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Confused: should I explore this connection deeper


wintertale

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Hello everyone!

I’ve just joined this forum, as I am feeling very confused whether I should explore one connection into something deeper, and I would greatly appreciate some advice.

A while ago, I’ve met a man online (internet forum, not dating app) by pure coincidence, as we shared some rather similar interests. I am abroad and he is in my home country. Since the first message, we’ve been in a regular contact and I am totally confused now - not by him, but by myself.

Since the first moment, I felt inexplicably drawn to him only based on those online conversations; his personality is very compatible with my own and I just feel so understood. He is this strong, silent type, very deep and logical, while I am more of a feeler but quite rational which somehow works well in our communication. What I like is that he has a very calm yet confident, reassuring demeanor, and in his behaviour so far, he has demonstrated reliability, honesty, kindness and helpfulness which are very important for me in order to open up to someone as a super private person I am. Not only our interests and love for quiet, for solitude and deep conversations about abstract topics are aligned, but our values are largely congruent and I just feel very safe and completely comfortable to be myself when I talk with him (well, so far). I never felt like that at ease with someone.

We are now at the point where our interest in each other (or at least mine in him) is close to crossing a line from friendship to something else (if it goes there, it would have to be a long - distance relationship for a while). However, here is the catch: I am in a way to obtain my doctorate (mature student), while he is several years older, at the end of his 30s, and without university education, working as a construction worker. He couldn’t pursue higher education due to the tragedy in his family and subsequent loss of home and financial struggles that happened when he finished high school.

Honestly, that difference between us isn’t important to me because I don't feel I necessarily must have someone highly successful for a partner – I’ve seen how some of such men in academia behave, and in fact, this man is in some aspects far more intelligent than I am myself, although he is self-educated. The issue that makes me overthink is whether he also lacks ambition and purpose to go after his goals and to reach the potential within him, regardless his past? I myself am very driven in that way and I fear to pursue someone who could not match me in this, and would later resent me for this very reason that perhaps makes me interesting now. Also, I don’t necessarily need success as a social symbol, but financial stability and some vision of the future are important goals for me. I don’t know how to ask him about this without sounding like a snob that looks at him like he is beneath me.

These thoughts add up to my overall confusion and even deeper dilemma:

I’ve always had a tendency to discard men as potential romantic matches because I used to cling to the vision of some absolute ideal (which I know is non-existent). At the moment, I cannot decipher if it is this idealism and fear of mine that is speaking up, or is it perhaps the opposite, that I am seeing too much in this connection and projecting due to my relative social isolation (I am currently in lockdown and haven’t seen my family in a year).

I don’t want to deepen our connection only to end up hurting this person, and myself as well. So, I guess what I am kindly asking you is to try to put yourself in my position and offer some insights. I am seeing so many negatives, yet so many positives too in this connection, but I am honestly unsure which of these are true and what should I do.

Thank you!

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A) construction workers can make more money than a doctor or a person of higher education.

B) you have never met this person

C) you are way too far thinking of this person. You have not been on a date, touched hands or anything and already thinking of a future with them.

D) this man could be married, have a GF, or a fiance, for all you know.

E) it's just a fantasy. What lacks in the physical aspect of getting to know someone, is taken over and being filled in by your imagination.

F) cool off emotions, and just be friends for now until you can meet in person. So many people get waaay in over their head, and that's when the trouble starts. Keep enjoying the conversations, but of course keep your options open. date other people.

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14 minutes ago, smackie9 said:

A) construction workers can make more money than a doctor or a person of higher education.

B) you have never met this person

C) you are way too far thinking of this person. You have not been on a date, touched hands or anything and already thinking of a future with them.

D) this man could be married, have a GF, or a fiance, for all you know.

E) it's just a fantasy. What lacks in the physical aspect of getting to know someone, is taken over and being filled in by your imagination.

F) cool off emotions, and just be friends for now until you can meet in person. So many people get waaay in over their head, and that's when the trouble starts. Keep enjoying the conversations, but of course keep your options open. date other people.

Hahaha, thanks 🙂

I sooo needed to hear this!

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16 minutes ago, smackie9 said:

F) cool off emotions, and just be friends for now until you can meet in person. So many people get waaay in over their head, and that's when the trouble starts. Keep enjoying the conversations, but of course keep your options open. date other people.

^ This.  I agree with be friends for now (without fantasies filling your head, lol).  If you ever get to meet you'll have more to work on.  How long have you been chatting?  How old are you/him? 

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I agree with Smackie - and no I would not have dated someone who didn't at least achieve a college degree because I wanted someone who had similar values to me when it came to education and the desire and ambition to pursue at least a college degree (I also wasn't interested in men who thought a degree was just a piece of paper or who didn't go to college because their focus was solely on making more money and foregoing college).  (When I dated for over 20 years on and off it was difficult to meet a man who hadn't at least achieved a college degree -I had a grad degree- so my "ask" was perfectly reasonable -yes I certainly had friends who didn't go to college - not an "intelligence" thing - but when it came to finding a husband it was a must)

This person is not someone you should consider dating because he is a complete stranger for dating purposes, because he is long distance so getting to know him in person would be extremely difficult and because you probably haven't even done a background check on him (and of course you have no idea if you'd have chemistry in person including with flowing conversation .... or not.

This is a wake up call to you to start pursuing opportunities to meet single, available men who are not long distance, in real life.  Even if you first connect on line or on a dating site -where you meet in person ASAP to see if there is in person chemistry (looks are the least of it)  I would not keep in touch with this person unless you accept that he is solely a platonic pen pal.

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You started by saying the differences didnt matter, but about 2/3 the way through you clarify that if doesn't matter as long as he's willing to change.

So, who he is today isn't going to work for you.  Be honest.

Having said that, I work with doctors.  There is a difference between book smarts, street smarts and emotional intelligence.  In my personal experience the higher the IQ, the lower the emotional and social intelligence.  I've had to help a brilliant neurologist figure out which access card to use to get out the door.  Cleary he had too many more critical things on his mind to be bothered by small details.

Something to think about. . 

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Tread carefully with this...
you are getting entwined in your mind with your 'talks'/discussions- that's all.
Anyone can seem appealing to you - feeling a connection with words, how they seem, etc
BUT, that is a totally different aspect, than dealing with them for real.. and IMO, this is why, so often, couples who test with this limited knowledge, so often fail- after they get truly involved/meet.
Is NOT what they thought would be... so you set them up with such high regard- when in reality, is NOT who they are.
You just cannot base 'your feelings' on this limited access to this guy.
You really know nothing on him. ( as mentioned by other responders).
So, be careful- expect nothing much, other than a nice guy- friend.
Put aside your 'fantasy image'.. and yes, focus more on the real world around you, there.

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11 hours ago, reinventmyself said:

You started by saying the differences didnt matter, but about 2/3 the way through you clarify that if doesn't matter as long as he's willing to change.

So, who he is today isn't going to work for you.  Be honest.

Having said that, I work with doctors.  There is a difference between book smarts, street smarts and emotional intelligence.  In my personal experience the higher the IQ, the lower the emotional and social intelligence.  I've had to help a brilliant neurologist figure out which access card to use to get out the door.  Cleary he had too many more critical things on his mind to be bothered by small details.

Something to think about. . 

Yes and in my experience people who value higher education may or may not have high IQs but it correlates with values of giving back to the community, having a broader world view.  Just my personal experience.  Certainly many who chose not to go to college give back to their community! When I was dating I wanted someone who saw the importance of a college education and valued it.  Most of them happened to be very smart as well and I know many people who are not that IQ bright but want to achieve a college degree or beyond.  I know of many people who are rocket scientist types and lack in emotional intelligence and I've met plenty of people who lack both.  I don't see the correlation other than perhaps in very specific fields -like -maybe this is a cliche -a math major or statistics major (or maybe engineering?) is probably more of an introvert socially -again that's a broad generalization.  I have a liberal arts background and similar in my grad degree and most of the people I encountered with my background didn't have the inverse correlation you referenced. 

I do think that too often people who value the accomplishment of a college degree are criticized for being elitist/too focused on money/focusing too much on just a piece of paper.  I find those criticisms silly.

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Actually whether someone is pursuing their goals or not depends on what the goals are. Not everyone's goal is to go to college/university and have an academic or professional job. Believe it or not some people actually enjoy doing hands on work and that's what they really want to do. There are people who love gardening and just want to be a gardener. People who love to build and maybe they're a carpenter or construction site worker. I also don't think that working a labour job necessarily means the person has a low IQ and is simple. They could be intelligent but they just don't have interest in academia and they don't have a passion for that kind of work. But they are "switched on", if that makes sense.

Of course if you prefer someone university educated that's just your own personal choice. If you want a partner who can discuss academic and intellectual topics then that's fine. However I don't think it's fair to say that someone has no ambition or goals just because their goals or interests are not the same as yours. This guy has a job and earns money and takes care of himself. It's not like he's on welfare benefits or something.

You said that you don't know how to ask him about his ambitions without sounding judgemental. Ask him what though? Would he be willing to become more "intelligent" and get a university degree in order to date you and be the partner you really want? He doesn't have to change for you or do anything for you. This is who he is and that's his life and what he wants to do. If you don't like it then you don't have to date him or even be friends. But you can't tell him what to do and he doesn't owe you to be any different.

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Be wary that this could be a scammer, as he's already set the stage for his financial woes and family tragedy. He's been twenty years out of that situation--plenty of time to rectify his financial problems and achieve career goals if that was his wish. Has he asked you for money?

If you met on Facebook, that's a common place predators meet their prey. I receive 2 friend requests per month from men who I can clearly see are fake accounts where the images have been stolen. Always attractive men shown in military gear or medical scrubs, etc., trying to lure lonely, naive women. 

Men who are good catches don't stay single for long. Why would he waste time on a LDR with no end in sight? What is his relationship history? Will you be moving back to your home country, and when?

I do have experience with online dating. I would like a guys photos and enjoyed our texts and phone calls and had high hopes when meeting. But that's all fantasy. Reality begins when you actually meet. 9 out of 10 times, either he or I didn't feel chemistry. In some cases 2 or 3 more dates happened, but it then ended because either personalities clashed or they'd lied about their dating goals.

I'm sorry that you're feeling lonely, but I think that's better than investing loads of time in someone you can never really know online. You falsely feel like you're falling in love, but it's a mirage. In your shoes, I'd stick to local dating and if that can't happen until lockdown is over, so be it. In the long run, the time span is a blink of an eye.

In the meantime, make a must-have and dealbreaker list and stick to it for dating. Don't relax your standards because you're desperate and settling. But also be realistic in what you're looking for in a man. Good luck and keep us updated.

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4 minutes ago, Andrina said:

Be wary that this could be a scammer, as he's already set the stage for his financial woes and family tragedy. He's been twenty years out of that situation--plenty of time to rectify his financial problems and achieve career goals if that was his wish. Has he asked you for money?

If you met on Facebook, that's a common place predators meet their prey. I receive 2 friend requests per month from men who I can clearly see are fake accounts where the images have been stolen. Always attractive men shown in military gear or medical scrubs, etc., trying to lure lonely, naive women. 

Men who are good catches don't stay single for long. Why would he waste time on a LDR with no end in sight? What is his relationship history? Will you be moving back to your home country, and when?

I do have experience with online dating. I would like a guys photos and enjoyed our texts and phone calls and had high hopes when meeting. But that's all fantasy. Reality begins when you actually meet. 9 out of 10 times, either he or I didn't feel chemistry. In some cases 2 or 3 more dates happened, but it then ended because either personalities clashed or they'd lied about their dating goals.

I'm sorry that you're feeling lonely, but I think that's better than investing loads of time in someone you can never really know online. You falsely feel like you're falling in love, but it's a mirage. In your shoes, I'd stick to local dating and if that can't happen until lockdown is over, so be it. In the long run, the time span is a blink of an eye.

In the meantime, make a must-have and dealbreaker list and stick to it for dating. Don't relax your standards because you're desperate and settling. But also be realistic in what you're looking for in a man. Good luck and keep us updated.

Well obviously he doesn't have a wish to go to college. That might be why he never went. But you are right about standards. I don't think there's much point asking him anything about his goals and ambitions because if he's not suitable, why try to change him? There are also men out there who did go to college so why not pursue them instead. 

Also it doesn't really make sense to think something romantic is developing when all communication has only been through typing. Considering there's been/is a quarantine/lockdown everywhere in the world, there is a perfectly good reason to at least video call. You're wondering if you should worry about the difference in your goals when really you actually don't even know if his personality even suits you. He could just be saying only positive things because it's easy to do that online when you're not interacting in literally any real life situations. 

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Just so you know, here's some education you degree holders may not know about...in most first world countries, that have strict building codes, you have to be a ticketed journeyman in the "hands on trades. That's 4 years of going to college on top of working under someone who is a journeyman. My husband is in the trades and is ticketed. He still goes for advance training in his field to this day and he's been in it for 30 years.

So it's not if you have some kind of degree, it's what is in their mind, their personality, their world view/life perspective, their likes, dislikes, and how they can carry on a conversation that relates to your educated mind. And what fun it is to learn new things about each other and the world around us. You have people who have tunnel vision and only know what they know, then you have those who want to keep learning about everything.

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2 hours ago, Tinydance said:

Actually whether someone is pursuing their goals or not depends on what the goals are. Not everyone's goal is to go to college/university and have an academic or professional job. Believe it or not some people actually enjoy doing hands on work and that's what they really want to do. There are people who love gardening and just want to be a gardener. People who love to build and maybe they're a carpenter or construction site worker. I also don't think that working a labour job necessarily means the person has a low IQ and is simple. They could be intelligent but they just don't have interest in academia and they don't have a passion for that kind of work. But they are "switched on", if that makes sense.

Of course if you prefer someone university educated that's just your own personal choice. If you want a partner who can discuss academic and intellectual topics then that's fine. However I don't think it's fair to say that someone has no ambition or goals just because their goals or interests are not the same as yours. This guy has a job and earns money and takes care of himself. It's not like he's on welfare benefits or something.

You said that you don't know how to ask him about his ambitions without sounding judgemental. Ask him what though? Would he be willing to become more "intelligent" and get a university degree in order to date you and be the partner you really want? He doesn't have to change for you or do anything for you. This is who he is and that's his life and what he wants to do. If you don't like it then you don't have to date him or even be friends. But you can't tell him what to do and he doesn't owe you to be any different.

Totally agree- most people are individuals -a mix of a bunch of different things.  I think the OP should assume he is following his goals and ambitions which may or may not include academic degrees, and she should explore within herself why she wants someone who has achieved a college degree (for me talking about academics intellectual topics is not a particular reason why -a degree can have a lot or nothing to do with that desire or ability - but maybe for her it is) 

I think it's perfectly fine to ask someone from a respectful place about what they like to do, what their future goals are, etc.  

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You're working way too hard on trying to read tea leaves. Either get to know the guy, or don't. I wouldn't invest in fantasies 'about' the guy as a future partner unless and until you meet him to learn whether there's any in-person chemistry.

Otherwise, none of this is about HIM at all. You don't know him. 

Whatever you believe you know is just a mind invention you're doing to yourself.

There's plenty of real estate in the way of meeting--on top of a global pandemic. So is this really where you want to invest your mind when you have goals and ambitions of your own to focus on?

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This is the problem becoming attached to someone you've never met.

Sure, there's the anonymity of confiding in a stranger.  I think it somehow feels safer and forms an intimate connection that draws you in.

But there is so much more to a person real time and 3 dimensional.  But between now and then we fill in the blanks with our wishful thinking. The two, or three rarely add up.

 

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You are really over-thinking this and getting in your own head too much, considering you've never even met the man. 

You have no clue whether you'd gel in person, whether there would be chemistry...or even if he would like you. All those concerns about compatibility usually go both ways, OP. Imagine you were to continue fretting, then you meet up, and he decides you're not really his cup of tea. 

I don't mean to say that you don't bring a lot to the table or that something is wrong with you. But keep in mind you don't hold all the cards about whether or not this would move forward, either. Unless and until you spend time together in person, you are twisting yourself into mental knots for no reason. 

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