@THECLEANSER your comment upset me. It seems to be telling the letter writers, heather, myself and anyone who identifies with this letter and other recent ones that they (we) are NOT average or normal and that they (we) are "very damaged" and "depressed". In my experience existential questions, almost by definition, come out of situations where people question life, and it's easy honestly for people who are questioning life to be depressed … those two not too far from each other. I am grateful to Polly/Heather for choosing strong examples of doubt and fear, trauma and uncertainty not just because it's easy for those of us who are dealing with a more diluted situation to understand the situation, but also because it's right for her to be using this opportunity to help people that need it the most. And THECLEANSER, I'll ask that you perhaps take the last maybe 6 out of 30 columns as an opportunity to feel grateful about your life instead of complaining that not 100% of things are tailored to you. You may not be able to recognize yourself in these letters of pain, doubt and trauma, and I'm happy that your experience has been good (or your imagination so limited. I have a suspicion that your friends and family may have a different experience but feel that they have to hide it from you due to your attitude) but you are making it harder for the rest of us who can.
@MatthewGallaway : Well, who doesn't enjoy a pleasant conversation about KOK?
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
I do have a test today, that wasn't bullshit. It's on European socialism.
LW I see you wrote my life in. How eerie. I am just going to address the boyfriend thing, since it's the thing that is hardest for me.
No, but really. I've decided tough is good for demands. As in, I demand that people who date me act like they like me, and that my needing and wanting intimacy and connections is not, in fact, a huge burden on their busy lives.
I am frosty, so if someone says I am clingy, there is... a disconnect, I think? Maybe clingy *for them* but by measures of how much connection women seem to want with their dudes, not so much. It takes me a long time to want that, because my independence is hard fought and won.
So yeah. You wanna get with this here? You had better act like you actually want it. And if you don't, that might be sad and I might cry some. But since I am really used to being self-reliant and on my own, I can do without your giving me crumbs of affection, time, and intimacy because they're all you think I deserve, or if you think you give more I will drain you dry.
There is strength in being vulnerable. And there is strength is valuing your vulnerability for what it is- the willingness to surrender some hardness to benefit from the softness that's already there anyway.
And the strength is recognizing that you can, and you should, walk away if your opposite person doesn't see your being vulnerable as a *huge* compliment to them, too. You can be on your own, if you need to. So that means if you are going to connect with other people, the connections can be the strongest, most satisfying they can be. Strong and vulnerable aren't mutually exclusive traits, at war with one another.
Also, it takes a hell of a boyfriend to beat no boyfriend at all, from where you are standing.
@paddlepickle Maybe she'll get paid now.
To me, this guy sounded merely clueless. OK, deeply clueless. But he supports and listens to her and appreciates her, and he bent over backwards to fix the problem once she brought it to his attention. Does he feel, very strongly, that she's not hot enough? I don't get that impression. I think she demanded honesty, asked too many questions and now she doesn't know what to do with the information she squeezed out of him. Very typical clumsy young love maneuvers happening on both sides, but tough to tell if there's something stronger pulling them together in spite of all of this fumbling. I gave them both the benefit of the doubt on that front, but I totally agree that, generally speaking, feeling like you need to improve your looks for someone is bullshit.
I had this boyfriend who used to raise his eyebrows whenever I ate cheese. CHEESE. See also: my one true forever lover. DON'T MAKE YOURSELF THE SWORN ENEMY OF CHEESE, MOTHERFUCKER, BECAUSE YOU WILL LOSE THAT BATTLE EVERY TIME.
@davidwatts "Is it possible to love someone to whom you are not especially physically attracted?"
Yes, they're called friends. Good ones don't shit all over their friends' appearances constantly.
@Squirrel Bait I don't know. People have different needs. Some people need more space, some people need more contact. It's good to talk about what you need. The letter writer needs more contact--maybe this dude just needs more space. Maybe he just wants things to remain casual, maybe he just wants to move slowly into a serious relationship? There might not be a single thing "wrong" with him…except for the same thing that's "wrong" with letter writer, IE the inability to speak up about what he wants.
Just speaking from experience, as a guy who likes to take it slow. My BF likes to move fast. We talked about it early on and worked it out. 1.5 years later, smooth sailing, mostly. Talking is just good. As is not judging other people just because they've got different needs.
Wait, wait, wait. The LW says that she has been with this guy for three months. It is now mid-February. So even if we assume that this letter has been sitting in Polly's inbox for a few weeks, they had only been together maybe two months tops at Christmas. That seems way too soon to be reading a lot of things into the valediction on a dumb Christmas card.
That said, I think the LW needs to move on. Have the conversation if you want to (if nothing else, it might be good practice at expressing your needs), but I doubt this is the complex, emotionally available man you seek. In my personal experience, when it's right, it's easy. Easier than you even thought possible. There is no anxiety about wondering how to make the other person care. Because when two people are mutually crazy about each other, it would be tough to STOP them from being in regular contact with each other.
Also, I knew this relationship was doomed as soon as she started analyzing all the differences between this relationship and the current one, how the intellectual connection is different and the communication is different and blah blah blah. . .one thing I have realized is that if you are analyzing a relationship to death it means it's just not right. When you meet the right person, you won't have to spend endless hours figuring out whether this or that thing is OK because it'll just be. . .right. I completely forget about this rule every time I fall head over heels for some wrong-for-me moron, but it's become very easy for me to spot it in my friends.