction if he keeps marrying and divorcing. But he has too much fear of appearing less than manly to let himself be vulnerable. Maybe he found someone to be vulnerable to with his current wife, who knows. It appears your ex certainly has empathy, but that empathy is/was directed towards himself. He also has a big ego and so do you.

    I operated off Natalie Lue’s website. She draws very clear distinction between a narcissist and a mere jerk. I am no psychologist, I don’t know her credentials, so I asked for yours and for your opinion about the website and the information therein.

    I thank you very much for this snapshot of him here and the one you gave me two letters back I think, the one about co-dependency.

    And fitting your diagnosis of him being co-dependent, he would pick up hobbies and interests of his women. With me, we travelled a big deal, he started to take horse riding lessons, attended my martial art classes and so on. With his current wife, he is into fashion and dress now.

    But I wonder – if co-dependent people get together, how come they ever break up? Like I fit the co-dependency criteria, my ex fits them, too. Yet, he was the one to get out first. How is this at all possible with co-dependent folks? Why don’t they stay stuck with one another exactly because they are co-dependent?

    Why is finding a partner about your mother’s low expectations for you, apparently? Why must it be about proving her wrong?

    Again, it is my emotional level speaking.

    My intelligent level says it is all nonsense.

    Look at motivational speakers and life coaches if you wish for such a conversational partner.

    Let’s see… Somebody in finance and a life coach at the same time, with a good hygiene… How are these criteria suggested by you not stricter than mine?

    I am no motivational speaker, yet, I am able to discuss such things with you. I am no millionaire, yet, I am quite comfortable living the life I lead. If this means that I am exceptional, then hey, yes, I want an exceptional man!

    Why do you think you can’t save yourself?

    I wouldn’t mind a safety net. If I lived in Scandinavia, I wouldn’t have a lot of the problems I may potentially face in this country.

    And part of it, it seems that you are only dating these men because you want to spite someone, however you think you may feel for them.

    Excuse me, GL, but what men??? I am not dating anybody. No one whom I thought I had chemistry with and was eligible (i.e. not in a relationship and not 60+-years old) has asked me out. Not counting the guy on the trip who talked about his ex. I had just one date with several guys with whom I had no chemistry, just to make sure there was none. The guy from the shooting range, whom I couldn’t physically stand, actually thanked me for telling me that we could only be friends after a chat in a coffee shop (you could treat it as date #1). He said others before me would keep being ambiguous just to keep him there just in case.

    So how come I am “dating these men because you want to spite someone, however you think you may feel for them”??? Aren’t you mixing me up with somebody???

    I am pretty, I am intelligent, I have so many virtues, why don’t I see worthy men lining up?

    That’s a good way of objectifying yourself. You’re pretty, intelligent, virtuous and so on, so why don’t men like you? But so what if you have all those things? How many women do you think exist on this Earth? How many do you think don’t have those virtues themselves? What makes you any different?

    So are you saying that there is nothing wrong with me and my meeting somebody worthy and with whom I would have chemistry is just a matter of time and chance?

    So the only thing I need to do is to increase those chances?

    Bingo, that is what I was trying to find out.

    Or is there anything else in your opinion?

    How would you know whether you’ll enjoy their company until you’ve talked with them?

    But I don’t have to go on a date in order to talk to them!

    Rather then self-esteem, you seem to be searching for something in these ‘men’ of yours.

    Well, as we said, on the emotional side, I am looking for somebody who will put on the pedestal and woo me (the best proof would be leaving his partner for me) AND who will provide for my safety and security by being generous and successful himself so that I don’t have to worry about my own means.

    And sorry to break it to you, but not everyone has the free time to worry about searching for a date for the weekends.

    Care to elaborate?

    I merely follow that psychologist’s advice to retain a positive picture of the relationship.

    Did you not allow yourself to mourn the end of that relationship?

    I did mourn it. Again, I don’t understand what you are implying?

    You seem to have the assumption that wisdom is only found in old age, but you can learn anything from anyone of any age. You only have to open your mind. But that you want ‘intelligent’ in your partner, it’s not surprising that you gravitate towards those older than you since you seem to link intelligence with old age.

    True. This was one of my findings, i.e. lessons learnt after the breakup. I am aware of this now.

    But I knew I was over him when I could imagine making love to the “guy who led me on.” Similarly, I am over that one because I can imagine being that close to that big boss guy who keeps locking eyes with me.

    Care to elaborate? How is that moving on?

    When I was not in love and when I watched romantic films, I automatically imagined myself in the place of the heroine. Fell in love with the leading man. When he was embracing or kissing the leading lady on the screen, I imagined that I was in her place.

    When I was in love and watched similar films, the leading man and the leading lady could have been embracing or kissing, but I, in my mind, was embracing or kissing my partner.

    If the love interest of mine is not on my mind 24/7, if I can imagine myself with this guy and with that guy, it means that I am not attached to anybody. If I can only imagine myself with somebody to a degree, that means that I am in love to a degree.

    Isn’t not thinking about somebody new 24/7 or not at all a sign of having moved on?

    Have you watched A Man and a Woman (Un homme et une femme in French)? Remember the love scene? I sure would think it is disrespectful on my part if I allow the man to get that close to me, but I, myself, can still see my ex in his place.

    What is moving on for you?

    The lonelier one is, the more one will seek companionship. It seem those men were lonely enough to take on your advances, not because they had desired you sexually, but because they simply wanted a friend or at least someone to talk to. They might have acted like a mentor to you during those times you were together, but it didn’t seem like they wanted you sexually.

    The Christian man brought condoms once. We had petting and were about to do the penetration act when – like in a film – his wife phoned. Right before. I was so angry that he reached for his phone (and hadn’t turned it off) that I never went that far with him again. And then three months later my ex came into the picture.

    #1 did try to caress me into having sex the two nights that he spent with me.

    I suspect that he broke off with me not only because I would be going away – he stopped communication a good two or three weeks before the day of my departure, but because I didn’t give in. Why waste one’s efforts if one is not getting sex?

    At least that is my cynical interpretation.

    Maybe he didn’t want to get more attached and was guarding his heart knowing that he wouldn’t be able to sustain long-distance and/or break up with his partner because of me. That would be noble.

    I guess I’ll never know the truth.

    You can become friends with someone first and then develop romantic feelings for them later. You do not have to feel strongly for them in the beginning, there’s no requirements to forming attachments.

    True, there are no requirements. But in all my 30+ years of life, I have never developed feelings for somebody whom I could see and like only as a friend from the very beginning.

    One can really talk about 100% faithfulness to each other only when both are on their death beds, can’t one?

    Even if that faithfulness simply mean that they are friends and not partners? That perhaps because they do not have much time left, they settled for a relationship with no feelings or merely the feelings of friendship? Is that so much better than being betrayed and breaking up?

    I meant that life holds many possibilities, including very unpleasant ones, until the very last breath we take. So one’s partner of 50 years potentially can still cheat. Sometimes, one reads about 90-year old something people getting divorced (or married). One is able to say with 100% certainty that one hasn’t cheat only when there is no way or time to cheat.

    His behavior is labeled as ‘co-dependent’ due to his addiction/need to forming relationships with young women of 20s.

    Again, I was the only woman with whom he had a 20-year difference. Please see above.

    He has a large ego which he would not risk vulnerability due to the fear of rejection. He seek validation from women because he cannot soothe his own heart. His emotional maturity is at the level of a adolescent because he is a child trapped in the body of an adult man. Or simply, he has not developed his emotional level to that of an adult.

    This rings true to what I was able to deduce from the materials I came across.

    I don’t know if you entered the relationship with open eyes, but you did allow yourself to be wooed by him.

    Millions of women allow themselves to be wooed. His wife #4, too. What mistake in that?

    You allowed yourself to believe his promise of marrying you.

    He would say that was indeed his intention. As soon as he could. “But I cannot do it right now.”

    You allowed yourself to be addicted to this past affair.

    Sorry, don’t get this one???

    He might not have lied to you, but he had certainly hid the status of his new relationship.

    I am sorry, what exactly are you talking about here?

    Or did he told you that you were the only one?

    He did tell me that I was the only one he loved until he met his new lady. His last “I love you” was said in March, he met her one month later. And one more month later, he went MIA.

    By the way, their relationship was also long-distance. Albeit not between countries, but between two cities.

    Because you did write that he stopped mentioning ‘the divorce’ a few years in when it was not possible.

    He stopped talking about it on his own. But when I would ask whether my understanding that divorcing is still his intention, he would say yes.

    While it was not his fault that he fell for someone else, he could have been honest with you rather than kept you in the dark.

    Exactly. That is what I begrudge him. But one needs time to figure out whom one loves, doesn’t one? I myself spent a terrible six weeks or so deciding between #2 and #3 (my ex), not telling anything to #2. So how can I blame him for how he behaved when still not certain?

    But once he knew that he was in love with her, especially after he had sex with her, then yes, he should have told me right away, like we had discussed. And not have gone MIA, not have said he would phone me to discuss the matters and then sending a text saying he was too tired, not have gone MIA for some time still again, not have lied to me that his intention was then to stay with his wife #3, etc. etc.

    And, as I said above, I do begrudge him not taking steps that would prevent him from falling in love with her. For instance, he didn’t have to ask her for her phone number.

    But did you ever see signs that he was pulling away?

    That’s what I wrote about. I interpreted them as “infatuation and passion giving way to love.” One can’t expect roses and boxes of chocolates in the mature stage of the relationship on par with what it was in the wooing stage.

    One big flag to me was that right after he met her one month after my birthday, his tone of voice changed.

    True, there was nothing for us to talk about long before that, but his tone and intonation remained the same.

    This time, his tone was just like my girlfriend’s when she was done with her ex who still kept phoning her. The tone was totally lifeless, emotionless and I could feel that I was somehow annoying him only I couldn’t understand why. And then one more month later he went MIA after he had sex with her. But that was the only sign. His voice and tone.

    The ‘revving things up’ seems more like an admission of guilt than his wanting to keep the relationship going strong.

    Doesn’t line up chronologically.

    He met her one month before he had sex with her and went MIA (end of Year 6 of the relationship).

    His “revving things up” started after the relationship marked Year 3 and lasted for about two and a half years. In the first half of Year 3, we communicated only in writing (on my initiative) and in the fall of Year 3, after my complete silence and his touching letter, he arranged his long-term business trip into this country lasting several months. And after that he came one more time for one more half a year, and added my phone account to his banking account, started phoning me no matter whether his wife was at home or not, etc. etc. I wrote about it already.

    Your #1 and #2 might not have told you that they would divorced, but why is it that you believed #3?

    #1 wasn’t married, he “had a partner.”

    Will all of them, I assumed (my fault, I know) that even if they might have had partners when we met, the right and logical thing for them to do would be to talk to them and dump them for me.

    (This was sort of a red flag for me with my ex because he talked to his wife only after we had sex on his second business trip and not after he realised he was in love with me or after we said I love you on the phone. But he retorted, “But I did talk to her, didn’t I?” What could I say in response? He did talk to her.)

    But with #1, it was all so short and he went MIA so quickly that I didn’t have time to grill him about his “partner.”

    That is why when time passed and #2 was not doing anything about his wife, I raised the question. He mumbled something about “I know I’ll have to make decision, why don’t you go to your home country, come safely back, and we’ll see?”

    Shortly after my return, I met my ex who seemed so much more promising than #2 who wasn’t deciding anything. In parallel, #2 wasn’t doing anything for two months after my return, and my love and communication with my ex (= #3) were growing exponentially, so it was only natural that I left #2 for #3, went from one married guy to another.

    It was a terrible time when I was in limbo loving both simultaneously for two months and feeling guilt for leaving #2 (yes!). Don’t wish this experience upon anybody.

    Well, I am right more often than not when I don’t like somebody or something after several interactions.

    Your reply to Michelle speak otherwise.

    Would you mind quoting? I can then search for the context.

    One more lady. I have never experienced “love at first sight,” but I did experience, well, not hatrid, but “unlove.” It turned out it was mutual “unlove.” I behaved and continue to behave completely neutral and decent towards her – “nothing personal, business as always.” After some time at work, she decided that she could plot and intrigue around everybody, so now everyone is aware that she is not a good reliable colleague, that one can expect anything from her.

    Did I not asked whether you were prone to taking on the emotions of other? If that lady didn’t like you, your intuition wouldn’t be quiet about it.

    The fact is that she didn’t like me at the very same time I didn’t like her. She said so herself in a rare moment of us trying to logically unwrap why we didn’t like each other so much.

    There was no reason for it at all. I go towards a table that is being adorned by many people with dishes and flowers. One lady starts walking towards me. I have never met her before, but immediately I know that I dislike her immensely.

    She said it was the very same way for her.

    That is why I talk about “unlove at first sight.” Simultaneously for both.

    As far as “taking on the emotions of others,” can it be again the issue of like attracts like? You see how often conflicted I am, seeing both sides’ arguments, often finding myself in agree-to-disagree situations, overthinking, etc. etc. It seems that all the men I am attracted to are just like me at that stage in their lives. On the one hand, they are tired of the way they have lived until now, on the other, they don’t know how to proceed now that kids are grown and out of the house or life has changed, they are promoted or they realise they are no longer attracted to their wives or vice versa or something else – who knows what makes anyone of us suddenly stop and reevaluate where we are? Kind of “can’t live the life the way I have lived it until now, but don’t know what to do, what to aspire to and how to proceed and where to go.” And here I am, also not sure about what is right or wrong, what is black and what is white, but knowing that I want them for my own so they have to make a choice, a leap of faith. Naturally, they are afraid, there former life now feels so familiar and cozy in the face of the pull to me and the unknown, that they stall in place.

    One concern:

    I think that for some reason I never forget how I felt at different stages in my life, in different places and with different people. My parents are sometimes surprised at how well I remember what took place when I was 6, 9, 11 years old and so on. The answer is simple – I have some anchors in my memory as to what events took place in those years and LOTS of emotions associated with those events. I can very well remember how I felt and how I reasoned then.

    Are you still holding onto these as grudges? Or have you resolved them and are able to let them go?

    GL, question: what made you think that these were grudges? Or that those events were of unpleasant nature? I really wonder what preset and biased picture of me you have in your mind?

    I was referring to things like the smell of the grass after the warm summer rain in the countryside; the expectation of presents under the Christmas tree; the excitement of being in a tree house; the glee of knowing that the school year is over and you have the entire summer holiday ahead of you…

    As for grudges, I can totally understand where people may be coming from. With time, memory loses its hold, and I can no longer remember the particularities of the occurrence, but I do remember how I felt and that, say, that person needs to be avoided. But I don’t dwell on it, all those memories and details having been replaced with other ones long ago.

    If that answers your question.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    #306515

    X
    Participant

    * Didn’t update under “Topics.”

    #309025

    GL
    Participant

    Hi X,

    Cheers to moving on.

    About the Rapunzel part, you weren’t sure if the Witch thought the world was evil or not, but I can’t imagine a mother locking up their child if not because they were paranoid about something. Of course, I had front row seat to helicopter parenting recently so a character like the Witch has a small space in my mind. And fairy tales being fairy tales, there isn’t much nuances about the characters that can be picked up since not much is elaborated, other than the obvious motive for their actions.

    No, I didn’t “have the ability to go further.” You are making assumptions.

    You’re right, excuse me. All the libraries, in some of the countries I’ve been to, that I’ve visited so far had never restricted you by age, and sometimes not even by institutional affiliation, to the books in rooms like yours had so I have never had to restrict myself in the books that I’ve read.

    With an addition of regular travels to spruce things up a bit. This is exactly the way I live now. BUT I have always dreamt of doing it all with a partner who could also add to my being certain that this way of life will continue and not change. And this is what I am looking for now.

    Do you not already have the kind of life you want sans a partner? So what difference would a partner make in that life?

    And on the contrary, to do as much good as possible within my means, as long as it doesn’t deplete my own resources, my own “battery,” which isn’t as powerful as some other folks’.

    If you wish to do good, then volunteer. It’s not like you’re going to join the Doctors without Borders program.

    And yes, I love the position of somebody who has the power to say yes or no, but not have responsibility. Kind of like those French women for whom men still open doors and carry heavy things, but who do have the right to vote and all other rights.

    If you wish for power, then why not strive for it yourself? Why date someone who has it just so you can share a portion of that power? After all, you might have to share the responsibility/burden of their decisions, good and bad.

    And those men who hold doors open is still a choice that they made, the French women didn’t ask for them to.

    (On the other hand, doesn’t Anita and didn’t Michelle both say to others that this or that mental issue will be healed once in loving relationship with a decent man?)

    You’ll have to ask them that yourself.

    The problem is that, looking back, I have never been in a healthy loving relationship, so I can’t tell whether it is true or not.

    Also, I was so elated when in the relationship. That feeling of bliss seemed to be so much more intense and lasting so much longer than feelings of joy, etc. that I had felt before, in any given point of my life.

    Does your friendship not give you feelings of elation too?

    That fact (however subjective for the given moment) AND the awareness that everything in life, such as fame, money, luck, etc. is fleeting and not lasting naturally reinforced that idea of me finally finding terra firma, something real to hold on. I took time, I waited, and finally, I found it or rather, my ex found me – just like those good beautiful fairy-tale princesses.

    But feelings are fleeting, so why would you trust that more than material goods that you can actually hold in your hand?

    Throw in here the metaphysical conviction (or consolation) that I had made for myself before – that I hadn’t asked to be born and that I would have no problems trading everything I had in life, all the ups and downs and the uncertainty of existence against never being born, the non-existence.

    So my logic went that since I was born, life or whoever made me born just HAD to make me happy.

    To live is to suffer due to the awareness that humans have of themselves and the world around them. Who knows why you were born, isn’t that what people are always asking of themselves? Yet you haven’t chosen to commit suicide even when everything is meaningless so now you feel entitled to an answer in the form of someone loving you. Why is it someone else duty to make you happy?

    So this relationship had absolutely no right not to be “true life.”

    Many people have lived a “life” alone.

    What if they say that their happiness and well-being is being with you no matter what?

    Then that’s dependency, not love. They were able to live for themselves before meeting that person and they can do the same after leaving that person. Of course, if they choose to suffer by continuous wallowing, then that’s their choice.

    You said so yourself, right above: “But love, affection, warmth; those are wired into the evolutionary genes that was inherited again and again by the humans on this earth.”

    I am a pretty healthy woman in my mid-30s and the last time I kissed the man I loved on the lips and made love to him was over five years ago. It was never my intention to become a nun. Do I need to elaborate further?

    Love does not always need to be equated to romantic passion. Love is also beautiful in its platonic form.

    Key word: too hard. The golden mean of Confucius is a good rule to follow. Of course, one has to use one’s head, but if you acknowledge that the expected improvement on your side will be good for you, you would be a fool not to improve. And it is so much easy to improve when you know that the other side looks forward to it and has trust in you.

    If the improvement is for the other person and not yourself, then does it really benefit you in the long run? Now, I like support should I tell people that I’m going to do that or this for myself, but to do it because of someone else expectation? For example, if the improvement is going sober after being an alcoholic, then hey, all the more power to that person. But if it’s about appearance or intellect or hobbies or money, etc, then I’ll pass. That’s not improvement, that’s a criteria for that other person and if they don’t like it, then they know where the door is.

    Sorry, there a million other ways to find friends other than dating.

    And I would hate to lead the other person on if I am not interested in him romantically, but I can see that he is.

    There are people who become friends after a first date though they did make it clear that the romance wasn’t going anywhere.

    So you do agree that males are taught to be tough and strong?

    It is a sexist socialization that is still happening. It is any wonder that men still understand their emotions by the time that they become an ‘adult’.

    That guy, Zberovskiy, conducted lots of polls, sometimes describing a situation and asking what men and women would make of it. For instance, it never occurred to me that accepting a man’s invitation to a cup of tea after dinner at a restaurant (where they can’t brew a proper cup of tea, and I so much enjoy a cup of tea after dinner, not to mention the restaurant’s oversweetened desserts that I can hardly eat) at their place is perceived by at least 35% of men (65% act dependent on the situation) as not my accepting to continue the lively discussion we started but didn’t finish at the restaurant, but my accepting to have sex with them. I swear I never thought that men view it like it – and then, after I read it and after I looked back at some hand-holding initiated by men whom I considered to be solid friends and nothing more than friends – I realised how true at least that poll was.

    Well, it is now the ‘hookup’ culture apparently. Casual sex is casual sex and it seems that some of your acquaintances are okay with sharing a bed with their friends sans the emotional connection. You might need to reiterate that you don’t want any sexual activities or advances from them should you accept an invitation to tea at their houses. Though how boring these men are that they are only inviting you to their house for the sake of sexual activities.

    My ex would often refer to an anecdote when a woman asks her partner to tell her the truth promising no scenes and when he complies and tells her all the truth, she goes through the roof.

    Was your ex warning you that he doesn’t like shrill women?

    Just plain curiosity and an understandable human desire to make sure that I am not worse than others, maybe even better off in the long run.

    Worse than others? What’s the point of comparing yourself?

    Exactly like Natalie Lue says narcissists and their victims behave – explaining away and rationalising and putting words in the mouths of their narcissists, words and intentions that the narcissists may have never even thought about enunciating!

    Look up any cases of abusive relationships and you’ll see that abusers will gaslight their partner without batting an eye. And no, not all of them were narcissists. Also, you decided to love your ex so of course you’ll excuse some of his behaviors since you were looking at him with rose-tinted glasses. Many people do that.

    Even though it is not China, I have yet to think of, for instance, a politician who would be marrying and divorcing his wives without thinking about the impact these actions would have on his electors. In any country, even the most advanced ones.

    It also depends on the standard of that industry. Many CEOs and higher profile people have side affairs, some are even in the news. Give or take, after a few years people won’t care about the affairs of your ex and will move on.

    You misunderstood me. I didn’t mean compassion and understanding for me. I wonder what image your mind has conjured of me, what I have written so far that made you think I was asking you or anybody else for pity???

    You’ll have to elaborate whether you mean your ex or someone else then since those words are generally a defense of the person talking/writing.

    Also, it sounds like you are the one who keeps stating that my ex was a jerk and not a narcissist for some reason thinking that I want him to be a narcissist so that I can absolve him of what he did.

    You still want to be right about your ex being an narcissist.

    I am merely discussing different versions, like an investigator who puts together pieces of a puzzle. Yet, it seems that the mere fact of my ex not keeping his promise if enough for you to say that he is not worthy right off the bat.

    An investigator does not insist on being right, but being correct and you still want to be ‘right’ about your ex. How is anyone to be trusted when they don’t try to take actions when they say they would? Also, how would your ex know whether the divorce would have effected his career standings if he didn’t try to talk to people about it? What measure did he take to ensure that the divorce wouldn’t change how people viewed him? Or is the industry very strict about marriage status for whatever reason? Though I wonder what changed the wife’s mind all of a sudden that she pursued him again.

    If he had promised to return from war and didn’t return because he was killed, would you be also saying that “promise” is the key word?

    If that person was family in some way, then sure, I would hope that they come back alive. But if there is really no guaranteed that they would come back or if I could not guaranteed that I would come back, would it not be foolish to even make a promise in the first place? It’s war and life has no guaranteed that you would even live tomorrow, so what is the use in promises such as that?

    He had kept ALL the other promises, and this one had weighty mitigating circumstances around it.

    Yet he didn’t keep the most important one, divorce to be with you.

    I have often wondered the following. How can we ever talk about verbal abuse or verbal harassment if it is entirely our choice how we react to it? Say, if a mad person accosts you, you wouldn’t be in a least offended, would you? The why do people condemn those who abuse verbally? Even on Tiny Buddha, you see so many replies to different posts saying “S/he had no right to treat you (verbally – I am only talking about verbal abuse) like that”

    But that person didn’t have the right to abuse you in the first place. Just as a person might choose to abuse you, you have the choice to leave. Even if a person was not right in the brain, I still rather not be accosted in any measures.

    Exactly what Natalie Lue said about narcissists. That they know that all the scenes and words made and spoken by their victims are just that – scenes and words. Nothing more.

    You don’t need to be a narcissist to watch people, take notes of their habits, hobbies and lifestyle then memorize that information for your own use. Stalkers are very creative in how to use information of their targets to stalk them. Nobody’s Victim by Carrie Goldberg is a very good book about how the internet has made cyber stalking easier than ever.

    No, it didn’t. Remember, ours was a very long-distance relationship. How can the two stay present in each other’s lives if they are not trying to imitate living side by side as much as they can? Thankfully, technologies permit it now.

    Write letters? Is there a need to call each other every day? Wouldn’t you run out of topics to talk about? You have a life to live outside of your relationship so isn’t that something to concentrate on?

    Sorry, don’t get this part: how come HE was right to dump me if he was the one with problems. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Please rephrase or elaborate.

    If he feels that you don’t serve much of a purpose in his life anymore then he can dump you, though it seems that he isn’t very good with face to face confrontation since he didn’t break up with you in person?

    That is why I asked you in the previous letter, is it not what we do that matters and not what we think?

    Nope. Thinking is very important because thinking is one of the ways that people rationalize their emotions in meaningful ways. Thinking help makes sense of the emotions you feel so not only your actions, it is the way that you rationalize your emotions that plays a vital part in things.

    Besides, I couldn’t say about myself that I had friends, like real friends who stick with you through thick and thin. As I told Michelle, for a long time, including the time when I was with him, I comparmentalised friends and topics and things that I discussed or did with them.

    Say, I have lived in this country for over twelve years now and I still don’t have friends here. I have one real friend, but I had known him before I came over here. But I do have very good colleagues and acquaintances about whom I can sometimes say that they are “friends.”

    Maybe now would be a good time to make friends. You may have acquaintances who you speak to, but that can’t replace an actual friend who would hold your hand, should you request it, as you try to sort out your affairs. A friend who would not judge you for your actions, unless those actions were truly spiteful, but who would honestly tell you when you’ve made a mistake. A friend who won’t leave you regardless of the geographic distance between you, unlike any potential lovers.

    Before you enter into any romantic relationships, enter into a friendship that will show you that people can support each, regardless if they are family, partners or friends. But you’ll have to do the same for that person since reciprocation is a two way street in any relationship.

    The way he puts it, plural and such a list, makes me think of him as serial dater and somebody who definitely has chemistry with MANY MORE people than I do. I wouldn’t want to do that or be dated like that.

    So he dated many people, what’s wrong with that if the people involved consented? And whether he dated in a polyarmorous setting is entirely up to him and his girlfriends. He’s the sort that fits into the criteria of explorer so he need to date a lot to understand a lot. So, because he dated so many, he understands some of the things required for a relationship to function. After all, he does not only hold his girlfriend responsible to the relationship, he also hold himself responsible. And he’s also correct about the chemistry/compatibility aspect. It’s nice to meet someone who meshes well with you, but in the end, he is asking you to ask yourself what you want out of a relationship and the type of people that can meet that criteria. And be very picky about it.

    I don’t get the point. Yes, if he is interested, he would ask me out – what is wrong with this assumption? When I say “like,” I mean “I feel chemistry.” And I think we have established that I can’t date without having chemistry. It is not my fault that I don’t have chemistry with every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

    How exactly does that chemistry turn into love? From what I remember, it’s he asked you out, you date and then you decided you want to spend forever with him?

    But I wonder – if co-dependent people get together, how come they ever break up? Like I fit the co-dependency criteria, my ex fits them, too. Yet, he was the one to get out first. How is this at all possible with co-dependent folks? Why don’t they stay stuck with one another exactly because they are co-dependent?

    Those who are co-dependent can be very picky about who they pursue. Remember Hof? He fiercely resented his mother so he only romance and sleep with little girls because he couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping with someone who might turn into his mother one day. So his ‘relationships’ were more business transactions that soothed his ego than a real, steady relationship. Your ex had a certain criteria that he operated on and you probably stopped fitting in that criteria since he had moved on so fast to the #4. Though you’ll have to ask him about that.

    Let’s see… Somebody in finance and a life coach at the same time, with a good hygiene… How are these criteria suggested by you not stricter than mine?

    I am no motivational speaker, yet, I am able to discuss such things with you. I am no millionaire, yet, I am quite comfortable living the life I lead. If this means that I am exceptional, then hey, yes, I want an exceptional man!

    You wanted conversation partners so threw out ideas. Didn’t think you meant romantic partners.

    So how come I am “dating these men because you want to spite someone, however you think you may feel for them”??? Aren’t you mixing me up with somebody???

    So you’re not wanting to date to prove to your mum that you can have a relationship even when you don’t care to cook, etc?

    So the only thing I need to do is to increase those chances?

    Bingo, that is what I was trying to find out.

    Or is there anything else in your opinion?

    See above. A friendship isn’t so different from a romantic relationship, the context is just more sexual for the latter. Though, there are such things as ‘friends with benefits’ so not too different. Well, you and your friend will draw the line somewhere.

    I did mourn it. Again, I don’t understand what you are implying?

    Three months seemed too short a mourning period for a six years relationship so was wondering if you really did let yourself mourn.

    If the love interest of mine is not on my mind 24/7, if I can imagine myself with this guy and with that guy, it means that I am not attached to anybody. If I can only imagine myself with somebody to a degree, that means that I am in love to a degree.

    So how is imagining being with somebody a sign of love? That looks more a sign of interest than love. But thinking of someone 24/7? Are you actually thinking of them while you eat and work?

    At least that is my cynical interpretation.

    Yet he was willing to have sex with you even when he wasn’t willing to leave his partner? I understand sex is important in a relationship, but was there not a red flag that he was willing to bed you yet leave once his wife called?

    True, there are no requirements. But in all my 30+ years of life, I have never developed feelings for somebody whom I could see and like only as a friend from the very beginning.

    I still don’t understand the process in which you fall in love and decide to stay with someone. Certainly, fantasy give you certain joy and a happy feeling, but reality isn’t that bad. Your basis on starting any relationship (by imagining being together) looks like it stems from chemistry, but it’s tamer than what I’ve seen. Take your ex for example, you didn’t like him at first yet changed your mind the next day, was it? What changed? How had you suddenly develop chemistry for him?

    He stopped talking about it on his own. But when I would ask whether my understanding that divorcing is still his intention, he would say yes.

    He might have the intention to divorced even before he met you, though he might tell you otherwise. You gave him a good reason to divorce, but evidently, it wasn’t enough for him to actually do it for whatever his reasons may be, his job not withstanding. Honestly, it feels like “he said this, I said that” and this is simply the outcome of the choices people made, irregardless of their suppose promise. And while your ex is egoistical, you’re not too humble yourself. But more than this, I’m more curious as to why you want a relationship so badly when you don’t do much to cultivate your acquaintanceship into friendships. What’s so great about a romantic relationship when you can’t share the ups and downs with friends, complain over a cup of tea or wine, bond over shared interests, have a person who’ve seen you at your worse, but still decided to stick in your life, etc? That person doesn’t have to be a romantic partner. And you can only do so much with a romantic relationship and even then, you have lived a life sans a partner. You have lived your life so far with and without a partner. So granted, you can live life without having a romantic partner.

    So now the question, why so desperate for one?

    You ‘reasoned’ over your childhood memories, does that sound anything pleasant to you? Better to erred on the side of caution than not.

    Have a great rest of the month.

    #310375

    X
    Participant

    Hi X,

    Hi, GL,

    About the Rapunzel part, you weren’t sure if the Witch thought the world was evil or not, but I can’t imagine a mother locking up their child if not because they were paranoid about something.

    Hmm, I thought that your original stance was that the Witch was not evil, she merely wanted to protect her child. Now you seem to be saying that she was not an ideal mother, the one who would allow her child a certain freedom of movement or exploration. So the question is, if the Witch was a paranoid mother, then her child should probably have been removed from her influence, shouldn’t it? This is exactly what happened. Do you suggest we agree with the developments of the fairy tale, but pity the Witch as a sick person?

    Do you not already have the kind of life you want sans a partner? So what difference would a partner make in that life?

    Two considerations here that are of equal weight.

    First, having a partner whom I love and who loves me would mean that I have a healthy regular sex life. Important for one’s health at any age, isn’t it? And no, I don’t go for the FWB arrangement, nor can I do one-night stands, nor can I have somebody just for the pleasures of sex as one of my friends suggested. Mutual love is a sine qua non for me.

    Second, life is unpredictable. I am very comfortable with the job I have. But my contract can be terminated any time and so can my company’s contracts with its clients. A partner would mean an extra safety layer. If I lived in a Scandinavian country, this would be less of an issue as a welfare state would provide that extra security layer, but here I can mostly count on myself.

    Furthermore, if I were, say, to break a leg, I could still do my work. A partner could drive me to work and pick me up. If I broke a leg now, of course, I could count on my co-workers and acquaintances, but I would feel very uncomfortable and a burden to them. And I am not even talking about all the inconveniences of being the only one human at home. A friend of mine once broke two arms simultaneously. With an injury like that, one can’t even dress oneself or go to the loo!

    Also, in my regular life and when travelling, I often wonder what another person might say to this or that – the need to exchange impressions, I think. Not to mention watching my luggage when I go to the loo or hauling the suitcase into an overhead bin on an airplane.

    Just like Matt and I discussed – a partner is a rock and a safety net in life. I can also quote Ecclesiastes, “Two are better than one…”

    If you wish for power, then why not strive for it yourself? Why date someone who has it just so you can share a portion of that power? After all, you might have to share the responsibility/burden of their decisions, good and bad.

    I don’t have that much of an ego or drive necessary to undertake all the steps on my own.

    Besides, I am an excellent partner (if we talk about relationships involving just two people).

    You have asked me how far I am ready to go several times. Well, I am ready to go all the way supporting the person, through thick and thin, provided that I believe in him and he believes in what he is doing. Naturally, I am ready to share the responsibility.

    Hey, I don’t even mind learning to cook provided that he and I cook together in the same kitchen! Quality time as my primary love language at its best!

    And those men who hold doors open is still a choice that they made, the French women didn’t ask for them to.

    The question is, are the French men like that just because they are like that, or did the French women do something special so that the French men are like that?

    Does your friendship not give you feelings of elation too?

    No. Friendships are even, slow-burning affairs. I don’t feel the need to ask what my friends think of this or that all the time. And I don’t want to hug them like I want to hug my men.

    Now, it may be that I am actually referring to the initial stage of falling in love when I say “elation.” Naturally, friendships don’t have it.

    As for hugging and chemistry, are you familiar with the oriental saying that goes something like this: “Likeness on the level of the mind gives birth to respect, likeness on the level of the heart gives birth to friendship, likeness on the level of the reproductive system gives birth to sexual attraction All the three combined give birth to love”?

    So by definition friend and lover are not the same and can’t give the same feeling.

    But feelings are fleeting, so why would you trust that more than material goods that you can actually hold in your hand?

    Because I was (and am) a romantic.

    Ultimately, one never knows what is more reliable: a fortune that can vanish into thin air overnight or a man who loves you and who stays with you no matter whether you have a fortune or not (or who can rebuild a lost fortune himself).

    Yet you haven’t chosen to commit suicide even when everything is meaningless so now you feel entitled to an answer in the form of someone loving you. Why is it someone else duty to make you happy?

    Because I didn’t ask to be born. Everyone who is courageous and aware enough to ask existential questions finds an answer that suits him or her. Including “no answer” or “just because.” That is my personal version – that I was born to be happy given that I was born at all.

    As for the suicide, I am slowly warming up to the idea of euthanasia or merely following this guy right here: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/10/why-i-hope-to-die-at-75/379329/ Who knows – it might be a matter of time eventually.

    Many people have lived a “life” alone.

    Maybe a life alone is what they wanted? We are talking about what one thinks one wants vs what one gets.

    What if they say that their happiness and well-being is being with you no matter what?

    Then that’s dependency, not love. They were able to live for themselves before meeting that person and they can do the same after leaving that person. Of course, if they choose to suffer by continuous wallowing, then that’s their choice.

    Why “wallowing”? Maybe they say that they are fully aware of all the hardships of “love in a cottage,” yet, they are ready to follow you. And you love them so much that you don’t want to put them through those hardships. Who is right then?

    Love is not always about reciprocation but hoping for the other’s happiness and well-being, even if you can’t be with them.

    Hoping is so shallow, in my opinion. Don’t “hope,” don’t “try” – go ahead and do things!

    And “if you can’t be with them” – but maybe your “can’t” is merely your lack of effort?

    You wrote that “jobs can be found anywhere,” but relationships not so much. In another paragraph, you wrote that I was putting my ex on a very high pedestal – given that I was ready to quit my job here and to follow him into our home country. On how high a pedestal exactly are you putting your relationships yourself?

    Love does not always need to be equated to romantic passion. Love is also beautiful in its platonic form.

    Somehow, for the past five years, I have been only getting platonic unrequited versions of it. Or not exactly unrequited, but definitely not 100% reciprocated. I want something real. I like to build castles in Spain, but I enjoy working with real bricks and stones, too.

    But if it’s about appearance or intellect or hobbies or money, etc, then I’ll pass.

    Oh really? Say, you are overweight. You know that it is bad for your health. You know that you would be more attractive if you were lean. Your partner says that s/he respects your choice (after all, s/he did fall in love with you the way you were, right?), but gives you the reasons above. Will you insist on staying overweight, because it is “about appearance”?

    There are people who become friends after a first date though they did make it clear that the romance wasn’t going anywhere.

    True. But as I said, it is seldom that a guy whom you have never seen before and whom you happened to bump into rounding a corner asks you on a date. Normally, before that first date, you have already interacted somewhere, at work, in a club or among friends. So no need for a date for me in a situation like that for me to know if I am interested in him romantically or not. I know already.

    So you do agree that males are taught to be tough and strong?

    It is a sexist socialization that is still happening. It is any wonder that men still understand their emotions by the time that they become an ‘adult’.

    But this is objective reality that one needs to take into account when interacting with men. One may not like it, but it is there.

    My ex would often refer to an anecdote when a woman asks her partner to tell her the truth promising no scenes and when he complies and tells her all the truth, she goes through the roof.

    Was your ex warning you that he doesn’t like shrill women?

    No idea. We would often exchange articles and findings about men-women interactions, behaviours and psychologies.

    He also like to recall one instance at work where he could marry a big boss’s daughter and get all his coveted promotions at once. And he said he would never go for it.

    I guess he liked to think of himself as a very noble person and such stories naturally underpinned that image that he projected.

    Have I already mentioned that he had a few women around him, both married and not, with whom he was on excellent terms? When I asked him, say, what his ex (his wife’s friend) was to him, he would say “a friend.” Like that, one was (I am sure his wife was, I certainly was, and from what I know it hasn’t changed for his current wife) painfully (as anxious-attachment style) aware that he wouldn’t have any problem replacing one with somebody else for there were a few around him all the time.

    Just plain curiosity and an understandable human desire to make sure that I am not worse than others, maybe even better off in the long run.

    Worse than others? What’s the point of comparing yourself?

    No point, just observing how life turns out for different people.

    Aren’t you friends on social networks with your former classmates and colleagues? Even with those with whom you don’t interact anymore? Nearly everyone is guilty of browsing through their lists of “friends.” Only some do it every other day. I have done it maybe two or three times in the course of the last ten years. But yes, I did do it. At the same time, I do know people who are not on Facebook. But that way, they don’t have the temptation.

    Give or take, after a few years people won’t care about the affairs of your ex and will move on.

    True. But for his job, age matters. What he could afford to do when he was 30 was not something he could afford to do when he was 50. Remember, he did divorce his first wife himself when she gave birth to another man’s baby? But back then, he was in his early 20s and still had a lifetime of opportunities.

    You still want to be right about your ex being an narcissist.

    Okay, if you tell me that you have what it takes in psychology background to pronounce my ex not to be a covert narcissist from what I have written about him so far, I will believe you.

    If you are only an amateur in psychology, then I’d say that your guess is as good as mine.

    I am merely discussing different versions, like an investigator who puts together pieces of a puzzle. Yet, it seems that the mere fact of my ex not keeping his promise if enough for you to say that he is not worthy right off the bat.

    An investigator does not insist on being right, but being correct and you still want to be ‘right’ about your ex.

    Would you like to discuss what tinges of meanings “right” and “correct” have?

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/right

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/correct

    How is anyone to be trusted when they don’t try to take actions when they say they would?

    If somebody did 9 things out of 10 that he had promised and had mitigating circumstances surrounding the 10<sup>th</sup>, I still insist that s/he is to be trusted.

    Also, how would your ex know whether the divorce would have effected his career standings if he didn’t try to talk to people about it?

    He would have been the first one to divorce before he landed that big promotion, so there was no way for him to know except for the fact that yes, in that industry, married status (and certainly not divorced “in the midst of the action”) is a huge plus.

    And after the promotion finally took place (in Year 4), the very same day he had a talk with people from a different branch who, as he said, offered him a different position. That new position would allow him to keep his current job, but be much more independent as he would now be working in a different branch. So he (we) started waiting for that new job offer.

    Now, when he and I had that nice calm talk (during which he said that the only thing that had happened to him was him having fallen in love with that new woman), I asked him about that new job offer. He said he was still waiting for it. I caustically remarked that somehow that hadn’t prevented him from divorcing his wife. He said that had not been easy.

    Men are known to fall for new women even when everything is fine in their current relationship. As somebody said, they fall in love anew not because the new woman is better, but because she is different. Say, what was missing for Tiger Woods in his blond supermodel wife?… That is why I do think that for my ex, his love simply has a shelf life. Sooner or later, he wants change and new “high,” emotions and upheaval in his life.

    I mean, if no rational explanation fits, the explanation must be irrational. Feelings and emotions are irrational – that is why I arrived at the conclusion above.

    During that same conversation, my ex also noted that “I was not difficult to be with.”

    As for the job offer, I do know for a fact that that conversation took place (he had to go on a one-day business trip to another city to talk), but I think that what he took for a “job offer” was something like “Well, we hope to see you here soon.” And he, with his ego, took it for a set in stone proposal.

    He wouldn’t tell me what the job was, but was adamant that it was as certain as death and taxes.

    What measure did he take to ensure that the divorce wouldn’t change how people viewed him?

    Exactly. He kept repeating that he “was doing everything he could.” If you love a man, if you have been with him for several years and he has kept all his promises so far, if you know that that industry requires a man to keep quiet about some things even to his spouse, how can you not believe him when he says that he is doing everything he can to make the divorce happen ASAP?

    I don’t know if he was a skilful manipulator who knew what type of a person I was (though if he had been, he should have told me about his new love right away and not gone MIA) or whether it is just me, but he would sometimes say things, and I would remember them all the time. And recall them when things got tough. Even though he said those words only once. One of such phrases was “I have never lied to you.” Another one was “I do know what you are going through for I went through all of it myself [meaning his married women].”

    Though I wonder what changed the wife’s mind all of a sudden that she pursued him again.

    Maybe she was in Denial before, but now Bargaining and/or Anger kicked in?

    Anyway, that is a mystery to me. Especially in the light of my ex saying that she was reading a particular self-help popular psychology book. I had heard about that book before, read it myself (just to know what was going on my ex’s wife’s mind) and was relieved to see that the author suggested letting go everybody who wants to go. Apparently, my ex’s wife decided against following that advice. She even wrote to me on social media something along the lines of “Let him go, find yourself a young man, get married and have kids.” Naturally, I could only scoff at that and block her.

    I also need to add that she seemed to be very much of John’s girlfriend’s type in his thread https://tinybuddha.com/topic/very-confused-new-girlfriend-ex-girlfrend-help-me-please/page/30/

    She would often ring when my ex and I were together, and I would often be witness to my ex’s conversations with her, and I could hear her tone of voice and intonation and words. (And his intonation, too – I knew then that when he started talking to me like that, it would mean it is all over. And so it was in that month after he met his new love and before he went MIA on me.)

    At the beginning, he hid from her in the bathroom so that he could talk to me and she couldn’t hear because of flowing water. Then he started phoning when she was not at home (until Year 4 when he suddenly stopped caring whether she was at home or not). Also, around that time when she changed her mind about pursuing him and interfering with our romance, she made a scene in which she darted to the window and, as my ex said, he caught her right in time. Of course, my ex might have been lying – so many married men say that their wives threaten with suicide, don’t they? – but again, I myself heard her on the phone when she rang to him many times, I had that accidental recording in Year 5 with her shrills, so I tend to believe him. And he was not himself when he recounted the occurrence to me one day later. So naturally, from that day on, he started to try to provoke her as little as possible.

    Of course, in addition to the industry’s “happy married life” standards, a wife who killed herself because of her husband’s affair is the last thing he wanted.

    So in a sense, my tenacity and patience made it so much easier for my ex’s current wife. She didn’t have to deal with all this because I had dealt with all that before her. I also do believe, rightly or wrongly, that my ex didn’t tell me about all the scenes that he was subject to – or maybe he wanted me to think that he was so noble that he was sparing me all that when in fact there was none. Who knows?

    But if there is really no guaranteed that they would come back or if I could not guaranteed that I would come back, would it not be foolish to even make a promise in the first place? It’s war and life has no guaranteed that you would even live tomorrow, so what is the use in promises such as that?

    Can you guarantee that you will live tomorrow in life, not war? Can you guarantee that you will not die in a car accident or have a stroke or a heart attack tomorrow?

    Then what is the use in promising anything at all?

    That is why exactly how my ex twisted it in the end saying that he was doing all he could (to divorce ASAP), but he wouldn’t be promising me anything from now on.

    Yet he didn’t keep the most important one, divorce to be with you.

    As I said, I was already hooked and too much invested time-, effort- and emotionwise (it was already Year 3 of the relationship) to be able to get out. And this promise of his had weighty mitigating circumstances around it.

    You don’t need to be a narcissist to watch people, take notes of their habits, hobbies and lifestyle then memorize that information for your own use. Stalkers are very creative in how to use information of their targets to stalk them. Nobody’s Victim by Carrie Goldberg is a very good book about how the internet has made cyber stalking easier than ever.

    Or you can be in love. It is amazing how quickly one remembers everything that the other party says about their childhood, friends, family, hobbies, likes and dislikes when one is in love. No need to repeat – the information is retained right away.

    And why are bringing cyber stalking up here?

    Just for your information, even though I do have social media accounts, I have the bare minimum filled out there, just one picture and no posts or updates whatsoever.

    And yes, I still survive without a smartphone.

    Write letters? Is there a need to call each other every day? Wouldn’t you run out of topics to talk about? You have a life to live outside of your relationship so isn’t that something to concentrate on?

    Yes, we did run out of topics in Year 6. BUT that was because the divorce was not coming, his paperwork regarding coming to this country was stalled and I didn’t feel comfortable discussing travel plans or our future life together when nothing was officially certain.

    But before that, we did feel the need to be as present in each other’s life virtually as much as possible. Certainly reeks of co-dependence. After all, co-dependence and narcissism have the same needs: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/codependency-narcissism-may-have-more-in-common-than-you-think-0807187

    And because I could be flexible, everything revolved around my ex’s job and his timetable. Fits a narcissist, from my amateurish standpoint.

    If he feels that you don’t serve much of a purpose in his life anymore then he can dump you, though it seems that he isn’t very good with face to face confrontation since he didn’t break up with you in person?

    It feels as if his love for me was diminishing with time. And along with it was diminishing his interest (or need) in what I could give him enriching his life and career. And then – all of a sudden – he meets that other woman, his penis goes hard (we hadn’t had sex for over ten months by then, and I don’t think he was intimate with his wife), he is in love anew and he immediately starts finding reasons for this new love being the real true love answering his new (or old) needs.

    That is my theory.

    As for breaking up with me in person, partially, it is true that one never knows how the other person will behave, so I can see why he – on the intelligent level – one might want to postpone that kind of talk for as long as possible.

    But on the other hand, it is plain disrespect to go MIA; then to say that he would call, but instead text that he was too tired and not to reschedule; to give some nonsense about changing one’s mind about “us” and deciding to remain with one’s wife, etc. etc. And cowardice, too.

    I also didn’t like that during our attempt to reignite our passion (which was happening after he had already promised himself to his new lady), he clearly said that my painted sequence of events (he goes to our home country, divorces his wife and marries that new lady) could be easily changed. How do you like that???

    That, along with how he was returning the money he had borrowed, how he stopped taking care of my mobile phone for international travel and how he unfriended me everywhere are enormous red flags for me. I didn’t like how he was giving presents to everybody in my presence except me only. I shall never forget it should he ever try to come back. (Highly unlikely since he never went back to anybody, but rather found a new woman, but who knows, right?)

    Maybe now would be a good time to make friends. You may have acquaintances who you speak to, but that can’t replace an actual friend who would hold your hand, should you request it, as you try to sort out your affairs. A friend who would not judge you for your actions, unless those actions were truly spiteful, but who would honestly tell you when you’ve made a mistake. A friend who won’t leave you regardless of the geographic distance between you, unlike any potential lovers.

    Such friends as you describe are hard to find and such friendships normally build over several years. Yet in my life, I have had people with whom I was very close for extended periods of time, but who, as time showed, stopped being friends (or maybe, didn’t consider me to be their friend in the first place themselves).

    The friend who presumably got tired of listening to my complaints about my ex not divorcing told me that she would write to me once settled in another country. Never did. Internet research showed she is still in this country. I reached out to her three times (that is my magic number), didn’t hear back and stopped. And she was the one who told me that that is exactly what friends are for – to listen to you when you are down!

    One more friend from the university stopped responding just like that. Presumably busy with her kid and expecting another one, but three times – no answer, and I stop knocking.

    Another childhood friend. We had such a lovely summer together in that village in my home country before I went away to study. Yet, when I wrote her a letter about my arrival and experiences (similar to Michelle’s travel ramblings), I got something like, “X, what is this??? Who do you take me for reading through all this stuff???” Then she stopped coming to the village and at some point she confessed that that summer had been the worst memory ever in her life (!) because her father had made her stay in the village.

    And one more childhood friend from school – the one I have been trying to break from for over a dozen years now. This time it is me the initiator. I think I wrote about it.

    So now I am down to just two girlfriends my age.

    On the other hand, I have a really good solid friendship with a lady who is my mother’s age and two more with whom we exchange letters now and then. I have also been a penpal with an elderly lady for about fifteen years until she passed away. I am a penpal with another elderly relative of mine.

    As for men, both my age and older, everything is much more superficial and hectic, possibly because men don’t like to discuss emotions or personal affairs.

    I am not trying to justify myself, but after reading this article: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/8/1/20750047/millennials-poll-loneliness, it seems that I am not that different from the vast majority of my peers. If we talk about true friends who know all or nearly all about you and maintain regular interaction, not friends who are more like good acquaintances.

     

    Furthermore, I was under the impression that Shelby from this thread https://tinybuddha.com/topic/trying-to-deal-with-anxiety-and-loss-after-relationship-break-up/page/86/ was the one to follow in terms of friendships. But now she questions a lot of her friendships writing “It’s just I facilitated the friendships 80% perhaps and like my family, they got used to it. When I pulled back to 50% they didn’t rush to make up the 30%.”

     

    Well, I never put 80% if the other party puts only 20%. I may put 80% if I know that the other side is going through a difficult stage etc., etc. But if I continuously receive only 20%, I pull back to see what would happen. Hence my three attempts to reach out to the other party if our 50%-50% has been disrupted.

     

    Do you think I fear to be in a relationship? I don’t suppose I am, at least not in a relationship involving a friend.

     

    Maybe I am afraid of being in a relationship involving a boyfriend? Because they can cheat, turn their back on you, not support you when you need it most? That is what Matt suggested, but he didn’t elaborate why he thought so.

     

    Or do I fear a relationship because I want it to be absolutely perfect and wouldn’t agree to anything less than perfect (perfect in my opinion)? But can I know whether it is perfect or not unless I try? Hence unavailable men?

    Before you enter into any romantic relationships, enter into a friendship that will show you that people can support each, regardless if they are family, partners or friends. But you’ll have to do the same for that person since reciprocation is a two way street in any relationship.

    Normally, I am the one who reaches out and stops reaching out only after three attempts ended in no response.

    Problem is I can be friends with men (that respect and friendship – the likeness of minds and hearts from that oriental description), but because of lack of chemistry (no sexual chemistry), I can’t envision the vast majority of them for my boyfriends. And I know early in the relationship whether I can or cannot.

    True, I intend to spend time learning about the other person if I feel that we have sexual chemistry for each other. But this is what I tried to do with my ex. Two months of regular communication by all means after just two weeks together at work was just that – me trying to get to know him. I was naïve, I thought that after he said “I love you,” he would proceed to divorcing his wife. After I said I loved him, the very next day, I summoned my #2 and said it was all over between us.

    So, because he dated so many, he understands some of the things required for a relationship to function.

    Don’t agree. He may understand some of the things required for a relationship to function, but he can’t say that he understands things that are required for a relationship to function long-term exactly because he goes from one date to another and has never really had a long-term relationship.

    In all honesty, I can’t understand how people who haven’t lived with their partners for 50+ years can give advice on how to make one’s partnership last 50+ years.

    Or how somebody who has been divorced three times can write books on how to keep one’s marriage healthy and strong and divorce-proof. Walk the talk, show that what you are, practise what you yourself are preaching, including how to choose right partners.

    How exactly does that chemistry turn into love? From what I remember, it’s he asked you out, you date and then you decided you want to spend forever with him?

    I maybe one of those who decide that I want to spend forever with him before he even asks me out. And then I may be confirmed in my initial impression or, on the contrary, I may find out that I had been wrong – the chemistry that seemed to be there is not there. That is why I want to find out about the man as much as possible before we date so that I know whether I am still interested (that the chemistry I felt didn’t evaporate) and don’t lead him on.

    I am super flexible once I know that I like the man. I don’t care about the colour of the eyes, hair, weight, job, hobbies – I find everything fascinating and worth trying myself.

    I am like water assuming the shape of the vessel it is poured into.

    Perfect ground for co-dependency you’d say?

    Those who are co-dependent can be very picky about who they pursue. Remember Hof? He fiercely resented his mother so he only romance and sleep with little girls because he couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping with someone who might turn into his mother one day. So his ‘relationships’ were more business transactions that soothed his ego than a real, steady relationship. Your ex had a certain criteria that he operated on and you probably stopped fitting in that criteria since he had moved on so fast to the #4. Though you’ll have to ask him about that.

    Yeah, I have been wondering about the role of his mother in his life. Oh, don’t get me wrong – she is a very nice lady, very devoted to her husband and son. Only I have been wondering if my ex kept competing with his father for the attention of his mother as many boys do and never grew out of it.

    As if he had an ideal of a woman in his mind, his hormones, chemistry and whatnot would make him think that he has finally found her (for the umpteenth time), but then, as time passes, his emotions subside, love never takes place of infatuation and he is ready for a new surge of emotions and passion, a new “high,” and he tries to see if the new woman fits his vague ideal.

    Actually, I did ask him what was going on between him and his wife when he seemed to be courting me during our first two weeks following our initial meeting. He said everything was all right between them, but now he had met me.

    It was the same answer when I asked him why he had left me six years later – “Nothing wrong with you or us, it was just that I met her, I fell in love, I couldn’t resist.”

    True, he might not have been honest, but by then he had already divorced, married his current wife, he and I interacted totally normally, and he knew that the guy “who led me on” was pursuing me. And he knew that I liked that other guy. So I don’t see why he would have lied especially given how steady his pattern of dealing with women is (fall in love – charm – put on a pedestal – fall in love anew & discard the old one).

    So you’re not wanting to date to prove to your mum that you can have a relationship even when you don’t care to cook, etc?

    No. I haven’t dated and am not dating anyone since the breakup. And I certainly didn’t date my ex just to prove my mother that “hey, I’ve found a man who doesn’t mind my not cooking.”

    Where did you get that idea from?

    In everything I write, I do my best to differentiate the emotional level (doing something in spite or to prove something to somebody) and the intelligent level (at which all that doesn’t matter). I like to think that I follow my emotions only if my brains say okay, that can’t hurt.

    Though, there are such things as ‘friends with benefits’ so not too different. Well, you and your friend will draw the line somewhere.

    What “friend”? My new hypothetical friend who might become my boyfriend after a certain period of friendship provided that I feel the right sexual chemistry for him from the start? If, if and if…

    Three months seemed too short a mourning period for a six years relationship so was wondering if you really did let yourself mourn.

    Where do three months come from?

    If you are referring to the book on how to survive breakups, it promised to get one past the most acute, early stage in three months. In over half a year or so before he went MIA, there was nothing for us to talk about, remember? The anxious me combined with the knowledge of how married men could walk out on their mistresses any time had always been ready for a breakup at the tiniest sign of change in our routine or tone of voice. I think I was already preparing for it on some deeper level given the stall. Then when he went MIA, I was travelling elsewhere. Then I returned and started reading that book. Then, one month after he went MIA, I got him on the phone and he said that he was going to stay with his wife. Then about one more month later he did tell me about his new love adding that he had made a blunder with her and if he couldn’t remedy it, if I wanted it so badly, we could try again. WHAT??? That was the final straw. I kept reading the book now in earnest given that he finally voiced it about the breakup. Then the guy who led me on started writing to me. A couple of male friends over here got me out for walks and talks, male perspectives and amusement park for a rush of adrenaline. I kept reading the book, things started making sense and everything was sinking in. But I would wake up in the wee hours and couldn’t sleep well. That is when I asked for antidepressants. That initial dosage (that stayed the same and that was never increased) helped a lot with the sleep. Then my ex came here for work and we had that botched attempt to get back together. That was my closure. The book was no longer needed. I went to my home country. When I came back, shortly after that I went travelling again and met the “guy on the trip.” After I returned, the “guy who led me on” started communicating with me really a lot this time around. And my ex came for work again. But I was no longer that interested in my ex because of the past, his lack of interest in me and seeming interest from those two new guys, both of which seemed like a step up and forward from my ex.

    So it was not really three months, it was more like eight months between my ex going MIA (if we don’t count some six months of us not having seen each other and exchanging a couple of phrases on the phone morning in evening before that) and me finally being able to imagine myself kissing and making love to another guy.

    And then I went travelling again – that was the place where I had been and had been dreaming about my #2. This time I was thinking really a lot about the guy “who led me on.” Next that guy stopped communicating. In a couple of months I went travelling again to a place where I had been with my ex. It was one more closure for me because it was then that I stopped hearing his loving remarks to funny and awkward situations that I find myself in (like dropping something by accident) and it was their where I found myself thinking about the guy “who led me on” a lot still. And that was already one year after the breakup.

    So yes, I am really grateful to the guy “who led me on” for having shifted my focus from my ex to an emotional affair or quasi-relationship with him.

    But it took me about three (!) years to get over him. And this thread was initially right about that – why I still kept thinking about him 15 months after he stopped communicating with me.

    Besides, I really don’t know whether a long-distance relationship is 100% equal in intensity and feelings to the one happening here and now. Some say it is, others that it is not really a relationship.

    So how is imagining being with somebody a sign of love? That looks more a sign of interest than love.

    To me it is. “Love” here as in “infatuation,” not as in the deep love stage that comes after all the initial attraction has worn off. If I am in love with somebody, I can imagine being only with him. If I am not in love with anybody, I can imagine myself being with A and being with B and being with C.

    But thinking of someone 24/7? Are you actually thinking of them while you eat and work?

    YES! I had my #1 on my mind and he never went away even though I was in the midst of my M.A. exams. It was the same with my ex – I would do things, even say things and he, the image of him was still there before my eyes and the feeling of him all around me like subtitles on the screen (if you swap the picture and the subtitles, in my case, the image of my love interest was the subtitles and the picture was what I was doing).

    Yet he was willing to have sex with you even when he wasn’t willing to leave his partner? I understand sex is important in a relationship, but was there not a red flag that he was willing to bed you yet leave once his wife called?

    Right, that is why I wrote that I had never gone that far with him again and that I rose the issue of him divorcing his wife myself now that it was obvious that he wasn’t going to do that without my prompts.

    I still don’t understand the process in which you fall in love and decide to stay with someone. Certainly, fantasy give you certain joy and a happy feeling, but reality isn’t that bad. Your basis on starting any relationship (by imagining being together) looks like it stems from chemistry, but it’s tamer than what I’ve seen. Take your ex for example, you didn’t like him at first yet changed your mind the next day, was it? What changed? How had you suddenly develop chemistry for him?

    I thought long and hard about this one. I suppose you are right, the attraction is based on chemistry in the first place, but after that I think it is the eyes. Looking in the eyes. I clearly remember how I thought that that guy might not be that bad after I didn’t like him at first (I am talking about my ex) right after we looked right into each other’s eyes.

    It was the same with #1, only I did like him at first glance, but the decision to try and pursue him (I didn’t know he had a partner then) became clear after our eyes met and stayed locked for some time.

    It might be the same with the big boss guy now (or rather, some time ago, since I haven’t seen him for over two months now and there is nothing on the Internet to give food to my imagination) – I realised I was interested after he locked his eyes with me several times.

    When I researched why somebody would stare at you like that, this is one of the most interesting things that popped up: https://www.glamour.com/story/eye-contact-syncs-brain-activity

    On the other hand, the guy from the trip had a most innocent, puppy-sad look in his eyes and so did one of my shooting instructors (for whom I could very well fall, but he never pursued me), but these two’s poor pattern of communication made my brain command me to forget them as they obviously were not putting enough effort in the relationship (personal for the former, business for the latter). And I couldn’t find any excuse for them.

    At the same time, the guy who led me on, the big boss guy, my ex – they all have that perfect excuse that my brain makes up for them. That they are lost, don’t know what they want, suffered from another love of their lives who jilted them, have young kids at home, that their wives are demanding bitches, etc. etc. And here I am who knows their worth, who will support them through thick and thin, who really loves them no matter what – I can show them that beauty, intelligence and faithfulness can coexist!… Now, I am not saying that all of this is valid for all of them in equal measure, but you get the picture.

    So to an extent, I am making the same mistake that the ancient Greeks were making thinking that a person with a perfect body has a perfect soul. I can state that I have met quite a few men with such “windows to their souls” (aka eyes) that it is almost unbelievable what jerks they turned out to be eventually. Yet, they were jerks indeed. Lesson learnt – don’t trust the eyes.

    But more than this, I’m more curious as to why you want a relationship so badly when you don’t do much to cultivate your acquaintanceship into friendships. What’s so great about a romantic relationship when you can’t share the ups and downs with friends, complain over a cup of tea or wine, bond over shared interests, have a person who’ve seen you at your worse, but still decided to stick in your life, etc? That person doesn’t have to be a romantic partner. And you can only do so much with a romantic relationship and even then, you have lived a life sans a partner. You have lived your life so far with and without a partner. So granted, you can live life without having a romantic partner.

    So now the question, why so desperate for one?

    I suppose I am a victim of society’s view on marriage as an exclusive relationship above and beyond all others: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/case-against-marriage/591973/

    Again, this is emotional, aka “How I would love it to be” – yes, I would love to do everything with my partner, for us to shadow each other always. But then everything I read points out that this is not sustainable, and my logical mind agrees with that. And I didn’t quite reach the point in my only more or less real relationship with my ex where I could test it.

    Other reasons for my wanting to have a partner were described above.

    You ‘reasoned’ over your childhood memories, does that sound anything pleasant to you? Better to erred on the side of caution than not.

    Oh yes, I love those memories! Only my mind always brings me back to what I have now (vs how I imagined it would be) and I don’t like the difference between the dreams and the reality (even though my reality is not that bad at all!!!) Also, the knowledge that one can’t relive those days when everything was still possible, all the routes open, everyone was still living and I didn’t know what I know now is bittersweet.

    But I mentioned them just because these memories (also memories of where I travelled when) help me to remember the exact year when this or that happened. After that I can proceed to other memories and other events, maybe not so pleasant. This is how, if needed, I can dig up a lot memories and remember exactly how I was, what I felt and what I was doing at almost any time of my life – something that my parents are surprised at: “How do you remember all that?” Now, as the article I pasted the link to says, not all of those memories may be real, but this is what started this passage on memories.

    Have a great September!

    #310525

    X
    Participant

    Didn’t update again…

    #312695

    GL
    Participant

    Hello X,

    Are you also experiencing the heat from where you are?

    Hmm, I thought that your original stance was that the Witch was not evil, she merely wanted to protect her child. Now you seem to be saying that she was not an ideal mother, the one who would allow her child a certain freedom of movement or exploration. So the question is, if the Witch was a paranoid mother, then her child should probably have been removed from her influence, shouldn’t it? This is exactly what happened. Do you suggest we agree with the developments of the fairy tale, but pity the Witch as a sick person?

    Never wrote that she was a good parent, wrote that she was overprotective. Of course, whether that overprotective is evil can only be decided by the one experiencing it. Yet, what is strange is that while she is called “the Witch”, she had only exiled Rapunzel and cursed the prince. Of course, she did warn Rapunzel of the outside world, so it’s not surprising that she would exile her after finding her with the Prince. Rapunzel had ignore her warning and chosen to interact with the outside world. Her actions are somewhat cruel, but compare to actually ordering the execution of the main characters, it is quite tame. That, and the Prince had impregnated Rapunzel too so don’t think she was prepared for that surprise.

    The Witch had locked Rapunzel in the tower since she was a child, even though she had yet to cause trouble so it can only be assumed that the Witch was hiding Rapunzel away for her own reasons. After all, her biological parents seem to fear the Witch too much to retaliate and they were also paying the price of their actions. And for this child whom she had chosen to raise, she probably did not want that child to experience the same pain she might have gone through herself. Though it’s whatever the storyteller was feeling at that time and might not have contributed much to the thought of the Witch locking up her daughter in the house. In many ancient societies, daughters staying in the house until they got married was quite common and many of them probably only saw the area of their house and not much else.

    Just like Matt and I discussed – a partner is a rock and a safety net in life. I can also quote Ecclesiastes, “Two are better than one…”

    That’s a nice thought, but can’t write the same of sharing that sentimentality with you. I don’t understand the desire of a relationship for someone to be something to you. Friendships are mostly organic happenings that a person chose to put in effort to achieve. So shouldn’t a romantic relationship be the same? Certainly, a friend doesn’t have to take care of you while you are injured or sick, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that you actually have a friend who would? Traveling is definitely a pain with all the luggage so why not just bring a small luggage and backpack? That doesn’t require someone to look after it for you. And even if you went bankrupt or lost a job, it doesn’t mean that your boyfriend wasn’t contemplating breaking up with you as is. A partner can be a rock, when they choose to be by their terms, never yours.

    The question is, are the French men like that just because they are like that, or did the French women do something special so that the French men are like that?

    You’ll have to ask them who taught them manners.

    No. Friendships are even, slow-burning affairs. I don’t feel the need to ask what my friends think of this or that all the time. And I don’t want to hug them like I want to hug my men.

    Now, it may be that I am actually referring to the initial stage of falling in love when I say “elation.” Naturally, friendships don’t have it.

    But don’t you have good feelings when with interacting with your friend?

    As for hugging and chemistry, are you familiar with the oriental saying that goes something like this: “Likeness on the level of the mind gives birth to respect, likeness on the level of the heart gives birth to friendship, likeness on the level of the reproductive system gives birth to sexual attraction All the three combined give birth to love”?

    So by definition friend and lover are not the same and can’t give the same feeling.

    Do you not view your partner as a friend?

    Because I didn’t ask to be born. Everyone who is courageous and aware enough to ask existential questions finds an answer that suits him or her. Including “no answer” or “just because.” That is my personal version – that I was born to be happy given that I was born at all.

    No one was asked to be born. And many parents take that for granted, threatening their children that they were the one to give them life so they should be grateful to them.

    You are not the only one to be seeking happiness. It seems to be the eternal quest of human kind. It’s just that your answer to ‘happiness’ lies in the hands of someone else.

    You’ll want to wait until your parents passed away before committing to euthanasia.

    Maybe a life alone is what they wanted? We are talking about what one thinks one wants vs what one gets.

    There are people who wanted a relationship, but didn’t get it yet managed to create a life for themselves.

    Why “wallowing”? Maybe they say that they are fully aware of all the hardships of “love in a cottage,” yet, they are ready to follow you. And you love them so much that you don’t want to put them through those hardships. Who is right then?

    “Wallowing” is not giving up even when they were told no.

    Hoping is so shallow, in my opinion. Don’t “hope,” don’t “try” – go ahead and do things!

    You can do, but hoping is what you aren’t the judge of. For instance, hoping someone better due to illness or external crisis. Besides, aren’t you always hoping for those whom you fancy to take notice of you and engage in the dance called ‘dating’?

    And “if you can’t be with them” – but maybe your “can’t” is merely your lack of effort?

    And what kind of effort are you putting in, waiting for the other person to take notice of you then asking you out on a date?

    Oh really? Say, you are overweight. You know that it is bad for your health. You know that you would be more attractive if you were lean. Your partner says that s/he respects your choice (after all, s/he did fall in love with you the way you were, right?), but gives you the reasons above. Will you insist on staying overweight, because it is “about appearance”?

    Depending on your socioeconomic status and geographic location, a food desert might not be unusual. So if you can only obtain certain products because of so, then complaining does little to change your situation. Of course, there’s also genetic and disease to look at regarding anyone’s appearance. Whether a person is round because of their choosing or because circumstances led to it, you would have to ask that person.

    But this is objective reality that one needs to take into account when interacting with men. One may not like it, but it is there.

    It doesn’t mean that men can’t change or become aware that their upbringing was less than sexist. If your partner can’t support you emotionally because of his upbringing than how much are you taking up the emotional labor instead?

    Aren’t you friends on social networks with your former classmates and colleagues? Even with those with whom you don’t interact anymore? Nearly everyone is guilty of browsing through their lists of “friends.” Only some do it every other day. I have done it maybe two or three times in the course of the last ten years. But yes, I did do it. At the same time, I do know people who are not on Facebook. But that way, they don’t have the temptation.

    I did have a FB, or so I thought until I tried to logged into my account only to be told that it has been too long that I’ve logged on that they had to verified that it was me. Yet I am not aware of anybody I’m personally in touch with still using FB so I had to abandoned that account since I never gave my phone number and couldn’t get verified by email. So no, can’t say I’m interested in the affairs of others so much. News of job and relationship aren’t really interesting unless I have to attend to a function.

    Okay, if you tell me that you have what it takes in psychology background to pronounce my ex not to be a covert narcissist from what I have written about him so far, I will believe you.

    If you are only an amateur in psychology, then I’d say that your guess is as good as mine.

    Have you heard of the term “opportunity cost”? To put it in simple terms: the loss of a potential gain by way of choosing an alternative choice. So you choose to do something, but you are giving up the opportunity to something else because you chose that path. Say, hanging out with friends instead of working. Buying this instead of this.

    Your ex was weighing his opportunity cost. He actually told you that he wanted to try again? Or was it to actually try at your relationship? Yet, he was also talking to his wife at the same time and telling her a similar story. All the while, he had the other woman who he had a sexual relationship with too. So three choices and he had to choose one. And he made his choice, after going through his opportunity cost, after much debate and pros and cons and what have you, however he decide things. So he was in control of his decisions. Someone with NPD would not have gone through a process of elimination until he came to a conclusion. NPD, similar to psychopaths, operate on instinct. So they act then they use logic to back up and defend their actions and choices. If your ex had NPD, and if his extinct was to love this new woman then he would have abandoned all logic to divorce right then and there to be with his new partner. But he didn’t. Rather, he went a process of elimination by calculating his opportunity cost with all three of his partners until he concluded that the new partner was the best. And he didn’t even dump you, but ghosted you. NPD are very sure of their decisions so he would have told you if you no longer served any purpose for him.

    Why are psychopaths so scary? Because they won’t stop at anything to achieve their goals.

    Men are known to fall for new women even when everything is fine in their current relationship. As somebody said, they fall in love anew not because the new woman is better, but because she is different. Say, what was missing for Tiger Woods in his blond supermodel wife?… That is why I do think that for my ex, his love simply has a shelf life. Sooner or later, he wants change and new “high,” emotions and upheaval in his life.

    If his love had a shelf life, then doesn’t that mean that he wasn’t as invested in the relationship as he had you believe?

    And why are bringing cyber stalking up here?

    Just for your information, even though I do have social media accounts, I have the bare minimum filled out there, just one picture and no posts or updates whatsoever.

    And yes, I still survive without a smartphone.

    People can use information very creatively, they just need the intent to obtain it and do so.

    Good for you, I can’t survive without my laptop and internet connection.

    Such friends as you describe are hard to find and such friendships normally build over several years. Yet in my life, I have had people with whom I was very close for extended periods of time, but who, as time showed, stopped being friends (or maybe, didn’t consider me to be their friend in the first place themselves).

    I wonder if you aren’t too pessimistic or too scare of failure sometimes. As you’ve learnt with your romantic relationships, some friendships do have their deadlines and there’s not much you can do, but wish the other person whom is no longer in your life well. And that’s sad, but that also gives you space to look for new friends who can show you the world from their perspective. Not all relationships was made to last, no matter how much you sometimes wish it would. It is merely one of life’s lesson on ‘ephemeral’.

    True, I intend to spend time learning about the other person if I feel that we have sexual chemistry for each other. But this is what I tried to do with my ex. Two months of regular communication by all means after just two weeks together at work was just that – me trying to get to know him. I was naïve, I thought that after he said “I love you,” he would proceed to divorcing his wife. After I said I loved him, the very next day, I summoned my #2 and said it was all over between us.

    Rather than fear starting a relationship, you don’t want to fail in the relationship. Were you still together with #2 while your ex was pursuing you? It’s no wonder you attracted the attention of your ex then, seeing as he simply found someone who is somewhat similar to him. The oriental saying fits into why you started the relationship. Your mind and heart were in similar places so of course you found him comforting. He had no qualm cheating or at least needed the attention of women while you had no qualm starting a relationship with a married man as long as he gave you devotion and a vague promise to divorce to be with you. You had a choice to end the relationship once you found out he was married, but you still persisted. People attract others of similar mind and heart. So ask yourself, what is it about your mind and heart that attract other people like him?

    Don’t agree. He may understand some of the things required for a relationship to function, but he can’t say that he understands things that are required for a relationship to function long-term exactly because he goes from one date to another and has never really had a long-term relationship.

    But isn’t it because he met so many people that he realizes that every relationship is different because the people is different therefore he can tell you how to create a foundation, but not the whole building? Besides, not every person is meant for long term relationships. Some prefer it short term.

    I maybe one of those who decide that I want to spend forever with him before he even asks me out. And then I may be confirmed in my initial impression or, on the contrary, I may find out that I had been wrong – the chemistry that seemed to be there is not there. That is why I want to find out about the man as much as possible before we date so that I know whether I am still interested (that the chemistry I felt didn’t evaporate) and don’t lead him on.

    Why so keen on forever? Just because you are compatible in the beginning doesn’t mean that people don’t change. And that change might bother you as the wavelength you both operate on diverge.

    At the same time, the guy who led me on, the big boss guy, my ex – they all have that perfect excuse that my brain makes up for them. That they are lost, don’t know what they want, suffered from another love of their lives who jilted them, have young kids at home, that their wives are demanding bitches, etc. etc. And here I am who knows their worth, who will support them through thick and thin, who really loves them no matter what – I can show them that beauty, intelligence and faithfulness can coexist!… Now, I am not saying that all of this is valid for all of them in equal measure, but you get the picture.

    How can faithfulness exist when there is the potential to cheat on their partner, especially when they were married? And your ex did that exactly.

    Oh yes, I love those memories! Only my mind always brings me back to what I have now (vs how I imagined it would be) and I don’t like the difference between the dreams and the reality (even though my reality is not that bad at all!!!) Also, the knowledge that one can’t relive those days when everything was still possible, all the routes open, everyone was still living and I didn’t know what I know now is bittersweet.

    The past seems to hold significance for you since it serves as a foundation for a lot of things for you, one of it your relationship. You seem to build a foundation of something then hold onto it until it no longer serves it purpose. After all, you built a foundation of infatuation and wait until your love might be return. It seems you wait because you want to be right about the other person. If he show interest then ask you out and if you still like him, then you date. You date because you’ve laid down most of the foundation already. And even when your partner showed bad habits, you still chose to wait. Until you/he broke up the relationship. But I don’t call it naive at this point that you chose to believe the words of your ex, seeing as he was the third person whom you chose to date that was married. Ever heard of ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’? What did you learn from the two relationships that you still let yourself choose your ex? What exactly were you choosing; your ex or being in a relationship?

    Have a good one.

    #318937

    X
    Participant

    Hi, GL,

    Sorry for the silence. Your letter found me at the beginning of my yet another long-duration holiday, and when I got back, naturally, work was overwhelming and in addition my old computer stopped working, and I had to change both my computer and internet provider, so stayed without the internet at home for some time.

    Friendships are mostly organic happenings that a person chose to put in effort to achieve. So shouldn’t a romantic relationship be the same?

    You said so yourself – “organic” and “chose to put in effort.” I interpret “organic” as “having chemistry” and “chose to put in effort” as “taking real steps.”

    But what is the difference between a partner and friend for you? Sex? Then where do friends with benefits fit in? Since you seem immune to the feelings of jealousy, is a friend with benefits the same as a partner to you?

    Certainly, a friend doesn’t have to take care of you while you are injured or sick, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that you actually have a friend who would?

    Sure. Then why do you suggest that I make do without a partner on my own, but seek friendships instead? If one can safely replace the other, why can’t I go with a partner who is a friend in addition, rather than just with a friend? Frankly, I’d rather have both, if you ask me.

    Traveling is definitely a pain with all the luggage so why not just bring a small luggage and backpack? That doesn’t require someone to look after it for you.

    I do travel with a rucksack and a small carry-on suitcase. But have you ever tried to fit into a toilet stall at an airport, even the one for the disabled, when doors open inwards right onto a toilet paper roll blocking your entrance, and you have a rucksack on your back and a suitcase to manage? That is why I mentioned that it is SO convenient to have somebody look after the luggage when you go to the loo.

    I am not even talking about the need to put the suitcase onto the shelf when onboard the aircraft or haul it up the stairs if the hotel doesn’t have a lift and has at least one floor.

    Besides, hauling heavy things by women is a precursor to serious medical problems at a later age, and furthermore, my surgeon recommended me to limit loads to just 11 pounds because of a health condition.

    A partner can be a rock, when they choose to be by their terms, never yours.

    I am talking about a mutually loving and respectful relationship not a relationship for the sake of one.

    But don’t you have good feelings when with interacting with your friend?

    Sure, I do. But these feelings are different from the feelings I had when interacting with my partners.

    Let me clarify again: are you saying that one’s friends, true friends, can be a substitute for one’s partner?

    Do you not view your partner as a friend?

    Yes, I do.

    But I don’t view my friends as partners.

    Do you?

    You are not the only one to be seeking happiness. It seems to be the eternal quest of human kind. It’s just that your answer to ‘happiness’ lies in the hands of someone else.

    Let’s approach this from another angle. It is often said that humans are social animals. As such, they need other humans to be fulfilled. Which, in turn, means that their fulfilment lies in the hands of the others.

    Isn’t it not the same with love since they say that one is supposed to be able to love and to be loved?

    You’ll want to wait until your parents passed away before committing to euthanasia.

    I am afraid that not even those countries where euthanasia is adopted allow to administer it “just because.” And a severe bout of depression is not enough.

    There are people who wanted a relationship, but didn’t get it yet managed to create a life for themselves.

    But how happy were they with that life in their heart of hearts?

     “Wallowing” is not giving up even when they were told no.

    Sometimes the other party says “no” several times so that s/he is convinced of the opposite. People also sometimes say “no” meaning “yes.”

    Besides, aren’t you always hoping for those whom you fancy to take notice of you and engage in the dance called ‘dating’?

    You know, GL, I can’t really say “I am always hoping for…” And that is not because of the word “always.” Yes, I daydream about them akin to seeing a film in which he and I are the main characters or talk to him or feel him as if in virtual reality. But “hoping” would be a wrong word. I don’t go around all day saying to myself, “Oh, I wish so much he would smile at me…” Not at all.

    And what kind of effort are you putting in, waiting for the other person to take notice of you then asking you out on a date?

    I think I already said what steps – real steps – I make if I sincerely like somebody long enough to warrant an action on my part. I can befriend them on social media, I can drop them a line, hey, I can even invite them somewhere saying that I got those tickets by accident or that somebody else suddenly can’t go. I was the one who initiated contact with my #1. I was the one who wrote a long letter saying that I liked him a lot to the guy on the trip (after I hadn’t heard from him for a day or two after our supernice evening and my move to my next town on my route). I could easily pull off that thing with tickets with the bald guy from the seamanship program, but I guess I didn’t like him THAT enough. I can see myself doing the same with the big boss guy, but he is married, so that is a no-no.

    But I think we discussed it already.

    Whether a person is round because of their choosing or because circumstances led to it, you would have to ask that person.

    Sorry to be so cruel, but there is not a single photo of an overweight person liberated from a Nazi concentration camp blaming his or her roundness on metabolism. At the end of the day, it is the person’s choosing, lack of willpower.

    It doesn’t mean that men can’t change or become aware that their upbringing was less than sexist. If your partner can’t support you emotionally because of his upbringing than how much are you taking up the emotional labor instead?

    Can it be one of the reasons for my being so picky when choosing men? Meaning that the vast majority of men can’t support women emotionally, so I don’t even approach such men.

    Yet I am not aware of anybody I’m personally in touch with still using FB so I had to abandoned that account since I never gave my phone number and couldn’t get verified by email. So no, can’t say I’m interested in the affairs of others so much. News of job and relationship aren’t really interesting unless I have to attend to a function.

    Well, in my circles folks let everybody know what has happened in their lives on FB. Several weeks ago, when I asked one of my colleagues about her holiday, another chimed in that it had all been posted on FB.

    Your ex was weighing his opportunity cost. He actually told you that he wanted to try again? Or was it to actually try at your relationship?

    Are you referring to the final breakup conversation when I did at last got hold of him on the phone? If this is the one, I described HOW he said it and under what circumstances. He had committed a blunder (wouldn’t tell me what it was) and his new mistress wouldn’t talk to him. (Actually, I had done a similar thing at the beginning of our romance ignoring his emails and phone calls). He was desperate. He was in that state of mind when one is looking for a rebound. And he presented it in such a way as if I was the one who was to go for him and prove to him that I was the one to be chosen. I was so put off by the idea of me chasing him after he, a married man, after six years of my wait, had dumped me for another woman (who wasn’t even his wife), that I could only laugh bitterly at that.

    Yet, he was also talking to his wife at the same time and telling her a similar story.

    Excuse me, but how do you know what story he was telling his wife at the same time?

    All the while, he had the other woman who he had a sexual relationship with too. So three choices and he had to choose one. And he made his choice, after going through his opportunity cost, after much debate and pros and cons and what have you, however he decide things. So he was in control of his decisions. Someone with NPD would not have gone through a process of elimination until he came to a conclusion. NPD, similar to psychopaths, operate on instinct. So they act then they use logic to back up and defend their actions and choices. If your ex had NPD, and if his extinct was to love this new woman then he would have abandoned all logic to divorce right then and there to be with his new partner. But he didn’t. Rather, he went a process of elimination by calculating his opportunity cost with all three of his partners until he concluded that the new partner was the best. And he didn’t even dump you, but ghosted you. NPD are very sure of their decisions so he would have told you if you no longer served any purpose for him.

    Why are psychopaths so scary? Because they won’t stop at anything to achieve their goals.

    Excuse me again, GL, but what makes you think that he calculated his opportunity cost, debating pros and cons??? I told you already how often he left work early to go to that other city (500 miles away) for the weekend just to be with her. This was very much to the detriment of how his colleagues who had a say in his subsequent work there and his promotion viewed him. And he did divorce his wife marrying this other woman just five months after meeting her.

    As for “not stopping at anything to achieve their goals,” my mother still shudders at the memory of how much and how often he would phone me in her presence (and my mother and I lived together just for a handful of time frames during our romance). She often compares his behaviour to that of a male cat in the spring.

    If you ask me, when I read your description above about operating on instinct, I found it to be right to the point.

    I spoke to Matt about the mating rituals of birds of paradise. If you have seen the video (there are a bunch of them on the web), you’ll get the idea of how it looked and felt to me when he was courting me. And later on, I had the pleasure of observing EXACTLY THE SAME dance around my successor.

    As for ghosting, well, why bother explaining somebody whom you don’t need that you don’t need them any longer? Especially when ghosting is becoming so common in today’s world?

    Besides, he may not be a textbook case of a NPD. Hardly anyone is a textbook case of whatever. It is all in degrees and shades and mixes.

    Have you heard about William Hearst, a U.S. mogul of the 1920s, and his long-term mistress? Well, that guy had a pistol duel because of her, but wouldn’t divorce his wife for her because that meant losing a significant portion of his already immense fortune. In other words, he was risking his life, but didn’t want to risk his money. People make strange choices sometimes.

    If his love had a shelf life, then doesn’t that mean that he wasn’t as invested in the relationship as he had you believe?

    Right. I know that now after looking back and analysing and writing the timeline of our romance and comparing it to what he had told me about his other romances. But how was I to know back then? I truly believed he had found me – his one and only True Love. And I had found him.

    I wonder if you aren’t too pessimistic or too scare of failure sometimes. As you’ve learnt with your romantic relationships, some friendships do have their deadlines and there’s not much you can do, but wish the other person whom is no longer in your life well.

    I think that that friendships have their deadlines – that I learnt before I had any romantic relationship. It might have been one more incentive for me to enter a romantic relationship because I thought that it would one and only and forever and I can be friends forever with my partner and won’t need other friends any more. Just like in that article that says that society wants us to view our partners as the ones and only.

    I also hate drafts. I would go for something only if I am 100% this is what I need. So if it is not that from the start or after some time (like with those guys whom I stop liking after a few conversations), why bother?

    But we have touched upon this one before.

    I guess I am trying to say that I don’t meet a lot of people who would be more interesting for me than my own company.

    Isn’t that what you were advocating for before, when you asked me why I needed somebody to be happy?

    Rather than fear starting a relationship, you don’t want to fail in the relationship.

    Seems right. See above about drafts.

    Were you still together with #2 while your ex was pursuing you?

    Yes. I wrote that I had just come back from my country and thought that #2 would proceed resolving the matter now that I was back as he mumbled he would before I left. But he stalled and my ex suddenly appeared in the picture.

    It’s no wonder you attracted the attention of your ex then, seeing as he simply found someone who is somewhat similar to him. The oriental saying fits into why you started the relationship. Your mind and heart were in similar places so of course you found him comforting. He had no qualm cheating or at least needed the attention of women while you had no qualm starting a relationship with a married man as long as he gave you devotion and a vague promise to divorce to be with you. You had a choice to end the relationship once you found out he was married, but you still persisted. People attract others of similar mind and heart. So ask yourself, what is it about your mind and heart that attract other people like him?

    First, I wrote myself a few letters back that I did see a lot in common between the way I was and the way my ex was at the time when our romance flared up.

    Second, I also wrote that I could see a lot that my ex seemed to possess and that I probably wanted to have, too, or to be, on a deeper level.

    So this is no revelation.

    But how to know whether this is an objective fact or whether we see it simply because we want some explanation of “why it happened”? One finds what one is looking for. One wants an explanation? One can explain ANYTHING away provided one has a desire to do so.

    For instance, you could say that I met and attracted somebody because I was miserable and he was miserable. Along the same lines, you could say that I met and attracted somebody because I was miserable and he was happy-go-lucky and I wanted to be happy-go-lucky, too.

    As for the “vague promise to divorce,” I can’t say that “I want you to be my wife. The divorce will happen a year or two from now after that big promotion” is that vague.

    Now questions for you. If “People attract others of similar mind and heart,” why am I only attracting those whom I can’t stand now?

    Or why am I not attracting anybody whom I like or tentatively like myself?

    Am I so singular now that there is no one, be it here, in this big city, or where I travel, who is of similar mind and heart?

    More than that. As you probably know, there are married men and married men. I must have mentioned one of my cousins whom it took five years to overcome his wife kicking him out and four more years to divorce and to marry his girlfriend of four years. Meaning that he was married for four years while having a girlfriend who is now his wife.

    Furthermore, I can tell you that at work, a few ladies with the same position as I are married to guys in my ex’s position. So it would have definitely not been a step-down for him. More than that, one colleague of mine actually had a romance with a married boss of my “big boss.” He divorced his wife, and they have been happily married for ten years now.

    So naturally, seeing women just like me (and even not as intelligent, young or pretty), in the very same position, getting men in the very same position as my ex (or even higher), married or not, made me think that it was so very possible. And my ex, naturally, said the same.

    But isn’t it because he met so many people that he realizes that every relationship is different because the people is different therefore he can tell you how to create a foundation, but not the whole building? Besides, not every person is meant for long term relationships. Some prefer it short term.

    How can one advise people on how to create a foundation for a building if one has never built a building?

    Besides, not a single line says that, hey, readers, this advice is only for short-term relationships. He claims to know how to do things long-term without ever having done them in reality. It is like research without practice.

    Why so keen on forever? Just because you are compatible in the beginning doesn’t mean that people don’t change. And that change might bother you as the wavelength you both operate on diverge.

    This is one more thing that I cannot grasp. For the life of me, I cannot understand how two people who are in love, who want to make it work, who are attuned to the needs and wants of each other can change in ways that will make the incompatible for each other.

    I have read a lot of stories on Tiny Buddha where people would write something like “Nothing happened, we just outgrew each other” or “Nothing happened, but each of us grew in a different direction,” but I cannot understand how on earth this can happen given that all the ingredients for the “happily ever after” were there at the beginning.

    How can faithfulness exist when there is the potential to cheat on their partner, especially when they were married? And your ex did that exactly.

    I assure you that there are hundreds of thousands of people on this planet who met their current partners while still being married to somebody else (either one of the couple or even both of them!), divorced and are faithful to their current partners.

    Oh yes, I love those memories! Only my mind always brings me back to what I have now (vs how I imagined it would be) and I don’t like the difference between the dreams and the reality (even though my reality is not that bad at all!!!) Also, the knowledge that one can’t relive those days when everything was still possible, all the routes open, everyone was still living and I didn’t know what I know now is bittersweet.

    The past seems to hold significance for you since it serves as a foundation for a lot of things for you, one of it your relationship. You seem to build a foundation of something then hold onto it until it no longer serves it purpose. After all, you built a foundation of infatuation and wait until your love might be return. It seems you wait because you want to be right about the other person. If he show interest then ask you out and if you still like him, then you date. You date because you’ve laid down most of the foundation already. And even when your partner showed bad habits, you still chose to wait. Until you/he broke up the relationship.

    Feels right so far. And while waiting for the other person to show his true colours, I only get deeper and deeper attached to the point that when the true colours are half-revealed (because normally there is always room for saying “innocent UNTIL proved guilty”), I no longer have the strength to break away because by then I have already invested so much emotionwise and timewise. The former and the latter including my daydreaming.

    But I don’t call it naive at this point that you chose to believe the words of your ex, seeing as he was the third person whom you chose to date that was married. Ever heard of ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’? What did you learn from the two relationships that you still let yourself choose your ex? What exactly were you choosing; your ex or being in a relationship?

    On the contrary here. I chose my ex over #2 EXACTLY because he was so adamant about divorcing his wife right from the start (unlike #1 with whom this topic was never raised by me, but we only had a handful of dates, and unlike #2 with whom I myself raised this topic only six months into the relationship) and because I felt so much passion and care towards me.

    I was choosing being in a relationship with my ex to answer your question.

    So what do you suggest I do with all this given how much is determined by chemistry, uncontrollable on my part, in a man’s appeal to me?

    Just several weeks ago, on my trip, I met a jockey. He was the guide for our little riding party. I didn’t like him at first taking him for one of those brazen dashing over-self-confident cowboys I had seen before. But then, thirty minutes or one hour later, seeing, on the contrary, that he was not at all imposing and even rather shy, doing his job at the same time, I took an immense liking to him. And, like with the “big boss” earlier this year, I became aware that I liked him a lot AFTER, all of a sudden, I saw myself in my mind’s eye in his arms, my head on his shoulder. Sure, he was married. And there was nothing indecent or even suggesting a romance in his manner towards me. He probably liked me just like one likes nice people, that is all. But it didn’t prevent me from being under his spell for several days in a row and to keep one small acorn that he gave me showing that particular species of tree. I still think about him now and then, very seldom, on par with the “big boss.” It is a very warm fuzzy feeling. But yes, this is just how uncontrollably it happens to me – I mean that with some men, I realise that I like them AFTER my mind throws at me an image of him and me together just like that. And yes, just like with the “guy from the trip,” I did start thinking about what our life together might have looked like if he hadn’t been married. (The jockey was, the guy from the trip was not – that is why I wrote him that letter that I spoke about above.)

     

    #319621

    GL
    Participant

    Hello X,

    The weather keep changing from cool to hot to cool, how’s it on your end?

    You said so yourself – “organic” and “chose to put in effort.” I interpret “organic” as “having chemistry” and “chose to put in effort” as “taking real steps.”

    But what is the difference between a partner and friend for you? Sex? Then where do friends with benefits fit in? Since you seem immune to the feelings of jealousy, is a friend with benefits the same as a partner to you?

    ‘Organic’ for me is more dependent on the kind of conversations I can have with a potential friend/partner. If I can’t have more than a few interesting conversations, then my interest starts to wane which means that there is no chemistry between me and that person. So I don’t understand how you determine chemistry upon a ‘spark’ or physical features. Also, how do you know if that person won’t hurt you based on your imaginations alone? Because in your imaginations, you feel comfortable next to him? It seems a bit too abstract for me no matter how I try to think about it.

    I am not immune to envy, but I am also reminded that everybody has their fortunes and misfortunes then the feelings go away.

    Whether a person is your friend or partner depends on the terms that all the parties involved have established. Label makes it easy to identify things, but it’s not always helpful.

    Sure. Then why do you suggest that I make do without a partner on my own, but seek friendships instead? If one can safely replace the other, why can’t I go with a partner who is a friend in addition, rather than just with a friend? Frankly, I’d rather have both, if you ask me.

    I’m actually wondering how much energy you’re investing into your friendships while you pursued your romantic relationship.

    I do travel with a rucksack and a small carry-on suitcase. But have you ever tried to fit into a toilet stall at an airport, even the one for the disabled, when doors open inwards right onto a toilet paper roll blocking your entrance, and you have a rucksack on your back and a suitcase to manage? That is why I mentioned that it is SO convenient to have somebody look after the luggage when you go to the loo.

    I am not even talking about the need to put the suitcase onto the shelf when onboard the aircraft or haul it up the stairs if the hotel doesn’t have a lift and has at least one floor.

    Besides, hauling heavy things by women is a precursor to serious medical problems at a later age, and furthermore, my surgeon recommended me to limit loads to just 11 pounds because of a health condition.

    I usually travel with a singular backpack so I can’t say I share that issue.

    How interesting. Looked it up and it seems that what’s affected is the reproductive system. Wonder how it affects men?

    Let me clarify again: are you saying that one’s friends, true friends, can be a substitute for one’s partner?

    Friends are a good source of emotional support, though it can be a different source of support from that of your partner. Whether you need a partner and friends is up to you though.

    But I don’t view my friends as partners.

    Do you?

    Partners in crime, certainly. Partners aren’t so good for some activities.

    Let’s approach this from another angle. It is often said that humans are social animals. As such, they need other humans to be fulfilled. Which, in turn, means that their fulfilment lies in the hands of the others.

    Isn’t it not the same with love since they say that one is supposed to be able to love and to be loved?

    Humans evolved needing each other for protection and to continue the population. And somehow, along the way, the need of connection seemed to have wormed their way into the equation. But the terms of connection and social involvement depend heavily on the choices of the individual. Anyone can choose to be a nomad while others will choose to be part of a herd. It is a choice to think that being with someone is happiness while it is a choice to leave a person. It is your choice in feeling happy with someone, but that does not mean that happiness lies in their hands. After all, you are choosing to be happy with them.

    If it was possible for a psychopath to love, the world would not have such a term. Though it could mean something entirely different in a different context in a different world.

    There are people who wanted a relationship, but didn’t get it yet managed to create a life for themselves.

    But how happy were they with that life in their heart of hearts?

    How many people have no regrets at the end of their lifetime?

    Sometimes the other party says “no” several times so that s/he is convinced of the opposite. People also sometimes say “no” meaning “yes.”

    Is that regret then? Because the outcome was the opposite of what they expected? Some cultures always asked up to three times so people can be polite and say no the first time to say yes the second time. It’s only polite to give them time to be polite.

    Whether a person is round because of their choosing or because circumstances led to it, you would have to ask that person.

    Sorry to be so cruel, but there is not a single photo of an overweight person liberated from a Nazi concentration camp blaming his or her roundness on metabolism. At the end of the day, it is the person’s choosing, lack of willpower.

    If you were a person working a job making minimum wage, then you would have to work long hours just to make ends meet since the price of living has increased but wages have stagnated. Then add in a food desert in which you might not have the time to drive more than ten miles to a grocery store to get fresh produce to make your own lunch, then you’re stuck in having to purchase cheap fast food that would satisfied your hunger, but bad for your overall health. Then there’s other things to worry about, like rent or transportation so you have to ration what you can until your next paycheck. A gym membership is out of the question when you have to worry about putting food on the table. Gardening require land, something that apartments might not have, and time, something the person might not have. Of course, the other person could try to obtain a degree, but what if their level of education isn’t sufficient or they’re not proficient in the dominant language? Then there’s the issue of diseases that makes it easy to gain weight, but that inhibit certain functions of your organ that your body can’t process such and such so losing that weight is difficult and might take years, if it can happen. But with the rise of healthcare and insurance, can a person even think about their appearance when they might not be able to afford to visit the doctor?

    It seems that you have all the functions of your body since you commented on ‘laziness’. Certainly, there are lazy people and then there are people with invisible disabilities that, should you know, you wouldn’t think to comment on them as being ‘lazy’. Of course, it is fortunate that you do not have to worry much about it, but what’s normal on the surface may not look so simple when carefully analyzed. I also don’t recommend talking about weight with those who are experiencing menopause since it’s a touchy topic.

    Can it be one of the reasons for my being so picky when choosing men? Meaning that the vast majority of men can’t support women emotionally, so I don’t even approach such men.

    Were any of your exes emotionally supportive for you?

    Excuse me again, GL, but what makes you think that he calculated his opportunity cost, debating pros and cons??? I told you already how often he left work early to go to that other city (500 miles away) for the weekend just to be with her. This was very much to the detriment of how his colleagues who had a say in his subsequent work there and his promotion viewed him. And he did divorce his wife marrying this other woman just five months after meeting her.

    But he was definitely calculating the opportunity cost of divorcing his wife to marry you. And in the end, he chose his marriage for the sake of his career since it seems that it would cost him too much to divorce his wife right away. So when was it that you manage to get him on the phone? And for someone supposedly with NPD to admit that he made a blunder is amazing because a Narcissist has such an inflated ego that it’s not that he was wrong, but that everyone was wrong. Then he offered to return to you since it seems that his new partner might leave him? Where’s the confidence that he would succeed? How is that doing everything he can to obtain what he wants, irregardless of what the other party wants? He was actually taking into consideration the other party? But came running back to you with his tail between his leg when it seems that his new partner might dump him after all? Again, what happen to his supposedly self inflated ego?

    As for “not stopping at anything to achieve their goals,” my mother still shudders at the memory of how much and how often he would phone me in her presence (and my mother and I lived together just for a handful of time frames during our romance). She often compares his behaviour to that of a male cat in the spring.

    So he liked to call to make sure you were still thinking of him. That’s a more dependent attitude since he can’t bare for you to drop him. A Narcissist would leave you for some time (months) with no communications to come back with the confidence that you would welcome him with open arms. Again, they are ‘God’ so whatever they do is correct.

    If you ask me, when I read your description above about operating on instinct, I found it to be right to the point.

    I spoke to Matt about the mating rituals of birds of paradise. If you have seen the video (there are a bunch of them on the web), you’ll get the idea of how it looked and felt to me when he was courting me. And later on, I had the pleasure of observing EXACTLY THE SAME dance around my successor.

    Humans have the instinct to reproduce and have recognized that there need to be two people with different anatomy to obtain the results of reproduction. But for that to happen, one party must make a move and the party may accept or not. Mating rituals is a learned techniques that male animals perform because they have learned that that is how they will be able to reproduce with a female. Same goes for human, but it’s called the act of courting.

    As for ghosting, well, why bother explaining somebody whom you don’t need that you don’t need them any longer? Especially when ghosting is becoming so common in today’s world?

    Ghosting happens mostly because many people do not like the act of confronting others. A Narcissist would drop you the moment they deem you worthless and would like you to disappear from their life so would have no problem dumping you to make the process go that much more quicker. Again, doing whatever they need to to obtain what they want.

    Besides, he may not be a textbook case of a NPD. Hardly anyone is a textbook case of whatever. It is all in degrees and shades and mixes.

    A Narcissist has the need to be worshiped, but they also do well in treating everyone around them as idiots and imbeciles so wouldn’t deign to associate with them if they can help it. So for your ex to have a lot of exes is normal, but not really normal for a Narcissist since they really can’t stand the presence of most people.

    Have you heard about William Hearst, a U.S. mogul of the 1920s, and his long-term mistress? Well, that guy had a pistol duel because of her, but wouldn’t divorce his wife for her because that meant losing a significant portion of his already immense fortune. In other words, he was risking his life, but didn’t want to risk his money. People make strange choices sometimes.

    But if the both of them decided that it was okay that he stayed married since he would obtain a lot of money which can sustain the both of them, then how are they losing in that situation? It’s not that she wasn’t important, but simply that the term ‘marriage’ wasn’t important to them.

    I guess I am trying to say that I don’t meet a lot of people who would be more interesting for me than my own company.

    Isn’t that what you were advocating for before, when you asked me why I needed somebody to be happy?

    So you want someone to entertain you? But indeed, if your company was so interesting, then why the need to seek the company of others?

    But how to know whether this is an objective fact or whether we see it simply because we want some explanation of “why it happened”? One finds what one is looking for. One wants an explanation? One can explain ANYTHING away provided one has a desire to do so.

    You convinced yourself that he was ‘the one’. What objective/subjective facts did you use?

    For instance, you could say that I met and attracted somebody because I was miserable and he was miserable. Along the same lines, you could say that I met and attracted somebody because I was miserable and he was happy-go-lucky and I wanted to be happy-go-lucky, too.

    Has such a situation played out for anyone whom you know or met?

    As for the “vague promise to divorce,” I can’t say that “I want you to be my wife. The divorce will happen a year or two from now after that big promotion” is that vague.

    It’s vague in that the promise was set for two years. What can you even predict about a person in two years and have it be true?

    Now questions for you. If “People attract others of similar mind and heart,” why am I only attracting those whom I can’t stand now?

    Because you won’t just attract people that are similar?

    Or why am I not attracting anybody whom I like or tentatively like myself?

    Am I so singular now that there is no one, be it here, in this big city, or where I travel, who is of similar mind and heart?

    How much emphasis are you placing on having a spark? Or on that list of yours? How much emphasis are you placing on whether the person you meet is the one? How much are you assuming about the person before even knowing much about them?

    More than that. As you probably know, there are married men and married men. I must have mentioned one of my cousins whom it took five years to overcome his wife kicking him out and four more years to divorce and to marry his girlfriend of four years. Meaning that he was married for four years while having a girlfriend who is now his wife.

    His relationship was over when his wife kicked him out. It just took four years to finalized it.

    Furthermore, I can tell you that at work, a few ladies with the same position as I are married to guys in my ex’s position. So it would have definitely not been a step-down for him. More than that, one colleague of mine actually had a romance with a married boss of my “big boss.” He divorced his wife, and they have been happily married for ten years now.

    So naturally, seeing women just like me (and even not as intelligent, young or pretty), in the very same position, getting men in the very same position as my ex (or even higher), married or not, made me think that it was so very possible. And my ex, naturally, said the same.

    You can’t compare the situation of those people to yours. You are not them and they are not you. So the choices that you and your ex would make will be different compare to those you know of because it’s your choice and not theirs and vice versa. You don’t really know what someone would do until they have done it. Of course, that you would choose to believe your ex after two years surprise me.

    Why the need to compare yourself physically? Even if you don’t find them attractive, someone else might. And just like you? Why would anyone ever wish to be like you?

    How can one advise people on how to create a foundation for a building if one has never built a building?

    I visited his website and it seems that he is married. I also found a lot of his articles to be great food for thought, especially his “Love is Not Enough”.

    This is one more thing that I cannot grasp. For the life of me, I cannot understand how two people who are in love, who want to make it work, who are attuned to the needs and wants of each other can change in ways that will make the incompatible for each other.

    I have read a lot of stories on Tiny Buddha where people would write something like “Nothing happened, we just outgrew each other” or “Nothing happened, but each of us grew in a different direction,” but I cannot understand how on earth this can happen given that all the ingredients for the “happily ever after” were there at the beginning.

    People change or chooses not to change. But each action is a link in a chain of past actions and that combine to form the person as they are. So with actions taken and choices made, people are choosing for themselves the kind of life they are living. But the end result might not be compatible with their current partner so there might be big issues that they will have to discuss. So then it becomes a case of loving the person, but not loving the life with the person. The ingredients might have been there for the foundation, but whose to say the building can’t change? A relationship isn’t like a dessert that doesn’t change it’s shape; rather, it’s like soup. Whatever you put in, you get out. Also, irregardless of what happened in the past, it is the present that a person makes a decision about their relationship. It is the present that everything is occurring, not the past where everything was great. You can’t make a case of a happy past, therefore a happy present or happy future. Nothing is ever guaranteed. People wake up everyday and have the choice of continuing or ending their relationship. That’s a decision people make everyday.

    Feels right so far. And while waiting for the other person to show his true colours, I only get deeper and deeper attached to the point that when the true colours are half-revealed (because normally there is always room for saying “innocent UNTIL proved guilty”), I no longer have the strength to break away because by then I have already invested so much emotionwise and timewise. The former and the latter including my daydreaming.

    Then maybe it’s time that you learn how to end things and let them go.

    I was choosing being in a relationship with my ex to answer your question.

    And yet you didn’t run for the hills when you found out that he was divorced before nor did you question why you seem to be attracted to married men the most, irregardless of their promises to you.

    So what do you suggest I do with all this given how much is determined by chemistry, uncontrollable on my part, in a man’s appeal to me?

    So you want happiness, that much is apparent. So does that mean that you are unhappy right now? If not, then why place all your cards and bet on happiness in the form of marriage? If you were to look at many of your interests, many of them were married. So marriage, or the idea of it, seems to be the ‘be all, end all’ thing for you. You want someone to be with you until death, but just because you are married, doesn’t  mean that your husband would be there for you. Your exes are prime examples of that. Yet, you still hope to obtain that goal of marriage, as if it would beget happiness for you. You don’t want to be alone, that’s fine. But you are making this responsibility of keeping that loneliness at bay someone’s else job. That’s heavy and it will take someone like you, heavily dependent on another for their own happiness, to even attempt such a daring task.

    So you tell me, why can’t you make yourself happy? How is it the job of another person to make you happy? Especially when they weren’t born to make anyone else, but themselves, happy. You have your hobbies, but even that doesn’t give you much happiness. So can’t count that as self-independence, but more of a way to stave off boredom. That, and it’s a way to meet new people who might be a potential partner. Then there’s your friendship, but even that doesn’t give you much satisfaction. Rather, you still need a romantic partner and you are constantly searching for one, or at least, always having your radar on and about.

    You didn’t ask to be born, but no one really ask to be born. Yet you decided that happiness was in the hands of someone else. To be happy means something like ‘finding someone to marry’. Okay, that’s fine, but why is that the main one? Why is most of your focus on finding a partner when you have many possibilities in front of you? Do you not have other dreams? Isn’t there anything else you want to do?

    Ultimately, what is not satisfying about your current situation and why can’t you resolve that for yourself without having to rely on someone else?

    Have a good one.

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