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Is there a way to do this?

Posted by sayhellonow (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 5, 11 at 12:40

I've met a very nice man, and we have been seeing each other twice a week now for a couple of months. He jokingly said to me, "I think we've reached the second phase of this relationship." There has been no sex, but some very comfortable cuddling in front of the TV, and lots of talk. Between us, the families are ok (no problems and no children at home), as are the finances (neither of us has any debt or mortgage) and, so far anyway, lifestyle. We are both pretty happy people basically, although we both have the usual "baggage" of having been married before.

I've heard people say that, if it's meant to be it will be, or you shouldn't have to work at it. But I don't buy into either of those theories when there are two real human beings involved. Right now I think we are both doing everything "by the book" by deliberately not creating disagreements, by always being available to the other, and by being on our best behavior. So far that much is working. I'm looking for "the real thing" here, and he has told me that he is too.

So far, so good, right? So here's my question: Are there things I can do to deepen our relationship and bring us closer?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Start with your definition of "the real thing." Tell us what you're hoping for.

Also wondering if you've dealt with any bad times yet. You can learn a lot about people by seeing how they behave when stuff goes wrong. Not in the relationship, per se, but just how they handle trouble. Especially trouble with other people. Even little stuff can tell you a lot. Like how he behaves with attendants and wait-staff and occasional instances of retail disagreements.

Talk is nice but it takes time and circumstances to flesh out the big picture. Might take a several-day trip together and see how that works. Being nicey-nicey a couple times of week is very pleasant -- the "best behavior" thing. Being together for longer periods of time may or may not change the perception.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Thank you for responding, Asolo; I'm always interested in your insight. When I say I want "the real thing," I mean deep, abiding love. Not love without problems, but the kind of love that lasts in spite of trouble. I know you're right about being on our best behavior. We did have one disagreement on politics (he's liberal, I'm conservative), and we both immediately mentioned James Carville-Mary Matalin, and agreed to try and "keep our eyes on the prize." That's the only disagreement we've had so far. I've noticed that he does go out of his way to be nice to others -- more than I do, actually.

I've thought about taking a trip, and I think that would tell us more. But I'm wondering if there aren't some more subtle, everyday things I can do.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

"Not love without problems, but the kind of love that lasts in spite of trouble."

Well, there you go. No test yet. Remains unknown.

Not to get too anal about this. None of us EVER gets to know everything. The task is to come to a point where you're confident of honesty and good intentions. "Good intentions" almost always involve some sacrifice in ego/personal behavior in order to accommodate another person. We can't order events so that such characteristics will be displayed to-order. And we NEVER get certainty.

Via the passage of time and increasing exposure to an increasing variety of interactive situations we are able to observe. The behaviors we observe draw us closer in admiration or discourage us via doubts and disappointments. Bummer that it takes so long.

Actually, I have no idea what you want in a man so my obvious slant, above, in what I think would be desirable may have no value to you. Regardless, the principal is the same. Whatever you want -- and whatever you want to avoid -- will show itself in time. And that's the curse. It takes time.

And that was the source of my suggestion. I'm suggesting arranging circumstances so that you can spend multiple/continuous days/nights together so as to see what you think of "serious" time together. It WILL be different from your weekly get-togethers. Pay attention to the differences. Of course you'll be looking for "red flags" but be open to the joy, also, as it may come. When it's over, you both get to think about it on your own. And you can relive/discuss at your leisure. "Bonded" people do that all the time. Isn't that what you want?


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

You have so much wisdom! I think you're saying that, when trouble happens (and we know it will), see how it's handled -- by both of us. We never get certainty, and we never get everything. So true. I do think he is honest, and I believe his intentions are worthwhile. But that is where the rubber meets the road, right? To see if the belief system lines up with the reality. The kind of man I'm looking for is what I see in him "so far" -- honest, no financial problems, a father with no children at home, and who has friends and interests other than me. It's a bonus if he is easy to get along with, and Bob (not his name) is, so far.

You mentioned bonding. When I posted the question, "Is there a way to do this?" I was thinking along the lines of bonding, but more of what I can do on an everyday basis. Some women seem to know instinctively how to do this, but I don't think I do. I remember reading that Jackie Kennedy, before they were married, sent Sen. John Kennedy a gourmet lunch because he had been brown-bagging sandwiches. That created a bond, or at least a good memory, and that's where I think I'm inept. I am hoping that some of the people here can help me figure out how to do this. My background is in a technical field, and so is his, so maybe he and I should talk about that and how it may affect the way we communicate. Is this "borrowing trouble," or a good idea?

"...be open to the joy." I am ready (grin). Here's a personal question for you, Asolo: Are you a psychologist or stock broker? As I said, you seem to possess a lot of wisdom about people.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

More time together in social settings -- his friends/your friends -- plus some travel-time together will tell you what you want to know over time, I'll bet. Create situations that are enjoyable in themselves and that will allow you to observe how he interacts with the world. And, of course, that's what he'll be doing, too. Little gifts/little surprises/little thoughtful silly stuff. It all adds up. I'd be saying the same thing if you were 19 -- which I'll bet you're not.

The old adage "Trust takes time" is as operative now as it's ever been.

One caution: Please don't be one of those gals who wants to "talk about the relationship" all the time. There certainly are times and places for it but over-frequency is a huge turn-off. Makes one feel like they're having their emotional temperature taken every time they turn around. Just live and enjoy. I added that because you said you're in technical fields. Makes me suspect you're both prone to analysis. People HATE being analyzed.

I've managed factories, done outside sales, and financial advisory. Actually did spend some time as a stock broker in the early going -- interesting observation of yours from cyber-distance. No psychology except for sales training and management, which isn't the same thing at all. I know at least two former wives and many posters here who would dispute your "wisdom" comment....but thanks.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

You have so much wisdom! I think you're saying that, when trouble happens (and we know it will), see how it's handled -- by both of us. We never get certainty, and we never get everything. So true. I do think he is honest, and I believe his intentions are worthwhile. But that is where the rubber meets the road, right? To see if the belief system lines up with the reality. The kind of man I'm looking for is what I see in him "so far" -- honest, no financial problems, a father with no children at home, and who has friends and interests other than me. It's a bonus if he is easy to get along with, and Bob (not his name) is, so far.

You mentioned bonding. When I posted the question, "Is there a way to do this?" I was thinking along the lines of bonding, but more of what I can do on an everyday basis. Some women seem to know instinctively how to do this, but I don't think I do. I remember reading that Jackie Kennedy, before they were married, sent Sen. John Kennedy a gourmet lunch because he had been brown-bagging sandwiches. That created a bond, or at least a good memory, and that's where I think I'm inept. I am hoping that some of the people here can help me figure out how to do this. My background is in a technical field, and so is his, so maybe he and I should talk about that and how it may affect the way we communicate. Is this "borrowing trouble," or a good idea?

"...be open to the joy." I am ready (grin). Here's a personal question for you, Asolo: Are you a psychologist or stock broker? As I said, you seem to possess a lot of wisdom about people.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Good advice about the over-analyzing, and I know you're right. Sorry to post my response twice -- my pc was "glitching."

OK, I'm going to relax a bit and try to think of some "silly stuff."


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

I took him dancing last night -- he has two left feet and hadn't danced in 20 years, so I offered to give him some lessons in my dining room. We had a lot of fun laughing at ourselves and dissing those who were terrific on the dance floor (grin). It was one of the best dates we've had so far, and he verified that in an e-mail this morning.

You know, Asolo, sometimes people prefer to live in a world where they don't have to take responsibility for themselves and their own behavior. They become offended when someone gives them a dose of reality. Dr. Phil proves that on a daily basis.

(pssst: Do we have this room all to ourselves?)


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

I don't know how old you are and what kind of baggage you have each had from previous relationships but you seem to be taking it a little slow. Deepening a relationship is the kind of thing women seem to talk about. Who knows what it means? I think men are interested in warmth, affection, spending time together doing their favorite activities, which can be as simple as watching movies, hiking, golf. I think as men get older they enjoy going places with you--that even includes Costco. If you are not planning on having sex anytime soon, I wouldn't be discussing weekend trips.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Thanks Marge. Actually, I'm not "planning" sex. It will happen when it's right for both of us, and the trip may or may not include it. We agreed at the outset: Friendship first, then intimacy. When we met, both of us were recovering from hurtful relationships.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Guys bond through activity, women bond through communication. Giving a dancing lesson was a good idea! It's an activity as well as something that pushed him a little out of his comfort zone (but not too much) so he will feel more elated after having done it.

With my guy, i've noticed we tend to feel closer (or he is more huggy, and sweeter) when we do something difficult together. Such as going on a long hike, or we went to a social event and i cajoled him to dance with me on the dance floor. (he doesn't dance, and gets totally nervous and didn't want to, but later he said it was really fun)

If you picture how guys bond with each other.. they go do activities together. I think Marge pretty much said the same things. :)


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Thank you Ahnya! I think you and Marge are right on target. Another thing we're doing is including other people in the mix. I'm having some friends of mine over for dinner and some card-table games. And he has invited me to a family get-together. I think that's a significant step.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

An old idea and one that I think is accurate, is watch how a man treats his mother or a waitress and you will get some idea of the "real" him and how you will probably be treated. Of course there are a few guys or gals out there who are bi-polar. They can be perfect for months and then go completely mad. Not sure how you identify someone like that. Often a person identifiies that problem after he/she is involved.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

You've covered quite a bit ground already. However, I would encourage you not to keep sex on the shelf indefinitely. If it doesn't matter much to you, that's OK, but if it does or if it doesn't it still appears to be lingering as some sort of "last taboo" or something from what you've written. Where he's at with it is something you'll want to know sooner rather than later. Where he's at and where you're at.

Clearly, if he wanted you for sex only -- and blah, blah, blah -- you'd be history already. Seems to me there should be some assurance from that. Unless you're both religiously or morally code-bound, I would encourage you to explore the obvious. If it doesn't matter, that's OK, too, as long as you're on the same page. IMHO, it's basic, bedrock stuff for most people. You need to find out what he's got -- or doesn't -- and he needs to know what you've got -- or don't. Literature and these forums are very full of sexual mix-matches. Deserves exploration sooner rather than later IMHO.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Well, I gave it my best shot and it didn't work (did I say he was "nice?"). He seemed to be happy with dinner and a movie two nights a week. Even after introducing me to his children, the one night of dancing, and another night of friends and card table games. He seemed to be ardent, and we talked a lot about sex. But when it came time he just said he wasn't ready for it and shouldn't even be dating.

So here I am again, among the singles. I think I should just stick to gardening!


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

"He seemed to be ardent, and we talked a lot about sex. But when it came time he just said he wasn't ready for it and shouldn't even be dating."

Happens oh-so-frequently with both sexes. The world is quite well populated with nice people who's equipment doesn't work, think sex is icky, or are just so emotionally or religiously hidebound they can't function. Don't know what your guy's story is, but those are the big three. "Not ready for it" is a very typical non-answer.

In any event, the reason doesn't much matter. Only the response does. Sorry for your disappointment but I suspect you've just saved yourself a ton of wasted time and heartache.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

While it's a bit of a disappointment, I'm not really surprised and certainly not hurt. I had tried to find ways to deepen the friendship, but he wanted only two casual dates a week so I hadn't developed any emotional feelings for him other than friendship. I actually had some suspicions, so I finally brought it onto the discussion table. He is a great guy otherwise. The one thing that's a little confusing was the introduction to his children. They were obviously trying to promote him to me, and told me he hadn't introduced any other women to them during the six years he's been single. Go figure.

Life goes on. There are a couple of other fellas who've made some overtures, but I just think I'll take a break from dating. This leads me to the subject of dating itself. I think I'll take a survey on it.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

There's a clue, too. Six years and he's "not ready" and "shouldn't be dating"?

Huge red flag -- huge! There's something BIG going on that he's not telling you.

Maybe you can stay friends. Just don't step over that line again.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Thanks, Asolo. I agree. There are several red flags, and there's no chance I'll "step over that line again."


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Now that you know there is some sort of problem and he isn't going to tell you what it is after 6 years--move on. Unless of course you live in a town so small there are only two single men--him and the Sparkletts guy who is 80. You aren't getting any younger and the pool of single men rapidly declines. We had a big party last week and I was amazed how many women either came alone or with a girlfriend. We had some single men also and of course a lot of couples. The women were attractive and in the Los Angeles area they should have been able to come up with some guy to bring to a party featuring southern food and mint juleps.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

I appreciate your perspective, Marge. You are right -- none of us is getting younger, including the men who are my age. I've never had a problem getting a date for a Saturday night, and still don't. For some reason you seem to hink I'm "old." I'm not. I have said to more than one boyfriend wannabe: "No matter how old I get, I'll still be younger than you."

Your party sounds like fun.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

"...the pool of single men rapidly declines."

My version of it would be the declining number candidates with "acceptable baggage."

Once one has lived for a while, we all carry vestiges of our previous experiences with us. How they're handled by my candidate-of-the-moment is what tells me who she is now. Infinite variety of balances as far as I've been able to see. They can be very, very good or they can be horrid. Suspect pretty much the same for both sexes.

I like nice people. Always have. It's the deceptions that trip my trigger. The rest I'm game for. I learn about myself from interaction with others.


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RE: Is there a way to do this?

Asolo, have you ever read "The Road Less Traveled" by Scott Peck? You remind me so much of Peck in your clarity of thought. I read the book about 20 years ago, and think I'll read it again.


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