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Trying to deal with anxiety and loss after relationship break up

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  • #372836
    NBC
    Participant

    Wow, Danny @Dannydan!

    I honestly have no idea how you could have screwed with B in the first place! You seem to be so self-aware and insightful! Don’t worry about the bro code because what you wrote about players and manipulators is exactly what I had read in a self-help book written by a man with the intention of educating women on typical male psychology and then the same in an online blog and once again reconfirmed in numerous posts and replies to them here on Tiny Buddha and elsewhere. It is helpful, however, to see the confirmation made not by a male psychologist, but by a real-life man.

    I have tried to look back at the men I have interacted with, albeit briefly, in the past five years since my breakup with A.

    –           Six men 60+. They say love knows no age, and I believe that some of men had a mix of grandfather feelings for me added to it. One guy says in jest that he will be in trouble because he has a girlfriend, another one keeps sending me video and song links. It has been two years!!! Nothing inappropriate, just a weird feeling of a grandfather going through a ridiculous mating ritual around me.

    –           Seven men who expressed a clear intention of dating me. Two were mentioned in my previous post with their advances. Another one I went to a coffee date with. He threw me off completely by giving me flowers and saying that since he had brought flowers, why don’t I go ahead and pay for that cup of coffee myself. I had felt aversion for him from the start, so after that date no more dates with men whom I couldn’t stand beforehand. And there were four more having seemingly serious intentions! My mother also suggested I gave them a try because you never know. She said she hadn’t paid attention to my father’s courtship at first. I retorted that she had been neutral towards my father whereas I couldn’t stand those guys at some deep physical level.

    Also none of those with whom I had a cup of coffee or a light meal were eager to pay for me. Not that I expect it (I either suggest an informal cup of coffee when asked where shall we go or choose a dish I can pay for myself if the place is not of my choosing), but it is always nice to be wined and dined. With them, it seems like they didn’t even want to do the quid pro quo thing. It was something like, “Oh, she’s so independent and feminist [in the good sense of the world], even better, I might get what I want with no expense on my part. How cool!” Welcome to modern dating.

    It is funny because men do pay for me. My male friends do and my male coworkers do, too. And with no hesitation, I don’t even have the time to pull my wallet out. Some of them earn less than I do and they know it, but they still pay.

    –           You suggested I approached men myself. I did several times. And just ten minutes into the conversation, I realised that I wasn’t really interested in them. I was briefly attracted by their looks, but no lasting interest at all. Thankfully, one wasn’t interested either, but the other one reached out a few times, and I had a bad conscience for sort of leading him on.

    –           There were a couple of guys who approached me, but when I started showing interest in them, pulled back. I even cried when I couldn’t attend a party where one of them was supposed to be. But the infatuation was short-lived. Also, I didn’t take more concrete steps because I couldn’t decide whether I could go out with a bald guy. Ultimately, I decided that I didn’t like him that much if his baldness was a problem for me, so it wouldn’t be fair to show interest. However, I did cry because of that party. How strange…

    –           Similar infatuations with six guys. But these were all married, and it was short-lived, they never occupied my thoughts for a long time.

    –           Three or four times after several months of being happy on my own and not fantacising about anyone, I had an instant crush on somebody with whom I was in the same time and space for about half a day. A light cloud of dizzy happiness dissipated quite soon.

    –           A couple of infatuations with somebody whom I could see right away were narcs. Again, short-lived plus active successful action on my part to switch my attention to somebody else.

    –           Finally, I had a crush lasting half a year on a manager 25+ years older than me and who adored his wife. I only state it separately because it lasted so long. It was an instant crush, too.

    –           And there is one more guy 25+ years older than me at work. All ladies are charmed by him and flirt with him, but he has had two unsuccessful marriages and openly states that he is a confirmed bachelor and won’t be moved. It is of interest that when I imagined being with him and compared my fantasies of being with him to all the other crushes including B (!), this guy won. Maybe I need to wait a dozen more years? 😉

    Also, when I examined my light feelings for the guys from those groups that I liked above, I realised that I liked this one and that one. I couldn’t really pinpoint somebody who would stand out (except for that confirmed bachelor man). Does that mean that I didn’t really like any of them? Or was it more a testimony to the fact that everyone is compatible with pretty much anybody, the trick is to make a choice and stick to it? But there definitely should be such feelings that make somebody stand out, at least during the infatuation phase, not A, B and C – all are good, worthy, so anyone goes!

    I had approached one more guy in the past, before B and even A. He started playing games with me. Presumably because he thought I was so in love and he could twist me around his little finger.

    I think I could add B and the guy between A and B whom I met travelling here. I explicitly expressed my interest in B. And I did write a letter to a guy whom I met when travelling. I had to leave his city the day after a very romantic date that he had organised. (No red flags like with the ones above on coffee dates on the date itself, and we talked well into the night.) I don’t know if poor communication, a line here and a line there but nothing substantial is the result of thinking that I am already done for and there is no need to show up. Actually, that guy from my travels wrote a Hi, how are you? too two years (!!!) after going MIA. To that I didn’t answer. Even though I did like him immensely. Wow, what a year that was – A, then this guy, then B. And now five years and nothing to write home about.

    I did answer to B because it was formally a job offer, because we had interacted for a much longer time, because there were no promises made, we were ‘friends,’ because he was still in the area and because I was curious whether he had grown and whether it was his attempt to reconnect for real. Well, not this time.

    Also, I try to treat guys as friends at the beginning. (I wonder btw if many guys state their romantic intentions openly from the start? I think it all begins with “It is good to have many friends, let’s be friends” right?) So if they don’t do something what I would expect them to do, I can’t really say anything. (My girlfriends can lie low for a month, but then they are back in touch and I don’t feel like something is missing.) At the same time, no matter how many times I tell myself that “we are just friends,” if I like the guy, the falling for process is already brewing. Besides, am I not supposed to be supportive and understanding and not a b****? It is all very good, but as time passes, I find myself already on the hook and in love. And of course, 8 times out of 10, the guy is playing games. The other 1, he genuinely behaves like a friend because he isn’t in love. And one more 1, life can throw up problems sometimes, there is no denying that.

    Then you get that natural urge for companionship but go into turbo mode and panic thus your insecurities cause you to act needy – but when one is in love, doesn’t one want to be with one’s loved one 27/7, doesn’t one think about the object of one’s passion all the time? There are even tests that allow one to check whether one is in love or in for a short-term fling.

    If you are genuinely happy and content then you’ll believe; when it’s meant to be,it will be. You’ll invest in yourself and other aspects of your life but still be open to the right guy coming along and adding happiness. – I agree in principle. But then I read Kkasxo’s story, and she writes that she was perfectly happy and not needing anyone when Mr A came along and messed her up.

    So perhaps it’s that you are extreme- all or nothing – that rings very true. I have decided long ago that if I can’t have a fairy-tale wedding, I’ll be perfectly fine with just the two of us registering marriage in the civil office.

    So yes, I believe that I am analysing B’s behaviour because of all those levels I thought we had clicked at and because, as you can see, he was the only one with whom it was really going back and forth and lasted for a long time since A. He is not the only one I am really interested in, but he is the only one of the few with whom it was somewhat mutual – let’s put it this way. He is also one of the few who is an eligible match age-wise and education-wise. I also believe that putting that final touch on my analysis here with you will help me to take my mind off him for good.

    Oh, there is one more facet to the whole B thing. After he ghosted me, our paths did cross several times at work and at parties. Every single time he wouldn’t take his eyes off me even when talking to other people. He would hang around as if not wishing to leave before I did. His presence around me was so heavy in the air that I would give my hand that he would phone me or text me afterwards. Glad that I didn’t give my hand because I would have lost it. Though once he did text, “Are you still there?” I answered, “No, going home.” And nothing. If I unearth it, it is probably wounded self-love, something like, “If I was so wrong about B, how can you expect me to be right about anything?” And yet, I have been right about so many guys, including some that my girlfriends dated. I would have never gone out with some of them, and sure enough, it didn’t last for them.

    After all these descriptions of the guys I talked to and have been attracted to, do you still think I have a closed-off mindset? A few times I first realised that I liked a man and only then started wondering what it was that made me like him. Oh, I forgot to add that I really like a 15-year old boy with whom I play tennis now and then. No worries, I have no intention of becoming a Madame Macron, but if I were 15, I would definitely be very attracted to him.

    #372849
    Danny
    Participant

    @NBC

    You are witnessing the after product that’s why – I have grown a tremendous amount. Last year I’m sure a dick would have been one of the many fair ways to describe me.

    I messed up big time, I’m surprised myself sometimes that ‘B’ didn’t yeet me when I attempted a reconciliation! I’m glad she didn’t,  she really makes me feel young, content in my own skin and proud to have her as my fiancé!

    You have quite a colourful dating/interaction resume there! 60+ ? Crushing on a 15 year old? Mid life crisis or something? Or do you think you may just be lonely more than anything? So you think you’re looking for a real commitment but deep down you are in fact averse to it hence your choices. Right now you may just be filling a void of some sort.

    You mentioned in an earlier post you struggle or very selective in letting someone hold your hand, perhaps there’s a fear of intimacy there too. You may have not worked through the deeper wounds from your long term relationship with ‘A’

    It also appears physical looks aspect is the driving force for your level of interest. If someone is not meeting your ideal at all then going forward with it will only mean you are stringing them along. That’s cruel , so rule out anyone who repulses you for sure or doesn’t meet your barometer because you’ll just end up hurting them.

    If there’s someone you feel neutral about then give it a one date only policy. If on the first date you still feel underwhelmed be upfront.

    When you feel significant potential then let it flourish! Allow time and enjoy the persons presence to show you how it will unfold rather than overthinking it.

    When you put expectations on something it often leads to disappointment.

    Do you think you may need to see a therapist? Just a suggestion not judgement. The older guy attraction thing may be linked to your relationship with your father or male figures in your earlier life. Someone with experience can aid where I can’t.

    Also I’m a gentleman and old fashioned when it comes to paying. I always pay for dinner etc that’s something ‘B’ was astounded by when we met. Modern dating really has changed! Now as a compromise, we plan date night and pay on a turn by turn basis. We equally feel spoilt. So it’s nice.

    Your male friends are very chivalrous, are you sure there isn’t a gem amongst them?

    Most ‘beta’ men work in the background as friends because when we shoot our shot there’s only 40% success rate so the rejection can way heavily.

    Any man who you’ve not known since childhood but is friends with you, will always have underlying feelings and is just waiting for the opportune moment. However this is a problem because for a woman it kills attraction for him.

    I think just being open, honest about your intentions is the way forward. If you want something serious you ask for it from the beginning and take the risk.

    With ‘B’ I lied I said I was serious and acted like an Alpha and a player. Chased her but somewhere in that I became drawn and because I had unresolved issues from my past I screwed it up. She’s highly perceptive saw scars and pulled back and allowed a friendship to form but I messed that up too. There was always sexual chemistry there so it got messy.

    So just be the real you and if he is being real too it will take off.

    At one point you have to make a choice otherwise you would practice the grass is greener and remain a bachelorette.

    Marrying or committing to someone isn’t a light bulb moment. Love is slow and steady. In the smallest moment you’ll catch yourself saying I love this woman! ‘B’ will do these small special things and it just warms my heart.

    You will never find someone perfect. But with ‘B’ of course she stood out. The main thing was I felt I was me and accepted. With reflection I just knew that we have potential to grow together, on my internal calculator it was +. I never felt I was settling. I knew it required work though.

    If I felt meh she will do, I think we both would resent each other eventually.

    For men friend zoning is different to women. A woman can be friend zoned and come out. A man is usually banished forever.

    @Kkasxo would be a better judge of her own story so I can’t comment. All i can say is just because ‘B’ and I are happy now doesn’t mean it will last forever. However I’m committing with intention to pull my weight and as long as we both keep doing that together we will succeed in achieving a long happy union.

    There’s no guarantees. You could be happy and content in life and meet a person who you decide to be vulnerable with but they turn out to be an ass. The core thing is if you have self love you’ll acknowledge it was a risk that didn’t pay off, the self love will encourage you to achieve acceptance it wasn’t meant to be. Your right person is still awaiting you.

    Achieving that is not easy. Once you get there. It’s easier to detach from someone you were very attached to because you believe in yourself.

    The pull and push with your B has done exactly what those relationships do – leave you questioning your own self and judgement. They wear you down.

    When emotions become involved or an attachment is formed its so easy to become blinded by them.

    When you are with your friends you are purely objective. A neutral. Therefore your natural instinct and advice is on the money.
    It happens to us all. The key is to check in with yourself and set stringent boundaries and stick to your values and needs. If someone is not meeting them, walk away

    This is all just my perspectives take it with a pinch of salt. I think you are somehow unavailable even though you think you’re available because there’s unresolved issues you haven’t confronted.

    Try and write a letter as if you were your friend in your exact position. What advice would you give?

    If you are still struggling with closure to that chapter with B, don’t let pride stop you from contacting him. Achieving peace of mind is also self love. If he is stand offish, doesn’t have the maturity to make amends or give you clarity let that be your answer to all those answers.

    Macron is a knob. So don’t use him as a template! Maybe if you are having those thoughts about a 15 year old, it’s better to avoid 1 on 1 time. 15 year old boys are horny little things you don’t want to land in trouble unknowingly.

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    #372916
    Sammy
    Participant

    @Kkasxo oh no!! Sorry you’ve contracted Covid, sending out prayers for you. I hope you return to good health and have a speedy recovery ❤

    @Rhaenys apologies I’ve been so busy since the new year began. How are you doing? No, I’m still sober. I just meant I sometimes can spiral and do things impulsively. But I’m good as one can be in these times.
    I’m sorry you feel hopeless, it is hard to motivate yourself when everything looks so grey. We are humans though our very nature means we are built to survive so no matter how small the improvement may be keep pushing through.

    Age is just a number. If a man is serious about you nothing will stop him. Don’t waste your time pining over your ex, the longer you do the more time you’ll waste reaching the right one. I do believe it’s better to be loved wholly or not at all then settling for breadcrumbs.

    Replacing love masks the problem. If that’s what it takes for you to really move on then there are deeper issues. Self love and esteem is lacking. You shouldn’t be looking for someone to fill a void left by another.

    Don’t give up, things get better with time.

     

    @NBC welcome to the thread. I’m glad @Dannydan has been assisting you with some really great advice (shocked @Dannydan by your insight and growth) Thank you for discovering the tag thing @NBC I can tag Tim properly now!

    @Tim1 I miss you and hope you get to read our messages one day and know how much you guided us! I hope plum has grown and really looking forward to the day you post back and let us know how Daddy life is!

    @Dannydan I’m doing ok, just seem to have a huge backlog of work to get through because of staff absences. You’re right big decisions to make on which direction I want to take my life. I’ve taken on board your previous comment in your post and just need to create the time to map out and reflect on what’s best and sift through my feelings. I’ve also got a new unexpected romantic development happening so life feels to be gathering pace at once!

    How are you and ‘B’ doing? Still in that engagement bubble? Look forward to hearing from you! Well done on being so generous and helpful to other posters! Really proud of you mate! B was spot on in all the potential she saw!

    #372917
    NBC
    Participant

    @Dannydan

    Funny, I write a reply to you, give it some time for the dust to settle and maybe add something. Sometimes, I come up with further developments / questions / ideas, and when you answer, your text somehow naturally leads me to voice those. It is a very, very useful discussion for me! I can only hope that you are deriving something out of it for yourself, too!

    she really makes me feel young, content in my own skin and proud to have her as my fiancé!

    I am very happy for you and, naturally, a little bit envious of B 😉 Just as the other ladies, I would love to have a beau who thinks that way, too!

    But I have a question along the lines. I am not doubting your feelings, I keep my fingers crossed for your happily-ever-after (with a realistic tinge, of course), but I can’t help but wonder about the seeming contradiction. Aren’t we supposed to be content in our own skin before meeting somebody? Don’t they say that it is not your partner’s job to make you feel safe and secure? But then what do you need a partner for? Just to procreate? I am probably trying to rationalise that which shouldn’t be. I hear about a website for those who don’t want romance, but want a family and children with somebody who shares their values and interests. I don’t think I could ever register there.

    So you think you’re looking for a real commitment but deep down you are in fact averse to it hence your choices. Right now you may just be filling a void of some sort – this is very interesting because somebody else said the very same thing.

    And for the life of me, I can’t understand what it is, I look deep inside and I don’t find aversion to commitment when I am infatuated. (Of course, like with those men 25+, I can see that there is no future, but it feels so good to daydream!) True, I acknowledge, when I studied, all my energy was focused on that. Hence no relationship that could be truly called a relationship back then. When B said that his son of 15 years had a girlfriend, I thought this was way too soon. A came along when I was 23. I can also understand that when A and I were together, I was also sort of half focused on finishing up some of the materials from that study period, hence my staying with him for too long. (There were a number of other reasons as well such as him being my #1 and me desperately wanting to make it work). But now? When I am more relaxed with my “duty” behind me? I look inside myself as deeply as I possibly can and don’t see it. Same with the void. Truly clueless.

    You mentioned in an earlier post you struggle or very selective in letting someone hold your hand, perhaps there’s a fear of intimacy there too – I think this is just natural “pickiness” and squeamishness coupled with a long history of one, maximum two loving relationships in my family on both sides (the first one failing through no fault of theirs). Like, inherited monogamy (and not serial monogamy) genes. Add to this strong conviction and desire to have high-quality material and not to settle for less. But then they start telling me that my bar is so high, that is why no one has the guts to approach. I lower the bar and get rubbish. And then guys like you tell me that my values and standards should have been upheld no matter what…

    You may have not worked through the deeper wounds from your long term relationship with ‘A’ – this is something I have been wondering all along. You (and others before) have mentioned healing. Could you elaborate? How did healing go for you after A?

    Older guy attraction might also be a family trait. My father is 15 years older than my mother. But it was a second marriage for both. My aunt’s marriage at 21 was her first, but my uncle (second marriage for him) was six years older, which is not usual for students in the late 1960s – early 1970s. My mother said that she had always been attracted to older guys (she was 25 when she married my father).

    I have a friend who is just as I attracted to older guys. And her parents are of the same age. She says that they are great friends, but she would want them to be more romantic towards each other. At some point, that friend of mine decided that she would never marry (hookups here and there were enough for her), but she wanted a child. So she got one from a donor.

    I replied to you and noticed that I had mentioned two categories of around 60-something. One is where I don’t understand what attracts these ‘grandpas’ to me. The other is – well, some 58-60-year-olds can look ten years younger, have no bear belly and if one adds the charisma that comes with authority and position in life, the woman (me) can be doomed.

    I did think about a therapist. The main thing that stops me is that it is extremely hard to find a good therapist. For instance, one of my girlfriends now studies to be a life coach. I am not sure I want to receive relationship advice from somebody who cheated on her husband with her second cousin and then, when the relationship with her husband turned stale (two years later, not at the time of cheating), messaged him, met him and married him. She keeps hammering about some coaches of hers. Turns out these coaches have themselves been divorced once or twice. She says no big deal, it just proves that they have had experience in life!

    Even with the psychology books that I read, I am very particular about who writes them.

    Another thing about a therapist is that it seems the looks is indeed the driving force for me. To define it further, not so much the looks by themselves, but the chemistry, that impalpable something I ‘feel’ from the person. (You would be surprised if you saw the appearance of all the men mentioned in my ‘list’ – very different.) I am not sure whether therapy might change that. I do concede though that if my head is set ‘right,’ it may change the ‘feel’ that I get from this or that man and, accordingly, my attraction.

    Also some people seem to agree that the right healthy person can also help one to heal fully. I do hope that this is Shelbyville’s case.

    Thank you for putting the final dots on my i’s about seeing somebody I don’t like from the start and for how much time to give to the ones I have neutral towards.

    And thank you for talking to me like a friend, with no judgement and all. Have you ever thought about becoming a counsellor? 😊

    Most of my male friends are also my coworkers, we are all in a big extensive network. Sometimes, we have projects together and we can (hmm, ‘could’ because of covid) work on some of their aspects at a café or discuss topics at lunch. Most of them are in a relationship or already married with kids. I don’t forget to look around but unless I get that sudden urge to hug somebody, it is very rare that I meet somebody and I can see myself with him.

    Oh, am I unusual in this by the way? I mean that if I meet a prospective partner, I immediately put him in a bathrobe and deciding whether I like the image in my mind’s eye. Or think would I want to see him day in and day out at my dinner table. Or whether I can see myself being intimate with him? More often than not the answer is no.

    I read that there is a scale for homosexuality, and people can actually find themselves at different points on it, not just the ends of the spectrum. I may be wrong, but there may be the same for loves in a person’s life. I don’t believe that we meet just one Big Great Love in our lifetime (that is, that all the others, if present, are mere infatuations, etc.) But it does seem that some people fall in love very often whereas others don’t. I am not sure where that ‘resume’ as you put it puts me (given that a lot of these infatuations pass in a matter of weeks), but a lot needs to happen before I can decide that yes, I can allow myself to be intimate with the man.

    I think just being open, honest about your intentions is the way forward. If you want something serious you ask for it from the beginning and take the risk.

    With ‘B’ I lied I said I was serious and acted like an Alpha and a player.

    Yes, I think this is what happened with A and me at some point. His internal priorities had changed, but he didn’t have the guts to look deep inside himself and acknowledge them. And even if he had, he failed to communicate them to me. (But I don’t think he was that self-aware in fact.)

    Chased her but somewhere in that I became drawn – this was my hidden wish for B. But your story, however real, only proves that exceptions are not the rule. And we should stop looking up to them because it only messes us up. We need to look at the rule, not exceptions. Exceptions are there to prove the rule or so they say.

    All i can say is just because ‘B’ and I are happy now doesn’t mean it will last forever. However I’m committing with intention to pull my weight and as long as we both keep doing that together we will succeed in achieving a long happy union. – This is true and this is very important. Also, this is where my A stopped trying.

    Try and write a letter as if you were your friend in your exact position. What advice would you give?

    I thought about this. I think I am finally in a place where I can try to take action. You know that joke about winning lottery? – why don’t you at the very least go and purchase a ticket before you beg about winning a million! I am thinking about trying online dating. I heard both good and bad things about it, maybe it is time to give it a go.

    Would be curious to hear a more detailed timeline of @Shelbyville’s experiences. I remember reading where she wrote that she felt so old-school. I wonder how many men she had to go through before things started getting serious with her current boyfriend?

    If you are still struggling with closure to that chapter with B, don’t let pride stop you from contacting him. – So you think it would be okay to contact him with the same question? You don’t think he’ll think I am obsessed with him, a freak who can’t tell the difference between a short-term fling and a serious commitment? Who doesn’t understand plain English? Or worse, who could be exploited? Or that I am a gold digger?

    I can’t say I am struggling. It is more like I can’t understand how somebody who not just nodded and said “yes, naturally” as my A to my remarks about life and people’s behaviour (I am now not so sure whether he just played along or really listened to me, but at the time I thought he was listening – you know like even on the phone you can tell whether the other person is still there or not?), but who wrote things in our email exchange and chat that matched my perceptions could behave so ambiguously?

    To tell you the truth, I decided to wait until autumn. For two reasons, and they are intertwined. One, it will have been more than a year after the divorce. Two, hopefully, the pandemic will have subsided. Both of these mean that he might be ready to contact me; he might start dating and realise he wants me, plus his grown-up kids won’t be in the way for sure; I will start dating and may completely forget him. What do you say

    There was also one quote, something that goes along the lines of “if you have a feeling as if you are imposing yourself, you ARE imposing yourself.” I don’t like the feeling of stalking or pursuing him. Especially, after his “a very good friend” and then post on Twitter about the opportunity to zoom all of your friends, even those whom you might have forgotten, during the pandemic and quarantine. There have been multiple opportunities to inquire about me, even to worry about how I was doing – and nothing. I am aware of this.

    Maybe if you are having those thoughts about a 15 year old, it’s better to avoid 1 on 1 time. 15 year old boys are horny little things you don’t want to land in trouble unknowingly. – ha-ha, no, there are players of all ages and levels, and his mother or father is always present 😉 But he is a very quiet thoughtful guy. I just noticed some time ago that he started addressing me specifically, a sentence here, a sentence there, sharing minor things about his life. And I get a feeling, not very defined though. Maybe he just feels that we are both of the “race of Joseph” as the expression from Anne of Green Gables goes.

    #372918
    NBC
    Participant

    @Sammy1, thank you for welcoming me onto the thread.

    @Rhaenys, I apologise for not having acknowledged your welcome several days ago.

    #372943
    Danny
    Participant

    @NBC

    It’s only right that the time and guidance I was given is returned. So I’m glad I’m helping in someway on this thread.

    The posters on here especially @Shelbyville were non judgemental and kept it 💯. So I want to carry on in that vain for others too.

    It’s funny you say I’d be a good counsellor, according to ‘B’ I’m very attentive and give good advice. I think it’s a lot easier to be objective with others.

    Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly why you are not in a committed relationship. But I can tell you never compare yourself to others, there’s no timeline you must adhere to be “successful”.  Don’t pressurise yourself, that’s when you’ll end up more unhappy.

    The reason why I mentioned not lowering your physical parameters is because honestly you put a lot of emphasis on that aspect.

    I thought men were the visual ones. Hence why you’re more likely to find a hot woman with an average looking man than vice versa.

    But you’re giving men a run for their money ahaha!!

    I suspect you’ll hurt people if you lower your standards and effectively lead them on, if you can’t re-educate your attraction. So it’s better to be upfront and not waste peoples time or play with their emotions if you know it’s a no for yourself.

    It’s not inherently wrong to value physical/sexual attraction, just as long as you’re not letting that one preference dictate who you date alone. Sexual attraction is important in healthy relationships, intimacy and seeing your partner as a sexual being is what keeps partners passionate about one another.

    But that said, you can change your overall attraction for someone by re educating yourself. I’m proof.

    I thought I’d never develop a deep romantic attraction to ‘B’ without acting on my physical attraction and gaining ‘entry’ first. I have always been hot blooded, when I reined that in and focused on her other qualities, our love and intimacy flourished. So I lowered my physical parameters and I found an enduring bond.

    I have found that most women also tend to have ridiculous checklists though before they even say hello! So assess if that is you. If so, try being more flexible and open. You might find someone who surprises you.

    When it comes to ideals, values or beliefs never ever lower them (that’s an injustice to your self), the right man will wait, accept them and compromise with you.

    How did healing go for me after A?

    It went something like this
    1. Anger – this came first for me. I was embarrassed, hurt betrayed etc.
    2. Pain – unreal pain, crying, Feeling lost.
    3. Shutdown – Blocked it all out never spoke a word to them again and compartmentalised.
    4. “Moving on” – advised by the lads (who I’ve distanced myself from now) to go on Tinder and apps and get revenge. Followed very bad advice!
    5. Became a cold dick, emotionally unavailable
    6. My bros illness is what tethered me back to reality and shook me. Then all the all my emotions flooded me and literally felt like I was about to drown.
    7. God sent an angel ‘B’, she pulled me out, started to heal with her and I felt something real for the first time but I screwed it up
    8. She’s the woman who built me up, once I was confident and on my feet, I’m so ashamed but I just blocked out and went straight into another relationship with ‘C’. I treated ‘C’ well, and implemented what I learned from ‘B’. The sex was great, we had even labelled our relationship but I still felt so hollow it wasn’t the right fit, we both knew it so split up amicably.
    9. Spent months alone faced my demons, questioned myself, explored my emotions.
    10. Made peace with my ex best friend and A for their betrayal. Told them exactly how their actions impacted me, but I accepted the outcome, wished them happiness. (I no longer hate them, I’m indifferent could only reach that state by confronting the pain they caused)
    11. I thought A was real love, but I recognise it for what it was – first love, that’s why it was so painful to let go. She took a piece of my heart, it will always belong to her but I would never accept that ‘love’ now.
    12. Sought my own happiness based on my reflection, without the demons holding me back this led me back to ‘B’.
    13. Made amends with ‘B’
    14. Found the meaning of real love in ‘B’ – my soul is at peace.
    15. Learning and growing together.

    It was an emotional rollercoaster. Confronting and working through all my emotions ultimately healed me. That included admitting my pain, guilt, mistakes, apologising, acknowledging what love is and isn’t etc.

    You may not be averse to commitment whilst infatuated because infatuation by it’s very nature is thrilling and exciting. So you chase it. You said yourself you are very physically inclined. Maybe when that wears off you have no real experience or knowledge of what you need in a solid adult relationship. You may not know what real love entails or is meant to feel like? So maybe you need to create a list of things that are not physical which are vital for your soul.

    When I say content in my own skin, with A I placated a lot, I did things for her just to keep her. I was not 100% authentic. Even though I wasn’t consciously aware that she was about to betray me. Subconsciously I was reacting already, I would bend over backwards to cater to her and make her happy that same energy was not returned.

    When I reunited with B, I made it clear, I would never disrespect her again but I would never be a YES man again either. With B I can be grouchy, fully authentic and feel content knowing she loves me regardless. In all my relationships she’s the first to ever comprehend my emotional needs. I’ve never experienced that and honestly it’s just an incredible feeling. So although I’m happier with my improvements and who I’ve become as a man. Naturally in a relationship you need a partner who will also accept all of you. Otherwise it’s not love.

    B and I are not together during this lockdown and I miss her tremendously but I also feel security on my own. So relying solely on someone else to give you that feeling is when you know it’s not healthy.

    You asked if you are content on your own, what do you need a partner for?

    You need a partner for exploration of sexual desires – you could do this casually or on your own but it’s so hollow compared to when you have a loving partner.

    You need a partner as a companion – you can share thoughts with friends but finding a best friend in your partner is incredible. The intimacy increases. You have that one person who is your rock and vice versa.

    You need a partner who can challenge you to grow – having B there supporting me, has resulted in emotional growth, increase in productivity, positive impact on all my relationships etc.

    Procreation – creating mini me’s together to teach etc is incredible. You can do this without a partner but not a route I’d pursue. I’m very traditional in certain things.

    Relationships show us how to love. Help with emotional wellbeing, create further purpose and stability in life. As long as you’re with someone who allows you to be authentic, being in a relationship can be better but it comes down to being in the right relationship.

    Each to their own in regards to preferences. Whether that’s sugar daddy or toyboy. But with the 15 yo be wary, even if you’re kindred spirits it’s easy to fall into a trap, when given much needed attention after a long time.

    I learn from others experiences and researching, and the therapist is just a suggestion. I had suggested a couple therapist to B when we first reunited but in the end by being transparent with each other we have achieved a strong foundation of respect and trust.

    It’s important to be open though, there’s no harm in exploring an idea from someone it might lead to your answer inadvertently.

    For example @Shelbyville proposed the theory of journeymate. I’d never come across this before. Instead of just accepting or dismissing it I researched it. In the end it challenged me and spurred me to get meaning rather than move on.

    I found healing with the right person – B. But I had to also reach a place by myself. I knew it was vital to offer her something too. It has to be balanced. Otherwise your partner will feel like a ‘therapist’ or parental figure and attraction declines and they begin to feel emotionally drained, resentment kicks in etc.

    I don’t know how @Shelbyville is doing right now or her timeline with men. I’m not aware of her full story but @Sammy may be able to help she’s read this whole thread. Hopefully she can report back to you if Shelbyville doesn’t.

    Exceptions prove the rule exists. B and I are not the rule. But if you really want something you make an exception. You fight for it. The ladies on here all told me to leave ‘B’ to heal and move on. I knew deep down there was unfinished business, I wanted to be her exception, she was mine. She wanted me enough and allowed me to be.

    Online dating is an option, may suit you as you can filter out anyone you visually can’t see yourself with but you have to be on guard, many catfish and con artists lurk there.

    After 5 years, he is still on your mind, you haven’t found closure by yourself so contacting him sooner rather than later will stop you possibly wasting more of your life! Yes your ego might take a hit because you said there have been multiple opportunities for him to inquire about you – and nothing.

    However right now you are in a holding space. Unable to move forward. So why will you give him a further 6 months to play on your mind. Get your answers now, ask him about the ambiguity, the future anything you feel you need. If he rejects you, wrap it up and heal. By autumn you can then focus on finding the right one if it’s not him!

    That’s what I would do.

    #372944
    Danny
    Participant

    @Sammy mate!! So good to hear from you. Thanks for gassing me up ahaha. I try!

    B and I are not together during this lockdown. We didn’t go back to London as Covid was rife there, so stayed at our parents. In fact, we are considering buying a forever home together, putting our savings into that rather than a large wedding. I’m looking forward to relocating as we’re both able to work remotely and excited about our future. So some big changes to come. I really miss her, I can’t wait to hold her.

    I do want to give her a big white wedding though, isn’t it every girls dream? I don’t want her to have regrets looking back part of her culture dictates the brides father pays so I being traditional I don’t feel comfortable with that. We’ll see, right now I just miss her and can’t wait to see her!

    I’m intrigued to read you have a new development, do share. You have worked so hard on your personal growth you deserve a bit of excitement! Are you still with your parents and any decisions on selling up?

     

     

    #372981
    NBC
    Participant

    @Dannydan

    You are a real godsend to me! B was between billy no mates or a lads lad, too. I remarked once that he gave the impression of being a very passionate man, he agreed and said that he could sense I was passionate, too. And he was a great listener. I poured out my grievances about A to him and he noted once that he had to set a couple of hours aside from work to read it. When we cuddled, he also mentioned that he didn’t mind my blabbering. I was very careful to check myself in time, but what had to come out, had to come out. Later on, when I felt him pulling away, I became very careful about how much I was saying, how much space I was giving him to say anything and how often I was initiating vs him initiating. I was even afraid at some point that I had tired him, but the way he looked at me, his blushing (he dark red, it was easy to see) when we accidentally met several times after he went MIA for the last time, him dropping that are you still here? a few times convinced me that that was not the reason. Also forwarding that job offer one year ago was like proof that he had no bad feelings associated with me.

    I think I found it. It is not so much the physical parameters (I have no list with physical features that men must adhere to), it is the spark. Forgot to mention one episode. Recently at work, I have been wondering why one guy kept popping into my coworker and mine room after work. He would have some work-related remarks, so it was all very good and all. But my coworkers rotate, so it is not always the same person. Besides, he would come up when I was alone at a different work station. And he came up several times when I was with one of the managers. Then it dawned upon me that he found me attractive. Maybe even thought that he was about the only single guy in that department and I must be the only single lady, so it was the finger of Fate so to speak. And Danny, one can call him good-looking, he has two arms, two legs, a head, likes to go to national parks like I do – what else am I missing? True, he wears glasses, I am seldom attracted to bespectacled men, but there have been a couple whom I had really liked in the past. Well, I felt almost guilty that I couldn’t feel anything for him no matter how I tried or looked inside myself. Zero interest. (But at least no aversion as with some other guys.) And felt a huge relief when he announced that he was going on a long-term stint to another country. So you say that if he had asked me out, I should have said no? Or gone out just once to make sure I couldn’t ever feel anything for him?

    It’s not inherently wrong to value physical/sexual attraction, just as long as you’re not letting that one preference dictate who you date alone. Sexual attraction is important in healthy relationships, intimacy and seeing your partner as a sexual being is what keeps partners passionate about one another. – I sincerely hope I don’t make it the only filter. This is also why I like to take my time after I notice that I like somebody. With some men, I know that what I am feeling is just sexual attraction, mating instinct, but we have nothing in common. With others, like with those guys whom I approached myself, the feeling vanishes into thin air after we start talking.

    But I am glad that you agree that it is important. I remember reading in a book that men would never marry women who are repulsive to them whereas women make this mistake ever so often. And then the marriage becomes a sexless disaster burdened with guilt – “he is a good man, excellent father, does everything, etc. etc., but I don’t “feel” it. Please help!”

    When I say content in my own skin, with A I placated a lot, I did things for her just to keep her. I was not 100% authentic. Even though I wasn’t consciously aware that she was about to betray me. Subconsciously I was reacting already, I would bend over backwards to cater to her and make her happy that same energy was not returned. – Exactly what it was for A and me. When the physicality was wearing off, I kept looking at him and reminding myself with what eyes I had looked at him at the beginning, that it was all still there. Kept following advice on how to rekindle passion, coming up with date ideas, telling myself that he was overworked, that I should be patient, make allowances here and there. But it appears that he was the first one to act on the inevitable end of the infatuation stage. And he found nothing better than to fall in love anew with somebody else. I went through all the stages of grief – DABDA – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. Note that these stages do not necessarily follow one another in the above order. Also, one can go through the same stage several times. Anger was the last one I felt. And a couple of times, too. Now I feel nothing. Completely numb regarding A.

    Wow, you put it very wisely why they say that a relationship is like a cherry on top. Yes, you could do all that on your own, but it is so much more pleasant with that special one. I am more towards the child-free mentality, but I guess that I could change my mind if I meet the right man. But in any case, it is probably to my advantage that I don’t feel that proverbial clock ticking.

    No worries about the 15-year old one. I don’t have any unwarranted fantasies about him and I only thought it was worth mentioning as proof that I a) don’t forget to look around; b) have an open mind, am not set on a check list appearance-wise or age-wise.

    Online dating is an option, may suit you as you can filter out anyone you visually can’t see yourself with but you have to be on guard, many catfish and con artists lurk there. – that is exactly why I haven’t tried it yet. I am single, I am not immensely well-to-do, but I live comfortably withing my own means, can travel on a budget pretty much anywhere. I can very well see myself a victim of somebody charming his way into my life and then borrowing from me never to return.

    But if you really want something you make an exception. You fight for it. The ladies on here all told me to leave ‘B’ to heal and move on. I knew deep down there was unfinished business, I wanted to be her exception, she was mine. She wanted me enough and allowed me to be. – I agree. The key difference here is that you are a man and B is a woman. I do feel awkward about pursuing a man.

    However right now you are in a holding space. Unable to move forward. So why will you give him a further 6 months to play on your mind. – Well, this is true to an extent. Somehow, I still feel that it is too early for him to be in any relationship. He had such a turbulent 10-year divorce period from his wife, I really feel that one full year needs to have passed in which he knows that he is officially free. (And his wife, too. She finally put “single” as her marital status on FB.) As for myself, I would also like to know if my solemnly promising myself not to follow his life on his Twitter will have any impact.

    But if I do contact him, how do you suggest I proceed? Here is his reply to me telling him he is special (“special” can mean different things, can’t it, “unique” being among them?), “Wow, NBC, I’m flattered. And sorry. And ugh. I’m sorry if I caused any problems. I have been a total mess in my life! And super busy. I’m with my son getting him ready for college now! Anyway, I’m still here. But the same old mess…”

    This is a very good example of our off and on interaction after his final withdrawal. He would keep referring to the “old mess” (with his wife, who is no longer his wife) as if listing that as the reason why he doesn’t contact me, tell me that “he is here” as if letting me know that he is around for me and then adding that he is busy as if letting me know that he has no time for me.

    After that job offer last year, he again wrote that he was “still here”, but super busy travelling two-thirds of the time. I took it as “don’t contact me, I have no time for you.” It was also of note that he sent it to my work email, not one of the two personal ones that he knew. Maybe I am wrong. I have a hard time trying not to see too much in these apparent contradictions in his messages, which were few and far between, I might add. And keep reminding myself that men say or write exactly what they meant to say or to write, no hidden meaning. If he writes that he is busy, he is busy. Full stop.

    But I am really amazed at how effortlessly he re-entered my life! After that sorry answer of his, I didn’t contact him again. And then I get this email that goes, “Wanna be a financial advisor? See below. It was a cold call, so I figured I’d forward it to some friends of mine. How’s life?”

    So given that I had already tried to find out why he had made me feel there was something more to our relationship than there was, do I really need to bug him again?

    Or would it be better to follow my friend’s advice? She told me to use my female ingenuity. To contact him (I told her about that infatuation with the bald guy) and tell him that I had happened to get those two tickets to… cinema, theatre, opera, match – anything – and couldn’t find anyone to go with me. Though in the times of covid, this probably won’t work anyway.

    I also feel that I need to talk to him in person. Zoom or Skype would be okay, too, but not email or text. Since with me, so much depends on the “feel” I get from the person, I’d like to know if I would still feel it now that it has been four years since I last saw him.

    Should I just ask when it would be a good time for us to talk? And then tell him all about this?

    Also, at one point, I asked him for advice on how to proceed with a man who had been hitting on me. One, I really needed male advice. Two, I thought I’d make him a little bit jealous and see his reaction. That was when he told me that he thought I was pretty and that he liked me.

    So male-female attraction is definitely there. I just have no idea how to make him see that we could have so much fun together. I am not a great cook, but I can cook some things (one guy on a date told me outright, “If you want to get married, you really need to learn to cook.” How do you like that???), I always felt it would be cool to do something together in the kitchen. Quality time is definitely my love language, on par with the touch.

    And one more thing. I was really spoilt by A courting me for a long time, guessing my every wish, following my body language, always being there for me.

    B started sort of like that too. You know, when you chat, you have to go, keep dropping clues, but the other party chooses to ignore it and keeps sayings something just for the purpose of keeping you in longer? That was how it started originally, during the time when I was about to get (finally!) the definite, “I don’t want you any longer, I am in love with X” from my A”.  B even invited me to a party then, but on the very same day I had a corporate event I couldn’t miss. And then I was surprised that I didn’t hear from him for about two months. Then we had that chance encounter at work during which he was talking to my colleague and me, stalling us, looking at me all the time, after which I was 100% he would contact me. He didn’t then, but did text me in two weeks’ time after which it had been going on steady for about half a year. And then those on and off lines (Are you still around?) interspersed with chance encounters at work that I mentioned above.

    I want to say that I know how persistent B can be when he is after what he wants. So given those definite invites somewhere in the autumn of 2015, it was such a disappointment when he wrote three or four times that “we need to talk” and I replied, “Sure, any time,” and it never amounted to anything in the spring of 2016. By then, thanks to him, I could already see myself with him and not with A. So yes, on the one hand, I didn’t appreciate him going MIA, but on the other, I am eternally grateful to him for having shifted my focus from A to himself. Imagine a humongous ocean liner slowly changing course from A (‘A’) to B (‘B’). By the time I finished turning, B was gone not to be seen for half a year again until a party at which he approached me himself and sat at my table right across from me.

    Oh, and when we did meet in the autumn of 2015, the very first thing he said was “I am separated from my wife. And I don’t want to marry.” “Nice beginning,” I thought.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t want to do all the work myself.

    On the other hand, I believe I am in a much better mental place now. Not only can I take one more definite “No” (but was it or will it be definite?), I can also stop in time if I see that even after me making the first step, he still wants me to do all the work.

    #373013
    Danny
    Participant

    @NBC Given what you’ve said and the emphasis you place on a spark, if you are not feeling any initial attraction and are already repulsed, then in that situation I wouldn’t recommend forcing it.

    Because you’re highly likely to manifest what you already feel – therefore will not consider him as a real serious prospect.

    Personally I would give a person a chance because I have learned to prioritise getting to know someone on a non physical level. Sometimes love comes down to one of the most basic factors: proximity.

    Seeing each other on a regular basis builds attraction. If after a handful of dates the chemistry or attraction is lacking, I’d be 100% upfront if I was still on the dating scene. I’d not say anything that wasn’t true to avoid the feeling of leading someone on. I.e. many men can feign attraction or love bomb “you’re so amazing/beautiful/unique” just to get in the woman’s pants or use her for a need – this is despicable behaviour.

    You appear to know what you want but I’m interested to know have you ever dated someone you were not that attracted to and led them on because you felt bad for not trying?

    Chemistry, physical/sexual attraction are important. However I have learned those sparks alone are not enough to sustain a romance in the long-term. Not everyone feels it immediately either and time can be the key.

    You seem to have worked towards acceptance of A not reciprocating your feelings. However do you think there may still be a fear of being vulnerable and intimate again as a result of that relationship that’s why you fell for an unavailable guy – B?

    If you choose online dating, you should set boundaries, not flaunt your assets. You can only be conned if you allow it. So never borrow or give something without real commitment and trust. Never do things to prove ‘love.’

    I wouldn’t advise you to pursue a man. However I do advise you to get peace to that chapter with B, 5 years is far too long to be holding on and to be stalking his FB and twitter. It’s doing you more harm than good.

    Do you think he’s definitely the one for you?

    Really think about this. He is someone who had an emotional affair and cheated on his wife. He treated you as a crutch. Disappeared often and hasn’t taken any accountability and seeks sympathy by claiming to be a “mess”. He’s used this divorce as an excuse for his behaviour, he hasn’t stepped up so probably has undergone no growth. In Autumn you could find him in the exact space, unmoved you’ll have wasted more time.

    I think us men see through your friend’s ideas. It is better to just be upfront and say I need to talk to you in person. In person, say what you feel, he can’t avoid your questions and you can better gauge his intentions.

    And if he then realises he is available now and wants to pursue something. Let him do the work, you just be yourself.

    If it’s a No again, you need to let go and accept he is not the one for you. You really do, if you’re still struggling see a therapist.

    What he said to you in 2015 was a pre warning to avoid accountabilty if/when you fell for him. So if you went ahead knowing you would want more you have to take responsibility for being complicit because you chose to ignore the glaring red flag and warning signs indicating he was emotionally unavailable.

    That doesn’t mean you deserve to be treated the way you did but you have to admit your own part. It’s part of maturing and learning to exert your self respect and worth.

    Walking away. Putting yourself first instead is teaching consequences. It’s a language which works with men who push boundaries. Taking control by showing you respect yourself. It is what ‘B’ did. It made me respect her more.

    #373014
    Sammy
    Participant

    I don’t think you’ll get an answer from @Shelbyville any time soon :(…She really needed a break. It’s a shame because I know you relate to her.

    I’ve read all this thread, so can give you an approx timeline to reach her current guy based on what she stated. Maybe it will help you?

    I don’t know if there was more in between. It might give you hope @NBC

    Sept/Oct 2018 – she split up with her first ex

    Jan 19 – a rebound from years ago got in touch with her and Shelby was advised not to entertain it, she went out with him to the cinema as a “friend” and it just reminded her of her ex. Don’t think anything happened.

    She then tried dating websites- no one matched up with her ex.

    March-May 19 – she reunited with her ex. It ended x3.

    Aug 19 – before her travels she chatted with some guy back and forth with some flirty exchange. Bit of game playing he made it out it was just friends, she wasn’t happy with him controlling the pace and realised she didn’t want him in that way anymore – roll your eyes at kind of guy, I remember reading and I think they did hang out.

    Sept/Oct 19 – After travels she referenced a guy who had been in the background but mentioned he was a sensitive guy so I doubt it was the same man above but not sure 🤷‍♀️ . She dated this sensitive man, spoke well of him, she started something and stopped- because she was still thinking of her ex still and they took a break for a few weeks.

    Jan 20 – they became very close friends she described him glowingly (like Danny describes B) and he helped her during a difficult time. So we all assumed he was someone she was afraid of admitting feelings for, like Danny was with B.

    Summer 2020– she said during lockdown she found herself wondering if she had feelings for him but in the end decided lockdown was just amplifying them. Things ended, some lines were drawn and turns out she felt no attraction to him and he was a flake. So we were wrong.

    Aug 20 she mentioned dating apps, which she saw her ex on then the anger came. She then started dating 2 guys as distraction. 1st guy beat her to it and called time, she was upset. The 2nd guy was hot or cold at first but she really wanted him after they got intimate.

    After some turbulence she is very happy and in love with the 2nd guy who really spoils, tells her he loves her. They’ve been dating 3/4months and she wanted a future with him before she took her break.

    There was a mention of a journeymate to Danny. I don’t know who Shelbyville hurt like Danny.

    Reading your situation @NBC my advice is confront your emotions. It is not healthy for your emotional wellbeing to be in this limbo. You don’t want the years to pass you by and regret not taking action and control sooner x

    #373015
    Sammy
    Participant

    @Danny I’ve instructed an agent to sell up! It was never going to be my forever home and I want a fresh start with someone in a new place with no lingering memories of the ex.

    The ex I too have developed an indifference roo. I think the type of person I am, I’ll always care about him but no longer want him. I’m really proud of where I fought to get to.

    So I don’t know if you’ve read this thread, but I have a friend my bestie in fact. She was my alcohol buddy and support when shit hit the fan. I’ve known her for yonks!

    Her brother has been there for me too and recently a bit of flirting has happened, i thought i was imagining it so asked my bestie and according to her he’s always fancied me! The timing has never been right. So nothing has happened. I don’t want to rush it, I’m scared also because she’s my best friend what if it gets messy? I don’t want him to be a rebound so I don’t know whether I should get something out my system first. I’m confused Danny! Lol

    Don’t worry you and B will be back together soon. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The distance can be fun too with tech 😉 do you still have the same chemistry when you’re apart?

    Oh em G, look at you, you’re actually planning your future together. I think getting a nicer home over an expensive wedding is better. If her side want a big wedding don’t feel pressured to match it. I’m sure B just wants you and would be happy with a small intimate affair. You could do both, a cultural wedding paid for by her father and a intimate affair paid for by you. Don’t let yourself fa into the weddingzilla trap. It’s meant to be a ceremony to celebrate your love.

    I’m so pleased for you Danny!

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Sammy.
    #373119
    NBC
    Participant

    @Dannydan

    <i>Personally I would give a person a chance because I have learned to prioritise getting to know someone on a non physical level. Sometimes love comes down to one of the most basic factors: proximity.</i> – This is what my mother keeps repeating. However, out of all those eligible (I don’t count one-sided infatuations and B would probably not make this list because of the eligibility criterion) men who approached me or whom I approached, I was neutral to just one guy and extremely liked just one, too. That is two out of approximately a dozen. In five years! The rest I felt immediate aversion, too, upon just the sight of them. And for the life of me couldn’t understand how come they couldn’t feel it!

    <i>You appear to know what you want but I’m interested to know have you ever dated someone you were not that attracted to and led them on because you felt bad for not trying?</i> – No. I am extremely careful not to lead anybody on. More than that. If I feel that someone likes me, even before they voice anything (like that guy above who kept showing up at work), I do my best to watch what I am saying, where I am looking, my body language. Avoid him.

    <i>Chemistry, physical/sexual attraction are important. However I have learned those sparks alone are not enough to sustain a romance in the long-term. Not everyone feels it immediately either and time can be the key.</i> – Again, you sound like my mother.

    Back to your question above. I don’t know if one date is the same as ‘dating.’ I did go on just one date with three or four guys just to check whether my feelings would change. They didn’t. I had a few dates, again just one and that’s it with some guys because they had asked me out by email or phone and I couldn’t match the name with the face. Also a couple set up by relatives. No luck. Didn’t like them. It wasn’t mutual though. Two of the guys I felt physical aversion two insisted on seeing me again a few times afterwards. I remember I was so surprised that they couldn’t feel that I was much more than neutral towards them – I positively couldn’t stand them!

    I am also thinking that I do box guys into categories, too. Upon acquaintance, I know that these will be good friends and that I wouldn’t mind dating those if they asked me out (A’s case, B’s case – before I knew anything about him). ‘Wouldn’t mind’ was also the case of a handful of guys with whom I didn’t have anything that could be termed ‘relationship’ and also the case of those guys who never asked me out). However, I did change my mind about dating some in the last category for a definite no after we talked (and either I myself approached them or they did).

    <i>You seem to have worked towards acceptance of A not reciprocating your feelings. However do you think there may still be a fear of being vulnerable and intimate again as a result of that relationship that’s why you fell for an unavailable guy – B?</i> – That’s an interesting one. You know, I always thought that I should be upfront and not play games. Hardly anyone approached me. My mother, who used to have a lot of guys courting her in her youth and later on, kept telling me that I needed to be wiser, more coquette, more feminine in my approach, not some Snow Queen up on her pedestal. I didn’t listen. I met A and thought that I had been right all the way. Until he cheated on me. Now, after that turbulent year with A, B and the guy in-between, and the gap of four years with zero romance, I feel that I have sort of gone back in time to the time when I was who I was and kept having one-sided crushes on fellow classmates and professors.

    <i>If you choose online dating, you should set boundaries, not flaunt your assets. You can only be conned if you allow it. So never borrow or give something without real commitment and trust. Never do things to prove ‘love.’</i> – Thank you, Danny. I’ll bear it in mind if I do decide to give it a go. You see, I just counted that out of all those men on my resume, I could see myself being intimate with just six. That is roughly one per year! If I go at that pace, I might not find the one until I am retired! I read dating accounts, when even given the filtering (age, supposedly unattached marital status, common interests) folks go through up to one hundred people until they find somebody. (Or don’t!) So I thought that if I wanted to increase my chances of meeting somebody eligible, somebody with whom I could be intimate and who would feel the same in return, online dating was probably the solution.

    <i>I wouldn’t advise you to pursue a man. However I do advise you to get peace to that chapter with B, 5 years is far too long to be holding on and to be stalking his FB and twitter. It’s doing you more harm than good.</i> – Well, he doesn’t update his FB. Rather, he is much more active on Twitter, and some of his Twitter posts make it to his FB page. So far I seem to keep that solemn promise of mine not to look up his Twitter account with no problem.

    <i>Do you think he’s definitely the one for you?</i>

    <i>Really think about this. He is someone who had an emotional affair and cheated on his wife. He treated you as a crutch. Disappeared often and hasn’t taken any accountability and seeks sympathy by claiming to be a “mess”. He’s used this divorce as an excuse for his behaviour, he hasn’t stepped up so probably has undergone no growth. </i>– Good point. When I told my mother that there was a guy with whom we had been communicating, but who basically ghosted on me because of his unresolved divorce issue, she said that he would be going back and forth to his wife and from her like this forever. She was right to a degree. He never really came back to me, but he did finalise his divorce, albeit four years later. I am hooked up on his potential. You know, my secret wish has been to run into him in a store or something. Some colleagues of mine have. Not me. I am sure that I would know right away where he stands. Wouldn’t be surprised if he blushes and stammers something nice again without any active follow-up though. And then the cycle of he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not will start anew.

    I realise that I am betting on potential. But do you really think I need to talk to him? I reread his answer to my ‘confession’ again. Now it seems to me that everything is so crystal clear. (“No, sorry, I was a mess, it was just a man’s banter, nothing to pay attention to, I never thought you would take it seriously, besides, didn’t I tell you I was not being serious?”) I am stubbornly trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. If he has grown and decides he wants me, he knows how to reach me. It would otherwise be as if B came to you saying, hey, you know, you helped me, I helped you, but you hurt me, I demand explanation!

    I confessed to him for two reasons. First, I made it a point a long time ago to never let go of a chance to tell people something nice (if it is true, of course) because you don’t know if life will ever give you a chance to do that later. Second, I read that a man will never forget a woman’s confession. (I don’t think a woman will either, tbh.)

    <i>In Autumn you could find him in the exact space, unmoved you’ll have wasted more time.</i> – I am not sure I am wasting my time. I feel that some process is going on in my subconsciousness, behind the scenes so to speak. I know that peculiarity of mine to “ripen ready” as I call it. And I do want him to be fully ready for that discussion if he agrees to meet me. The last thing I would want to do is to repeat this story on Tiny Buddha with a divorced man: https://tinybuddha.com/topic/hes-overthinking-and-retreating/

    <i>I think us men see through your friend’s ideas.</i> – When I was thinking how to make B come out into the light and as I was going through different ideas, I thought so, too. But she is adamant that she was the one who was courting her future husband until he found himself attached and in love. And now he says that it was he who was courting her! On the flip side, she wouldn’t have been single for such a long time if this worked every time. But they have been married for four years now and have an adorable baby girl.

    <i>It is better to just be upfront and say I need to talk to you in person. In person, say what you feel, he can’t avoid your questions and you can better gauge his intentions.</i> – Danny, I need help here. I tried rehearsing how would I begin after the usual small talk of How are you doing? Work all right? Etc. And I feel it is pathetic. I am pathetic if I say, “You know, we had such an intense communication (as I thought), I thought I got to know you, you pulled away and left me with question marks about what it was. To such an extent that I still go around and can’t make peace with your disappearance from my life five years later.” Girl, man up and get over it!

    Or else, if I go the other way, if I say, “I am trying to understand how somebody like you, so perceptive and all, could do that to me” – I sound as if I am reproaching him, as if I am blaming him for something. He as a guy may think that this is ridiculous. He flirted here and there, made it known in advance that he couldn’t be serious, and here she is claiming that there had been something special. Crazy, pathetic love-struck gal!

    <i>And if he then realises he is available now and wants to pursue something. Let him do the work, you just be yourself.</i> – That I could do. When we met the last time and he sat across from me, I felt butterflies in my stomach. Now as I picture this talk, I feel nothing, totally businesslike as if I was an author gaining material for a story. But I do want more time to have passed since his divorce stamp. Hence autumn 2021. If I do decide to carry it out then.

    <i>What he said to you in 2015 was a pre warning to avoid accountabilty if/when you fell for him.</i> – I agree.

    <i>So if you went ahead knowing you would want more you have to take responsibility for being complicit because you chose to ignore the glaring red flag and warning signs indicating he was emotionally unavailable.</i> – I agree, too. It was only after his hot and cold that I started researching about divorce vs separation, how a recent divorce may impact a man’s behaviour (no matter who the initiator or how long the couple has been separated, etc.) and what it means to be emotionally unavailable.

    <i>That doesn’t mean you deserve to be treated the way you did but you have to admit your own part. It’s part of maturing and learning to exert your self respect and worth. </i>– I do admit. But looking back, I am not sure that given what I knew then I could have acted differently. Now – yes.

    <i>Walking away. Putting yourself first instead is teaching consequences. It’s a language which works with men who push boundaries. Taking control by showing you respect yourself. It is what ‘B’ did. It made me respect her more.</i> – And this sounds like male psychology forums and books, thanks for confirming it! But then me being me, I start to question those boundaries myself. Something like How can I claim that my ‘truth’ is the universal truth? Isn’t it just an opinion? Isn’t he entitled to his opinion? Who am I to say what he can do and what he can’t do? Don’t we all make mistakes? If I can do something, why do I assume that he can do it, too? And so on.

    #373120
    NBC
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    @Sammy, thank you so very much for doing the hard work and laying out @Shelbyville’s timeline!

    I remembered about the two guys at the same time, but I was not sure if the one she is with was one of the two. Interesting that he was hot and cold at first (or she perceived him to be), but is spoiling her now.

    I am also curious how many men she had to sift through (just one date or nothing at all?) before she ended up with those two?

    @Shelbyville, no rush getting back here, I would hate to be the cause of your feeling guilty that on top of all of your other responsibilities there is one more thing you need to attend to, but if you could come back here at some point, that would be greatly appreciated!

    I am also curious what you wrote on the dating app? “Looking for someone to have fun with and build a life with” as one other Tiny Buddha member looking for a committed relationship did?

    I also remember reading one more member’s thread: https://tinybuddha.com/members/dreaming715/topics/ I related to that girl a lot, too. I wish she posted an update, because it didn’t sound like the guy she ended with was really that good for her (despite some participants trying to convince her that he was).

    Oh, @Sammy, I feel that something is changing behind the scenes. Either I will get clarity that I don’t want to talk to B or we do talk and I will (hopefully!) get clarity then or… I don’t know! I have beaten all my friends’ and family members’ records not having met anybody new in five years! Everyone was saying, “No big deal, you’ll soon meet somebody, fall in love and forget about them all! Don’t you know how quickly it all happens?” Yes, I know, but somehow this time it has been avoiding me for far too long now!

    #373121
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    Participant
    #373556
    Danny
    Participant

    Homie @Kkasxo how are you? Have you now come out of isolation and recovered? Haven’t heard from you so hope you’re fighting fit 💪

    @Sammy that’s great inroads you’ve made.If your current home was always going to be a stepping stone then go for it. The new beginning might be the very change to steer your life in the right direction.

    You’re a bigger person than me for sure and it shows the size of your heart to still care about your ex the way you do whilst also having moved on.

    I acknowledge I loved ‘A’ and I’ll always have those memories but honestly I really don’t care for her like I once did, when I would do anything for her no matter what our situation was.

    I was discussing this with ‘B’ she is very much like yourself, she said she hated the fact after how I was, she couldn’t stop caring but made peace with it being her nature and wasn’t going to beat herself up for being a kind, loving person.

    In terms of your new development, that’s exciting news!! I bet you are worried about it being a rebound relationship. But you’ve done so much work on yourself and not rushed into a new relationship before you were ‘over’ your ex. So I don’t think you should be concerned about  effectively replacing the old partner with a new one.

    I get where you are coming from about dating a besties bro.

    Look at the positives though she is for it, she sounds like a mature and self aware friend. You have also known of him for a while so will have an idea if it’s a good match up or not. You could end up sister in laws ahaha. But you’re really playing with fire if you go into it feeling unsure of your feelings for him or still lingering feelings for your ex, That’s a surefire way to hurt your besties bro and lose your bestie in one fell swoop.

    There’s no rush, take your time and if he is the right man for you he will not push it.

    Yes, I really miss being with ‘B’, chemistry has always been good between us, I’m glad it’s not dry over text, calls or other mediums because with the distance it’s important. The honeymoon period is still alive 😉 I love that we both keep stepping up for one another. The other day she was feeling a little stressed, so I wrote her a song and serenaded her over a videocall and she does little things to return the favour too.

    I am looking forward to seeing her in person, we are using this time to plan the wedding. I think we both just want to be with each other now more than anything, so are just saying yes to others wishes for the wedding and focusing on finding a home together with virtual home viewings!!

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