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Goals, not wishes-- I'm a doctor, not a genie.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Action Blues

Posted by fxckfeelings on August 3, 2015

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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).
Dr. Lastname

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 »

Moral Exam

Posted by fxckfeelings on October 23, 2014

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We’ve said many times that the worst relationships teach the best lessons, from what to look for in your next partner to what you need in a good lawyer. Knowing how much you’ve actually learned from the lessons, however, can sometimes be tricky; sometimes you get so connected with someone that breaking up makes you underestimate how much you’ve learned, and sometimes your connection is so superficial and one-sided that you wind up feeling you’ve learned more than you really have. In any case, don’t judge what you’ve learned from a relationship by your emotional reaction. If you’re honest with yourself and give or take credit where it’s due, you should’ve learned enough to ace the next test.
Dr. Lastname

I always knew deep down that my relationship with my college boyfriend was never going to work out—he was restless, attractive, and hated the idea of settling down, and I wanted to get married—but I loved him and couldn’t let go. We stuck together for eight years until he finally had an affair, I broke up with him, and now, five years later, I’m happily married. I would have told you I had no complaints until I was recently invited to a big party by an old friend, who told me my old flame would be there, which bothers me more than I thought. I don’t know who he’ll be with or what has happened to him, and I’m afraid to find out, mostly because I’m so eager to find out. I hate the idea of still having feelings for him, particularly since I’m married. My goal is to figure out what’s wrong with me and why I can’t move on and forget about him.

If you’re looking for someone to tell you whether/how/why your feelings for your ex are important or dangerous, you’re obviously looking in the wrong place. You shouldn’t expect to control having feelings, just to control what you do with them, like not obsessing over them in the first place.

You finally did what was necessary after recognizing that your old college boyfriend would never make a good life partner, but only after he had an affair. Still, that affair was a teachable moment, not just about your future together (or lack thereof), but about your tendency to let uncertainty bind you to things for longer than necessary. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Desire Exit

Posted by fxckfeelings on June 30, 2014

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Unless your sexual relationship began with a matchmaker, a bet, or a promise to a dead sibling, it probably started out with the spark of mutual attraction. Being wanted by someone you love is part of the high, but when lust becomes love and love becomes the boring reality of commitment—i.e., when people are too tired and/or comfortable to lie about being in the mood—the high turns into a new kind of emotional low. Sexual frustration feels like love is over, and encountering sexual resentment feels like your prince is a whiny brat. If, however, you can put sex into perspective and value what you’ve found in someone beyond the spark, then you can manage those feelings, which is the true test of love.
Dr. Lastname

I hate the way my husband isn’t interested in sex as much as I am, and doesn’t want to talk about it; it’s as if he has no respect for my needs, doesn’t appreciate all the hard work I’m doing to support the family, and doesn’t find me attractive anymore. I feel like he got me to marry him by pretending to love me and be interested in me but then just changed his mind. I thought he was cheating on me, because what gay man isn’t interested in sex, but even now that I believe him when he says he’s just stressed about a million things right now (he even cries about it sometimes), I still feel like he should put me first once in a while. Of course, sulking doesn’t exactly make me sexy, so I’m aware I’m being stupid, but having an affair seems like justified payback. My goal is to find a constructive way of responding, getting laid, or at least not having to get a divorce.

Nothing lasts forever, but it’s not clear which eventual loss will pain you more: the end of your marriage, or the decrease in your now-rabid sexual desire. Just because your husband is first to lose his sexual appetite doesn’t mean you should be so quick to sacrifice your partnership for your boner.

No matter who you are, libido is fragile and easily affected by a million factors, from age to illness to humidity level. If, like many men, you’re sexually needy, then you can’t allow yourself to think that true love and a marital commitment guarantee sexual availability. People and circumstances change, which is the only thing you can count on. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Icky Dumped

Posted by fxckfeelings on February 27, 2014

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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.
Dr. Lastname

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 »

Emo-deration

Posted by fxckfeelings on February 24, 2014

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Like Middle Eastern oil and cronuts, love may lose its value if it’s treated as an overly available commodity or if it’s made too scarce to sustain its market. Whether you’re someone who loves love without regard to quality or finds it too hard to get from someone with little to give, knowing what goes wrong doesn’t mean you can make it better. If you think you can improve market conditions, present your proposals positively. without triggering the fear and anger that cause extremes. Otherwise, do what you can to preserve the value of the love you offer, regardless of market influences.
Dr. Lastname

I’ve been in several long-term relationships, and am in one currently. Each time, I’ve started out very in love with the guy, but eventually this goes away. Then I get bored, I start looking around, and I cheat on then dump the person. I’ve had friends tell me that I need to “just say no,” but I can’t seem to do it. I just go with impulse without thought of consequence. In my current relationship, I started the same way. I became a little disenchanted once I really got to know him, and then one night while I was out and kind of pissed at him, made out with a mutual friend of ours. I felt really guilty, but not bad necessarily. A week later, I broke up with my boyfriend. Usually in the past, I break up and never look back. This time, however, I found myself completely torn up… and a few days ago we got back together. I know I really love this guy, and I hate that I can’t seem to remain faithful to anyone. Am I just a completely selfish, shitty person at my core? Why do I feel the need to explode every good relationship I have? I ask myself these kinds of questions, but what I really want to know is, how can I stop getting bored, cheating, and living in guilt and self-hatred?

You’ve made progress in your relationships if you can truly say you still have feelings and care about your latest boyfriend, but your awareness of your boyfriends’ feelings, assuming that they run deeper than yours, is still a bit lacking. Not lacking is your ability to get frustrated with or hurt by someone you love without having to have sex with someone else.

If, as seems probable, you’re the kind of person who is sensitive to the excitement of love and new relationships but doesn’t form deeper attachments easily, or resonate to those feelings in others, then it’s natural for you to get bored and restless with your lovers. Hating yourself won’t help; it will only make you more self-centered and likely to do the stuff you’re least proud of. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Hot or Fraught

Posted by fxckfeelings on October 24, 2013

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No matter how pretty, thin, and/or rich you are, or how hard this may be to believe if you are none of the above, finding a solid partner always carries a risk of heartache that can make the process of dating feel like a series of debilitating defeats. So instead of expecting that increasing your attractiveness will reduce the pain, toughen up and become more selective, using your experience of rejection and near-misses to improve your skills and dodge the heartbreakers. In the end, believe it or not, you’ll give yourself the match-making, if not the wealth and looks, you deserve.
Dr. Lastname

I don’t see why I always seem to have the same problems with the guys I fall in love with. I’ve got a job I like in sales—I wouldn’t be good at it if I wasn’t reasonably self-confident and attractive—and I’m comfortable with my identity as a gay guy who would like a real relationship. The problem isn’t in meeting men, because I don’t have a lot of trouble attracting very nice, good-looking men who are really interested in me, and I fall for them. Then, after about three months, they seem to change their minds and pull back, and I’m left wondering what I did wrong. Which is why I’m writing you.

Being good-looking and attractive always feels like a gift, and it’s hard to convince the average-looking it has any real drawbacks beyond getting too many compliments and having a hard time finding clothes that aren’t flattering.

You’re attractive enough to elicit positive responses from attractive guys, which feels like they really, really like you, but they’re responding to your attractiveness, not to you. Unfortunately, being beautiful imposes real, ugly burdens, and this looks like one of them. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Community Venter

Posted by fxckfeelings on October 21, 2013

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It’s easy for your individual sense of right and wrong to be at odds with the customs and attitudes of your community, workplace, and/or message board chums, and you may well experience guilt when there’s a difference between the two, regardless of whether you did anything wrong. As a result, it may be hard to find your own way when you first go solo, or to re-discover your own way when pressured by an absorbing new community. In any case, ignore guilty feelings and get back to basics. Judge your actions in the light of your own experience and values and stand by them, regardless of what others think, say, and put into FAIL-related .gif form.
Dr. Lastname

I grew up in a very Christian family where we all went to religious school and attended church several times a week, and kids weren’t allowed to date or talk to members of the opposite sex on the phone (or even consider sex before marriage). Now that I’m in my second year of college and away from home, however, I’m not sure I want to live my life this way. The school is Christian, but there are other, secular universities nearby, and I like hanging out in the college bars in town and dating. Of course, doing so makes me feel like I’m sliding into sin and would catch all kinds of criticism if my parents and home community knew what I was doing. I feel like I can’t feel like a good person in either world; I haven’t really been a bad person, but my faith in my parents’ rules has lessened. My goal is to stop swinging up and down like a yo-yo.

When you’re young, your main way of knowing whether you’re doing right or wrong is by perceiving whether others, particularly grown-ups, are angry at you; sometimes it’s through a subtle reward, and other times it’s via a very blunt spanking.

This sensation usually persists, even when you know, as an adult, that you’ve done nothing wrong or everything right. If you belong to a religious community with many conventions and rules, those feelings are also tied to doing what everyone else defines as good behavior, like going to church, praying, and not dating, all of which are tied to what they believe God wants. And God hasn’t handed out personal wrath in at least a millennium or so. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Hi, Infidelity

Posted by fxckfeelings on September 26, 2013

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Sometimes it’s as hard to save a marriage from the false suspicion of infidelity as it is to save it from infidelity itself. That’s because people respond to marital hurt by trying to prove their love, which, after all, is what started the whole thing going, makes the world go round and supports the diamond and edible underpants industries. Unfortunately, you often can’t manufacture romance in an old marriage, even with jewels, Viagra, and clothes that double as meals, so rating your relationships by their emotional flame is a good way to generate additional marital doubt, conflict, and defeat. So, when expressions of love are not enough, try rating your marriage as a functioning partnership and source of acceptance. Then, when your romantically-deprived or -injured side goes looking for drama, you’ll know the real value of what you’ve got, and have nothing to fear.
Dr. Lastname

I’ve never had an affair before, but after 20 years of marriage and an only child in college, I started to feel like my life was over, and I needed an adventure. The problem is that I love my husband, who is a good guy and a terrific father, and when he found my email messages to the guy I had a (fairly regrettable) one night stand with, it broke his heart. Now he’s depressed and goes back and forth between wanting to be with me and asking me what it was like to be sleeping with someone else. I’ve told him I love him, and I really do, but he can’t seem to get over it and, even though I’m the guilty party, I lose patience and feel even worse. My goal is to get him to see I love him, because I really don’t want to lose my marriage.

As the old saying goes, everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die, and that’s especially true for most people who consider infidelity; everybody wants excitement, but nobody wants to kill their marriage.

Now that you’ve discovered that love alone won’t undo the hurt and stop him from agonizing for some time to come, it’s a good time to consider why he, and you, should stay married, apart from the sincerity of your feelings, given the fact that, at least for a moment, you’re capable of fucking up.

In other words, now that you’ve attempted to murder your marriage, is it worth saving or just pulling the plug. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Pressure Hooker

Posted by fxckfeelings on June 3, 2013

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No one controls the nature of their sexual needs, including their strength, timing, and target, but we all have reason to control what we do with them. That’s why “I couldn’t help it” is never a convincing alibi, for either sexual indiscretion or disinterest, because even the most impulsive and passive people can manage their impulses with enough effort. Sooner or later, the difference between getting sexual satisfaction and being a good partner creates a conflict that tests your ability to remember and act on your values, regardless of where your needs want to take you. That’s when you need to find the strength to “help it,” whether it is your needs, your relationship, and/or yourself.
Dr. Lastname

The last thing I want to do is hurt my wife, but I’ve always had a taste for sex with prostitutes, even though it costs more money than I can afford, and getting married two years ago didn’t made a difference to my bad habits. My wife works hard and we pool our incomes, so she hasn’t noticed that we have less money than might be expected from the salary I make. I hate myself when I do it, and I don’t much enjoy it, so I can’t figure out why I haven’t been able to stop. I guess I’m an impulsive person, because there are corners I cut at work that might get me fired and I haven’t been able to stop that either. I must have a deep desire to get myself into trouble. My goal is to figure out what’s wrong with me and be more normal.

The biggest reason not to waste your time trying to figure out why you can’t stop spending money you don’t have on prostitutes is that you’ve already got your answer; you’re an impulsive guy, always have been, even when it fucked up your self-interest and ran against your moral values. You’re like Columbo, knowing who the perp is all along (but that makes you the guilty party, as well).

Being called impulsive isn’t meant as criticism, just a description of a big problem that usually remains a mystery when anyone tries to explain it, or understand why one person has it and another doesn’t. The question isn’t why–the answer to that is the same as to the answer to “why are whores so pricey?,” because life’s unfair–but what to do about it. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Love Savings

Posted by fxckfeelings on May 13, 2013

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While it’s said that you only hurt the ones you love, it would be more honest to say that you only hurt the ones who love you. What’s worse, that hurt usually comes from pushing them away when they’re trying too hard to help. Trying to redeem or heal someone, or yourself, through caring and communication usually does less rescuing and more repulsing. After all, if one or both people can’t consistently manage their own responsibilities, honest talk and helpfulness does little but make excuses and turn love into prolonged anguish. Develop a reasonable set of standards about what a person should do to take care of him/herself, before you offer or ask for help. Otherwise, you’ll earn all too well how true the “help until it hurts” saying is.
Dr. Lastname

My friend and I have feelings for each other, which are no secret to either of us—we had kissed and had even gotten close to having sex but when it came down to being completely honest about our feelings we couldn’t do it. I knew this was unhealthy but I was scared because not only are we both guys but we both had a lot of issues when it came to love. He would say things like, “I don’t know what I want,” and “Don’t fall in love with me.” It was confusing because before that he would be asking me to “make love to him” and had even said, “I love you” twice. I know that part of it was fear of being with another guy. Then, two months ago, I got into a car accident because I was drunk. He was there but, luckily, no one was hurt. Now he says he’s forgiven me, but he has also picked up a girlfriend, which was a shock to me and it hurt. In the beginning we had great chemistry but then we lost that when we stopped being honest with each other. I believe it happened when feelings started getting intense. I want for us to stop hurting each other and start being honest. I’m not sure how to do this and it is breaking my heart. I wouldn’t mind being his friend if he would just stop playing games or whatever this is with me. Is he just confused or being cruel? I can’t make up my mind.

Hollywood wisdom is that women don’t like Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but given how far-fetched your average romantic comedy is, that’s simply untrue. A movie about two people with great chemistry overcoming impossible circumstances by having a heart-to-heart and ending up happily ever after is built on a reality so false, it makes The Hobbit look plausible.

While that good, honest talk solves all romantic problems in TV/movie fantasyland, frustration like what you’re experiencing in real life is more often due to the other things that you’ve mentioned troubling you and your friend: confusion, fear, and uncertainty about who each of you wants to be with and who you want to be. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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