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This, I think, is what is maybe more emotionally complicated than the specifics of sex: doing it, holding off, whatever. And perhaps related.

 

It's a romantic notion, of course: you arrive in Paris, unsure of how long you'll stay, but then you lock eyes with the lanky guy carrying a baguette, are soon strolling through some museums, making out along the Seine, hanky panky after the wine bar, and so on, a montage that ends with you, at 30, opening the ancient door to the flat in the 9th where you two have lived together for the past few years—a place of wide-plank floors and high ceilings and diffuse light that's just a short walk away from the job you love. Ah, une vie extraordinaire!

 

Thing is, if your brain is quick to jump to stories like that—as a brain will be at various junctures, particularly rootless ones—you're putting an extraordinary pressure on a romantic connection to be the thing that roots you, the raison d'être, if you will. Stir in nudity, sex, and some orgasms and—whoa!—the circuitry can get fried as that little movie sequence goes from flickering to technicolor. It's like the fantasy gets validated as reality by coitus, where the real reality is that you've just gotten naked with an intriguing person you've known for a few sneezes in the scheme of things.

 

That's kind of why I encouraged you to see this time in Paris from a wider lens, to be assessing whether the city has enough to offer your spirit rather than whether Paris contains a man special enough to change your life for. Speaking for myself, I liked my now girlfriend quite a bit after just a few hours, and was pretty invested in the question of what she + me could equal after just a week or two. But running parallel to that was me rooting myself in this new city: I liked how it felt, how I felt in it, and saw a rich life here for me that predated my meeting her. So whether we were sipping coffee and talking life or, well, you know didn't drastically alter my perception of myself or my expectations of what role she would play in the story of my life. As a result, there was space to just keep getting to know each other rather than get lost in the carousel.

 

I think the reason to have sex, all in all, should be a simple one: it's because you want to have sex, and have met someone you're comfortable having sex with. That "want" is not simply about heat and hormones, but also connected to your authentic self, which may change shape here and there, go in and out of focus. When it's just an extension of your authentic self—rather than an act of validation, a step toward a "better," or a chess move in the game of romantic connection—it's not as loaded with meaning, and all the more deep and magical for it.

 

I've had stretches like the one you've described, where I've been in your shoes and the shoes of the men. Fun times—until, like anything, they're not so fun. When that shift happens I tend to step back, just a few inches, no different than how I tend to eat less meat after a few meaty weeks, or exercise more after a sedentary stretch. Keeps the inner compass balanced, so you don't get too rocked.

 

How do you know what's going on in my head bluecastle!?!?!?! Amazing, thank you thank you.

 

Regarding the sex discussion everyone is having - I understand the concept of casual sex and I do not use it as a way of getting a commitment from these guys. Nor do I expect it to mean commitment. I did it because I was attracted to them and I felt like things were going well outside of just physical attraction (apart from guy number 5 yes - what surprised me about him was that he seemed to want to get to know me after for a few weeks and then changed his mind seemingly randomly like everyone else. But he has two jobs and is really busy so idk).

 

What I expected to be taken seriously were all the good times we had outside the bedroom - all the things we had in common. And I was confused as to why over and over again, they back out when in my eyes nothing changed. I never had this problem before I moved. But I see now perhaps something has changed within me since I moved - I need to feel connection more, I'm a bit more reckless, I'm more easily impressed. And as many of you pointed out, I'm also now the 'foreigner' - the girl who's life is up in the air, very fun but probably not serious girlfriend material.

 

I'll take a break and really focus on enjoying my time here without men. After that maybe I'll be more balanced and a bit stronger. And I'll also vocalise gently what I am looking for next time I meet someone I like, instead of going with the flow and hoping for the best.

 

And I'll try look back on all this as a very funny 'saucy' time that has helped me grow and realise what I want in a relationship.

Edited by bonbon
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Yes completely. Especially with dating apps and social media etc. It feels impossible to win.

 

I know of many people who met their spouses and long term partners through dating sites. I met lovely men through dating sites -met over 100 in person. Nothing to do with dating sites. People had many one night stands in the 1980s and 1990s pre internet. Nothing has changed. There were many ways to find sexual partners other than through online sites

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A lot can happen in the time you are there.

Wow this is amazing! Thank you so much for your advice! I really understand what you mean about vacation mode. Thanks for sharing your experience.

 

Yes, I need to chill, enjoy Paris, live in the moment and I'll decide over the next few months what my long term plans are.

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