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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)!
Thanks RealguyóNini, I hope you understand that no one is trying to tell you that you are wrong or that you should have to compromise your values or date a man you donít want. I think that instead certain posts are suggesting that your outlook and views may be getting in the way of your happiness and that youíd benefit from making some adjustmentsÖNo one is saying that youíre wrong, but you seem to feel like anyone who doesnít agree with your opinions on sex, drugs, and religion is wrongóI was only trying to suggest that such black and white ideas about what is bad and wrong may be getting in the way of you being happy and finding love. Just because you believe that drugs are garbage and a sign of being too weak to face life, that sex is intended for procreation and not for fun and pleasure, and that there is such a thing as a god out there who somehow had a kid with a virgin does not mean these things are true or that all men who disagree arenít worthy of consideration as potential partners for you. I donít know why itís any more wrong for them to think your beliefs are unfounded and misguided than it is for you to think the same of people who donít agree with you. To me itís not at about whether youíre right or wrong, because I donít believe there are any objective, clearcut truths surrounding these issues, and closing yourself off to those with other opinions doesnít seem to be helping you get what you want out of life. So itís not about whether youíre wrong in your views, itís about whether or not your current approach is working for you, and your friends are trying to tell you that since it isnít making you happy, it might be a good idea to alter that approach somewhat.

Religion can be great in helping people be accepting and forgiving, but you donít seem to be getting that benefit, even though accepting that your ex treated you poorly and wasnít right for you and forgiving him so that you can let go would probably improve your outlook and mood considerably. But since religious people think that there is some magical force out there controlling everything, religion can also lead people to believe that they deserve what they get, that they are doomed to whatever fate this invisible spirit chooses for them, and that itís not within their control whether they find happiness and what they are looking for out of life. To me it has always seemed like these aspects of your religious views are not working in your favor and are in fact hindering your ability to be content. It seems like men show interest in you and that women want to befriend you, and I canít help but wonder why you still feel alone and unable to form close relationships. I donít know why that is, but I think itís possible that you have more control over your interactions with other people and your overall happiness than you realize, and at this point, it doesnít seem like it would hurt to try something different. You devote a lot of your impressive intelligence, insight, and sensitivity to deploring and mourning the past and reinforcing why you arenít content with the presentóI bet we would all be amazed at your power to make positive changes and pursue your goals if this energy was channeled into being open and optimistic about your future. Being more flexible about your expectations for a mate is just one part of that, but clearly a lot of people who have followed your story for quite some time feel that it might be a beneficial step for you. I guess what Iím really trying to say is that if youíre not content with things the way they are, then it seems logical that your best chance at finding happiness is to start making changes how you attempt to obtain what you desire from life.

Things do not have to stay the way theyíve been and are for you unless you keep thinking and acting the way you have up until now. You have such tremendous talent and wisdom that I find it impossible to believe you wouldnít reap rewards if you used all your mental facilities to devise and test strategies to achieve your goals through trial and error. People really can train themselves and force themselves to stop thinking certain thoughts and to make their goals a realityóaccepting that you canít change the way you feel just isnít working for you, and I think that view is selling yourself short and tragically underestimating your own power to shape your life. Itís not about earning or deserving love and happinessóthatís putting your fate in the hands of someone else and blaming yourself for not finding what you want yet when you still have the rest of your life to go after your dreams. Blaming your ex for not loving you, blaming his wife for being insecure and unappreciative of him, and most of all, blaming yourself for ďmessing up your one shot at loveĒ is taking a negative, defeatist, counterproductive approach that isnít working for you. However, you have the ability to change this approach and in doing so, change the results you get if you believe this is true and act accordingly. Things do not have to be the way theyíve been up until now because you are not a passive pawn but instead totally in control of your lifeóIíd love to see you try different outlooks and tactics, as I really do believe itís within your power to find love and feel fulfilled and satisfied with your life. Please donít give up and resign yourself to not being able to change anything when in actuality just the opposite is true, and you have every bit as much right to be happy as anyone elseÖas long as you keep fighting and keep hoping that things will get better, I have no doubt that you wonít be disappointed.
Cannalee, thanks, I appreciate

Soulster and Stacy - yes, you both make very good points. The truth really is, though, that in order to fit the expense of internet dating into my budget, I'd have to cut something, and it's already pretty bare to the bones. But even so, I suppose I'd be willing to tighten my belt, maybe not eat as well or just pay minimum balance on my credit card bill for a little while in order to afford an internet dating site if I really believed it would lead to love. But after 3 years of internet dating the only thing it's led to is boring, uncomfortable dinner dates with guys I have nothing in common with that only last an hour and I never hear from them again, not that I would want to. I'd be more excited about it if in those three years I'd at least met a guy who was at least a real possibility, or at least a second date. Not even close. All the ones I thought I could be interested in were the ones who were quickest to tell me they had other women they wanted to pursue things with. If you tried something for three years at something and never came anywhere near getting where you wanted to get, and every disappointment left you feeling sick, how much longer would you throw money and time and energy into it before you decided, hey, maybe this isn't the path for you? I dont' mean to sound sarcastic, I'm not trying to be a smart alec, and I can surely understand where you're coming from , but Einstein said the definition of madness is trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. How long does it make sense to keep trying this one way, expecting a different result? I don't know. The last time I met a guy I wanted to date who wanted to date me, I wasn't even trying to find love. I had decided not to even bother, and had totally turned off the idea. Maybe that's what works for me? Who knows?

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