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[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]Hi [COLOR="Magenta"]tarheel247[/COLOR] :wave: Natalie and I are 22 and 23 respectively. A few people have trotted out the old line "You're both young; it's who you end up with that matters, not what happens along the way". But I've always had this romantic idea that I'd fall in love young, have kids young and be a trendy dad! Also, I don't believe that age should be considered a factor in emotional maturity. Who decides when someone is old enough to settle down? Women are doing it later and later in life and it poses health risks to both them and their babies to put off starting a family.

I think a large part of me will want Natalie back for a long time. I believe in the theory that it takes twice as long to get over somebody than the time you spent with them. I have made the mistake of putting pressure on a girl after I have been dumped in the past, and the friendship was lost forever. That's my main motivation for not calling Natalie, as well as the notion that she might start to miss me if I play it cool.

As for Sara (good research, by the way :cool: ), yes we are still friends although I haven't seen her in a while. She has a quite a serious boyfriend now and I have very little by way of romantic feelings for her anyway. She genuinely strung me along and I realise that now. However, I might meet up with her to get incredibly drunk in the not too distant future. I mustn't let her encourage me to take drugs though.

Thanks for your kind words [COLOR="magenta"]furtiva[/COLOR] :) I do very much want to make a girl very happy one day, for the rest of her life.

Yes, like mother like daughter - the thought has crossed my mind. Although, of course, I would never say that to Natalie. Natalie's dad tortures himself every day from what I can see. I don't know how his relationship with his girlfriend survives from one week to the next. Natalie generally takes her dad's side, so I find it hard to see how she can be so thoughtless when she knows first hand what pain it causes.

I am too forgiving. It is something that Natalie criticises me for, specifically in relation to my mum. My mum regularly says very insensitive things to me (I think she is manic-depressive, but that's a whole other issue), and I've learned to ignore and forgive her for the sake of what relationship we have and given that I live with her. I don't think I'm going to change on this front: people hurt me and I see the good in them and let them walk all over me again. It happens at work for instance whereby people take advantage of me and push their responsibilities onto me. Although, that is more about my tendancy to take too much on my shoulders than my over-capacity for forgiveness.

Why don't you believe I am British? I am English but I suppose I do describe and explore my feelings and emotions more than the average British male :) I think it surprised all my work colleagues when I told them that I had split up with Natalie, as though they would have expected me to be proud and keep it to myself.

I'm not scared that nobody else will love me in future. When I broke up from my first serious girlfriend I projected on her all my insecurities and resented her so much for leaving me because back then I was fearful that no other girl would find me attractive. I had terrible skin, which is shattering for one's confidence. But I have come through that (it's a genuine miracle that I now have baby-smooth skin and often get mistaken for the younger brother). On a less visceral level, I am confident that I have traits and interests that will attract girls. I wasn't Natalie's type but I charmed her and we had at least eleven months of exciting attraction.

I know I am hurting myself (although talking like this is very cathartic) but, as much as it must annoy the passive onlooker, I think it's a stage I have to go through. Like I said, I can see now that Sara messed me around, and my first serious girlfriend before her. I just find it hard to accept that people would treat me in a way that I would never imagine treating them. My defence mechanism against that is to blame everything but them.[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]Hey guys :wave: I just need to vent. It's about a week since I last posted and my state of mind hasn't altered much. I haven't spoken to Natalie since last Saturday but she has contacted me. She sent me a text message on Tuesday evening which was very patronising, asking if I was okay as though I'd die without her. I'm hurting a lot but not so much over our relationship - over relationships in general. That's what I want to talk about really.

Natalie contacted me again last night to ask how I was and why I hadn't replied to her previous message. I told her that I had replied (I wondered if someone had deleted my message from her phone before she got the chance to read it - she used to check my phone all the time, which is typical considering it was her who cheated on me). I was surprised to learn that she wasn't out clubbing or something.

When I told her I had replied to her message, she said she was glad because she thought I "didn't want to know". She said she had been comfort eating all week and wasn't sure if she'd stick to her plans to go out tomorrow evening (tonight) because she had a cold sore (she's very vain, but needn't worry because she's gorgeous and knows how to expertly apply makeup). I asked her to say hi to her sister and her fiancÚ and I think that annoyed her because she said good night after that.

Of course, every time she contacts me, the memories get dredged up closer to the forefront of my mind. I was reading the messages she sent that evening and accidentally stumbled upon some older ones on my phone (which I didn't even think were there because it's a new phone). I read one that made me wonder what we were talking about in that particular exchange. I had half an idea, so I checked the archives.

By the "archives" I mean a text file on my computer in which I typed in every text message that Natalie ever sent to me (some thousand since we met). I started doing it because the early messages were so soothing to the wounds of my previous relationship. In fact, very few of Natalie's messages were mundane and most made me feel like a god amongst men. On this particular date (26 March), I saw that the theme was that of marriage proposal.

Natalie had obviously been preoccupied with thoughts of engagement and had told me she was feeling down because it felt like it would never happen. In one message she told me that she had "a fantasy of when and where" I would propose to her. This was, of course, Rome - on our anniversary. From the next couple of messages, I get the gist that I must have told her that I thought we needed to take more time to be sure that things were settling down after moving back apart.

So I feel like I blew my chance to be with the girl who excited and complemented me so well :( But I already knew that because she'd told me. It just made it worse to see that she had even spelled out to me what she wanted. I cannot fathom why I didn't act on that message. Engagement was what I wanted too. I think I was just too wrapped up with my exam studies. The irony is, the exams are next week and I couldn't give a you know what whether I pass or fail.

Anyway, I still haven't really got to the point of my post... What is [I]really[/I] bothering me and keeping me awake at night (and infiltrating my dreams), is how Natalie could have gone from saying "I want you to propose marriage to me in Rome" on 26 March, to saying "I don't love you anymore" on 26 April. One month. I can't appreciate it because I've never fallen out of love with anyone. But I can't believe that it can happen that quickly, without a loathsome act on my part. Or was it so loathsome that I didn't propose at that particular time?

I know nobody has any hard and fast answers for me. I suppose you will say that my lack of proposal made Natalie re-assess what she wanted from our relationship, and she probably woke up from her dream and realised that she had been chasing a fairytale and had overlooked the fact that she didn't really love me. But I don't like that option, but I don't want to - and can't - believe that Natalie wasn't in love with me for at least as long as until we lived together. Indeed, I can't believe that she wasn't in love with me on Valentine's Day.

That leads me back to my inital theory that Natalie got itchy feet when she commenced her new job and met a new group of people (including the guy with whom she cheated on me). But I don't like this idea either. I don't like it because it conforms to my very pessimistic worry that all my future relationships are doomed because new people will come into my girlfriend's life and say and do things that chip away at the love she has for me.

I specifically remember Natalie telling me about these "lads" in her department at her new job who always seemed to be joking around and flirting and generally acting all cocky and confident. I knew she was telling me because that is how she wanted [I]me[/I] to behave. I think it was how her exes before me used to be. But I'm not that kind of person. Am I doomed to lose all future girlfriends to loudmouth guys who have all the smart moves and chat-up lines? I know it was the kind of guy who my previous ex slept with after me.

I'm rambling now, but my general point is that it feels futile to get into another relationship (I know I need lots more time anyway), because the girl is always going to turn on me eventually. It came full circle with Natalie: when we met in Bulgaria and I told her I liked her, she said I was a "nice man". Great. Just what you want to hear. But then I showed her that nice men can be exciting men and she seemed to find me very attractive for a year. But since splitting up and saying she just wants to be friends, Natalie has told me that I am "lovely" and a "dear friend". Like I said, full circle.

Do I need to change if I want to hold on to my girlfriend in future? Am I too "nice"? I just wanted to be with one girl all my life; settle down and start a family. I'm not strictly Christian (I don't go to church simply because there's always something "better" to do), but I have always believed in monogomy and I only ever wanted that one special girl. How long is it going to be before she comes along and how many holes are there going to be in my soul before I get there?

Natalie told me that she wanted the same things as me and I believed her, just as I believed my first girlfriend before her. I know they might have meant it at the time, but why do they have to change their minds? Would a life time with me be so bad? Does it have to be too early for a girl to settle down? I blame the media, I really do :( Rant over.[/COLOR][/FONT]





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