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Standing Alone: When Your Partner Disagrees


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What do you do when your partner disagrees with you and/or doesn't stand up for you?

Relationships aren't built in a day - they take time to develop. They build over weeks, months and often years. So, when it comes to someone who fails to defend you it’s tough. 

Of course, there may be times when they don't agree with your opinions or suggestions, and in a good relationship, there exists still a foundation of trust, respect, and support, yes?

So, what do you do if your partner doesn't support you or side with you from time to time? Even if they don't necessarily agree? Do you still expect them to have your back and defend you?

I'm not talking about situations like when your partner vouches for your/a love of chocolate, even though they secretly dislike it (although that can be cute and silly). 

For instance, you go to a restaurant with a group of friends and you and your partner are eating and she likes chocolate and you HATE IT and someone says "chocolate is gross!" and you agree with your partner that likes chocolate even though you secretly despise chocolate.

I'm not talking about defending you when you are wrong, I'm talking about standing up for your perspective even if they may not agree with it. Is this the right thing to do?

How does everyone handle it in their relationship, current or past? Do you want a partner to always stand behind your opinions and beliefs, or are there certain situations where you can understand their disagreement? Do you expect your partner to stand up for you always or is it okay if they don't? And, how do you approach it when you disagree with your partner?

I bring this up because an incident occurred with someone that made me reflect on my past relationship. I was showing very little empathy for someone that I didn't agree with, and this man (that has shown romantic interest in the past), interjected and said that I was not being sensitive to the other person and that I was coming off a bit inconsiderate. I appreciated that he was trying to defend the person, but not so much appreciated that he didn't think anything about being respectful/sensitive to me. 

So, it made me think of an ex relationship. And, I thought that the ex was someone that knew me well, and even if he privately felt that I was in the wrong (I am not right about everything, lol) he knew I deserved mutual respect and expected the same back. I hesitate to say that he would not have not backed me up in that way. But I never wanted him to do it JUST because he was my partner, I wanted him to defend my stance because we shared mutual beliefs or values, and he believed in what I had to say.

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11 minutes ago, yogacat said:

Do you want a partner to always stand behind your opinions and beliefs, or are there certain situations where you can understand their disagreement? Do you expect your partner to stand up for you always or is it okay if they don't? 

I consider myself imperfect. In a sense that I dont think I am always right and am flawed being. For example, I procrastinate a lot. So, if the other side would also be like that, it would be a recipe for a disaster as nothing would be done. So I would like to be said that I should do something instead of just agreeing with me that I would do stuff tomorrow. In my opinion, some stuff need to balance themselves out in the relationship in order to work. For example, more impulsive people need more calm ones to "ground them". Introverts need somebody more extroverted in order for them to come out of their shells more etc. So I prefer somebody who would disagree with me if I am not in the right.  

I know that some people prefer "Blind yes man" people. There are people who dont like their opinions shaken to the point they would rather have other people kiss their feet. But that is just not me. Disagreements happen. And they are not inherently bad. Not everything needs to be perfectly aligned in order for things to work out.

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13 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

I know that some people prefer "Blind yes man" people. There are people who dont like their opinions shaken to the point they would rather have other people kiss their feet.

Likewise. It's a recipe for a disaster. Then the woman will complain that the man doesn't stand up to her or have a spine to speak up 🙄

49 minutes ago, yogacat said:

What do you do when your partner disagrees with you and/or doesn't stand up for you?

I think this can vary from topic to topic. More serious topics would require a more serious convo. Less serious topics are not to be taken so seriously.

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1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

What? No, they don’t have to defend my opinion. My husband and I don’t always have the same opinion or likes and we don’t pretend to no matter who is there. Even if we are married we are still individuals. Difference of opinion makes the world go round . Plus I am more than capable of defending myself and my point of view . 

I second the above.  Nice post Seraphim.

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1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

What? No, they don’t have to defend my opinion. My husband and I don’t always have the same opinion or likes and we don’t pretend to no matter who is there. Even if we are married we are still individuals. Difference of opinion makes the world go round . Plus I am more than capable of defending myself and my point of view . 

I agree.  Yogacat I got a very strong sense from your post and the tenor and tone of your that this was trying to look for problems/divisiveness in a relationship - that your expectations were very broad and abstract despite having given a past example and it's sort of like setting things up to be problems/sabotage a very solid relationship with these sort of ideals of what it "should" be.

Also my husband has seen me defend myself and believes I am perfectly capable of defending myself when needed. 

Last year we met up with our cousin and her family in another city.  Her sort of estranged husband came too to lunch as their son was there.  He was obnoxious to me and in front of our son.  Baiting me with really sensitive political topics, covid vaccine-related and intervening in conversations between me and my teenager where I told him I wouldn't be comfortable with him doing "X" and this man who had met him maybe once before telling him I was wrong and challenging me, etc.  I ended up leaving the restaurant and making some excuse -we were almost done -because I couldn't take him anymore.  My husband heard so little of the exchange -long table/noisy restaurant and he was talking to our cousin.

We were supposed to return to that city this year.  I said to my husband -I will not be in the same room with this man again unless it's a quick minute kind of thing -no meals.  I won't do it - I am happy to see our cousin and her son but not him.  He was rude and made me sick.  He promised me.  He had my back.  But I did not expect him not to see this man particularly since this man is a good connection-professionally -for my husband.

As it turned out my husband traveled there a few months ago on his own.  Business trip.  He told me when he came back that this man had come to lunch and that actually he'd asked after me and mentioned that he thought our son was very smart and mature for his age.  My husband said -he totally understood why I felt that way but he did want me to know about the compliments and that he was this time pleasant to be around.

I read your post that my husband should have - told this man how rude he had been to his wife, and probably cut ties with him because of how rude he had been to me.  I did not expect that.  I didn't even expect him not to see this man at all but I did expect him to understand that if he did I would have to go elsewhere for that time period.  Also I didn't expect him to intervene or stand up for me especially since this is an important connection for him to maintain.

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2 hours ago, yogacat said:

Do you want a partner to always stand behind your opinions and beliefs, or are there certain situations where you can understand their disagreement? Do you expect your partner to stand up for you always or is it okay if they don't? And, how do you approach it when you disagree with your partner?

It helps to find a partner that shares the same core opinions and beliefs. For the things that matter most, I don't see myself with someone who doesn't. Small things can be overlooked. It doesn't really matter if we have different tastes in food, music, movies, etc. Medium things we can discuss and compromise. But larger issues like politics or social justice, I think it's best to be on the same page.

Of course no one is going to think like me on everything. Our past experiences and our personalities may cause us to see things differently. They don't have to agree with me. I'd rather a person say true to themselves and be honest about what they think. 

What's more important is treating each other with respect. It's allowing each person to state their views without judgement or criticism. Have my back and defend my right to say what I think or feel. I'll do the same for them. But they don't have to take my side and adopt the same viewpoint. 

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Just now, ShySoul said:

But larger issues like politics or social justice, I think it's best to be on the same page

I didn't care and I don't.  Didn't even have "social justice" as a concept in my vocabulary.I  cared a great deal about marrying a person of character and integrity with a strong work ethic, a desire to contribute in small and large kind ways to his family/friends/community and yes the world as appropriate. He also had to be from the same reliigious background and roughly the same level of attachment to that religion.

I also don't gravitate well to those who elevate causes over individuals.  They're committed passionately to a cause but not so much to individual people - for example a person who only will be close friends with a person who is comfortable around pit bulls -or his/her pit bull because of her passionate devotion to the rights of pit bulls and the -to her -unfair labeling of pit bulls - or someone who has to know who I voted for in the last presidential election because if it's the wrong answer then we "can't" be friends.

There are extreme examples.  I likely couldn't marry someone who supported a political figure who was in my opinion - pure evil -hypothetically -or a person who believed that all wealthy people are undeserving of having the assets they do and wanted immediate divestitutre -if their belief meant they talked about it a lot or it affected the nitty gritty of what activities we could do together (like the person would refuse to go to anything but a small local business etc).  But a person of character and integrity who desires to do small and large kindnesses likely wouldn't take his political beliefs to that extreme in a personal relationship.

I would think people who are all about causes and less about individuals likely would need someone who matched with them or would have their back in the myriad of situations where their devotion to that cause or belief/lifestyle came up in regular conversation.

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39 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Yogacat I got a very strong sense from your post and the tenor and tone of your that this was trying to look for problems/divisiveness in a relationship - that your expectations were very broad and abstract despite having given a past example and it's sort of like setting things up to be problems/sabotage a very solid relationship with these sort of ideals of what it "should" be.

Okay so it's a silly thing really.

But it is making me reflect a bit is all. The man that I am referring to, we're not dating. Well, this woman mentioned about how she was involved in an affair and he was very sympathetic to her. I interjected and said I don't feel sorry for her. He in turn said that I was not showing her dignity or respect. 

I don't think I was being rude towards her or disrespectful, I just said that I felt little sympathy. Maybe he finds that to be a terrible crime, I don't know.

However, this interaction has made me think about how we show compassion and understanding towards others, even if we don't agree with their actions. It's hard for me in this scenario to have sympathy for someone in this case, and when I was forthcoming about that, he said that I can still treat the other person with dignity and respect.

With an ex relationship, I don't know, he and I always seemed to have each other's backs so maybe I am still using that as a benchmark. 

It's definitely something to think about. 

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18 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I  cared a great deal about marrying a person of character and integrity with a strong work ethic, a desire to contribute in small and large kind ways to his family/friends/community and yes the world as appropriate. 

As do I. 

There are a lot of variables and wiggle room for individual circumstances. I wasn't going to get into specifics as it tends to not be productive, so I just put social justice to describe all kinds of causes and viewpoints. As you said, there are some cases where you just can't be with a person because you don't agree on certain basic tenents of your beliefs/values. All I'm saying is those kinds of relationships aren't likely to work out anyway. Better to be with someone who generally thinks as you do. Less problems in the first place.

Also think there is a level of being dogmatic where it hurts a cause more then helps it. But for most people beliving in a cause I think they realize that what they are doing is for individual people. It's seeing the bigger picture, how whatever the cause is benefits each and every one of us.

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11 minutes ago, yogacat said:

It's hard for me in this scenario to have sympathy for someone in this case, and when I was forthcoming about that, he said that I can still treat the other person with dignity and respect.

For me it's how things are said. If you just said you didn't have sympathy for someone in an affair and calmly explained your view, then I don't see a problem with it. But if you started acting like she was some horrible person and accusing of her things you had no basis to say, that would be disrespectful and wrong.

I'm thinking you did the first option.

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5 minutes ago, ShySoul said:

As do I. 

There are a lot of variables and wiggle room for individual circumstances. I wasn't going to get into specifics as it tends to not be productive, so I just put social justice to describe all kinds of causes and viewpoints. As you said, there are some cases where you just can't be with a person because you don't agree on certain basic tenents of your beliefs/values. All I'm saying is those kinds of relationships aren't likely to work out anyway. Better to be with someone who generally thinks as you do. Less problems in the first place.

Also think there is a level of being dogmatic where it hurts a cause more then helps it. But for most people beliving in a cause I think they realize that what they are doing is for individual people. It's seeing the bigger picture, how whatever the cause is benefits each and every one of us.

I didn't ever refer to that as social justice and it's not what it means to me and does not for me describe causes and viewpoints in general so that's why I wrote that.  I do have an understanding of what social justice means.  I don't look for people who are into social justice and I am into people who as I wrote above desire to do small and large kindnesses for family, friends, their community, and often, the world.  And for sure for certain individuals who are complete strangers depending on context and all the rest.

I know of several people who elevate their commitment to a cause over individual people, who will work for the larger cause while dismissing individual viewpoints, individual differences, will choose to attend events that are not all out crucial instead of interacting with individual friends or family members, who will insist on interjecting The Cause into even casual conversation and attempt to convince another person to support the cause du jour over being a person who is focused on what is going on with the individual - kind of like those who are into MLMs to the extent that every conversation somehow becomes a sales pitch. That's what I mean. I also know of many people who are supportive of causes particularly because they want to contribute to individual people.

  I would not be a good match for that person and I have stopped interacting with people who try to convince me to support their cause to an extent that what is to me normal conversation just cannot happen.

I can be with someone with different political beliefs and they still think as I do and see the world as I do because of the place political beliefs have in my life.  

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22 minutes ago, yogacat said:

Okay so it's a silly thing really.

But it is making me reflect a bit is all. The man that I am referring to, we're not dating. Well, this woman mentioned about how she was involved in an affair and he was very sympathetic to her. I interjected and said I don't feel sorry for her. He in turn said that I was not showing her dignity or respect. 

I don't think I was being rude towards her or disrespectful, I just said that I felt little sympathy. Maybe he finds that to be a terrible crime, I don't know.

However, this interaction has made me think about how we show compassion and understanding towards others, even if we don't agree with their actions. It's hard for me in this scenario to have sympathy for someone in this case, and when I was forthcoming about that, he said that I can still treat the other person with dignity and respect.

With an ex relationship, I don't know, he and I always seemed to have each other's backs so maybe I am still using that as a benchmark. 

It's definitely something to think about. 

It depends how he defines dignity and respect.  And why he felt sympathy for her.  I can for example not condone that someone engages in an affair and separately feel sympathy.  I had a friend who had an affair with a married man -she was single - and I felt badly for her in the respect that he confessed to her after years of being classmates that he was in love with her.  She was younger than him and frankly he should have known better than to express feelings like that as a married man.  I felt he took advantage of her.  I felt badly that she was in that situation.  While recognizing that she could have chosen to walk away of course.

In your example he was critical of your opinion.  And sort of gave you his unsolicited opinion which was uncalled for.  

Also it's very individual -he felt sorry for this specific person -does he feel sorry for all people who engage in affairs? That would make a difference to me. Like I couldn't date someone who wouldn't be supportive of my beliefs when it came to honesty in business dealings, in the employer-employee context because if I am in a couple with that person and he thinks I should support his acting dishonestly that sort of implicates me too.  But if he feels sorry for a woman who had an affair and has a reason for it I am comfortable saying - I respect your opinion and I don't feel sorry for her because she had the choice to get help and not cheat.  But I wouldn't tell him that his opinion was dumb or too naive etc.  I also wouldn't have his back as in I wouldn't stand up for his particular opinion. I'd just be respectful of our differences.

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1 hour ago, yogacat said:

Okay so it's a silly thing really.

But it is making me reflect a bit is all. The man that I am referring to, we're not dating. Well, this woman mentioned about how she was involved in an affair and he was very sympathetic to her. I interjected and said I don't feel sorry for her. He in turn said that I was not showing her dignity or respect. 

I don't think I was being rude towards her or disrespectful, I just said that I felt little sympathy. Maybe he finds that to be a terrible crime, I don't know.

However, this interaction has made me think about how we show compassion and understanding towards others, even if we don't agree with their actions. It's hard for me in this scenario to have sympathy for someone in this case, and when I was forthcoming about that, he said that I can still treat the other person with dignity and respect.

With an ex relationship, I don't know, he and I always seemed to have each other's backs so maybe I am still using that as a benchmark. 

It's definitely something to think about. 

So you are in observation stage with this man. Not great that he's trying to police what you say. Could you have been a bit more diplomatic in handling how you excused yourself from being a listening ear to this woman talking about her affair? Sure. But he could have withheld his judgement as well. 

My SO and I are both pretty opinionated people, and passionate about what we believe in. At times we have butted heads. Along the way though we have both learned a lot about how to handle avoiding unnecessary head butting and also backing off when appropriate. It's ok sometimes to not agree. We try to understand the other guy, give each other grace too. 

 

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4 minutes ago, itsallgrand said:

So you are in observation stage with this man. Not great that he's trying to police what you say. Could you have been a bit more diplomatic in handling how you excused yourself from being a listening ear to this woman talking about her affair? Sure. But he could have withheld his judgement as well. 

My SO and I are both pretty opinionated people, and passionate about what we believe in. At times we have butted heads. Along the way though we have both learned a lot about how to handle avoiding unnecessary head butting and also backing off when appropriate. It's ok sometimes to not agree. We try to understand the other guy, give each other grace too. 

 

Hahaha opinionated soul here as well. Both my husband and I can headbutt but we don’t force each other to change our beliefs. 

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5 hours ago, Batya33 said:

Also it's very individual -he felt sorry for this specific person -does he feel sorry for all people who engage in affairs? That would make a difference to me

That's probably a convo I'd want to have with him.

I honestly am too judgemental about cheating when you're at 30yo+ 

I once went to a dating event, and one of the men was married and actively looking for mistress. I immediately asked "does your wife know? Is she okay with this? Is this an open relationship?" And you could probably see that I was trying not to look too put off by him. He was smiling with no shame. She didn't know ofc. Oh, and he came all the way from the mountains to the city to do this and hide it.

BUT, if it's a bestie suddenly behaving out of character, then I might be more sympathetic while trying to understand why she's involved in this. If this happens for too long, we'd probably part ways. Character is everything.

@yogacat  how well did your ex know that cheating person? Did you have a talk about cheating with that ex?

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18 hours ago, yogacat said:

For instance, you go to a restaurant with a group of friends and you and your partner are eating and she likes chocolate and you HATE IT and someone says "chocolate is gross!" and you agree with your partner that likes chocolate even though you secretly despise chocolate.

I'm not talking about defending you when you are wrong, I'm talking about standing up for your perspective even if they may not agree with it. Is this the right thing to do?

In this^ scenario, boyfriend agreeing with girlfriend's opinion even though it's not HIS opinion makes him a spineless wimp IMO and a "yes man."

I don't think there is a "right" way overall, there is only what's right for each of us as individuals and as a couple. 

Personally I am not attracted to "yes men" and would never date a yes man, but that's just me, another woman may want and need that in her man.

That said, if someone were to begin berating me and belittling me for my opinion and my boyfriend/husband were there, in that scenario, I would hope he would "stand up" for me/defend me and tell the belittler to knock it off.  Even if/when he agreed with that person's opinion. 

I am capable also of telling the person to knock it off but would also appreciate if my boyfriend did as well.  And together we politely exit the scene. 

Belittling and berating someone for having a different opinion is flat out wrong, I would not tolerate it and would hope my boyfriend wouldn't either. 

I would also expect him to NOT want to hang out with such person again unless they apologized.

18 hours ago, yogacat said:

I bring this up because an incident occurred with someone that made me reflect on my past relationship. I was showing very little empathy for someone that I didn't agree with, and this man (that has shown romantic interest in the past), interjected and said that I was not being sensitive to the other person and that I was coming off a bit inconsiderate. I appreciated that he was trying to defend the person, but not so much appreciated that he didn't think anything about being respectful/sensitive to me. 

^^This has happened to me, where in a social setting, a man who I have rejected begins arguing with me about god only knows what!

He may even agree with me but is hoping by disagreeing or even insulting me, it will cause tension and get a fire burning. 

@yogacat my advice is one ear and out the other.  Let him argue with you about it and call you whatever derogatory names he wants. 

Know where it comes from, and ignore it or anyone who disrespects you or your opinion in such a fashion. 

 

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My husband & I have different opinions about a few subjects, one of them is gun rights.  I don't expect him to change his stance & agree with me.  If I'm debating the issue with somebody else, he can side with them. However, if the other person gets rude or worse, violent, which has happened, of course I expect my husband to defend me.  

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15 minutes ago, rainbowsandroses said:

^^This has happened to me, where in a social setting, a man who I have rejected begins arguing with me about god only knows what!

He may even agree with me but is hoping by disagreeing or even insulting me, it will cause tension and get a fire burning. 

@yogacat my advice is one ear and out the other.  Let him argue with you about it and call you whatever derogatory names he wants. 

Know where it comes from, and ignore it or anyone who disrespects you or your opinion in such a fashion. 

This is such a perfect articulation of what pisses me off about that.

Thank you for sharing your experience. It's definitely frustrating when men try to argue just for the sake of causing tension or proving a point. I have also lost respect for men who have behaved this way in the past.

Even if it did light a bit of fire I wouldn't take such person seriously anymore that's for sure.

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17 minutes ago, yogacat said:

It's definitely frustrating when men try to argue just for the sake of causing tension or proving a point. I have also lost respect for men who have behaved this way in the past.

Even if it did light a bit of fire I wouldn't take such person seriously anymore that's for sure.

My thinking is that in their warped minds, they're wanting to exert dominance hoping it and the tension it creates will attract you.  

In some cases, that tension will light a fire as you admitted to BUT in the end it will cause you to disrespect them even repulse you which has happened to me, recently in fact with one particular man. 

It seemed like it was his life's goal to insult me and get me to react. Lol

Sometimes subtle, sometimes more overt.

My ultimate response was to leave the group and allow him no access to me. 

Apologies to make it about me but I can totally relate yoga. 

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15 minutes ago, rainbowsandroses said:

My thinking is that in their warped minds, they're wanting to exert dominance hoping it and the tension it creates will attract you.  

In some cases, that tension will light a fire as you admitted to BUT in the end it will cause you to disrespect them even repulse you which has happened to me, recently in fact with one particular man. 

It seemed like it was his life's goal to insult me and get me to react. Lol

Sometimes subtle, sometimes more overt.

My ultimate response was to leave the group and allow him no access to me. 

Apologies to make it about me but I can totally relate yoga. 

I hear you.

Albeit, I don't view his comments as insulting, he didn't insult me per se, he just inferred that when someone is going through a tough time (as in the case with the woman having an affair) and me saying I don't feel "sorry for her" that we can still show empathy even if we don't necessarily agree with it.

I just felt like he was siding with her for having the affair and my views about people having affairs is pretty rigid, which I admit, and he couldn't ‘side’ with me because he genuinely didn't agree with my viewpoint so in that moment I was feeling annoyed because I felt like he wasn't really listening to my perspective and instead he was defending this stranger's actions.

But in hindsight, I can understand his point about showing empathy even when we don't agree with someone's actions. It's just a different way of looking at things. So while I was feeling annoyed in the moment by his comments, I do feel like I learned something from the conversation.

Doesn't mean I am going to date him though (lol).

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44 minutes ago, yogacat said:

I hear you.

Albeit, I don't view his comments as insulting, he didn't insult me per se, he just inferred that when someone is going through a tough time (as in the case with the woman having an affair) and me saying I don't feel "sorry for her" that we can still show empathy even if we don't necessarily agree with it.

I just felt like he was siding with her for having the affair and my views about people having affairs is pretty rigid, which I admit, and he couldn't ‘side’ with me because he genuinely didn't agree with my viewpoint so in that moment I was feeling annoyed because I felt like he wasn't really listening to my perspective and instead he was defending this stranger's actions.

But in hindsight, I can understand his point about showing empathy even when we don't agree with someone's actions. It's just a different way of looking at things. So while I was feeling annoyed in the moment by his comments, I do feel like I learned something from the conversation.

Doesn't mean I am going to date him though (lol).

Are you romantically interested in this man?  I ask because at least for me, when I have a romantic interest I tend to care more/value more what they think of me versus someone I have neutral feelings.

You stated he has expressed romantic interest in you.

What about you? 

The fact you created this thread sort of suggests your interactions with this man are somewhat meaningful to you?   And you value his opinion?

If you're not comfortable responding I respect that, I was just curious and wondering if it's something you'd like to talk about?

Feel free to PM me, I have totally been where you are yoga.  

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10 minutes ago, rainbowsandroses said:

Are you romantically interested in this man?  I ask because at least for me, when I have a romantic interest I tend to care more/value more what they think of me versus someone I have neutral feelings.

You stated he has expressed romantic interest in you.

What about you? 

The fact you created this thread sort of suggests your interactions with this man are somewhat meaningful to you?   And you value his opinion?

If you're not comfortable responding I respect that, I was just curious and wondering if it's something you'd like to talk about?

Feel free to PM me, I have totally been where you are yoga.  

I am but the thing with me, is that I can be interested but not proceed in a love interest nor carry out pursuits, especially when I feel that they disagree with me on a very fundamental issue.

I appreciate your curiosity and I'm happy to share my thoughts with you!

Thank you for understanding and offering to talk more about it. I may take you up on that offer in the future. 🙂

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16 hours ago, yogacat said:

This woman mentioned about how she was involved in an affair and he was very sympathetic to her. I interjected and said I don't feel sorry for her.

People who have affairs are garbage people.  People brag publicly about their affairs are also garbage people.

Now that my opinion on cheating is out of the way. Your ride or die is someone that will pick you up from the middle of nowhere with shovels and garbage bags, and not ask questions...but even then are entitled to their own opinions about their thoughts on food, politics, religion, etc.

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