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Haleth's avatar

Can I have some advice about my love life?

Asked by Haleth (17504 points ) 4 weeks ago

For most of ages 15–25, I was in relationships. In the last one things went wrong slowly, like the frog in the boiling water. Brian wanted me to spend all my (limited) free time with him. He wanted me to quit my job, move in with him, and work part time while going to college. I wanted to start a career with wine. We kept getting into fights about it, he wouldn’t back down, and that’s when I finally ended it.

Andy was one of our vendors; he knew me when I was just a cashier. I became a buyer/ manager, and after that we worked together often. (I’m 26, he’s 42.)

Andy is… different. He’s rather awkward and nerdy, and his fashion sense is like this.) He’s tried online dating for years; it never works out. He dresses up for renaissance faire, and lost years of his life to World of Warcraft, is what I’m saying. I kind of… suspect… that he might be a virgin.

He also has a goofy sense of humor, and a hidden thoughtful side. Our conversations became ironic banter filled with elaborate running jokes. Sometimes circumstances brought us together outside work. Then we ended up talking for hours, long after everyone else went home.

Once a party lasted until 2 or 3 AM. We talked all night and went down to the river to watch the sun rise. It was one of those meandering conversations about everything- books and music, old family secrets nerdy stuff, our worldviews, and our hopes and dreams. He wants to meet someone smart and interesting and have a family someday. In the morning he gave me a hug and we went home.

My breakup was a year ago, and Andy was assigned to a new sales route. I waited two months, gathered my courage, and asked him out in an e-mail. It took him a month to answer (why???). He said that he believes in me, and thinks I’m going to have an amazing career. But he’s “not ready yet, and maybe I never will be, but I hope not.”

Since then, I’ve stayed single on purpose. I want to work on my life for a while. In a question below I asked about depression; I need to figure out how to be happy. In the last year I’ve made some big strides, like getting in touch with old friends, getting in better shape, improving my finances, and getting a car. For the first time, things are pretty much ok. I’m not struggling financially anymore, and I’m starting to have a fun and active social life.

But I’m still- heartbroken? I might stay single for a very long time.

I’m afraid of dating again. What if it’s another Brian? He slowly took over my life, and the more that happened, the less I was attracted to him. He made me feel like I “owed” him sex because we were in a relationship, and I consented to sex that I didn’t want, many times. It’s amazing that it took me so long to leave.

In a lifetime you meet a handful of kindred spirits, and I think Andy was one. People say I’m a space cadet, or I’m out in the ether, but I’m just thinking. For once, someone was out there with me. If I date again, I want that same kind of connection, and it’s so rare.

For now, I’ll just keep on keeping on, I guess. It seems like it will be a while before I really feel better and my life is in a better place. Honestly I thought a year would be enough time, but it’s like I’m just getting started. Have you ever purposely been single for a long time? Am I on the right track?

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12 Answers

hearkat's avatar

You’ve reflected and learned from the mistakes of your past, and are working on addressing the aspects of your personality that contributed to them – as you said, Brian may have been a jerk, but there was something in you that allowed the relationship to evolve as it did. It sounds like you’re on exactly the right track.

I heard the term ‘quirkyalone’ for the first time recently, and it clicked with me (even though we are no longer alone, both my fiancé and I fit the description). I didn’t take the quiz on the website, because I didn’t see a point to signing-up since I’m now partnered. But you might find some useful information and some social interactions through that network.

In my past, I allowed myself to be minimized in relationships because of my low self-esteem, and not feeling like I deserved any better. Once I realize that I did deserve better, I was alone for a while, although I did do some online dating. Then was in one relationship that tested my new backbone. When I walked away form that roller-coaster ride with my dignity intact, I knew I was ready for truly unconditional love. So I stopped online dating and started living my life. I used Meetup.com as a means to find and join groups that had similar interests to mine. I didn’t worry about finding someone because I was enjoying life.

Eventually, my path crossed with the man who is now my fiancé. We were friends and hung out together a few times, but that comfort level with him let me know that we’d make a good couple. I had to drop some not so subtle hints and take the initiative at times, since he’d not been one to pursue women. Our relationship, like our personalities, does not fit into the typical description for American culture. We are happy alone and together and we don’t fight (although we play-bicker at times).

I suspect that Andy really wasn’t ready. If one hasn’t accepted themselves unconditionally and harbors insecurities, it makes them incapable of trusting that someone could genuinely like them as they are. As long as they’re second-guessing the other’s intentions, the relationship will remain tenuous, and sometimes they even subconsciously sabotage the relationship. I’ve experienced this from both sides.

So again, I feel that you’re on the right track in working to unload your “baggage” and in pursuing your interests and passions. Get to the point where you love yourself and are bringing everything into a relationship that you would want from a partner, and you’ll be ready when an eligible person enters your life.

rojo's avatar

Perhaps Andy took a month to answer because he did not know. Not know how to handle the question and the implications (whether real or not); not know how he himself felt; not know how to express himself and his feelings; not know how to respond nicely. Insecurity and indecisiveness have screwed up my existence more than once.

Have you given thought to maybe contacting Andy and trying to meet him for lunch or coffee somewhere? (I know, cliche but also pretty non-threatening). Talk, enjoy each others company, pay your own way and go your own way afterward.

funkdaddy's avatar

Haleth you’re amazing and deserve someone to share your life with if that’s what you want.

Maybe the way to tell if you’re on the right track is to see if you’re getting closer to understanding and believing that. Are you feeling like you’re capable, happy, and assured? When you meet someone new, do they make you feel like you could do even more, or be more content, with their help?

There is never going to be anyone that is able to completely understand what goes on in your head. There might be some overlap with what goes on in their head, there might be some shared interests that are really important, he may even know you’re thinking about chicken and waffles one night. But there’s going to be a time where they guess wrong and they don’t understand on something a lot more important than the waffles (if that’s possible), you change too often (we all do) and that’s a good thing. But if they make you feel good about yourself, and able, then that time becomes about explaining yourself instead of feeling alone (hopefully)...

If you haven’t found someone that makes you better (your own definition), and is ready to share that with you, then does it really matter how long it’s been? Keep working on you and know you’re amazing.

janbb's avatar

I just spent a couple of years in a relationship (platonic) that ended disastrously. If Andy is 42 and not sure if he wants a relationship, he will never know. Get over thinking about him as much as is possible and start looking again when you feel happy and ready.

rojo's avatar

@janbb good point.

KNOWITALL's avatar

SOunds like you are getting to know yourself, that is so underrated! Your mate will come along, keep getting healthy.

trailsillustrated's avatar

You don’t find it, it finds you. The right person will find you. Have no doubt.

fluthernutter's avatar

I think you’re great!

But sometimes people just aren’t ready for greatness. Can you give him time while moving forward with yourself? Or does it feel like you’re holding yourself back?

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Even if Andy feels like ‘the one’ to you, you obviously don’t feel like ‘the one’ for him and by the sounds of it, nobody else does either. Put thoughts of him to one side and focus on you. I do think being deliberately single can be a good thing as long as it doesn’t go on too long and become an evasion tactic. If you’ve used the time to heal and figure out what you want, that’s positive. It does feel like perhaps you’re ready to start putting your toe back in the dating pool. Not all men are like Brian and you know at least some of the signs now and hopefully are assertive enough to end things if anyone shows signs of being controlling again.

In my experience, relationships happen when I least expect them. When I’m off just doing my own thing and living my life. Perhaps focus on doing things you love to do, not just work, but things that make you feel happy and fulfilled. I noticed you posted about depression elsewhere. This can only help with that too. I’m pretty sure if you do this, and work on being happy with who you are, someone out there will notice the person you are and will want to share time with you.

JLeslie's avatar

You won’t make the Brian mistake again. You were 15 when you started with him. At your age now you would see warning signs within days or weeks and get out fast. You just have to pay attention to the red flags. Breaking up in that sort of circumstance is rarely devastating, because the relationship is short lived and you know you don’t want to live in that relationship. Also, you are more independent now, it will translate into the relationships also.

Make a list of qualities you want in an SO. The top five are easy: honest, supportive, responsible, loving, and willing to talk things out. The next five are anything you want them to be. Interested in wine, spontaneous, loves to travel, whatever you want. Don’t waste your time dating men who don’t fit your top ten.

Andy isn’t the guy, because he is not available. It’s easy to think someone is the one when you haven’t dated him or have dated for a short time. You haven’t spent enough time with them to know their crappy side. I always say what really counts is what is the crap side. Usually people are 90% great and then they have a 10% that sucks and it matters if you can live with the sucky part. Is the 10% they leave the toilet seat up? They are never on time? They cheat with other women? They can’t manage their finances? Many jerks who cheat often are very fun to be around and have great senses of humor.

Andy’s negative is he is not enamoured with you the way you are with him. That won’t work. It is hurtful. When relationships are working it feels like the most natural thing in the world. You both want to be with each other and the relationship naturally progresses. Don’t get stuck on Andy, it will harm your ability to meet other men. I know it can be very hard.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Stop! The magic you experienced in that episode with Andy is a much too rare event to be dismissed with a shrug of your shoulders at a mere “I’m not ready”. Is he saying “you aren’t my type” or is he just insecure? You’re young, but believe me, it’s one of those questions that will come floating through your thoughts as the years advance. Even if romance is out of the picture, the kindred spirit thing is there and worthy of the effort required to stay in touch. I’ve been told that wisdom comes from reflecting on missed opportunities, but there’s probably more to be gained in recognizing then seizing them.

Haleth's avatar

Hey guys,

Thanks very much for all the thoughtful responses. I’m going to think about each of them. I’ve been painting a lot lately and going for long nature hikes, stuff like that. Actually, this thread itself has started making me feel better. Anyway, I’m just going to keep on keeping on and aim to take a few big life steps this year, like getting a promotion and getting my own apartment. Maybe Andy and I can someday be friends. These answers really helped.

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