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Author Topic: Somebody to love
Eduardo St. Elmo
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LS
this is a topic that most of you are probably more experienced with than I am, so I'll welcome any useful tips you're willing to share.

I hope this doesn't become too confusing, So I'll start of writing in short sentences.

I have been in love three times in my life. So far the objects of my affections have all been of the female persuasion.
Yet I've never even kissed a girl.

The first serious crush I had, was when I was in the first grade of secondary school (aged 13). There was this girl in my class that attracted my attention. But it took me several months to work up the courage to let her know. And even then, I (probably) chose a rather poor method of doing so.

Scene: Hallway in school on a friday afternoon after the final bell has rung.
In my hand I hold a piece paper, on which is written a short poem. I chose to tell Sina (as was her name) about my feelings for her in this way, because somehow I tend to express myself better in writing. The poem was in English.
Having just spent the final hour (Biology) in trying to find a casual way to hand her my note, I find that I'm still clutching it. As I speed up my pace, I slowly overtake Sina and two of her girlfriends as they walk down the corridor towards the lockers and cloakroom. In passing them I quickly place my note on top of the books she is carrying and hurry on. (My plan? was to hurry home and then have a whole weekend to mentally prepare for her answer) But on my way out of the schoolgrounds, I find my way blocked by the two girls that were with Sina before. After having read the message, they had hurried to catch me. With all of my escape routes blocked, I was told to wait. So I got my reply then and there, and I have to say she let me down gently.


The second time I fell in love was in college. And again, it didn't work out. But this time, there was a distinctive reason.

For several of the classes I had to take we were devided into groups. This was the same group of people that I had met in the first week, when some of the older students showed us all the places of importance.
In this group I made two new friends, both of the male gender. We mostly talked about music, which I think is a safe subject to start off with. One of the two (Julian) quickly became a real close friend, though I'll leave that story for another time.
The girl that captured my interest this time, was one of those ever-cheerful types. But the thing I liked most about her was her ability to join in on our bull sessions, which she did on a couple occasions.
Once more I wrote down my feelings on paper and handed it to her. But because by then I had found out that she already had a boyfriend, I decided it would be best, if she didn't know.
So my declaration of love was disguised (I printed it in Angerthas runes), but I felt better for having done so. My feelings for her didn't abate very quickly though, and luckily fate found a nice way to torture me for having them.
At the time I spent a fair amount of time in Julian's room. We used to share interest in music and movies and such. And we had debates about an incredible range of subjects. He was aware of my feelings for Vicky, because I was unable to hide it from anyone who knew me.
One afternoon, as I was seated on the cough in Julian's place, gazing out the window as he was engaged with something on the net, I saw Vicky walking by. Just seeing her made me feel glad. And of course my sudden lift in spirits was noticed by my friend, but it wouldn't last for long.
Because that afternoon I found out that Vicky's boyfriend lived in the apartment dirctly above Julian's. I spent to rest of the afternoon trying to ignore that fact, which was quite hard considering all the noise they made. [Grumble] Reality came crashing in with brute force. And from then on each time I entered my friends apartment, it was with mixed feelings.

--I'm going to cut this short for now, as I have to work for a bit, but I'll be checking in later this day to continue my narrative--

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MightyCow
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You seem pretty young, and obviously inexperienced with women. All guys go through this, so don't worry.

I'll share a couple tips, both as an older guy who has made some similar mistakes, and as a former dating coach. Take them as you will. I hope they'll help.

First off, poetry is great - Once you're dating the girl. You can't start out with poetry and declarations of your feelings. You don't really know the girl, how can you share your undying love for someone you haven't even kissed? You're jumping ahead.

Take it one step at a time. The first step is to ask the girl on a date. Even better, the zeroth step is to ask the girl for her phone number. She knows you want to ask her on a date. If she's interested, she'll give you her number. If she's not interested, she'll either say she doesn't give out her number, or she'll say something like, "OK, but this is just as friends." If so, find another girl you might like, and ask her.

Once you've got a phone number, you can ask her out to coffee, lunch, mini-golf, so you can actually get to know her. Maybe you'll decide you like her, and some time later you can write her poetry. [Wink]

Let me know when you get a girl's number, and I'll offer more advice, if you're interested. Good luck!

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KarlEd
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quote:
So far the objects of my affections have all been of the female persuasion.
Well there's your problem right there! [Wink]
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Farmgirl
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quote:
You don't really know the girl, how can you share your undying love for someone you haven't even kissed?
Whoa -- are you saying you have to kiss a girl before knowing if you are in love with her?

wrong!

(not that I'm arguing your larger point -- whether he knows them well enough to really call it "love" or simply "attraction")

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quidscribis
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Uh huh.

Farmgirl speaks truth. [Smile]

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Lissande
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The kissing once I knew I was in love approach worked for me. Though I have to agree with MC that poetry should definitely come after a few dates at the very least. I don't think I would have reacted well to getting a poem (or, sorry, runes) as a first expression of interest.
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Eduardo St. Elmo
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okay, so now I know not to start off by writing poetry. But let me stress that in the case of the runes, the girl in question didn't know that the runes meant anything besides a decorative border around the actual message.

I'll agree with you that in these first two cases what I felt might be better described by attraction than love. But in this third case, the situation is somewhat different.

Also, the incidences mentioned above weren't the only times I've had feelings for a girl. Its just that in most of the time, the feelings weren't strong enough to overcome the override in my head.

More explanations will follow.
CU later.

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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Now, what do I mean when I speak of this override? It's very simple; it's a deep seated feeling that I AM WRONG.
Obviously this isn't the whole extent of it, but that's basically it. This manifests itself in almost all the things in my life.

But I mustn't forget the original topic of this thread.

The third time I fell in love is harder to describe but I'll try anyway. Because I do not want to use her real name I'll refer to her as XJ-9.

I'm a college dropout. For the last four years I haven't done much. The small group of friends that I have are a remnant of the first year of college, but many of them are nearing their graduation (or have already gone), so pretty soon I'll be the only one left behind.
In this first year of college we had to form groups of ten to work on a project throughout the year. Of this group, four people became my friends. One of them shares my love for music, so there was an instant connection. He has been my best friend over these few years and I've spent many a night talking with him about everything and nothing. We'll call him Monty.
After the first year many of the ten we're gone (most of them actually changed to a different university). Monty also changed his path, he started studying Theoretical Physics. It was there that he met XJ-9 and this is how she was introduced into our group.
When I first met her, there was some kind of spark there, but as usual I ignored it (because of being so convinced that no girl would ever want me).
So let me try to describe XJ-9.
She's one of those girls who seem to skip through life. I not trying to imply that she never has any problems, it's just that when she enters a room she brings this energy with it. Mind you, I'm not the only one who says this about her. She's rather small, but that's never bothered me before. She's of Chinese parentage, which also isn't a problem, because she was born and raised over here and, frankly, she's as Dutch as one can be. She has a talent for dealing with people, never afraid to say the things that need to be said. And she gets away with nasty remarks, because of her smile. She's a very impulsive person, sometimes a bit too much. She acts more like one of the guys than any other girl I've ever met.
Anyway, on with the story... Over time XJ-9 got involved with Monty. They were together for nearly a year, but it ended rather badly. They're still friends, but it took her a while to get over the break-up (which wasn't handled very well IMHO).
It was about six months after the break-up when I had her over for dinner a couple of times, and we'd talk until three in the morning. She explicitly told me she didn't want to get involved with anyone inside the group anymore, because of the complications. She was speaking generally. At the time I agreed with her, and now I wish I hadn't.
She listened to my rants, as I unloaded the clutter that had been building up in my mind for years, and I do believe that she understood me most of the time.
Some time after that, I noticed that I was falling in love with her. I tried to fight the feeling, because of what she had said. It took me six months to finally decide that the feelings weren't going away (they had been growing stronger) and I should let her know.
Again, you'll probably say that I chose a stupid way to go about it but hey... I dropped an envelope in her mailbox containing appropriate song lyrics (at least I thought so). The plan was to continue doing so and increasing the rate over time, until I found words of my own, suitable for the situation. But on the night of the third drop, I stopped over at her neighbour (another mutual friend), who innocently told me that XJ-9 had just started seeing this new guy. My spirits fell, and I quickly made an exit.
I had already made an appointment with XJ-9 to have Christmas dinner together, when she showed up I owned up to my feelings for her (again, not very fluently, but at least I told her). She gave me that dreaded reply that she only wanted to be friends.
But by then the emotions had grown to such proportions, that they wouldn't go away easily. In the following months I had several more taks with her, but to no avail. One time I actually fell into a two hour rant about how incredibly bad I was. She just sat there and bravely listened to me. But when I saw a tear welling in the corner of her eye I felt even worse (and now I had a better defined reason).
At this time, the feelings have subsided to a point where I'm able to deal with them. But I'm certain that it'll be at least several more years before I'm entirely over her (if ever).

I was to meet her tonight, but she texted me that something had come up and we'd have to wait 'til tomorrow. Something to look forward to.

Why am I so in love with a girl that doesn't return the feelings and is apparently happy with another guy?
Now I might have been imagining things, but there were several instances when her eyes lingered slightly too long.

It has been said that I have little experience with women. I cannot deny it. But does this mean that I have no idea what love is? I don't think so.

So when is it real love? One description I like is this: "You know it's real love when you spend more time thinking about her than about yourself." (The source of the quote escapes me at this moment) Now this isn't hard to achieve, because I do not spend that much time thinking about me (at least not directly). But in fact she is the only person who continuously invades my thoughts.

Also, there was this one instance when an image flashed before my eyes. (We were married and there was at least one child, and we were lounging on a luxurious patio). I must stress that this isn't an image that I worked towards. I just saw it, kind of like an extremely short movie or even a single frame.

You may think I'm crazy, but if this is the case than I kind of like this type of insanity.

K.

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Amanecer
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quote:
So when is it real love? One description I like is this: "You know it's real love when you spend more time thinking about her than about yourself." (The source of the quote escapes me at this moment) Now this isn't hard to achieve, because I do not spend that much time thinking about me (at least not directly). But in fact she is the only person who continuously invades my thoughts.
That sounds a lot more like obsession than love. She's said she's not interested. It's time to spend less time with her and more time with other people.
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ClaudiaTherese
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Eduardo, I don't know if this will be helpful or relevant to your situation, but I never felt comfortable with being approached by a man in a "cute" or "novel" way (i.e., song lyrics, poetry, hand-drawn pictures, fresh baked goods, whatever). I have always only been comfortable with men who speak with me as just another person, face-to-face.

The more involved forms of communication were certainly fine (for me) once I was dating someone, but as initial forays, they set off my "ding! ding! guy is too emotionally invested in this and is unable to treat me like I am (that is, a regular person)!" bells.

The thing is, one has to be quite comfortable with oneself and secure in one's own sense of self-worth in order to interact with potential dates as regular people. That sort of confidence, though, is inordinately appealling. The lack of that sort of confidence makes me suspect that any relationship with this person would be complicated by emotional instability, unreal expectations (me on a pedestal), and the like.

It is sooo hard to "just be yourself," especially if you are feeling that your self isn't good enough. In that case, though, it might be better to spend time working on that rather than getting involved with another person -- since no matter how wonderful that other person is, he or she (and you!) will still be stuck with you. If you don't already feel good about yourself, that won't change anyway. In my experience, at least.

Good luck. I think writing about these things can be quite helpful in puzzling through them, and I look forward to reading more of that writing from you.

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TheGrimace
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Eduardo, this reminds me a great deal of my "romances" in highschool, but as has been said, this probably isn't 'love' per se. With this recent one at least you've had more of a chance to build some sort of relationship, and perhaps it is a sort of love (philial) combined with romantic infatuation. In this case I'd probably try to get out more, start dating other people and hopefully it will help you realize that while certainly she seems to be a great friend she's not necessarily the love of your life.

up through senior year of highschool I was "in love" with one of my best friends, I would give her love notes etc etc, but it was 99.9% unrequited. Despite the lack of reciprocation I remained convinced for years that she was the one for me, I would daydream about her and I together, married etc... but then I managed to get dragged out into other social scenes and ended up meeting a girl who genuinely liked me and who I genuinely liked, and we both came to love each other very dearly, moreso even than with my first infatuation.

Looking back on it all it was easy to see (at least in my case) that my first "love" was really more of a cop-out to avoid the terrors of the dating world. I genuinely did love her as a friend, and would I think have been happy for a while were we to date, but I definately wasn't "in love" with her as I thought I was. Even being her good friend I just didn't know her well enough to say that.

Trust me when I say that even if you know someone very well as a friend, even a close close confidant, you have to completely re-meet them on a romantic level.

As general advise: avoid dating close friends, you get too attached to them as friends and there becomes so much invested that were a dating relationship not to work out you're likely sacrificing a valuable friendship. Even if you part on good terms, things will be different from then on out. Also, it's much harder to differentiate your romantic feelings from your philial feelings. With a close friend who you confide in, it's easy for a smallish inkling of infatuation to quickly turn into a rather dangerous false feeling that you're in love.

Better to meet someone on neutral terms and find from there whether there is romantic interest, if not, then there is much better chance that you can salvage a friendship if desired (because not much is invested yet either way) or just let the relationship drop and not be out years of emotional investment.

Finally: notes are sweet, and poetry is great, but both are a great way to scare off a girl and/or convince her right off the bat that you have no confidence/social skills. If you like a girl, (like already suggested) try to get her number, and when it comes time to actually ask her out on a date date then be forthright about it. It's good to leave them an out by asking for their phone number and/or asking them to coffee or the like (a relatively neutral setting) so that if there's no interest on their part they can let you down easily, and possibly make it into a friends thing. However, there has to be a point where you are clear about your intentions, otherwise it's easy to agonize over subtle signals and the like, driving yourself crazy trying to figure if she likes you too.

That's a few cents of McDonald's-Bucks advice from TheGrimace =)

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Finally: notes are sweet, and poetry is great, but both are a great way to scare off a girl and/or convince her right off the bat that you have no confidence/social skills.
Exactly.

I think what the song lyrics and such said to me was that this guy was more interested in communicating with himself (with viewing himself as a Romantic, as Someone With Deeply Passionate and Undying Feelings) than in communicating with me. And that was both oddly insulting and kind of scary.

I don't know if your culture is different, or even with how many other women in my culture would agree with me. I do know, however, that I have seen a lot of young men who believe that if they feel strongly enough about someone else, it should be enough. Sometimes it isn't -- in fact, sometimes uninhibited expression of those strong feelings (although themselves natural and understandable) will be what turns off potential mates.

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Launchywiggin
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quote:
You may think I'm crazy, but if this is the case than I kind of like this type of insanity.
ummm...honestly...you like torture?

Every minute you spend daydreaming about this girl is a minute of your life you'll never get back. She's got a boyfriend. She already put you in the "friend zone", and it is nearly impossible to get out of there. As a matter of fact, the only way you have a chance with this girl is to completely move on and reinvent yourself to her. You're probably a very contemplative guy, and I'd say you stop thinking so much and start DOING more.

For the record, I'm going through something very similar with a girl I've known 6 years. Life's just too short.

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TheGrimace
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btw, Farmgirl, I don't think we're necessarily saying you can't love someone without kissing them. What I'm saying at least is that you can't really say that you're in love with someone until you've at least been dating them a while (no physical intimacy is necessarily required). Though perhaps a good friendship can evolve into romantic love without actually "dating" I find it more suspect, and at least the first 2 examples seemed to be much more the realm of infatuation rather than love (less because of the lack of kissing and more because of the lack of really knowing the girls.
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Farmgirl
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quote:
much more the realm of infatuation rather than love (less because of the lack of kissing and more because of the lack of really knowing the girls.
agreed.

I just jumped on the one sentence because it did feel very out of context with all else that was said in that post.

FG

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erosomniac
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quote:
Sometimes it isn't -- in fact, sometimes uninhibited expression of those strong feelings (although themselves natural and understandable) will be what turns off potential mates.
Yes, except replace "sometimes" with "almost always."

Never forget that John Cusack spent a lot of time with Ione Skye before standing under her window with a boombox.

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ginette
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Real love?
The nicest thing a man ever said to me was when I had to say goodbye to him and then he looked at me with those loving eyes, he stroked my hair very tenderly and he said: 'When you are happy, I am happy'.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by ginette:
Real love?
The nicest thing a man ever said to me was when I had to say goodbye to him and then he looked at me with those loving eyes, he stroked my hair very tenderly and he said: 'When you are happy, I am happy'.

Heinlein: "Love" is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
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Earendil18
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quote:
Originally posted by erosomniac:
quote:
Originally posted by ginette:
Real love?
The nicest thing a man ever said to me was when I had to say goodbye to him and then he looked at me with those loving eyes, he stroked my hair very tenderly and he said: 'When you are happy, I am happy'.

Heinlein: "Love" is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
What great quotes! I've always wondered how I would know I was truly in love with someone.
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MightyCow
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Other people have responded, but just to clarify, you don't have to kiss someone to love them. My point was more that if you don't know your date well enough to kiss her, they you don't know your date well enough to give her a love poem either.

To really love someone, you have to know them well. You can be very attracted to someone without knowing them. I would say that in order to really love someone, in a way that is true to yourself, you have to know the good and bad about them. It's easy to mistake infatuation with love.

It's also important to know that you can't make someone else love you. If someone doesn't want to date you, explaining how much you care for them isn't going to change their mind. Sometimes you have to be just friends with very attractive people.

Here's the real trick to dating: Find someone who you like a lot, and who also likes you a lot. Get to know each other, and if you still both like each other a lot, and want to do naughty things together, you're dating.

If any of those conditions are not met: you're not attracted to her, she's not attracted to you, you don't know each other, one of the two of you doesn't want to do naughty things... then you need to find someone else where all the conditions are met.

It's more complicated than that, but that's a good basic rule set. Don't try to date people who aren't interested in you, no matter how attracted to them you are.

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TheGrimace
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btw, being friends with very attractive people (while potentially frustrating) is also good, because they tend to hang around with more of the same, so you get to meet more potentials
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Eduardo St. Elmo
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I can understand the fact that my overtures (the poems and such) could be taken as stating that I have trouble keeping in touch with reality and therefor have an effect opposite to the one desired. I'll refrain from doing so in the future.

Regarding the Heinlein quote, because I want her to be happy I've toned down my efforts to tell her how I feel. I'd rather she be happy with someone else, than being stuck in a unequal relationship with a guy who's not entirely there.

Soon the problem will be far easier to deal with, as she's going to spend six months abroad. If I understand her plans correctly, she will be spending the vast majority of the next two years far away from here. I guess that should give me enough time to get over her.

Do I really love her? I still think so. But I can bear to live without her.

As to dating other women, I don't think that's going to work out for me. I takes me an inordinate amount of time to decide whether someone appeals to my tastes, and considering my past record the next time I fall in love might very well be with a married woman.

For a very long time I have been living in a dreamworld. As a result of this, some people might say that I've lost touch with reality. It is, however, reality that I have been running and hiding from all these years, and not being able to recognize it would be quite annoying, as one might find themselves in the real world without wanting to be there.
In my present state I like to equate XJ-9 to Kahlan Amnell, where I would be Richard. (my apologies for the sappy reference.) If I complete this task that is on my path she might yet change her mind, but then the situation would probably be more like Pucca and Garu.
Basically, I've slowly come to realise that this whole scenario is something of a catch-22. Which really, really bites... and doesn't give much incentive to move along.

"My bed is so empty and my heart is grown cold,
guess I'll just die before I grow old.
The place is untidy, that's `cos I ain't done my dirt,
I just grown tired of thinking.
Got tired of crying, guess I'll move on alone."

Being alone is something I can deal with, just so long as I don't get lonely.

But then again, anything can still happen, and perhaps we will reach some kind of understanding tonight, a situation we can both be happy with.

I'll let you know.

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Lissande
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I very strongly agree with ClaudiaTherese's posts in this thread.

Though some of the guys have some good advice, too, Eduardo - I hope you can put it into practice eventually! Good luck. [Smile]

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Celaeno
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Lissande, I was just about to say the same thing. ClaudiaTherese has been spot on.


Eduardo, I completely understand what you mean when you say you're picky. I'm an incredibly picky person myself. That doesn't mean you can't date people. See, the thing about dating is that you don't need to be violently in love with someone to start--most people aren't.

I'm not saying that it should be a frivolous affair; I'm merely saying that it doesn't need to mean everything. When you find yourself kind of attracted to someone, ask her out to coffee. Get to know her. Then you'll have a better idea. You can't just expect to fall in love out of nowhere.

As a bonus to this method, once you start hanging out with women in a slightly-more-than-friends mode, you'll get more comfortable around them. You'll be more confident. Confidence is the single most attractive feature anyone can have (and the one other people notice first).

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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Yes I know:
"Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeer of what is known as Parklife"

Unfortunately is hard for me to even
"Imagine accepting the truth."

And it's not as if I have to have a partner to lead a fulfilling life. I'd much rather be alone than have to make do with someone who cannot keep up with me (or vice versa).

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Celaeno
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Agreed, but I don't see any reason for you to resign yourself to being alone.

I hope you didn't take what I said earlier the wrong way. The last thing I meant was to say was that you should make getting a girlfriend your sole priority (or a priority at all for that matter). But at the same time, feeling lonely isn't conducive to happiness either.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by erosomniac:
quote:
Sometimes it isn't -- in fact, sometimes uninhibited expression of those strong feelings (although themselves natural and understandable) will be what turns off potential mates.
Yes, except replace "sometimes" with "almost always."

Never forget that John Cusack spent a lot of time with Ione Skye before standing under her window with a boombox.

One of the greatest and truest quotes I've ever heard, though I forget who said it, is:

"Is there anything that attracts a woman more than a guy who's not interested?"

I think it just helps underlining what everyone else is saying.

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ClaudiaTherese
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I'd hazard that it's not so much that he "is not interested" but that he "is not interested." That is, not that a person is actively dissing one, but that the person isn't smashing one flat under the weight of his or her anxiety-ridden expectations.

There's room in the middle, too. [Smile]

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Amanecer
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quote:
One of the greatest and truest quotes I've ever heard, though I forget who said it, is:

"Is there anything that attracts a woman more than a guy who's not interested?"

I'm probably just repeating what ClaudiaTherese said, but I think this is false. In fact, one of the most attractive things about another person can be their interest in you. Where it gets tricky is when you confuse interest with undying love/ obsession. In my experience, when guys have told me they thought about me constantly and seemed to really desperately want to date me, it's been a total turn off. When a guy has said he's interested but seems as though he'd be cool with everything if nothing ever happened, it's a large turn on. The difference lies in the desperation or absence thereof.
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ClaudiaTherese
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That's how it was for me, too, Amanecer, back when I was available.

Good eye contact, an interested smile, low pressure but definitely not oblivious. Someone who had something to share, who was interested in what I had to share, but who wasn't going to make my and/or his own life miserable if things didn't turn out romantically between us.

Totally hawt. [Smile]

Admittedly, so much easier said than done! It takes quite a bit of self-confidence to rely on oneself unadorned.

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ginette
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quote:
I would say that in order to really love someone, in a way that is true to yourself, you have to know the good and bad about them.
Do you all agree with this? I have been thinking this over, but to me it seems love is an irrational feeling? My life would be much easier if I'd just stop loving someone as soon as I am fed up with their behaviour and their actions.
Why do we keep on loving our parents or our children even if they do us terribly wrong? Why do we keep on loving a partner that has this whole long list of annoying behaviour we don't like at all or who is for example some very selfish person? Why do we forgive and forgive our loved ones, always hoping it will get better some day, always hoping things might change? Isn't it more like that when you really love someone, you want to support the good and to suppress the bad in them, in a way that contributes to their well-being and happiness? And then the next thing is, it works out well or it doesn't. Maybe the combination isn't working well and you get the worst out of each other instead of the best.
What do you think?

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Icarus
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I agree with everyone who agrees with ClaudiaTherese. [Smile]

quote:
As general advise: avoid dating close friends, you get too attached to them as friends and there becomes so much invested that were a dating relationship not to work out you're likely sacrificing a valuable friendship. Even if you part on good terms, things will be different from then on out. Also, it's much harder to differentiate your romantic feelings from your philial feelings. With a close friend who you confide in, it's easy for a smallish inkling of infatuation to quickly turn into a rather dangerous false feeling that you're in love.
I vehemently disagree.

quote:
In my present state I like to equate XJ-9 to Kahlan Amnell, where I would be Richard. (my apologies for the sappy reference.)
Well, there's your problem. You read crappy books, and they are coloring your view of romance. [Razz]
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Amanecer
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quote:
Do you all agree with this? I have been thinking this over, but to me it seems love is an irrational feeling? My life would be much easier if I'd just stop loving someone as soon as I am fed up with their behaviour and their actions.
I agree with the statement about knowing the good and the bad about somebody in order to truly love them. I also don't think that love is irrational. Life might be easier if you stopped loving somebody when you get fed up, but I doubt it would be more rewarding. I think the word love can mean so many things that it's almost hard to use in this case to clarify what you mean. I think the type of love you're referring to relates to an emotional bond that is formed. I think those bonds are the biggest part of what makes life worth living. It's no suprise that they're hard to let go of or that we're willing to endure great pain in order to keep them.

I think if you don't see the good and the bad about a person, then what you see probably doesn't resemble them very much. Any bond you form, you're forming with an imaginary person. You might love (have an emotional bond with) that imaginary person, but I don't think you love the actual person.

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TheGrimace
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ginette, I think it's less that you can't love someone until then, and more that you can't know that it's really love until then. It's only when you've seen all the annoying/bad stuff and still want to be with them that you can really say that it's love.

It's basically the testing that proves what you're feeling is what you think you're feeling. Consider a car that's never been tested once assembled. it MAY work just fine, in fact there's potentially a good chance, but you don't know until someone's put in the key and started her up. Prior to that you may think it's a great buy even though it has no engine or whathaveyou.

Icarus, what about my advise on dating friends do you disagree with? I'm not saying it's impossible to do, and I'm even still reasonably close friends with a couple exes that were very much part of my friend's circles. However, from my experience it is much easier with a close friend to blow your feelings out of proportion because you're mixing up that friendship passion with romantic passion; and once you've dated someone at least somewhat seriously then it's hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Even if you still get along there is always going to be the looming knowledge that at least one of you may still have romantic feelings and/or memories of whatever intimacies you shared.

Of course there are many reasons TO date people who are already friends, because you already know them, you know you enjoy their company and have things in common, so if things work well they are likely to go better than with a complete stranger, I'm just advising that it's also a dangerous proposition.

I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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ginette
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quote:
I think those bonds are the biggest part of what makes life worth living. It's no suprise that they're hard to let go of or that we're willing to endure great pain in order to keep them.
quote:
It's only when you've seen all the annoying/bad stuff and still want to be with them that you can really say that it's love.

Does this mean that when I am in pain (about the bad stuff) but at the same time my love is undiminished, this is a sign it's true love? Wow [Smile] that makes me happy.
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Icarus
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*shrug* Everybody I've ever dated was a friend first. I've been married to my best friend for ten years this Wednesday.
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Eduardo_Sauron
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I'll marry my best friend in 14 days, you know...
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MightyCow
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You have to know the good and bad about a person to know if you really love them, but that doesn't mean you can't expect their best, or that you have to put up with abuse from someone you love.

The point I was trying to get across is that if you don't know someone, you can't truly say that you love them, in the same way that couple who has been together for a long time love each other. You can be attracted to someone in a short period, you can be fascinated with them, you can be infatuated, horny, interested, etc.

That may turn into true love, but I think it's a common mistake that people make to be attracted to someone, and decide that they're in love with them.

You can't love someone you don't know, you can only love your impression of who they are. That's not the real person, it's a fantasy.

That is the kind of thinking that leads to putting someone on a pedestal. Nobody really wants that, because nobody can live up to the expectation, and nobody who wants a real relationship wants to be worshiped. They want to be loved and appreciated for who they are, not gazed at longingly from afar.

Any time you think you are in love with someone you don't know well, realize that it's infatuation, and work on getting to know them better. You have to grow to love someone, because of they way they make you feel, the way you interact with them, the person they truly are. Loving the idea of someone doesn't do any good for either of you.

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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Well, you all make interesting points. But I'm still in the dark whether it's wise to date friends or not. Last Friday I met with XJ-9, and it didn't go all that bad. Some things were said that needed to be said, and I have a better idea of what to do next.

Now, it's true that I may come across as someone who is (slightly) out of touch with reality. Or to put it in CT's words I do tend to view myself as a Romantic, as Someone With Deeply Passionate and Undying Feelings. And for the life of me, I can't see what's so wrong with that. My identification with Romanticism started in high school, when I noticed that I was attracted to the escapism that was so prevalent in the poetry and literature of that time.
As for the 'Undying Feelings' part, let's just say that I still feel warmly towards all the girls that captured my interest at one time. Of course the feelings have diminished, but they're still there.

Icarus: I fully expected to get at least one remark on the choice of my reference. Let's just say that I do like The Sword of Truth-series and think it has some valuable points to offer. But along the main lines it's about perseverance and knowing that life consists of a continuing line-up of problems, which are by no means insurmountable if you just keep looking for a solution.

On the query "What is love?"
I must honestly admit that I can no better define love than most people out there. I'll agree with Amanecer when he calls love an emotional bond. But I'd like to substitute the word bond for connection. Love does take many forms; you can love your parents, your siblings, your friends, your mailman. The quality and attributes of the love you feel may be different in all these instances, but that's because your relation (or connection) to the person(s) in question is different.
Then we have to take into account the fact that love isn't only possible between living beings. You can love a certain type of food, a specific artist (or piece of art), or even a certain brand. No matter what you love, it's because of a connection.
To better understand this thing called love, I've always thought it prudent to try and define the connections to the things and persons that have my affection.

Let's try and clear this up with an example.
One of my all-time favourite musical bands is Uriah Heep. 1 reason for this is that they fall into my preferred musical genre. Another big reason is that (at least in their earlier work) their lyrics are full of fantastical jargon (you know, demons and wizards). Since I was already a fan of this particular genre of books, it makes sense that similar language would attract my attention.

Anyway, in this example there were two major connections to be found. In my experience the feeling of love grows stronger if there are more connections.

One of the other main issues that keeps showing in many posts is that I might not know this girl as well as I think I do. I might just be infatuated with my view of her. I'll admit to that possibility. But you have to realise that I did have four years to observe her and get to know her. Admittedly, the total amount of time I spent with her might not add up to more than two or three months, but still, I do not think that my feelings for XJ-9 are based totally on illusions.

That said, soon the problem will be much less acute, as she will be leaving the country come February. I'm counting on the fact that the increased distance will somehow dilute my feelings for her.

We'll see...

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MightyCow
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The best way to get over one person is to find someone else. If this XJ-9 Cyborg of Love [Wink] isn't returning your feelings, go find yourself a woman who does.

The KEY to a successful relationship is that both people have the same level of feelings for one another. If you are really into a girl, and she only sees you as a friend, don't bother trying to take the relationship further. You can only go as far as both people want to go.

So with this in mind, the key to having a girlfriend is to find a girl who WANTS to be your girlfriend.

That's why it's so much better to ask girls on dates, rather than date friends. With friends, you already have a level of intimacy going, so it can be difficult to decide if she's laughing at your jokes because you know each other so well, or because she finds you crazy sexy.

With a girl you don't know well, who you have asked on a date, it is much easier to judge how things are going. She knows it's a date, so if she's starting to like you, she'll show it. If it isn't going so hot for her, you'll have a much clearer picture, because she won't have to worry about messing up your friendship by letting you know she's not into you.

I would say, only date friends if you KNOW that she really wants to date you. If you can't say to her, "Hey, would you like to go on a date with me?" and have her say, "Yes! It's about time you asked, you idiot!" then stick with asking out girls you want to get to know better.

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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Haha... Cyborg of Love... I like that. [Big Grin]

But there's just one thing. I haven't been dating girls in any way. I have been hiding myself in my room for most of the time, because I felt it would be better for the people outside not to have to share their living space with a creature such as me. In spite of this, I fell in love with XJ-9. I really felt that she could take away this negative self-image. But if she can't (or won't), I'll have to do that myself before going on any date can become a feasible reality.

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MightyCow
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First off, you're not a creature, or some horrible beast of a person. I don't even know you, and I can tell by your posts that you're intelligent, thoughtful, and well meaning. You have to stop think of yourself in negative terms. If that means getting some counseling, give it a try. If not, just make an effort to see the good in yourself, and not focus on any bad.

Second, nobody can change you or fix your problems except you. Just like you cannot fix anyone else's problems. You have to look inside yourself for change, not expect someone else to change you.

Besides, it isn't fair to try to date someone with the expectation that they will repair you. They're not your therapist. Nobody wants to take on the responsibility of fixing someone who thinks he's defective. Any dating relationship grounded in one person expecting to be redeemed or fixed is doomed to failure, even if it does get off the ground.

You seem down on yourself. My best recommendation would be to work on that first. Start getting out of the room. Spend time with friends. Make new friends.

Do activities you enjoy, or find new activities and try them out to see what you like and learn new things. Pretty soon you'll be having lots of fun, meeting new people, and hopefully enjoying yourself and not feeling bad about who you are.

Someone who is happy and having fun doing something they enjoy is very attractive to everyone. Go have a good time, feel better about yourself, and you'll meet plenty of women who like you for who you are.

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stihl1
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Dude, you need counseling. You obviously have some issues to get over, I'm not quite sure what it is exactly that makes you have so much self loathing, but until you get past that everything else is a moot point. Not trying to be rude, but when you say things like "I don't want to subject the rest of the world to a creature such as me" it's a pretty big red flag. No girl is going to like you if you don't like yourself to begin with. And no girl is going to solve all your problems for you either. All that stuff has to be taken care of first. Whether or not you burned down a city block or whatever this major issue was in your past, you need some help getting past it. Because frankly, right now you're not living in reality and that's not good no matter how you try to excuse it.

And I also want to point something else out, because for some reason between this thread and other outside sources I've heard this a lot this weekend. People need people. This bs about being able to go through life being alone is okay with you is just that, bs. It's a convenient excuse to not have to deal with the scary proposition of having to get to know people, dating, whatever. Yeah, that kind of stuff is scary and a lot of hard work, but it's necessary. You can't go through life alone, without at least human companionship. Even priests have friends and other people they are intimate with, without the sex part. People need other people, and it's not natural to cut yourself off from love and intimacy. The fact that it is so scary and hard makes it worth it.

I was listening to some guy on the radio this weekend talk about how he's not really a human, but a horse in a man's body. That he's 50+ years old, didn't have a wife or family or even a girlfriend because all his life he's identified with horses and not people. So he's been alone for his 50+ years pretending he's a horse, waiting to die so he can be reincarnated and become a horse again so he can be with his own kind. Now that is some major mind f'ing, all to come up with an excuse not to get close to a woman. No offense, Elmo, but you need to get help before you end up being 50 years old making up stories as to why you don't need women or intimacy. Trust me, it's much better to figure things out and get over this hump and get yourself a woman that will care about you and be a companion for life.

I never got to any of those extremes, but I did swear off women for a while in my angry, rocky 20s when things were so out of control for me. Every girl I was interested in I ended up nitpicking and coming up with reasons why I couldn't date her. In reality, it was a way to distance myself from opening up to another person and allow them to get close to me, which was a pretty scary proposition. I was convinced I could go through life alone, that loneliness was a feeling I could deal with, that it was easier than putting myself on the line to get close to another person. In the end, I did open up, and it turned out to be the most opposite person from me, someone I never thought I would even talk to let alone date or fall in love with. It was a great thing for me, changed my life, and made me happier than I ever thought, washed away a lot of anger and bad feelings. I'm in a way better place, and I thank GOD I'm not on the radio making up stories about how I'm really a horse and that I have no interest in being close to a woman because I find mares more attractive.

Think about it.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But if she can't (or won't), I'll have to do that myself before going on any date can become a feasible reality.
This is true regardless of her feelings towards you.
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Evie3217
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I agree with what almost everyone on here has said. I'm not a dating expert, but I know that girls like a guy with self-confidence. And you don't have that right now. You need to get help to work on this problem, because if you don't like yourself, how can you expect someone else to like you? I know this because I have the same problem. I have very low self-confidence, but I try not to let anyone but my closest friends see it, because it's not attractive. You need to like yourself first.

And dating people is always a good step. You can just go up to a girl you find relatively attractive and ask for her number. If she says yes, then it makes you feel great because she's at least interested enough to go out with you, and if she doesn't, then it's not a horrible blow to your romantic side. There's nothing to lose, because the rejection won't matter. What's there to lose by asking someone for their number?

Don't be too hard on yourself. I know that's hard to do, but you seem like a very intelligent and thoughtful person. Everyone is taking your thoughts and emotions seriously, which means that we think your opinions have merit. So don't be afraid to put yourself out there. What's the worst that could happen?

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Eduardo St. Elmo:
Now, it's true that I may come across as someone who is (slightly) out of touch with reality. Or to put it in CT's words I do tend to view myself as a Romantic, as Someone With Deeply Passionate and Undying Feelings. And for the life of me, I can't see what's so wrong with that.

It's not inherently bad at all. It may mean that you are more focused on yourself in trying to start a relationship than you are on the other person, and that can be quite off-putting to the other person.

To quote (forgive me) Dr. Phil: "And how's that working for you?" If it isn't working for you, then you can certainly continue doing it and not be a bad person. Just more likely an alone one. [And that may be okay, actually, if that is what you need right now. I'd agree with the post above that we need other people around, but not necessarily ones we are romantically involved with at the time.]

quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
Besides, it isn't fair to try to date someone with the expectation that they will repair you. They're not your therapist.


Exactly.

Sometimes presenting oneself as unlovable and yet asking for love at the same time is a mixed-up way of denying either. The harder thing (and likely more accurate self-assessment) would be to say that one is and has screwed up, like a lot of other people, to a greater or lesser extent. And that one hopes to nurture the good and healthy parts inside onseelf in order to be a good partner when someone that will love you back comes along.

But that isn't A Grand, Epic, Movie of the Week Tragedy. It's just boring old tiresome getting-through-the-day as-a-flawed-human-being stuff. It also means the focus is not on you, which may not be satisfying at all right now. (And that wouldn't make you a bad person -- just one that was more focused on yourself than on others right now, which is both appropriate and necessary at various times in people's lives.)

But other people aren't likely to want to be some backdrop against which you play out a Grand Romantic/Tragic Vision. If they themselves are healthy psychologically, they'd probably prefer getting-through-the-day with-another-flawed-human-being, one who makes them laugh sometimes, sometimes cry, but who is struggling to treat himself and his partner in a way that is respectful of all persons involved. Not someone who is merely staring into a mirror as the play he wrote unfolds, you know?

[ January 08, 2007, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Eduardo St. Elmo
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stihl1: I never said that I intended to be completely alone. I do have a couple of friends at this point and I hope that this will continue to be the case. But whether I will find a suitable woman to spend the rest of my life with is a whole other question. I agree that we do need people around, but not everybody has those needs to the same degree.

About my belief that XJ-9 could somehow save me:
Yes, I know that this is not a good starting point for any relationship. I never told her that this was my view of the situation, because I knew that was rather unlikely to get a positive response.
It was mentioned that I might be using these images to refrain from having to interact and get close to people. While that is true to some degree, I don't think writing these threads can be considered as part of such a behavioral pattern. So this is a first step towards improvement.
In fact, in my discussions with XJ-9 I've let my guard down to an extent that I've never reached before. In a sense, I feel completely naked whenever I'm alone with her. Because it has become nearly impossible to hide behind any smoke and mirrors. All I really want from her, is that she lays her hand on my shoulder and tells me that I'm basically right. Because for some reason her opinion means more to me than that of any other person.

Also, I'm not trying to be Mr. Perfect (or the Urban Spaceman, if you will). I know I'll have my flaws even when this major problem is gone from my life.
My references to fictional heroes do not mean that I need to view myself as the all-powerful immaculate hero. In fact, I've yet to stumble upon any story in which the hero is portrayed as such. It's more that through identifying myself with a variaty of fictional characters, I've gained a better understanding of myself and humanity in general.
Unfortunately I've come to the conclusion that on the whole, my lifestyle and demeanour rather resemble that of Sherlock Holmes. If you are familiar with the character you might see how this could lead to problems in the romantic department.

So in short: I do not need to be the hero of the story, but I'd like to be a civilian that lends the hero a helping hand when it is needed.

...someone who is merely staring into a mirror as the play he wrote unfolds...
Interesting take. I've always liked the metaphor of life as a play.

"Well, do you ever get the feeling
that the story's to damn real and
in the present tense?
Or that everybody's on the stage
and it seems like you're the only
person sitting in the audience..."

{copyright in these lyrics 1974 Ian Anderson}

I'm busy trying to write my own part, so that I can join in the play.

Thanks for all the advice, it will not go unheeded as I keep working towards a solution.

[ January 09, 2007, 04:14 AM: Message edited by: Eduardo St. Elmo ]

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ClaudiaTherese
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[Smile]

Life is a long, long journey.

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Squish
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Eduardo,
I hope everything pans out for you. I was just wondering if you have someone there (a friend) that you can talk to about all of this. Sometimes (I know it has for me) it helps to have someone to talk to that knows all of the people involved, esp. yourself. They might be able to look at the situation and understand what you are trying to do/accomplish and help. My best friends are able to sit me down and tell me face-to-face 'what are you doing?' when it comes to relationships and whatnot. I know a few guy friends who confide in each other about what they may or may not be doing wrong and give each other the confidence they need to be able to approach a girl. Just what popped into my head. Good luck. =)

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Shanna
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My ultimate love philosophy:

How can you expect someone else to love you when you don't love yourself?

All this "creature" style of talking about yourself makes me think that's not the case.

I went through a bout of depression awhile back. But I got some therapy, started working out, started taking pride in myself, and acknowleged my personal worth. I was completely content to spend my school year growing as an individual and enjoying who I was. That first week I met the man that I've been currently dating for over a year. Without that new confidence we would have never gone on our first date.

And if you're not 100% confident now, I've always liked that phrase "Fake it til you make it."

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