05 February 2011

So utterly mistaken

How am I so consistently so very wrong about the people I'm attracted to? I'm becoming increasingly sure that I can never trust my heart again in matters of romance, and though I'm not yet ready to settle for the safety of less passionate stability without the wonders of what I've felt, I'm a step closer. Is this awakening to reality?

Where I saw tenderness and sensitivity, only selfishness and cruelty remain. Where I saw love and affection, only a mirage. Where I saw the most beautiful friendship with potential for more, nothing but a demand for no contact ever, and no form of friendship whatsoever. Where I perceived trust, absolute distrust. But I know what I felt, and it was true. How am I supposed to recognize when it's genuinely returned after this?

I was about as wrong as you can get about the person who mattered so much to me. How am I supposed to ever trust what I feel again?


The Impossible K said...

You can't. Ok, maybe that's harsh, but feelings are very much prone to error. Especially when you open yourself up to such intense emotions... Best advice I can give is to take a step back when you feel drawn in, or ready to let down your guard. The long distance relationship totally worked for me because it removed the "warm fuzzies" that come from physical proximity and it really tested the commitment of both parties.

That Guy said...

Love is overrated. Strawberry Milkshakes, however...

Anonymous said...
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Original Mohomie said...

Perception is prone to error. Logical analysis is prone to error. Is feeling more so? I think feelings are often the product of fine-tuned, minute observations and connections made on a low level of consciousness but nonetheless reflecting accurate truths. But I agree: you have to step back at times. And I did. Very much. But at some point, if you never allow the free fall, you could miss the trust.

Incidentally, [he] and I lived more than an hour apart and mostly saw each other on weekends with occasional weekday visits. But yeah, it was all very brief anyway.

"That Guy", can I make it blackberry chocolate shakes?

tba, I do believe there are trustworthy souls, rare though they may be. But I'm a fool... :-)

Lee said...

In my experience, there are fewer who are trustworthy, but there are enough of them that you won't have to trek around the globe to find them. Just don't make a lifetime commitment before you've had a chance to observe, over an adequate time period, not only how the object of your affection treats you, but how he/she treats others under a variety of circumstances, including others who treat him/her badly. That's a fairly good indication of a person's soul.

Yes, perception is prone to error, logical analysis is prone to error, but The Impossible K is also right, and the advice is sound concerning stepping back so you don't confuse the intense emotions with true commitment. Feelings can be the most transient and unstable of all unless, as you suggest, they are "the product of fine-tuned, minute observations and connections made on a low level of consciousness but nonetheless reflecting accurate truths".

Unfortunately, in many cases, feelings are simply emotional reactions to the fulfillment of any of a number of personal needs born of some kind of insecurity: a need to feel comforted and/or safe, a need for attention or affection, a need to know someone understands us, etc. etc. Although we all experience those needs at certain times in our lives, it's temporary and requires good friends and family. It seldom leads to a healthy, enduring love.

So when establishing a lifetime relationship, it's important that the person you chose sees the relationship as life enhancing rather than life saving .... something he wants as a way to make his life even more fulfilling rather than something he needs in order to survive.

Why am I explaining this to YOU? Duh. I doubt you haven't gone through this mental exercise. Sometimes I talk too much.

Original Mohomie said...

I agree with the life-enhancing vs. life-saving thing, which has always been a concern for me (e.g. not wanting to be anyone's end-all-be-all for happiness and intimacy...or for them to be mine).

I also think that if I have tended, in the past, to err on any side, it's been that of disregarding or downplaying feelings, so forgive me for not spending a lot of focus on the need to keep emotions in check in favor of lasting principles or objective assessment, which I believe is not a risk I've ever been on the brink of. :-)

I have always appreciated that counsel from my family and internalized it very early in my life, and for a long time, I did so to a fault, I think.

And again, I do believe my "feelings" or perceptions were mostly accurate, especially since my fears were a reflection of things I recognized and knowingly risked. I am disappointed by [him], so very wrong about his patience and care in this instance, but hey, like he said, he's changed. I think I would have been right four months ago.

It was my hope that wasn't fulfilled. I don't regret, nor would I retract, my feelings for him as a person or the kind of relationship we were building until he realized he wanted something else. It cannot possibly be reduced to a matter of "warm fuzzies". And I'm sure that even a long-distance time for us would have "proven" our commitment, until he changed his mind about what he wanted. You see, it's just a different story in so many ways that it can't be simplified to match someone else's experience. But I appreciate the thoughts and lessons learned which can be applied in some ways. After all, EVERY relationship is going to end except for the one that lasts a lifetime, but it doesn't prove I shouldn't have let go with them...

I may have "let down my guard" prematurely this time. I might do it again. Better that, though, than to never do it. I'll find the right balance for me.

I believe in a balance I won't attempt to describe in detail here, but I also sometimes forget that many, many people have never recognized those ideas I internalized, so it may not even occur to them, so maybe I should specifically talk about those more, but I feel like I'd be constantly harping on it if I did because it permeates everything I process. Meh.

Lee said...

I think what you're saying is the old adage "it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Agreed.