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[QUOTE=Hiya]Well, not that I really owe you an explanation, but I've only been physically intimate with two men my entire life, and I never had actual intercourse with either of them. The first was my ex, who I loved, who I thought would be my only lover and who I thought I would marry. Six years later, after not being touched by a man for all that time, and finding out my ex had married the TTE, I reconnected with the mutual friend, who I never had any serious romantic or relationshp inclinations toward, but there was a physical chemistry, and I knew he had always been attracted to me. In an attempt to escape the pain and to try to forget the memory of the intimacy I had with my ex, I fooled around a couple of times with the mutual friend, who I had known for 10 YEARS, NOT just some guy I picked up in a bar half an hour ago. and each time, I cried during from the emptiness and loneliness. Once I realized physical contact with him did nothing to lessen the pain or the loneliness I had been feeling, I ended the physical aspect of our relationship, despite having the misfortune of being born a passionate, visceral person with an extremely high sex drive. I would rather spend my days so frustrated and miserable it's physically painful than compromise my values again. I am quite clear, in fact way TOO clear, on what kind of person I am and what kind of SO I want to be with. I want to be with a man who loves God, who has only had one or two lovers in his history, who would love me enough to be faithful and devoted to me, who wants to make a home and a family with me, i.e. the kind of man my ex's wife gets to be with. I want to be the woman I am, momentary indescretion due to blinding physical and emotional pain aside, virtuous, faithful, devoted, having only one lover in my life, my whole life, family oriented soccer mom with the cookies and milk when the kids get home and dinner with the hubby every night, with a man who would appreciate it, i.e., the kind of woman my ex's wife gets to be. The problem is not my being confused about what I want or who I want to be. The problem is, I don't get to have what I want, and I don't get to be who I want to be.[/QUOTE]

Nini, is what you want at all negotiable? As you know, we have some things strongly in common (such as what you said about being passionate with a high sex drive) and have other significant differences...I'm a little worried that part of the problem for you might be that who you are and what you're ideally looking for in a relationship might not be compatible. For instance, if you're only going to have one lover, I'd assume that you'd want him to be quite talented in bed, right? It would be pretty frustrating and unsatisfying to hold out and sleep with only one partner and then have him turn out to be clueless or just plain bad in bed. Unfortunately, some men just are, and the vast majority of bad lovers are those with little to no sexual experience. We differ in that while like you, I'd be okay with eventually settling down with one partner, assuming he was a good match for me, unlike you, I've always been excited to sleep with a lot of different people. From those experiences, it's pretty clear to me that the more experience someone has with sex (both in terms of the total sexual encounters and the number of different partners they've had), the more likely they are to be able to thoroughly satisfy their partners. Guys who have only had one or a few partners are almost invariably lacking in sexual talent, with the exception of a few who I dated early on, but then I slept with them each hundreds of times, so while they ended up being pretty amazing lovers, but then they also had a lot of experience compared to other guys despite only having been with one girl. Also, the vast majority of people with sexual hangups and inhibitions are likely to be religious, so you might want to consider relaxing that requirement. Besides tending to be great in bed, people without strong religious beliefs are rarely judgmental or hypocritical when it comes to sex (as your ex turned out to be when it came to his views on religion, birth control and premarital sex). And also, by steering clear of guys who like smoking pot, you are leaving only the most uptight men in your dating pool, not to mention the fact that men who smoke pot (even if they only used to or only do occasionally) are inevitably skillful and sensual lovers compared to those who don't--there's not even a contest.

I'd really hate to see you rule out otherwise great potential prospects because they have at least a decent amount of sexual experience, aren't religious, and/or smoke pot, as I highly doubt there'd be very many good partners left to choose from. And if you did find someone who fit this criteria who was still single, I'm very worried that it'd be nearly inevitable that in this day and age, he'd nearly inevitably be unable to satisfy you sexually. I know that it's important to have principles, but I would strongly suggest that you be flexible about considering men who don't exactly conform to your standards. I think most people who find great partners end up surprised that in at least a few ways, these partners don't live up to their original expectations and requirements. I've always vigorously avoided guys who smoke cigarettes, for instance, yet several of the men I've loved most were smokers when I met them and though I insisted they quit, not all were able to do so completely successfully, which had little effect on their ability to be wonderful, loving boyfriends. Looking back, I wish I'd been a lot less rigid about what I wouldn't tolerate in a potential partner--physical standards are one thing, as you just can't talk yourself into being attracted to someone by being flexible if you're not naturally drawn to them. Compromise and an open mind are two very good things when it comes to searching for someone to love, and I hope you retain a little bit of hope, at least, that the right guy could still come along and be amenable to giving him a chance even if he doesn't fit the ideal partner you described above.

I agree completely with you that guys will pursue us if they are truly interested, and itís not in my nature either to be the aggressor, but Iíd caution you against adhering to that principle too rigidly. Itís one thing to be strict about such rules if youíre getting all the dates you want and 100% happy with your love life, but if not, itís a good idea to shake things up a bit, try something different, and relax your approach somewhat. Keep in mind that while guys generally like to do the chasing once dating starts, they are often just as nervous and reticent about making the first move as even the shyest women are. So slipping your phone number to the limo driver, in my view, wouldnít have been a mistake at allóif you think about it from his perspective, heís probably thinking that youíd never consider dating the hired help or worried that youíd be offended that he was trying to take advantage of his position if he asked you out or acted at all unprofessionally toward you. Slipping him your number would have been a risk-free proposition, since at worst he wouldnít call, and his attitude suggests professionalism and restraint, not a lack of interest in you. But even if he wasnít into you, what do you have to lose? Assuming that or anything else negative only deprives yourself of chances before you even get a shot, and since I get the sense that you feel you canít get much lonelier and sadder as long as youíre single, what do you have to lose by taking the pressure off a guy by making a subtle first move that shows your interest and leaves the ball in his court? I also agree with Soulster about the guy at work, assuming you find him at least somewhat physically appealing. It sounds like your main objections otherwise are his use of tobacco and pot, but trust me that if you avoid all men who use or have used those substances, you will be ruling out a large number of brilliant, talented, caring, wonderful men without ever really giving them a fair chance. If you just donít like him, thatís one thing, but if thatís not the case, I think Soulster might be quite right about the benefits of giving him another chance. At worst, itíd be some additional dating experience, which is always valuable, as well as a confidence boost for you to go out with a man whoís obviously very into you. Anyway, I donít mean to lecture you or criticize your approach to dating; I only want to see you happy and having fun with good company, and I think staying positive and open to guys who donít fit your usual dating criteria is the best way to accomplish that. Please try to hang in there and donít give up completely, OK? Thereís always the chance that the perfect man for you is just around the corner (I definitely hope he is and that heís not too many corners away from you)!
[QUOTE=opielonghorn]let me rephrase, then. the positive will ULTIMATELY always win. yes, a few doors may be slammed in your face in the process. maybe 99 out of 100 will be slammed, all in a row. but that one door will not be slammed, and that's why it's such a simple concept. if you keep trying, then eventually you will succeed. that woman didn't want to talk to you? move onto the next. someone doesn't hire you for a job? apply for another one. the beauty of life is that there are a million paths to take and a million ways to change.

you've said yourself that you have spent the last eight years hung up on the breakup and your ex-boyfriend. if this mindset hasn't worked for you yet, why not change it? why not open your mind and your heart to everyone's advice here, instead of instantly formulating a defensive response? there must be a reason that more than one person here has offered you the same information. positivity breeds positivity, just as a child can't grow up with a positive outlook if he has negative influences.[/QUOTE]

I really agree with thisÖI donít mean to be critical, Nini, but it seems that a lot of your responses zero in on specific details of othersí posts that you can refute almost as if to prove your theory that youíve done all you can and that love and happiness just isnít in the cards for you. No one who knows and loves you here is willing to accept that and give up hope, but I sure wish that you could put the energy and intellect you dedicate to defending your position on minor issues that come up in posts into opening your mind to the positive, big-picture kind of advice and trying your best to put some of those optimistic suggestions into practice. In some ways, Iím sure itís easier to resign yourself to your current situation rather than get your hopes up that some new effort will make a difference in your level of contentment and risk being let down, but focusing on your negative experiences isnít helping. It seems like a lot of the same bad memories come up over and over again in your posts (the girl who was mean about the Queen concert, the boys who beat you up on the playground, your ex-best friend being unsympathetic and fading out of your life following your breakup with your ex, and of course, amazingly detailed recollections of a large selection of moments during which your ex failed to show you the love and respect we all deserve from our partners).

While no one deserves to go through such painful experiences, there are people who have had as bad or worse ordeals in their past who still manage to remain optimistic and hopeful, choosing to focus on the positive aspects of their life rather than the negative. You express this so eloquently in your posts to others, most recently memorably in your replies to cinting, yet you seem to have difficulty applying your excellent advice to your own life and outlook. And you do have some positive experiences with others, who demonstrate interest in dating you and/or being your friend, but the hurtful experiences seem front and center in your mind. To some degree at least, you do have a choice as to what you choose to think about, dwell on, and let influence your future outlook. You have so many appealing qualities and so much to offer a partner that I bet weíd all be pleasantly surprised at how much success youíd have with men if you could open yourself up to even a bit more optimism and positivity, as well as opening yourself up to possibilities you might not consider if youíre not feeling that hopeful. What you said about us both potentially missing out on great guys due to our standards is definitely true, but the difference is that Iím not feeling stuck and unhappy with life as a result of having difficulty meeting men who fit my expectations with whom Iíve been able to build satisfying relationships. Itís only when your current approach and criteria arenít ceding your desired results that itís important to be open to trying something different or adjusting what youíre looking for. And Iím not talking about settling for some guy who doesnít wow you just for the sake of security and companionship, as I know and completely agree with the way you feel about such partnerships. I just mean that for all you know, your ideal guy might have some skeletons in his closet that you wouldnít approve of if you knew about them, but if heíd make you happy permanently, why should that stuff matter and why should you even know those kinds of details about his past? I just really think that you have more power to eliminate negativity from your life than you acknowledge, and that maybe if you evaluated some of the advice youíve received with a more positive outlook, youíd find that itís actually helpful if you give it a shot. Even if you arenít open to trying new things right now, Iíd still suggest that you reread your old threads, with an eye to possibly helpful suggestions and to spotting and excising any kneejerk type negative reactions from your current mindset. Iíd suggest giving Opieís last post some more thought, and please keep in mind that no one wants to be critical, we only want to support you and see you happy.
I agree with Realguy about your ex, Nini--I have a lot of trouble believing being with him was that awesome and amazing and wonderful because from what you've said, it sounded like he didn't even come close to treating you with consistent love and respect. I wish I could somehow let you into my memories so you could see what differentiates true, unconditional love between equal partners from the kind of unhealthy love your ex was capable of providing. I always felt weird and strange--other girls regarded me like an alien for being so assertive and forceful, having not yet realized that most men who don't have major control or anger issues are happier taking it easy and letting the woman run most everything her way in order to keep the peace and enjoy all the benefits of her strong desires and fierce determination to get what she wants between the sheets. Now that I'm older and have had a chance to observe other relationships, it never fails to baffle me when a woman DOESN'T seize control from the start of a relationship and set clear boundaries that her man knows better than to even try to cross. Girls who saw me as overbearing and mean for being extremely demanding in my relationships seemed really confused and resentful over the fact that they bent over backwards to be just what their men wanted and to keep their men happy, yet dealt with a lot of blatant lying, cheating, rudeness, and other blatant disrespect while my partners always treated me with adoration, kindness, affection, and respect. One very pretty, smart, and nice girl even went after three of my boyfriends right after I left each one, I guess figuring she already knew they were wonderful and devoted boyfriends, but my exes complained to me that she lacked self esteem and was much too accomodating and flexible when they each repeatedly came back to me looking for another chance or at least some side action. It never occurred to me to consider settling for less, and while in retrospect I feel fortunate to have enjoyed a number of fulfilling, nurturing love affairs, I don't think that luck had that much to do with it. I really think that men want to be with a woman who knows her worth, knows what she wants, and has the confidence and assertiveness to demand nothing less and never allow anyone to sell her short. The vast majority of the men I've known, befriended, dated, and/or hooked up with have been thrilled to find a woman who would take charge in and out of bed (as long as she doesn't emasculate him in front of other people or try to take away his freedom to do the things he loves), and the few who haven't would have made horrible, abusive and completely untrustworthy boyfriends. I love and admire men and certainly don't mean to be sexist here, but I feel very lucky to be a straight woman, as I've always found dealing with men to be vastly simpler, much more straightforward, and considerably less treacherous than if I had to navigate the minefield of romantic relationships with women :eek:.

While I know you have reason not to fully agree with this, Nini, except for in cases of abusive or otherwise disturbed people who torment others indiscriminately, people really do treat others as well as they believe (AND DEMAND!!) that they should be treated. That's why it really saddens and concerns me whenever I read comments from you that glorify, excuse, and/or defend your ex's behavior, especially toward you or statements that place the blame for that failed relationship and your unhappiness squarely on yourself for not being able to save your relationship with your ex. Do you really think anyone can imagine that you, loving your ex as wholeheartedly and conditionally as you loved him, didn't do her very best and try everything in her power to make that relationship work? I also find it impossible to believe that you were all really that objectively happy (I'm not talking about being happy relative to your other life experiences, which is an intrinsic part of the experience of one's first love) with a man who treated you the way your ex did. You had to know that everyone deserves better than a lover who tells you he loves you then takes it back when you say those words back to him, who displays no qualms about chastising, criticizing, or outright yelling at you in front of friends, who relentlessly tries to tear apart your confidence in your musical talent, which he had to know was one of the things that mattered most to you, who attempts to break up with you repeatedly and only grudgingly takes you back after you plead with him, who doesn't seem to respect or even consider your feelings while he ogles other girls and talks open about his sexual desire for them, and who makes you feel like a horrible, immoral, unworthy, dirty, and trashy influence on him whenever you didn't fully (and sufficiently enthusiastically) agree with all of his ridiculously rigid, uptight, judgmental, oppressive, misogynistic, and generally despicable opinions.

Please keep in mind that everyone's first real love seems perfect and destined, but that's almost always because the people involved have no basis for comparison and are experiencing the magic of first love, which is the belief that it will never end. So much so in fact that even though I could not get along with my first love to save my life, there were many times when I believed we'd spend our lives together...actually, it's still important to me that he be a part of my life, but no one who knew us then could understand how we didn't kill each other all the time we were together except when we weren't sneaking off all over school to fool around. The first love thing was so powerful to me that even while I was pulling away from our relationship toward the end and starting to socialize and experiment sexually with other people, I didn't leave him officially until another man and I were totally head over heels in love. I don't think I would remember that first love affair, despite all its intensity, passion, and how close we were deep down, very fondly or nearly as wistfully and tenderly if he hadn't been the first man with whom I really truly fell in love. I think the fact that your ex was your first (and only) love definitely plays a role in why your memories are so glowing and happy, along with distance having blurred out a lot of the day to day, neither wonderful nor awful times you must have spent wondering how he could repeatedly try to dump you, not demonstrate much interest in being around you, being negative or critical toward you, and generally not acting as kind and loving as a man who is mature enough for and committed to a serious romantic relationship should act toward his lover.

Please don't misunderstand me here and think I'm out to bash your ex and ruin all your good memories of that relationship (though I do think you need to take a good hard look at whether these times were really so precious and wonderful, along with whether they are helping or hindering you to be happy in the present). I do think that your recollections seem quite skewed in favor of your ex, though I know that numerous examples of his bad behavior toward you are still etched vividly in your mind. I also think there is a great deal of truth to what Opie said in one of her latest posts about the large amount of energy you expend denying that any of the advice offered you is worthwhile and/or feasible compared with the very small amount of energy you devote to carefully weighing and considering the plethora of suggestions that pile into each of your threads and expressing optimism or positivity about the future. If you redirected all the effort you expend defending yourself and your past experiences, particularly your ex, against any suggestions (which you almost invariably summarily reject) to help you feel more optimistic and positive about your life and your future. It just doesn't seem to me that it's benefiting you in any way to put so much effort into detailing how great things were with your ex and how awful life is without him or explaining that all of your experiences have taken such a toll that you can't do more than what you've already tried in order to try and be happy. Just as he factored into nearly every aspect of this response to you, your ex is such a major component in your assessment of your present and future prospects for a content and gratifying life that I think changing the way you think about him (at least breaking the obsessive feedback loop which is keeping you tormented and treading water ever since you heard about the marriage, but ideally I'm talking about being able to put him more and more out of your mind and confine him completely to your past) is an essential, unavoidable step in making progress toward feeling less unhappy and hopeless. If you still see having been with him and lost him as the major obstacle standing in the way of moving on and being happy, then I couldn't disagree more with your assessment of therapy intended to break your cycle of obsession over your ex as unlikely to help and not worth the time and expense. I am sorry to be so blunt; I am just really concerned that your interpretation of the issues and obstacles you face is influenced more by wishful thinking and the force of habit than by reality. For the sake of your happiness and future, we are trying to help you see how paralyzing and debilitating this fixation has become and make you understand that you need to fight this with any and all possible means. Please Nini, just reconsider what we've been saying without dismissing it with your usual one is trying to be mean or unsympathetic, but I'm worried that you're not really listening to us and giving our advice fair and careful consideration, and I truly hope you rethink that approach for your own benefit and happiness.

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