Posted by fxckfeelings on December 31, 2015
Share This Post
Whether you’re dating for fun or to build a future—or, like our reader from earlier this week, torn between the two—everybody has certain qualities they feel are crucial in any romantic partner. Problems arise, however, when the less important qualities are given priority over the better ones, like reliability, intelligence, and having such bad credit you can’t even rent a paddleboat. Here are five overvalued traits that people look for when looking for love.
1) Looking for Lookers
Dating someone with good looks is like having an emotional bodyguard; no matter how self-critical your brain is, you feel successful when you notice the envious looks you’re drawing from those who wish they were in your shoes. Unfortunately, good looks don’t necessarily come with a good personality, good values, or any of the things a good partner needs to have.
2) Finding Someone with Funds
Taking your future partner’s financial security into account isn’t totally unwise; money can make it possible to raise a family in a safe neighborhood, provide for your kids, and generally avoid the stress that comes with stretching a paycheck. On the other hand, focusing too much on money can also attract you to someone who can’t be a good partner, and the divorce will leave you broke forever.
3) Craving Charm
Charisma seems like a meaningful reason to be attracted to someone and a good trait to search for; it’s a part of his personality and won’t necessarily fade with age, so you’ll always be charmed and keep the flame burning. Unfortunately, it’s also often accompanied by restlessness and a need for exciting new relationships, which is why to be extra careful.
4) Eying Empathy
Empathy is always a worthy human quality, and an empathetic partner can make you feel like you’ve got wonderful communication and are well understood. Empathy often has a limited shelf life, however, as the truly empathetic can’t always limit their sympathies and attention to any one person, so you may wind up wondering where it’s gone and why you don’t get it anymore.
5) Envying Excitement
When dating has been tiresome and getting to know someone has taken on all the thrill and joy of a TSA screening, encountering exciting chemistry feels like an especially meaningful event that heralds the arrival of “the one.” Unfortunately, exciting people are often driven by intense emotion that has its downs as well as its ups, so make sure you check out steadiness, perspective, and all those other, more boring and important qualities before you start to relax.
Posted by fxckfeelings on December 29, 2015
Share This Post
When you lose interest in the person you’re dating, it always feels like a failure, like you’ve actually misplaced your interest and if you could just find it under the couch or in your coat pocket, everything would be better. You feel like a disappointment because you’re rejecting someone who trusted you and now cares more than you do, even though such feelings are largely beyond your control. You then wonder whether you’ll ever be able to find and form a stable relationship, but examining your feelings often does little but make them more volatile. Instead, return to basics and consider what you want from a close relationship, other than magic and romance, and refrain from intimacy until you’re confident that you have found what you want. You can’t recover your lost interest, but if you can find your lost confidence, you’ll have few false starts and a better chance of finding something that lasts.
Along the road I’ve spotted a behavior that seems to ruin all my romantic relationships right before they start. Many times in my life (I’m in my 30s), I’ve met girls I found funny, high spirited, sharing my values and attractive. And I just liked spending time with them. But each time the relationship comes to the edge of being a proper date, or right after we actually date, I start being really cold. I make lists about all the details I don’t like in her, I start to think that she’s not so pretty, and I don’t like to receive her affection because I feel I can’t give her the same and don’t want to anymore. I think about the future and can’t see anything for us. I used to think it was because a few times in my life I came across some girls I was mad about at first sight, and that those other girls couldn’t compete with these feeling. But it seems there is a real pattern with me, and I start to think my mind is fooling me. I understand that I should not think too much about this and go for it, but it stops me from being happy. My goal is to break the pattern and make a relationship last. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on October 19, 2015
Share This Post
The anger people feel when a relationship makes them feel helpless, whether it’s from disappointment or abuse, is often so painful letting the feels out seems like the only form of relief. Unfortunately, angrily releasing those feelings doesn’t make them go away; instead, it gives them life outside of your head, where they can do even more damage. So don’t vent anger before first thinking carefully about the impact it’s likely to have on relationships you may continue to need and/or value. Then, if you decide it’s worth taking a stand, compose a positive way to negotiate for what you want (elaborated upon later this week). The relief won’t be as immediate, but the possible fall-out won’t make the pain worse.
I guess you’d tell me I shouldn’t focus on the sexlessness of my nine years of marriage and instead focus on the positive experiences we have had and learn to keep my mouth shut—not release the “verbal farts” you talk about—but if letting people get away with mistreating me is what you think I’m supposed to do, then I’d rather have chronic verbal gas. I tell my friends when they are fake and shallow, my husband that our sexless marriage is emotionally corrosive and my parents that I will despise them for physically abusing me when I was a child. In other words, I tell the truth, but according to you, I should “man up” and move on and keep my feelings to myself. I don’t see how that’s better or fair. My goal is to see your point.
If your marriage turns out to be sexless, you’ve been the victim of child abuse, or you’ve generally had and unlucky and unhappy life, then you certainly have the right to feelings of resentment. There’s no benefit from telling yourself that you should feel good about experiencing so many bad things.
On the other hand, as you’ve already guessed, we wouldn’t tell you to express those angry feelings unless they can do you some good in the long run, and, usually, they can’t. As we say in our fart metaphor, beyond the immediate relief, venting ugly feelings then poisons the air for you and everyone around you.
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on September 8, 2015
Share This Post
Deciding whether to continue a marriage and how you feel about your marriage are two very different things; you may feel miserable in a marriage that has the potential to make you happy in the long run, or you may feel ambivalent enough about your union that you tough it out, even though doing so may be the wrong choice looking forward. Making the decision is hard, but if you can be honest about your priorities, you can make the best choice for you, your marriage, and your future.
After too many years of passive aggressiveness by both myself and my wife of several years, we finally admitted that we do not love each other anymore. Despite that, she agreed to give it a go again, though she will not attend counseling where she thinks all her mistakes will be highlighted. She wants to begin “dating” each other again. I’m going along with this but will also be seeing a psychologist to sort out the anger I have for the wasted time. The thing is, even with all of this counseling, I don’t see myself falling back in love with her. I think separating and eventually dissolving the marriage would make me much happier; as a healthy man in my 60s, I feel I have a lot of great years left and want to spend them with someone I can really love. My older kids would probably accept the separation, so…f*ck happiness? Yield to the stupor of reality? My goal is to figure out what the f*ck is going on.
When we have to make important decisions for ourselves that also affect someone we care about, we tend to make the mistake of allowing them an equal or more important voice in our thought process. It’s a little like the old notion of having a devil and an angel on each shoulder, except in this case, you have the other person voicing their needs on one shoulder and you’re sitting cowering down by the elbow, hoping to eventually get a word in edgewise.
Considering the feelings of someone you’re strongly connected to as if they were your own is a natural habit to get into, but if you want to do the right thing by both of you, it’s a habit that must be broken. It might sound selfish at first, but when you think about it, it’s the smarter approach.
That’s because, if you over-regard someone else’s feelings when making decisions, you may well make the decision they want and then blame them for it. That’s not fair, of course, because it’s your decision to make. It’s not fair to either one of you in the long run.
So re-edit your description of your problem; you feel you don’t love your wife and have a negative, angry chemistry that doesn’t change, even when you’re not arguing. Given her age and lack of interest in treatment, you can’t expect her to change. You haven’t presented any reason of your own for staying married to her. Instead, you’ve presented her wishes as if they’re as important as your own, even though they’re completely contradictory.
Give more thought to your own reasons for staying together. Review your incomes and retirement opportunities, and consider the possible shared pleasures and interests of spending retirement time together. Ask yourself whether you enjoy your time together with your kids. Do your own arithmetic so you don’t demean your own judgment by substituting hers for yours.
As long as you make your own decision, you won’t be a marriage victim; you’ll either stay because you think you’re better off as partners through the next stage of your lives, or you’ll leave because there are too many advantages to moving on.
No matter what you decide, it should be your choice based more heavily on your priorities, not shoulder commentary, so it’s a choice you can respect.
“I feel torn by my wife’s desires versus my own, but I can discover my own mind even if I’ve been married forever. I will not disregard my marriage, but I will protect my right to a better life if I determine that this marriage is fundamentally harmful to my well-being.”
Posted by fxckfeelings on August 3, 2015
Share This Post
Most of the time, you don’t want to try to pay attention to two things at once—the TV and the oven, the road and your texts, your kid and your moody pet alligator, etc.—but other times, it’s more dangerous not to. It’s a problem for those people who pay too much attention to the reaction they have to other people and ignore their own actions, as well as those who pay too much attention to their own actions and ignore how it impacts others. If you’re a single-minded person and want to avoid being blind-sided, learn how to divide your attention and pay it at the same time. That’s the only way to be mindful of relationships and your own priorities (and hopefully oncoming traffic).
I like to be close to people and I tend to fall in love really easily, so, while my relationships are often intense and fulfilling, they never last very long and never end well. Anyway, my life has been going reasonably well, and I’ve been dating a girl I really like who I think would be a good wife, but my roommate is also my best friend and, since he’s started dating someone, he’s stopped being around very much. Neither one of us is gay, and we’ve never technically hooked up, but we’ve always been really comfortable with each other physically, and our bond is really close. Maybe that’s why I really resent his relationship and find myself being very angry at him for no reason and jealous that someone else has his attention. I really don’t think I’m gay, and I love my girlfriend, but I’m freaked out about my feelings. My goal is to figure them out and get back to having a happy relationship with my best friend.
For those who are prone to powerful emotional reactions, having strong feelings can be a lot like getting blackout drunk; you’re very certain where you are now and what you think about it, but can’t seem to remember how you got there. You lose the part where you keep falling into intense relationships and only focus on the fallout when they come apart.
The intensity of your post-entanglement emotions not only blinds you to the pattern of needy behavior and faulty decision-making that repeatedly puts you in these situations, but to the more important reality of how he or your current girlfriend fits into your future partnership plans.
So, instead of focusing on your anger and jealousy, give serious consideration to what you really want from your roommate; better to take a moment to assess your priorities than follow your feelings to another destructive conclusion. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on February 2, 2015
Share This Post
We’ve said many times that it rarely feels right to do the right thing, and vice versa; that’s why making a smart commitment can feel horrifying while using heroin can feel super terrific. So when you have a tough decision to make, don’t pay too much attention to how comfortable your choice makes you, or those around you, feel. Consult your values and do what’s right, and prepare to live with discomfort if that’s what being smart/sober requires.
I’m very happy with my marriage, and my wife isn’t pressuring me to have children, but I know she’d like them and time is running out. I have nothing against having kids—we’ve got enough money, and there’s nothing I think is more important in my life—but I’ve always been anxious, and I know that having kids will make me even more stressed out. I’ll always be worrying that we’re doing the wrong thing, because that’s the way my mind works. My wife thinks I’ll be OK, but I know that my self-doubts never stop. My goal is to figure out a way I can be comfortable having kids.
Very few people know with 100% clarity that it’s time to have kids, and most of those have an outside source, from a cult leader to a positive pregnancy test, making the call for them. Since very few anxious people are ever 100% sure about anything, however, not even a fetus or a Svengali is guaranteed to set your mind straight.
As you describe yourself, you’ve always been too stressed to think about what you’d like to do, focusing more on your worry about whether or not you’ll do things wrong. That may make it hard for you to get enthusiastic about starting a family (or anything else, for that matter). WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on April 17, 2014
Share This Post
Timing isn’t just a crucial factor in comedy and decent microwaved popcorn, but also in finding relationships, especially when you’re reentering the dating scene after a long absence. Some people decide they shouldn’t try again because they got hurt, and some that they should just to relieve loneliness. In truth, however, some hurt people have good reasons to keep dating and some lonely people are likely to get into trouble if they try it. So don’t let feelings guide your dating decisions. The most important thing to consider when timing your return is whether dating is worth doing and whether you have the skills to manage the risks. Then, whether it works out or not, you’ll know you made the right decision, and you’ll know when the time is right.
I’m in my early 50s, and newly widowed after my husband’s extended illness. I’ve been lonely for a long time, he had Alzheimer’s and was like a child for many years. Recently, I joined a dating site and met a number of men. In the last three months, I’ve had eight sexual partners. I decided to get testing done for STDs and found out that I have hepatitis B. I ‘m not really sure whom I contracted it from, and not sure if that matters. I have advised all of my partners of my diagnosis. My question is, how do I go on from here? I’m scared of what this diagnosis means, and embarrassed to be in this situation. I can’t tell my family or friends because they would be appalled that I was having casual sex, and a couple of my partners have been nasty and threatening. I had hoped to eventually pursue a healthy long-term relationship, but now I feel dirty and like damaged goods.
To endure a husband’s suffering and early death from Alzheimer’s is a major achievement, at least to anyone who knows how hard it is to watch someone slip away bit by bit and not be able to mourn him or move on because he’s not yet gone. It’s a harrowing experience that would leave anyone struggling to find her footing.
Whatever other feelings your brain may throw your way, or however you explore your post-married life, you deserve to feel pride. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on March 17, 2014
Share This Post
Everybody has a limit as to how much they can bear to differ and share with their partner; it’s just as difficult to be with someone who agrees with you too much as with someone with whom you can never see eye-to-eye, no matter what James Carville and Mary Matalin say. Distinguishing between acceptable and irreconcilable differences is tricky; some differences need not threaten a partnership, but it’s not good for either of you to stay together if one of you believes the other is bad and beyond redemption. So weigh everything you know about a person’s reliability and loyalty before deciding what to make of your ethical, religious, or cable news differences and your partnership.
I think my husband is much happier about our moving to a new town since he joined a local church, and I thought I’d feel welcome there too, but I was not pleased to hear that they recently expelled a woman from the congregation because she’s lesbian. My husband believes it was the wrong thing to do, but he loves the way the congregation makes him and others feel valued and at home, so he’s not about to let go of his new friends. I’ve objected publicly, and no one argues with me, but they treat me with kindly disagreement, making it clear I’m welcome even if I can’t understand where they come from. I still have trouble understanding how my husband can be OK with this under any circumstances when in my eyes it’s bigotry, plain and simple. My goal is to honor my principles while not letting the church come between me and my husband.
Although there’s an apparent difference of principle standing between you and your husband, you have no reason to doubt his honesty, fidelity, or any other character issue that would interfere with his being a good partner. The difficulty is reconciling that with your new impression that he might not be a good person.
You’ve been together, I assume, for a number of years and have weathered storms, so you have good reason to respect him as a person and husband. You don’t expect his continued membership in a church that rejects gays and lesbians will make him less honest and supportive. He did not ask you to stifle your opinion, even though it differs from his, so weigh these considerations before you decide to reject him. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on February 27, 2014
Share This Post
Dating is one of those painful, hard-to-control activities, like losing weight and fighting cancer, where the only way not to feel like a total failure is not to have to do it at all. For daters, success means landing a good partner, but, until that happens, you will probably find yourself being too passive about letting go of a bad partner and/or feeling rejected when it doesn’t work out, or being too sensitive to hurting bad candidates, even with good reason. Instead of letting the dating process get you down, review your standards for dating honestly and safely. Then, when things don’t work out, you’ll do what’s best for you and your non-partner, and achieve a little success, even if the struggle continues.
I’m almost 40 and I’ve never had a relationship. I’ve been in love three times, but none of these relationships were ‘real’ relationships. Love number 1 was when I was in my 20’s I was seeing a guy for 10 years, on and off, but our relationship never got off the ground (no real dates or romance, just drunken hook ups every weekend). He turned out to be gay, so no major surprise there I suppose. Number 2 was a close friend who asked me to wait for him while he got through the pressures of work and nursing a parent through a fatal illness. After waiting two years, and still hopelessly in love with him, he told me he changed his mind and didn’t want to get together with me. Finally, love number 3 is a childhood friend of mine who I reconnected with a few years ago and who has liked me for years. He wanted a relationship with me but I wanted to wait because I was still a bit burned from number 2. We remained friends however and over time our friendship deepened and grew and I started to see him as more than a good friend, but when I told him I was interested in more than just a casual hook up, he disappeared! I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I can’t seem to move past the casual into a real relationship with someone. I was sexually abused as a child and I’ve had psychotherapy to address that, then again after the gay ex-“boyfriend.” Basically I’ve been in therapy for about 12 years. I’m really at the end of my tether now because something must be causing me to choose men that cannot commit and I really want to be in love, married and with children and time is running away from me now. I don’t date lots of men and I’ve never been one for one night stands. The one thing all three “boyfriends” had in common was I was friends with them first and my feelings developed into a deeper love from there so I know it could be years before I meet someone and fall in love again seeing as I’m the type of girl that needs this basis of friendship to build on. I’ve tried dating agencies for the past year and I haven’t had any luck, plus I socialize every weekend and I have no problem meeting and chatting to guys, it’s just none of them interest me too much. My goal is to change this pattern.
Being unlucky, be it in love or business or the lottery, always feels personal, but never really is. Bad luck can happen to anyone, no matter how old you are, what you deserve, and how gay your ex might be.
You have lots to offer and, from what you’ve said, weren’t too far off the mark in the people you chose for love or how you behaved with them. Unfortunately, dating guys is always like playing musical chairs with a substantial chairs shortage. The sad news about the birds and bees is that human females often have to deal with the inverse suitable male-to-female ratio that bees have. Even then, it’s lonely being queen. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on December 2, 2013
Share This Post
There are millions of reasons that being an adolescent girl is absolutely the worst—their peers are monsters, their teachers are idiots, their crushes are never as cute as vampires—but all of these issues are made worse by the fact that nobody seems able to help them. After all, when you’re trying to help a young girl deal with hormones and bad habits, not only will a rescue attempt possibly alienate the person you’re trying to help, it may offend the people whose help you need or let them off the hook when you need them to take more responsibility. In any case, assume that, in addition to giving them love and understanding, you must also be prepared to accept limited resource and political realities. Good rescues require good management, especially when you’re helping someone during the worst time in their life.
I’m worried about the kind of attention my granddaughter has been getting lately and how my son and his wife are handling it. She’s a terrific girl who has always done well in school, but she started going through puberty right before junior high. Now she has a gorgeous figure and is quite excited by all the attention she’s getting without quite understanding what it means. I know her parents have explained sex to her, as if there was anything they could tell her she hasn’t seen on TV, but I don’t think she gets what boys expect of her and just seems to like the romance and secret meetings with cool kids who wouldn’t look at her before. When I bring it up with her parents, they tell me they know they can trust her and they don’t believe in infantilizing her and ruining a good relationship. My goal is to help them be more appropriately protective.
When it comes to expressing concern to someone about their child, it’s nearly impossible not to imply that something’s wrong with that someone’s parenting, the child’s behavior, or their relationship. The line between concern and criticism isn’t just razor thin, but the criticism side is filled with angry wolverines, landmines, and open sewers.
Fortunately, your view isn’t blaming, but you’re still in a precarious position addressing your granddaughter’s sexuality and appearance. Frank talks about sex never seem to cover the unique burdens of being beautiful, and an adult trying to impart wisdom to a tween about image and perception is like trying to give your father advice on how to grill meats; you can’t educate someone who’s convinced of their own expertise. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »