What to Do When a Request is Ignored?

GalaGirl

Well-known member
"...you can also express that in this instance her choice not to share this position makes you feel sad or inadequate, like there's something wrong with you specifically, since she's willing with someone else. "

So, a big issue is that I feel like I actually CAN'T express this. It's my truth, but as soon as I say it, as a man, to a woman, in a patriarchal culture, I'm oppressing her and pressuring her.

If you need help with how to phrase it? Perhaps keeping it simple and more I-statements? Something like...

" My feelings of adequacy and self worth are connected to our shared sex life. I know that you don't owe me sex or anything like that. It's not about the sex itself. It's about my thinking about sex.

When our sex life is _____, I automatically think things like you don't love me. Then I feel sad/bad. I'm trying to work on that line of thinking so things improve because I've come to realize it's wonky in some places.

That's where I'm at with it right now. Please be patient while I'm sorting things out in my head and waiting for my counseling appointment. "​

Or however it is you want to frame it.

Then it's just an update on where you are at right now and not anything oppressive or pressuring.

You ARE doing a lot of great things -- seeking counseling, sorting our some of your thoughts, examining core beliefs, etc even while processing pain. So don't lose sight of that progress while it's tough right now.

Of all the things you have written, trying to take it more "middle path" and not "all or nothing" is what might help you navigate all this best.

Hang in there.
Galagirl
 
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Arius

New member
If she's concerned that giving you a reason will lead to more arguments and heavy conversations that she doesn't have spoons for, this may be why she's reluctant to give you one.
...if she's at all unsure about how you'll react (and she has no spoons to deal with a "bad" reaction), giving no answer may feel like the "best" answer to her.

Edit: It may be worth asking her what kind of reaction she'd prefer to see from you if she did decide to give you a reason.

That's fair. I mean, I think I can understand why she might not want to give me an answer. Again, I'm not saying she SHOULD give me an answer, I'm saying that I don't know how to move on or get past this without one.

Honestly, I probably don't WANT the answer. She has a history of giving me answers that are EVEN WORSE than the worst-case scenario I was imagining. And I have OCD, so that stuff is just in my brain forever now and I have to ever be vigilant to prevent it from popping up as vividly as the first time she said it.

I just feel stuck in this loop of not-knowing and feeling bitter about it. I might still feel bitter about it if I knew. I might even feel worse.

I've basically made up an answer for myself - that she will do anything for him because of their kink dynamic, and won't do much for me because my need for her makes her peg me as a submissive. (Even though I'd rather not play the dom/sub game altogether, i'm basically forced into it by her tendency to view everything through that lens.)

I don't know if this is the answer, but having one makes me feel better. And I can live with this answer, even though it really badly hurts my heart if I let myself think about it too much.

It would be easier if I *chose* to be submissive, instead of just having her shove me in that box because of some personality defect stemming from my emotionally abusive upbringing. But them's the breaks. My plan is to keep working on that part of myself. Not for her, but because I want to grow that way.

Thanks for helping me work this part out.
 

Arius

New member
Of all the things you have written, trying to take it more "middle path" and not "all or nothing" is what might help you navigate all this best.

I'm not sure what you mean by "middle path." Can you say more about that?

I appreciate you taking the time to give me communication samples. I did already communicate all those things to her, in language similar to yours. So I guess there IS a way to say it without being too oppressive. I just didn't think of that when I was writing that comment about there not being a way to express myself without being oppressive. It's been a long, exhausting week.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Sure. It was from post #51 in this thread.

Arius said:
"I do think there is something about what you're saying that reminds me of another insight I had a while back, when I finally started to understand the Eastern philosophical concept of trying without trying. There's sort of a medium, optimal amount of effort; not too much, or you psych yourself out, over-focus, and screw up, but not too little either, otherwise you lose all motivation and nothing gets done. It's not about Not Trying at all and just blowing around wherever the winds of fate push you, it's about heading off in a direction and then not worrying about getting there within a particular time-frame."

The "middle" path. Not too much. Not too little.

I think it could apply here in the sense of -- do what you can for now. All the good things you are doing already -- making counseling appointment, thinking, reading, working on your stuff, more mindful with the conversation starters, etc.

But know this is not a 1 or 2 days solver. It will take some time. And your whole life cannot be THIS stuff.

"Regular life stuff" also has to happen -- work, making dinner, laundry, date nights with her, etc. So I was suggesting you could approach it with the "middle path" mindset.

You do some work on this stuff. Once a week for an hour or two, or twice a week or whatever pattern the counselor says is reasonable and doable.
And then the rest of the time? You do "regular life" stuff. So it's balanced living even while working things out.

You don't overfocus or psych yourself out by overdoing it. But at the same time, you make consistent small installment efforts so things do get done.

Galagirl
 
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River

New member
I've been watching a lot of videos by Mooji and Ask A Monk on non-attachment in sexual + romantic relationships. The videos are very helpful,

I don't know much about this Mooji person, but I will say that I was always a bit skeptical about gurus of every stripe, and now I'm even more so. I have no attraction to those who set themselves up as gurus. There are some good teachers of "spiritual" and psychological wisdom, but these generally take care not to appear at all like a guru. They will appear very ordinary -- and in most respects they are. But they have an unusual degree of self-development.

Those who are set up as gurus almost always enjoy having a person's idealized self image, or idealized parent image, projected upon them. Often with catastrophic results!

A good spiritual teacher not only doesn't enjoy this but very gently and perpetually acts to avoid its arising. A good spiritual teacher will help the student to learn and grow without seeming to be Way Above and Way Better than the student. The teacher and student will occupy the same plane together, without one being up on the mountain top and the other down in the valley. A good spiritual teacher may not even accept the role of "spiritual teacher" at all, and will simply be a friend.

Be cautious of gurus.

... and I'm hoping some tweaks to my daily meditation practice will allow me to not need love, warmth, kindness, etc, from others so much.

Folks in this forum thread (even you at times) seemed to me to pay overly much attention to the part of your story which focuses on a particular sex act, or position, and too little attention to the general pattern of relating you describe with your partner. In particular, I have in mind the pattern you describe in which she seldom offers empathetic responses to you. I think this is more likely at the core of your challenge -- this basic trend in which you want to be treated with empathy, warmth, kindness and you're not getting what you want or need here.

Now you've just said you're wanting to change so you don't need this kind or quality of relating so much. But why? So it isn't so painful when you're not experiencing empathy, etc.? This concerns me, because I think it is a perfectly healthy and natural desire and need. I think it is good that you want to be treated in this way, not bad, not something to be gotten rid of as if you are a problem for having this frustrated desire or need. (I tend to think of empathic rapport as a basic and universal human psychological need, and not merely a personal desire.)

I do not subscribe to the "philosophy" which makes desire into a bad thing, a problem to be solved. (This is a problem I have with certain takes on certain schools of Buddhism, for example.) Desire, to me, is human. And to be a human and not to want to be a human is a very serious problem! So I think we should make friends with all of our basic human needs ... and embrace desire, generally. If our particular desires are causing ourselves and others a lot of trouble, we should examine these particular desires and see if we can make adjustments (a whole other topic -- the how of that). In my opinion, usually only narrowly selfish desires are ever problematic. That is, desires which only take our own wants into account while disregarding others. These are the desires we may need to treat as "weeds" in our garden, because pursuit of such desires ultimately harm both others and ourselves.

Anyway, I think of your desire / need to have intimate connection and empathic rapport as the simple recognition of a very basic human need. If you're not getting that with your partner, you may have to go elsewhere to have it. But most importantly, I think, you need to believe that you are worthy of that kind of relational experience. If you doubt you are worthy of it, when you're not having that experience your very desire for it may seem to you to be the root of the problem -- which is what you have just said you have done with it.

A lot of the "Eastern traditions" of spirituality, religion, philosophy... (and it's not just in the
East!) tend to strongly emphasize "Transcendence" with a capital T. Pursuit of such Transcendence almost always results in spiritual bypassing.

Also common in "spiritual circles" is the tendency to get caught up in pursuit of what psychologists call an "idealized self-image". The idealized self-image is a picture of the sort of person we think we ought to be, by which we make comparisons with the sort of person we really are. The gap can be particularly big and painful if we don't basically accept and appreciate ourselves as we are. And the idealized self-image can stand as a kind of accusation about how "terrible" and "unworthy" we are. This gap becomes all the wider and more problematic when our idealized self image is the portrait of a person without needs, desires, wants ... a person who floats in the clouds above everything in some shaky and inhuman form of capital T Transcendence. In this situation, our very humanness itself is an accusation of unworthiness, insufficiency, inadequacy. Under this spell we can only be miserable -- or phoney, fake, self-deluded. To be human is to have needs and wants, etc. It is also to be "imperfect". (Or perfectly imperfect.)

I'm not saying this as one who holds no respect for so-called "spirituality". But I've come to believe in merely human lower case t transcendence (and 'spirituality'), and it is perfectly human. It does not divide us on an axis of "horizontal" and "vertical". Capital T transcendence does. It insists that only vertical "rising above" is good and necessary. So the poor human's actual needs can be neglected in pursuit of such "Liberation". But a human life happens with our feet on the ground, in the real world (not above and beyond it).

However, I am concerned that I will basically have to achieve enlightenment in order to be able to function in this relationship. Her and I are so different in so many ways.

It's not really about her. This is what FallenAngelina was saying, and I'm echoing it. You're dramatizing (acting out) something with her which is really about you. It isn't really about that sexual act thing. It's about your need to be treated with compassion and empathy. Actually, to be in relationship characterized by mutual compassion and empathy. (It can only be mutual if both parties are capable of it and doing it.) That sexual act thing wouldn't bother you so much if you had awesome, empathetic and compassionate rapport with both yourself and your partner. It would be a nothingburger. No big deal. It hurt so much because she did not respond in a way that expressed empathetic understanding -- and because (as you said) she rarely does respond to anything you say in such a way. Unless that's not true, then you're not in the sort of relationship you need and want. And the way to get to what you want is not to sever that longing, cut it out as if it were some cancerous growth. You would have, instead, to honor that longing and need / desire, embrace it, accept it.... If your meditation practice takes you away from this desire, it's NOT meditation, as I practice it. It's, instead, a delusional avoidance and a form of spiritual bypassing.

I want to encourage you to embrace and love your humanness. I want to encourage you to give yourself the kindness and empathy and compassion you need and deserve. To the extent that you can do this with yourself you will find that you can do it with others. And this will make the kind of relationship you truly desire very likely to arise in your life.
 
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Arius

New member
Be cautious of gurus.

Now you've just said you're wanting to change so you don't need this kind or quality of relating so much. But why? So it isn't so painful when you're not experiencing empathy, etc.?

I do not subscribe to the "philosophy" which makes desire into a bad thing, a problem to be solved.

If you doubt you are worthy of it, when you're not having that experience your very desire for it may seem to you to be the root of the problem...

That sexual act thing wouldn't bother you so much if you had awesome, empathetic and compassionate rapport with both yourself and your partner. It would be a nothingburger. No big deal. It hurt so much because she did not respond in a way that expressed empathetic understanding -- and because (as you said) she rarely does respond to anything you say in such a way.

I want to encourage you to embrace and love your humanness. I want to encourage you to give yourself the kindness and empathy and compassion you need and deserve. To the extent that you can do this with yourself you will find that you can do it with others. And this will make the kind of relationship you truly desire very likely to arise in your life.

So much good in this message.

Your warning is appreciated. For the record, I'm not planning to go follow any guru. I do find Mooji's videos helpful and interesting.

I've been really turned off by Buddhists who use language like "dirty" and "defilement" to refer to normal human thoughts and emotions. There's an obvious and in my opinion pretty gross judgment there that seems hypocritical coming from a person who is supposed to have let go of all attachments.

I do however think the "Middle Path" might be a useful approach for me, and that learning to detach from harmful thoughts could help me not get swept up in my emotions so much.

I agree that empathy is an important human need. I also agree that desire is healthy - just not to the degree that I experience it, and not in the way that I experience it.

My main goal is NOT to change so that I don't need empathy. I know that I'm "worthy" of empathy (as are all humans) and that her inability to provide as much as I need is yet another challenge for us to overcome. My main goal is to change so that I'm not so over-wrought with emotions around her (from my perspective, callous) choices that she feels unsafe sharing things with me, feels triggered, and/or feels pressured to make different choices.

I want to change so that people - including my partners - will respect me more.
I want to change so that she can feel safe sharing her choices with me.

I am capable of showing myself great compassion and usually do. But that doesn't help me very much to be okay with her decisions.
 

River

New member
My main goal is to change so that I'm not so over-wrought with emotions around her (from my perspective, callous) choices....

When I read your early / earlier posts in this thread, I got the impression that if there were any callousness on her part it was in her verbal responses to your hurt / desires / wishes / needs. I did not focus on her "choices" -- as you do above. Nor her activities with others. I focussed on your expression of desire / need for her to be more empathetic, to respond to you with more empathetic understanding.

I'm not there to watch the two of you interacting, so I can't say I really know what's going on. But I took your word for it when you said that she rarely ever empathises with you and your feelings / desires / needs.

Some here seem to be under the impression that she's not being empathetic toward you because you come off to her as having expectations and demands -- as being needy, wanting, grasping, clinging ... or whatever. Is this so? Are you that? Is she being repelled by that, and thus turning off the empathy she'd otherwise provide? Or is she just not very sensitive toward you?

In reading this thread I've often wondered -- as others have -- why you are staying in this relationship and wanting more from it than she wants to offer willingly. Are you open to meeting other women (or...?) for an intimate connection?
 

KC43

New member
On the subject of desire and attachment...

Desire is a normal human thing. There is nothing inherently wrong with desiring something. It becomes a problem if the desire becomes an obsession, or if you're overly attached to the results.

For example, let's say I desire a cheeseburger. A cheeseburger sounds really, really yummy, and I'm thinking about how much I want one. That's a normal, neutral kind of thing.

If I start thinking, "Cheeseburger. I have to have that cheeseburger. When can I have the cheeseburger? Is it cheeseburger time yet?" to the point that it's keeping me from thinking about much of anything else (obsession), it's a problem.

If I'm thinking, "I have to have that cheeseburger. If I don't get the cheeseburger, it means I'm a failure and everything else in my life is going to collapse" (over-attachment to results), it's a problem.

But if I'm just thinking, "A cheeseburger sounds really good right now. Let's see what I can do to get a cheeseburger. If I can't get one, no big deal; there'll be another chance tomorrow," that's a healthy desire. (Okay, cheeseburgers aren't necessarily healthy, but you know what I mean.) And that kind of desire and way of approaching it generally isn't a problem.

If you desire your partner to do something sexual with you, and approach it with a constant thought-stream of "I have to have this, why isn't she doing this, why won't she talk to me, why can't we do this," it becomes obsessive. It's unhealthy because it's keeping your mind off other things that might be better places to direct your energy. If you approach it as, "If she doesn't do this, it must mean she doesn't love me and there's something wrong with me," you're overly attaching to the results. You're making it personal and fueling negative emotions with the idea that it somehow means something negative about you if she doesn't do what you desire.

If you're able to make the thought-shift to, "I really want her to do this with me, or at least explain why she won't, but I can't control whether she does it or explains it, and it doesn't say anything about me either way, it would just be really cool if she did," it's a healthier way to approach desire.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
I also agree that desire is healthy - just not to the degree that I experience it, and not in the way that I experience it.

The way you're experiencing it is inner conflict, not just the desire. When we have thoughts of desire and only desire, there is peace. It feels good, pleasant, wonderful and we allow the desire to simply be what it is. When we add doubt, judgement, worry or fear to the mix, we have inner conflict. Inner conflict is what feels unhealthy and painful. I imagine that this is what those Buddhists are getting at - the attempt to soothe the conflict by trying to not desire in the first place. But I agree that desire is not only human, but what orients all sentient beings toward their own well being. Humans muck it up by adding worry, doubt, fear and judgement and those are what introduce the pain, not having the desire.




I want to encourage you to embrace and love your humanness. I want to encourage you to give yourself the kindness and empathy and compassion you need and deserve. To the extent that you can do this with yourself you will find that you can do it with others. And this will make the kind of relationship you truly desire very likely to arise in your life.
This is spot on and this is the way relationships work.
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
A lot of the "Eastern traditions" of spirituality, religion, philosophy... (and it's not just in the
East!) tend to strongly emphasize "Transcendence" with a capital T. Pursuit of such Transcendence almost always results in spiritual bypassing.

OK, so I went and read the essay (which made not much sense to me, honestly, as I am not "spiritual".)

River, did you link the the article you intended? because they wrote:

It has been easier to frame spiritual bypassing as a religion-transcending, spiritually advanced practice/perspective, especially in the facile fast-food spirituality that infects our times. Many of the features of this, such as its drive-through servings of reheated wisdom like “Don’t take it personally” or “Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you” or “It’s all just an illusion,” are available for consumption and parroting by just about anyone.

And then you wrote:

It's not really about her. This is what FallenAngelina was saying, and I'm echoing it. You're dramatizing (acting out) something with her which is really about you...


********************

Arius, I am not angry with you at all - your views on intimacy are yours, mine are mine, people are different. I am a little disappointed that River missed my point.

I am not saying that you are a drunken asshole partygoer (my example, in my "less than useless" post came from an amalgamation of why I don't invite Dude to work or family parties - he literally doesn't understand why any topic/sentiment that occurs to him shouldn't be voiced, loudly. - what is fine at Burning Man is NOT FINE at a family reunion or work picnic). (Not going to lie - I, myself, am occasionally the drunken asshole...so I know what the other side feels.)

SO, again, not saying that this is the case in your situation - sometimes when someone says "It's not you, it's me." they are not telling the whole truth. Sometimes, in fact, it IS you, but they are not comfortable telling you that because a.) they don't want to hurt you, b.) they don't have the "spoons" to defend their position, or c.) [I am going to separate this out because I think it may be the case - I may be wrong]

c.) Sometimes the person has actually expressed to you their "reason" but because you don't believe that is the "real" reason you choose not to hear it - and insist it MUST be "something else" (YES! I am projecting - If Dude doesn't understand and agree with my reasoning then their must be "something else" because, to HIM, my reason "doesn't make any sense".
 

River

New member
JaneQSmythe -

Regards your question about the sentence, “Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you” from the essay on spiritual bypassing I had posted. Did I mean to suggest to Arius that the emotional dynamic he's playing out with his partner is much more about him than about her? Yes.

Just before I said "You're dramatizing (acting out) something with her which is really about you," Arius said, "However, I am concerned that I will basically have to achieve enlightenment in order to be able to function in this relationship. Her and I are so different in so many ways."

What Robert A. Masters was pointing out in the essay you read was that when folks offer up “Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you” as a prefabricated "answer" to every situation, they are missing the contextual and nuanced nature of things. You will note that I, myself did not utter that sentence. And what I said was said in a particular context -- in which the context provided at least as much of the meaning as the words themselves.

I did not say, and would not say, “Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you”. That's an overreaching generalization. And it isn't true. But it can be true, sometimes, to say that a certain repeated dynamic in a relationship -- which is being repeated WITHIN a given person -- is more about that person (in which it is arising) than about the person who repeatedly triggers it.

I did not say that Arius' partner played no role in what had been happening which was triggering of an internally repeated dynamic in Arius. I would not say that. I simply alluded to the fact that the dynamic is living in him. It also lives in her, from her side, of course! But it is Arius' side which I was pointing out to Arius. Arius seemed to be saying something like, "If I can just be Superman, I'll receive the kindness and empathy I so want from my partner." I wanted to encourage him to forget about the quick costume change in the telephone booth. Something is going on with HER that's triggering off a dynamic which lives in HIM, which, if stated aloud, sounds like "If I can only perfect myself I will be worthy of the love I want".

Arius does not so much need to perfect himself as to simply love himself as he is, with all of the usual human imperfections. Were he to do this and find that she (his partner) doesn't reflect the empathy and kindness he's embracing for himself, he may choose to leave this relationship ... or to patiently explore the possiblity that she may shift in the light of what has newly arisen in their dynamic. But those who treat themselves lovingly tend to gravitate into relationships where their partner/s and friends treat them this same way.
 
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River

New member
The way you're experiencing it is inner conflict, not just the desire. When we have thoughts of desire and only desire, there is peace. It feels good, pleasant, wonderful and we allow the desire to simply be what it is. When we add doubt, judgement, worry or fear to the mix, we have inner conflict. Inner conflict is what feels unhealthy and painful. I imagine that this is what those Buddhists are getting at - the attempt to soothe the conflict by trying to not desire in the first place. But I agree that desire is not only human, but what orients all sentient beings toward their own well being. Humans muck it up by adding worry, doubt, fear and judgement and those are what introduce the pain, not having the desire.

I found this quite intriguing. It has the feel of truth to it. But I'm not 100% sure it is always true. It may be, but I'm unsure.

I'm pondering cases of discomfort in desire which I've been having. One example is that I'd like to form a new, intimate connection with someone. It needn't be romantic or sexual, precisely, but I'd like it to include touch in ways that are not usually included in purely platonic friendships (e.g., cuddling, massage -- even naked massage -- I love giving and receiving this). I want there to be sharing of activities we both enjoy (e.g., spending time in wild nature) and really good conversation. I desire this strongly, but it never seems to come about -- except too briefly -- (I do have this with my one long term partner, but only with him). Anyway, I'm fine with the fact of this desire. I have no conflict with the fact that I desire this. And I cannot locate in my experience any kind of conflict around this desire. But the fact that I do not have this experience which I desire feels ... uncomfortable. It doesn't feel light and breezy-easy and enjoyable. So, is there some hidden conflict here I'm unaware of?
 
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FallenAngelina

Well-known member
..the fact that I do not have this experience which I desire feels ... uncomfortable. It doesn't feel light and breezy-easy and enjoyable. So, is there some hidden conflict here I'm unaware of?

The very nature of feeling uncomfortable is a conflict. Well, "conflict" might be too dramatic for your example, but certainly what you're thinking about is not just the desire itself. You have to be introducing conflicting thoughts of the absence of what you want (doubt) or else there would be no discomfort. It's understandable and human for you (for all of us) to have mixed thoughts like this, but still, it's not having the desire that causes discomfort or pain, it's holding conflicting thoughts. You're likely so used to your conflicting thoughts about non-sexual cuddling that you perhaps don't even recognize them as such, but there's no way that you would feel uncomfortable if there were no inner conflict in your thoughts about this subject.

Also, it's impossible to make ourselves stop wanting what we want. Try it. We can come to peace about not having what we desire in this moment, but we cannot make ourselves cease the desire.
 

River

New member
The very nature of feeling uncomfortable is a conflict. Well, "conflict" might be too dramatic for your example, but certainly what you're thinking about is not just the desire itself. You have to be introducing conflicting thoughts of the absence of what you want (doubt) or else there would be no discomfort.

Oh, heck yeah! I have "doubt" -- which I don't experience or understand as a conflict, per se. It may be a conflict. But I'm not at all sure that it is, or how it may be so -- because I feel pretty damned congruent with myself here.

I've come to be rather skeptical -- 'doubt' -- that I'll ever meet anyone quite compatible with what I want, who will want the same with me and be capable of sharing in it with me. Why? Experience! I'm very much like a scientist here, in that I've run a whole bunch of experiments and the results are simply what they have been, however else I may have preferred them to be.

I'd like to believe that there are innumerable folks in my neck of the woods who are compatible -- and interested -- to explore loving intimacy with me, under the necessary conditions (me being bi, me being basically married..., me being in various ways unconventional and weird -- but very loving, anyway)..., but I've open-mindedly explored this hypothesis and found that I've been mistaken. If such people exist in my neck of the woods, they are very, very rare. Or so it seems! Based on the available evidence. (It's science, after all! LOL)

I actually started out thinking, "Piece of cake!" LOL
 

Arius

New member
Some here seem to be under the impression that she's not being empathetic toward you because you come off to her as having expectations and demands -- as being needy, wanting, grasping, clinging ... or whatever. Is this so? Are you that? Is she being repelled by that, and thus turning off the empathy she'd otherwise provide? Or is she just not very sensitive toward you?

In reading this thread I've often wondered -- as others have -- why you are staying in this relationship and wanting more from it than she wants to offer willingly. Are you open to meeting other women (or...?) for an intimate connection?

I imagine that my neediness and intense emotional reactivity may be repelling her.

I'm curious - what are normal people like? What do you do when your partner does things with someone else that you want to do and doesn't do them with you for no obvious reason? How would you react or feel about this?

I'm not sure if I'm open to meeting other women right now. I'm very ill and exhausted all the time and don't really have much to offer anyone. I have a second relationship that started out FWB and has blossomed into something more - though that relationship is also currently up in the air (for unrelated reasons) and has a lot of issues too.

Again, it's not like I can walk over to the Perfect Partner tree and start plucking fruit. On OkCupid, there's only a few women in my city who MIGHT be good matches - but I have no idea if we'd have good chemistry in real life because I sent them messages and never heard back. I am too ill to participate in projects outside of my home, and none of my current crushes are reciprocal - so I basically have no options right now.

And I'm fine with that. I want space to work on myself.

But I'd rather be with her if I can.
 

Arius

New member
On the subject of desire and attachment...

Desire is a normal human thing. There is nothing inherently wrong with desiring something. It becomes a problem if the desire becomes an obsession, or if you're overly attached to the results.

For example, let's say I desire a cheeseburger. A cheeseburger sounds really, really yummy, and I'm thinking about how much I want one. That's a normal, neutral kind of thing.

If I start thinking, "Cheeseburger. I have to have that cheeseburger. When can I have the cheeseburger? Is it cheeseburger time yet?" to the point that it's keeping me from thinking about much of anything else (obsession), it's a problem.

If I'm thinking, "I have to have that cheeseburger. If I don't get the cheeseburger, it means I'm a failure and everything else in my life is going to collapse" (over-attachment to results), it's a problem.

But if I'm just thinking, "A cheeseburger sounds really good right now. Let's see what I can do to get a cheeseburger. If I can't get one, no big deal; there'll be another chance tomorrow," that's a healthy desire. (Okay, cheeseburgers aren't necessarily healthy, but you know what I mean.) And that kind of desire and way of approaching it generally isn't a problem.

If you desire your partner to do something sexual with you, and approach it with a constant thought-stream of "I have to have this, why isn't she doing this, why won't she talk to me, why can't we do this," it becomes obsessive. It's unhealthy because it's keeping your mind off other things that might be better places to direct your energy. If you approach it as, "If she doesn't do this, it must mean she doesn't love me and there's something wrong with me," you're overly attaching to the results. You're making it personal and fueling negative emotions with the idea that it somehow means something negative about you if she doesn't do what you desire.

If you're able to make the thought-shift to, "I really want her to do this with me, or at least explain why she won't, but I can't control whether she does it or explains it, and it doesn't say anything about me either way, it would just be really cool if she did," it's a healthier way to approach desire.

This is so helpful. Thank you.

This is the kind of thing I meant when I asked about how normal people think.

It also may function as a useful adjunct to River's probing about desire. It seems that, River, your conflict comes not from the desire but from being (mildly) attached to having the desire satiated. Which I don't think is a big problem. It's not like you're obsessing or being overly-attached to the outcome to the point of it causing emotional distress.
 
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Arius

New member
The way you're experiencing it is inner conflict, not just the desire. When we have thoughts of desire and only desire, there is peace. It feels good, pleasant, wonderful and we allow the desire to simply be what it is. When we add doubt, judgement, worry or fear to the mix, we have inner conflict. Inner conflict is what feels unhealthy and painful.

This is a very useful distinction. Thank you.
 

lunabunny

New member
I imagine that my neediness and intense emotional reactivity may be repelling her.

It is quite possible. Neediness (especially neediness verging on desperation, obsessiveness, perseverating on the same issues) can be a turn off for many people.

If your partner is generally attracted to strength of character, confidence and independence in a person - partner or otherwise - then you may be unintentionally undermining your own cause (your desires and needs within the relationship) by reacting to her personal limits in ways that seem demanding, overly persistent and even whiny.

I'm curious - what are normal people like? What do you do when your partner does things with someone else that you want to do and doesn't do them with you for no obvious reason? How would you react or feel about this?

By no means do I claim to be a "normal" person - whatever that is - nor do my partners do things with other people that they refuse to do with me (that I know of).

However, there ARE certain activities I would LIKE my partners to do with me that they, especially Jester, are not up for for reasons of their own. Both my partners tend to be submissive to me, and while I appreciate the fact that they are both very gentle, caring people... in the bedroom, I sometimes crave a more dominant, rougher approach. I would like to explore some kink aspects from the "other side" of BDSM, but recognise that I'm unlikely to get these needs met within either of my current relationships.

The desire is not SO great that it'd cause me to seek out another partner simply to get this "want" fulfilled, as I'm pretty poly-saturated (time-wise and emotionally) with two partners already. We three are in a closed V anyhow, with me as hinge. I consider myself lucky to have two loving, caring, immensely intelligent and unique partners... and I accept that compromises must be made in relationships. Not everybody is entitled to get whatever they desire from others, simply because they want it. If a partner is unwilling or unable to participate in a certain activity or dynamic, within a particular partnership, that is their choice.

Having said that, I would definitely reconsider ANY relationship in which I felt MANY of my needs/wants were NOT being met on a consistent basis, especially if there was no logical reason or explanation forthcoming.
 

KC43

New member
You're welcome. I'm glad my post was helpful. (And no, I didn't get a cheeseburger after I wrote it... but I really, really wanted one. LOL)

I'm curious - what are normal people like? What do you do when your partner does things with someone else that you want to do and doesn't do them with you for no obvious reason? How would you react or feel about this?

I'm far from normal, but I've been in a similar situation. Not as an ongoing thing, but at one point I asked my boyfriend to do a specific sexual thing with me. He agreed to it, but then it kept not happening. For MONTHS it kept not happening, even though I brought it up every so often and reminded him that he'd said we would do it. Then he met someone else and started seeing her, and very early on in their relationship, he did the thing with her that he had promised to do with me--and still hadn't done, months after agreeing to it.

I was upset, and I told him so. My issue wasn't so much that he had done it with her, but how quickly he had done it with her while having dragged his feet about doing it with me for quite a long time. It was something I very, very much wanted to do, and he knew this, but, at least to my perception, he had chosen not to work with me to make it happen. I admit to having trust issues (I'm working on them, it's getting better; this issue was a year ago now), so I get upset anyway if someone says they'll do something and doesn't follow through even after repeated discussions and reminders about it; this was something my boyfriend knew. And it felt to me like he was playing favorites by giving her something he'd promised to me.

We STILL haven't done the thing. But we did resolve the general issue to some extent, and made an agreement on how to handle something similar in the future if need be.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
What to Do When a Request is Ignored? How would you deal with it if a request for compassion was ignored?

Adjust your expectations to line up with the reality in front of you.
 
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