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Relationship Health Message Board

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Thanks again for the great advice, Sophia, Rose, and HIT. What you said about how to proceed with online dating and not to worry too much about the future really rings true and has definitely helped quell my recent anxiety about this stuff (which is probably not completely separate from the anxiety I've been having while detoxing from meds and experiencing increased pain). I know intellectually that it doesn't do any good to worry about this stuff and that everything has a way of working out for the best in time. I do like being in love and am looking forward to future romances, though I strongly doubt that one love and particularly one lover will satisfy me for the rest of my life once I find him, no matter who he is. I've loved probably half a dozen guys, maybe a few more as friends, and of those I've been absolutely obsessively, head over heels, crazy in love with three. Even if it wasn't real or true love with the first two guys (each love affair lasted several years), and I know both relationships were built on unusually passionate and deep love, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the love I shared with Patrick was rare and amazing, the kind of closeness and intimacy and understanding that few people ever experience even once. There was something very special about the way we treasured each other, which is in part because we are both capable of loving and being loved on an unusually deep level, and in a lot of ways I think we loved each other too much to sustain a lasting relationship in the real world. If we could have spent our lives in our little nest together and shut everyone else out, I truly think our love would still be intensifying each and every day, but it was too intense and made us too vulnerable to deal with the most difficult obstacles the outside world placed in our path.

Anyway, Iím sorry to ramble on like that, Iím just trying to convey that I think the way I feel about love, especially my ability and tendency to love more than one partner, wasnít shaped by not having found someone who swept me off my feet and made me fall so hard that I finally became like other people who find the prospect of loving one person enough to sustain a lifelong monogamous relationship not only appealing but also feasible. I figure that having loved as passionately, as much, and as often as I have in my first decade of dating, Iím very unlikely to limit myself to just one great love over the rest of my life. To answer your question, Sophia, to a large extent I do understand what itís like to be so crazy in love with someone so as to all but lose interest in other potential partners, because I certainly loved Patrick that way, loving him as wholeheartedly and passionately as I did, but only to a certain extent. There were still other men who I came to know who I found intensely attractive, with whom I experienced explosive mutual chemistry, and with whom I would have gleefully made love if not for loving Patrick too much to hurt such a gentle, loving, and trusting man so horribly. So while I think what Rose and Sophia said about it not being tough to give up wanting and caring for other men when one finds someone they truly love holds true for a great many people, especially women, but I know for a fact it isnít true for me. And that more than anything is what really worries meóthat the rest of the world, including all the men Iíve loved so far, have wanted a monogamous, serious relationship, and Iím concerned that Iíll never be happy in that situation and that it will require either sublimating and repressing my own feelings and desires for other men or result in me betraying and wounding a man I must have loved very much if I agreed to commit to him.

So the bottom line is that no matter how much I love one man, I donít think there is much chance at all that Iíll lose my longing for all others, nor be prevented from loving more than one man very genuinely and deeply at one time (which I have done throughout most of my dating years). While this doesnít necessarily preclude me from serial monogamy, which is essentially what Iíve always experienced with the men Iíve loved so far, it seems to preclude any possibility of a happy and fulfilling lifelong partnership with one man. Knowing this as I start dating again (particularly with the memory that it has never taken me long after getting back on the market to fall for a great guy and enter into a loving, serious relationship) is really freaking me out, though I do realize that Iím fortunate to have been consistently lucky in love rather than face the opposite predicament of yearning for lasting love without finding any suitable partners. Iíve never been quite this honest or blunt with myself before, let alone with others (even wise and trusted friends like you guys), and I am really scared of falling back into the kind of all-consuming love I felt for Patrick when because of my very nature, such a relationship seems doomed from its inception. Nonetheless, all the advice that you have offered as to how I should proceed with dating makes a ton of sense and helps me feel much calmer, more optimistic, and less apprehensive. Just having the chance to get this all out and explain myself and what Iíve been worrying about has been very therapeutic and helped assuage my fears and doubts to a significant extent. Part of me has always felt very distant and different from people, especially in their approach to relationships, which is why it is so comforting to me that kind and non-judgmental friends like you have taken the time to try and understand where I am coming from and provide me with such helpful and accurate advice. Thank you so much, and Iíd be extremely grateful if anyone has any further insight, suggestions, or feedback to offer.

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