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Thread: Girlfriend wants to stay with ex abroad.

  1. #21
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    i'm glad certain others have approached it without writing it off as simple codependency or something too. I mean I'm aware if you take a closer look at most of us either personally inclined or professionally avowed to social good you'll find textbook remnants of doormats and saviors only in more sophisticated form, but what you'll also find is self awareness and a relentless drive for sublimation of the same tendencies.

    There is a distinct ethical component in all his concerns, in literally all his threads. This is often the case with intellectuals concerned with social good. It doesn't help much to say "you don't need anyone's approval" or "she's not a terrible person for it", neither of that is questionable to OP, or sufficient. The superego is brutal, not allowing for a self-protective move until it can remove every trace of selfishness, impatience and insensitivity for the fellow human. Whether he knows it or not, dave is a philosopher. The good thing about that is that by that same token, he's perfectly capable of getting off of the moral fence when he finds a good enough argument for it, even if it requires a professional. I hesitate to say "maybe you should explore this in therapy" for fear it would come off patronizing or imply he's got some terribly dysfunctional thing going on. I don't think he does, what he seems to have, is philosophical and intellectual pain that is allowing him to set himself up for experiences like this and i just think requires an intelligent conversationalist to address, even if it's not a therapist. I could swear he dumbs it down when he's posting to make it forum appropriate. i'm sure he can come up with a way to consolidate his beliefs and ethics with the need to protect himself practically and emotionally, but it's easier in discourse. it's hard to surprise yourself in your own head.


    most of us have learned to wear our kevlar vests when we come on here anyway, but i do hope OP can hear beyond the mere "you're groveling/ insecure" layer of the responses.

  2. #22
    Bronze Member Afireblue's Avatar
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    I believe you are right to feel this way. It's your intuition and your gut speaking.

    One thing is to have an amicable-professional relationship with an ex, which is possible, however, this, going on two trips (after it was suggested you could join on one) is more than that.

    It sounds like you are an open-minded, reasonable man. Have you discussed this openly with her? How would she feel if the roles were reversed?

  3. #23
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    Originally Posted by RainyCoast
    i'm glad certain others have approached it without writing it off as simple codependency or something too. I mean I'm aware if you take a closer look at most of us either personally inclined or professionally avowed to social good you'll find textbook remnants of doormats and saviors only in more sophisticated form, but what you'll also find is self awareness and a relentless drive for sublimation of the same tendencies.

    There is a distinct ethical component in all his concerns, in literally all his threads. This is often the case with intellectuals concerned with social good. It doesn't help much to say "you don't need anyone's approval" or "she's not a terrible person for it", neither of that is questionable to OP, or sufficient. The superego is brutal, not allowing for a self-protective move until it can remove every trace of selfishness, impatience and insensitivity for the fellow human. Whether he knows it or not, dave is a philosopher. The good thing about that is that by that same token, he's perfectly capable of getting off of the moral fence when he finds a good enough argument for it, even if it requires a professional. I hesitate to say "maybe you should explore this in therapy" for fear it would come off patronizing or imply he's got some terribly dysfunctional thing going on. I don't think he does, what he seems to have, is philosophical and intellectual pain that is allowing him to set himself up for experiences like this and i just think requires an intelligent conversationalist to address, even if it's not a therapist. I could swear he dumbs it down when he's posting to make it forum appropriate. i'm sure he can come up with a way to consolidate his beliefs and ethics with the need to protect himself practically and emotionally, but it's easier in discourse. it's hard to surprise yourself in your own head.


    most of us have learned to wear our kevlar vests when we come on here anyway, but i do hope OP can hear beyond the mere "you're groveling/ insecure" layer of the responses.

    I'm fascinated by your reply. My mother was a very empathetic and caring person in a caring profession who taught me to be non-judgemental and accept people for who they are. The problem with empathy is that it can attract the wrong sort of people, like bees to a honeypot. I've always looked for the best in people, possibly giving time to people and relationships I shouldn't have. The saying 'treat other people how you would like to be treated yourself' is quite dangerous though, encouraging you to be nice to people that don't warrant it. A few years ago I was exposed to somebody whom I now believe to have been a malignant narcissist, and it has changed my perception of humanity. For years I walked around believing that everyone was like me, and they are not. I realised quite quickly for every good person there was also a bad one. And then there's people who are truly bad, who would destroy you if they could. In recent years I have shrunk my friend base down, and removed toxic people. I have developed an acute sense of spotting this type of behaviour, it's like a radar system. I believe that the ex of the woman I'm seeing to be toxic, and using triangulation techniques on me. People who haven't been exposed to this behaviour can not understand the damage that they can inflict, luckily I do. I will back away from it, it's not worth it.

    In terms of therapy, over here you don't really do it to the extent the Americans do. The thought of it is interesting, but I do have some interesting friends I discuss things with. I don't think I'm co-dependant, but perhaps we all have issues of one sort or another. I'm sure I have insecurities, but I'm fairly confident in myself and my abilities. I am a work in progress in terms of my perception of humanity, and I have learned to protect myself practically and emotionally as best I can.

    I like this site because the cross-section of viewpoints is interesting, you can post here when you're thinking 'is this what's really happening here, or am I imagining things?'. You get a useful back-up to your intuition.

    In terms of my present situation, I will follow my intuition. Actions speak louder than words, and I will see what pans out with this woman. The problem with dating at my age is that people come with baggage (including myself), and it takes a while to figure out what exactly the baggage is. In this case, a long standing ex whom I didn't fully comprehend the significance of until a short while ago. I will not engage in his games, or hers for that matter.

    I'm flattered that you think I'm a philosopher by the way, but I'm of the impression that you're more versed in the subject than I could ever be.

  4. #24
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    In regard to wanting to be loving and without the bias that would make one write people off as non options
    And that perpetually not working out in practice,

    I know why that is, for me. I can't be succint but I'll go ham eggs and cheese trying to explain in case it's at all helpful. It's four in the night here and I have to be up early so I'll just go and write a novel because I like to sabotage myself like that.

    Let's take the thing with the schizophreniacs. I have past personal experience, and like NBH I work with them now. I've been privy to the full gamut of the manifestations of the illness, and the true persons behind it. With familiarity came an unusually strong affection for them. Unlike the other poster though, I don't find working with them rewarding that often. It's usually quite frustrating for me. Everyone has their forte and well, schizophrenic people aren't mine. But I think I could go as far as to say I love them, I really want the best for them, I respect them, etc. Before bed, I often have visuals that I can't help but that are an extension of my disposition towards them. I picture myself standing next to them and a warm current of support flowing from my heart. Again, I don't conjure it up, it's the kind of thing your mind creates when you're thinking about people you really care about. So I must not be judgemental or insensitive but rather loving, right? Well, first thing in the morning when I'm working with them, it all goes to waste. I try, really hard, and they'll say they really appreciate it BUT "the helicopters/planes/government spies/ the police/ the tapped phones/ the cameras/ they were coughing to exchange coded messages about me/ they were breathing into the bottle neck" etc. I'm helpless. I can't even be mad I know they can't help it. But I've also come to accept it's not my failure. It is unnerving to me that I can't seem to "bring down into the embodied self" and make manifest the supportive benevolence of my higher self so to speak. Because apparently that's not how things work. It's entirely possible to be loving conceptually, and then when it gets down to a person relating to a person it's a messy ball game. Because the person, the constructed self is nothing but an elaborate set of defences that have been at work since birth. That self can never operate like that ego ideal effusive with love and understanding does- the latter exists in some psychological space where the recipients of its well wishes aren't retorting and obstructing the loving interaction with "oh but the helicopters" - or booking a solo flight to vietnam, or accusing you of unspeakable things Tourette's style.

    Please, nobody pm to ask what I'm smoking, it's legit how I think. deal.

    I've accepted there will always be a disparity between the indiscriminate good I feel I have the conceptual capacity for, and the portion of that that I am able to put to practical use successfully because it's how the cookie crumbles, not because I am inadequate.
    I am thinking specifically about the thread where you mention the woman who would accuse you of things so disturbing you couldn't even verbalize them despite being obviously deeply unsettled by them. You continued to soak in interpretations and information offered by well meaning people very experienced in autism, all the while expressing how you wanted to be educated and understanding about the disorder. This was a prime example to me of you struggling with the simultaneous existence of your need to be understanding and accepting, and your need to get some of that benevolence reciprocated for once and realizing this "conceptually okay" person doesn't fit the bill in practice and it's not because you're judgemental that you need to move on.

    I know that was long ago and that you do accept when something is unhealthy or unfair, and do recognise when it's no longer fair on you. But it seems to repeat itself often, this scenario of you meeting someone waving a highly probable red flag like the propensity to insult you and minimize it as autism, or a framed picture of a narcissistic ex and regular contact with him. You go "come on now dave, you're not seriously going to judge a person for that, everyone has something, give them a chance" when deep down you can probably anticipate just how uncomfortable it's going to make you feel, and how long you're going to act as if your discomfort is proof of you being narrow minded and will go away if you can just not be so judgemental/insensitive/etc.


    Sometimes I play the percentages game. For example "it may be true that her friendship with her ex is and will always remain innocent, but I have observed and experienced enough to know it is more likely than not to be a problem, so I'm increasing my chances of a relationship working out by passing on her" etc.

    Anyway, good call on the present situation and continue to weed out the lofty causes from the lost ones.

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  6. #25
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    I am sorry to hear that you have to go through this....you said she was a rock and that you are both falling in love. Life, however tends to throw obstacles our way.
    Since she offered for you to go with her - go...I am sure you will than meet the ex and will have a better understanding of their friendship these days. After that trip, she may not want to go again without you.
    Please don't worry in advance - get excited just as her and plan this trip together.

  7. #26
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Speaking only for myself, my private rule is that I won't involve myself with anyone who's still involved with an ex--in any way, shape or form beyond shared children. You're learning WHY.

    I would tell GF that I adore her and can picture the two of us together in the future, and that's why I'm walking away while we both still think highly of one another. If she ever reaches a point in her life where her old business is completed and all exes are completely gone from her life, she can reach out and let me know. If I'm still available then, we can meet to catch up. Otherwise, I wish her the best.

  8. #27
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I like your attitude, OP. Can relate to it, in ways. Being open, non-judgmental, and eager to learn has brought me so much joy, so much richness—and, yeah, there have been times when it has lead me to get tangled up with some questionable people. Especially romantically. Add in the salt shake of physical attraction, the desire for connection that resides in all our hearts, and our best wiring can get crossed (and exploited) pretty quickly.

    I'll try (and probably fail) to keep my own philosophizing proclivities to a minimum here, and just focus on one little piece of this current puzzle that's been catching my eye: this idea you have of her ex as a toxic person, the "triangulation" business, and so on. It's an idea that is bringing you a certain level of comfort right now, in that it feels like a reward for your own self-work: being able to spot these things where you once could not.

    But I feel that reward is coming at a potential cost, as your fixation on him strikes me a bit as a way of excusing your gf—and, perhaps, numbing your own discomfort. She remains the saint, he the sinner, the sour point in the triangle. It's the easier path, in ways, since she stays exactly who you want her to be—a fellow empath, worthy investment, and so forth—when the harder path means having to recast someone you are falling for and investing in in a harsher light, maybe even a light that darkens and dampens your spirit.

    The ex is not actually a real character in this story, and he poses zero threat to you or your relationship; your gf's relationship with him and feelings toward him, however, might.

    All you know about him has come from her, and so the portrait you paint of him—dashing, charming, irresistible, with a Svengali-like power and toxic swagger—is a portrait she has helped you paint. Sure, there may be some standard-issue early jitters and insecurities at play—like maybe you see in that picture on the wall a man you find more handsome than the one you see in the mirror—but you're clearly too smart, reasonable, and self-assured to be guided by them alone.

    You were probably aware of a certain charge between them before this moment—that picture, alas, hangs on that all—and make no mistake: it takes two to sustain a charge. You have now seen the machinations of how they each sustain it. She came right out and told about the head-spinning/Pandora's box stuff—and then she pushed a little more, into those spins instead of away from them.

    Speaking bluntly? What you've described there, to me, sounds like immaturity, not empathy. It sounds like unresolved feelings and/or a friendship dynamic that has not yet found true platonic footing. It sounds like, moving forward, you now know that one role you will play in this relationship is being there for her as she works through these feelings, adjusts this dynamic, much the way you once knew that dealing with Asperger's traits would be part of an earlier romance.

    I don't say all that to encourage you to pack your bags and be on your way—or even, really, to make this much of a talking point with her. You guys are new, it's early. This is the time for observation, to let people be who they are and see if who they are gels with you. To observe clearly we need clear lenses, is all I'm saying, so right now I would keep the lens trained on yourself and your spirit and your gf and her behavior.

    It does seem, to piggyback onto some of RainyCoast's wise and rollicking words, that you have a tendency to override your connection to your own spirit—the churn of the gut, so to speak—through a level of intellectualization. Can relate to that myself, and it's taken me a good long while—and some wild rides with some wild souls—to appreciate the wisdom of my gut and to protect what it's sometimes asking me to protect.

    Maybe this is your next great love, or maybe this is a chapter that helps you get even more in touch with your gut, to build another radar, alongside your radar for toxic people, that alerts you to the importance of your own feelings and seeks out someone who can accommodate your feelings with the same gentle nuance that you accommodate theirs. Sounds like you're already thinking along those lines, which is good stuff.

  9. #28
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    Great post, really interesting. I would like to point out that if she says she’s going, she’ll be dumped on the spot.

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