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One last one for the road - I think I got one!

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  • One last one for the road - I think I got one!

    In light of the news that this forum is closing, I figured I'd go ahead and share one last story of mine before the site closes. I don't necessarily need advice persay - though I am still fumbling my way through trying to figure out how to proceed in certain areas. But considering that this forum is shutting down, I feel like this is a fitting final story for my Relationship Forum adventure.

    Anybody who is familiar with my postings knows I have had a very rough go of it in finding a lasting relationship. I have had many prospects, but nothing that stuck. My first post here was about 10 years ago, going on my first college date with a girl from my Spanish class, after we enjoyed a very lovely dinner and conversation at a nice Chinese restaurant in town, and then the slow fade that occurred following our date and me not knowing how to handle the situation. Another girl I met in college who I prematurely fell way too head over heels for, ignored every single red flag she showed me, went along for her entire push / pull dynamic that had me on the hook for a full semester, until she finally disappeared from my life for good, leaving the flames of her destruction in her trail. A co-worker I met at my first job after moving back to my home city after graduating college, who gave me very conflicting signals, making sure that I thought she liked me just enough so I would give her attention, and then when I realized what was happening and stopped giving her attention, her making my work life a living hell to the point that it impacted my upward mobility and I ended up having to get a new job (which actually ended up being a blessing in disguise). My misadventures with online dating and dating apps, thinking I met someone legitimate only to have them suddenly disappear on me out of nowhere, all the way up to me not learning my lesson and attempting a relationship with another co-worker in my most recent adventure, that went from "promising, budding new relationship with a very special person that I shared a fairly significant history and chemistry with" to "false sexual harassment claims and character assassination" over the course of 9 months. My dating adventures have made for great storytelling amongst my friends and I, but also the source of lots of trauma, depression, anxiety, and insecurity within myself that I've had to learn to navigate through to better myself not just as a potential future partner to a woman, but also for my friends, and for myself as well, to just simply be the best person that I can be for me. And I think I'm doing better... through therapy, help from friends, and personal self reflection and motivation, I believe that I am the best person I have ever been in my life, and I feel I am on a path to continued growth. But that doesn't mean I am at my final destination, and I still struggle, and I still have a ways to go.

    And that is greatly reflected in my current adventure - and what seems like it will be my final Relationship Forum story ( ). Back in January after a trip, I came back and shot a message out to a very attractive young woman on eharmony, and to my surprise, I got a response back. Surprising because eharmony has been very slow for me of late (to the point that I had actually cancelled my subscription, but I decided I would give it one last shot, since I'm on a very discounted rate, and renewed my subscription for one more term right before messaging this woman), and also because her pictures were *incredibly* attractive, far more attractive than the types of women I typically get responses from (and I typically get responses and dates with some fairly attractive women on these apps, so I'm not usually struggling in that area), and I didn't think that my message really stood out all that much (I made a casual remark about something on her profile that her and I had in common and asked her about it). After only a small handful of messages back and forth, she gave me her phone number and we moved off the site to texting. Within a couple days, we had set up a date, and I was surprised by how accommodating she was being. She lives in a town about an hour away from me, and she turned down my offer to meet halfway in preference of driving all the way up to my town. I was kind of taken aback by how accommodating she was being, before having ever even met me, but obviously it made me feel pretty good that she was putting in effort. Our first date was nice, we had dinner, and very fun and lovely conversation, and I was taken with her instantly. After spending a few hours at dinner, we walked down and grabbed dessert at a nearby dessert shop, which I was surprised that she was very much initiating physical contact with me. Nothing sexual or anything, but lots of hand holding and such. I walked her to her car, kissed her on the forehead, and we made plans to see each other again the next weekend.

    The next date, I drove down to her. We did a painting workshop activity since she is very into art, went and had a nice lunch, and then took a long walk up and down the beach. After which we sat in her car and just kinda cuddled for a little bit. I did try to kiss her, but she turned her cheek to me which did kind of trigger my anxiety and worry that things hadn't gone as well as I thought. But after I got home, her and I instantly set up another date that would end up having us spending the whole day together, driving up to the big city, exploring, taking pictures together (and subsequently sharing them on social media), a nice dinner on the way home, lots of affection, and at the end of the night, she did kiss me. The next day, she messaged me from her mom's phone, because she wanted to tell me she had sent me a message on eharmony because her phone died and she needed to get a replacement, and she didn't want me to think she was ignoring me. So we spent a day back talking on the app, lol. Throughout all of this, she also started opening up to me about her own struggles with depression and insecurity, telling me she had a lot of issues, and sometimes wondered why anyone would want to be with her. I told her that, as someone who was dating her, I see someone who is fun and playful and fun to be around, someone who I can have meaningful conversations with, someone who is creative and talented, and someone who I see is passionate about the values and beliefs that she holds, and those are all the things that I find attractive about her. On our most recent date, she opened up a bit more for the first time in person about her depression, and some of the struggles she's having, and allowed me to just listen to her and comfort her. She later thanked me for listening, and told me she didn't mean to overwhelm me with her issues. I thanked her for that sentiment, but told her she wasn't overwhelming me, that everyone has our own baggage and emotions that we deal with, and that I was just glad that she felt she had a safe place to open up and express that to.

    She's also been very attentive of me, my feelings, what I am going through and dealing with, offering the same sort of listening, and patience for the situation that I find myself in and what I'm going through. We've only been able to see each other once a week due to our distance, and our work schedules, but she has maintained an effort that I have never received from anyone before - including exes! - in contacting me, making efforts to see me even when our times and schedules are a bit wonky. We talk everyday, off and on while we are at work and then more heavily at night when we are both off before bed. We both currently live with our parents, and for our next date she was saying she wished she had her own place so that we could just stay in together and watch TV. By all accounts, this is a success story so far, as I've found someone I am genuinely vibing with, and she is matching my efforts (and even exceeding in some ways!) and clearly is just as invested as I am.

    But this is new territory for me. Even with exes. I mean, I liked my exes, but even in a relationship, I've never felt someone putting so much effort into me. And the girls that I've been excited for, have all disappeared on me by this point, usually long before this. We are a month in and going on our 5th date. A month and date 4 is usually the farthest I get (and typically not even that far) before someone ups and disappears on me. But because this is all so new to me, because of my past experiences, I have insecurities that are conditioned on my brain, and I'm constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it's not dropping, and she's not disappearing, she is only putting forth more and more reciprocation and effort, and it's getting me even more anxious because now I'm feeling more vulnerable and invested in her. Believe it or not, I'm actually doing the best I've ever done about just rolling with it, and enjoying the moment, and not trying to rush into a label or defined relationship, and just letting it happen! But I definitely still have those anxieties and insecurities of "it's just a matter of time until she disappears, just like all the rest", and "she's so amazing, so attractive, she can have any guy she wants, why is she picking me? Eventually she's gonna get bored and disappear for 'something better'".

    So I'm in a good place right now. I'm in the early stages of a potential new relationship with a beautiful young woman whom I am really, truly, genuinely liking. I am doing better than I ever have of just letting it flow, letting it happen, and not trying to force anything. But as I said, I'm still not all the way there, and I have a lot of insecurities and anxieties that I still need to work myself through.

    Hopefully I can have a positive ending to this story to close out my time on this forum! Thanks, guys, for all the feedback and advice through the years, even if I didn't always agree with it. I still always looked forward to reading it!

  • #2
    Why do you think someone would tell you about their depression after 3 dates?
    And did she express how she was managing it?

    Comment


    • #3
      am529 Calm down. Appreciate and be grateful for what you have. Start counting your blessings if you want to be happy. Keep your relationship easy with this new woman in your life and be thankful that there is a genuine liking. Try to think positively instead of negatively and don't revert back to dark thoughts about the past. Don't look at yesterday nor the future. Only enjoy now and today. Change your perspective. Remember the power of positive thinking! You will be alright. Cast your fears aside and your insecurities and anxieties should begin to subside. Chin up and enjoy the ride! Look on the bright side and begin to enjoy life. Don't be all doom and gloom anymore. Think positive thoughts and you'll have more zip in your step. You'll see. Be a happy person and start enjoying life again!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by chanelle View Post
        am529 Calm down. Appreciate and be grateful for what you have. Start counting your blessings if you want to be happy. Keep your relationship easy with this new woman in your life and be thankful that there is a genuine liking. Try to think positively instead of negatively and don't revert back to dark thoughts about the past. Don't look at yesterday nor the future. Only enjoy now and today. Change your perspective. Remember the power of positive thinking! You will be alright. Cast your fears aside and your insecurities and anxieties should begin to subside. Chin up and enjoy the ride! Look on the bright side and begin to enjoy life. Don't be all doom and gloom anymore. Think positive thoughts and you'll have more zip in your step. You'll see. Be a happy person and start enjoying life again!
        I am a happy person. Having anxiety and insecurity doesn't make me not happy. Just about anyone I interact with will tell you that I am seen as a very positive and cheerful person. Happiness and anxieties aren't mutually exclusive.

        But yes, thank you. I can at least recognize when those thoughts come up, and even tho I am feeling them, it helps me to reassure myself that it's not a beneficial way of thinking, and I can somewhat pull myself out of it. It's a process. A day at a time.
        Last edited by am529; March 3rd, 2019, 12:02 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Maggiemay4791 View Post
          Why do you think someone would tell you about their depression after 3 dates?
          And did she express how she was managing it?
          Seems to me that she feels comfortable to be open and honest, which I appreciate. I get an opportunity to know the real her, not just a fake facade that everyone puts up in early dating. I'm guessing that because I have my own challenges with anxiety and depression, she felt it was something we had in common and felt safe and comfortable to talk to me about it. As far as coping goes, yes, we have discussed forms of coping and managing.
          Last edited by am529; March 3rd, 2019, 12:03 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by am529 View Post

            I am a happy person. Having anxiety and insecurity doesn't make me not happy. Just about anyone I interact with will tell you that I am seen as a very positive and cheerful person. Happiness and anxieties aren't mutually exclusive.

            But yes, thank you. I can at least recognize when those thoughts come up, and even tho I am feeling them, it helps me to reassure myself that it's not a beneficial way of thinking, and I can somewhat pull myself out of it. It's a process. A day at a time.
            am529 I didn't imply that having anxiety and insecurity doesn't make you not happy. I merely said to try to change the way you think and over time, your internal nervousness (anxiety and insecurities) should begin to dissipate.

            It's good that you recognize those thoughts.

            Another thing to remember and ask yourself is what causes you to feel this way? Is it more deep seeded? I know a lot of people carry sad baggage and haunted from their past. It goes way back to childhood, teen years, family life or lack thereof, dysfunctional family life, brokenness, mental and / or physical abuse, psychological abuse, victim of bullying, abuse from others as a child, teen or young adult (or anytime) and past experiences affect you mentally today. It's easy to revert back to those dark places in your brain. However, I've found that if you're enjoying life now, to concentrate on that as opposed to reverting back to negative thoughts, memories or people who've wronged you.

            Even if negative, past bad relationships went awry for you, focus on the good today instead of going back to your memory bank. Your past should not dictate how you have the right to relax your mind today.

            Also, don't depend on others to make your life feel complete. I've found that in order to feel secure, non-anxious and confident, you have to work on yourself in order to be comfortable within your own skin. For starters, work on your health because there's a definite sound body, sound mind connection. People develop higher self esteem and more self confidence when they look and feel great. Exercise, diet diligently and concentrate on your health. Become independent in the way you think, take good care of your health and your outlook will change for the better. You have to start somewhere.

            I was you once. It's so easy to fall into the pity party because we all do. I was sick 'n tired of feeling insecure, anxious and as if I didn't matter. Once I did something about it such as focus on my health and well-being, my mindset changed and I felt invincible. I hope it works for you, too.

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh, I definitely know where my anxiety and insecurity comes from. It's a combination of things. Far as relationships go, I have been unvoluntarily single virtually my entire life. I had one "girlfriend" in high school that wasn't really a girlfriend. We were "official" for all of 2 weeks, and we didn't even see each other at all in that time. Long story. lol. I had one "relationship" in my early 20's that wasn't really a relationship, as I was basically the side dude. As is standard, I thought that I'd win her over and she would choose me over the other guy, but predictably, that didn't happen. I had one girlfriend in college (I went to college late, from ages 26-29) that lasted all of 3 months. We lived in the same apartment complex and would go for weeks at a time without seeing each other. I was just not a priority at all for her. And I had one fairly legitimate relationship a few years back, the woman I lost my virginity to at age 31. We were only together for about 6 months, but it was a legitimate relationship that really only ended because we were on different pages in terms of our life directions - namely, I wanted kids, and she did not, and also, disagreement over where we would eventually live (we were long distance and she was unwilling to my city, and I had no interest or desire to move to her's). Because of our distance, and other circumstances, I also felt I wasn't getting all the effort I felt I deserved.

              And those examples are my dating *successes*. My failures have run the gambit from basic rejection and lack of interest (creating a feeling of being undesirable), women using my feelings for attention, being falsely accused of sexual harassment while being actively personally harassed in response, women disappearing without any notice when I thought things were going good (this is probably the biggest one that has given me anxiety and insecurity, because even when I think everything has been going well, women up and disappear on me without notice or warning). So with this woman I am seeing now - she is actively putting forth a level of effort I have never seen before, she is clearly reciprocating my interest and my feelings, but I still have that sense of "when is the other shoe going to drop?"

              In regards to non-relationships, I was physically bullied pretty severely as a kid, which has certainly damaged my trust in people, even now as a 35 year old man, I definitely have scars left over from my experiences being bullied as a kid. I've been emotionally bullied through some of my early adulthood years. An example was when I was in college, people that I felt I was close friends with were behind my back talking about me and spreading gossip and rumors about me that negatively impacted my reputation in my college department, and definitely tainted friendships and relationships I did have with others. That certainly broke my trust. And now, as a professional adult, the experience that I had last year with the female co-worker who I tried to date that I had a previous history and connection with, and her false claims of sexual harassment (even tho I actively and noticeably stopped talking to her or interacting with her, and was very publicly and visibly dating someone else), and the number of people who were actively participating in the gossip and negative rumor spreading about me also greatly impacted how much I can trust other people.

              Also, current personal life situations, combined with revelations I am having in therapy, are opening my eyes up to the reality that, while I had a good home life as a child growing up, my parents are responsible for a *lot* of trauma that I now as an adult have to recognize and clean up.

              The advice you gave about past relationships, and finding my happiness independent of other people, have been 2 of the biggest challenges for me. I'm working on them both and getting better, but they are the biggest challenges for me. For relationships, I feel very confident in myself that I have a lot to offer a woman, that I am quality boyfriend / husband material, and that I am somebody who would make a good partner. But due to my experiences, I have a hangup that women don't see that and don't appreciate it or value what I have to offer. It has led to a certain self view of myself. Not a negative one. But also a highly critical one. And it has been hard not to let my past experiences kind of condition how I think, considering that I've only ever really had one outcome. But I am doing a better job of realizing that, I am a good person, I am valuable, I do have a lot to offer, and I am a good catch for any woman that would be lucky enough to have me. As far as happiness independent of other people goes... I, as most humans, am a social creature. Despite being an introvert, I cherish my social relationships and love to have that love and companionship with people. Romantic and platonic. But I am very much learning that other people are not and cannot be responsible for my happiness. And so I have spent the last - well, decade if we really want to get down to it, with my decision to move across the country, go back to college, find my passion, pursue 2 careers and have success in both - but 2 years or so in particular, focused on my own self improvement. Whether it be physical self improvement by eating right and exercising more, emotional self improvement via therapy to learn better coping and management strategies, financial well being by being more responsible and forward thinking with my money, professional well being by setting goals and sticking to the plan to achieve them... whatever it may be, I've been all about my own personal self improvement. And I am creating a personal happiness for myself that if I'm honest with myself, I never have had before. So you're right on that. It's a journey, and I haven't completed that journey, but I'm on it.

              Comment


              • #8
                am529 Sounds like you're on the right track then. Even though it is difficult for you to do, continue doing what you're doing because things are looking up for you. Enjoy and appreciate the current lady in your life without looking at the past or future. Just enjoy now and be grateful for it.

                I understand you are immersed into yourself because most people are. What I hope will help you is to have healthy distractions such as helping those who are less fortunate than you are. Many times, it helps to divert your focus away from you all the time and help the less fortunate such as volunteering to help with charities, community assistance, belonging to groups who feel the same way, working at a food bank, spending time with the elderly at nursing homes, feeding the homeless, perhaps joining a church and serving in ministries, etc. You'll step outside yourself and help those who aren't as fortunate as you are. Since you're a social creature and cherish social relationships, you have a lot to offer despite your not knowing it. It's a good way to meet others who are in similar mindsets. Broaden your horizons.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by am529 View Post

                  Seems to me that she feels comfortable to be open and honest, which I appreciate. I get an opportunity to know the real her, not just a fake facade that everyone puts up in early dating. I'm guessing that because I have my own challenges with anxiety and depression, she felt it was something we had in common and felt safe and comfortable to talk to me about it. As far as coping goes, yes, we have discussed forms of coping and managing.
                  So before your third date how did she know that you have issues with anxiety and depression?

                  You say because you had that “in common” that she felt safe and comfortable to talk to you about it.?

                  Are you saying that you brought it up first??

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Maggiemay4791 View Post

                    So before your third date how did she know that you have issues with anxiety and depression?

                    You say because you had that “in common” that she felt safe and comfortable to talk to you about it.?

                    Are you saying that you brought it up first??
                    She texted me one night while I was at a therapy appointment to ask me what I was up to. When I got out of the session, I saw the text and replied to her and I told her I had had an appointment. She asked me what kind, and I told her it was therapy. She started asking me a little bit about my therapy, and I basically just told her I do a weekly group and a monthly one on one session. I didn't go into detail about what I'm in therapy for. She asked me if therapy helps, and I told her that it did and I was very grateful for it. It was sometime after that when she started to open up a bit about her own depression. In which case, I responded with opening up slightly more about mine, which has led to her opening up even more about hers.
                    Last edited by am529; March 4th, 2019, 02:03 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by am529 View Post

                      She texted me one night while I was at a therapy appointment to ask me what I was up to. When I got out of the session, I saw the text and replied to her and I told her I had had an appointment. She asked me what kind, and I told her it was therapy. She started asking me a little bit about my therapy, and I basically just told her I do a weekly group and a monthly one on one session. I didn't go into detail about what I'm in therapy for. She asked me if therapy helps, and I told her that it did and I was very grateful for it. It was sometime after that when she started to open up a bit about her own depression. In which case, I responded with opening up slightly more about mine, which has led to her opening up even more about hers.
                      You made it sound like she opened up first and that you appreciated her openness.
                      However that wasn’t the case at all.
                      It was you that did.

                      I don’t think that was wise of you to do so. I’ll explain later.
                      I don’t think it was wise of her to open up about hers either so early on.

                      You seem to think that it’s great to get to know someone early on and not a facade in early dating.
                      But at this point you have bonded only because of anxiety and depression issues after only 2 dates.
                      That is a major red flag.

                      If you actually want to see if dating her could lead to a relationship, then you both need to stop discussing each other’s issues and see if there is any common ground despite them.

                      So far it appears that 2 out of 4 dates incorporated discussing your mutual issues.
                      This is way too early and a conversation that should only have happened months in. after or upon having a discussion re exclusivity.

                      She asked what you were up to by text? What were you up to? You were not in therapy when you replied , so it wouldn’t have been a lie to say “I’m on the train home” , “cooking dinner” or whatever?
                      You don’t have to say what you were doing at the exact time she messaged you , only at what time you replied.

                      You are going to therapy. Is she?
                      Does she know the extent and source of your issues?
                      Do you know hers?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It honestly sounds like you have nothing to worry about. You're doing good, and you seem pretty well matched. Best of luck
                        I say it as I see it. Don't take it personally!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Maggiemay4791 View Post

                          You made it sound like she opened up first and that you appreciated her openness.
                          However that wasn’t the case at all.
                          It was you that did.

                          I don’t think that was wise of you to do so. I’ll explain later.
                          I don’t think it was wise of her to open up about hers either so early on.

                          You seem to think that it’s great to get to know someone early on and not a facade in early dating.
                          But at this point you have bonded only because of anxiety and depression issues after only 2 dates.
                          That is a major red flag.

                          If you actually want to see if dating her could lead to a relationship, then you both need to stop discussing each other’s issues and see if there is any common ground despite them.

                          So far it appears that 2 out of 4 dates incorporated discussing your mutual issues.
                          This is way too early and a conversation that should only have happened months in. after or upon having a discussion re exclusivity.

                          She asked what you were up to by text? What were you up to? You were not in therapy when you replied , so it wouldn’t have been a lie to say “I’m on the train home” , “cooking dinner” or whatever?
                          You don’t have to say what you were doing at the exact time she messaged you , only at what time you replied.

                          You are going to therapy. Is she?
                          Does she know the extent and source of your issues?
                          Do you know hers?
                          Only one date did we speak of anxiety / insecurity. It was our 4th date that we talked about it (before our 3rd date was her first mention via text) (and as of yesterday, we've now been on 5). Trust me, our dates are lasting anywhere between 4 to 10 hours a piece, we are discussing far more things than just our insecurities and anxieties. It is a part that has stood out to me, hence I made more of a mention of it. We've talked about a lot of everything, from upbringing stories, college histories, where we've lived, common and non common interests we have, discussed quirks we have, professional stories and goals, religion, honestly we've talked about so much that I can't even keep track of all the topics we've covered to try to list off here. And I'm going to disagree with you, I don't think that our conversations about insecurities and anxieties and depression are red flags. It has not been off putting to me in the least for her to bring it up and talk about it. And I really don't think it's that big of a deal for me to have said "I was at an appointment" when she texted me to ask what I'm up to. The anxiety and stuff might be a big thing that we have bonded over so far, but it is far from the only thing we have bonded over after a month of dating and talking daily.

                          But hey, maybe I'm wrong, and if so, I'll hit up OvershareDude and pay for a month of domain service so we can open this place up long enough that I can tell you you were right and you could say "I told you so"

                          And I would say she did open up first. All I said was that I had an appointment, and explained it was therapy when she asked. At the time, I didn't go into the details of my depression and such, and even to this point, I still haven't really. Really the only thing even somewhat related that she knows about is that I am looking for a place to move out of my mom's house (I moved back in to help her as she is dealing with her own depression following my dad's passing). She knows I don't want to be living with my mom, and that's probably the most in depth thing she knows about me that's related to my depression. I haven't gone into the details of my depression. She has opened up about that far more than I have.

                          idk, for now, I'm gonna disagree that it's an issue. I suppose I can understand why you see it that way, but I don't. Not right now anyways.
                          Last edited by am529; March 4th, 2019, 09:34 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Good job. I'm happy for both of you. She sounds like a lovely girl. Try and work on some more lighthearted outtings and have fun too.
                            I'd caution attaching any self-value or self-worth to this relationship this early on. Don't be come too emotionally attached or place your value in society in the success of this relationship. You seem unusually vulnerable or perhaps it's the way you've framed your past. Take it easy but also take more direction in the relationship. If you aren't already start treating her like a lady and taking control of the dates, surprise her every now and then. I'd say this to any woman either if she was the one posting on the forum. It goes both ways.
                            Last edited by Rose Mosse; March 4th, 2019, 06:40 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dazed & Confused View Post
                              It honestly sounds like you have nothing to worry about. You're doing good, and you seem pretty well matched. Best of luck
                              Thanks! Yea, the only stuff I have to worry about is internal stuff - my own anxiety, insecurity, and hijacked thoughts.

                              Originally posted by chanelle View Post
                              am529 Sounds like you're on the right track then. Even though it is difficult for you to do, continue doing what you're doing because things are looking up for you. Enjoy and appreciate the current lady in your life without looking at the past or future. Just enjoy now and be grateful for it.

                              I understand you are immersed into yourself because most people are. What I hope will help you is to have healthy distractions such as helping those who are less fortunate than you are. Many times, it helps to divert your focus away from you all the time and help the less fortunate such as volunteering to help with charities, community assistance, belonging to groups who feel the same way, working at a food bank, spending time with the elderly at nursing homes, feeding the homeless, perhaps joining a church and serving in ministries, etc. You'll step outside yourself and help those who aren't as fortunate as you are. Since you're a social creature and cherish social relationships, you have a lot to offer despite your not knowing it. It's a good way to meet others who are in similar mindsets. Broaden your horizons.
                              I actually need to get back into this stuff. About 10 years ago (a tad bit more, I think) I had probably the worst bout of anxiety I had ever experienced in my life. I had moved across the country from my home to a new place where I didn't really have much of anything or anyone, it was my first set of holidays on my own, and my current life situation was pretty bad - working 2 dead end jobs, still not making enough to afford rent and having to constantly borrow hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month from my parents just to make it. I didn't realize exactly what it was at the time, but essentially I felt like a failure who had no purpose in my life. I was having full blown panic attacks, was struggling to function throughout the day, it was a very low point for me. One of the lowest in my life. Not only was this experience the catalyst for me to pull my shit together and find some meaning for my life (the back end of this window was when I decided to go back to school and enrolled in college, and ultimately found my passion and my path in life), but I also started getting involved in various community service type activities as well. I've kind of fallen off of that a bit the last couple years, as I've really been focused on building my own career, living stability, and personal relationships, but it's been on my mind.

                              Originally posted by Rose Mosse View Post
                              Good job. I'm happy for both of you. She sounds like a lovely girl. Try and work on some more lighthearted outtings and have fun too.
                              I'd caution attaching any self-value or self-worth to this relationship this early on. Don't be come too emotionally attached or place your value in society in the success of this relationship. You seem unusually vulnerable or perhaps it's the way you've framed your past. Take it easy but also take more direction in the relationship. If you aren't already start treating her like a lady and taking control of the dates, surprise her every now and then. I'd say this to any woman either if she was the one posting on the forum. It goes both ways.
                              Yes, to all of this.

                              I do typically take control of the dates and the planning and such (though she has taken a bit of initiative herself, particularly with our most recent date), and I am trying to make a conscious effort to make them a bit more... fun. Our second date, I made plans for us to go to a painting place where we had a free choice paint activity, since she's really big into art. Our next date after that was to the Museum of Ice Cream up in the big city, where we spent the whole day together in the city, and had some nice, lighthearted fun at the museum, a lot of driving and exploring, and a nice dinner. So yea, definitely making a conscious effort to be doing light hearted, fun things together that won't have us focusing so much on whatever depressions we are dealing with.

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