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Thread: JJ's Diary of Dating

  1. #1041
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    I wouldn't indulge in "it's always a risk". Or "we are all works in progress". Personally -if choosing a mate force yourself to focus on specifics -on the specific risks, the specific areas where you would be settling - force yourself to get down to the often painful nitty gritty where you have to admit to yourself what your values are, whether there are aspects that you realize are superficial (but dealbreakers nonetheless -like for example women who wouldn't want to be with a man who is shorter than them, etc). The generalities are unhelpful in this kind of decision IMO. Because they won't help you if you commit and then have really strong core-shaking doubts about what specifically you feel you are settling for, what specifically is not enough. Then those platitudes and generalities might get you a short term reprieve -a bandaid -maybe you'll sleep that night -but it won't get you there, get you to feeling comfortable and secure and excited to marry this person. Look this is just me after so many disappointments where I was with a "great person" and had those strong doubts and tried my darndest to ignore them. Thank goodness I broke engagements and didn't have to go through a divorce or put someone else through that. What I did was bad enough because my self-dishonesty of course wasted someone else's time too.

    I would have been settling had I married my husband in the late 90s. I wasn't at all when we married 10 years ago. The opposite. And yes at times I had fleeting jitters and doubts -I'm human. Maybe he did too! But because the core was strong and because I was sure and not settling those were fleeting, quickly resolvable. And it aint easy with becoming parents (and I relocated for the first time in 43 years) so if you don't have the strong foundation of a spark, of knowing you're happy to be with this person, of having those loving feelings, it makes it so much harder from what I've seen.

    I get it- you're in your 30s, she's gorgeous with a big heart -she's so into you, she's working to better herself -all great stuff -but please do ask yourself the tough questions and avoid the temptation of the generalities. For both your sakes.

  2. #1042
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with your whole story, so I'm just chiming in on this chapter.

    My feeling—and I say this as someone who didn't really "get" what I'm about to say until I was a few sneezes away from 40—is that the respect/admiration stuff is much like the physical chemistry stuff. In short: it's either there or it's not, can't really be forced, and it's ultimately on us to be honest with how important that is to us in partnership.

    Along with Batya, what I can't help but hear is you using your brain to tell a story that makes up for that missing piece: she's had hard sh*t to deal with, is working on turning it around, etc. We see something similar in people who aren't feeling things on the physical front: but he's really so sweet, kinder than other men, maybe that juju isn't so important or can grow with time, etc.

    These stories provide some comfort, but they never quite erase the rub, since other people, even the ones we struggle to respect, are invariably larger than any story we can tell. In my observation, and my own experience, relationships that require these stories tend to be those that can't quite cross over from boyfriend/girlfriend to genuine partnership, because the "true" or "fuller" story of you two together eventually eclipses the story told to make together happen. Those that do? Well, they are fraught partnerships built around the tacit premise that looking at the fuller story is like looking directly at the sun: you'll go blind.

    That's not to sound all the major alarm bells and send you into the mental spin cycle. This is new, as you said. A few months. Boyfriend/girlfriend time, and a very sweet time. Exhale, enjoy it. Part of the sweetness of that time is still observing the question of partnership, and being honest (with yourself) about where that seems like a possibility and what might be in the way of that path. Observing isn't telling stories to clear the path; that's kind of like talking over ourselves so we can't hear what we're really thinking. Observing is being patient, pairing clear eyes with an open heart and seeing what comes.

    I don't quite know how to say this next part so I'll just say it: there is a faint air of condescension in how you describe her, as this hot, big-hearted, attentive woman who wants you to be proud of her, who is trying to turn it around and who you believe will land on her feet. There's a lot of beauty in that, in you being able to see someone's potential etc., but I think what's important, at least when it comes to partnership, is that the actual is enough to sink your teeth into and trust that you can lean into, without having to break your brain to create a cushion to fall on where you think the foundation of another isn't strong enough to support you.

  3. #1043
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    I wouldn't indulge in "it's always a risk". Or "we are all works in progress". Personally -if choosing a mate force yourself to focus on specifics -on the specific risks, the specific areas where you would be settling - force yourself to get down to the often painful nitty gritty where you have to admit to yourself what your values are, whether there are aspects that you realize are superficial (but dealbreakers nonetheless -like for example women who wouldn't want to be with a man who is shorter than them, etc). The generalities are unhelpful in this kind of decision IMO. Because they won't help you if you commit and then have really strong core-shaking doubts about what specifically you feel you are settling for, what specifically is not enough. Then those platitudes and generalities might get you a short term reprieve -a bandaid -maybe you'll sleep that night -but it won't get you there, get you to feeling comfortable and secure and excited to marry this person. Look this is just me after so many disappointments where I was with a "great person" and had those strong doubts and tried my darndest to ignore them. Thank goodness I broke engagements and didn't have to go through a divorce or put someone else through that. What I did was bad enough because my self-dishonesty of course wasted someone else's time too.

    I would have been settling had I married my husband in the late 90s. I wasn't at all when we married 10 years ago. The opposite. And yes at times I had fleeting jitters and doubts -I'm human. Maybe he did too! But because the core was strong and because I was sure and not settling those were fleeting, quickly resolvable. And it aint easy with becoming parents (and I relocated for the first time in 43 years) so if you don't have the strong foundation of a spark, of knowing you're happy to be with this person, of having those loving feelings, it makes it so much harder from what I've seen.

    I get it- you're in your 30s, she's gorgeous with a big heart -she's so into you, she's working to better herself -all great stuff -but please do ask yourself the tough questions and avoid the temptation of the generalities. For both your sakes.

    All very good points. I liked what you said about "if you don't have a strong foundation, it makes it so harder to get through harder times together." It's simple enough of a concept, yet profound to me at the same time. Thank you again Batya. I definitely do love this woman, and she and I are VERY similar in a lot of ways...



    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    I'm not familiar with your whole story, so I'm just chiming in on this chapter.

    My feeling—and I say this as someone who didn't really "get" what I'm about to say until I was a few sneezes away from 40—is that the respect/admiration stuff is much like the physical chemistry stuff. In short: it's either there or it's not, can't really be forced, and it's ultimately on us to be honest with how important that is to us in partnership.

    Along with Batya, what I can't help but hear is you using your brain to tell a story that makes up for that missing piece: she's had hard sh*t to deal with, is working on turning it around, etc. We see something similar in people who aren't feeling things on the physical front: but he's really so sweet, kinder than other men, maybe that juju isn't so important or can grow with time, etc.

    These stories provide some comfort, but they never quite erase the rub, since other people, even the ones we struggle to respect, are invariably larger than any story we can tell. In my observation, and my own experience, relationships that require these stories tend to be those that can't quite cross over from boyfriend/girlfriend to genuine partnership, because the "true" or "fuller" story of you two together eventually eclipses the story told to make together happen. Those that do? Well, they are fraught partnerships built around the tacit premise that looking at the fuller story is like looking directly at the sun: you'll go blind.

    That's not to sound all the major alarm bells and send you into the mental spin cycle. This is new, as you said. A few months. Boyfriend/girlfriend time, and a very sweet time. Exhale, enjoy it. Part of the sweetness of that time is still observing the question of partnership, and being honest (with yourself) about where that seems like a possibility and what might be in the way of that path. Observing isn't telling stories to clear the path; that's kind of like talking over ourselves so we can't hear what we're really thinking. Observing is being patient, pairing clear eyes with an open heart and seeing what comes.

    I don't quite know how to say this next part so I'll just say it: there is a faint air of condescension in how you describe her, as this hot, big-hearted, attentive woman who wants you to be proud of her, who is trying to turn it around and who you believe will land on her feet. There's a lot of beauty in that, in you being able to see someone's potential etc., but I think what's important, at least when it comes to partnership, is that the actual is enough to sink your teeth into and trust that you can lean into, without having to break your brain to create a cushion to fall on where you think the foundation of another isn't strong enough to support you.
    I get what you're saying BlueCastle. I certainly don't mean to be condescending when I describe her. As I said, I have genuine feelings for this woman, and I know I'm not a "perfectly wrapped package" either. No one is, really. And I'm not just saying "I'm not perfect either" to sound less condescending lol. I have many flaws - I tend to get stuck in routines, somewhat set in my ways, tend to be very risk averse, sometimes I think and worry way too much. With this girl, I guess I'm just trying to focus on the positives. Because maybe the next woman might not be as affectionate or kind and willing to spend time with my family and friends. My ex was absolutely brilliant, a PhD, actually ("above" me! I only have a Master's lol). But while my ex was indeed brilliant and very attractive as well, she wasn't always warm, and was never willing to spend time with my family and friends. And she never once cooked for me lol this woman is always trying to feed me (this is NOT something that I look for, just a bonus!). And me and this girl have a lot in common in how we think and view the world.

    I guess it's just impossible to find someone that has everything I want. Maybe partially "settling" in some areas might only be a temporary thing, to the extent that she does turn some things around. I can get past the mental health issues, because MANY people struggle with them to varying degrees, and she's aware of it and it doesn't impact us too much. I'm mostly concerned with her finding a stable career, much more than what she actually brings home in her paycheck (I really don't care too much about the latter, just the stability).

  4. #1044
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    I also like the line from You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan ends things with her long time boyfriend who she cares for and who cares for her but they're just not feeling it anymore. He asks "is there someone else?" And she says "no..... but there is the dream of someone else."

    On the "everything you want" - make sure your list of everything is not impossibly long, step back and reevaluate but again in a bluntly honest way, and if it's a reasonable list -again you're entitled to limit your dating pool of course - but you are saying you want to find a good match which is why I'm suggesting the evaluation - and then no, do not settle and do not marry for someone's potential IF what they are right now, today, would be settling. Who they are, not what they have. So for example I would have married my husband if he was temporarily unemployed of course because I know his work ethic is solid and more than. But I wouldn't have gotten involved with someone who was unemployed and I didn't have the sense that they had a fire underneath them to find a new position.

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  6. #1045
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    There is NO ONE who has everything someone wants. This is a fallacy that doesn’t exist.

  7. #1046
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    I also like the line from You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan ends things with her long time boyfriend who she cares for and who cares for her but they're just not feeling it anymore. He asks "is there someone else?" And she says "no..... but there is the dream of someone else."

    On the "everything you want" - make sure your list of everything is not impossibly long, step back and reevaluate but again in a bluntly honest way, and if it's a reasonable list -again you're entitled to limit your dating pool of course - but you are saying you want to find a good match which is why I'm suggesting the evaluation - and then no, do not settle and do not marry for someone's potential IF what they are right now, today, would be settling. Who they are, not what they have. So for example I would have married my husband if he was temporarily unemployed of course because I know his work ethic is solid and more than. But I wouldn't have gotten involved with someone who was unemployed and I didn't have the sense that they had a fire underneath them to find a new position.
    Ok I see what you're saying, and this helps. She's certainly not unemployed - she has an ok job, pays her bills (she said she has a "small amount" of debt, but somehow still has great credit) and always contributes when we go out (or at least, she always offers to). I think she definitely does have that fire within her to improve her situation. She once told me "I wish I met you a year later so I would have had time to work on myself more." She's very self aware and honest. She's made many improvements in her life already and she's working to make further strides.

    I will likely stay with her, at least for now. I asked myself yesterday how I would feel if I ended it, if I wasn't with her...and I felt like a pain in my heart lol. Who knows what that's exactly indicative of. I don't wanna go too deep. I just know I'd be very upset and sad.

    Originally Posted by ~Seraphim ~
    There is NO ONE who has everything someone wants. This is a fallacy that doesn’t exist.
    Thanks Seraph. It certainly seems like some people do find that. Some couples really do seem to "have it all." But I know, we only see their "highlight reels," "they only let us see what they want us to see," etc. But boy, could some of them fool me.

  8. #1047
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    To me have it all means finding the right match for yourself. The end. The other stuff is just outward fluff.

  9. #1048
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    Originally Posted by John John
    Ok I see what you're saying, and this helps. She's certainly not unemployed - she has an ok job, pays her bills (she said she has a "small amount" of debt, but somehow still has great credit) and always contributes when we go out (or at least, she always offers to). I think she definitely does have that fire within her to improve her situation. She once told me "I wish I met you a year later so I would have had time to work on myself more." She's very self aware and honest. She's made many improvements in her life already and she's working to make further strides.

    I will likely stay with her, at least for now. I asked myself yesterday how I would feel if I ended it, if I wasn't with her...and I felt like a pain in my heart lol. Who knows what that's exactly indicative of. I don't wanna go too deep. I just know I'd be very upset and sad.



    Thanks Seraph. It certainly seems like some people do find that. Some couples really do seem to "have it all." But I know, we only see their "highlight reels," "they only let us see what they want us to see," etc. But boy, could some of them fool me.
    The thing is you don’t see their entire life. Take for instance my husband and I , we are pretty good . I am very very empathetic and an empath. My husband has all the empathy and sympathy of Pennywise. He is just not a “ feelings” guy. No one in his family gives a rat’s bum about feelings. So when I found out last week my mom had a fatal illness and all I get is a there there pat on the back from a man I have been with 30 years. Wt..

    But that’s him.

  10. #1049
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    I think there are people who have it all in the sense that they found someone they are in love with who is in love with them, they get along really well, they have all the outer trappings too -live nicely, cute kids, attractive looking. I mean however you define having it all. I wouldn't assume that everyone has skeletons or that it's never about having it all. Most of the time there are issues, flaws, chinks, skeletons. And I know of people who have it all. Want to know why? Cause life isn't fair -(I mean their happiness doesn't detract from yours and might even enhance but I know some people feel it isn't "fair" when it comes "so easy" to certain people). -life isn't fair and indulging in comparisons is counterproductive. But if you're doing a lot of comparing ask yourself if it is because you feel you are settling.

    When I was ready to marry and commit I knew technically there could be someone out there who was better for me -technically because I hadn't dated everyone on the planet just half. When I was ready I accepted that technicality as true and didn't care. And someone telling me he/she met the perfect person for me at that time would have been irrelevant to me too -because I was done in the positive sense -done looking, done with GIGS, done wondering if there was someone better.

  11. #1050
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    Hi, JJ! Nice to see you back.

    I'm your gf in this scenario. Someone that was dealt a pretty sh***y mental hand and took years to figure out, meaning that I let several good things in my life go and kept a lot of bad ones. I spent my 20s trying to go to college and failing. This year, in fact, I finally accepted that I may never be able to complete it, and that I've already got a dream job. In 2016? 17? I met someone that is very intelligent, whom I'm deeply in love with and an engaged to. But he has two degrees, his Master's, is in the process of getting a third degree, makes twice what I make, and pretty often makes me intimidated by the sheer force of intelligence and worldliness. But somehow, he still loves me and wants to be with me, no matter what.

    You can't force yourself to respect someone. It feels like you're trying to elevate her in your head when in reality she is what she is. What you should try to remember is what she is bringing to the table now - a woman in her mid-30s that took a little while to figure herself out, but managed to get a job she loves, is self-disciplined, and is still realistic when it comes to love. This is what she is right now, and you said that she is working on improving herself. So really, I think it may just take some time.


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