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Relationship Health Message Board

Relationship Health Board Index

Sophia already asked the question that came to my mind, too: does he wear a wedding band? I'm betting for sure he does not -- you'd have seen it (I know you've looked at his hands a lot when he wasn't paying attention)!

CC: It's cool if you didn't make a move immediately. What is even BETTER is that you are not beating yourself up over it. Some folks would feel so bad about NOT having done anything that they'd consider it yet another nail in their social coffin. You, however, have the right attitude and are taking the extra time as an opportunity to "practice." Nothing wrong with that.

I'm getting the "divorced Dad" vibe here. But that remains for you to find out. Mentioning kids in open conversation and within earshot and NOT mentioning wife is a good sign that he's single. Most men, if they wanted to properly not lead someone on, would make sure they let it be known they were married. Two reasons to NOT bring up your wife: you are looking for an affair or you don't mention her because she's not in the picture anymore.

Briefly, about all those "self help" tips we discussed. Keep doing that, but... bear in mind that some folks benefit more from different methods. Some people find meditation to be what they need. Others will get results from looking in the mirror and realizing they look attractive. Others will gain confidence by talking out loud to themselves. Some people need to "align their chakras!"

Just do what works for you. Positive affirmation is always good. Remember that bad Saturday Night Live sketch, "Daily Affirmation?" Stewart Smalley looking into a mirror saying: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh-darnit, I like myself!" Or something like that, at any rate. Well... that is a fun satire of the idea, but the idea itself is very solid.

Try to focus your thought processes on what you CAN do and what you do well. Eliminate negative patterns and words. For example, saying: "I choose to not clean my house today" is different from saying: "I am too lazy to clean my house today," or "I am a poor housekeeper." Once you realize that you ARE, in fact, making your own choices on a daily basis and building your own personality, you can more easily focus on that which is positive. Simply re-arranging the words to get across the same sentiment really matters when you want to change your perspective.

One last tip for a fun way to teach yourself better social interaction: use grocery store checkout clerks! No, really. I'm serious. Or ANY clerk or salesperson who is in a position to interact with you on a limited basis. YOU are always in charge of a clerk or salesperson -- and you can easily detach yourself from them. When you are checking out your groceries, look for a cashier that seems a little more friendly than others. Usually the high-school boys and gals are sullen and miserable and don't care to talk to customers beyond stating the price of the grocery order. Find a friendly person and get in his or her line. When it is your turn, make some very minor small talk. Look them in the eye. SMILE big. Maybe even laugh. Discuss an item you just bought. The weather. Whatever. Dumb stuff that doesn't matter. Just be FRIENDLY to a stranger. We do this on a daily basis -- but if faced with a little social anxiety, doing it INTENTIONALLY and more often can be helpful when it comes to gearing up toward more intimate conversations with people in whom you have a deeper interest.

If you want, just for fun you could take it a step further. Go into Sears or somewhere similar and look at electronic equipment or appliances. A salesman will sniff you out and be at your side in less than two minutes. Ask him fake questions about something. Get him talking. Make up a story -- you are looking for a new washing machine for your Mom for her birthday in June (so he doesn't get excited and think he's got an immediate sale). This is a great way to learn how to PRESENT yourself to a stranger.

I know it sounds silly... but this stuff WORKS. Things become FAR LESS FRIGHTENING the more we do them. This is pretty basic and obvious. It's just that we sometimes don't think of sly ways to teach ourselves certain things. The "salesman-cashier" tip is a good one -- and yes, I've used it, but don't have to anymore (and I'm sure Sears is glad of that).

Also, try teaching yourself how your OWN projection of SELF affects others. You can also use cashiers for this. Go to a clerk and stand in line and look down. Act quiet. Act shy. Act a little nervous. Don't look them in the eye. Mutter. Fumble. WATCH the clerk. He or she will react accordingly. If they are normally gregarious, they will NOT be so open with YOU if you give the body language that says "leave me alone." Then do the opposite. Be open, polite, friendly, animated, smile. Watch the clerk again. They will mimic your behavior.

This is a GREAT way to see that YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

Just keep it a secret. We can't let the clerks know we use them in this manner!

The topics of conversation you suggested -- all good. I also agree: try to find items to discuss that do not provide him an opportunity for a simple "yes" or "no" response. But even if you DO have a "yes" or "no" question, be ready for a follow up question that is NOT a "yes" or "no" question. SMILE when you talk. Eye contact about every three to four seconds. Fleeting at first. Glance, look away a little, glance up and meet his eyes again. As the conversation progresses hold his gaze for longer periods. Eventually you will just be talking normally without thinking about it and your eyes will meet naturally.

Finally... social anxiety is VERY common. You aren't alone. Do not feel pressured to change your personality into something you don't ENJOY. It's OK to be shy sometimes. Even those of us who DO handle ourselves well with strangers have days when we just don't want to be bothered to be "on." I think the most important thing you can do is to HAVE FUN with all of this. If it feels like you are putting pressure on yourself to be or do something which makes you uncomfortable, stop and re-evaluate what it is you really want.

Will check back next week or whenever and see how it goes.
Scruffy, you win your bet : nope, no wedding band. Thatís always the very first thing I look for. But some married men donít wear one, I know. He could also be seriously involved without being married. (And, for the record : he does have gorgeous hands! How did you know Iíd been staring at them?!) :D

And itís so funny you should mention Stuart Smalley : I was very nervous before I left for class, and trying to calm myself down - and I said out loud, out of nowhere : "Iím good enough, Iím smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like me!" And that made me laugh! I canít believe we both thought of that.

May I ask what is giving you that "divorced dad" vibe? Iím curious - because I totally get it too, but at least I have the benefit of the real living and breathing man right in front of me. I hope you are correct about those odds. But, here is my next question : why would he mention his kids if heís interested in me? Wouldnít that be more likely to scare me off? :confused:

(And if he is just looking for an fling : I am no "midlife crisis affair" material, I assure you. As sick and tired as I am of being alone, I would never allow that to happen.) :nono:

Sophia : great idea you had! Though Iím not sure I would be comfortable asking that girl something so personal, i.e. whether heís available or not; she might not even know either. If we started talking about other things and made our way toward that, maybe Ė but there are only 2 weeks left before the finals, so I may never see her again.

About the self-help : one thing I am trying to do is cut "I canít" from my vocabulary. Iím also trying to get rid of the negative thoughts Ė but they are often playing on a loop in my mind, especially when Iím by myself; so that part is very hard.

As for "practicing" on store clerks : Iíve already started doing that and it really does help. (And, Scruffy, your secret is safe with me!) Middle-aged ladies are the best, I find; usually very sweet and friendly. I have yet to really make small talk, but I can at least make good eye contact and smile. I have also been reading about body language and everything you say is true. Iíve had "leave me alone" BL for a long time, I guess Ė and itís hard to shake off, but I am getting there.

And Iíve accepted my shyness. Not everyone can be ultra-outgoing and thatís OK - though a lot of people tend to see it as a weakness or a flaw, and thatís unfortunate because it isnít true at all (unless itís so extreme as to be crippling, of course).

Once again, thank you so much (to you both) for your advice and support; I really appreciate every word of it! Ė CC :wave:
[QUOTE=LittleRose1982]... and die alone in your apartment and have your cat eat half your face before anyone finds you?! (Sex and the City reference...) LOL! :D

CC I know you don't really feel this way. I know you're just venting because you're upset and you have every right to be. I have faith that you will soon realize you don't mean these words.
Do you know how many times I have said this? And my friends have said this? Yes, you feel this way now but it's a part of the magic. The best part is never knowing when you're going to be walking down that lonely road of self-pity, hanging your Spinster head low with sadness, and you'll trip over something amazing that you never saw coming. Think about it: I'm sure there are times you experienced something so incredible and you wish every day that you could jump back in time and re-live it. Well think about the day before that thing happened. Think about the 5 minutes before that thing happened. Did you have any idea you were going to be walking into something so wonderful? Don't you now wish that you could jump back in time to those previous 5 minutes-- the precise time you thought there was no hope and life had let you down???
I guess what I'm trying to say is that something is waiting for you out there that you can't see. And while you plan your life as a Crazy Cat Lady, you're getting closer and closer to it. Once it happens, you'll be wishing on every star in the sky that you could jump back in time to RIGHT NOW... when you had no idea what was in store for you!! :)
So enjoy "right now" while it's here![/QUOTE]

That was just PERFECT, LittleRose! Nobody could have said it better. :)

Crimson, please don't let this disappointing experience determine the choice of a location for your next apartment (Spinster City is definitely NOT for you!), and forget about all these felines for now. You are Waay too young and have waaaay too much to offer to the great SINGLE guy who, just like Rose said, could be just around the corner.

As for the married guy, well, it's not like he had an affair with you and then heartlessly dumped you (arent' you relieved nothing like that happened?), so I think your plan to tell him to drop the "kisses" and flirting since he's married, and to continue a merely class-related interaction with him is a good plan. Remember he is not the only man in the universe and even the fact he was attracted to you means you are an attractive woman and there will be other cute, SINGLE men who will for sure find you desirable and want to be with you!
Thank you once again, Rose and Sophia! :wave:

Oh, believe me, I know that "dying alone" quote from SATC! Iíd never really thought about it that way until I saw the episode - and, instead of making me laugh, it scared me to death! :eek:

I get what you are saying, Rose, and you put it beautifully Ė and Iím trying to look at it that way too. But, when hope is all you have and it keeps getting ripped away from you, it gets so much harder to believe that something great awaits in your future. You canít even SEE a future anymore.

If there WERE any cute single guys out there, I would have found one by now. Either they donít exist or they hate me; only the engaged and married ones like me. I must have a sign on my forehead that says "please lead me on".

Yes, Sophia, [I]of course [/I] Iím glad we didnít have an affair; but I wouldnít have gone for that. Though I can see how it might be tempting to be "the other woman". Seriously, what do I get out of being good? Nothing but loneliness, bitterness and pain. But donít worry, Iím not about to join the Dark Side! :nono:

All Iím saying is that Iím sure his wife wouldnít want to trade places with me. She got to marry him and have his babies. And she gets to kiss him and hold him and make love to him anytime she wants - while I hug my pillow and cry myself to sleep.

Anyway. I just sent Married Guy my e-mail reply; business as usual, except for the polite "drop it". I have no idea how he will react Ė and Iím seeing him tonight, so Iím kind of nervous. I wish I could skip the remaining 2 classes, but I canít afford to. My grades are more important than him.

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