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Am I Deluding Myself?


lifesatrip

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I posted in this forum over the summer about a guy who I started seeing casually. To recap the situation: met online, when we met he told me he was not interested in monogomy, and his last relationship had been polyamorous, though when I met him he'd been single for several years. I went out with him a couple more times and asked for advice on here regarding whether to reach out to him because he hadn't returned a text. I had been consistently difficult to get a hold of at the time, a little flaky and slow to return texts, so people advised me to reach out if I wanted a casual encounter. I did this and he responded immediately. We got together (dinner date at his place), and then as we were fooling around I suddenly felt I didn't want to have casual sex and started to feel really emotional. He was really sweet about it and claimed he really liked me and said he wanted to get to know me and we could do that just as friends if I preferred. He also said something about how it wasn't necessarily just a casual thing, maybe it had the potential to become serious. So we stopped being physical, and made dinner. As we cooked he said something about how he was glad we didn't just have sex right away. From date one the conversation was stilted and awkward because I am extremely shy and he is on the quiet side, and dinner was no exception. So after dinner we started making out again (mostly because it was so hard to talk, at least from my end) and then wound up having underwhelming sex. (I did this partly because I didn't see things going anywhere between us and I figured he'd loose interest after sex, and I was afraid that if we kept seeing each other I'd get emotionally drawn in-absolutely ridiculous logic I know, I was just afraid I wouldn't have the willpower to stop going out with him if he didn't end it, plus I sort of wanted sex).

 

Anyway, after we had sex a couple times and lay there cuddling for quite a while, he offered to escort me home. I was completely taken aback that he wanted me to leave badly enough to say it out loud considering it was so late at night. I felt awful the next day (felt totally rejected and used) and to my horror I discovered that the sex had caused me to have feelings for him. He texted me that day saying he'd had a good time and to give me some helpful information about something I needed. I figured he just felt bad about asking me to leave, so I sent back something polite but not terribly enthused. I expected that to be the end, but to my surprise he texted me a couple days later saying we should get together again. I texted back saying I wasn't interested in casual sex, but if he wanted to hang out just as friends that would be cool. He texted back quickly and claimed he wanted to get to know me through whatever avenue. So we hung out again, and it was really awkward and it was hard to talk, and we wound up making out but I was getting the strong sense that he felt uncomfortable and wanted me to leave, and I left shortly. He said we should do it again soon, but we didn't text each other for several days after that. Then out of the blue I got a text asking how things were going. I responded and he didn't respond back for several hours and didn't say anything about hanging out. He texted me one more time out of the blue about something.

 

Since then we have run into each other several times. It's always awkward but he has been really warm and we are friendly. Though it hurt a lot at first, it took me surprisingly little time to move on. The other day we ran into each other and he texted me shortly after, inviting me over for what basically sounded like a booty call situation. I said no (with an excuse) but said we should hang out sometime. I guess i was naively deluding myself into thinking we could be friends as he is an interesting, out of the box person who I would like to get to know. He followed up and we wound up meeting at a cafe for dinner. I was feeling less shy and was able to talk a lot more (though I was still awkward as hell due to nerves, so wasn't the best conversationally). He was 20 min late (I was 15 min late myself and he seemed really nervous/off when we first sat down, though maybe he was just preoccupied with something that was upsetting him. Anyway, during dinner I started to feel really attracted to him. But I felt I was off-putting him with my lack of conversational smoothness (not sure how much of this is in my head). We went back to his place, and started fooling around and it got really hot and heavy. I was really into it in a way that doesn't usually happen. But I knew I didn't really want to have sex without emotional connection, so I reined myself in and made use of the dissociative habits that usually kick in automatically in a sex situation. I held myself and him back from anything too heavy. He seemed super horny, and I felt bad that I was frustrating him. I apologized and vaguely tried to explain where I was coming from and he seemed a little irritated that I was apologizing and said he understood and it was fine. After some time I finally extricated myself. He offered to walk me home but I declined. I left with the feeling that he didn't like/respect who I was as a person, but was sexually attracted to me. My self-esteem is really low though, so I tend to jump to bad conclusions that aren't always realistic. So I'm not sure whether to trust my gut. He texted me this morning saying he had a "lovely" time and I forgot my gloves. I texted back saying, "yes it was fun. when is a good time to come get the gloves?" It is now almost 10 at night and he hasn't responded. Usually he's relatively quick to text back.

 

My rationality is telling me that he's not interested in me and I need to forget him and move on. But it is rare that I feel any kind of connection with anyone or any spark so I find myself wanting to get to know him either as a friend or lover. He seems to have a depth and self-awareness which is uncommon (though I'm not sure he does). I find myself wondering if he's not acting interested because I've been sending mixed signals again. I know this is probably deluded, I guess I just need someone to help me see this. I am tempted to reach out to him at some point and see if he wants to hang out, but that's probably a terrible idea (though I do intend to get the gloves back).

 

I feel kind of like a crazy person for making this thread and making such a big deal out of it, but it is very rare for me to feel a spark with anyone so I need help getting perspective on the situation.

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I would guess that he thinks you are a confused person who has no idea what she wants, and that you don't respect your own boundaries, because that is what your actions are telling him. You tell him you don't think it's a good idea to have sex because you want to know him better, then you proceed to have sex with him but act ambivalent about it. You get hot and heavy with him, then you get weird about it and pull back. It seems like at this point, he does not have respect for you as a potential romantic partner, and it's time to move on.

 

I'm guessing that you have issues surrounding sex and boundaries, considering your actions with him and this intriguing statement: "the dissociative habits that usually kick in automatically in a sex situation." Absolutely no answer requested on that, it's your business, but if something has happened to you and you haven't processed it yet, it might be helpful to do so before you get involved with someone else. Also - I'm wondering if you are interested in a polyamorous lifestyle, because otherwise you would have run screaming from a guy who told you right off the bat he wasn't interested in monogamy right?

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That makes a lot of sense, I think you're right about the fact that I look(am) confused and he doesn't respect me. That is helpful. I was definitely getting the vibe he was loosing respect. No I'm really not into polyamory, you're right, I'm definitely not respecting my boundaries by overlooking that.

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Acting out this way may end up getting to him, as it sounds like you two are looking down different paths?

 

You keep giving in though and this won't help matters if he keeps instigating and you withdraw.

I believe the temptation is there- but you then deny.

 

IF you cannot just be 'friends' around each other, I suggest you totally back off, as it's clear what he's wanting with you.

 

Otherwise lines cross and it's going to really bother one of you at least.

So- is it time to just admit, he isn't for you?

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Acting out this way may end up getting to him, as it sounds like you two are looking down different paths?

 

You keep giving in though and this won't help matters if he keeps instigating and you withdraw.

I believe the temptation is there- but you then deny.

 

IF you cannot just be 'friends' around each other, I suggest you totally back off, as it's clear what he's wanting with you.

 

Otherwise lines cross and it's going to really bother one of you at least.

So- is it time to just admit, he isn't for you?

 

Yes. I don't want to, but this is helping me realize that it definitely is time to move on.

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That makes a lot of sense, I think you're right about the fact that I look(am) confused and he doesn't respect me. That is helpful. I was definitely getting the vibe he was loosing respect. No I'm really not into polyamory, you're right, I'm definitely not respecting my boundaries by overlooking that.

 

Agree with Spottiotti. It's kind of like you have a split in your personality. OK - I'm attracted to him and have sex without commitment on the one hand. On the other, I don't want just sex and he doesn't respect me.

 

You are acting inconsistently and it's pretty obvious your self-esteem is not the best. It's all kind of odd, awkward and sad.

 

You guys seem painfully awkward, so it's not like it seems like a mental/intellectual match. If you need more interesting friends, keep looking elsewhere.

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Agree with Spottiotti. It's kind of like you have a split in your personality. OK - I'm attracted to him and have sex without commitment on the one hand. On the other, I don't want just sex and he doesn't respect me.

 

You are acting inconsistently and it's pretty obvious your self-esteem is not the best. It's all kind of odd, awkward and sad.

 

You guys seem painfully awkward, so it's not like it seems like a mental/intellectual match. If you need more interesting friends, keep looking elsewhere.

 

Ouch, odd, awkward, and sad? That's kind of harsh, not the best to hear for my self-esteem. But I know my behavior has been erratic, I guess in some sense it's useful to hear how others perceive it.

 

The self-esteem thing is catch-22 to a degree. People don't respect people with low self esteem, and mine's not high enough to fake it. This makes it really hard to break the cycle and develop more healthy self-esteem, though I'm trying really hard

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Ouch, odd, awkward, and sad? That's kind of harsh, not the best to hear for my self-esteem. But I know my behavior has been erratic, I guess in some sense it's useful to hear how others perceive it.

 

The self-esteem thing is catch-22 to a degree. People don't respect people with low self esteem, and mine's not high enough to fake it. This makes it really hard to break the cycle and develop more healthy self-esteem, though I'm trying really hard

 

I said it's all odd etc - as in the situation and not just you.

 

I think you have to recognize that self-esteem comes from within. Other people can't give it to you. If you get it from others, then when others go away you fall apart.

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First of all, you need to decide on what you want from him. A friend, a lover, a partner? I got confused just by reading your post (twice) and, I imagine he's confused, too. Once you decide, it will be easier to know how to behave around him.

 

Thanks, that makes sense. At this point I think I just need to move on. I guess if I could have it my way I would like to be friends with him, but that would probably never work since it would be hard to keep it platonic.

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I said it's all odd etc - as in the situation and not just you.

 

I think you have to recognize that self-esteem comes from within. Other people can't give it to you. If you get it from others, then when others go away you fall apart.

 

I know you were talking about the whole situation, but it sounds like you were also talking about me.

 

Self-esteem comes from within, but it's not just a choice you make in your mind, it also comes from confidence. (From the knowledge that you can handle yourself well in social situations etc). Though I'm gaining more confidence in myself in other areas, I have bad social anxiety, which often makes me come accross in a way that others (and myself) don't respect. I think it can be done (it's gradually getting better) but it can be really hard to change how you think about yourself and gain social confidence when many people around you are reflecting back a sad, unflattering image. (The absolute worst is when they to make you feel good about yourself in a condescending way). I know others can't give me self-esteem, but at the same time, relationships (all types) are extremely important to me, so it's incredibly painful to feel I don't have the social competence to enjoy the relationships I'd like to enjoy. It's really hard to feel good about myself when my own behavior is creating a bad situation for myself. I've realized it has to start with self acceptance/compassion and forgiveness, but it's not easy.

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You have said you want to be just friends and then offered sex on each occasion (except for once?). So to him, "getting to know you" means having sex. Being friends means having sex. You put that out there more than once so that's what he'll expect. Each time things got socially awkward, you were physical instead. That's not really getting to know someone or being friends.

And a HUGE thing is that he says upfront he doesn't 'do' monogamy and you thought you'd be okay to be 'friends' who have sex, even after realizing your feelings developed after "UNDERWHELMING" sex....imagine if he was banging other girls (he probably is) and you're the 'friend' on the side all upset about BAD sex...yikes.

You have completely disrespected your own boundaries, as already pointed out and that it makes it hard to have respect for someone. In addition to that, you say you "assumed he'd lose interest after sex" which was oddly your REASON for having sex with him (I had to read that 3 times)....that doesn't "speak" to you having low esteem...it projectile vomits that you have a low esteem.

I'm not judging you...you sound confused and probably want to meet someone you can connect with both as a friend and a lover...there's nothing wrong with that. But when someone is upfront that they don't want a relationship/aren't monogamous, etc. there's just no point in 'exploring' anything because you're wasting your time from the start and they're not...they get to have what they want while you go home feeling crappy. Not something to sign yourself up for.

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To me self-esteem includes self-confidence (belief in yourself) but also includes self respect and love.

 

I think it would be good if you could escape the world for a few weeks if not months and live in solitude. Maybe journal about yourself and have a pet with you. I suspect that you just need some real space to look at yourself and do meet goals that show you no matter what you are enough. You yourself are enough.

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To me self-esteem includes self-confidence (belief in yourself) but also includes self respect and love.

 

I think it would be good if you could escape the world for a few weeks if not months and live in solitude. Maybe journal about yourself and have a pet with you. I suspect that you just need some real space to look at yourself and do meet goals that show you no matter what you are enough. You yourself are enough.

 

That's thoughtful advice, thanks. I would love to be able to do that (have been craving something like that), but don't think I can manage it financially. We'll see, maybe this summer.

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So I had initially made up my mind to move on, but I'm feeling sad for the friendship that might have been I don't know if the idea that we could be friends is all in my head. He might be on a TOTALLY different page. I'm not sure if I'm projecting a bunch of qualities on him that make his friendship seem desirable. But I don't really feel attracted to him unless we've just had a sexual encounter or he is eying me like he did at dinner, and I think if it worked, a platonic friendship with him could be really interesting. Something about him makes me feel expanded, and I really like that he is reflective and follows his own path (at least appears to). I was thinking to send him a message. I will wait a few days to send it to make sure it doesn't feel wrong, but if I were to send this, do you guys think it would come accross ok? (I don't want to seem sad/desperate):

 

Hello XXX,

 

I hope you're well. I just want to say that I liked getting to know you a little bit and it would be cool to hang out again. I know things have been on the awkward side so far, and it's been kind of hard to have a conversation, but I get the sense that we could potentially be friends. Of course this is just speculative, but i just want to put it out there, because why not.

 

Obviously things have been pretty sexual, and maybe that's all you were looking for. Having wavered back and forth a bit, I realize that I'm not looking for the same thing in that regard. I was originally thinking that it would be best to just go our separate ways, but I think you're interesting and I'm curious to know if we could develop a friendship.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to put it out there. I understand if you're not on the same page. If so, no worries

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Maybe it would sound better if the first paragraph just said, "I hope you're well. I just want to say that I liked getting to know you a little bit and it would be cool to hang out again. I know things have been on the awkward side so far, but I get the sense that we could potentially be friends. "

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I think anything you write will sound a little "desperate" (your words). Once a guy gets easy sex from you there's not much 'friends only' potential. Also, you keep saying "friends" but sleeping with him so he might interpret "just be friends" as "just keep hooking up" despite what you say, because what you've said before wasn't how you acted.

I'd not write/send anything and if he asks to hang out again you can clarify THEN that hanging out has been fun but given where you are you'd like to keep things platonic and non-sexual.

Contacting him when he hasn't asked you to hang out/be friends/see each other again or whatever makes it seem 'desperate' in that its unsolicited.

Just go with the flow and when it comes up naturally you can tell him where you are emotionally and that you just want to be friends.

Otherwise you're asking him out which is the opposite (again) of platonic friends.

My 2 cents.

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Just wrote a new version, which I think sounds better:

 

I hope you're well. I just want to say that I liked getting to know you a little bit and it would be cool to hang out again.

 

Obviously things have been pretty sexual, and maybe that's mostly what you were looking for. Having wavered back and forth a bit, I realize that I'm not looking for the same thing in that regard. I was originally thinking that it would be best to just go our separate ways, but I think you're interesting and I'm curious to know if we could develop a friendship. Things have been on the awkward side so far, but I get the sense there's potential to connect.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to put it out there. I understand if you're not on the same page. If so, no worries

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