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[QUOTE=greeneyes100]What I meant by "What if he is being sincere?" is exactly that. His email doesn't state anything that would make me think he is being insincere and Sophia has no proof that he is. She hasn't known him long enough.

There are just too many facts missing about the "exclusivity quotient" for me to make a more accurate judgment as to his sincerity. Like I said, if they have not been intimate, why would he have a reason to make a commitment? At this point, they are still in the early stages of dating. Just because they are dating and have a "dating relationship" does not necessarily mean NG is required to commit himself to Sophia just yet.

From the facts I have seen posted here so far, I say give the man another chance to prove himself. He has just ended a relationship with another woman and is probably still on the mend. I think if Sophia tries to keep things a little on the lighter side with NG and does not demand undying love and devotion from him at this point, he might come around and realize what a catch she is.

Don't you see he may have been running scared? When Sophia pulled back, he felt less pressured and all of a sudden became very interested again.

I think Sophia should do a wait and see thing with NG (for a certain amount of time). When he gets back from his business trip and calls and wants to see her, I thihk she should see him if she doesn't have other plans. She should still not accept dates at the last minute of course. She should let him make plans to see her and not vice versa. And, also, I definitely think she should play it cool until he feels ready to make a commitment, within a reasonable time frame, of course.

At this point, they are not having intimate relations, and usually, people don't agree to be exclusive until they have become intimate.

I'm eager to see what NG does when he reads Sophia's response to his email. This is getting REALLY EXCITING![/QUOTE]

Hi GE, I am right with you on the edge of my seat here waiting to see how everything plays out. I was supposed to head over to Justin's already but he can wait awhile longer, lol, as I'm too intrigued to leave quite yet.

And Sophia--inquiring minds would like to know if you and NG have ever discussed dating exclusively? I thought you mentioned something to that effect awhile back, but I can't really remember any specifics or if that was just in my imagination. GE, I think you're right that couples typically don't make a commitment to stop dating other people until they start having sex, though I suppose everyone is different. It hasn't really been an issue for me in past relationships because I never seem to be able to wait long enough to get physical ;), but there are couples out there who wait months or even years before sleeping together while still being committed and exclusive, so who knows. Whatever works, I guess, as long as both people are on the same page. I would demand exclusivity from any guy I was sleeping with, or at least expect that he let me know if he planned on seeing anyone else so I could do the same and slow things down considerably. But otherwise, in the first stages of dating, I think you're quite right that it's best if things don't move too quickly in that respect.

Also, GE, thanks for clarifying what you meant about NG being sincere. I have always gotten the same impression as you, that he is an honest and upfront guy, though NG's recent actions have clouded that perception somewhat. But even if we take his words at face value, what is he really saying? That he likes her, but not enough to be certain that she's the one he wants instead of his ex? I wonder if he's planning on picking one woman or the other or if he thinks it's okay for him to see both of them while deciding? Personally, I'd never be comfortable in that position; I guess I'm too arrogant to deal with having a guy be even slightly unsure whether he prefers me or another woman. But I know that not everyone is so stubborn and demanding, and that it's perfectly common, normal, and acceptable for people to date around until they get serious and officially committed to one person.

Regardless, it all depends on whether it's enough for Sophia that NG likes her and wants to keep seeing her, or whether she is only interested in rekindling things if NG decides for sure that he wants to pursue Sophia and only Sophia. Neither choice is inherently better, it's just a question of what she feels comfortable with, and I think everyone would have a slightly different take on a situation like hers. I was basing a lot of what I said on the assumption that Sophia doesn't want to keep dating NG if he is also going to be involved with his ex, but thinking it over, I really have no reason to assume that for sure.
So Sophia, are you okay with keeping things more casual and non-exclusive for the time being if that's all NG is willing to offer, or are you going to demand that he make a choice if he wants to keep you in his life? I think you will end up making the best decision for you as long as you are completely honest with yourself about what you want and what is the best choice for your future emotional well-being. Even though you are a very sweet, thoughtful, and caring person, I think you need to be just as selfish as NG has been in not hesitating to make whatever choice seems right to you...I don't mean selfish in a bad way, just in the sense of making sure your needs and feelings come first no matter what NG wants in the end. I hope you know that we'll always support you 100% no matter what you decide; we all just want the best for you in terms of what will make you happiest and ultimately minimize the chances of you being hurt.

This really is a tough situation in that no one knows for sure what the right choice is...that's something only Sophia can decide, and even she only knows half the story. The hardest thing about love and relationships in my view is that you can never really know what the other person is thinking and feeling, and incorrect assumptions about those things probably contributes to, if not directly causes, most relationship problems. Greeneyes makes an excellent case for giving NG another chance, and I do think she's right that NG was probably quite scared when he was pulling away. If there was no other woman in the picture, I'd say it's a clearcut example of just needing a bit of time and space to think everything over, and that Sophia should definitely be patient and give him another chance. With another woman in the picture, I don't know...he was honest, and it is early on, and it is possible that things could work out for NG and Sophia if she is willing to hang in there and hope he chooses her over the ex. Some women could handle that, and others couldn't stand the waiting and uncertainty...but I don't think there are very many situations in which there is a clearcut, black and white "right" solution. It all depends on the situation and the people involved and whatever choice feels right to them is the right choice in that particular case. For the record, I didn't mean to advocate that she demand love or devotion at this point, just that if I was in her shoes, I would want NG to commit to seeing me and only me if he wanted to continue would be one thing if he was freshly recovering from a breakup, but eight months later, he should be able to know whether or not he's ready to move on from his ex if I realized I was ready to move on with Justin in less than half that time. I know, I know, everyone is different, and Sophia's feelings are the only ones that really matter Sophia, please tell us what you think and how you feel about all this when you can! I know I'm not the only one waiting eagerly to hear how things play out...good luck!! :)
[QUOTE=SophiaM]Grrr, I'm feeling very self-destructive right now. I saw my ex's number on my caller id again, so now I think if NG is still talking to his ex, maybe I should too. Why should I put all my eggs in one basket when he's not? I'm very tempted to call my ex back just to have a feeling like I'm still desirable and wanted, and like I have a CHOICE. Is that a bad idea? My ex (he's actually an ex-ex) and I have always had a lot of chemistry together, so I don't know if I can control myself around him.[/QUOTE]

You guys are the sweetest people ever! I do think Goody and GE are cyber sisters--does that make Sophia my cyber sister (I hope so! I'd love to have a cyber sibling being an only child). Regardless, I feel truly blessed to have gotten to know all of you and I love you all...we are one big cyber family, no? :) You've all certainly been there for me with unconditional support and encouragement like only the best relatives are there for each other. I really don't know how I muddled through relationships in real life without your insight and guidance--well, obviously I didn't do very well before I found you all, but here's hoping my luck has changed with you guys on my side ;).

Sophia, sweetie, I also hate to see you down on yourself. You are such a wonderful woman who loves with all your heart--you should not blame yourself for past relationships not working out! If that meant you screwed up and were doomed to be perenially unlucky in love, 99.9% of the world with unsuccessful relationships in their past would be in the same boat. I know how discouraging and depressing it can be to think back on relationships that seemed so promising once but just didn't work out, but you should not blame yourself!! It sounds to me like if anyone is at fault (and in many cases where relationships end, no one is at fault so much as the timing or compatibility just being off), it's the guys you pick, who seem to have major issues with commitment if they've managed to screw things up with an amazing woman like yourself. As far as NG goes, I completely agree with the advice GE has given you except I think you should seriously consider whether you even want NG back. It sounds like all your thinking is geared towards how you can do everything exactly right to make him want you again--but do you want him? Is he really good enough for you after what he put you through? How would you feel in the future about being with a guy who was seriously tempted by another woman after getting to know you, or do you want a man for whom other women all blend in the background once he encounters you? It made me sad when you said we (I?) probably wouldn't approve of you being so nice to NG, because I have absolutely NO right to ever judge you or do anything but support you 100% no matter what choices you make. You are an extremely intelligent, mature young woman who is uniquely qualified to know what are the best decisions for you, and your cyber family and friends will always respect your choices and do our best to help you see all possible sides of each situation you face.

That said, remember that your exes are your exes for a reason, and you deserve a lot more than they were able to give you. I think you might want to give some serious thought to why you blame yourself for unsuccessful past relationships and are willing to allow your exes to continue to throw a wrench, metaphorically speaking, into your current love life. Just because a man you find attractive is interested in you does NOT mean he's a good match for you or that he's even remotely good enough for you. I think you underestimate your own worth and don't always demand the kind of respectful, considerate, and caring treatment you deserve...if you are going to take any lesson about yourself from your past relationships, I think it should be that you need to be more assertive about demanding only the best treatment. You should feel free to be yourself, to express yourself, and do and say whatever comes naturally to you without putting pressure on yourself to do everything right in order to please a man and avoid messing up your relationships. Honey, you are such an incredible woman that it's your men, NOT you, who should be bending over backwards to make sure they treat you like the goddess you are. I can't help but wonder if the reason men have treated you less than respectfully on occasion, including NG, is that they sense that you're willing to accept this behavior for the sake of harmony and a successful really is so true that people will only treat you as well as you allow them to treat you. I think you need to set your standards for what you'll tolerate and expect from men A LOT higher and view your past, present, and future relationships through that lens, rather than the perspective that you did something wrong, consider the possibility that you just haven't yet met the man who will treat you as great as you deserve to be treated. So yes, I think letting your ex back into your life is a very bad idea, and I'm not so sure that letting NG back into your life is the best idea for you either. At the very least, you shouldn't have to be sitting around again wondering when and if he'll call like before when he was leaving you hanging and thinking about how you can do everything right in order to keep him interested...he's the one who should be plotting how to make all this up to you and kissing your butt BIG TIME rather than acting like nothing even happened!!
[QUOTE=SophiaM]Stacy, you're so sweet, and I absolutely LOVE and appreciate your advice! Yes, I would love you to be my cyber sister! :bouncing: In a way, I am the only child too, because my sister is really my half-sister and we have very little in common other than just being related to each other.

I admit, I AM quite insecure, despite what I feel objectively that I deserve. It must stem from how my mom was extremely critical and demanding of me growing up. The only positive thing that came from that is that I am more ambitious than a lot of people I know, and I'm somewhat of a perfectionist (it could be a bad thing, too). Sadly, I'm also my own worst critic and I often feel guilty for something, even if I intellectually know I didn't do anything wrong. For example, now I feel a vague feeling of guilt for yelling at my ex and calling him names the last time he called me a couple of weeks ago. For some reason, I feel bad and want to make up, even though I know he didn't deserve a better treatment from me.

As for NG...I don't know. I am so torn...It was so promising and I really liked him on so many levels. Would you not ever consider working things out with him if you were in my shoes? Perhaps I really do have very low demands, and I'm not even aware of it. See, I still feel like he's such a great guy for not trying to take advantage of me and then dump me heartlessly, that I feel like he's worth to at least to be given more time. I honestly don't think I'm mature or that I know enough about relationships to make good decisions for myself. It's a lot easier to advise other people, but I myself am truly blind to what's best for me. I just cannot be objective in my own case :confused: I might be terribly wrong again, but I just thought he was so different from the other guys I dated...Maybe I'm idealizing again...(sigh).[/QUOTE]

Hi big cyber sis! :wave:

I'm sorry to hear your mom was so tough on you growing up...I can't imagine how difficult it must be when the one person who is supposed to love and support you unconditionally fails at that responsibility. I'm really impressed and surprised at how well you've coped and thrived despite your mom's really need to give yourself a lot more credit for all you've achieved and for the wonderful woman you've become, all on your own! I was actually thinking when I wrote my last post that you strike me as a perfectionist, at least to some degree, which helps explain why you expect so much of yourself in relationships. Yet you need to start holding the men you date to the same standards you hold yourself--you're an amazing, intelligent, talented, and beautiful woman who any man would be very lucky to date. Have you ever thought about seeing a therapist to work on boosting your self-esteem and raising your standards in terms of what you require and demand from men? They really are only going to give you as much as you expect, and so far it doesn't sound like you've valued yourself nearly as highly (and perhaps that is why you've had lower standards as far as what kind of treatment is acceptable within your relationships?) than you should have.

I'm probably not the right person to ask about giving NG another chance, as I tend to go too far toward the other end of the spectrum in terms of demanding only the best treatment from men. That makes for more drama than it should from time to time, yet it has definitely worked for me in terms of never having to deal with a boyfriend disrespecting me or failing to treat me with love and consideration. The idea of a man getting my hopes up, telling me he wanted to see me exclusively, then pulling away, not telling me what's up until finally confessing that he's not sure if he wouldn't rather be with an ex makes my blood boil. Lots of people, like GE and Dido, have made good points in favor of giving NG another chance, but I'm not sure it's worth your time and emotional energy to get involved again with a man who could put you through such turmoil in such a short time. It bothers me a lot that he has ignored your email and is acting like he did nothing wrong and that nothing out of the ordinary has happened when the whole ex situation has caused you so much stress, confusion, and unhappiness. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd never give him another chance, but I highly doubt that I wouldn't have told him to drop dead and leave me alone permanently when he first mentioned that he was debating whether to date me or go back to his ex. I just think we're both way too wonderful and highly desired to ever tolerate, even for a minute, being put in a position where we're competing with some other woman and not without a doubt the one and only woman in our men's lives. I don't think the fact that NG compares favorably to your exes should count in his favor--one thing my brilliant cyber-family has taught me today is that it's never good to compare one relationship to another rather than measuring it against itself for the unique entity it is. The only standard you should judge NG by is how he treats you, how he makes you feel about yourself, and how secure and cared for you feel around him. I don't happen to think he's shown you the respect and devotion tons of guys would kill for the opportunity to show you, but only you can decide what you will and won't stand for, and it's not my place to tell you what to do. I do think you should definitely raise your standards as far as how well you expect to be treated (and especially increase how kindly and generously you judge and treat yourself)!! You're awesome, and I think you deserve nothing but the best in every way...only you know if NG has the potential to treat you as wonderfully as you deserve to be treated. So far, he has a lot to make up for, and if he doesn't start worshipping the ground you walk on and constantly professing what a fool he was to ever question whether he'd rather be with another woman, I'd strongly suggest you cut him loose and find a man who will never doubt whether you're the woman he wants.
Oh Stacy, your post has almost brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for being so kind and supportive of me. Yes, unforutanately, my mom has never taught me that I should value myself or that I'm in any way special. I know, mostly from the feedback from other people, that I am attractive, intelligent, and that, in theory, I deserve so much more than I ever got in life, and yet, I don't know why I'm not getting it! It's hard to see yourself from a completely objective perspective, but yes, I realize that I'm better looking than average, I'm in good shape, I speak three languages fluently and two others at a passable level, and I'm a graduate student who got all A's and only one B+ in the last year of school. I'd like to think I'm also a decent and compassionate person. Despite all that, I've had terrible luck in relationships, and I truly don't think I've ever been treated as well as I should have. At the same time, I want SO MUCH to be in a harmonious relationship with no undue drama or turmoil (due to an overwhelming amount of turmoil in my childhood) that I am probably too understanding and complacant, for the sake of peace and quiet. I don't know how to change, honestly. I tried counselling once, but the therapist had a crush on me! He was willing to treat me practically for free, but it just didn't feel right. At the moment I reallly don't have a good insurance since I'm in school, and because of my previous experience, I realize therapists are not so "perfect" either. I pretty much cannot have a male therapist because, for some reason, older men are always attracted to me. I had a female therapist a while back, but she just made me talk for hours when she only listened and made no practical suggestions, so I got bored of that rather quickly.

Ok, at least for now I know that I should be a bit more demanding than I am. That's a start. I am not going to make any moves towards NG and promise to try and be more tough on him from now on. Maybe that's what's ruining my relationships--the fact that I'm so "understanding" and willing to tolerate too much...
[QUOTE=greeneyes100]When a women has only been seeing a man for a couple of months, and starts demanding that he bend over backward to please her and show her his undying love, then I think the woman has a problem with her own self esteem.

I think a lot of women expect too much too soon from a man. This is precisely why they pull away and start heading for the hills! And, personally, I don't blame them if they do. :eek:[/QUOTE]

This may be true for some women, but in general I think you're WAY off base here. Asking a man to not go back on his wish to date you exclusively is not expecting him to bend over backward, it's just common courtesy. I always, always demand only the very best, most respectful and considerate treatment from men, to the point where other women think I'm occasionally way too demanding, but yet I always end up with great relationships with men who consistently treat me like a princess. Then those same female friends wonder why they are always single or end up with men who don't want them or don't treat them all that great and it's like, duh, because you didn't let them know they were damn lucky to have you and better act like it! It's high self esteem, not low self esteem, that gives a woman the courage to expect and demand only the best treatment. I for one have never struggled with low self esteem, I've never had a guy pull away or run for the hills, and I have very high self confidence. Yet the women I see who have relationship after relationship fizzle out or end painfully tend to have such low self esteem that they allow men to walk all over them and don't demand to be treated with respect and basically, everything I've seen and experienced leads me to disagree with your comments above, GE, though I do respect your opinions. You may be right about NG, and I really hope you are if he does turn out to be a good guy for Sophia. but in general I think women have the opposite problem of the one you cited. We'd see so many fewer women here lamenting situations in which a man they love is treating them really poorly if we started telling them that it took confidence and self-respect to stand up for themselves and not ever settle for poor treatment rather than that they should be more lenient and put up with more in the hopes of proving themselves to have high self-esteem :confused:. Sorry GE if I'm misunderstanding you, but that logic really makes no sense to me...I do know that people often see such things very differently than I do. But in my view, it's pretty obvious that if you have to make excuses, be more patient, put up with crap that seems disrespectful, and basically just cut a guy a lot of slack in order to keep him in your life (which may or may not be what NG is expecting from Sophia), there is a 0% chance that he will be a positive, much less permanent, addition to your life. A man who really loves and wants you will not give you reason to have to lower your standards and be less demanding in your expectations of what constitutes caring, respectful, and loving treatment. Heartland, thank you so much for your comments--I hope that we are being over-protective and overly harsh on NG IF he turns out to be the right guy for Sophia, which would require him treating her wonderfully from here on out. I don't think any of us would want to see Sophia settle for a man who makes her unhappy, doubt herself, or question his feelings for her...and no matter what happens with any one guy, remember, Sophia, that you always have friends and cyber family here who care about your well-being first and foremost (regardless of whether they agree on the specifics of NG and this whole situation). Whatever is best for you, Sophia, is what I know we all want :).
[QUOTE=LostMyHeart]Where's the humanity aspect in that approach? After all, we are all only humans?
So what - one strike and you're out?

I know I've messed up, and needed second chances in life. I'd certainly give someone else the same opportunity I would want them to give me.

I was one of these women at one time, but even so, when all is said and done, I don't regret not one single day I gave to this guy.
I also believe, the more demanding I tried to be with him, to more he backed off me. Some people really do need someone who can just be understanding towards them.

If Sophia does not wish to be the understanding one any longer, I can understand that, but I don't think being demanding of this guy is going to help the situation, that is if Sophia wants to remain involved with this guy.[/QUOTE]

You're missing my point, one ever said anything about not giving out second chances. All I said was that NG needs to demonstrate that he's sorry for putting her through this and tell her it's definitely in the past, or else Sophia will be setting herself to get walked all over from now on if she takes him back gratefully with no questions asked. All this understanding, if you remember, has caused Sophia a lot more upheaval and heartbreak than I like to see any of my friends go through, and if NG doesn't make it clear he's not going to put her through anymore pain, I don't think he deserves another chance. How long is she going to be the only one being understanding, while he's getting to do whatever he wants with whoever he wants whenever he wants? Some of you ladies seem so terrified of being demanding as if that is what keeps you alone and prevents you from establishing happy and lasting relationships, when it's actually much more accurate that NOT being demanding enough that keeps you from being happy and in love.

LMH, your experience actually proves exactly what I'm trying to say here...if my memory is correct, you are referring to an ex who put you through so much pain that you still have not recovered from the breakup a year or two later? So if your being demanding pushed a guy who didn't make you feel consistently adored and prized, leaving you with no need to be demanding rather than understanding, then your being more demanding would have saved you at least some of the torment he caused you, right? Do you not regret your time with your ex because you still love him and haven't gotten over him or because he treated you wonderfully and lovingly the entire time you knew him? I highly doubt it's the latter or you'd still be together, but I take it he still left despite all your patience and forgiveness. Therefore at least being demanding would have caused you to devote less time to the relationship, which in turn would have given you more time to move on and perhaps meet a man who treated you with the love and respect you deserve. I don't mean to make incorrect assumptions about your particular situation, but this pattern has repeated itself over and over again with many women here who have been hurt by men who treated them badly and who quite sadly still believe his leaving was their fault for not being more accepting and patient. Maybe men do need someone to be understanding, but if they really loved a woman, they'd treat her well enough that she wouldn't need to be more understanding and less demanding--THAT's my point, not that we should all go around being high-maintenance drama queens. Again, it sounds like being understanding only caused you more pain in the end by prolonging the inevitable heartbreak of being dumped by someone who didn't treat you with devoted love and commitment throughout your relationship...I've seen this with far too many women and I just don't want it to happen with Sophia and NG. I just don't see why some of you think Sophia should continue to be endlessly patient and understanding with NG when that strategy so far has brought her (along with many other heartbroken lonely female posters here and just about every other woman who tried to ignore or excuse a man's disrespectful and inconsiderate treatment of her) nothing but insecurity, doubt, hurt, and confusion. It's not a question of being "humane" to these men--it's a question of when YOU need to put your foot down and insist that they treat YOU with the humane, respectful, and caring treatment we all deserve. When women are doing all the understanding and forgiving in a particular, there is little doubt in my mind that they will inevitably be left behind heartbroken and alone. My way, by contrast, has resulted in nothing but happy relationships with kind, considerate, and adoring men who have never shied away from treating me with devotion and respect. I've never been single for long at all, and every man I liked has wanted to pursue a lasting, loving, and fulfilling relationship with me because I demanded that kind of wonderful treatment. This just hasn't been the case with women who don't demand to be treated well, because they attract the men who aren't able or willing to treat women well. I believe this has been a consistent problem for Sophia, and I'm just a concerned friend trying to ensure she protects herself as best she can against it happening again--there's nothing inhumane about that :rolleyes:.
[QUOTE=LostMyHeart]Where's the humanity aspect in that approach? After all, we are all only humans?
So what - one strike and you're out?

I know I've messed up, and needed second chances in life. I'd certainly give someone else the same opportunity I would want them to give me.

I was one of these women at one time, but even so, when all is said and done, I don't regret not one single day I gave to this guy.
I also believe, the more demanding I tried to be with him, to more he backed off me. Some people really do need someone who can just be understanding towards them.

If Sophia does not wish to be the understanding one any longer, I can understand that, but I don't think being demanding of this guy is going to help the situation, that is if Sophia wants to remain involved with this guy.[/QUOTE]

Snails: It's perfectly all right that you cannot see things the way I do, and I understand where you are coming from. But I do think some of the posters are being extremely harsh on NG. I know he agreed to exclusive, but his ex came into the picture AFTER he made this agreement. Just because he needed some space to sort out his thoughts doesn't mean his relationship with Sophia is doomed. Give the guy a break. He even bought her a gift.

Also, I think it's a compliment that he wants Sophia to meet his friends. I do agree that they need to address the feelings he is having and I hope everything turns out well for Sophia. I have a very strong feeling it will! :D

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