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"Dear John/Jill" letter...Would you respond? 2bstrong
February 2, 2006
3:14 pm
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2bstrong
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This is so hard for me, you guys!

Everytime I try to write...I get stuck.

I think what upsets me the most is that what he is saying in his goodbye email is just the opposite of what he told me throughout the relationship. These are statements that he made:

"You know I like you, don't you?"
"I feel so close to you."
"I'm so attracted to you".
"Would you be willing to sign a pre-nup?"
"Would you be willing to move to Montana when I retire?"
"I've never been this uninhibited with anyone."
"I feel so comfortable around you."
"I've never felt this much passion with anyone."
"I feel that I'm bonding with you."

I just feel that the entire relationship was mixed messages, he would tell me these things, and then disappear for days. He would then tell me he "checked out" that was his exact expression. Or he would appear on the dating web site after an intimate evening together. I was in a constant state of confusion, but felt drawn in by his remarks...

Does this help to understand why I wrote what I did?

February 2, 2006
7:58 pm
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turnabout
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It's no mystery to me why you wrote what you did. It makes PERFECT sense to me.

I was in a discussion w/ J_ after he hurt me where I NAMED all the misleading things he'd done (just like you want to do), PROVING to him how unfair his actions were when he had every intention of running off with someone else. I ended it all by saying I felt like he strung me along.

"I didn't string you along, TraCo," were he exact words to me after all of that.

Talk about frustration! You think I was frustrated before? You think I felt dismissed BEFORE?? If a person needs denial in order to protect their fragile ego, they will cling to it for dear life, and you CAN'T break through. After all of that ... after presenting all of my indisputable proof, he still didn't get it. It made me feel worse, of course. It made me feel like I wasn't even a real person to him ... that he could do and say all the loving things he did and not expect me to be affected by them.

I don't want you to feel that way.

The fact that he found his escape hatch is a testament to his insecurity. The fact that he has to contradict himself in order to "escape" is a testament to his desperation. You don't have to do any proving. That proves it all right there.

If you feel the need, why not say something about his e-mail being contradictory to things he's said to you throughout your relationship? You might say that you feel deceived by this (if that is, indeed, how you feel). I don't think it would serve any real purpose to go into detail, though. Like I said, he knows what he did, even if he's too scared to admit it. If he needs to know how he contradicted himself, he can ask.

Chances are he's going to be defensive no matter what you say (b/c he's already having to justify all of this to himself). If you just speak to what you have felt/are feeling, then you're being true to your experience w/out trying to assert anything about his.

I know this is very, very hard. At least you're seeking feedback. I was too rash back when I was going through this to seek feedback.

February 2, 2006
10:01 pm
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turnabout
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hey kathy,

I've had a hard time deciding how I wanted to respond to you. Yup, those were my words. I don't have much more to say than that.

I can only tell you my intentions, which I have. If you don't believe me, I'm sorry, but that's all I can do. I don't understand how what I said could be insulting.

But I do wonder why the opinions of anonymous people who can only have a very limited experience of you on an internet message board have the power to insult you.

with love
TraCo

February 3, 2006
9:11 am
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Turnabout,

Kathy has explained above how she is working on trying to not take things so personally.

I can understand how childhood wounds can cause us to over-react and become defensive...even to people we don't personally know (in cyber-space).

When you have a history of being misunderstood and judged, it is VERY difficult to let things roll off of your back. I have been guilty of letting others' opinions of me ruin my day or cause me to become upset, agitated and defensive. Even on this board!!!!

It does bother me when I feel like I've been misunderstood... It definintely makes me go into hyer self-preservation mode!!! Should it have that effect on me? No, but that's why I'm here! That's why we are all here!!!!

We're learning. We're not perfect, but we're getting there!!!!

Peace!

TC

February 3, 2006
10:40 am
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Hi guys,

TraCo...Thanks AGAIN for the insight...you have a gift, friend.

**If you feel the need, why not say something about his e-mail being contradictory to things he's said to you throughout your relationship? You might say that you feel deceived by this (if that is, indeed, how you feel). I don't think it would serve any real purpose to go into detail, though. Like I said, he knows what he did, even if he's too scared to admit it. If he needs to know how he contradicted himself, he can ask.**

I like this approach...do you think it would be too late to send something like this next week? Or do you think it would be moot? Then I would be farther removed from expecting any kind of response. Another friend suggested that I mail it via snail mail, if I still felt that I needed to send something.

I'm still very sad today. I perceive what we had as very initimate, with a lot of potential for growth. He is/was a very tender lover, and said many sensitive things to me when we would spend quiet time together. Sometimes I think he told me TOO much about how he was feeling, that's why the goodbye letter is so bogus to me. Two weeks ago, when we were together, he told me he was scared, and he said, I know you have told me you are scared too. Which is true. We were very open with our communication, in spite of his continual disappearing/checking out.

I really want to believe that he liked me/could have loved me, and he ran away because this scared him.

February 3, 2006
12:31 pm
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turnabout
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tc – I don’t feel my intentions are being understood here, by you or kgy, but that’s okay. Your post has given me food for thought about what I’m doing to create an impression of harshness (is that how it’s coming off?).

I’m very distracted right now with thoughts of what I’m missing here and what I need to do to correct this, but I’ll have to return later to share. Time won’t allow it right now.

Love to all.

TraCo

February 3, 2006
1:24 pm
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2b,

I've been out all morning... just got in. I'll respond to your letter in a few minutes...

Tra,

I don't think you were being harsh at all!! That's not what I was trying to say. You were just being you... totally honest and straightforward. You were doing what you do BEST. You were cutting through the "crap" and getting to the heart of the matter. You were asking questions to help 2b look at things from a different angle and digging into the motivations one may have for confronting someone that has hurt them. You did not do or say anything wrong! I'm sorry if it appeared as if I was ganging up on you!!!

I just wanted to point out that some of us are more sensitive to criticism than others (our past hurts/pains & insecurities catching up with us) and I feel badly that Kathygy is viewed as a heartless, cold person at times (NOT by you... just an observation I've made over the past several months). I see her getting hurt and defending herself quite a bit and it makes me feel bad. I just wanted to throw in my thoughts about why some of us jump on the defensive when we "feel" attacked. I do not think you attacked her, or meant to do say ANYTHING that was aggressive or mean-spirited in any way, shape or form. You have been nothing but supportive and kind to everyone here at all times. No exceptions!! HONESTLY! I'm sorry if my point was misunderstood. I value your opinion ALWAYS!!!!

TC

February 3, 2006
2:04 pm
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Well said, TC.

There are several people whose opinions and thoughts I gravitate toward at this site. I do enjoy and appreciate the diversity of all posts. It is a great study in "critical thinking" here at aac.com.

I really, really do listen closely to you, kathygy, and turnabout whenever you post on my threads or any others. All of you can cut through the fog of confusion. It's a gift.

February 3, 2006
2:40 pm
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Doctor,

I gave a lot of thought to responding/not responding to your email. Probably much more thought than I've put into the content of my reply.

I think I deserved more than an email for something like this. I was shocked that you didn't have the courtesy to call and tell me your thoughts. I thought your note came across very cold and impersonal, and it did hurt me, especially since we have had very open communication since we've known each other.

What hurts/upsets me the most is that your email is filled with mixed messages, just like our entire relationship. I completely agree with you about emotional chemistry -- I feel that it's equally important as physical chemistry. BUT I felt that there were times when we were very close--you even said it yourself--that you "felt close to me". At other times you said, "I feel so comfortable around you". To say that you didn't feel "emotional chemistry" after saying things like that is very confusing and hurtful.

I understand what you mean about wanting to feel giddy--it's a "thrill" emotion. But in the spirit of the "Socratic method"--is giddiness something that can last or be maintained? I couldn't stimulate the "giddy factor", but I could (as you requested) "treat you nice", and like you for YOU.

February 3, 2006
3:37 pm
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turnabout
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tc --

I'm not hurt or offended by what you said. I just had sort of a lightbulb moment, but can't talk about it yet.

2b-- can't talk, but i'll be back.

February 3, 2006
4:23 pm
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**Maybe it's just when we can stop ourselves from doing things for the purpose of making them feel a certain way or act a certain way.

Maybe if we can ask ourselves, "Why do I really want to do this?" we can edit our own behavior.**

This is from your "punish" thread, TraCo.

This is where I'm stuck, and this is why I am unable to write a response that is not a vile-spew to his email. Because I am doing it at this time:

1) To get a response back from him.

2) Because I am hurt, disappointed, and angry.

3) Tell him that he is totally in denial about what happened between us, based on what he told me and how he acted throughout the relationship.

4) To stay connected to the whole relationship instead of letting it go, and saying goodbye myself.

February 4, 2006
1:39 am
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turnabout
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2b --

It is truly wonderful that you recognize this. I dreaded telling you that my take on your new draft is that you still sound as though you are pleaing the case of your relationship. It's like you're playing prosecuter for the case of your murdered relationship. He's the accused murderer, but, ironically enough, you've also cast him as judge!

I hated the idea of disappointing you w/ this perception b/c I can see you're really, really trying, and this is really, really important to you.

But you're a smart cookie. You picked up on it yourself.

Now that you know your motivations comes the editing. How can you edit out motivations 1, 3, & 4 so you can clearly express #2?

Can you go back to your last draft and, sentence by sentence, edit for motivation? "Why did I say that? What am I getting or hoping to get out of saying that? How can I change it so that it is truer to reason #2 than anything else?"

February 4, 2006
3:00 am
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turnabout
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Okay guys, now on the other topic, I want to explain where I've been coming from ...

First of all, my posts may have seemed curt and I want to explain that, if so, it wasn't attitude related. k_gy and I have sort of gone off on a little tangent, which I'm self-conscious about doing on 2b's thread. And yet it hasn't deviated enough from 2b's topic for me to think it necessary to start a new thread. So, I've tried using brevity to prevent our conversation from overshadowing 2b's issues.

And, at this point, I'm kind of glad this conversation hasn't left this thread b/c I can see it applying to 2b's situation .... I mean, needing to express your feelings rather than make someone else see your point of view.

It really is hard to not react defensively. It's really hard letting yourself be open with people and exposing all your human failings.

kathy -

I am often uncomfortable approaching you when I disagree with you or suspect you may be resisting some of your own issues. I find it difficult communicating with you for whatever reason, and b/c of this I often don't try. However, I pursued this conversation to the extent I have b/c you aren't the only person I have trouble communicating with. There are 'real' people in my life for whom I care a great deal with which I encounter the same difficulty. Interacting with you, I hoped would be a great exercise in helping me learn how I can better interact with them.

And while these people have their own issues hindering communication as well, when you see a repeated pattern in your life, you have to ask yourself, as they say, "What's the common denominator here?" ME!!

I also think that anytime you see two people butting heads, it's probably b/c they're seeing something in the other person that they don't like in themselves. And, as long as we're looking at what's wrong with that other person, we're not having to look at ourselves.

Anyway, I think you and I are a lot alike. I think we often approach issues from different sides of the same page. I also suspect that we both have a hard time being truly exposed and vulnerable with other people. I think (in this thread) I have reacted to seeing something in you that I know is true about myself. I have a hard time being wrong out of a lifelong fear that being wrong will make me inadequate somehow. This causes me to have unrealistic expectations of myself. I become afraid of people perceiving me as being "less than" I should be, and this is what I believe I've seen in your reactions to my challenges (You know, with statements about how certain perceptions would upset you?), as well as in my own reactions.

Did you take my challenges personally? (you know, asking if it was productive b/c you communicated w/ that person or b/c of satisfaction from telling him off?) Did you think I wouldn't ask that same question of a different person telling the same story in the same way?

I don't like admitting I have not always had an open mind when reading your posts on other threads, and I think it has hindered me a great deal in communicating with you. That's my failing. (and since I hate being wrong, I really hate saying that. LOL) But I don't want to be a closed-minded person. I also don't want to deny myself an opportunity to connect with a person of value. So I hope we can reach an understanding.

thanks for indulging me a bit guys. On with the show!

TraCo

February 4, 2006
12:49 pm
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I want to say thank you again, turnabout. You have supported in your above post everything that this board is about, that's my opinion, anyway.

I feel no lashing out here, just healthy, open, communication. And as I may have said before, the posts on this thread have provoked "critical thinking". Isn't that why we are here?

I have often felt that I would look like a fool or be inadequate if I said something "wrong" or "contrary". I completely empathize with you, TraCo. I am growing out of that in my more mature years (I'm 42) but my insecurity still rears it's ugly head more than I would like it too.

Thanks for the thoughts, turn. Now I'm going to talk about "Doctor".

February 4, 2006
12:58 pm
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So--I am in full-blown grieving the loss of the relationship mode.

I am going to really miss him, in spite of all of the back and forth, and the mixed messages, and the inconsistency. I've been reading the book "Men Who Can't Love" (again). It's really affirming to read about others who have experienced similar situations with people who fear commitment.

I know, I am still ananlyzing Doctor, but it helps me "wrap my brain around it", as exotic flower always says. I find comfort in the testamonials of other people who have experienced the drama of a relationship that is filled with EXTREME mixed messages.

Did I tell you guys that two weeks ago was our last date, and when I was getting ready to go home he gave me a roast that he had cooked that day. He also called me the next day and said what a wonderful time he had had.

I have a problem in that I feel that I will never meet someone who liked to hold my hand like he did, or touch my knee when we were in the car or at the restaurant...or take care of me in the "little ways" that I liked. I was really missing him last night.

I feel like the last response that I wrote was adequate to send him...I would edit the last paragraph a bit...but in a nutshell, it does express how I feel.

I would appreciate how you guys would edit my note, if you care to share your thoughts.

2b

February 4, 2006
4:59 pm
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turnabout
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2b -- I can only sympathize with your grieving. I think when we get intimately involved with someone, we get glimpses of and grow to love their soul. It's a very pure, giving, undemanding emotion. There is everything to gain from it and nothing to lose, and yet they block it. I, too, grieve unfulfilled potential and unacknowledged depth. J_ and I didn't have to be romantically involved. I just wanted us to explore what was possible for us, whatever it was. He was too scared to try. It's very, very sad.

Now, since you asked ...

**Doctor,

I gave a lot of thought to responding/not responding to your email.** ----I'd leave it at that.

**I think I deserved more than an email for something like this. I was shocked that you didn't have the courtesy to call and tell me your thoughts.** (Your) **note came across (as) very cold and impersonal, and it did hurt me, especially since we have had very open communication since we've known each other.

What hurts/upsets me the most is that your email is** (contradictory to many things you've said to me). -----is all this emotional/physical chemistry argument necessary? this is where it starts sounding as though you're arguing a case. "I agree, but... etc." ------ **I felt that there were times when we were very close,** -----i don't know if the details are necessary. again, it's like presenting proof. I would only present example if you are uncertain he can understand. If it's just about proving a point, leave it out.------ ** (So)To say that you didn't feel "emotional chemistry" after** (what I experienced) **is very confusing and hurtful.**

-----I really don't understand the last paragraph much at all, except it does seem that you go into full "pleaing the case" mode there. I don't understand the persistant references to "Socratic Method." I'm guessing this is a thing you guys had discussed or something he's said. I don't know what "Socratic Method" has to do with an intimate relationship myself, so I don't know what to do with that. I'm not going to interject what you could say here. YOU'RE the one having to express yourself. If you want to try something else, I'll comment on it.

And thank you for your kind remarks. I'm warmed by them.

Blessings,
TraCo

February 6, 2006
9:25 am
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Dear friends...

TraCo, thanks for the draft..I'll get to that this afternoon...

I found this passage in "Men Who Can't Love: How To Recognize A Commimentphobic Man Before He Breaks Your Heart". I was simultaneously reading it this weekend with "He's Scared, She's Scared: Understanding the Hidden Fears that Sabotage Your Relationships".

****...it is important to be aware that this man can forget that he cares about you. He can forget how much he enjoys himself with you. He can even forget about terrific sex. He may want to consider your feelings, but his discomfort and confusion are too great. Yet even if he could stop running long enough to consider your feelings, and even if he was overwhelmed with guilt, it still wouldn't change his direction. In fact, it usually has the reverse effect: the guiltier he feels, the more trapped he feels, and the more he wants to run away.

If you are a woman who has tried to relate to a commitmentphobic, his behavior probably seems totally inexplicable. Who can understand such strangeness? But it really isn't that confusing once you understand that the reason he runs has nothing to do with liking you, being attracted to you, or enjoying himself with you. He runs away because he is aware that the relationship cannot continue without making some form of real commitment--and this is something he simply cannot do.****

This summarizes my feelings about what happened with Doctor and me. It's funny, because the last conversation we had less than two weeks ago, I asked him if he could help me pick up an over-sized area rug from the hardware store, he didn't say yes; he said "Probably", Now, two things I wonder about my request and his answer: Did the future of our relationship come looming in on him as a commitmentphobic in my simple request for help with an errand (I had never asked him for help before)? And did his inability to say "Sure, no problem" confirm his commitmentphobic stature? He had no problem asking me to help him with errands, BIG errands.

Just some thoughts.--2b

February 6, 2006
9:45 am
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2b,

I'm leaving the house for work right now!!! I just wanted to pop in and tell you that I'm not ignoring you!!! I'll DEFINITELY post more today...

You are in my thoughts... I'll talk to you later...

TC

February 6, 2006
10:51 am
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OK, 2b! I'm here and it appears that it will not be a very busy day in the office today so I'll most likely have lots of time to chat.

I think the answers to your questions about the Doctor and his reaction to your request for assistance with an errand lie DIRECTLY in the first few paragraphs (book exerpts) of this post... What you are basically saying (or what the BOOKS are saying) is that the commitmentphobic men are not rational in relationships and cannot see things for what they truly are (big or small). He sees every request for HELP or every invitation for a date or event as a COMMITMENT!!! ****He runs away because he is aware that the relationship cannot continue without making some form of real commitment--and this is something he simply cannot do.****

It's plain, it's simple and it sucks!!!! 2b, I do not think it is anything more or less than that! I'm sorry. I DO think that he cared for you, but he is not willing to address his issues surrounding commitment. Period!! You, unfortunately cannot change that. Again, suck-fest!!!!!!!!!!

I think it's good that you are working through all of this and doing your best to try and understand it all, BUT I think it is a fruitless effort to put any more energy into understanding a man that has NO INTEREST in understanding YOU!!!!!!

I believe you should change your focus from him on to YOU!!!! You are a wonderful woman, however you have chosen the wrong man to give your wonderfulness to!! Ya know... some of us do that! Sometimes more than once!!!! Sometimes more than twice (ouch!)....

Keep talking it out 2b! I know it helps!!!! Just make sure that you don't start internalizing this rejection. DO NOT blame yourself for any of this and DO NOT start to get down on yourself and blame yourself for this relationship ending and DO NOT create some imaginary short-comings that you possess that would render you completely un-loveable by any man, ever!!! That is all WRONG, 2b!!!!!

Stick to the facts, Jack!!!! He is a commitmentphobe and you are not. Period. End of story!

TC

February 6, 2006
11:13 am
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Hey tc--glad to hear from you!

I know that my posting may come across as lamenting...I don't mean it to be that way. This thread has become somewhat of a journal for me regarding Doctor Phobic. I HAVE decided that I am NOT going to write or respond to his goodbye letter. It is what it is, and of all things, after reading the books, I think he did a pretty good job of laying it on the line about how he feels. So, I am leaving it at "Bye 2b".

I'm still a bit sad...I will miss him! And it is very difficult to end a relationship that basically was good when you were together...but bad when you weren't.

I DO NOT accept any responsibility or blame for the demise of this relationship. I refuse to. How can I when someone has told me that "I'm attracted to you, I like you, I enjoy spending time with you, we have a lot in common, and we have similar core values and beliefs". It's not me. It's his issues.

How are you, TC?

February 6, 2006
2:02 pm
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Hey guys!

I have so much to respond to y'all about on my own thread, there's no time for it over lunch. LOL. So, I'm popping in here (NOT "pooping", as I nearly typed. Yikes! This is why I'm scared of typos!) to quip w/ you a little about your stuff.

Write or not write, 2b. It's all about doing what is necessary for YOU. I want to help you in any way I can w/ whatever you decide is best.

I don't think I like the way that book passage phrases that a man can "forget" how much he likes being w/ you. I don't think they "forget" so to speak, but they get so overwhelmed w/ fear they can't focus on anything else, which is the gist of what the author is talking about, I know. I just don't like the word "forget."

There was this guy back in college that I truly liked, but blew off b/c of my own insecurity. I still wonder what would have happened if I'd given it a shot.

See, I don't like that word "forget". I think it's a bit misleading. It's the exactly unfulfilled relationships that AREN'T forgotten, in my sometimes-humble,-but-don't-count-on-it opinion. 🙂

**Yet even if he could stop running long enough to consider your feelings, and even if he was overwhelmed with guilt, it still wouldn't change his direction.**

This is EXACTLY what I perceive happening w/ J_. Hurts like hell knowing the feelings he's had to deny and neglect in order to be in that relationship. And the guilt keeps him there, as though staying w/ it is going to justify it and make it "right."

tc - "suck-fest" !!!! LOL !!!! You crack me up!

I don't know that seeking to understand him is a bad thing, though, as long as it's not an excuse to tear yourself down. If you're examining things truthfully, being very accepting of yourself and your perceptions throughout the relationship, it can be very validating. I mean, to outside observers like us it's very obvious what has made Dr. do what he did, and it has NOTHING to do w/ 2b. It can only help for her to reach that same understanding, it just takes more work when you're viewpoint is coming from the inside for it to reach the same objectivity.

Plan on getting over to your thread this afternoon tc. Boss is in the office ALL DAY today, Ugh!

I think our little "thread neighborhood" is kind of funny. "Let me go to 2b's house to see how she's doing. Then I go to tc's. Then I get to have the girls over to MY house." HeHeHe. Fun!

February 7, 2006
3:18 pm
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***Hi Doctor,

I think the thing that hurt me the most was not what you said in the email, but that you sent it VIA email. I don't know what you were afraid of, but voice-to-voice would have been much better for me.

I feel that there were many times that we were very close (you even said this yourself). The Red Light/Green Light pattern of our relationship kept me from maintaining any kind of emotional chemistry with you. I always felt so unsteady, I can't completely give myself to someone who keeps me at emotional arm's length.

We can slice it, dice it, analyze it, think about it, talk about it, and perform surgery on it--I still think that it was fear that got the best of this relationship.--2b***

February 7, 2006
3:47 pm
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2b,

"sent it VIA email" I would add 'rather than talk to me directly"

"I don't know what you were afraid of, but voice-to-voice would have been much better for me. "

This sounds very mild and too polite. Is this all you really feel about it? What about anger? It O.K. to say 'I feel angry that you sent me an email rather than confront me person to person. I deserved that much!' if you do indeed feel that way.

"kept me from maintaining any kind of emotional chemistry with you" but wasn't the problem that he said HE didn't feel emotional chemistry with you?

"I can't completely give myself to someone who keeps me at emotional arm's length. "

Why say this? Did he ever complain that you didn't give yourself compeletey to him?

It sounds to me that you are trying to pretend like it was you who broke it off instead of him. He can see right through this. He knows how much yoy really cared and how much you wanted the relationship to work.

I don't see where your personal power is in this email as it is right now.

This man jerked you around, pulled you in and then disappeared over and over again. How did that make you feel?

February 7, 2006
4:06 pm
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2b,

"sent it VIA email" I would add 'rather than talk to me directly"

"I don't know what you were afraid of, but voice-to-voice would have been much better for me. "

This sounds very mild and too polite. Is this all you really feel about it? What about anger? It O.K. to say 'I feel angry that you sent me an email rather than confront me person to person. I deserved that much!' if you do indeed feel that way.

"kept me from maintaining any kind of emotional chemistry with you" but wasn't the problem that he said HE didn't feel emotional chemistry with you?

"I can't completely give myself to someone who keeps me at emotional arm's length. "

Why say this? Did he ever complain that you didn't give yourself compeletey to him?

It sounds to me that you are trying to pretend like it was you who broke it off instead of him. He can see right through this. He knows how much yoy really cared and how much you wanted the relationship to work.

I don't see where your personal power is in this email as it is right now.

This man jerked you around, pulled you in and then disappeared over and over again. How did that make you feel?

February 7, 2006
4:07 pm
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kathygy
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sorry I wasn't sure that posted.

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