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Thread: Am I really just a consolation prize after gf’s broken engagement

  1. #61
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Badmamajama
    It’s weird how I totally get the sex analogy part and it doesn’t bother me. She knows what she wants in that realm and I’m more or less certain I know who it was that she learned that with (not her fiancé), yet or doesn’t bother me and I view it exactly like you do.
    No, your view seems to be different than mine. See, you are still showing the same instinct. You are "more or less certain" that sexual act x comes from man y. You are still focused on another man, with a name you know and a face you can see. You are engaging with him, in your mind, as much as you are engaging with her.

    Maybe it doesn't bother you, in this realm, and maybe that's because you derive a lot of self worth from enjoying physical intimacy, or being the super stud who "wins" over past aspiring studs, but in the realm of emotional intimacy the instinct to focus on other men is a blockage. They "win" over you, in a competition created in your brain.

  2. #62
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Just to add: What I don't know, in offering these thoughts, is the degree to which she's "told" you these things or the degree to which you are hungry to infer them.

    The sex stuff, for instance. There are some people, say, who may flippantly describe a past relationship as "super passionate but volatile" as opposed to "a thing that just stopped working because we outgrew each other." The former hints at an incendiary dynamic that will likely put another human on edge, perhaps intentionally, while the latter softens the edge, respecting another's humanity. This is all very subtle.

    People will, of course, ask questions—about where people have been. The key is to be okay with whatever answer you get. So if you ask someone about their sex life, it's because you are someone who is not thrown by that sort of thing, but genuinely curious rather than morbidly curious. Ditto if you decide to deep scroll. You do it because you already know nothing you see can touch you, rather than semi-consciously looking for a power keg to light.

  3. #63
    Platinum Member mustlovedogs's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Badmamajama
    She should have just said it was a plumber rather than “people who knew about plumbing.”

    She’s no idea I know who she was talking about. I’ll confront her tonight and leave.
    That’s a very bizarre reaction.

  4. #64
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Just to add: What I don't know, in offering these thoughts, is the degree to which she's "told" you these things or the degree to which you are hungry to infer them.

    The sex stuff, for instance. There are some people, say, who may flippantly describe a past relationship as "super passionate but volatile" as opposed to "a thing that just stopped working because we outgrew each other." The former hints at an incendiary dynamic that will likely put another human on edge, perhaps intentionally, while the latter softens the edge, respecting another's humanity. This is all very subtle.

    People will, of course, ask questions—about where people have been. The key is to be okay with whatever answer you get. So if you ask someone about their sex life, it's because you are someone who is not thrown by that sort of thing, but genuinely curious rather than morbidly curious. Ditto if you decide to deep scroll. You do it because you already know nothing you see can touch you, rather than semi-consciously looking for a power keg to light.
    The sex stuff just came up in due course really. She is pretty candid and open about things like that, but in a humorous, self deprecating way as opposed to a powder keg way.

    She was quite frank that the fiancé was useless in bed to the extent it put her off sex, but she thought at the time sex wasn’t a huge deal.

    The following boyfriend she had a largely sexless relationship with, partly as fallout from the fiancé and partly because he had erectile dysfunction.

    The one after wasn’t as serious, but they had a more normal sex life, hence she arrived at me still a tiny bit sexually shy, but still knowing what she wanted.

    I never quizzed her and none of this was said by her to spark jealousy (trust me, I’ve seen that before). It just came up in the course of conversation.

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  6. #65
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    It all sounds pretty great, pretty healthy. Doesn’t mean it’s the right thing, of course, if you can’t feel great and healthy in what you’re building together.

    Could it be that you just want different things right now? Could it be that you moved in a little quick, or made the decision to move in when you were in a wobbly emotional state for the illness? Could it be a that a part of you just wants to be single again? Could it be that you’re realizing there are still some thorns from your own romantic past that are coming through?

    Questions to think about. For a few days, in numerous posts, you were pretty fierce about how into this you were: committed, eye on the future, recognizing your nerves as something you needed to get a handle on. Were you trying to tell that story so it felt more true, to you? If that was really the case, I just struggle to see how this remark about plumbing would be the reason to press eject.

    At 29 I ended a nearly 3 year relationship over an argument about asparagus vs Brussel sprouts. Of course, it wasn’t really about that, as we quickly discussed, gracefully enough. We didn’t work, I’d wanted out for a while, was struggling to come to terms with that, we both were, and the Great Veggie Debate became the catalyst for me to say, “I can’t do this.” I wonder if this is something like that, for you, and if it is that’s okay. Just be kind, and don’t rub her past in her face—since she hasn’t actually done that to you.

  7. #66
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    It all sounds pretty great, pretty healthy. Doesn’t mean it’s the right thing, of course, if you can’t feel great and healthy in what you’re building together.

    Could it be that you just want different things right now? Could it be that you moved in a little quick, or made the decision to move in when you were in a wobbly emotional state for the illness? Could it be a that a part of you just wants to be single again? Could it be that you’re realizing there are still some thorns from your own romantic past that are coming through?

    Questions to think about. For a few days, in numerous posts, you were pretty fierce about how into this you were: committed, eye on the future, recognizing your nerves as something you needed to get a handle on. Were you trying to tell that story so it felt more true, to you? If that was really the case, I just struggle to see how this remark about plumbing would be the reason to press eject.

    At 29 I ended a nearly 3 year relationship over an argument about asparagus vs Brussel sprouts. Of course, it wasn’t really about that, as we quickly discussed, gracefully enough. We didn’t work, I’d wanted out for a while, was struggling to come to terms with that, we both were, and the Great Veggie Debate became the catalyst for me to say, “I can’t do this.” I wonder if this is something like that, for you, and if it is that’s okay. Just be kind, and don’t rub her past in her face—since she hasn’t actually done that to you.
    On further reflection, it’s not that I don’t want to be in it at all. Anyone who sees us says we work tremendously. Our sense of humour, life goals, sexual chemistry all line up orders of magnitude beyond anything I’ve known before. Arguments are rare, are forgotten within minutes and it feels entirely right with her.

    Thorns from the past though, well the way they link to this problem are pretty clear. My first girlfriend was very experienced sexually for our age and liked to use that as a weapon, for example texting me at night to say she was getting a ride home from her ex or had been chatting in a nightclub some guy she’d once slept with. We were both very young, but the past was a weapon for her, one to create the kind of drama immature young people often think is needed in relationships.

    My next relationship lasted 10 years and this time it was the opposite. She’d not had much romantic experience, had crippling insecurities and effectively expected me to block out any existence of the life I’d had before her, everything from past girlfriends to family and friends. At the end, she brought it up constantly how she never felt she compared to my ex girlfriend, whom I’d never mentioned in 10 years and who I’d spent only one largely unhappy year with, when I was little more than a kid.

    So, from different perspectives the past was dredged up constantly in prior relationships, either as something to cause an argument or something I felt I had to hide.

    My current gf has a relatively normal past. A few boyfriends, a fiancé when she was too young but nothing out of the ordinary. I have my own past too and beyond the odd little pang of morbid curiosity early on, she has handled it in a rational manner. Somehow I struggle internally to afford her that grace, perhaps because this is my first time deaing with an actual adult with the maturity to process what’s gone on in her life before. Everything she’s done this far suggests these experiences have no negative effect on her and I.

    You were right, the plumbing comment wasn’t about her comparing me to an ex and in the cold light of day as I processed it, I felt like a nutcase for treating it as such. As you can probably tell, I didn’t eject and actually had a nice time with her last night, as I have done every night I’ve ever spent with her. Just like every other night, I didn’t let my inability to handle the fact she was a human being with a life before me affect us and she continues on unaware about this purgatory I’ve created in my head. Ultimately that’s what the problem is.

    Perhaps I am too crazy underneath to handle this, but I’ll see how I get on. Appreciate all the replies on here, even the harsh ones!

    I’m also aware how nuts I have come across in this thread and do trust me, I’m nothing like that irl. For me this is a good way to vent our internal, unhealthy and often unfounded frustrations that I know aren’t healthy in the real world.
    Last edited by Badmamajama; 10-19-2019 at 11:45 AM.

  8. #67
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    Originally Posted by Badmamajama
    On further reflection, it’s not that I don’t want to be in it at all. Anyone who sees us says we work tremendously. Our sense of humour, life goals, sexual chemistry all line up orders of magnitude beyond anything I’ve known before. Arguments are rare, are forgotten within minutes and it feels entirely right with her.

    Thorns from the past though, well the way they link to this problem are pretty clear. My first girlfriend was very experienced sexually for our age and liked to use that as a weapon, for example texting me at night to say she was getting a ride home from her ex or had been chatting in a nightclub some guy she’d once slept with. We were both very young, but the past was a weapon for her, one to create the kind of drama immature young people often think is needed in relationships.

    My next relationship lasted 10 years and this time it was the opposite. She’d not had much romantic experience, had crippling insecurities and effectively expected me to block out any existence of the life I’d had before her, everything from past girlfriends to family and friends. At the end, she brought it up constantly how she never felt she compared to my ex girlfriend, whom I’d never mentioned in 10 years and who I’d spent only one largely unhappy year with, when I was little more than a kid.

    So, from different perspectives the past was dredged up constantly in prior relationships, either as something to cause an argument or something I felt I had to hide.

    My current gf has a relatively normal past. A few boyfriends, a fiancé when she was too young but nothing out of the ordinary. I have my own past too and beyond the odd little pang of morbid curiosity early on, she has handled it in a rational manner. Somehow I struggle internally to afford her that grace, perhaps because this is my first time deaing with an actual adult with the maturity to process what’s gone on in her life before. Everything she’s done this far suggests these experiences have no negative effect on her and I.

    You were right, the plumbing comment wasn’t about her comparing me to an ex and in the cold light of day as I processed it, I felt like a nutcase for treating it as such. As you can probably tell, I didn’t eject and actually had a nice time with her last night, as I have done every night I’ve ever spent with her. Just like every other night, I didn’t let my inability to handle the fact she was a human being with a life before me affect us and she continues on unaware about this purgatory I’ve created in my head. Ultimately that’s what the problem is.

    Perhaps I am too crazy underneath to handle this, but I’ll see how I get on. Appreciate all the replies on here, even the harsh ones!

    I’m also aware how nuts I have come across in this thread and do trust me, I’m nothing like that irl. For me this is a good way to vent our internal, unhealthy and often unfounded frustrations that I know aren’t healthy in the real world.
    *vent out, not vent our...

  9. #68
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    You don't come across as nuts here, at all, and there's certainly a place for venting—on the internet, in life. What I'd be mindful of is whether you're actually venting (i.e. releasing hot air so you can go about the business of life) or something a bit like enrichment (giving weight and power to things that don't deserve them). You're clearly smart, self-aware, which are great qualities, but they can also be used against us if they rationalize certain thought patterns rather than being harnessed to change those patterns.

    You remind me, in terms of your relationship history, a bit of my best friend: two formative relationships, one quite long, that were fueled from some pretty immature embers. That's tough. I, for example, have an inverse history. My big relationship in high school, and my big relationship in my early 20s, were quite stable, loving, drama-free. Mature, in ways. I was young, not ready, and have certainly engaged in some dramatics—in myself, in others—but those templates were great. Imagining a scenario where something I got into at 27 was the thing I got into at 18 or 23—ooof.

    Because even when you "know" something about the dynamic is off, and even when you've grown and reflected and can pinpoint this and that, certain habits are still formed, certain ideas of what kinds of feelings are valuable, as well as certain jagged modes of cultivating those feelings. Habits are hard to break, especially when you don't have a clear idea of what something would look and feel like with those habits broken. There is tremendous comfort, after all, in habits, even bad ones. Talk to a smoker.

    Were I to venture, I'd say that, without quite meaning to, you are applying some past romantic paradigms to this one, only with you playing the role of girlfriends past. Yes, it's maybe "just" in your head and confined to FB—at least for now—but that does't make it less potent, and potentially problematic. Think of it (I'm not reaching for this metaphor accidentally) like a little blockage in a sink pipe. For a while it's no big deal, not even noticeable. Then you notice the water is slow to drain—annoying, but whatever. But if that blockage isn't addressed? The water just pools up, sits there. Gross. Not good. Suddenly very simple things—shaving, teeth brushing—are kind of fraught.

    You were very quick to reach for the trigger the other day. You didn't pull, but if your reaction is a trigger-happy one it's only a matter of time before you fire a bullet. Gunshots don't make for harmony, and there is nothing quite like reactive voicing of "I'm done!" to take a pickaxe to the foundation of a relationship. It's basically where respect evaporates, because it's human nature to lose respect for someone who stays with you after you say you're done, and to lose respect for yourself for doing the same. The other day that scene was confined to your mind, lessening the blow, but it's still a hit.

    I'd take that seriously, as a habit to quit rather than indulge.

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