How far.. to keep the keeper


#1

I've had good advice here before.
So here I go.

Dated people in the past who I was madly in love with but with whom I had no future, and always knew I had no future due to their alcoholism, too great age difference, different faiths, anger problems etc.
Don't know why I dated them and felt on a pink cloud.. nor can I fathom why I felt home with them, coming as I do from a pretty good family. (however my dad has been quite absent-minded most of my life.. so although I dont wanna go psychoanalyse myself I do think about how that fits in with my poor choices and sometimes addictive behaviours with men, food and drink.)

Then I met this sweet guy, great and deep communications, sincere mature love on his part, he is Catholic, handsome, mature... And since the beginning I just felt somehow wrong in that relationship, like I wanted him and cared for him and now I can even say I love him, but I felt an estrangement and emptiness and kind of dishonesty all through this relationship until I recently ended it followed by a ton of tears.

The people that know me best say that he is a keeper and we are a great match, and I really feel like that too, but something is wrong in me.
Some wise woman said that something might be wrong in me since I can only really emotinally feel home with loosers and she urged me not to waste my time nor give up this good man, but to seek counseling. I really dont wanna loose him, so maybe I wanna believe that it can be fixed by me.... but I dont understand myself anymore.

I am sooo confused. I want him but I feel strange. I see a pattern of unhealthy and ambivalent behaviour from my side. I want him and dont wanna loose him.. but I feel like something in me is missing, and I dont know if its just because we just aren't meant to be together or if its because I have personal issues ...

I could really use some advice from people who have experience and wisdom in that area. Please for all those who dont, you dont have to answer anything. I need some real advice.

Peace to you and thank you for whoever has some perspective...

Grace.


#2

I am going to keep you in my prayers.

Ask yourself only one question- does he help you to be good?

If so, this is all that is needed.


#3

Do you think maybe that your relationship with these other men (the "losers") was a bit more exciting and that this is what you are feeling is missing with the "keeper"?

I've dated a bit, but have only had two serious relationships, with complete opposites. My ex-boyfriend was fun and energetic. I was very in love with him but he was always pushing me away and then drawing me back. He overall wasn't a good person, but I looked beyond that because we had such great conversations, I was so attracted to him, and had a lot of fun with him. I hung on to all the good and discarded the rest.

When things finally ended, I met my now-boyfriend who is dependable, loving, generous, and everything I said I always wanted in a man. I struggled for awhile because he is the typical "keeper" but I was...well, kind of bored. I kept thinking, what is missing here? I loved him but didn't have anywhere near the strong emotions that I had for my ex. I stuck with him because deep down I knew I was lucky to be with one of the good ones. And eventually, I realized that all of the strong emotions that I had felt for my ex were based on anxiety instead of out of love.

Once I realized that, everything changed. I saw my past relationship for what it was, and knew that the "excitement" of it was partially the back and forth and instability rather than something good. This is what I had felt was "missing" in my relationship, when really I had what I wanted. If you have a true keeper, it doesn't necessarily mean he's the one, but make sure that what you perceive to be missing from the relationship isn't just a lack of excitement from all the drama.


#4

Please don't be offended by my questions, they are meant kindly.

Are you afraid having a successful relationship, or maybe afraid that a successful relationship would be boring?

You are in my prayers.:gopray2:


#5

I'm speaking from a male's point of view, just thought I'd mention that as an FYI.

A lot of times people with this problem sabatoge and good relationship they get into. I had issues with this myself at one time. Every time I went on a date, I'd find a reason not to like her all that much. I made judgements about what she was like without really getting to know her. The writer her off. Heck, sometimes i'd find good reasons why I shouldn't ask out a woman I was interested.

IMO, it's all about being affraid of a change. I was used to being single, used to being alone, used to not being important to anyone outside of my family. It was just more convienent to stay that way than it was to put myself out on a limb and possibly fall. Granted, my fear of rejection and loss came from never knowing my father, having my granfather die when I was just 8, and having a mother who was an alcohalic most of my childhood. Later, im my mid 20's I met and got to know my father but he was murdered a year later. So, I really never knew what a healthy or loving relationship was. When faced with a relationship that had some of these unknown qualities to them, I was scared since I couldn't withstand another loss.

I don't know your particular situation but some of what I'm talking about might be the problem.

I'm not really sure what changed me but when I met my wife she totally changed me. It did take her a while to get at me, but she did. I guess, I jus needed to finally realize that finding a wife was going to take a leap of faith, not just for me, but everyone looking for a spouse. Some people may have their hearts broken in the process, but if you don't take that leap and turn yourself over to the person that you think is "the one" then it will never happen.

I jumped and Jesus held me up long enough for my wife to catch me. :thumbsup:

4 years and a daughter later we're still going strong.


#6

Here's a serious question.. do you feel he deserves better than you?

I ask this because I can relate so much to your post. I also have dated a few losers and I admit while I knew it would never go anywhere, it was definitely fun (at times).

When I met my keeper, I felt he was too good for me. I was worried he'd break my heart when he eventually woke up one day and wondered why he was with me. I tried to sabatoge such a wonderful relationship. But, after much self contemplation (like what you're doing now) I accepted our relationship as the blessing that it has been. I had some security issues and I did a lot of praying and a lot of work on myself. I'm MUCH better now and I know that he and I are equally deserving of each other.

You called him a "keeper" for a reason!

God Bless


#7

I used to always be attracted to charming but very confused guys. Sometimes they were in the early stages of alcoholism, sometimes they were wanna-be musicians who failed out of college, you get the picture. When nice, normal, stable guys wanted to date me, I usually turned them down or stopped dating them after a while, because I didn't feel "that chemistry."

After many years of reflection, therapy and Adult Children of Alcoholic groups, I realized I was confusing chemistry with anxiety. Growing up with a moody, alcoholic father, I was so used to experiencing a low level of anxiety that when I wasn't anxious, I thought I was bored. It was like I didn't know what to do with my brain if it wasn't worrying or reacting to the mood swings and hot/cold behavior of another person.

The scary thing is, even after I was aware of this tendency in me, I still broke up with my now-husband after a couple dates because I felt like something was missing. I didn't feel that immediate chemistry, and he was so nice, appreciative and steady that I felt guilty being with this nice guy when I didn't feel a zing. So I told him it wasn't a good time for me and that I needed to work on myself before I got in another relationship.

After being apart from him for a couple weeks, I was like, "Claire, you idiot! You just rejected a good man because you were SCARED. Bawk bawk bawk! Don't you know that every single time you felt an immediate rush of chemistry with a guy, he was an addict or emotionally troubled? All those times you tried to change bad boys into good guys never worked. Well guess what, you just turned down someone who was a good man right from the start."

After I hit myself upside the head a few times, I told him I was really sorry I broke up with him and if he was still interested, I did want to date him, if we could go slow.

He said sure and we continued to date. The chemistry did grow over time--real attraction based on who he was, not on a fantasy--and now we are married. I shudder when I think of how close I came to turning down the gift God had given me.

So that's my story. You might also want to skim through this old thread about pursuing those who are emotionally unavailable. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=514616&highlight=planet+claire


#8

[quote="grasscutter, post:4, topic:226635"]
Please don't be offended by my questions, they are meant kindly.

Are you afraid having a successful relationship, or maybe afraid that a successful relationship would be boring?

You are in my prayers.:gopray2:

[/quote]

The comment above is good, as are some others in this thread.

There could be an issue with self worth. (You don't deserve him.)

There could be an issue that you might be a fixer (you want to fix others.)

Could be that you just aren't ready to make a commitment.

A therapist will tell you that we see behaviors in our parents, and create behaviors in our childhood, and will tend to recreate those behaviors throughout life until we resolve the unresolved issue.

For example...

Was your mom a fixer?

Were you never good enough?

What was your relationship with your father like?

Are questions to ask yourself.

All that said:

How does this man feel? Does he want to be with you?

Do you have a spark for him? But something "kills" it?

Are you close enough that you can discuss it with him?

Would he be willing to wait awhile and continue to see you for awhile while you try to resolve these issues?

A counselor MAY want to see both of you to see if there is some sort of interplay between the two of you that provides guidance on the issue.


#9

Dear brothers and sisters.
Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and kindness. I read every post with great interest.
Claire.. I also read the other thread. Thanks so much.
With my boyfriend I have found out that my issues are really quite deep and that I need to care for myself and take myself - and him - seriously enough to deal with those issues.

Reading all the stuff here I think.. can a counselor really help me? Don't I already know all my issues, ambivalent behaviours, and things that went wrong in my childhood?
Wont I just get drained financially without getting any real advice?

Some of you asked some relevant questions.
- Do I feel I don't deserve a good guy. Well, I do think I deserve a good guy though I am really surprised whenever anyone likes me and I always feel that he would definately be the last one who ever will. And did I mention, I am very disillusioned with my self. I feel old, jaded, and not a good Christian. Like Tori Amos sings: "I have enough guilt to start my own religion"
- I have low self esteem, avoid conflicts, can't take criticism very well, and have struggled with anxiety-issues since I was 12 (Im now 28). Use too much time infront of the mirror.
- My first relationship with a man was quite bad and I developed traumatic responses afterwards and didn't date anyone for 7 years after that.
- Never had a mature uncomplicated relationship with a guy but choose older men, men that needed to be saved, men who were alcoholic, didn't respect me etc.
- My dad was always absent-minded during my upbringing. I never really felt he wanted me or wanted to know who I am. Like.. it was ackward between us.. Its not his fault, he is just like that.. he is doing the best he can.
- Sexuality has come to be connected somehow with death and shame for me. Yet I keep going into stupid situations hoping to master it. I do things I regret and basically when I can't seem to get that under control my whole self-identity seems to crumble and I dont know who or what I am anymore.. Everything in that area is like one big catastrophe and has often involved dissociation mechanisms and abusing my boyfriend verbally when we had crossed the line. (we've not had sex)

I just wonder.. how can anyone help me figure things out, when I am so confused myself about my current situation with my boyfriend.
The friend who adviced me to go to counseling said that a psychologist told her to marry the good man she was dating, How great, i thought.. wishing someone would tell me what to do... but whoever gets such concrete advice from counselors?

Peace to you...
Grace :confused::confused::shrug:


#10

You need professional counseling. It isn't shameful to try to discover who we really are, and what we are trying to accomplish! It is very helpful in sorting out your emotions and motives.
Do lots of praying.


#11

when i first read your openning post, it occurred to me to strike "meant to be" from your language and thinking. 'meant to be' is fantasy talk, unsuitable for adult Catholic women.

and it has proven to be a wrong guage for you. you thought 'meant to be' guys were meant to be. instead they we all chemistry all catastrophe.

a mature catholic woman asks herself, "is this God's will for my life?"

you are right to not try and psychoanalyze yourself if these problems are repeated and deeply ingrained. ususally we do a bad job of it. it is a close, tight circle of blind-leading-the-blind. but you have a good sense of where you'd like to go:

  • Do I feel I don't deserve a good guy. Well, I do think I deserve a good guy though I am really surprised whenever anyone likes me and I always feel that he would definately be the last one who ever will. And did I mention, I am very disillusioned with my self. I feel old, jaded, and not a good Christian. Like Tori Amos sings: "I have enough guilt to start my own religion"
  • I have low self esteem, avoid conflicts, can't take criticism very well, and have struggled with anxiety-issues since I was 12 (Im now 28). Use too much time infront of the mirror.
  • My first relationship with a man was quite bad and I developed traumatic responses afterwards and didn't date anyone for 7 years after that.
  • Never had a mature uncomplicated relationship with a guy but choose older men, men that needed to be saved, men who were alcoholic, didn't respect me etc.
  • My dad was always absent-minded during my upbringing. I never really felt he wanted me or wanted to know who I am. Like.. it was ackward between us.. Its not his fault, he is just like that.. he is doing the best he can.
  • Sexuality has come to be connected somehow with death and shame for me. Yet I keep going into stupid situations hoping to master it. I do things I regret and basically when I can't seem to get that under control my whole self-identity seems to crumble and I dont know who or what I am anymore.. Everything in that area is like one big catastrophe and has often involved dissociation mechanisms and abusing my boyfriend verbally when we had crossed the line. (we've not had sex)

I just wonder.. how can anyone help me figure things out, when I am so confused myself about my current situation with my boyfriend.
The friend who adviced me to go to counseling said that a psychologist told her to marry the good man she was dating, How great, i thought.. wishing someone would tell me what to do... but whoever gets such concrete advice from counselors?

especially this resonates in me: - My dad was always absent-minded during my upbringing. I never really felt he wanted me or wanted to know who I am. Like.. it was ackward between us.. Its not his fault, he is just like that.. he is doing the best he can.

my father was unsuccessful at parenting. he was probabaly doing the best he could, too. it took me a long time to understand that calling out the consequences of his failures in me didn't mean i was condeming him. it DID mean i was honest about his failures and the results in me. it was finally the time i was able to stop giving my dad a free pass at bad parenting. it was finally the time i was able to stop protecting him (in my mind) from his own failures. (he was already dead when i finally understood this.)

but i didnt have to wait till i got the 'dad piece' all understood before i could make better choices. i had to make, decision-by-decision, interaction-by-interaction conscious choices to allow my good, healthy honest, steady husband to know me and love me.

i had to stop trying to give him reason to change his mind about me.

i had to stop abusing him.

i did that one one interaction at a time. one conversation at a time. i did that one moment at a time. with God's help. sacramental grace. prayer.

counselling, (though i sought it not precisely at that time) helped a lot.


#12

Grace, dear, has anyone told you that just because you deserve a good man does not mean that any good man you pick out of the hat is going to be right for you? You found someone who would have pleased the sense of everyone concerning what you need, except you. Realizing this, you honored your own intuition and your own sense of self, and you decided to keep looking. It was hard, but you didn't string him along out of fear or a self-centered desire to find an "undamaged" man. You let him go to find happiness with someone who would give him the gift of finding him "the just right man at the just right time." That wasn't a bad thing! That was just what you ought to do!! Good For You! Wonderful!! You have the idea, now!! Turn on the applause sign!!

I'd also hazard to say that the "losers" you dated actually did have some redeeming qualities. Maybe they trusted you. Maybe they were fun and uninhibited. Maybe nine days out of ten were pretty good. OK, maybe they had some faults that felt comfortable with your faults, and not in a healthy way, but is it such a huge fault to fall in with what is comfortable? I don't think so. Maybe they were just a "drying out" from being the man you'd happily spend a lifetime with. OK, you can't wait around for them to wake up to the life they're missing, but don't beat yourself up for seeing that they have some wonderful qualities waiting to be unshackled from their addictions. Giving yourself credit for leaving a comfortable situation that wasn't good for either of you.

Tori Amos sings: "I have enough guilt to start my own religion"...what does that tell you? It tells you that you are not alone. That song is popular because it reflects the human condition. It's a vale of tears, and we're all in it together.

Have you ever watched The Simpsons? Have you noticed that no one on that show is a total "loser" and no one is a total "winner"? Even the most jaded and self-centered, whether Mo or Mr. Burns, have their attractive human moments. Everyone on that show is capable of love. Even the most weak-willed, like Homer and Barney, have their moments, in which they rise to heroic virtue. Everyone on that show is capable of virtue, and sometimes chooses virtue, and likes it. Even the most "mature", like Lisa, Marge, Ned Flanders, and the Rev. Lovejoy, have their faults and failings. Everyone on that show sins, too, and feels the pain of it. I think that is why it has lasted so long. It is a cartoon, it can be totally over the top, heaven knows it does not always have the best grip on moral law, but the writers do have this sense of the complicated nature of the human condition, and a love for all of us in it.

For instance, you wrote: Never had a mature uncomplicated relationship with a guy. I couldn't count the number of couples I know who've been married for over 50 years, but I don't know anybody that has uncomplicated relationships, mature or not....not if they're honest. The refreshing thing is that the older couples are totally honest. Most give a variation on the old guy who gave his "secret" for his long marriage: "Every morning, I get up, I look in the mirror, and I remind myself: Hey, you're no prize, either." Most people who got married before 1960 get this. For some reason, this practical point of view has fallen out of vogue, even though I dare say it has kept marriages together and content for centuries.

There seem to be people like these, the ones who take the complications as a matter of course, then those who take the complications as evidence of their shortcomings as a human being, and the majority, those of us who fall somewhere in-between, depending on the time of day. I think everyone is a little bit right about that. Maybe today you are just stressing the view of "group 2" a bit too much for your own good.

God does not expect us to straighten up and present him with a perfect package, tied with a bow, as evidence that we love Him. We can expect to fall short. We can expect every human being put on this earth to love and support us to fall short. Not just cosmetically short, either. I mean painfully short. We all fall painfully short as human beings. We are nothing, and I do mean nothing, without God. But I say: *What of it? We were never meant to be without God in the first place! *

Don't worry about getting yourself "self esteem". Like happiness, it isn't something you find by looking for it directly. Look for virtue, look to repent from sin, and try to learn to trust that you can let God take care of the gap between what you are today and the saint that He will succeed of making of you in the end. You are dealing with the playwright who came up with the original ugly ducklings that turn into swans, the mustard seeds that become huge bushes for the birds, the ditch that became the Grand Canyon. Be willing to let that little persistent stream of His grace course through you, a little deeper every day, and you can trust that He will make a grand thing of you, too. After all, if you read the psalms, they are not full of "self-esteem". There's a lot of calling out to God in hope in the midst of suffering and desperation and there is a lot of gratitude and rejoicing in the Lord after His rescue, but not a lot of self-esteem. I think that is a reliable message to the desperate.

You can give a counsellor a chance without handing over the entirety of your self-direction and bank account. Try counselling, see if it helps. I don't know many people who don't learn something from just talking openly for a good chunk of time to someone discrete. After all, you're only looking for help in considering where you are, not a character-surgeon. If counselling helps, great, it was money well-spent. If not, well, feel free to try something else. Just as you were right to trust your intuition on this last relationship, you can allow yourself the room to trust your intuition about whether counselling helps.


#13

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