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Thread: Is this just what "compromise" is?

  1. #1
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    Is this just what "compromise" is?

    I've had a weird last couple of months. So, it started when I developed strong feelings for my best friend of four years (I still haven't talked to her about it, but not because I don't want to, but rather, it's just been difficult seeing each other due to pandemic numbers getting bad, but I still want to talk to her about it next time I can).

    But, knowing that things with her are a huge long shot at best, I've been trying to turn my attention elsewhere and try to find a dating/ relationship scenario that can actually happen for me (for what it's worth, I'm early 30s, and have never dated or been involved in any way with anyone at all). I've been using dating apps, and it amounted to one date with someone, and it was okay but nothing more came of it. Things slowed down for me significantly there, though.

    Then, a couple weeks ago, I met someone online and we clicked via messaging pretty fast. But, we're going in the direction of "friends with benefits". And honestly, I'm okay with that. She's poly and not interested in "romantic relationships", and while I like her a bit, I don't see her as someone I want to pursue for a "relationship". But we've been in constant contact, we've had numerous "video dates", and while we haven't seen each other in person to actually sleep together, we've kinda already done everything else under the sun. It's fun and exciting, and I don't mind this "FWB" scenario in general.

    Thing is, I've been feeling pensive, the last couple days. Because I like where things are going, but at the same time, I'm not sure how I feel about how every relationship seems "imperfect". Like, with my FWB, it's fun and exciting and flirty and there's a definite sexual spark there, but we're not going to be more than FWB. And with my friend, there's a strong connection there, and we want the same things out of dating and relationships, but I suspect she won't be attracted to me to make dating an actual possibility.

    I dunno. I wish I could have all of those good things in one person that I could be with. People talk about "compromise" a lot in dating and relationships. Is this one of those instances, where you just kind of have to accept that no one person will ever be able to fulfill all of those things? I'm just unsure of how I feel about everything, and I'm still trying to unpack it and process it.

  2. #2
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    So I think you're thinking of this wrong . You're not friends with the stranger and you're not dating her. You're chatting with a stranger in a sexual way. That's not dating, that's not friendship. Sure over time you may develop online platonic friendships but not with this stranger where the focus is sexual - you're not going to end up being online platonic friends most likely.

    Compromising has nothing to do with settling. Once you do start to date in real life (again what you describe has nothing to do with dating or romantic relationships) then the compromise part comes in when there are non-values based things and non deal breaker issues. So for example I only dated men who had at least accomplished a college degree, who were financially stable (all like me), who were the same religion and who absolutely wanted marriage and kids. I only considered a man with serious potential if on top of that we also had strong chemistry and potential to fall in love. Compromise is on non-deal breaker/non-settling stuff. For example - here are some of the ways I compromise in my marriage. I try not to point out every time my husband hums/sings when I am eating even though I have asked him so many times to please not do that while I am eating (other times ok). Because I'd rather be close than right. Many times I went to visit my inlaws when they were alive even though it was extremely difficult for me logistically, often exhausting and at times I was not treated that well in the later years. I compromised for the good of the family.

    I don't pick my battles with my husband's pack rat habits which I hate. I cannot stand living this way. But I'm going to lose that battle, and he does so so much for me, for our family, for my life - I find a way to self talk and make peace with it.

    That's what compromise means to me. Had I married him the first time around we dated I'd have been settling - it just didn't feel right. We most likely would have gotten divorced. Several years later we changed and it did feel right for concrete reasons and "just because". That magical something. So yes I compromise. No I didn't settle. Thank goodness. Please do not settle.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    No, that's not what people mean when they are talking about compromise in relationships.

    What you are talking about aren't "imperfections" but rather massive, fundamental issues. An fwb is not a relationship, so if you want an actual relationship, you need to keep looking. A friend who is only interested in you platonically is not a compromise of anything, just a friend.

    It sounds to me like you tend to bark up the wrong trees and then.... do nothing. When people do that, it's usually because they are not really fully available or interested in an actual relationship. Something deep down is holding them back and others can sense that.....so it becomes a vicious cycle. When you aren't fully available, you end up attracting and being attracted to the unavailable....like the fwb, like a friend who is not into you, etc. You might to want to look deep inside and start figuring it out - what is holding you back exactly because something is.

    When people talk about compromise, they are talking minor daily kind of stuff. He wants to go out to eat, I want to stay in, so we get take out - compromised a little both ways. What you are talking about is more like giving up on what you want because for whatever reason, you find giving up easier than the effort and work required to pursue a proper relationship.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Do you intend to meet this person?

    If you show interest in someone and the other person is interested, the natural thing is for the both of you to spend more time together.

    Simplify this a bit more. You have two options: 1) plan to meet her and enjoy the sex or 2) end communications as they're uninteresting if what you're looking for is something more serious or of a different flavour.

    It does not have to be complicated.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Is there any way to meet the fwb in person? Cybersex with someone in other relationships may not be that satisfying. Anyone else on the horizon, as far as dating?

    Bluecastle offered some excellent ideas, page after page on this situation:
    [Register to see the link]
    Originally Posted by SonicHighway
    it started when I developed strong feelings for my best friend of four years

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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    So I think you're thinking of this wrong . You're not friends with the stranger and you're not dating her. You're chatting with a stranger in a sexual way. That's not dating, that's not friendship. Sure over time you may develop online platonic friendships but not with this stranger where the focus is sexual - you're not going to end up being online platonic friends most likely.
    Well, she and I are planning to eventually meet in person and have a sexual relationship. I was leery at first, but we've been in frequent contact and had numerous video chat dates that have each lasted hours, and I don't get any bad vibes from her. And she definitely wants me that way, so if I want to make it happen, I most certainly can.

    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    What you are talking about is more like giving up on what you want because for whatever reason, you find giving up easier than the effort and work required to pursue a proper relationship.
    I guess, but I didn't really think of it as "giving up", so much as questioning if maybe my previous views were unrealistic.

    To me, it doesn't necessarily feel realistic to meet someone that could be "everything" for me. I just can't really imagine that. You know? In my 30+ years of life, I've never encountered that. Everyone is always just a little of this or that, but never everything. As much as I WANT someone who is "everything", it just doesn't feel real.

    I dunno. I guess I'm just trying to figure out if it's so bad if I indulge in these sort of "fragments" of interpersonal relationships. Having a FWB for the sexual and "passionate" aspects, having a good friend to always have a strong bond with, etc.

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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    Do you intend to meet this person?

    If you show interest in someone and the other person is interested, the natural thing is for the both of you to spend more time together.

    Simplify this a bit more. You have two options: 1) plan to meet her and enjoy the sex or 2) end communications as they're uninteresting if what you're looking for is something more serious or of a different flavour.

    It does not have to be complicated.
    I do intend to meet her, yes. Not really trying to make it "complicated". It's just, it all happened so out of nowhere for me, and I never really took a step back and processed it and thought about it. What she and I have is very fun and exciting, and it's very stimulating, and I want to indulge in sex with her. It's just that there's that part of me in my brain that doesn't like thinking about anything but the "bigger picture".

    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Is there any way to meet the fwb in person? Cybersex with someone in other relationships may not be that satisfying. Anyone else on the horizon, as far as dating?

    Bluecastle offered some excellent ideas, page after page on this situation:
    [Register to see the link]
    Yeah, she and I are going to meet eventually. We haven't entirely worked it out; we're not "local", but we're also not really very far apart, either. We're both leery of traveling at the moment because the covid numbers are so bad right now, but we're both very interested in getting together at some point.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    All things considered, I think it's best to put this on the backburner for the moment. Hold off traveling. The risks are greater than the reward and you don't know her.

    You also seem extremely nervous about meeting someone for sex. Until you reconcile this or feel better about it, I think you are settling and going to feel worse after you meet her. Dial back the communications, refocus what matters to you and if dating locally and meeting someone for something a bit more low key and serious is what you prefer, don't make any compromises about that.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    All things considered, I think it's best to put this on the backburner for the moment. Hold off traveling. The risks are greater than the reward and you don't know her.

    You also seem extremely nervous about meeting someone for sex. Until you reconcile this or feel better about it, I think you are settling and going to feel worse after you meet her. Dial back the communications, refocus what matters to you and if dating locally and meeting someone for something a bit more low key and serious is what you prefer, don't make any compromises about that.
    Yes.
    Yes it's unrealistic and way too vague to expect someone to be your "everything." My standard was - I had my list of musts - it wasn't a very long list but it was very very specific. Then my head/heart standard was - I had to be in love with (or potential for love/in love), reasonably sure of and excited to be with this person in a serious, committed relationship leading to marriage -potential for marriage depending on how long we knew each other. Reasonably sure -some doubts are normal, foundation/core-shaking doubts are not. Excited -meaning, like friendship caught on fire - we had to have that click, rapport, chemistry, passion so that I was excited to be committed to this person. Not settling, not "well my ideals are unrealistic so yeah, he's Mr. Right on Paper, why not."

    Be very specific -with yourself -what is "everything" to you? What does that mean? Why do your refer to your search as looking for someone who is "everything?" Casual sex can scratch an itch for sure but it's a bad idea to me if what you really are looking for is a serious committed relationship. One reason is because what if you meet someone who is not a fan of you having been promiscuous as an excuse when you couldn't find someone you really wanted to be with? I wouldn't have liked that in a partner. I had no issue with someone who'd gone on a couple of dates -or even dated someone for a few months -who was not really serious potential but the person was at a point where that's what he wanted -and he wasn't leading anyone on. I did that a couple of times (and we did not have sex, and there was no leading on -just casual dating, lighthearted, not really going to lead anywhere -when I was much younger).

    I find that people who get cynical get that way because they're really vague on what they actually want, then they settle for scraps and use the bad experience scraps as an excuse to make negative generalizations about relationships and dating. You're giving two examples of nonstarters -a platonic friend who is not interested in a relationship with you and an online stranger who wants to meet up for sex when it's safe covid-wise (and understand -if either of you actually saw potential other than a sexual arrangement you'd meet for a socially distanced walk to meet in person and get to know each other -in fact I'm meeting an online platonic friend this weekend most likely for a socially distanced walk -I have done that zero times since the pandemic even with a real life friend but I'm doing it because I do want to make new friends and I want to show her I'm game to meet and put in the effort to meet rather than just text back and forth or have phone calls).

  11. #10
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    My impression with all this—and I hope this comes out right—is that your thinking-to-doing ratio is off, inverted to the point where rumination has become confused with exploration, a bit like mistaking reading a menu for sampling the food. This is not judgement, but just one person's observation—and one made, for transparency's sake, by someone as prone to rabbit holes of rumination as I am wanton surrender to various appetites.

    It doesn't need to be complicated, as Rose said. Subtract the rumination, and what do you have? A friend you're curious about romantically, which is actually easy to explore, as prismatically covered in the last thread. As for this online dalliance? Nothing wrong with enjoying some pixilated flutter, nor is there anything wrong with seeing how that translates IRL. None of those choices need to carry much meaning, at this stage; zoom out and you are in the company of many, many people swimming around.

    Speaking of the big picture? Learning what we want from a relationship, what "everything" means to us, is, if you'll forgive me going back to the food analogy, kind of like learning what we want to eat. A forever process marked by bouts of ecstasy, frustration, indigestion, and so on. Some stages of that process might be of the buffet variety: a sparkly chat here, a fling there, a gooey love that feels eternal until it expires quickly. Other stages of that process might transpire inside a single relationship, expanding and evolving between you and another person: learning what works, and doesn't, in realms ranging from when the lights are dimmed to how to organize linen closets. Sometimes all that learning allows you to stay together, while sometimes it teaches you that you've grown apart.

    Per the specifics of this moment: If, after some fun chitchat and sex talk, this thing with this woman feels a bit odd, a bit edgy, no shame in just retreating a few steps. That's you being honest with yourself. This is the buffet: you try the octopus, it's interesting, you eat some more, it doesn't sit well. Time for a glass of water. Maybe octopus isn't your thing, or wasn't your thing on that day. When you're hungry again, you try something else. Information is gathered, metabolized, and your dietary needs, romantically speaking, go from being abstractions you ruminate about to specific cravings you seek for nourishment.

    Not sure if that helps. Imagine there's a sense of pressure, here in your 30s, in a pandemic, wanting to be on a different spot on the bell curve than you feel yourself to be. Inhale, exhale. I think, all in all, that's how we all feel, at times, regardless of our age or experience.

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