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Red Flag??
May 25, 2004
3:04 pm
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rio
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I know this site is about co-dependency - that really is the reason I found it. I recognize my last relationship as being a co-dependent one, and I really, really want to learn how NOT to make the same mistakes in this new relationship. So far, so good.

However, right now I have a relationship question. I am hoping that you guys, in your combined and infinite wisdom, can help me out.

I truly do like this guy. We get along famously. We are compatible, he treats me with respect and care, I have a lot of respect for him... in short he seems to be a really good guy. We had the "talk" about where we stand, and I am fine with that. For his sake he needed to slow things down. However, I am very confused about the physical side of our relationship. I am extremely attracted to this man. In the beginning it was very apparent that he was equally attracted to me (physically). But then things slowed right down to a crawl, to the point that if I want anything more than a hug, I have to initiate it myself. He will reciprocate, but I am 98% of the time the initiator.

I did ask him about this. He was honest and told me that he can not seperate sex and relationships, and since he is not ready for a relationship, he felt the sex had to stop (we actually only had sex once). I actually respect him all the more for that. But I need to know if this is normal behaviour. We went camping this past weekend. Shared the tent, shared the blankets... and I must confess to attempting to initiate a little "something" (as I said, I am very attracted to this guy). Once again, he reciprocated... to the point that I was positive that we would sleep together, but then it just stopped... he said "it's kind of nice to just lie here" and no amount of coaxing from me was making him change his mind.

I admit to feeling a sense of rejection... I know he finds me attractive, but perhaps he is no longer attracted to me? Is it possible that I intimidate him? Any insight into this situation? Since I am completely anonymous on this board I would be willing to answer some questions if it meant that someone could help me out...

I don't know if I simply need to be patient with him... or if he is truly not interested or attracted to me... or if he has deeper, underlying issues with sex that I am unaware of. I didn't think it was possible for a guy to just "turn it off" like that...

May 25, 2004
3:50 pm
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Sam7
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Hi Rio,

I'm coda too, and I understand the need for affection and intimacy. I think it might be stronger in us than in people who aren't coda. But let me put this in a different perspective for you.

I dated a guy a few years ago. We had a warped, coda relationship. Here's an insight into my view of the sexual end of the relationship. (I'm just realizing this now. I thought he was great when we were together. Nice, caring etc.)

I had just recently gotten out of a long relationship. I didn't feel ready to be in another one. I told "Jim" this. He said he understood and then continued to pressure me. I gave in. (I know I'm responsible too. I liked the attention and him etc)He was having sexual problems. I explained that I needed some time and space and that I was feeling really pressured by him. He wanted me to be like the other women he had dated, which wasn't me. If I wasn't interested in sex, it wasn't because I was having problems. It was because he was unattractive, I didn't want to date him anymore but I didn't have the guts to admit it, I was using him, I was repressed, etc etc etc. He NEVER listened to me and he never respected me or what I had to say. The focus was always on his needs and his insecurities. He was 'really attracted to me' and he 'would try to get things started'.
You sound an awful lot like my ex.

THIS IS NOT OK. THIS IS ABUSE.

I don't know if this totally applies to your situaiton or not. But when someone manipulates you, pressures you, withdraws from you and/or disrespects your boundaries, they are trying to force you into doing something that you don't want to do. If you truly care for someone else, you listen to what they have to say and respect it. If your bf says he doesn't want sex and he's got some issues to work on, you need to respect that. You need to trust him. You pressuring him and trying to initiate things when he doesn't want it is pressure and disrespectful. In my case, I don't think Jim's intentions were bad. I think they were good, he was just so insecure and had so many problems himself, he was unable to be supportive and respectful. I was also at fault for not recognizing this and leaving the situation sooner.

But the truth? My feelings are changing as I deal with different things, but here's where I am at:

I feel like I have been sexually and emotionally abused by this man. I hate him. I am disgusted with him. I don't respect him. And I am furious. I don't know if that's fair, but it is how I feel. If he had truly cared for me, he would have taken things slow and given me the time to work out the things I needed to work out and he would have talked to me abut his problems rather than simply trying to satisfy his own needs. He was a self-absorbed bastard.

I know that when I was in that situation, I was feeling guilty and obligated and ashamed. I felt like I should be crazy for sex and that I should be unselfish and satisfy the needs of my partner. That I was being immature by not being able to deal with it. And this was horribly compounded by the fact that when i did speak up, I wasn't heard.

I know I sound really angry cause I am. That anger is in no way directed at you. I just want you to be aware of what happened with me and how I'm looking at it. I know Jim doesn't see it this way. He has apologized to me, but I don't think he fully understands or is able to really respect someone else's needs or feelings. If this is a really great guy, you need to be honest about how you feel and what you need and what's going on with you. Hopefully, you guys can reach some place where you're both comfortable.

Also, FYI, I am currently in a relationship with an amazing guy. I do have problems sexually and I have talked to him about it. He has NEVER pressured me. He has never tried to get something going after I have made it clear that I am not in the mood. He respects how I feel and what I have to say and doesn't push my lines. He waits for me to be comfortable and for me to initiate stuff. He has learned my signals, so I don't have to make an announcement all the time. I've made it clear that the problem isn't with him, it's with me. He believes me. It's taken hard work to get to this point, but I am really comfortable with him and as a result, I am more interested in sex and I am more willing to take steps to heal myself. And he wants to help. It's amazing, and exactly what I need from a partner.

Food for thought. Good luck!

May 25, 2004
3:53 pm
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Sam7
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One more thing...to me, "coaxing"= inappropriate pressure. When a girl says "no" that's it, things should stop. Same thing for a guy. No is no and should be respected.

May 25, 2004
4:00 pm
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Sam7
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I lied. Two more things.:-)

His problems are HIS problems. They don't necessarily have ANYTHING to do with you, unless you continue to force the issue. Most people live in a me-centered universe, so they automatically assume the problem is with them. Usually the problems they think up are problems that they themselves have, or things that they are worried about. For example, you are worried that he thinks you're unattractive because you don't feel attractive. You are therefore trying to feel attractive by getting him to behave in a way that fulfill that need in you, regardless of what his needs are. (I'm no saint...I've done this too).

That's my take on the situation. Don't know if it's right or wrong. Only you can answer that. But be careful. I don't think you want your current bf to feel about you the way I feel about my ex. I really hope you guys can work this out.

May 25, 2004
4:04 pm
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rio
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Wow... Sam7... not at all what I was expecting by way of a repsonse... but THANK YOU!

You are right. I was completely pressuring him. And you are right, that is completely unfair of me. He did not ever come right out and say "no", but his actions clearly implied that things had gone as far as he wanted them to.

So Sam, where should I go from here? Do I continue to pursue a dating relationship with this person, hoping that he will eventually be able to turn it into a physical one? I know myself well enough to know that I will not be happy without a significant physical component to the relationship. I realize that I am turning this back on myself again, but it is still important to me to be happy in the relationship.

As I said before, I really do like this guy. I see potential for a more serious relationship down the road. If patience is what he needs, than I will do my utmost to give it to him. But should I ask him? Would he perceive it as pressure if I were to initiate a discussion about this? Perhaps he is simply not a physically affectionate person?

I have very limited experience with relationships. I have been involved with only one other person, for four years, and the sex with him was a given - if I was willing, so was he. Guaranteed. I have never been in a situation like this before, and I care about this guy enough to want to do what is right for him... I am just confused as to what that is right now.

May 25, 2004
4:15 pm
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rio
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Sam7 - I am also not sure if this guy truly does have "problems". I know he views sex as something special - at least, that is what I take from the fact that he has only ever had sex with a woman he was in a relationship with (his girlfriend). We are most certainly dating... the relationship to this point is very sterotypical (in a good way) of a budding romance... minus the physcial affection. Simply put, I am confused. I have made it more than clear that I am interested in a physcial relationship, he has made it more than clear that he is not (at this point). Do I wait to see if that changes? Stick around at the risk of developing feelings only to find out that he is incapable of meeting my needs... or do I get out now and chalk it up to experience. The LAST thing I want to do, however, is hurt him.

May 25, 2004
4:21 pm
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fairy99
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rio

Sometimes it takes time for things to progress and the attraction you have is normal. What do you have to loose by just going at the pace he wants to? If you don't take that chance you may never know. If you feel you have invested time enough to be physical and he still isn't ready, talk to him and tell him how you fell at that point. You'll know where you stand if he is as honest as you say he is.

May 25, 2004
4:22 pm
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curly
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I had a guy once who was all over me sexually to get me hooked. it was all romance and glorious days in bed in an idllyic setting - his family cottage...lot's of attention and lots of fun. As soon as he knew he had me, it was all on his terms. He used sex as a weapon (withholding) or to use me (he wanted it) or to manipulate me (if he thought I might want to pull away, he reeel me back in). It was all cat and mouse and he was the cat. In the end I realized how truly mean, cold and emotionally abusive he was, I should have clued in to how he treated his mother. He was so belittling and mean to her. When I told her what he was like, the cat and mouse part, she said, "I had no idea he was so much like his father." So he was hurt in love before and had thick walls and said he loved me and his last girlfriend tried to control him or was jealous and demanding so he got rid of her...all these comments are about control. For someone with weak self-identity, poor self-worth and codependent to the max, I was out of my league. If I do this he'll reward me with making love to me...paying attention to me...it was always going to happen later...after I staine the boathouse maybe...HA! What a misogynist he was. He still is from what I have heard through the grapevine. I compared notes with a girlfriend several years previous to me with whom I had been friends. Man could we identify. She said she broke it off when she met his father and she saw the BF as an older man and literally headed for the hills, the foothills of Alberta. Ah to know what I know now...but then again, I am in a relationship with a guy who talks about sex and making love - all talk, no action. I tell myself it's because he is usually drunk, half-drunk, or hung-over and tired. Am I kidding myself?
If you are going to play cat and mouse, be the cat. I know it's game playing but if your stomach can take it, try being unavailable sexually to him and see what happens. If you lose interest in the sex part and he all of a sudden is truning on the sexual charm, he's a cold-hearted manipulator. Drop him cold. If you stay with him, you'll have no self-esteem. You are the judge of how sexy and beautiful you are, not him (or anyone else for that matter). Take care.

May 25, 2004
5:55 pm
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Sam7
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I'm really glad you found that helpful. I would love it if someone benefitted from my experiences!

From my point of view, I would have absolutely LOVED it if Jim and I had been able to sit down and have frank and honest discussion. (I don't know if i would have been able to do it at the time) I have learned how to do this with my current bf, and it's amazing. So much better than sex, believe it or not. The security and trust and comfort are amazing, and when we do have sex, it's open and loving and incredible. We aren't embarrassed or self-conscious or worried. We can just be in the moment. We still have a lot to learn about each other, but I think we're really going to enjoy the learning process.

I think that initiating a discussion does not qualify as pressure. I think it's a wonderful way to build trust and honesty between the two of you. I'm learning that the best way to do this is by using "I statements" and using a "pass the butter" voice. State how you feel honestly and calmly. Do not be accusatory. For example, you could say something like:

I really enjoy physical intimacy and closeness and it's something I really value in a relationship. I know that you have said that you aren't ready for a relationship right now, and that means you want to limit the physical intimacy. However, I feel really rejected and insecure when you aren't interested in sex and I start to wonder if you still find me attractive. Could we talk about this? A better understanding of what's happening with you would make me feel more secure and would make it easier for me to be considerate of your needs.

Basically just imagine how you would feel if someone said that to you. If you aren't offended or pressured etc, then odds are the other person will be ok with it too. No guarantees though.

There's no reason for you to feel bad or guilty about how you feel. If you like sex and think it's really important, that's fine. But you need to be honest about it and not try to get what you want in a negative way.

I'm guessing that you will have to be patient and that you won't get the responses you would like as soon as you would like. You may never get them. It could take months or years. I know it's been slow going with me and my current bf. But there are other ways of intimacy that aren't intercourse that also feel great and make you feel close. But also be honest with yourself and with him. You need what you need.And being patient with someone is really tough.

I can't guarantee any results, but in my experience, this is the best way to go. Be honest with him and with yourself. If he can do the same, then I think things will be really positive. But sometimes, no matter what you do, the other person just isn't open to communication. And it's definitely a two way street, otherwise it doesn't work.But take a leap. Trust him with how you feel and be honest. And also think about how much you're willing to sacrifice to make this work and how patient you can be. Don't pretend to be something that you're not. And I think that if he's been honest with you so far, you've got a good base to work from. But the biggest thing is that you both follow through on any agreements that are made. If you agree not to pressure him, then don't, no matter how horny or frustrated or insecure you are feeling. Just let it lie and let him build confidence and trust in you. Treat him the way you'd want to be treated if the situation were reversed. And don't play games. Games just destroy trust and they are a recipe for disaster in my opinon. One more thing and then I'll shut up. With my current bf, I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere. We have the rest of our lives, and I'm loving the trip. I'd rather stop and smell the roses than rush right by them and miss them altogether. Let me know how it goes!

May 25, 2004
7:58 pm
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rio
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Thank you all for your insightful responses - they are all so helpful.

Sam, I really must say thank you for taking the time to write such a lengthy and well thought out post. I really, really appreciate it. I do have such a tendency to rush things. I feel such a need to know NOW where we are, how he feels, how I feel, where this is going, etc. etc. For the most part I am able to quell the urge to pester him with these questions, but this is just such a new situation for me.

If he were truly not interested in me, then he would not treat me the way he does. So many little things - from taking the initiative of paying for my dinner, to waiting for me when everyone else has gone up ahead, to putting his arm around me in public... these things are small, I know, but they are certainly not the actions of a man who is only seeking friendship. If he had decided by this point that he was not interested, he has had ample time to break it off.

I have tossed around the idea that perhaps he actually sees something here, something that could be built into a solid relationship, and wants to make sure we do it right, which translates to moving slowly. Perhaps is afraid/unaware of my integrity and intentions and is merely protecting himself. All of these are very good reasons to take it slowly and be patient, and hope that the cards all fall into place.

I guess my need for physical closeness is, in part, a way of me protecting myself. If he will sleep with me, then I am assured of my lovability... rather warped way of thinking, I guess.

And.. then there's the basic chemistry. I feel some serious sexual tension when I am with him. I have never felt that before, and I would really, really like to enjoy it. But I suppose it's not going anywhere... no harm in waiting a little while longer. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am going to try and follow your advice Sam and fairy99 - commit to not pressuring him for any physical intimacy for a few more weeks, perhaps a month. If things haven't changed, then I will initiate a discussion. Perhaps I will discover that we are seeking two entirely different things from a relationship, perhaps I will discover that we are not suited. But I will give him some time before I do that.

Thank you again. ๐Ÿ™‚

May 25, 2004
8:53 pm
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annastar
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First of all- men will pressure women to have sex and I believe- it is a big deference between how men and women feel about it. I think- women aften get in relationships where they are not attracted to man, but want friendship, wile men think- โ€œI will give you friendship, when I get my sexโ€. Women afraid- she will have to do it all the time with this man. Now- men afraid- woman will think- now she has rights on him. They afraid- woman will call them, cry, demand some thing, just because she gives him what he wants, or- in worse case- fell in love with him and became needy. Men will not spend time with women if they not attracted to her. I sure have some questions about him:

How old is the guy?

What kind of relationships he had before you?

What plans he has for future?

Is it any physical problems ( STD, HIV, Hepatitis C, Herpes, erecting problems)

How he feels about having children?

He may worry- you are about to be in love with him and wants to see how you going to handle it. I would also try to find out if he seeing some one else or having other commitments. For now- I would not show much sexual interest in him and I am not really believing in discussion about it. I agree with what Curly says on it.

May 25, 2004
9:23 pm
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rio
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annastar... I think that you raise some good questions, and in answering them for myself, I think it truly drives home even more what Sam is saying - that it will pay off to be patient and take things slow.

- This man is 27 years old.

- His last relationship ended about 8 months ago (same time my last one did) and it was about 7 months in duration. They were also very serious... until she developed mental health issues. He stood by her, even through periods of hospitalization, but was eventually told by a therapist (perhaps a psychologist?) that he needed to end the relationship so that she could get well. I believe she was manic-depressive (bi-polar? I am unfamiliar with the proper terminology). I know that this took an incredible toll on him, even forcing him to take a leave of absence from his high stress job so that he didn't jeopardize his own mental health. There were suicide attempts as well... I just know from what little he has told me that it was a terrible situation. He has told me that he has moved on completely from that relationship, but I am sure it has left some scars.

- His immediate plans for the future are to travel... after which he is hoping to settle down.

- No physical problems that I am aware of - definitely no erectile dysfunction.

- Children are something he sees in his future, though there are many things he wants to do first - such as travelling and working on his career for a while.

- I am 99% positive that he is not seeing anyone else. From what I can see he is a very, very honest and upstanding person, and he has made it clear that he is only interested in dating me, and if that were to change he would tell me. I believe him.

I see your points curly and annastar, I just can't bring myself to be that pessimistic about the situation. Maybe I am being naieve, but I want to believe that he simplyn needs time and patience. Maybe he is still battling the wounds of his previous relationship, maybe he is not ready to become embroiled in such heavy duty emotion again (actually, he has basically told me this). He obviously feels there is a strong connection between sex and a healthy, happy relationship... this concept is so unfamiliar to me. I truly didn't believe there were men out there like that. Even if I am wrong... I really feel as if I should give him the benefit of the doubt and believe he is a good, honest man, with integrity and only good intentions.

May 25, 2004
9:42 pm
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Sam7
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You're welcome Rio!

Although it really helps me to get that off my chest and organized. It's really had a bad effect on me and I'm trying hard to deal with it and to become a whole, healed person. I want my choices to be based on what I want, not what I'm afraid of. Which means I have to stop being afraid. Easier said than done.

I think it's great that you're going to try and be patient, but I think that if you need to talk to him, then talk. There is no point in you creating a sense of resentment by not having YOUR needs met. You're right. You do deserve to be happy and you're needs are important too. And it's hard to be patient with someone when you're confused and insecure. Perhaps talking sooner rather than later would be better? Use your judgement. I'm not in the relationship, so I don't know. But make sure you are taking care of you too! It's a tricky balance...good luck! I'm still working on it myself.

And if you do want to ask me anything, feel free. I feel the same as you. It's an open, anonymous forum, and talking is really therapeutic for me. Let me know how it goes!

May 25, 2004
9:53 pm
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Sam7
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Me again!

I can relate to this guy (a bunch of the posts came up while I was typing). I'm guessing he's hurting, scared, confused and just needing some time to heal. Hopefully he's realized that you can't really be anything to anyone until you're whole yourself, and he's taking the time to do that before committing to you. Men are people too! Give him time. Probably lots of it. But it'll be worth it. It doesn't sound like it has anything to do with you!

May 25, 2004
10:09 pm
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rio
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I imagine I will be seeking out your advice again Sam. Thank you for the offer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I do know that relationships, and even potential relationships, require work and compromise. At this point he is meeting all of my needs except for the physical part. And I have decided that for now I can compromise on that. Yes, it'll be kind of tough, especially when hormones and stuff get in the way, but I'll figure out a way to deal... and hopefully it'll be sooner rather than later that he decides to either end it or take the next step. If the time starts ticking too long for me, I won't be afraid to take things into my own hands and initiate another discussion.

It is funny how when you take a step back you can truly see the bigger picture. This guy - he has shown me precisely where I went wrong in my last relationship. Without knowing he led me to discover my tendency towards being co-dependent, and he is helping me to work on it. He is proving to me that there are men out there who can be faithful and not cheat, and be grown up and responsible but still be fun... he is basically re-affirming my faith in the male gender; no small feat as it was pretty seriously damaged. All of this he has done for me in two short months, without even a clue that he has done it. I guess I owe him a little bit of patience. ๐Ÿ™‚

May 25, 2004
10:43 pm
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annastar
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I would also add- donโ€™t take relationships too serious. Being good man is not such a grate accomplishment so you must feel- you owe him some thing. You are cool girl- commitment comes with opportunity to be with you. Hold your price! I know it is pleasant and make you feel like a good person, but do not get in to โ€œjoyโ€ of feeling sorry for him. With your codependent pass, it easy to became caregiver. I would also say- sure- give him time, but do not be too cheesy with him. He must be able to have sex. What ever he had on a pass is not your problem- what ever he had with other girl- you are healthy woman and want to have healthy man with you- not some one with issues. I am sure- he is honest person and would not doubt it, but- do not take too seriously what he telling you- men can tell you a stories- you just need to be able to read between the lines. Also- what you mean- he planning to travel? For how long? Few weeks? Few years? Does he planning to move away any time soon? Where is his family? What does it means โ€œworking on his career?โ€ What place in his life would be given to you? What his view of family and when he planning to start one? This would be nice things to know about him, but also- it nice to know same about you. What is your life plans is even more important.

May 26, 2004
2:35 am
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dree
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Is he Christian?

May 28, 2004
3:31 pm
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Sam7
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Feel free to contact me anytime Rio. I'm on the site kinda sporadically, so I may not reply right away, but if you want to, feel free to ask!

May 28, 2004
3:54 pm
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rio
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Thank you Sam ๐Ÿ™‚ I am just going with the flow for now... focusing on my own life, trying not to think about him overly much. It will all work out however it is meant to in the end, I am sure... But the more I think about it, the more confused I get, so I've decided to turn the old brain off for a little while.

Thank you though, your support is very much appreciated. If I can return the favour in some way, please let me know.

May 28, 2004
5:18 pm
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rio-
It was nice when you said "he is reaffirming my faith in the male gender"... that statement says a lot. And how unique he is! No need to be pessimistic... you are being careful and analytic and that's good. It's not like you're being a fool. In the beginning there are endless mysteries... it sounds like your guy just wants to let them unfold slowly... you will have to do the same... but that's what makes the magic isn't it?
Glad you are "going with the flow." They gave you a lot of good words here. I think it's okay to be happy about this one, right?:)
-ella

May 29, 2004
11:44 pm
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rio
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Thank you ella. ๐Ÿ™‚ He IS unique... he has so many good qualities that I really like about him. Very upstanding character, an incredible work ethic... great family values. Ironically the work ethic is most likely what is causing me the angst. He works ALL the time. But... that is one way of forcing things to remain slow for a little while, and of forcing me to retain my own independence. There is good to be found in everything.

I suppose, deep down in there somewhere, there is some kind of disfunction in my head or my heart that says I'm not supposed to be happy in a relationship. I am quite sure this stems back to issues from growing up - my father left when I was 16 and I haven't seen or spoken to him in over 10 years. But I am going to just enjoy this ride for what it is worth. Just be happy with this guy, because truly he has given me no reason to doubt his integrity. Just my mind playing tricks on me.

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