Clarification of Answer by
05 Oct 2005 14:56 PDT
First of all, you describe one of the main attractions of this
"I also really enjoy the feeling of companionship and someone
calling me 'honey'. I had forgotten how fulfilling that feels.
It just feels nice to refer to a 'girlfriend' again."
My ?emotional attraction? to her is very strong. I downplayed her good
qualities. The things that have stuck in my mind. Our sense of humor
is incredibly compatible. She says things that make me laugh ? and
which I look forward to hearing every day. She has a very positive
outlook on life and really values her family relationships. Also, its
not just companionship for companionship?s sake that I enjoy, because
the other women I briefly saw did not have the same effect. Its this
girl?s specific company that I really enjoy. Sometimes I fantasize
about being married to her just because of her wonderful and
optimistic outlook on life ? I think she would be a wonderful person
to face life?s challenges with.
I'm glad to hear this, along with your clarifications to the
effect that you DO communicate more than you indicated. Yet,
these things were not included in your initial post as a
primary focus, FOR SOME REASON. I leave it to you to explore
why that is.
In general, I'm a firm believer in the power of attention,
as in how a single person looking up can cause a whole
crowd of people to stare into the sky when there's really
nothing there. I also see this at work in our lives and
The teenage girl who is convinced that her pimple makes
her unattractive puts so much attention on it that others
can see little else, whereas if she is able to put it in
perspective as the very small part of her totality which
it really is, others will dismiss it with equal ease.
In the same way, your "rushed" initial post is revealing,
in that it focuses on the primary issues that have your
attention. Certainly you can change that, and if both
people in a couple are putting the majority of their
attention on the positive aspects of each other and
their relationship (without any resistance to the
negative aspects in the process), the relationship
will have more potential than it otherwise would.
You will tend to blame the other and insist that they need
to change, as well as projecting your own dysfunctions onto
your partner and using the energy of creativity in burst of
anger at them, rather than using the same energy to make
changes within yourself.
Please articulate what my dysfunction is. Do you detect I have a
dysfunction? I know its tough to tell from a text post, but do your
best. I promise not to make rash decisions based on your honest
In the part you quoted, I was speaking about people in general,
and how we all have a tendency to see our own faults in others.
It's much easier to become angry with someone else's perceived
faults and insist that they change than it is to shine that
judgmental spotlight on ourselves, and use our energies to
create change within ourselves. Knowing that I am the only
person I can really change is the beginning of wisdom.
As for you, personally, I can't detect any specific dysfunction
other that the one which has been diagnosed, but I can tell you
what to look for.
Look for the behaviors of others that make you angrier than you
should be, and listen to the words you yell at others, (or would
like to, if you repress the urge). Pretend those words are aimed
at YOU by your Highest Self, and they will tell you exactly what
issues you need to work on. Then take the anger you feel toward
that person, and conserve the energy of it and use it to make the
change within yourself that will satisfy your Higher Self.
For example, if you find yourself yelling at another person (or
wanting to), "You never listen to me!", find a way, such as
meditation or prayer, to spend more time actively listening to
your Higher Self, whatever you perceive that to be, and devote
as much energy to doing so as is indicated by the anger you felt
toward the other person. Also become more aware of any tendency
you have not to listen receptively to others. When you resolve
the true source of your anger, which is always within yourself,
the behavior of others will not upset you.
1. You say the breakup made her cry (she claims) but neither
you or she seem to have explored this sadness since. I see
no indication that either you or she were inclined to sit
down and communicate more deeply about this upset, and what
it meant. Communication is absolutely necessary, especially
about emotions. They don't get resolved or understood if
they're not given time and space and attention.
We actually have spent A LOT of time communicating about our feelings.
She has expressed that she feels I?m special and that she?s starting
to feel ?connected? emotionally to me. We?ve explored ad nauseum how
my medical condition affects my feelings. My ?off and on? flip
flopping has caused her confusion. Which I can understand. My point
about the breakup was to get your opinion as to whether dating 3 guys
on one floor in the span of 9 months is ?appropriate?, or whether
she?s exhibiting a little bit of ?player? behavior. Sound like you
agree I?m not paranoid on that point.
Again, I'm glad to hear that there is more communication than
your original post indicated, and that does suggest a potential
foundation upon which more can be built.
That doesn't change the fact of the "player" behavior, and the
potential heartache it is likely to cause you down the road.
But it isn't the behavior of a woman who's ready to settle
down and commit. It also isn't the behavior of someone who
is likely to be satisfied with occasional sex, no matter how
We?ve begun to discuss the potential of me meeting her parents. This
has not come up with the other guys she?s dated. Also, the other two
guys on the floor she dated were brief (2-3 dates).
That's nice, and I can see where this would give you some hope,
but it doesn't make her tendency toward sexual acting out go away.
4 & 5. I'm going to combine these, as they're closely related.
A dramatic change in personality following a date-rape in college
should be one of your biggest concerns! One of the ways victims
of such acts attempt to compensate is to take on the qualities
of the perpetrator who made them suffer. They attempt to regain
a sense of control over what took place in the past both by
reliving it in the present as the victim (getting drunk [doped]
and waking up nude with no memory of what took place), or by
reliving it from the perpetrator's persective (agressively
pursuing dating and sex - being the initiator and the one in
Interesting you mention this. She mentioned she hasn?t told her
family. She also mentioned she went to see a therapist once, but found
it to be a waste of time. She?s received no further professional help
to address the date-rape.
That fits what you've told me, and the behaviors she's exhibiting.
She really does need some professional assistance with this issue.
Dismissing therapy itself on the basis of an encounter with a
single therapist is a common mistake. It's wiser to consider that
selecting a therapist is like shopping for any other commodity.
Eventually she will find one with whom she feels a therapeutic
rapport. Then trust can be built, and progress can be made.
"get professional help and heal before dating seriously"
So, you think I need professional help? If my concerns are well
founded, then I?m not paranoid. Why do I need professional help?
Aren?t I dealing with this in a healthy way?
I was simply citing the best of the two options you presented
at the end of your original post:
"you're not ready for this and she is definitely not the type
you should expect to be faithful - get professional help and
heal before dating seriously - end it now"
Why you chose to mention the option of getting professional
help, I don't know, but it's certainly worth exploring.
As for what I can see, yes, you're dealing with this in a
healthy way, but if you're learning anything of significance
from asking these questions and reading my answers, you could
probably benefit from more of the same from a counselor, in
person. In truth, very few people couldn't benefit from such
counseling, since they tend to educate people in things which
all counselors eventually come to believe should be taught in
school - things like stress management, anger management,
assertiveness training, relationships, belief management, etc.
These are all things which would be beneficial to everyone,
but to which most people have no exposure until they enter
At the least, for you, I would recommend participating in
some kind of support group, whether specific to your diagnosis
or for men with a low sex drive in general. Whether a group
meeting in the flesh or an online bulletin board, it would
be useful for you to have an understanding group of people
to whom you can express your thoughts and feelings, and get
feedback from those with similar experiences.
This would be a good first step for your girlfriend, as well.
If she can see that others have had dramatic changes in their
outlooks following the experience of date-rape, she may begin
to realize that her behavior is a reaction to that, and may
begin to realize it's not who she really is.
6. You "definitely get the vibe that she has to initiate
I?ve expressed my concern to her. Her response is that she doesn?t
have a high sex drive (observations and words conflict here ? which
confuses me). She mentions that her ex boyfriend of 4 years (who she
broke up with Sep-2004) wanted more sex than she was interested in
having. I?ve explained all the background around what I went through
with my ex-wife, and she goes out of her way to reassure me she is not
Actually I can believe that she does not have a high sex drive.
I will use the analogy of men who rape. They don't do so out of
sexual desire, but out of a need to be in control. Most rapists
were, themselves, sexually abused as children. The behavior they
exhibit by raping is about feeling in control of the act they
couldn't control when they were young victims. Your girlfriend
doesn't have as strong of a pathology because she was not conscious
when she was abused, but she still exhibits the tendency to want
to take initiative and be in control of the sex act. This has
little to do with sexual desire, but that fact wouldn't prevent
her from seeking out sex outside of her primary relationship.
She will always have a tendency to recreate the scenario of her
unresolved trauma until she can resolve it within herself.
All of that has nothing to do with you or her truest nature.
It is simply a compulsion fueled by unresolved emotional and
She might become all the more agressive and insistent -
and even abusive, or she could become very upset - not
to mention what feelings may emerge on your part.
We communicate pretty well, I think, so I would hope between that and
her general well-adjusted and mature personality, we would never reach
that point. She has told me on several occasions "I will always be
honest with you". If we ever encounter sexual issues, I feel like she
would raise them and we?d address them in a very logical and
reasonable way. Does this address your concerns, sublime?
Yes, to some extent. I was only conjecturing in the part you
cited above, but I simply want you to be aware that a compulsion
based on prior trauma doesn't just disappear because someone
wants it to. If she were to commit to you entirely, what will
become of the urge to act out her trauma? It will certainly
surface somehow, and it will not be amenable to rational
resolution. It is bound to surface as irrational behavior
and emotion. If you feel prepared to handle that, despite her
dismissal of more professional help, that's up to you.
I'm not suggesting that a person who has been abused doesn't
deserve to be loved. What I know for a fact is that your love
for them will be wasted if they are not willing to receive it.
Loving someone more than they love themselves will only produce
heartache for you. How much a person loves themselves is a
good measure of how willing they are to receive love from
others. Only they can decide that they deserve to feel better
than they did when they were traumatized, and only they can
choose to feel the love within themselves which is capable
of healing that trauma. Once they've made that choice, they
are capable of receiving love from others to assist them in
the process of healing, but it has to start within them.
For the moment, it doesn't seem that your girlfriend has
made that choice.
Finally, you don't "feel the spark", but seem willing to
commit to this (very tenuous) relationship for the sake
of proving to yourself that you're capable of "trusting"
again, despite the trauma you experienced in the past.
But if you did this, you would effectively be putting
trust in her (when she clearly hasn't earned it)
What types of behaviors would she have to exhibit for her
to earn my trust?
Clearly, only you can answer that, but the answers to this
are, again, within the question you posed here. She would
not exhibit a tendency to date so many men with so little
evidence of discernment and discrimination. She would not
"put herself in scenarios where there are a lot of men
drinking...[get] drunk when she was out with friends and
[wake] up naked in her bed the next morning and [not] know
how she got there", and so on.
Contrasting that heartfelt advice with the first version,
which starts by insulting you and calling you an idiot,
there's really no contest.
I worded it that way because my default position is to keep developing
the relationship ? see where it goes. I was kind of hoping the first
"idiot" option would be your recommendation. Interesting that you
chose the second option as the recommendation.
We often "hope" for one outcome only because we know deep inside
that the alternative outcome is more likely.
"I hope I won't have to pay much in taxes this year."
"I hope my car makes it to the next gas station, but I
can't be sure because the gauge is broken."
"I hope that unfamiliar loud noise doesn't signify a problem."
Feel free to add your own... : )
The bottom line is, I'm not here to make up your mind for you -
no counselor should presume to do so. I'm here to help you
reflect on the deeper meanings and implications of what you
yourself are saying, and what impact the choices you make
may have on your life, with the assistance of whatever wisdom
I've gained by familiarity with similar thoughts, feelings and
You should (and WILL) always follow the dictates of your own
conscience, in the long run. I'm just here to amplify some of
the input from your conscience which may not have been audible
or made any sense when we started the journey.
You should also know that, whatever you choose, it will lead to
growth if you allow yourself to learn from the experiences that
result from your choices. Whatever occurs as a result of your
choices, simply remind yourself, "I chose this", and glean what
benefits there are from the experience. There are no wrong choices
if you learn from them. Mistakes are how we learn. If you never
make a mistake, you will never learn anything.
Certainly I can advise you, based on what I know of what others
have reported as happening as a result of similar choices in
similar situations, but sometimes, no matter how often Mom says
not to put your finger in the fire because it will burn and
make an "owwie", we just need to experience it for ourselves
in order to KNOW, beyond what anyone is capable of describing,
what that experience is like. And that's okay.
Whatever you decide, I wish you the best in your path to wisdom.