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Guidelines for a Healthy Relationship
February 5, 2003
5:29 pm
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September 24, 2010
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This is for Crystaliis or anyone else having trouble staying straight in a relationship. Hope it helps someone!

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I have found it necessary for us, especially women of abuse, to follow a guideline when it comes to selecting that important man in our lives. I wrote this basically for them because that is my bag - I understand them. But even if you aren't an abuse victim - there are words of wisdom here for you, too. Just good common sense, the kind that you usually don't hear put quite this way. If we go on our compulsive nature alone and are driven by our feelings only, we oftentimes end up adrift or washed up on the shoreline. We keep saying over and over to ourselves - why have I done this again? Why do I draw the same men to me over and over again? Well, that takes a lot of therapy to arrive at these answers and I won't go into that here. But, what I will do is provide a framework that, if followed, can keep a woman in more of a "safe zone". It may feel very mechanical to have to submit yourself to following a guideline like this, but it's worthwhile if you don't want to make another mistake. What have you got to lose, you know? The way I figure it is, I will take all the help I can get! (smile) And if you fall down, just get up again and get back on track. The one who finishes a good race, is the one who doesn't quit. It's all about continually learning. We all get dirt on our faces from time to time. That's what makes us humans. And, dispel any belief about how wonderful everyone else's life is! Or that we are the only dysfunctional one on the planet. Um, wrong! We just have to be dedicated to really knowing ourselves and not being in a hurry - to do anything. That gets us in more trouble than anything else. Time is our friend. Waiting before we speak, before we act, and before we assume anything.

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Write down a list of what you absolutely want in a man. Then write down a list of things you absolutely don't want. Take much time to write both lists. The things you write down on both of these lists are non-negotiable items. So, go over them and make sure these are things that are important to you. For example, if you've dated men in the past who have had certain issues or traits that have broken up the relationship or contributed to it, then consider these things heavily. And spend just as much time writing down - what you want and not just the things you don't want. The whole point of this exercise is for you to realize - YOU are doing the choosing and that you have this right. You'll be surprised to see how much it helps to see this in print and to be able to read it from time to time and see what you are doing.

Also make two lists of positive and negative traits regarding the man that was abusive to you in the past as far as the incest goes. You will want to do this - especially if the person who abused you was your father. What you want to have before you at all times is an outline of what you might be drawn to in selecting a partner and what you need to stay away from. You might write things down like - he was a charmer, could be very outgoing and convincing - but it didn't last, had a bad temper, had a substance addiction of some kind, hated his mother, had a history of not treating the women in his life well, etc., etc. Try your best to assemble a list that will sketch this person out for you - on paper, so you can recognize what you are doing as you go along. You may add to this as time goes on, and you should. The more you are aware of what you're doing - the quicker you will have a healthy relationship. Because we are creatures of resolution, we will pick men that resemble the abuser in order to finally "fix" it. We then think we will win - by being the reason - they change for us. We think by doing this - we can finally "earn" their approval and love for us, or that we can make them pay somehow by doing a dysfunctional dance with us. This kind of "resolving" is like going back to what originally hurt you and asking for it again! It resolves nothing. So, whether we realize it or not - we are ending up with particular men in our lives - because we may be subconsciously "choosing them". By "projecting" someone else's identity onto this present person in our lives - we play a very dangerous game that resolves nothing. It only prolongs the pain we are in from the original abuse. The key here is - to be aware - who we are being drawn to and "why". Keep yourself in check. Learn how to parent yourself in this way. Blinders off, eyes open.

When you first meet a man, allow yourself to ask the question - is there mutual interest here OR am I so attracted to this man that I will "make" him have an interest in me? Try to steer away from situations like this. You don't need to put yourself in a position of having to earn anyone's interest or affections. This will only end in disaster. They need to be genuinely drawn to you, without you jumping through any hoops at all. Incest victims get into the mode of thinking they have to be earn the right to be in a man's life. Sounds weird, but we do it. The thing we have to keep ever before us is - we are the ones doing the "choosing". So, write yourself a note and stick it on your refrigerator, in the bathroom and in your car - if you have to - to remind yourself. We need to choose and go about the process decisively, looking at all the ingredients mentioned here. So, breathe......get your focus geared more toward what you are looking for, and not what you can "become" for them. You are not damaged goods and have a right to have the very best - that is tailor suited - just for you. Look deeper than just at the surface. And look beyond the infatuation, take note of the wonderful feelings, but learn to look at what's really there - in substance. This is the "training" you need to get under your belt in order to protect yourself. We may be wired to make wrong choices, but we can "unlearn" our compulsions and override them with - wisdom. Quick decisions lead to train wrecks. Go slow.........make them "court" you. We don't need to settle for anything less. You are worth it, so act like it! (smile)

When contact is made and a conversation begins with a man you're interested in, do not "tell all" about yourself in the first sitting. There may be a strong compulsion to do this, but try hard to refrain. Do a lot of listening and observing. Give yourself permission to ask questions of the other person, more than you volunteer very personal information about yourself. Some surface information is obviously okay, but not about your deepest hurts. Word to the wise here, do not give anyone that hasn't earned your trust - information about where your weaknesses are. Then they know precisely where to hurt you. And, it is "okay" if there are silences in your conversation. You don't need to try and fill them with chatter. Silences are not bad things, they can be very good and very helpful. Men enjoy mystery. You have to keep something in your bonnet....men are hunters by nature. They like the chase and the hunt. It's inborn and it's not a bad thing. It can be quite enjoyable for both! Just keep yourself in the position of - this person is being looked at "by you" and that you are in the position of sizing - them up. You need to stay more in this camp instead of worrying about how they are viewing you. Where mystery and allurement is present - they will follow. You are the one looking to see if this person is someone who meets the requirements on your two lists - BEFORE - you're heart gets too involved. Very important concept. Trust is earned and your personal information should be kept close to the vest for quite awhile. It is not necessary to give him the keys to your castle and innermost chambers right off the bat. Otherwise, you may be letting a wolf into the hen house, even though he is a cute wolf, who's charming and your hormones are raging....saying yes, yes.... Your brain needs to rule supreme or lessons will be presented in life - to learn once again and again and again - as the price of these lessons gets higher and higher. Time is always a very good friend.....back off, listen and learn and don't reveal yourself too quickly.

When you do go out on that first date, it would be wise if you do not know this person very well, to meet him somewhere. Do not have him pick you up at home It just gives you a layer of protection. You may find that you need to keep doing this for awhile until you actually feel comfortable with him picking you up at your home and knowing where you live. We tend to trust people too quickly and do not allow ourselves to "go through a process" of finding out what a person is about - first. If this person questions you about - why can't he come to the house or tries to pull a power move and says something like - "oh, that's crazy, you don't have to drive your car anywhere - just tell me where you live and let me pick you up"....major red flag and you should stand even firmer about not allowing this. We are not good at boundaries, but we need to learn - how to have boundaries and how to enforce them and not feel guilty about it. For all practical purposes - this person is a stranger to you and needs to be treated as such, especially because you have certain hurts and wounds. The last thing you need to do is - trust someone who is untrustworthy. If they do not respect these boundaries - they were never going to respect you in any way.

Watch how he treats you on the first date. Does he open doors for you? Is he sincerely attentive? Or is he overly flattering, concentrating largely on the physical aspects of you? Does he try to get into your personal space - too soon? Does he have a real two-way conversation with you? Does he listen to you as much as he talks to you and about himself? Is he constantly scanning the room and checking out other women? Monitor yourself as to how comfortable you feel with this person. Learn to listen to your radar and what your first impressions are. They are very important to you. Try not to override them, but bring them to the forefront and turn the volume up so you can really pay attention to it. Because of our abuse issues - our radar is often very damaged and that little voice is usually very small and frail. Nonetheless, it's usually right on the money, if we will listen to it. We are so used to accepting anything or trying to work with anything we get thrown. Almost as if we take it as a challenge of some sort to bypass all the warning lights and try and just - MAKE IT WORK, DAMMIT!! We don't have to do that. We can pick someone who doesn't set off the alarm system, at all or very rarely. It isn't necessary to run a marathon obstacle course in order to get what we deserve and need. Now if this is a new idea to you - please be with it. Let it all the way in, smell it, taste it, wallpaper your house with it and practice it!

Try very hard not to get hot and heavy in the physical dept. right off the bat. Especially with women who have been abused and taken advantage of in the sexual area early on, this would not be a wise thing for you to do. It may feel good and natural and all that, but it does put you in an extremely vulnerable position. It will cloud your perception of all the other things you need to be paying close attention to. You also need to "really feel" what's going on and not just do something because it "seems natural". So, what if it takes you longer to really - feel it. Don't overcompensate that characteristic with you - by pushing the envelope. You may just push it - over the edge and out of sight!

You may even go there and figure you shouldn't have and then back up. So, okay, back off, regroup, lay a boundary about it and go from there. There's nothing wrong with that. He needs to respect that and if he doesn't, don't waste your time. If you are going to give yourself in a physical way - it needs to be when you feel like you really know this person, and are able to really trust them with your heart. Otherwise, it will backfire on you, count on it. You'll feel the repercussions - first!

I firmly believe that when a physical union happens, there is an uncanny thing that takes place. I think the woman immediately leans into the man and the man leans over the woman. Think about that for a minute. It's a beautiful design. The woman, wants to be cared for immediately by the man and he feels protective and wanting to take care of her, too. Or at least, this is the way it should be when people's hearts are in the right place.

Your hearts become majorly engaged with the physical act whether we want it to or not. And with men, I don't care what they say, they respect you more, when you make them wait. Remember that they like the chase and the mystery. If that is satisfied so soon - then their interest in you may go - so soon, as well. And this - a particular hurt that is very expensive to you. It takes more out of your heart than you realize. When you keep a safe distance in this respect - you'd be surprised how much you can learn about a person, that otherwise, you'd be so wrapped up in the sexual - you'd never even notice. Sex should be an expression of love that has had proper time to grow, not the reason and basis for love. There is a big difference in lust and love. Love takes time. Be good to yourself here. Be your own - best friend.

Find out how long ago their last relationship was and how serious it was. Try to ascertain if they are over that relationship. Depending on how serious it was and what kind of break-up was involved - the time frame of space between them and you will vary. But, the proper amount of time needs to be there in order for them to truly be available for a new relationship of any kind. Otherwise, you are going to open yourself up to residual feelings from his last relationship and may even end up sharing him in a sense while he cleans up his dealings with this other woman. This is not a healthy beginning for a relationship and most do not survive such a strain in the long run. Look carefully - before you leap here. Be forewarned. I highly respect a man who takes the time to really do some purging and gets back into that space of being comfortable with himself and being alone for awhile. A very healthy thing for anyone to do, male or female.

It isn't necessary for you to have everything in common, but it is necessary that you have some very important places of common ground. These important things usually fall into the categories of lifestyle, age, morals/ethics, spiritual matters, intellect, family issues, and outside activities. Review these areas carefully with yourself as you're getting to know this person and if what appears is - you're coming from opposite ends of the spectrum on most or all of these - I'd think twice here about what you're getting into. Your "togetherness" should never be - all about his world or all about yours. You need to have a "blending" of who you both are. And what you are checking out in the beginning is - can there be a blending. When it's all one person yielding to the other person's persuasions, activities, thinking - there is a serious imbalance. Both people should show a sincere interest and respect for what the other person is about. There shouldn't be a lot of "tolerating" going on from either person.

What do you see in this man that makes him attractive to you besides the physical? Ask yourself the question and write down the answers. Keep looking at them as time goes on. Add to, or delete and see how the list changes as things develop. Be accountable to yourself in this way and be very honest. Writing this down - helps you to not do dysfunctional things. It brings things out into the light and out of the hypnotic state we so often get into during the beginning of a relationship.

Beware of the man who tells you that you are his everything! Anyone that tells another person that is putting a tremendous ball and chain around your neck, right off the bat. Then - guess what? You are so much - their everything - that you are also held responsible if this "perfect vision" they have in their heads - gets blurred for some reason. Scary situation. Been there. And it sounds - oh so wonderful! Don't get me wrong, I know how great it sounds. Boosts up your ego, strokes everything you've got and pumps you up! Well......the fall from that high pedestal - smarts. Basically, they are putting "your name" on the dotted line for being responsible for - how their life goes. And if something doesn't go well - then you're the one they blame. Do not EVER assume this position. It's one thing for someone to express how much you mean to them and to say that you "compliment" their life wonderfully. But, to early on state how your presence in their life just solves everything wrong with their life and they would die for you, can't make it without you, you're all they've ever dreamed of, etc., etc. - Look Out! It may feel good to supposedly be so important in their life. But, that "importance" can change very quickly and they usually become very demanding after time goes on. You won't be able to keep up and they will suck you dry. You both need to be able to stand on your own two feet and have a "completeness" all in yourself without anyone. Another person in your or his life needs to just enrich it more, not be the sole reason for someone else's existence. These people go through life - using people like toilet paper. They are good salesmen, but in the end - they take that pedestal apart a piece at a time and you with it. Not being able to live without you - might be a statement someone might make after years of marriage, not early on in a relationship.

Are you able to just "be alone" together and have quiet time? If you are going to have a long term relationship with someone - you'd better look at this one - early on. It shows how relaxed a person is with themselves and if they can be close to someone they care about - in this way. Being able to sit in silence with someone and not feel like you have to fill up that space with anything - is a very important attribute of a good relationship. Talking and activity are important things. But, so is quiet time. People who are emotionally healthy, don't feel threatened with quiet times. There are many ways of communicating with someone. Like when a person is hurt, trying to talk to them isn't always the answer. And definitely not - talking - at them! The best thing can be to just sit with them and respect their silence. They'll talk when they are ready. Sometimes, you have to earn your right to be close to someone by knowing when to shut up and just be with them. And it doesn't have to be a sexual interlude either. We can communicate on another level of intimacy. If you've never experienced this before, allow yourself to learn something new.

If you find yourself continuously wanting to preach to this man in your life about things they do that you don't like - you might as well run headlong into a brick wall and get it over with. Again, wanting this person to change for you down the road, or taking the position that you will just deal with these big differences - is putting yourself in the place of victim - all over again. And they shouldn't be in the position of clay that you need to mold either. That's not fair to them as well. That would be a bit of controlling on your part, right? It's interesting to observe sometimes - the deal we make with ourselves. Are we overlooking a lot of faults, making excuses for why they did whatever and centering in on this charming picture we've sketched of them in our heads? Are we really dealing in "reality" when we do this? No, we're not, but reality will come knocking sooner or later. So, it would be in our best interests to see the freight train before it hits us and jump off the tracks. If we choose a man that is already what we want, then we are ahead of the game.

There is a big difference between preaching and expressing your feelings about issues. You have to, have to, have to - express in an appropriate, non-inflammatory way - how you feel when things come up that bother you in some way. So, what I wrote in the previous paragraph above and this - are two different things and you need to really see that. One is wanting to change someone and the other is about - expressing yourself and not holding things in. One is attacking and the other is simply - stating how you "feel". What you want to see by stating your feelings - is how you are received? Does this person truly consider your feelings and discuss things in a non-combative way? Basically - does he give you respect? Or does he ignore what you said, say something that completely invalidates you and shuts you up. If you walk away feeling like you are just stuffing those feelings back down and not being heard, I'd take a step back. Maybe they were having a bad day, so try it again. However, don't keep making excuses. If this becomes a pattern - then it's obvious - your feelings don't matter. Arguments over this kind of thing - doesn't solve one thing. We'd be so much better off - to just see it for what it is and go the other direction. Again, don't try to brow beat this person or nag them until they change to suit you. Look at - what is - and make a decision that is good for you. This doesn't have to involve a process of quarreling and trying to get someone to understand something over and over again. No need to beat it to death or beat someone into submission about anything.

Watch a man's actions and don't pay so much attention to his words. Well, salesmen won't like me much for saying that one! Oh darn. This is a big concept that would help us greatly IF we'd really apply it in our lives. We are so vulnerable to con artists and charmers. Most abused women were abused initially by men who were very good in both these arenas. So, we are susceptible to being drawn to people like this initially. Fight like your life depended on it - to not dance with anyone who's words do not line up with their actions. And give yourself the time to see the pattern emerge. Listen to the nice words.......and then wait to see what life prints out. That would be - the real truth. If someone needs to tell you so much about how wonderful they are and how great they are in a relationship and how good they will be to you - me thinks they profess too much. The people that will really do all that - won't talk about it. They'll just - do it. And we need to be okay with - waiting for that to evolve over time. The reason these men who are charmers do this - is because it works! We fall for it! Just because a man doesn't go on and on like this - doesn't mean he's not worth his salt. It may mean - that he's not a phony! Sometimes, we might even feel like - we're bored with someone who isn't a charmer. This is something to be addressed in counseling because it will lead us into nothing but heartache. It is possible.... to arrive at a place of being able to "recognize a good man" - when you see one. We just have to be willing to learn what a good man - consists of.

Do they pay attention to the things that matter? Do they give to you emotionally in a way that is them going out of their way for you? Do they listen to the things you say and later let you know that they remembered? Or do they only go out of their way for you when they are trying to get you to do something - for them? Are you seeing them give to you in an unconditional way of - just because I care? If you do not see this kind of giving from them - you are on a one-way street. Look out for the mack truck, because it's coming. Don't assume they will care later down the road when they hurt you, because - they won't. Too many times we ignore the signals until it's too late. We do all the giving and the caring and they just charm us - when they need us. A charmer/abusive type personality is very good at letting the good times roll and then treating you like crap and on and on the cycle goes. We wonder what happened because we weren't in love with "who they really were", we were in love with "the fairy tale picture" we believed they were. Look at who they really are - early on and pay close attention. Do not do all the giving, all the calling, all the understanding and all the caring. They will disrespect you for it and they will use you up and suck you dry.

Does he have a life outside of you? Does he have a balanced life of outside interests, hobbies, sports, friends, family? He doesn't have to be in a whirlwind of activity or anything. But, just basically - does he have his own space that he retreats to - that doesn't include you? And do you have that going on in your life as well? You both need your time away from each other and it also shows you whether this man will be making you responsible for his happiness. No one needs to smother anyone. It might feel nice at first, but it can definitely wear on you. And can be a really good sign of someone who is very insecure and possessive/jealous. That might feel good to your ego at first, but it can get ugly on both sides of the fence. You both need your lives apart. And neither of you needs to tag along with the other one - while they do - their "other things". Once in awhile is fine, but not all the time. Let their be spaces between you. It's a good thing. Makes the "appreciation" for the relationship grow. No one needs to "grow" within a shadow of someone else. There will be no growth. Only suffocation of someone.

Does this man hate his mother or have some serious unresolved issues with his mother? If so, this is a serious warning sign to you. This will probably impact you more than anything I can think of. Men will sometimes not talk about this, but it's important that you find out what's what in this area. The way they feel towards their mother, if they haven't worked through a lot of things themselves - will end being in your court. Just like if you haven't worked out your issues regarding your father - you'll end up transferring a lot of stuff over onto him as well. If there has been dysfunction and this man is aware of what is mother is and can separate himself and other women from that equation - then give him a lot of credit for that. But, if he is still involved in a very unhealthy and angry relationship with his mother - I'd just tell you right straight up to get the heck away from him. It's one thing if he stays away from her because he just chooses to not be intertwined with chaos and trauma. And, has disconnected himself from her in a healthy way. It's another if he is still engaging to the point of being very mean to her and him allowing her to meddle in his life and keep this vicious cycle going. A lot of times men are involved in a passive aggressive way of dealing with a mother they have issues with, too. They just seem to needle each other back and forth without ever coming right out and being honest with each other. Whatever pattern of behavior you see here - know that it could be the same one you end up with him, as well.

What kind of relationships did he have with women in his past? It isn't necessary that he remain friends with all of his past relationships. Obviously, something wasn't right and didn't work out or he'd still be with them. It is good though, to see what the normal pattern was. You usually pick this up over time and can get a lot of information through other people when they mention things. Just observe and stick things in your bonnet. Did he try to work through their differences? Did he just feel like things weren't working and instead of breaking up - did he get involved with someone else before they broke up? How does he talk about these women now? Does he talk about them in a respectful way or in a way that says - everything was their fault? And do you see a pattern of him realizing his own mistakes and working on them? Do you see him repeating the same mistakes over and over again? What kind of women does he usually pick? Does he like to be "in control"?

Is he one of those men who remains friends with most of the women he's ever dated, and/or has a ton of female friends? I guess if this doesn't bother you, that's fine, but you do need to ask the question of how you feel about this. A lot of men do this in order to never have to go to a real level of intimacy with the woman they are with. They are so spread out with all these other women - they never seem to have the energy. And they also immensely enjoy the attention and being able to talk about it freely with you about going to a lunch with someone, or so and so called me and talked for two hours about needing some advice, or I'm going over to hang out with my ex-wife's family for a while because we are so close. Some of this in moderation wouldn't necessarily be a warning sign. But, a man who has a constant diet of this sort of thing wouldn't necessarily be right up there in the - I'm emotionally available category. And you'd have to constantly be caught up in - what's going on with this scene and what's going on with that scene. Personally, I think it's very disrespectful if a man is serious about a relationship to spend so much of his time on other women. Most men who do this, would never like it - if the shoe was on the other foot. I guess my question would be - why does a man want to stay intertwined with an "ex" in the first place? It's just good for you to ask yourself how you feel about it and if you can handle this trait? The men that I have dated like this - all had a serious need to have their ego stroked all the time. If they needed that much attention from other females when you met them, don't be surprised if they need that much attention during your relationship, as well. And, when it doesn't fly with you - the first thing out of their mouth is how jealous and insecure "you" are. When you get serious with someone - you need to feel like you're No. 1 and not one - of many. What you settle for - is what you get.

How does he problem solve? Does he procrastinate when there's a problem in his own life? Or does he face it head on, critically think it through, choose a solution, try it, if it doesn't work - go to Plan B? Is he a person of follow-through? Do you see this kind of exercise going on with him? Or does he just try and ignore it for awhile until things get into a critical stage and he's forced to do something? How does he deal with other people when there's conflict? Does he respect people and their views, however different from his own? Is he quick to anger, or is he slow to anger? Is his anger appropriate? Or does he react with a lot of anger to little things. And does he not go off like he needs to - when it's really called for? And most importantly, does he take responsibility for his own actions? Does he admit when he is wrong? The way he problem solves in his own life - will be the way he solves problems with you when they arise.

Are you able to disagree with him and feel relatively comfortable doing it? Can you banter back and forth in a constructive way that is respectful with each other? Do you believe that he is truly listening to your side and do you want to listen to his? Is there a good amount of give and take? Are there spaces in your debate, where you're both just being quiet and thinking about what's been said? Or, is there a lot of instant put-down's which eventually leads to - shut-down? Do you come away feeling like maybe you've learned something new or are at least trying to go there? When you tell him about something that concerns you, does he immediately try and fix it? Do you wish he'd just sit there and listen and really hear you? Do you come away from a disagreement thinking about the next way you can approach whatever issue and win? If it's about one-upmanship - good luck. Debating can be enjoyable, if it's done right. It's not about winning, it's about sharing opinions and being open to insight. None of us have - arrived. We can always learn something from any disagreement. A closed mind - never learns anything, except how to be a lonely tyrant.

Are your expectations realistic? When we are "so ready" for a relationship, we tend to do what I call - fairy tale thinking. We paint everything with silvery paint and sprinkle glitter all about. Then, when it starts to fade and crumble - we get extremely angry that things didn't work out the way - our expectations dictated they should. This isn't fair to the other person and it's certainly not fair - to you. But, you have to recognize what you are doing - while you are doing it and want to stop it. Look at what your expectations really are. Are you wanting this person to "fix you" and to be your "everything"? If so, it won't work. You have to be a whole person before you can seek out - another whole person. And that's the only way a healthy relationship is built. If you are leaning into him or if he is leaning into you - look out. Things will eventually crumble from the imbalance. This person comes into your life with their own lives and you have to carefully view that and be aware of that at all times. They are not capable of being a fairy tale anything for you. And beware of the person that says they can do this. That's an old line and that's all it is. This is a charmer and a control freak in operation. They basically want you to just - be there for what they want from you and that's it. Make sure - you don't do this to a man, as well. Yes, we deserve to be treated well. But, we have to make sure - we aren't the ones abusing someone else by - our expectations. If we don't adhere to this - we will sabotage ourselves. The person in our life is not responsible for what others did to us.

Does he take an interest in your talents or hobbies? He doesn't have to "do it, too", but does he genuinely "appreciate" you in what interests you? So many times, I've seen the woman be the one that bends over backwards to support the man in his interests and to brag on him and be his cheerleader - but hey, that door should swing - both ways. And you don't need to settle for less. Whatever it is that you are good at and that you are really interested in - he should respect and appreciate you for it and give his support to you. I don't care if it's the fact that you do great "fingerprinting", he should support you in it and pay attention to what you do and how much you enjoy it. That's called - caring for the whole person, not just the parts that you want from them. Little acts of respect or disrespect in arenas like this - will tell you much about - how much they really do or do not - care. Doesn't do any good to nag about it either. Just consider yourself lucky to see it early on and consider it's weight - with much consideration when deciding to make it a long term relationship. That's what "dating" is all about. It's about learning these things - before - you jump. Not after. Make it - your business, because it's - your life and believe it or not - we don't have that many years to waste. And we certainly don't have that many pieces of our heart to give away either.

What is a healthy man? What does he look like? A healthy man will do a lot of the same things mentioned here - when looking at you! He will not try to charm you. Some charm is appropriate, but he won't slather you with it. He will spend the time it takes, in order to get to really get to know you. Sometimes, we think they aren't that interested in us because we might be used to trying too hard or getting all this phony attention up front. So, we have to get used to the fact that healthy men - aren't going to require us to perform for them or earn anything AND they aren't going to hit us with all this pomp and circumstance up front. Normal - might appear dull, but continue looking.... He will be a good listener and won't always have to pound his opinion in your head. He will have good boundaries and will maintain his friendships and outside interests while seeing you. He will consider you when it comes to going places and won't just always - take control. He'll ask you what you like and you need to be ready to tell him. He won't be all over you in a physical way, and this isn't a bad thing. You don't have to persuade him with your sexual side. He can be attracted to other realms of who you are, so please allow for this process to happen. He will only tell you things - when he means them and that may take a while to happen. It should take time. If you're used to a lot of things being said early - look back over your shoulder and tell yourself how many of those relationships - worked out? Sincere people - wait until they really mean it......then they say it. What's "real" takes time to grow. Two weeks - doesn't cut if. Surface B.S. is easy to whip out of the pocket and use. People are con-artists that do that. Don't be so easily flattered because - they do not mean it.

If you read through these things and realize that you have some areas that may need attention before you get caught up in another relationship, I encourage you to do just that. Take time out for yourself. Get to know - who you really are and what makes you happy. Learning to be alone with yourself and to truly "like you" and be at peace with yourself - may take some doing. But, one thing is for sure - if you do not do this - you will make the same mistakes over and over again in your relationships. Get some counseling and choose your therapist well. Check out some self-help books at the library and educate yourself. Get into a support group where you can learn and share with others. If you cannot learn to love yourself, no one else will be able to either. The road to self-sabotage is paved with people who do not listen to this wisdom. I wrote this because I deeply understand it's meaning. I've been there, done that, and I intimately know your heartache. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you well and hope that you choose to grow. It's work, but it's so worth it. We are such incredible women! We really are. We're tough little fighters, but we are also wonderful females. Celebrate that by putting your nose to the grindstone and persevering in this arena. A healthy relationship awaits you. They do exist and healthy men do exist. But, it's like anything else, if you're looking for quality - you have to be a smart shopper. And quality is rare. Know that ahead of time and accept nothing at face value. Happy Hunting! It's worth the effort. If we're going to expend the energy one way or another - we might as well spend it doing this, instead of tending to a broken heart.

February 5, 2003
5:33 pm
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Thank you so much Ladeska!!! You are truly admirable! Hugs to you!;)

February 5, 2003
5:40 pm
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You're welcome sweetheart. I've been there, done that and got the T-shirt, ya know?

February 7, 2003
8:24 am
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Thanks Ladeska!
I wish we could repost these as they are very difficult to read the way they showed up....I printed them off 14 pages...and unfortunately they are still hard to read because I copied them to notepad and it cut the words in half....

I know we all can benefit from this list in developing healthy relationships with anyone we choose, be it a friend or prospective ?

Do you have the magic to do this?

Also, Welcome back.
I really enjoy your postings 🙂

February 7, 2003
8:27 am
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Ladeska
5-Feb-03

This is for Crystaliis or anyone else having trouble staying straight in a relationship. Hope it helps someone!

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I have found it necessary for us, especially women of abuse, to follow a guideline when it comes to selecting that important man in our lives. I wrote this basically for them because that is my bag - I understand them. But even if you aren't an abuse victim - there are words of wisdom here for you, too. Just good common sense, the kind that you usually don't hear put quite this way. If we go on our compulsive nature alone and are driven by our feelings only, we oftentimes end up adrift or washed up on the shoreline. We keep saying over and over to ourselves - why have I done this again? Why do I draw the same men to me over and over again? Well, that takes a lot of therapy to arrive at these answers and I won't go into that here. But, what I will do is provide a framework that, if followed, can keep a woman in more of a "safe zone". It may feel very mechanical to have to submit yourself to following a guideline like this, but it's worthwhile if you don't want to make another mistake. What have you got to lose, you know? The way I figure it is, I will take all the help I can get! (smile) And if you fall down, just get up again and get back on track. The one who finishes a good race, is the one who doesn't quit. It's all about continually learning. We all get dirt on our faces from time to time. That's what makes us humans. And, dispel any belief about how wonderful everyone else's life is! Or that we are the only dysfunctional one on the planet. Um, wrong! We just have to be dedicated to really knowing ourselves and not being in a hurry - to do anything. That gets us in more trouble than anything else. Time is our friend. Waiting before we speak, before we act, and before we assume anything.

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Write down a list of what you absolutely want in a man. Then write down a list of things you absolutely don't want. Take much time to write both lists. The things you write down on both of these lists are non-negotiable items. So, go over them and make sure these are things that are important to you. For example, if you've dated men in the past who have had certain issues or traits that have broken up the relationship or contributed to it, then consider these things heavily. And spend just as much time writing down - what you want and not just the things you don't want. The whole point of this exercise is for you to realize - YOU are doing the choosing and that you have this right. You'll be surprised to see how much it helps to see this in print and to be able to read it from time to time and see what you are doing.

Also make two lists of positive and negative traits regarding the man that was abusive to you in the past as far as the incest goes. You will want to do this - especially if the person who abused you was your father. What you want to have before you at all times is an outline of what you might be drawn to in selecting a partner and what you need to stay away from. You might write things down like - he was a charmer, could be very outgoing and convincing - but it didn't last, had a bad temper, had a substance addiction of some kind, hated his mother, had a history of not treating the women in his life well, etc., etc. Try your best to assemble a list that will sketch this person out for you - on paper, so you can recognize what you are doing as you go along. You may add to this as time goes on, and you should. The more you are aware of what you're doing - the quicker you will have a healthy relationship. Because we are creatures of resolution, we will pick men that resemble the abuser in order to finally "fix" it. We then think we will win - by being the reason - they change for us. We think by doing this - we can finally "earn" their approval and love for us, or that we can make them pay somehow by doing a dysfunctional dance with us. This kind of "resolving" is like going back to what originally hurt you and asking for it again! It resolves nothing. So, whether we realize it or not - we are ending up with particular men in our lives - because we may be subconsciously "choosing them". By "projecting" someone else's identity onto this present person in our lives - we play a very dangerous game that resolves nothing. It only prolongs the pain we are in from the original abuse. The key here is - to be aware - who we are being drawn to and "why". Keep yourself in check. Learn how to parent yourself in this way. Blinders off, eyes open.

When you first meet a man, allow yourself to ask the question - is there mutual interest here OR am I so attracted to this man that I will "make" him have an interest in me? Try to steer away from situations like this. You don't need to put yourself in a position of having to earn anyone's interest or affections. This will only end in disaster. They need to be genuinely drawn to you, without you jumping through any hoops at all. Incest victims get into the mode of thinking they have to be earn the right to be in a man's life. Sounds weird, but we do it. The thing we have to keep ever before us is - we are the ones doing the "choosing". So, write yourself a note and stick it on your refrigerator, in the bathroom and in your car - if you have to - to remind yourself. We need to choose and go about the process decisively, looking at all the ingredients mentioned here. So, breathe......get your focus geared more toward what you are looking for, and not what you can "become" for them. You are not damaged goods and have a right to have the very best - that is tailor suited - just for you. Look deeper than just at the surface. And look beyond the infatuation, take note of the wonderful feelings, but learn to look at what's really there - in substance. This is the "training" you need to get under your belt in order to protect yourself. We may be wired to make wrong choices, but we can "unlearn" our compulsions and override them with - wisdom. Quick decisions lead to train wrecks. Go slow.........make them "court" you. We don't need to settle for anything less. You are worth it, so act like it! (smile)

When contact is made and a conversation begins with a man you're interested in, do not "tell all" about yourself in the first sitting. There may be a strong compulsion to do this, but try hard to refrain. Do a lot of listening and observing. Give yourself permission to ask questions of the other person, more than you volunteer very personal information about yourself. Some surface information is obviously okay, but not about your deepest hurts. Word to the wise here, do not give anyone that hasn't earned your trust - information about where your weaknesses are. Then they know precisely where to hurt you. And, it is "okay" if there are silences in your conversation. You don't need to try and fill them with chatter. Silences are not bad things, they can be very good and very helpful. Men enjoy mystery. You have to keep something in your bonnet....men are hunters by nature. They like the chase and the hunt. It's inborn and it's not a bad thing. It can be quite enjoyable for both! Just keep yourself in the position of - this person is being looked at "by you" and that you are in the position of sizing - them up. You need to stay more in this camp instead of worrying about how they are viewing you. Where mystery and allurement is present - they will follow. You are the one looking to see if this person is someone who meets the requirements on your two lists - BEFORE - you're heart gets too involved. Very important concept. Trust is earned and your personal information should be kept close to the vest for quite awhile. It is not necessary to give him the keys to your castle and innermost chambers right off the bat. Otherwise, you may be letting a wolf into the hen house, even though he is a cute wolf, who's charming and your hormones are raging....saying yes, yes.... Your brain needs to rule supreme or lessons will be presented in life - to learn once again and again and again - as the price of these lessons gets higher and higher. Time is always a very good friend.....back off, listen and learn and don't reveal yourself too quickly.

When you do go out on that first date, it would be wise if you do not know this person very well, to meet him somewhere. Do not have him pick you up at home It just gives you a layer of protection. You may find that you need to keep doing this for awhile until you actually feel comfortable with him picking you up at your home and knowing where you live. We tend to trust people too quickly and do not allow ourselves to "go through a process" of finding out what a person is about - first. If this person questions you about - why can't he come to the house or tries to pull a power move and says something like - "oh, that's crazy, you don't have to drive your car anywhere - just tell me where you live and let me pick you up"....major red flag and you should stand even firmer about not allowing this. We are not good at boundaries, but we need to learn - how to have boundaries and how to enforce them and not feel guilty about it. For all practical purposes - this person is a stranger to you and needs to be treated as such, especially because you have certain hurts and wounds. The last thing you need to do is - trust someone who is untrustworthy. If they do not respect these boundaries - they were never going to respect you in any way.

Watch how he treats you on the first date. Does he open doors for you? Is he sincerely attentive? Or is he overly flattering, concentrating largely on the physical aspects of you? Does he try to get into your personal space - too soon? Does he have a real two-way conversation with you? Does he listen to you as much as he talks to you and about himself? Is he constantly scanning the room and checking out other women? Monitor yourself as to how comfortable you feel with this person. Learn to listen to your radar and what your first impressions are. They are very important to you. Try not to override them, but bring them to the forefront and turn the volume up so you can really pay attention to it. Because of our abuse issues - our radar is often very damaged and that little voice is usually very small and frail. Nonetheless, it's usually right on the money, if we will listen to it. We are so used to accepting anything or trying to work with anything we get thrown. Almost as if we take it as a challenge of some sort to bypass all the warning lights and try and just - MAKE IT WORK, DAMMIT!! We don't have to do that. We can pick someone who doesn't set off the alarm system, at all or very rarely. It isn't necessary to run a marathon obstacle course in order to get what we deserve and need. Now if this is a new idea to you - please be with it. Let it all the way in, smell it, taste it, wallpaper your house with it and practice it!

Try very hard not to get hot and heavy in the physical dept. right off the bat. Especially with women who have been abused and taken advantage of in the sexual area early on, this would not be a wise thing for you to do. It may feel good and natural and all that, but it does put you in an extremely vulnerable position. It will cloud your perception of all the other things you need to be paying close attention to. You also need to "really feel" what's going on and not just do something because it "seems natural". So, what if it takes you longer to really - feel it. Don't overcompensate that characteristic with you - by pushing the envelope. You may just push it - over the edge and out of sight!

You may even go there and figure you shouldn't have and then back up. So, okay, back off, regroup, lay a boundary about it and go from there. There's nothing wrong with that. He needs to respect that and if he doesn't, don't waste your time. If you are going to give yourself in a physical way - it needs to be when you feel like you really know this person, and are able to really trust them with your heart. Otherwise, it will backfire on you, count on it. You'll feel the repercussions - first!

I firmly believe that when a physical union happens, there is an uncanny thing that takes place. I think the woman immediately leans into the man and the man leans over the woman. Think about that for a minute. It's a beautiful design. The woman, wants to be cared for immediately by the man and he feels protective and wanting to take care of her, too. Or at least, this is the way it should be when people's hearts are in the right place.

Your hearts become majorly engaged with the physical act whether we want it to or not. And with men, I don't care what they say, they respect you more, when you make them wait. Remember that they like the chase and the mystery. If that is satisfied so soon - then their interest in you may go - so soon, as well. And this - a particular hurt that is very expensive to you. It takes more out of your heart than you realize. When you keep a safe distance in this respect - you'd be surprised how much you can learn about a person, that otherwise, you'd be so wrapped up in the sexual - you'd never even notice. Sex should be an expression of love that has had proper time to grow, not the reason and basis for love. There is a big difference in lust and love. Love takes time. Be good to yourself here. Be your own - best friend.

Find out how long ago their last relationship was and how serious it was. Try to ascertain if they are over that relationship. Depending on how serious it was and what kind of break-up was involved - the time frame of space between them and you will vary. But, the proper amount of time needs to be there in order for them to truly be available for a new relationship of any kind. Otherwise, you are going to open yourself up to residual feelings from his last relationship and may even end up sharing him in a sense while he cleans up his dealings with this other woman. This is not a healthy beginning for a relationship and most do not survive such a strain in the long run. Look carefully - before you leap here. Be forewarned. I highly respect a man who takes the time to really do some purging and gets back into that space of being comfortable with himself and being alone for awhile. A very healthy thing for anyone to do, male or female.

It isn't necessary for you to have everything in common, but it is necessary that you have some very important places of common ground. These important things usually fall into the categories of lifestyle, age, morals/ethics, spiritual matters, intellect, family issues, and outside activities. Review these areas carefully with yourself as you're getting to know this person and if what appears is - you're coming from opposite ends of the spectrum on most or all of these - I'd think twice here about what you're getting into. Your "togetherness" should never be - all about his world or all about yours. You need to have a "blending" of who you both are. And what you are checking out in the beginning is - can there be a blending. When it's all one person yielding to the other person's persuasions, activities, thinking - there is a serious imbalance. Both people should show a sincere interest and respect for what the other person is about. There shouldn't be a lot of "tolerating" going on from either person.

What do you see in this man that makes him attractive to you besides the physical? Ask yourself the question and write down the answers. Keep looking at them as time goes on. Add to, or delete and see how the list changes as things develop. Be accountable to yourself in this way and be very honest. Writing this down - helps you to not do dysfunctional things. It brings things out into the light and out of the hypnotic state we so often get into during the beginning of a relationship.

Beware of the man who tells you that you are his everything! Anyone that tells another person that is putting a tremendous ball and chain around your neck, right off the bat. Then - guess what? You are so much - their everything - that you are also held responsible if this "perfect vision" they have in their heads - gets blurred for some reason. Scary situation. Been there. And it sounds - oh so wonderful! Don't get me wrong, I know how great it sounds. Boosts up your ego, strokes everything you've got and pumps you up! Well......the fall from that high pedestal - smarts. Basically, they are putting "your name" on the dotted line for being responsible for - how their life goes. And if something doesn't go well - then you're the one they blame. Do not EVER assume this position. It's one thing for someone to express how much you mean to them and to say that you "compliment" their life wonderfully. But, to early on state how your presence in their life just solves everything wrong with their life and they would die for you, can't make it without you, you're all they've ever dreamed of, etc., etc. - Look Out! It may feel good to supposedly be so important in their life. But, that "importance" can change very quickly and they usually become very demanding after time goes on. You won't be able to keep up and they will suck you dry. You both need to be able to stand on your own two feet and have a "completeness" all in yourself without anyone. Another person in your or his life needs to just enrich it more, not be the sole reason for someone else's existence. These people go through life - using people like toilet paper. They are good salesmen, but in the end - they take that pedestal apart a piece at a time and you with it. Not being able to live without you - might be a statement someone might make after years of marriage, not early on in a relationship.

Are you able to just "be alone" together and have quiet time? If you are going to have a long term relationship with someone - you'd better look at this one - early on. It shows how relaxed a person is with themselves and if they can be close to someone they care about - in this way. Being able to sit in silence with someone and not feel like you have to fill up that space with anything - is a very important attribute of a good relationship. Talking and activity are important things. But, so is quiet time. People who are emotionally healthy, don't feel threatened with quiet times. There are many ways of communicating with someone. Like when a person is hurt, trying to talk to them isn't always the answer. And definitely not - talking - at them! The best thing can be to just sit with them and respect their silence. They'll talk when they are ready. Sometimes, you have to earn your right to be close to someone by knowing when to shut up and just be with them. And it doesn't have to be a sexual interlude either. We can communicate on another level of intimacy. If you've never experienced this before, allow yourself to learn something new.

If you find yourself continuously wanting to preach to this man in your life about things they do that you don't like - you might as well run headlong into a brick wall and get it over with. Again, wanting this person to change for you down the road, or taking the position that you will just deal with these big differences - is putting yourself in the place of victim - all over again. And they shouldn't be in the position of clay that you need to mold either. That's not fair to them as well. That would be a bit of controlling on your part, right? It's interesting to observe sometimes - the deal we make with ourselves. Are we overlooking a lot of faults, making excuses for why they did whatever and centering in on this charming picture we've sketched of them in our heads? Are we really dealing in "reality" when we do this? No, we're not, but reality will come knocking sooner or later. So, it would be in our best interests to see the freight train before it hits us and jump off the tracks. If we choose a man that is already what we want, then we are ahead of the game.

There is a big difference between preaching and expressing your feelings about issues. You have to, have to, have to - express in an appropriate, non-inflammatory way - how you feel when things come up that bother you in some way. So, what I wrote in the previous paragraph above and this - are two different things and you need to really see that. One is wanting to change someone and the other is about - expressing yourself and not holding things in. One is attacking and the other is simply - stating how you "feel". What you want to see by stating your feelings - is how you are received? Does this person truly consider your feelings and discuss things in a non-combative way? Basically - does he give you respect? Or does he ignore what you said, say something that completely invalidates you and shuts you up. If you walk away feeling like you are just stuffing those feelings back down and not being heard, I'd take a step back. Maybe they were having a bad day, so try it again. However, don't keep making excuses. If this becomes a pattern - then it's obvious - your feelings don't matter. Arguments over this kind of thing - doesn't solve one thing. We'd be so much better off - to just see it for what it is and go the other direction. Again, don't try to brow beat this person or nag them until they change to suit you. Look at - what is - and make a decision that is good for you. This doesn't have to involve a process of quarreling and trying to get someone to understand something over and over again. No need to beat it to death or beat someone into submission about anything.

Watch a man's actions and don't pay so much attention to his words. Well, salesmen won't like me much for saying that one! Oh darn. This is a big concept that would help us greatly IF we'd really apply it in our lives. We are so vulnerable to con artists and charmers. Most abused women were abused initially by men who were very good in both these arenas. So, we are susceptible to being drawn to people like this initially. Fight like your life depended on it - to not dance with anyone who's words do not line up with their actions. And give yourself the time to see the pattern emerge. Listen to the nice words.......and then wait to see what life prints out. That would be - the real truth. If someone needs to tell you so much about how wonderful they are and how great they are in a relationship and how good they will be to you - me thinks they profess too much. The people that will really do all that - won't talk about it. They'll just - do it. And we need to be okay with - waiting for that to evolve over time. The reason these men who are charmers do this - is because it works! We fall for it! Just because a man doesn't go on and on like this - doesn't mean he's not worth his salt. It may mean - that he's not a phony! Sometimes, we might even feel like - we're bored with someone who isn't a charmer. This is something to be addressed in counseling because it will lead us into nothing but heartache. It is possible.... to arrive at a place of being able to "recognize a good man" - when you see one. We just have to be willing to learn what a good man - consists of.

Do they pay attention to the things that matter? Do they give to you emotionally in a way that is them going out of their way for you? Do they listen to the things you say and later let you know that they remembered? Or do they only go out of their way for you when they are trying to get you to do something - for them? Are you seeing them give to you in an unconditional way of - just because I care? If you do not see this kind of giving from them - you are on a one-way street. Look out for the mack truck, because it's coming. Don't assume they will care later down the road when they hurt you, because - they won't. Too many times we ignore the signals until it's too late. We do all the giving and the caring and they just charm us - when they need us. A charmer/abusive type personality is very good at letting the good times roll and then treating you like crap and on and on the cycle goes. We wonder what happened because we weren't in love with "who they really were", we were in love with "the fairy tale picture" we believed they were. Look at who they really are - early on and pay close attention. Do not do all the giving, all the calling, all the understanding and all the caring. They will disrespect you for it and they will use you up and suck you dry.

Does he have a life outside of you? Does he have a balanced life of outside interests, hobbies, sports, friends, family? He doesn't have to be in a whirlwind of activity or anything. But, just basically - does he have his own space that he retreats to - that doesn't include you? And do you have that going on in your life as well? You both need your time away from each other and it also shows you whether this man will be making you responsible for his happiness. No one needs to smother anyone. It might feel nice at first, but it can definitely wear on you. And can be a really good sign of someone who is very insecure and possessive/jealous. That might feel good to your ego at first, but it can get ugly on both sides of the fence. You both need your lives apart. And neither of you needs to tag along with the other one - while they do - their "other things". Once in awhile is fine, but not all the time. Let their be spaces between you. It's a good thing. Makes the "appreciation" for the relationship grow. No one needs to "grow" within a shadow of someone else. There will be no growth. Only suffocation of someone.

Does this man hate his mother or have some serious unresolved issues with his mother? If so, this is a serious warning sign to you. This will probably impact you more than anything I can think of. Men will sometimes not talk about this, but it's important that you find out what's what in this area. The way they feel towards their mother, if they haven't worked through a lot of things themselves - will end being in your court. Just like if you haven't worked out your issues regarding your father - you'll end up transferring a lot of stuff over onto him as well. If there has been dysfunction and this man is aware of what is mother is and can separate himself and other women from that equation - then give him a lot of credit for that. But, if he is still involved in a very unhealthy and angry relationship with his mother - I'd just tell you right straight up to get the heck away from him. It's one thing if he stays away from her because he just chooses to not be intertwined with chaos and trauma. And, has disconnected himself from her in a healthy way. It's another if he is still engaging to the point of being very mean to her and him allowing her to meddle in his life and keep this vicious cycle going. A lot of times men are involved in a passive aggressive way of dealing with a mother they have issues with, too. They just seem to needle each other back and forth without ever coming right out and being honest with each other. Whatever pattern of behavior you see here - know that it could be the same one you end up with him, as well.

What kind of relationships did he have with women in his past? It isn't necessary that he remain friends with all of his past relationships. Obviously, something wasn't right and didn't work out or he'd still be with them. It is good though, to see what the normal pattern was. You usually pick this up over time and can get a lot of information through other people when they mention things. Just observe and stick things in your bonnet. Did he try to work through their differences? Did he just feel like things weren't working and instead of breaking up - did he get involved with someone else before they broke up? How does he talk about these women now? Does he talk about them in a respectful way or in a way that says - everything was their fault? And do you see a pattern of him realizing his own mistakes and working on them? Do you see him repeating the same mistakes over and over again? What kind of women does he usually pick? Does he like to be "in control"?

Is he one of those men who remains friends with most of the women he's ever dated, and/or has a ton of female friends? I guess if this doesn't bother you, that's fine, but you do need to ask the question of how you feel about this. A lot of men do this in order to never have to go to a real level of intimacy with the woman they are with. They are so spread out with all these other women - they never seem to have the energy. And they also immensely enjoy the attention and being able to talk about it freely with you about going to a lunch with someone, or so and so called me and talked for two hours about needing some advice, or I'm going over to hang out with my ex-wife's family for a while because we are so close. Some of this in moderation wouldn't necessarily be a warning sign. But, a man who has a constant diet of this sort of thing wouldn't necessarily be right up there in the - I'm emotionally available category. And you'd have to constantly be caught up in - what's going on with this scene and what's going on with that scene. Personally, I think it's very disrespectful if a man is serious about a relationship to spend so much of his time on other women. Most men who do this, would never like it - if the shoe was on the other foot. I guess my question would be - why does a man want to stay intertwined with an "ex" in the first place? It's just good for you to ask yourself how you feel about it and if you can handle this trait? The men that I have dated like this - all had a serious need to have their ego stroked all the time. If they needed that much attention from other females when you met them, don't be surprised if they need that much attention during your relationship, as well. And, when it doesn't fly with you - the first thing out of their mouth is how jealous and insecure "you" are. When you get serious with someone - you need to feel like you're No. 1 and not one - of many. What you settle for - is what you get.

How does he problem solve? Does he procrastinate when there's a problem in his own life? Or does he face it head on, critically think it through, choose a solution, try it, if it doesn't work - go to Plan B? Is he a person of follow-through? Do you see this kind of exercise going on with him? Or does he just try and ignore it for awhile until things get into a critical stage and he's forced to do something? How does he deal with other people when there's conflict? Does he respect people and their views, however different from his own? Is he quick to anger, or is he slow to anger? Is his anger appropriate? Or does he react with a lot of anger to little things. And does he not go off like he needs to - when it's really called for? And most importantly, does he take responsibility for his own actions? Does he admit when he is wrong? The way he problem solves in his own life - will be the way he solves problems with you when they arise.

Are you able to disagree with him and feel relatively comfortable doing it? Can you banter back and forth in a constructive way that is respectful with each other? Do you believe that he is truly listening to your side and do you want to listen to his? Is there a good amount of give and take? Are there spaces in your debate, where you're both just being quiet and thinking about what's been said? Or, is there a lot of instant put-down's which eventually leads to - shut-down? Do you come away feeling like maybe you've learned something new or are at least trying to go there? When you tell him about something that concerns you, does he immediately try and fix it? Do you wish he'd just sit there and listen and really hear you? Do you come away from a disagreement thinking about the next way you can approach whatever issue and win? If it's about one-upmanship - good luck. Debating can be enjoyable, if it's done right. It's not about winning, it's about sharing opinions and being open to insight. None of us have - arrived. We can always learn something from any disagreement. A closed mind - never learns anything, except how to be a lonely tyrant.

Are your expectations realistic? When we are "so ready" for a relationship, we tend to do what I call - fairy tale thinking. We paint everything with silvery paint and sprinkle glitter all about. Then, when it starts to fade and crumble - we get extremely angry that things didn't work out the way - our expectations dictated they should. This isn't fair to the other person and it's certainly not fair - to you. But, you have to recognize what you are doing - while you are doing it and want to stop it. Look at what your expectations really are. Are you wanting this person to "fix you" and to be your "everything"? If so, it won't work. You have to be a whole person before you can seek out - another whole person. And that's the only way a healthy relationship is built. If you are leaning into him or if he is leaning into you - look out. Things will eventually crumble from the imbalance. This person comes into your life with their own lives and you have to carefully view that and be aware of that at all times. They are not capable of being a fairy tale anything for you. And beware of the person that says they can do this. That's an old line and that's all it is. This is a charmer and a control freak in operation. They basically want you to just - be there for what they want from you and that's it. Make sure - you don't do this to a man, as well. Yes, we deserve to be treated well. But, we have to make sure - we aren't the ones abusing someone else by - our expectations. If we don't adhere to this - we will sabotage ourselves. The person in our life is not responsible for what others did to us.

Does he take an interest in your talents or hobbies? He doesn't have to "do it, too", but does he genuinely "appreciate" you in what interests you? So many times, I've seen the woman be the one that bends over backwards to support the man in his interests and to brag on him and be his cheerleader - but hey, that door should swing - both ways. And you don't need to settle for less. Whatever it is that you are good at and that you are really interested in - he should respect and appreciate you for it and give his support to you. I don't care if it's the fact that you do great "fingerprinting", he should support you in it and pay attention to what you do and how much you enjoy it. That's called - caring for the whole person, not just the parts that you want from them. Little acts of respect or disrespect in arenas like this - will tell you much about - how much they really do or do not - care. Doesn't do any good to nag about it either. Just consider yourself lucky to see it early on and consider it's weight - with much consideration when deciding to make it a long term relationship. That's what "dating" is all about. It's about learning these things - before - you jump. Not after. Make it - your business, because it's - your life and believe it or not - we don't have that many years to waste. And we certainly don't have that many pieces of our heart to give away either.

What is a healthy man? What does he look like? A healthy man will do a lot of the same things mentioned here - when looking at you! He will not try to charm you. Some charm is appropriate, but he won't slather you with it. He will spend the time it takes, in order to get to really get to know you. Sometimes, we think they aren't that interested in us because we might be used to trying too hard or getting all this phony attention up front. So, we have to get used to the fact that healthy men - aren't going to require us to perform for them or earn anything AND they aren't going to hit us with all this pomp and circumstance up front. Normal - might appear dull, but continue looking.... He will be a good listener and won't always have to pound his opinion in your head. He will have good boundaries and will maintain his friendships and outside interests while seeing you. He will consider you when it comes to going places and won't just always - take control. He'll ask you what you like and you need to be ready to tell him. He won't be all over you in a physical way, and this isn't a bad thing. You don't have to persuade him with your sexual side. He can be attracted to other realms of who you are, so please allow for this process to happen. He will only tell you things - when he means them and that may take a while to happen. It should take time. If you're used to a lot of things being said early - look back over your shoulder and tell yourself how many of those relationships - worked out? Sincere people - wait until they really mean it......then they say it. What's "real" takes time to grow. Two weeks - doesn't cut if. Surface B.S. is easy to whip out of the pocket and use. People are con-artists that do that. Don't be so easily flattered because - they do not mean it.

If you read through these things and realize that you have some areas that may need attention before you get caught up in another relationship, I encourage you to do just that. Take time out for yourself. Get to know - who you really are and what makes you happy. Learning to be alone with yourself and to truly "like you" and be at peace with yourself - may take some doing. But, one thing is for sure - if you do not do this - you will make the same mistakes over and over again in your relationships. Get some counseling and choose your therapist well. Check out some self-help books at the library and educate yourself. Get into a support group where you can learn and share with others. If you cannot learn to love yourself, no one else will be able to either. The road to self-sabotage is paved with people who do not listen to this wisdom. I wrote this because I deeply understand it's meaning. I've been there, done that, and I intimately know your heartache. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you well and hope that you choose to grow. It's work, but it's so worth it. We are such incredible women! We really are. We're tough little fighters, but we are also wonderful females. Celebrate that by putting your nose to the grindstone and persevering in this arena. A healthy relationship awaits you. They do exist and healthy men do exist. But, it's like anything else, if you're looking for quality - you have to be a smart shopper. And quality is rare. Know that ahead of time and accept nothing at face value. Happy Hunting! It's worth the effort. If we're going to expend the energy one way or another - we might as well spend it doing this, instead of tending to a broken heart.

February 7, 2003
8:29 am
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I definitely don't possess the magic...it showed up the same....
can't fault me for trying and failing:)

Help SC

February 7, 2003
11:55 am
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mj

I had the same problem until I went up to "View" on the title bar and selected "Text size" and "smallest." It was pretty small but still legible -- then I had no problem.

Good day all!! 🙂

February 7, 2003
1:11 pm
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Hi MJ! I don't know why it does this. Whacky, huh? Maybe when you print it - highlight it first and then hit print and see how that does. I haven't tried that yet, but sometimes it works better.

February 7, 2003
7:22 pm
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Ladeska~
I printed this out for my friend. She could use this now...sometimes all I can just do is listen to her. I may give her advice and she doesn't listen to me. So I will give this to her to read. She broke up with her C.A. bf and is depressed...thinks she will be lonely the rest of her life...hates herself..etc.etc. This will help her. She needs this time for herself. She tells me she feels the need to call him..I said for what? so you can be the other woman that he is using too? And she tells me he wouldn't allow her to break up with him...I told her she can do anything she wants...he is not the one in control..she is of herself and feelings.

February 8, 2003
1:43 am
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Crystaliis...the things is - people do whatever they do because they get something from it. It may not be a good thing - but it's something they think they need nonetheless.

Usually what it is - falls along the lines of - it reinforces and affirms what they think and believe deep down they deserve. That could stem from the old root problem that they are trying to fix the old war with their father by trying to work it out with a person that will never be there for them. But the wounded child in them just won't believe that they can't make it right somehow, make them love them, be good enough and some people spend their entire life on this track.

It's just at some point we have to put away childish thinking and educate the adult so that the adult can help the child grow up and recover from those wounds.

Too many times we are led around by the nose by the child and our compulsions of yesterday. Some people can't get out of this pattern and others decide it's what they want and need to do. When decide "pro-you" - you do change the pattern.. It's that simple. Why? Because human willpower and the human spirit is stronger than anything that takes life from us. Why is that? Because what takes life - is basically dead already. But it needs to keep taking life from us and reinforcing the lie inside like it's feeding a cancer and what is alive and full of truth - isn't an active poison like that. It's really pretty simple. And the other thing is - we get all afraid of this journey and facing the truth - when in all reality - feeding the poison - takes way more out of us and demands more and more from us - every day.

February 9, 2003
6:15 pm
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I am going to sit down and write this list. Everything will be so much clearer if I have it all in front of me. My boundaries...what i want in a man..what i won't stand for...etc. Thanks for sharing this with us.

February 9, 2003
6:25 pm
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You're welcome. If you don't do this and establish this kind of thing with yourself - then you pretty much are left to making a split decision based on whim, or hormones or just being weak at the moment. If you write it out you can come home from a date and go okay........let's get back down to earth here - what am I doing? This way you can do a check on yourself as you go along and the more you refer back to this - the more it becomes natural instead of the compulsive need to do something destructive because you are following an old pattern.

February 9, 2003
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Trueeee that! I may look kind of silly but in the long run i will be well off. It definitely makes sense too...can't say you will find out a lot about the guy but I have this outlook that if I start seeing any type of red flags...like before I get emotionally involved...I am just going to cut it. I don't need to get all wrapped up with another jerk.

February 16, 2003
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i have now met a wonderful man who treats me better than my ex did you see he knows what i have gone through because he was the outcome of what his mum had to put up with

February 17, 2003
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Good deal Ginger! Do you care to share further?

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