Stonyeye and Captain
I started to write this on SBC, but it quickly got very longwinded and involved and relationship-oriented, so I thought it was better suited to a private thread. (Anyone besides Stoneye and Captain who wants to wade through this and jump in, though, please feel free!)
I'd actually been very content in my solitude for months after a visit last summer from an old boyfriend (my first, actually, off and on from the time I was 15-18—and wow, that was mostly long-distance, too; he was away in college!) who has always been certain that I'm the One for him. It had been nine years since we'd last dated, not long after my marriage ended (we lived an hour apart at the time…ahem), and I thought it couldn't hurt to see whether in the interim we'd each grown in ways that made us more compatible. It was instantly obvious (to me, not to him) that we hadn't, and his presence in my space was so disruptive and suffocating that I was actively rejoicing in my freedom and peace for months after I sent on his way with a very definite No, this isn't going to work. (Stonyeye—the ones who want to be with me tend to be conventional minded, as Captain suggested, and to me very obviously unsuitable pairings. Sound familiar?)
Also like you, Stoneye, I revel in my animals (just one cat at the moment), good friends and family, work—I've been self-employed and working from home for 16 years—connection with nature, travel, volunteer work, and myriad creative pursuits: writing, reading, knitting, sewing, cooking, gardening, hiking, building stone walls, carpentry, and other DIY home improvements, the list goes on… I am never bored! I definitely give out that self-sufficient vibe, and when I sense any ambivalence in someone I'm dating, I know I instantly start to emphasize my self-sufficiency even more in anticipation of their pulling away altogether. It's like I'm saying, "Who needs you anyway—look here, I can take care of myself!" While my inner refrain is saying something more like, "Please, show me that for once I can relax and let you take care of me a little instead of having to do it all myself." But at the same time it's like I'm daring them to be unable to handle me.
After a few months of joyful solitude, in November I had a guest I hardly knew staying in my house—a researcher from Lismore, Captain : ). He dozed off on the couch one evening, and when I looked up and saw him there, so at peace and so vulnerable, I had a sudden acute longing for the sort of quiet, unguarded companionship that represented to me. At that moment, as Edward Abbey wrote in Desert Solitaire (one of my favorite books; practically all my favorite books have to do with nature and solitude…hmm…): "Aloneness became loneliness, and the sensation was strong enough to remind me that the one thing better than solitude, the only thing better than solitude, is society…of a good woman." But after communing with nature for a little while, he ends up the paragraph by deciding that "a man can never find nor need better companionship than himself." Those are the two perspectives I find myself bouncing between—the crux of my ambivalence.
I do wholeheartedly believe there's companionship out there that IS better than solitude, though; I just haven't found it yet, maybe haven't been prepared enough for it. John Bayley describes my ideal so beautifully in Elegy for Iris, about his life with novelist Iris Murdoch—Stonyeye, I wonder if this will resonate for you as it does for me: "So married life began. And the joys of solitude. No contradiction was involved. The one went perfectly with the other. To feel oneself held and cherished, and yet to be alone. To be closely and physically entwined, and yet feel solitude’s friendly presence, as warm and undesolating as contiguity itself."
Or, like you, Stonyeye, on the rare occasion when I seem to have found companionship that fits, the other person eventually retreats. (Like the guy I dated in 2009 that I dreamed about last month and wanted to help somehow, Captain—btw, it turns out his father was dying when I had that dream, so you and the dream were right that there wasn't anything I could do to ease his pain.)
I've also been feeling a sort of tidal pull toward my childhood home, far across the country from where I live now, so after that guy falling asleep touched off my yearning for intimate companionship again, I went online and browsed some of the dating profiles of men near my old home village, without much hope or expectation. But someone jumped out at me almost immediately, and his profile both made me laugh and jolted me with instant recognition. I wasn't a member of the dating site but was electrified and motivated to track down his email address, which I found with a few minutes of internet detective work.
Totally out of character, I sent him an email and he responded with great interest, and we've been writing back and forth more or less daily ever since. The correspondence has been very open and trusting on both sides, highly flirtatious, deeply personal (and yet without much talk about our day-to-day lives). He brings out my usually hidden silly side, lately rather undernourished sensuality, and some of my deepest creative urges (letter writing is a natural medium for me). I feel like I can safely be myself with him, and every time I'm doing that "I dare you" thing and holding my breath over his response, he takes me in stride and answers with greater understanding that I imagined possible. Our views on all the "big" topics are in alignment, our intellects match up well, we both love nature, words and writing (he's an arborist by day and a singer/songwriter by night), involvement in environmental and political causes, working with kids—so many shared interests. In short, it feels like he's definitely "equal partner" material—as your compatibility analysis suggested, Captain, and I'd rather keep my solitude than accept anything less (or more) than an equal partner.
There's only one "small" problem: He "just wants to have fun," whereas, like Stoneye, I'm feeling so ready for a partnership that stretches long and broad and deep. To me, "fun" in a relational context means exploring the depths and new frontiers with one special person. But he's a Leo (July 23 Leo/Cancer cusp, Aquarius moon, not sure of his rising sign) and puts himself out there with a lot more people than I do. I can see that he requires significantly more stimulation, from a wide range of people. I connect best one on one or in small groups of good friends (October 17 Libra, Taurus moon, Leo rising).
He says he's enjoying every moment of our exchanges and is giving it all he can and wishes he could give more. But he has a lot on his plate with his life (two kids, his own business, his music, many friends) and wants to keep it "simple." He likes the distance that makes simplicity easier, but I've been planning (for the last year, quite apart from him) to go home for a couple of months this summer, because my heart and soul are aching to walk the woods and fields and paths of home again, and then we'd be in a position to explore how we relate in person.
Meanwhile I've been counseling myself not to put my hopes in a place where they can't be met, and to keep it light and breezy and just look at it as a good opportunity to practice, to stay open to possibility but unattached to the outcome and keep looking around me in other directions. But the longer we correspond without moving toward or away from anything more "real", the more every fiber in me sometimes wants to draw back and slam my clamshell closed. (The "Scr*w you, I can take care of myself" effect.) I'm trying so hard to just keep appreciating the present, without expectations, and finding it so incredibly challenging. I do think no matter what happens, there's a major life lesson in this encounter…
Incidentally, a night or two after I first emailed him, I dreamed about him. He'd invited me to a party at his house. I liked his friends and kids a lot, although I didn't talk to him the whole evening until everyone had left, when he said "alone at last!" and kissed me and showed me his house (in the dream he was an architect and had designed it himself—very modern and open, full of wood and powder-coated steel). Then he suggested we go to an afterparty at a bar. We went, and someone pointed out his wife (he's actually divorced), who looked at me with icy disdain and said, "You're just his latest piece, don't think you could ever be anything more than a passing fancy. He only plays around because I let him." Feeling completely crushed and suddenly very small and silly in my bohemian clothes and bare feet, I found my sandals and slipped out of the crowd. He caught up with me in the dark street and kissed me, then held me at arm's length by the shoulders and said, "I'm always looking for a good beatnik girl to have s*x with, but not you—you're too intense." Aside from the wife, which I can't figure out, that all seems like a pretty accurate prediction.
I've tried distraction with other prospects—I did go on a date a couple of nights ago with that rich guy, Captain, and although it was worthwhile as an experiment and an exercise in treating everyone as equals, as a matter of pure preference, the evening would have been better spent with a good book. We were so drastically different, at opposite poles in almost every way, it was truly funny. And if the company's better than solitude, I just don't see the point in keeping it.
Whew. Okay, that was a really long outpouring. I just needed so much to share this most recent relational foray with someone. Stonyeye, bless you for opening that door for me by opening your own door. I'm eager to hear more about what's brought you here. And obviously, any insights, light anyone can shed, I'll be deeply grateful. I'm reading tarot daily and getting lots of guidance there, paying attention to my dreams, and still just feeling so STUCK in my issues.
love and blessings and many thanks for reading, gd
Wow, that was even longer than I realized. Yikes! I need to become a better editor.
One small correction: I meant to say, if the company's NOT better than solitude … of course! : )
Ohhh! Graceful Daisies, we have so much we can talk about!!! Yes, I do believe we may have a lot in common. I will write more later for sure when I have time but i'm wondering...do you often find that ex lovers come back to you? (Captain if you can jump in on this one too, I'd be interested on your take) Especially, when they are the ones who ended the relationship? I can not tell you how often this happens to me. EVERY time in fact. EVERY time. None of them have lasted (SO FAR) when they DO come back...much to my disappointment. I've been really excited when the ones I liked who ended things with me came back a few months later and want to start something up again but they only last for a short time and then again...leave. It bewilders me and makes me wonder what the heck i'm putting out that attracts these men and then loses them (when i like them very much by the way) and then brings them back a few months later when we are not even in contact and i get all excited and then lose them AGAIN!! It boggles my mind but I can always be assured that if I am dumped...the guy will come back and sniff around again at some point. i'm just trying to figure out how to stop this crazy pattern and actually keep one of these guys who I like. I really do want a relationship. I also do like independence but still want someone to be with me. Just someone who allows me independence but i can trust that he's not running around with other women too. Someone who we both value time together but also allow time apart and that's ok and I can trust them. I've often found that once i get in longer term relationships, i get bored and feel itchy. So, I'm looking for that balance. Somehow this independence but still wanting a conventional relationship must be confusing my relationships and the men who come into my life and I want to break that pattern and have been trying very hard to do so. i'm writing in a journal and striving to be VERY CLEAR about what exactly I want. That's the best I'm coming with so far. But it is actually hilarious to go back and read in my journal things like.... July 23, 2010, Charlie dumped me. October 14, 2010, Charlie contacted me out of the blue and wants to see me again! November 1, 2010 Charlie has stopped calling. Where'd he go??? OR..November 2010, Ken just dropped out of my life..what happened??? Then January 2011....Ken called me, said he regrets letting me go and wants to try again. February 12th, 2011...Ken texted that he's getting back together with his old girlfriend. What is going on??????? This has happened no less than FIVE times in the past 6 months. don't mean to write about myself so much and will address what you've written above later. I just really relate and think we may be having some identical experiences and I'm REALLY curious if you have found the same about losing men and then they come back...within 2-3 months. Always. It never fails. Always. Bizarre. Anyway, Ms gracefuldaisies, more later about YOU I promise and what you've written above. i need to think on some of what you've said before I respond but again, i wanted to know if you have been experiencing what i have. This pull and push men and then pull them back thing that i have going on bewilders the He## out of me. Great chatting with you and I'm glad we can work through this and support each other. Chat again soon.....
Yes and yes and yes, Stonyeye! Two or three of them have had that "now you see him, now you don't" effect, and the others...well, maybe not in quite the same way as yours come back around, but I tend to become friends with former lovers once the angst on both sides has subsided (maybe because for me it's always a mind spark before anything else, so it's easy to go back to that baseline of friendship?), and then they start relying on me almost as if I were a therapist and confiding in me about their new relationships and intensely personal problems (like prostate issues, for heaven's sake!) which always baffles me a bit. Although once I'm over it, I'm over it, no more romantic thoughts (that one first boyfriend was possibly an exception to the rule, but more because of his insistence on our Rightness than any feelings of mine). The last guy, we had such a beautiful connection and I was so brokenhearted when he decided he wasn't as ready as he'd thought to move on from his divorce three years prior, I finally put my foot down and said, no, I wish I could be friends with you but this hurts too much, "just friendship" is not what I want with you. I've regretted it since because it means we've had no contact, but I'm glad as well because it let me move on a little more decisively. And in the last couple of years I've also found the strength somewhere to say NO, in less uncertain terms, to the guys who keep returning... I've done that mostly because I think that when so many doors are left standing open, it's harder to find the one you're meant to go through.
Ooh, do you try to avoid conflicts too, by any chance?
I do think we have to be the ones to set that "take it or leave it" tone. I'm willing to bet that men find you attractive in general, and it's not so much a matter of "can't find anyone" as "can't find the Right One". Maybe they ones from the past are as perplexed by our ambivalence as we are and that's what keeps them coming back for another look? Not too sure...
No worries on whether your response is about you or me or whatever, the beautiful thing is I learn as much hearing about your story, as I do hearing your take on mine—love that : ) xx, gd
GD, this internet guy feels very promising to me. I feel that though he is very socially oriented in public, with you in private he would be much more quiet and appreciative of this close mutually sharing time. I feel earlier in his life he has done a lot of the self-investigation that you are doing now and together you can achieve a remarkable equilibrium. He is a Leo but close enough to Cancer to be affected by that retiring sensitive sign. As long as you make it clear to him that your periods of necessary introspection are not indicative of a loss of interest in him, then all will go very well between you. Any feelings of rejection he experiences can make you feel misunderstood and isolated so honesty and communication are vital. Your private space can become a haven of security for both of you and a stronghold against the world's intrusions. Preserve your privacy but also beware of isolation - don't exclude others too much from your inner circle.
Woo Hoo GD! I hope this internet guy works out well as the Captain says. She's almost always dead on. I would so love for you and I to both find some sort of relationship happiness as i know it is out there. Perhaps we just need to be really really clear on what we want? I thought I was but obviously am missing something big. What's been working for you or how have you been trying to get your head clear on this one GD?
It's so funny that you say you try to be breezy and "i don't need anyone" because I behave the same way! I don't mean to but I'm scared of coming across as desperate or needy otherwise.
Things do seem to working for you now though and how interesting that you felt pulled to your childhood home and then ended up meeting someone online who lives there. i think those strange urges we get out of the blue are meant to be listened to and you obviously did just that. Sounds very promising.
You know it's so funny but thinking back, I too have started a lot of long distance relationships and then would eventually move out to be with the guy only to be disappointed after a few months. This has happened a few times in my life actually. Each time though, the move did bring me to a place where I was happy to end up (except for once) so i think each of those experiences were for some type of learning experience or to get me to a certain place. Have you done the same? You know. I never thought about that pattern GD. Thank you for bringing that one up for me. Something to really consider.
Do you at all feel motivated to move back to your childhood home by any chance? Do you think your connection with this guy might be sign that you are menat to go there? At first didn't like that he said wants things to be casual but then I thought about it and I actually trust the men who come on less strong then the full throttle guys who sweep you off your feet and then drop you in the dust the minute they have conquered. Maybe he is being realistic and protecting himself since you are far away? I'd love to know more about this as it deveops!
So, I really do want a relationship. I DO! I do like independence and hate feeling smothered and kind of like to operate on my own. All true. I suppose I'm looking for someone who I feel can keep up and who I feel proud t be aligned with rather than feeling like he is holding me back. Does that make any sense to you?
I have been internet dating and have been getting closer and closer to the type of man I want ever since writing in my journal and getting as specific as possible. Also, I'll tell you.......this sounds completely bonkers but i recommend it. I downloaded this software that flashes positive affirmations that you can type in onto your screen.... like subliminal messages. I swear it has helped me to focus as i've typed in messages like...i only attract men who i desire and they want to commit to me...or some cheesy things like that. If you are interested I can tell you more about it.
Anyway, since internet dating, I've had several short relationships with men I've met online and I do believe most had good intentions but each has ended in some sort of heart break and I don't want to go through that anymore. I REALLY don't. I also think you are right that I need to close that door for good in my mind but have a hrd time doing so as i really stilI like these men! Yes, I have had difficulty saying NO in the past but have been working on it and have been striving to be rvery honest with men when i don't think a reltaionship is going anywhere. i usually let them know after the second date if I'm not feeling it instead of just dropping out or making excuses for not seeing them again. I'm trying to tyake responsibility and treat others as I'd want to be treated.
Anyway, i digress....I can't take any more heart ache!!!! Well i can...but i don't want to! I don't think that I am coming across as ambivalent but perhaps I am and don't know it. How do I change that? I'm truly NOT ambivalent. i just want the right man. I have brushed myself off from the latest hurt (read rejection) and lately have been getting e-mails from only super successful men. I mean outrageously successful. I don't know why? One in particular is quite well known and seems really keen and I'm kind of like...what? really? I'd love to give it a shot. NOT because he is successful (but of course that doesn't hurt) but also because he seems really genuine and has been very attentive in trying to get to know me. I don't want to lose another good man because of some weird indecisive vibe I'm putting out but then I wonder if this guy is another one of those I've been attracting where they come on strong and then leave the minute they feel i'm theirs. Help! GD....any advice from what you have encountered? Captain? Also, what's the deal with the type of men I'm attracting? Does this mean I'm attracting men who are successful so they will have busy lives working and that will allow me my indepenence and that's what i really need?
I really want to figure this out and work on what I'm creating as I don't want to be single anymore. i truly don't. I'm so glad to have found a buddy to work this out with Gracefuldaisies.
So what do you thihnk....should I move this to the boot camp thread or keep it here? is this something a lot of us are working on.....manifesting the right relationship or is this something that you and I (GD) happen to be experiencieng together? You know, I really like the way you have approached me by the way. I loved how you said that it didn't matter if we talked about you as you learned from my experience too. That is a very caring and open minded way to approach life and I was impressed. I feel the same way but would not have been able to articulate that so well. We'd be freinds I think if we knew each other in real life.
Anyway, have a good night. Well, it is night....now early morning for me anyway!
Lots of love nd only good things coming your way.
PS...forgive my scattered and and out of control stream of writing. i just have so many different thoughts about all this and it is SUCH a relief to talk about it with someone who is possibly going through the same stuff. i just feel this exciting energy...like we can help and motivate each other and that's fun!
Perhaps you could use this thread for more personal comments to each other about your experiences but also lead a discussion in the SBC camp for all those who have similar problems in relationships?
Stoneye, I think it's interesting that you've moved to be with someone a number of times...I wonder if part of our vibe is putting ourselves out for partners more than they are willing or able to do for us? Has anyone ever moved to be with you? Would you even want them to? I know that as Libras we tend to be accommodating types, and sometimes I feel that perhaps that can overwhelm the other person and cause imbalance in the relationship? I haven't actually moved to be with anyone, but I know I have a bad habit of giving gifts that may be too generous for the relationship stage. It feels like it springs from a genuine desire to delight the other person, but I think sometimes they feel unable to reciprocate and so instead they withdraw. So maybe when you've moved to be with someone, they've felt it as pressure to move the relationship forward faster than they may be ready to? Although I love that it generally turns out to be a good move for you personally aside from the relationship. Maybe that is one of the universe's ways of getting you where you need to go... I feel sure that my own current correspondence is partly that, because although I've been planning for the last year and a half to go back home to spend a summer and try on how it feels to be there (since I can work wherever my laptop is), without this extra motivation I might well have let it slide again. But now I'm actively planning it : ) The one question I answered "Yes" to in a previous SBC exercise about the ways we thwart ourselves was "Am I living somewhere I don't want to be?" (Paraphrasing here in lieu of trying to locate that post in the pages!) And it was an emphatic yes—and has been the case for eight years! Definitely time to set that one to rights. Which reminds me, Captain, I really appreciated your thought from the Money thread that sometimes we need to get what we think we want to find out it wasn't what we wanted after all. I've found that to be so true, and bears keeping in mind. Otherwise, for me at least, I find it too easy to get paralyzed into inaction.
I know that I personally feel more comfortable giving than receiving in all my relationships, and the two men who have wanted to move to be with me have just made me feel suffocated and crowded. Maybe we need to learn how to be better receivers?
I also definitely have that classic Libran struggle for balance…sometimes I think it must appear to the person I'm with that I veer wildly between extremely independent and too needy or eager, which must be really confusing. What's working for me in this current connection (when I can manage it, that is, which is most of the time but by no means always—last week was a bad one that way!) is staying focused on enjoying the present moment, trying not to be always leaping toward the future (which I'm definitely prone to—when I find someone I enjoy being with, I always want more, want it to be discernibly moving forward…) and also trying not to constantly analyze what's going on, another habit of mine—I keep reminding myself to just relax and appreciate what IS without thinking too hard about it all.
I'm also reminded of something I learned in a personal growth workshop—that whatever our negative internal talk is (in workshop terminology, the lies we tell ourselves, such as for example, "I don't deserve to be loved"—that's mine!, "I never do anything right", "things never work out for me", and so on), we subconsciously push the people in our lives into validating that lie for us. If you haven't yet spent time figuring out what your personal negative talk (and we all have it!) consists of, you might want to sit with that for a while and see what comes up for you, because that will give a good clue as to why people respond to you the way they do. And if you can shut down those lies, it WILL change the way they respond. Speaking of which, I like the idea of that affirmation technique—I want to try it! And I talk to myself a lot, too, and not just in the car. I can be pretty serious a lot of the time, so it feels good to stay in touch with my silly-cheesy-corny side : )
Your own current internet prospect sounds intriguing and exciting, too! If the fear that he might be one of those "comes on strong then dumps you when he has you" types is inhibiting you—if that pattern from the past has formed one of those negative self-talk lines in your head (like "that's what this kind of guy always does with me"), maybe you could think up an appropriate affirmation to counter it, and plug that into your program (and your mind!)?
I'm really enjoying this connection, Stoneye. It is definitely exciting energy! Looking forward to hearing more, and I'll try to sift out some of this stuff and repost on SBC and Money for others. Totally shirking my busy Monday work but this keeps feeling more important : D
Love and light and all good things, especially relationship happiness, right back to you!! xoxo, gd