Blinded by Love

For some reason, I’m only now fully understanding this. I’ve now gained empathy for those in seemingly bad relationships who don’t leave. How?

Well, as I look back on my last relationship, I see the following:

  • I was in a relationship where during the times my partner says things were ok (for her more or less), I had problems. Problems big enough to bring to her that I felt we needed to find some way to fix. And she didn’t actually put forth any effort to help me deal with these things. Despite us being in a relationship. Despite her saying that she cared for me. Despite me bringing things up numerous times.
  • Even though clearly there was an issue with us, she never shared how she really felt with me. I opened up to her about issues I was having in our relationship, she kept hers to herself.
  • When her issues finally crossed whatever threshold necessary to become problematic for her, instead of wanting to talk to me about it, perhaps find some way to work it out, she jumped straight to deciding whether to end the relationship. Even though the issue wasn’t something that is an “automatic relationship ender”.

Now, if someone else were to describe any one of these scenarios in their relationship. My immediate response would be there is something wrong. This relationship isn’t healthy. Yet blinded by love, blinded by feelings for her, I jumped immediately to any excuse or explanation that seemed plausible.

  1. If your partner ignores or marginalizes your relationship issues and doesn’t contribute to finding solutions. You are in an unhealthy relationship.
  2. If your partner does not discuss their issues with you, but instead moves to deciding whether to end things, that implies one (or more) of several things:
  • That they have already had issues with you that they tried to work out, but failed.
  • That the issue is something so bad, you are incredibly lucky that they’re even considering still staying with you (you cheated, domestic violence, etc).
  • They don’t actually care about you or take you seriously, respect you as an adult, respect you as an equal, see you as an equal participant in the relationship.
  • Or it is quite possible that they don’t know what an actual relationship entails or you have stupidly entered into a relationship where they have quite a different definition of what kind of relationship you were in (I thought I was in a long term relationship where we were looking to see how well we fit together, how we deal with issues that come up, how we work together, etc).

And to add insult to injury, after us having these discussions where I talk about the issues I’m seeing, trying to propose solutions, solicit solutions, ideas, etc and getting nowhere, she now has her stuff come up. . . and it doesn’t occur to her to talk to me about it.

Its like we were both adrift together at see and I’m panicking, trying to find life vests or rafts to save us, but she thought it wasn’t too bad. But despite my obvious panic and attempts to find something to hold onto, she doesn’t even bother helping me, just sees my panic, and raises me – it is not important. But then, one morning, she realizes that we are really adrift and do need rescue and by some miracle, sights a life raft, jumps into the raft and gets to shore. With no warning or even telling me. Just leaves me to be surprised and caught off guard. And by some miracle, I too make it to shore. And she wonders after all that, why I don’t want to remain friends.

Now that emotions aren’t currently clouding my judgment, there is no way I can be friends with a person who treated me like that. No matter what the reason. It doesn’t matter whether she did it on purpose or by accident. I just can’t. I’m not that forgiving, forgetful, or open hearted.

There is some serious self delusion here. How could she be affectionate and initiate physical contact and intimacy for two months, then not because “she’s not an affectionate person”? Either she is deluding herself on that point, or she was faking it from the beginning. So the best explanation is neither. There is some other reason and she’s just feeding me the line that she thinks (or for some reason really believes) would make me feel best about the relationship ending.

Her feeling she couldn’t make me happy or keep me happy due to differing sex drives is bullshit. Many relationships have mismatched sex drives. That is nothing new, different or special. We knew this ahead of time and we talked about it. And, most importantly, the amount of sex we were having was never that big an issue for me. Yes, I’d brought it up once or twice earlier – though in those cases, I’d explained that what was more important and meant was that I didn’t feel we had been spending enough time together. But in the last 1.5 months of our relationship there is no way sex could have been an issue caused by me.

This is perhaps the single best way to thoroughly vaporize any bridge between a person. Create a situation where when they look back over their entire relationship with you without the filter of what they felt for you, they lose the ability to match your words to your actions. At best that I can make out, I was just a glorified friend. A winter beau . . . or fall beau in this case, since winter isn’t quite yet over. It would seem there was never any intent that this relationship last beyond a few months. Perhaps she even tried to tell me that in the beginning of our relationship – she never intended to date me or give me her number.

For those looking for real life examples of dramatic irony, here is one. So I’ve always tried in various blogs to write on a daily basis. If you go to the first few of this blog, you’ll see I even tried that here. But it has never worked. Then I thought I’d finally hit upon a concept that would work for me. A blog where I could talk about things inspired by my own relationship. Perfect right? I’d never beat a loss for material. So no way I’d fall off from daily writing. Just didn’t occur to me that it would be the relationship that could end thus ending my daily blog. Didn’t last past 19 days. I guess this is also an example of cosmic irony too.

And also, this confirms it, school somehow has a negative effect on my relationships. Every single one has ended within a few weeks of the end of a semester. (Yes, I know this is one of the worst posts grammatically for me. Guess how much of a fuck I give).

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Merry Christmas to All

Happy holidays to everyone!

Not that this is quite the time to review the year but looking back, time has gone by pretty quickly. It has been six months since I started this blog, though almost a year since I ended my last one. I’d planned on resuming earlier but a lack of motivation and other issues got in the way. Though my goal of daily updates seemed to quickly fall by the wayside. Yet the idea mill still runs and I think I have figured out a way to work out the daily blogging. . . in yet another blog. . . perhaps I should make one of those too – YAB. I also need to get around to populating some of my latest posts with pictures. . .

The make or break semester for school is coming up. I really feel that if I don’t finish this semester, I will have little motivation to really pursue things any further. So, over this holiday, I really need to buckle down and execute on my research work. The slow progress I’m making is crazy and disgusting. You’d think seeing everyone around me moving forward with their lives would be a strong enough stimulus. Not to mention that I’ve never truly returned to the lifestyle that my income warrants.

At least other parts of my life are showing some improvements. I’m back on low carb diet once again to lose fat. This time, I plan to incorporate significant exercise throughout most of the diet phase and then ramp back up to normal carb intake while maintaining exercise. This afternoon I ran through some calculations. There are many ways to reach my goals. The most direct is to lose 20lbs of pure fat while maintaining my lean muscle. The next involve losing close to the same amount of fat, but gaining more muscle mass. It is amazing, losing just 5lbs of fat gets me to the same body fat percentage as gaining 20lbs of muscle. Clearly, the easiest thing to do is lose the weight and as much fat as possible – this way, future muscle gains have a greater impact.

I’d initially planned on sticking to the diet until I dropped to 190lbs then transitioning off (I’m currently at 200lbs) but now I’m thinking of holding out till about 180lbs. I’ve also been doing a bit more reading because I realized that my primary goal isn’t to increase strength but the aesthetic look of my body. So my post diet workouts will start looking more like bodybuilding workouts than strength building. Though at the stage I’m in, perhaps they’re the same.

I really need to find a way to motivate myself next year. Like putting aside $2 each hour I work towards a new phone where I can only spend the money I earn on the phone. Or some other prize. But something. Then I can castigate myself later on how getting a new phone is about as interesting to me as getting a PhD at the moment.

Winning and Losing

I play the game pretty well most of the time. Sometimes though, I get complacent or take ridiculous risks. It’s awesome when they pan out or can be salvaged, feels bad when they don’t. In my last post, I mentioned words with friends and lamented that the woman I’m currently dating hasn’t sat in the winner’s circle in a while. Well, that all changed that night. I knew where the inflection point was in the game too. She’d taken an early lead, but I’d come back and it wasn’t something too far away. Play the game smart and with a bit of luck, I could turn it around. But I got greedy. And decided that I was going to help out lady luck. And instead of going for the small word defensive high scoring play, I went for a long word open low scoring play, in a bid to grab some good letters at the expense of giving up a triple word score. She took the triple and all I got were vowels. . .and an ‘S’. Don’t get me wrong, an ‘S’ is great, but in a sea of vowels, even I’m limited with just what I can do.

So I went on to lose that game. And I felt bad about it for a while. And I had to think, did I feel bad because I lost? No, clearly not. I’ve lost in WWF (words with friends) many times before (including to her). Didn’t feel like this. So, no, that wasn’t it. Whew, because I’ve always felt I was a good loser and if there is one thing anyone hates more about having their worldview destroyed, it’s when it’s their own perception of themselves. So, ego still intact. Hmm, what could it be? Did I feel the loss wasn’t justified? No, I took a risk, a dumb risk and. . . ah – that’s it. I felt that I made a dumb decision. Plain and simple. I didn’t just take a risk that didn’t pan out. I didn’t just try a strategy that didn’t work this time around. I did something which I immediately recognized afterwards as being dumb. And experiencing the results of that always burns. This is good to know. If I can remember this well, it can prove useful in the future. My subconscious has a way of telling me when I know I messed up. I may not logically realize it, but emotionally, it is there.

Of course, the question now becomes, do I still experience something similar when I make a dumb decision, but through chance or luck, don’t actually suffer any negative consequences? Not that losing a WWF game is necessarily a negative consequence, just in this case the game turned so neatly around that move that it makes attempting to evaluate moves afterwards very hard to do (I’m going to write a gripping novel that centers around WWF. It will sell millions. I will become rich!).

I’m the Beast of the East and the Best in the West

Seriously, you can look it up. Under Wee Thomas in the dictionary – well, as soon as they get around to adding me to the dictionary or at least creating my Wikipedia page. Frankly, I have no idea what’s taking so long. Short story long, I am awesome. Why am I awesome, let me count the ways:

  1. I have awesome friends. When I last attempted to enumerate people I consider friends – true friends, not people that I know through others and happen to spend time with them because of our mutual friendships – essentially if all it takes for you to disappear from my life (or vice versa) is someone else dying, we’re not really friends are we? (assuming I did not kill or engineer the death of said person) – I didn’t get past using my fingers and toes. And I thought about this for a while and found that I’m mostly happy with it.
  2. I am killer at words with friends (within the current group of people that I play). A lot of my acquaintances and a few friends play the game. Every once in a while, someone I haven’t played yet starts a game with me. There are a few stubborn people who play 5-10 games before they apparently give up – I suppose it can be soul crushing to lose every time. Only those that manage to beat me from time to time continue playing. And those games are awesome. I’m even dating someone in the winner’s circle. . . though she really needs to step up her game. I actually had a discussion with a couple people almost a month ago about playing against women that you’re dating. The unanimous decision, beat them as hard, mercilessly and often as possible.
  3. I’m dating an awesome woman. Seriously, pure awesome. Aside from allergies – just how often can a guy come close to killing someone in a month. I’m going to have to stop cooking until I have a complete inventory of everything on the bad list. There is one issue. . . she’s a dog person, I’m a cat person. I will be getting a kitten soon. Who will be trained to be an attack cat. I’m currently formulating the training regimine.  For now, we’ll see how things go. Frankly, cats are too cute for anyone to resist. Also, my attack cat will be trained in a foreign language.
  4. I’m making progress on my research work. This is good, because progress equals getting closer to being done and being done means that my parents stop bothering me about when I’m getting done, and start bothering me about something else. Frankly, I’m not sure what that something else would be . . . Buying a house? Getting married? Becoming the Godfather?
  5. I can flip like the best of them. That’s right, I bought a “non-running” car with a few cosmetic issues for a song. The issue, blown fuse. No joke. The big cliche in diagnosis – “When you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras” is even funnier and more ironic if you knew the full context of the purchase. Sadly, only one other person will ever know this, though by the time she gets around to reading this blog, she’ll probably have forgotten.

That’s the list for now. I would continue, but my good deed for the day is

Money and Dating

So, among the taboo topics to discuss on a first date or at all unless in a committed relationship, with the feds while cutting a deal, or Bernie Madoff are finances and money. But yet they factor in so many things. For example, the man is typically expected to do the heavy lifting initially in a relationship and perhaps let things peter out towards parity as time goes on. And mostly, that’s how things have been in my relationships. And likely for that reason, I never really gave it much thought – though I’m starting to think it played a role in ending my last relationship.

But anyway, I’m now in a situation where she pays some of the time and even that some of the time just feels weird to me, especially given that we’re still in the “dating” stage of this relationship. Another thing – I tend to not carry cash. Just a habit that I’ve evolved. So, one way that we’ve handled the inevitable who will pay for this jockeying is for her to suggest that she take care of the tip and me to acquiesce. There is even one place in particular where I’d directly ask her for the tip, because she tends to carry cash, and my relationship with the bartender is such that he either doesn’t charge or under-charges me for drinks, doesn’t let me pay up front, so I much rather leaving him a large tip on my way out. And given that I don’t carry cash (usually), doing this can be an issue if I”m unprepared.

So, anyway, I ask and she hands me some money, but the guy leaves midway through the night and so I’ll have to catch him some other time. But then she refuses to take the money back. And not wanting to make an issue out of it, I didn’t really push that hard. It makes me wonder because this isn’t something that I would think should bother me, yet in some way, it is. And I wonder if it is due more to me typically being the one in the relationship who pays for things or typically being the one in the relationship who makes more money (I’m not at the moment).

From what I know of my ex, she (prior to me) was used to being that person – either the more financially dominant one in a relationship or at least having things 50/50. Just various circumstances around the time we were in a relationship put her in such a position where I was ahead. One thing that I advocate as being bad for a relationship is a significant imbalance of power. That can come from many things, one person moving to be in a new city with the other, having to leave your job to advance the other person’s career, being in very different places life-wise (just starting college versus just entering middle management). And while logically, money should be a part of that, I’d never really considered it.  But perhaps in addition to money being on that list of power imbalancers, there should be a category for perceived or implied imbalance – like what I’m feeling now and what I think my ex felt at times in our relationship.

I don’t for a second think that this is actually an issue or going to be an issue for us, but it does illuminate some things for me and make me question some of my own perceptions and worldview. I have opinions and ideas about certain things even though I have not experienced those situations or have real context to base my thoughts upon. I will definitely give things a bit more thought before doling out advice or complaining in the future.

That Didn’t Take Long: The Answer to Yesterday’s Post

I realized after a few hours of contemplation and reading that I’ve been doing things the right way all along. At the beginning of all relationships, everyone seems promising. That’s the nature of the game (assuming you’re making those initial choices wisely). It is either coincidental that I’ve always just been in the getting to know someone stage at the moment I’ve made the decision to pursue people exclusively or that my state of happiness and satisfaction somehow attracts others – a phenomenon that is certainly not exclusive to me.

But the correct decision is to put an end to other relationships, budding as they may be, and focus on the person who has managed to find themselves a big part of your world. This is no easy feat. Most of us are quite busy individuals. Our typical life schedule doesn’t really admit time for anyone new. Yet somehow, we always manage to find time for her. This isn’t an accident. So, as of today, I’m officially off the market. I’ve shut down everything that was pending or on the backburner. I’ve closed down all dating profiles. I’m now preparing for the next step.

We’ve established that we have big picture compatibility. We have rudimentary conflict resolution skills. We seem to share things (mostly) completely and honestly (some things take time to reveal – you can’t rush intimacy and trust). So now it’s time to check the small stuff. I enjoy cooking, she doesn’t – I’ve never been in a long term relationship with someone who doesn’t cook, how will I handle that (from a rational standpoint, it is not necessary, but many things in relationships aren’t always rational).

Eyes Open Kissing

So I have a confession to make. Well, perhaps not a confession. It’s not something I had or disguise – it just doesn’t come up in conversation with someone unless they are involved with what I’m talking about. Which is that I tend to kiss with my eyes open. In fact, aside from sleeping and cringing from cringe-worthy events in the Office or any other comedic sitcom, I pretty much do everything with my eyes open. Rollercoasters, skydiving, driving (ok, I suppose that one’s a given). I suppose I more or less close my eyes when praying – but that is something I’ve been socialized to do, and not really what would occur on my own volition.

Now, this is not to say that my eyes stay open the entire time. But they are open more than they are not. And this is bothersome to people. All of my exes have remarked on this at some point. One felt that my eyes being open meant that I wasn’t enjoying things as much as she. That I was either bored or distracted. Another felt it was weird, but she’s very sensitive to ocular attention. One, while she remarked that it was unusual, did not really have any issues with it at all. But for all of them, the open eyed kissing issue went away pretty quickly, with the exception of one where it comes up in a related scenario.

But as it turns out, I have not really experienced the full diversity of responses to my “unusual” kissing m.o. I’ve recently learned that kissing can be a vulnerable moment for some and with eyes open, I’m not sharing in that vulnerability. I think the implication is that at that moment, there is an imbalance of power or something between us. And while I may not ever fully understand the reasons why others may feel it is strange, academically yes, but emphatically, no, I certainly understand the effects of power imbalance in a relationship. Though in this case, I think there is more at stake. And combined with this, I think may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As a guy in the dating world, you find yourself having to push through or cope with what may appear to be negative responses. For example, the woman I’m currently dating, though perhaps no longer, told me that were it not for her friend, she wouldn’t have given me the time of day (well, not exactly that, but we certainly would not have gotten past meeting that night). So, if I’d happened to meet her one night when she was out alone, our interaction would have had a different outcome. Anyway, my point is that even with her friend there, things were not so simple and straightforward. There were concerns and things I needed to address and even then, her sharing her number was not guaranteed.

Wow, I’m seriously in rambling mode today. The point is that you get used to having to be persistent at times. The problem comes with evaluating when to be persistent and when to not. In my last relationship, there was a situation early on that I decided to let play out and see whether there was an actual misunderstanding or whether I was just overthinking a conversation. And the relationship almost ended right then. But it eventually did and so the key question now is that if events like this occur, for whatever reason where one bumps against someone’s dealbreakers early in getting to know each other, should you attempt to fix it or let things play out.

I’m all for people accepting you for exactly who you are, but realistically, that will never 100% happen. So how far should you go? What is the threshold – how much you like them? How long you’ve been going out? Until you turn 30 or 40 and decide that you’d rather settle down than continue dating until you find someone who is 99% fine with all your quirks?