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Everything posted by bluecastle

  1. So what you're saying, basically, is that you are going to continue to deceive him in order to see if he's deceitful? Doesn't sound like a recipe for anything more than strife from these seats. He lied to you, yes. Not cool, red flag, and so on. But I do think it's worth owning that the lie you extracted from him began with a lie (by omission) of your own. Hard to hold the moral high ground when you're "testing" someone's capacity for dishonesty by being dishonest, and now considering doubling down on that approach. In your shoes, right now, I'd step back and take a deep breath. If I had talked to you 3.5 months ago, would you have told me your ideal boyfriend is a dude who looks at and engages in internet thirst traps? Would you have told me that your ideal relationship is one in which you build connection and safety through deception, testing, and trap setting? If the answer to those questions is "Yes!" proceed; if it's something different, listen to that voice. As others have noted, it's trying to tell you something.
  2. Big hugs, bolt, and so sorry to hear about this. Was in similar shoes to yours a few years back, writing about it here, and can still recall the sharp melancholy and confusion. Crushing stuff. Whatever choices you make, and whenever you make them, remember that you've shared so much wonderful space together and given her a wonderful life. That's all forever.
  3. Personally, I think the moment we start thinking in such sweeping generalizations—that men are/need/should be x, that women are/need/should be y—we are stripping away so much vital connective tissue as to sabotage a relationship before it even exists. Humans are wonderfully multi-dimensional, nuanced, surprising, gloriously contradictory, always evolving in ways big and small. Why squeeze another, or yourself, into a box so small that it risks suffocating those many wonderful dimensions? Sounds like a recipe for exhaustion, stagnancy over growth, among other things. People, at least from what I've seen, much prefer to be people than to play roles, hence the common refrains of those coming out of relationships: "I feel I lost myself somewhere along the way..." My few cents.
  4. I realize I have only the narrow lens of your post to go by, but from what you've offered I can kind of understand why he leaves the planning to you. Aside from it maybe being his default nature, here he went and planned something sweet and nice, taking into account that his first go-around left you thirsty for something with more sparkle. And what was the takeaway? He "botched" it, again, this time by not taking photos, by forgetting the reservation. That's not to say you shouldn't be disappointed, feeling whatever you're feeling; all that is valid, as all feelings are. But perhaps this is a good moment to be honest about how well you two jive, whether who he naturally is and how he naturally operates provides enough to sate you, rather than leaving you thirsty. Personally, I think a pretty good gauge of compatibility is when we can pretty easily tolerate the parts of another person that don't dovetail with our ideals, rather than putting them in the "botched" column where resentment metastasizes and respect erodes. Something to think about, especially given that you've had 14 years to get to know this man. He's not going to morph into someone else after saying "I do." Perhaps a good moment, too, to look within and ask some questions. Do you, generally speaking, struggle when reality fails to meet your specific expectations? Do you find comfort in having full control over situations? Do you take on the "alpha" role—in work, say, or with friends, taking the reins and steering the ship? Do you often look back on situations in life and focus on what was lacking, rather than what wasn't? I ask these questions with no judgement, but just to encourage you to look under the one hood at the one engine you have control over and see if there is any fine-tuning there that might lead to more harmony, within and alongside your partner. Often, or so I've found, what can be so "exhausting" in another person turns out to be parts of ourselves that we're reckoning with. Finally, a part of me wants to ask: If photos are so important to you, why not grab your phone and snap a few? Makes me wonder if you've already drifted into that place where you're more eager, if not consciously, to test and confirm a theory about his deficiencies rather than one about how you two can work, together.
  5. Why not just take him at his word? If down the line—later this year, two years from now, whatever—he realizes he 100 percent wants to have a child/children, then you two will deal with that divide then. Or is it that you feel like his about-face is insincere, more of a reaction out of fear (of losing you, being alone, whatever) than a genuine rethinking of his future on his part? Does he have a history of reshaping his beliefs/interests to accommodate yours? Do you envision yourself being happier in a relationship with someone who is adamant, like you, about never wanting children?
  6. I'm sorry you're going through such a hard time. I've highlighted the above, echoing so many other posters, to point out a story that you seem intent on telling yourself—one in which other people have it easier, better, and you are perennially behind the curve, rejected. What do you think you are getting out of this story? I'd reflect on that, without self-judgement, since the stories we tell ourselves are very much a choice, if not always a conscious one. This one is serving something in you, if also getting in the way of something you clearly crave. Not answering for Batya here, but this is related. "Dumping" is reductive, making another person's choice all about you, your pain, rather than about another human being's shifting feelings and the general murk—sometimes glorious, sometimes awful—of humanity. Question: Do you feel, in the cases of the women you've met that you weren't interested in, that you "rejected" them? Is that how you classify those encounters?
  7. Sorry about all this. What if you reframe things, just a bit? At least from the outside, I don't quite see any evidence of your ex "ruining" your relationship. Dude reached out, as exes do, and there was some extraneous drama from his current partner, as also happens. Sucks. Would throw anyone for a moment, as you're thrown. It's okay. Good news? You blocked him, so it wouldn't happen again, and are now taking a moment to tend to the feelings that are suddenly stirring. All that? That's you exerting your own power—and, in the process, minimizing his and whatever power you still assign him in your imagination. A very positive step. But still: just a step. Have you ever spoken to a therapist, or considered it? It can be really helpful in unpacking some feelings like this—sorting through the loose threads of the past, which we all have, so we can live fully in the present, which we all crave. You may find that helps you curb what's happening now—the sudden shift in perspective on your current partner, doubting his trustworthiness, creating distance, which kind of leads to... There's no simple answer here, but my personal sense? This is what we do to find a sense of control and safety when we feel, suddenly, like we've lost control—of the story, of our emotions, of whatever. It creates a sense of power, of protection, of safety—but when the cost is a loss of connection, is it really worth it?
  8. I'm sorry about all this. How were things between you two, on the trust front, prior to them getting back in touch? If I talked to you then, would you have told me you were happy, totally trusting, or were any of these sorts of feelings simmering?
  9. Only you can answer this, as only you know the intricacies of your emotional spectrum and marriage. That said, factor in a year plus of a pandemic/quarantine/lockdown/etc., and I'd imagine there might be close to a billion human beings on the planet right who would feel the way you do right now. Worth thinking about, for perspective. An analogy would be work. Let's say you love your job, are committed to it, but go through a long stretch of working abnormally nutso hours without a break, feeling your nerves fraying. You go on 3 week vacation and...ahhhh, doesn't that feel amazing?! The amazing feeling doesn't negate your love of your job, but is just a needed, healthy release after an absurdly trying juncture. Could this be that on the marriage front? Again, only you know. But if you've been living like most people I know for the past year, the typical breaks and spaces we get organically—from our partners, for ourselves—have been less accessible. Or completely inaccessible in the trenches of Covid. How would you have described your marriage a month ago, two months ago? Connected? Content? Or were you having edgy feelings about it?
  10. I'd skip the presumptions and comparisons, stand down to the urge to change another's mind, and simply let her know that you appreciate her being honest about her concerns but would still love to meet and are happy to answer any questions she has, on this subject and more. She'll respond however she sees fit, which will have nothing to do with you but simply a reflection on her, who and where she is at this juncture in her life. Moving forward, you might consider tweaking your profile a bit so this information is out there. Something like: "Flaubert fanatic. Decent tennis player. Adventurous eater. Proud co-parent. " Or some such, in your voice, just so you can avoid this being a record a scratch. The right person—right, even just in the context of seeing about a date or four—will shrug where others might shudder.
  11. Can you describe this change of mood? What, exactly, has he done to give you a sense of his mood shifting? The reason I ask is because one big difference between a romantic interest and a genuine friend is that we're generally not so thrown when there is a shift in mood. Maybe they're a bit more lukewarm than usual, even cold, but it's not a big deal because we're secure in the friendship, the meat of it. Whatever the specifics of you two, maybe this is a good moment to check in with yourself, and ask how sincerely secure you are in the idea of you two being friends.
  12. I'd also like to understand this more, if you're willing to share.
  13. I'm not sure it's possible to connect to other humans—as friends, as lovers, as partners, as clients, as customers, as whatevers—without it becoming "messy and complicated," to some degree. In your shoes right now I'd reflect on that a bit, as it seems like your need to eliminate "messy and complicated" from the human experience is making this part of it all the more messy and complicated, at least emotionally. There is an irony to this statement, in that what you're actually saying is that you wanted something/someone that conformed to your specific expectations. Which, hey, fine. But for that to happen to have to be clear with what you want, which is to say if this is still something you're interested in with him? Let him know. If not? Let him know that. Boom: the mess is cleaned up, the complications smoothed over. Moving forward? Make this clear from the outset, that who you are is a woman who interested in casual romance. Some will meet you there, some will not. But you won't exhaust yourself trying to control the expectations of others but will instead find a more honest sense of control by being true to your expectations. Big picture, though, I think you'd do yourself a gigantic favor by finding a way to think differently about "messy and complicated." Whatever it is we most fear, after all, tends to be what we cultivate.
  14. This. I get being cautious when it comes to opening up to new people, but the impression your posts give is that you operate from the assumption that people are not who they tell you they are, and show you, but who they might be based on what the internet spits back. This headspace, far more than what comes up on the internet, is going to make sincere connection, if that's your long term goal, very challenging.
  15. I'd try to look at all this from a different, wider lens. Rather than thinking about this new guy as the answer to your problems, which no human is to any human problems, instead think of him as a kind of x-ray, with this fluttery encounter revealing something you need to address (a) in yourself and (b) between you and your boyfriend—namely, whether or not you two still work as partners. It sounds like you've maybe outgrown the relationship, feeling that its plateaued, that your settling, and so on. Sucks, those feelings, but sucks more to ignore them or "treat" them through fluttery novelty. You've changed a lot over the past decade, as has your boyfriend. If who you both are today are two people who are no longer compatible—well, that's okay. Crushing, but okay. Doesn't make either of you a failure, but just human. This new guy? He's like seeing a glass with few water droplets at the bottom after roaming the desert: the answer to your thirst! Except, um, no. It's just a few droplets of water; hoping they'll quench your thirst will just make you thirstier. This is the moment to recognize that, step away from fantasy and back to reality, and address the roots here more maturely. You'll thank yourself later.
  16. So happy for you, Sera. I had my first shot last week, next one 5/4. The moment that needle went into my arm I just wept: with relief, with sorrow for everyone, with profound appreciation for the scientists who toiled to make that thing at record pace. Didn't quite realize how much I was keeping in, in order to stay steady through these hard, hard days. Congrats again.
  17. Sorry for the swell of turbulent feelings, Tiny. Internet hugs. Speaking for myself, what helps me is recognizing that feelings like this are never forever, no matter how permanent they feel in the moment. Take a moment to look back on your life—your teens, your twenties, your early 30s—and odds are there have been some devouring, isolating stretches that felt insurmountable, at least until they gave way to something else. Any way to remind yourself that this might just be one of those? Stir in the pandemic—an emotionally turbulent moment that is not forever but has affected the planet's emotional ecosystem—and maybe there's a way to see this as a hard moment in an impossibly hard time? More normal, in short, than not? I highlighted the above quote because something I notice in your recent posts is a fear of you being "too late" to experience much of what you want from life—this sense that time is slipping through your fingers and you better catch it "or else." I understand there are very real biological realties at play, when it comes to having children, but 36 does not put you at the razor's edge. And as for making genuine, close friends? That's something you have literally decades of space to experience: abundance, not scarcity. You are—this is just reality—still in the earliest stages of being an adult human on planet Earth, not the latter ones. Guess what I'm trying to say, without minimizing the jagged reality of this tough time for you, is to see this sense of urgency in you as something to look in the eye, and stare down a bit. Wrangle with that, rather than trying to wrangle time. It might be the first step toward getting more of what you're seeking. In doing so, you might release some of the inner pressure, rather than thinking that a person (be it a dude you've gone on a few dates with, or a new maybe-friend from MeetUp) is going to do that. I'm not sure about the state of the world in your part of the world, but it does seem like things are shifting, after this very trying year.
  18. Agree with all of the above. Whatever is motivating him, is it really something you want to work though, continue to invite into your life? Any way you cut it he has shown you that he has (a) an irrepressible desire for some kind of romantic/hot sauce connection outside of the relationship and (b) a complete inability to respect the hurt this causes you. This is just me, but I think of booze as a kind of truth serum. Someone who gets angry when drunk? That is someone who is carrying around a lot of anger, always. Someone who goes onto Bumble/Tinder when drunk? That is someone who is carrying around a desire to be doing exactly that, always. But the phrase that really stood out to me in your post was you saying you won't let him "live this down." Take a deep breath for a moment, and ask: Is that how you want to live, in your own skin, inside the one life you have? Is that good for your spirit, a path to who you want to keep becoming? Maybe reflect on it from that angle, rather than his behavior, and you'll find the next steps here become apparent to you.
  19. I'd say the answer to this is: yes. Just my observation in life, but it seems that love is out there for just about everyone: lost, found, rediscovered, and so on, in just about every shape one can imagine. Have you given some thought to what kind of man you see yourself with? Is he your age, older? A parent? Someone interested in playing some kind of parental role? Someone who wants kids of his own, as in: Do you want more children? Not saying answering all those questions is the key, but it helps fine tune the radar. For whatever it's worth, or to be transparent about my own biases? I know a single mother, a bit older than you, who asked similar questions. We now live together, I'm wildly in love with her, so I'm awfully grateful she kept playing the numbers game, so to speak.
  20. I'm thinking about this along similar lines. It's understandable to be unnerved by this, as most people would be in your shoes, and since social media is more or less invented to manipulate feelings and exacerbate insecurity. How you feel right now, along with his impulse to look at those stories, has put a lot of Teslas in a lot of driveways in Silicon Valley. At the same time, you two have a unique foundation, in that you were friends for a decade before transitioning into romance. That's so great, in so many ways. But it can also mean that certain habits from your friendship may stick around, like him feeling, without really thinking about it, that it's still okay to indulge this sort of curiosity, especially if it was something you were understanding about as a friend and have yet to directly discuss as bf/gf. I'm not saying all this to minimize your feelings, or to deem his behavior appropriate, at all. You know him better than us, and yourself, so you know what kind of man/bf he is. If a year into things you have some gut sense that he's "somewhere else," or not that into things, or whatever—well, that is a real issue, far more than his social media habits. If you don't have those feelings, while being unnerved by the social media activity—then that can be a bit like letting him know you don't like it when it leaves the toilet seat up. Not the most fun exchange, but if he starts putting the toilet seat down (or stops looking at the stories) you know that he is far more motivated by considering your feelings than anything else. Lots of words to say: talk to him about it. No shame in that, no insecurity, just you being vulnerable with the person you're supposed to be most vulnerable with.
  21. What if you try to redefine "normal"? I'm asking this in relation to your response to both my post, and DancingFool's. Because this is something you can actually control, which is your own perspective. Yoga stuff, Buddhism stuff. Life is suffering, and yet look at Buddha: he is fat and happy, grinning. Why? Control of perspective, rather than canine prescriptions. Takes some work, but is worthwhile. Related: there is one person—the most important person—who can always acknowledge and justify your feelings. That person is you. See them, name them, thank them, even the ickiest, especially them. Some will stick around past their welcome, others will depart prematurely, but none are ever actually as static as they seem, but more like a revolving door. I've found the door spins a bit faster when I identify and validate my own feelings. Love my support system, but they've got their own sh*t, their own strengths and limitations, so they don't always hit my bullseye. I'm sorry to hear about the motorcycle accident. I do, at least from the outside, find your framing of it interesting: the negative parts of the story seem to outweigh the full story, which ends with health. I have scars on my face, one from a surfing accident, another from driving an ATV off cliff. Didn't expect them to be part of my story, but there they are. I think of them as little tattoos of lessons and luck. Again, perspective. It is a malleable thing, and there is incredible power that comes from turning our own prisms. I personally think of therapy as an assist, when the gears get rusty, to bring things full circle.
  22. Happy to help. The struggle to see the bigger picture is, I think, the human condition? Plus we internet straw people get only a small slice here on a forum, so sometimes it's easier to find potential connective tissue. It is totally understandable to be hurt when a partner is dishonest, even if the lie is "white," since we all have pasts and past pain that gets stirred up when the ground shakes, as it does with any lie. But let in a few more deep breaths, and it seems this can be a bit of a watershed moment. Whatever he was telling you, or trying to tell you, is something he clearly wants you to know but is struggling to express. And it sounds very close to something you're struggling with too—a struggle that is real even when, like you, you posses an ability to articulate it that he may not have. This is just a pocket theory of mine to be chewed on or discarded as you see fit, but I think that the period between one's late 20s into 30ish is invariably a tough one. If adulthood is an ocean, in our 20s we can still see the shore. Then it recedes, and it's all water, all depths. Takes some adjusting to. I don't know you two, or your full story, but I think maybe some of that is at play here, exacerbated by life doing what it does—throwing a lot of tough currents at you both.
  23. First things first: positive vibes are now being transmitted, from this west coaster to your spot in the midwest. Now, into the depths. Here are two things from your post that strike me, if you'll bear with me, as very positive and potentially—for you, for your husband, for you two—transformative. First this: Then this: Zoom out a few notches and it seems you are both feeling some shade of the same thing: overwhelmed, disappointed, lost, scared. These feelings make you both human, not monsters or failures, and so I wonder: Can you two find a way through all this by being more in it together, more sincerely, rather than only in the confines of your individual selves? How to go about that? Well, that's where I would say that, yes, reaching out to a therapist—for yourself, for the two of you—sounds needed. Sure, you can wait a bit to determine if it's just a "rough patch," keeping your own ship as steady as possible with yoga etc., or you can seek help smoothing out the rough patch in your collective ship before it gets rougher. An athlete with a tender ankle doesn't wait until it breaks to get it looked at, you know? Or, well, some do. They end up missing a whole season when they could've just missed two games. You two have been in the eye of many storms. I'm sorry for it all. Hugs. You two have also weathered them, with what seems a lot of grit and grace. Take a quick moment to give yourself, and him, some credit for that. Then take another moment to accept that life, right now, is telling you both that some help is needed. Not an admission of failure, that, but just the opposite.
  24. Why not play on your terms? In other words, why not be civil and cordial as you reinstate professional boundaries? How he behaves is on him, not you, and judging from the big picture? He doesn't really have it him to live his life above board. Doesn't mean you should dip below the waterline.
  25. Does she want this? Has she come to you and said she'd like to move past this, restore harmony? Has she offered any solutions or expressed any specific needs in connection to getting there? I ask all that because, going from what you've written, it sounds like she is opting to deepen and expand the rut rather than look for ways out of it. That's her choice, and not something you can "fight" extra hard to change. Relationships only really work when two people are aiming at roughly the same target, you know? In your shoes right now? I'd make it clear to her, as I think you already have, that you'd like to work through this and listen to her thoughts and feelings about how to do so. Then I'd step back a bit, per some above comments, and let her meet you there. Or not. In the meantime, I'd do a bit of reflecting on what she has shown you about herself in terms of how she handles conflict. Is she generally someone prone to such impulsive emotional reactions? Is she someone who holds grudges—with friends, with family, with waiters who forget to bring the appetizer? Is she going through anything in life these days that would shorten her fuse? You know her better than us, of course. That said, try not to let all your ideas of her, and you and her, block out what she is showing you right now. This is a part of her too.
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