If Some Doomed Relationships Succeed, Couldn’t Mine?

Doomed relationship

Hello, Evan:  

I loved your recent email about hanging onto a doomed relationship. Yes, I have been hanging on to a cheating casanova for FOUR YEARS!! (But Evan, he’s SO devastatingly handsome, and SO charming, and SO romantic, and SO attentive. He says ALL the sexy/sweet things every girl wants to hear. I practically swoon every time I get a text, a call or an email . . . . sigh.) Your emails have helped me enormously; with your no-holds-barred monthly reality checks, I am (gradually) extracting myself from his considerable pull on my heart (and libido :)).

Here’s my question: Do you think a compelling reason smart women hang on to guys who don’t put them first is because there are SOME instances — and, alas, we have all heard about them — where a guy DID reform, because he DID truly love his girlfriend, and when she gave him an ultimatum, or even just stopped giving in and started respecting herself and setting boundaries, he behaved better — because SHE took over the direction of the relationship in an assertive (but demure) way?

No.

I must admit, this scenario is what keeps me hoping against hope that if I could only conduct my own behavior in a firm yet loving manner, I could change HIS behavior and guide him toward treating me right. It IS possible, no? Unfortunately, because it IS possible (though not probable, I “know,”) I keep on trying. Maybe today I won’t cave in and have sex with him. Maybe today I will tell him he didn’t call for a date early enough and I’m busy Saturday night. Maybe today I will say, “I don’t believe a word you just said. Call back when you can be respectful.” If I can only stand my ground and respect myself, he will respect me and we will live happily ever after — RIGHT??

I would dearly love it if you would address this strongly-held belief — a hope we women in love with cheating guys hold so dear to our broken hearts. Thank you!! You are amazingly insightful and wonderfully wise. I really look forward to your emails.

–Elizabeth

No.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

No.

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Comments:

  1. 151
    Goldie

    @ Kiki
     
    Yes, to me that would be a deal-breaker. I wouldn’t even like him as a friend after that. If he has violated my trust, he cannot be my friend. Cheating aside, though, I can totally see how it would be possible to have the same feelings for an ex as one would for a close friend, or a close family member. I guess these feelings can be called love, albeit a different kind of love. However I am not familiar with KE’s story. I admit I am curious now.
     
    I totally agree with everyone that said that leagues are subjective; and that a person’s confidence, personality, calm and happy energy etc can have an effect of increasing their “league number”, if you will. Likewise, horrible personality, lack of integrity, etc can IMO decrease one’s league number. I don’t care how gorgeous a man is, if he is a horrible person that treats others like dirt, then after I get to know him a little better, he’ll look like Gollum to me. I honestly won’t remember how good his looks actually are. It does sound like the power dynamics in this situation is all in Elizabeth’s and the guy’s heads. Both he and she think he’s out of her league, which is why she continues to stick around and let him mess with her head, errr I mean send her swoon-inducing text messages at random when he’s bored. It is not healthy for her to stay in this situation at all.

  2. 152
    Karmic Equation

    @Ruby 146

    “The “only thing” would be a dealbreaker for most people, so it’s hardly a small thing.”

    But it HAS been a small thing for OP. She hasn’t broken the deal in FOUR YEARS. Just because “most people” find cheating a deal breaker doesn’t mean it is for ALL people and it doesn’t necessarily mean that MOST people are right. It means most people ACCEPT it to be right. It’s cultural not intrinsic. In some cultures (non-western, of course) you’re considered selfish if you DON”T have sex with multiple partners.

    ——————

    For goodness’ sake everyone, y’all are protesting like I”m a heretic for saying that monogamy isn’t the defining reason for a “good” relationship. Hmmmm…maybe that’s why all the protests? Something that counters what “most” people accept must be wrong or debunked. I’m feeling like Galileo.

    C’mon.

    OP just needs to decide which she wants more, the man she has now or the the relationship she has to go forth and find. If she wants to keep the man, she HAS to change her expectations of the relationship to be happy. If she wants a monogamous relationship, then she has to give up the man. I agree that giving him up is an option; I simply disagree that it is her ONLY option.

    ——————-

    Finally, I have to say, most of you women have been deprived if you think that “all sex is the same”. It isn’t.

    How long does a typical copulation last with a man? Not the foreplay or the cuddling afterwards, but the actual act of intercourse. 5 minutes average? Let’s say 10 just to give all the guys the benefit of the doubt.

    My player-ex could average 40 mins without rest or loss of turgidity…and without the little blue pill (he’s only 34). Maybe OP’s guy is like my guy. That kind of performer can’t be found around every corner. And if you’d been serviced like that, you’re not likely to think all sex is the same.

  3. 153
    Tom10

    Because I can’t resist.
     
    Clare #143
    “I respectfully disagree…I certainly think this man’s *perception* of his worth is higher than Elizabeth’s, but whether he is *actually* in a higher league than her is uncertain.”
     
    I actually think our positions are fairly close. For whatever reason Elizabeth, her boyfriend and I feel all that she is dating up. A lot of us here have that *perception*.
     
    Of course we have no objective way of *actually* knowing their true league, unless err, we see their photos and profiles etc. and put it to a public vote. 
     
    Lefty #149
    “The league talk is superficial. Characteristics like humor and beauty are highly subject.”
     
    Stix #150
    “Leagues are complex. No one is a solid number.”
     
    I actually agree with both of you that league talk is subjective, complex and superficial and that we should all be looking beyond them into someone’s character.
     
    However, the simple fact is superficial qualities are attraction triggers, which get you in the door whereupon you can then reveal your other qualities (or lack thereof). Not much point being a ‘deep’ person if there’s no-one who wants to stick around to see it.
     
    Superficial qualities induce short-term attraction. Deeper qualities induce long-term attraction. To be successful in dating one needs to be able to trigger both. To generate short-term attraction is why we go to the gym, and the beauty industry is so large etc. To generate long-term attraction we need to refine our character and develop characteristics such as kindness, reliability, understanding, forgiveness etc.
     
    I’m no Hellenistic expert but I think the Greeks said that romantic love (eros) could only occur when two people saw themselves as equals. This is patently not the case in the op’s situation, hence why everyone here has agreed that Elizabeth will never manage to get her boyfriend to ‘come round’.

  4. 154
    Ruby

    Tom 10 #154
     
    Wouldn’t you say that there are men who cheat because of the thrill they get, and that sexual novelty is more enticing to them than monogamy? It has nothing to do with their partner’s looks; these people are simply serial adulterers.

  5. 155
    Tom10

    Ruby #155
    Yes of course. I didn’t mean to imply that he was cheating because he saw her as not good looking enough, although I can see how that could have been inferred from what I wrote in #97. I’ve said about three times that his cheating is a separate issue – a character flaw on his part. Although the fact that he doesn’t respect her certainly makes it easier for him to do so – he knows she’s just going to keep taking him back.
     
    Unfortunately some men will cheat no matter how perfect their wives are. The powerful draw of sexual variety in some men can be absolutely immense. Of all the challenges I’ve faced in life the prospect of facing years of monogamy will undoubtedly be my greatest.
     
    The real issue is her acceptance of his cheating, and her hope of turning him around: it’s not gonna happen, which is why Evan’s pithy response was such a good answer.
     

  6. 156
    Goldie

    @ Tom10 154
     
    So am I hearing you right that the leagues are based completely on one’s looks, and are being used to evaluate a person only in a very superficial way? that being in a high league, in and of itself, won’t sustain you in an LTR or even STR, but will help you get your foot in the door?
     
    I would agree with that… To a point. After a certain age, our personality starts to show on our face. At my ripe old age it is completely possible to look like a male model and a giant douche (or like a female model and a raging witch) all at once.
     
    But, more importantly, if being in a high league will only get you as far as first date, then it is irrelevant when we speak about Elizabeth and her man. Since they’ve been together (sort of) for four years, it doesn’t matter which league each of them objectively is in. It is all in their heads at this point.
     
    @KE 153, while I completely agree with you that not all sex is the same, and that good sex is better than mediocre one by a long shot, I wouldn’t use being able to go on forever as an example. I’ve known people who had to go on forever. It was some kind of erectile dysfunction in their cases. Truth be told, to a woman it is about as exciting as spending all night on a treadmill. Worse, even. At least you can listen to music on the treadmill, and the treadmill’s feelings won’t be hurt if you get off it after an hour.

  7. 157
    Stix

    KE
     
    40 mins…Is that all?
     
    I find 40 minutes passes rather quickly during sex. My bf and I probably average 30 minutes a pop. If I required it I am sure he could find an hour or two in him, he did in the beginning. I have no complaints as we are more than once a day type people. I am happy with 10 mins in the middle of the night. When is sex EVER always the same?
     
    I have known some marathon men…I dunno, right now you look like the deprived one from my perspective. Where did you get all these limiting beliefs around men, and scarcity?
     
     

  8. 158
    Karmic Equation

    @Stix
    That’s 40 mins without stopping the intercourse part not from taking off clothes to snoring :)
     
    Maybe I am deprived because if most men can last 40 minutes pumping alone, then I’ve definitely been with the wrong men! In my experience, most men only last 5-10 minutes after entry for me until this one. Of course the whole clothes off to snoring is can last an hour or two, if you include foreplay and cuddle. I was expressly excluding that.
     

  9. 159
    Karmic Equation

    @Goldie
     
    Yes, there are “whiskey dicks” but typically they can’t even get it up. That’s the erectile dysfunction. I happen to like lasting long and it’s not just boring pumping along. He talks … umm… well, and there’s other stuff that’s going on as well :) There’s quality in addition to qty.

  10. 160
    josavant

    Evan’s original answer was pithy enough. Why are we up to over 160 comments?
     
    I think the whole argument over monogamy is a distraction, to the point that commenters were attacking each other. To me that’s not the issue. Yes it is possible to have a “good” relationship that is non-monogamous, if both sides really agree to it (not one side giving in because the other wants it).
     
    But the bigger issue is RESPECT.  You can have a good relationship without monogamy.  But you cannot have a good relationship without respect.  It doesn’t sound like the OP’s guy respects her, and that is what makes it a bad relationship, and that is why Evan said no a bajillion times.  FWIW I agree with him.
     
     

  11. 161
    Tom10

    @ Goldie #157
    “So am I hearing you right that the leagues are based completely on one’s looks”
     
    Not quite.
     
    I said in #141 that “leagues aren’t just confined to looks. They also encompass intelligence, humor…and yes self-confidence: i.e. the whole package
     
    And
     
    “I just used looks as they are the simplest external manifestation of the person’s league”
     
    Although to be honest I would argue that men do classify women primarily by their looks initially. Women are a little different and classify men not only according to their looks but also their status (this is huge trigger) education and income etc.
     
    “and are being used to evaluate a person only in a very superficial way? That being in a high league, in and of itself, won’t sustain you in an LTR or even STR, but will help you get your foot in the door”
     
    Right.
     
    “if being in a high league will only get you as far as first date, then it is irrelevant when we speak about Elizabeth and her man. Since they’ve been together (sort of) for four years, it doesn’t matter which league each of them objectively is in. It is all in their heads”
     
    In my opinion it’s actually very relative to Elizabeth. The reason this is such a “sort of” relationship is because there is a fundamental power imbalance at its core. One party knows they have all the power which affects the behavior of both parties.
     
    Nicole said in #107 said that “if he was out her league with regard to looks I don’t even think he’d be using for sex 4 years out”. I disagree with this as I believe some men do date below their league for years on end. They just can’t be bothered to make an effort to find someone else.
     
    In fact I’m coming to the conclusion that “men will date down for sex/casual, whereas women would rather abstain” concept can be used to explain so many of the issues in modern dating.
     
    Someone should really write a book about this!
     
    @ Karmic Equation #153
    “How long does a typical copulation last with a man?…5 minutes average”
     
    That made me chuckle. I tend to go for a looong time too. I don’t say that to boast, rather that it’s a result of having been over-exposed to porn!

  12. 162
    J

    Josevant#161- yes, i think you’ve nailed the issue for this OP. at least twice in her letter she mentions respect ( or the lack thereof). There are plenty of men that are upfront about their inability ( or lack of desire) to be monogamous. Their women may not like it, but they are not being cheated on ( per the OP) or lied to. Doesn’t sound like the OP’s boyfriend has given her that courtesy.

  13. 163
    Marie

    Karmic are you saying that the OP should just put up with whatever a man doles out because he gives her fantastic sex?  Because really fantastic sex is not that hard to find.  A man who loves you and respects you, now THAT is rare and worth dumping this mediocre man to find. I would argue that sex would be even better once you are with such a guy who loves and respects you.  Believe me, I know.  You seem to feel like finding a guy who gives you fantastic sex is somehow like finding a goldmine.  I don’t really understand that.  If you are as competitive as you say, you should have no problems finding such a guy.  I’m not half as competitive as you, I let men come to me rather than go after them, and I haven’t had any problems.  Maybe we have different definitions of what good sex is but that is as it should be because all women must differ in some circumstance.  My advice to the OP is ditch any guy who does not respect you (as previously stated).  Better to have NO sex than sex with a guy who thinks you are dirt.

  14. 164
    Sparkling Emerald

    Nicole@ 138 
    @Rose thank you.  I feel like all of this talk about leagues is so juvenile.
     
    Thank you Nicole for thanking Rose.  This league talk IS juvenile and it is for people who want to PLAY GAMES and aren’t interested in making a real connection.  I suspect that people who are into leagues when it comes to dating are also as shallow and superficial in their same sex friendships, always trying to hang out with the “cool kids” and avoiding “the nerds”.  No real friendships, just trying to impress on everyone that they Mr or Ms popular. 
    I don’t reject men because I think they are “beneath” me league wise.  They either aren’t my type, I’m not attracted to them, they are not a good match, or they treat me rudely, or have different relationship goals and I don’t want to have anything to do with them. 
    I would rather be with a devoted, consistent, kind, guy with integrity & a bit of an edge,  who looks like Drew Carey, then to be with some George Clooney clone who treats me badly or refuses to ever be exclusive.  ( most George Clooney look alikes do refuse to be exclusive)
    I think all this BS about leagues is largely a social construct.  I think some individuals WANT to love a particular person, but as soon as they hear their friends, family or acquaintances  say “Awwwwww, you can do better than that”  (based on something superficial such as , too short, too blue collar, not cute enough, less education than you, etc. ) they wuss out and dump the person, not because they didn’t care for them, but family, friends or acquaintances convinced them, that their choice in partner was beneath them (in a lower league)
     
     
     
     
     
     

  15. 165
    Sparkling Emerald

    OK, sorry to double post, but I have read all this talk about quality sex, and how long a guy go (for the intercourse part) etc. and I must say that the GREAT thing for me now that I am 58 is that sex is now on my “nice to have list” and not on my “MUST have list”.
    In my younger days, I just felt like I would die without it.  (not literally, but there was SUCH a sense of urgency)  And as a result, I put up with a ton of BS in relationships, just to get my fix of sex.  Now that I am back in the dating game as a senior citizen and not a hot to trot 20 something, it’s so nice to not be DRIVEN primarily by the physical desire.  Not sure quite how to word this but here goes, in my early, early dating years, it seemed like the deep emotional connection was on my “nice to have” list and the sex was on my “must have” list.  Now the emotional connection is on my “must have” list and the sex is on the “nice to have list”. 
    I was talking to my best friend (of over 50 years) about this, and she said it has been the same for her.  I don’t know how it is for other senior women, but I wonder if declining hormones has something to do with it.  I am on BHRT, but that hasn’t put my libido up to the levels they were when I was in my late teens through my mid 40′s. 

  16. 166
    Nicole

    I see your point @Tom10.
    But I have found my attraction for people that I’d have initially said had no qualities that could attract me based on how they made me feel and how I felt when I was with them. And handsome but boring has never appealed to me, so handsome and asshole has never been on my radar.  I like myself, I like people who like me, and I like people with whom I can continue to feel good about myself.
    And I would have previously said that didn’t work on men but it can, although to a lesser extent.
    So as a woman, a man that I initially viewed as completely unattractive could move into “attractive” based on personality, character, and how I get treated.  A women cannot swing the pendulum quite so much with a man…I think if he finds her initially unattractive she’d have to have an ugly duckly to swan type transformation.  But I do think a woman ca nbe a bit less in one or several dimensions and if she makes the man happy when he is with her, he can find himself smitten and wanting to settle down.
    But I have seen some male/female roommates (where the female was in a lower league by all superficial measures) become couples who married.  I can recall a couple of good examples of women who were definitely NOT being mistreated despite being quite plain while married to extremely handsome, well-educated, high earning husbands.  But I’d say that was only possible b/c the men didn’t find them to be totally ugly to begin with.  Probably just not GF material.  
    But none of this changes the fact that this LW needs to let go and move on.  

  17. 167
    Kiki

    Karmic,
    one question. With that infamous BF, was the sex as good while you had the real relationship? There is an interesting book (Mating in Captivity if I remember correct) which develops the argument that great sex springs out of insecurity/missing commitment (living in the wild in the animal world) and that once you have stability/predictability (the cage) you don’t care too much about mating. Does familiarity bring contempt?

  18. 168
    Julia

    Interesting anecdote, probably no correlation here. I dated a man for 2 years in college, we had amazing sex constantly. I was also very much in love so when he broke up with me because he felt he couldn’t commit at that early an age it was heartbreaking. I continued to sleep with him for another 4 years. This was pretty damaging to me because there certainly was strings attached. One day we were hanging out and I told him enough is enough, we can be friends but no more sex. A month later he met the woman who would become his wife. I’m not sure if there is any connection but I think that if you are looking for a relationship it can be hard if you are tied up in someone else. This is why even though I can have sex with men with little emotion, I choose not to now. I want to be completely open to the man who will become my husband. I date multiple men at a time but I don’t have sex with any of them, when one of them rises to the top he gets to be the one. Now I am looking for a relationship that leads to marriage and children. If that is not what you are looking for, I respect that path. Yes, even you Karmic Equation, I know where you are coming from because i spent several years of my life there and its fun and there is nothing wrong with it.

  19. 169
    Goldie

    @ Kiki 168
     
    I’m not Karmic, but I’ll answer. IMO it depends on the people involved. With my x-husband, we had sex every week, even after he started developing a drinking problem, even when we slept in separate bedrooms and led all around separate lives. Of course we did have it three times a day when we were 20, but that was not because we felt insecure in our relationship, but because we were, well, 20. Last time we were intimate was the day before I told him I’d signed a lease on an apartment, paid a divorce attorney’s retainer fee, and was moving out in five days. It was fairly good.
     
    With recent x-bf, we both had a, um, healthy libido. We’d go at it a few times a day, for the 2-3 days a week that we spent together (plus vacations), for the entire two years we were together. Again, last time it happened was three days before he broke things off. We both had a good time. It was just as good at the end as it was in the beginning, maybe even better because by then we each knew what the other one liked. Bottom line, I’ve heard about sexless marriages and couples that stop caring about sex once they become an established couple; but I have never experienced that myself. And frankly, I hope I won’t anytime soon, heh heh.
     
    I haven’t read the Mating in Captivity book, but I find it puzzling that it seems to imply that great sex is some kind of a red flag, because it can only occur from lack of commitment. Like, if a couple has great sex, they need to get to a couples therapist, because great sex indicates that the security and stability in their relationship must be missing. At least this is what logically follows from what you said the book states. If that is what it really says, I’d take it with a grain of salt. I don’t know if the animal world analogy applies to humans. For one thing, if I were an animal living in a lab or a zoo, I’d probably be too depressed to care about mating. Another thing, many animals only go into heat on a rare occasion like once a year. Either way, I have a hunch that animals do not view sex the same way we do.

  20. 170
    Sparkling Emerald

    Nicole @167 – I have LOST attraction for people that I initially found attractive, if they turned out to be boring, didn’t return by attraction or treated me badly.  Unfortunately, in the past, boredom would cause me to lose it very quickly, but it took longer for the attraction to be lost in the case of unrequited attraction or maltreatment.
    I have only ONCE developed attraction for someone where there initially was NONE, and he claimed he achieved that by some sort of candle lighting ceremony (which I think is BS, but I do find it strange that the ONLY person I ever went from zero to high attraction for claimed to have used some sort of  white magic)   However, we had different relationship goals so I ended it.  (He wanted a child free marriage, he had a vasectemy from a different marriage among other things)  No hard feelings over that break up.
    If I don’t have some sort of baseline attraction, then I walk.  I have to AT LEAST be able to see myself cuddling with that person, and if they are kind, interesting, honest, faithful & consistent, and treat me well, that attraction can grow.  But if I start off feeling NOTHING, it never grows. (well except for that ONE time)   No matter how “nice” the person is.
    Since my D, I haven’t had any initial WHITE-HOT attraction, and in fact, have not had anything develop into that crazy out of control feeling attraction, but I have felt a comfortable amount of attraction.  I hope I can find and sustain a relationship at that attraction level, and find a relationship with a nice enjoyable sexual component, that is comprised primarily of reciprocal kindness, integrity and enjoying each others company, in an out of bed.  I really don’t want to have that sort of judgement clouding over the top attraction again.  Gets me into trouble.
     

  21. 171
    Kiki

    Goldie,
    you made me laugh. Actually, the book says that it is normal to get bored from your married partner, and, that, in order to have a long and happy marriage you need to make a special effort to keep the spark alive.
    Now that I think about it, the book is written for people who have a certain problem (blush) and not for women like you who have great sex at home, that’s why you haven’t read it :-).

  22. 172
    Karmic Equation

    @Marie

    Being competitive has nothing to do with finding a good lover. Serendipity has a lot to do with putting two people who get along together in the same place so as to put that into play.

    For me personally, finding loving relationships hasn’t ever been a problem. And the truth of the matter is sometimes even when you love the person, the sex can be meh (e.g., with my ex-husband).

    I would argue that you have great sex in relationships not because the man loves you, but YOU love HIM. And when you don’t love him, even though he’s the same man, doing the same thing, somehow, it’s not so great anymore.

    And no, I’m NOT saying that she should put up with “whatever a man doles out because he gives her fantastic sex” — I’m saying she’s ALREADY been putting up with the negative “whatever” (cheating) and she’s digging the positive whatever (“SO charming, and SO romantic, and SO attentive. He says ALL the sexy/sweet things every girl wants to hear”).

    She’s been ok with the negative. She’s given more weight to what she deems his positives than what others consider a glaring negative. That’s her prerogative and she shouldn’t be made to feel she’s “wrong, foolish, stupid, or lacks quality” simply because she values something most women have been brainwashed to not value…except in a monogamous relationship. That serves society and religion, mostly run by which gender? MEN.

    I love men as indviduals and I believe in God, but I am skeptical of any society or religion that instills limiting beliefs about women’s sexuality upon women. And I think women who accept those limiting beliefs without questioning them are …sheeple.

    @Kiki 168

    Good question.

    It’s a good story…my first time with that infamous bf was nothing to write home about. I actually told him to his face when he sought me out for a second time. I looked him in the eye and said “Dude, the last time was nothing to write home about, why would I want another round?” He took up the challenge and promised me X,Y,Z, and I really liked him as a person, so I gave him a second chance and he came through like a champ. Since then it had gotten better each time until it plateau’d out. The quality now in our FWB relationship is the same as when within the relationship. The only thing that’s changed is frequency not quality.

    Maybe the “in the wild” mating affects him more than me, though. He actually lasted longer and went two rounds (both were marathon sessions) in one night after the demotion to FWB. The book Sex at Dawn would theorize this was due to “sperm competition”. And I would tend to agree with that theory. It’s an interesting theory :)

    @Tom10

    Lolol. I would never have associated over-stimulation from porn to the be the reason for his prowess. But knowing him, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. I guess porn has some unforeseen benefits for us women, eh?

  23. 173
    Stix

    KE
     
    Yep, I caught what you were throwing out there. Straight pumping. Gotcha…
    What i’m saying is that in my experience most men are able to control themselves for a decent length of time. I have known some marathon men and some minute men (one only), but most men i’ve known are in the middle, and can control themselves. That includes my exhub and current boyfriend, neither of whom were marathon men really, and definitely not minute men. Perhaps it has something to do with location. I live in a large-ish city, with no lack of available men from all walks. Perhaps also personal experience. Perhaps a knowledge that I am not cool with a pump n jump. I won’t have sex with someone who is just after their own. Not repeatedly anyways. Sex is a shared experience with 2 people participating. Perhaps my own approach to sex leaves no room for a flat line of infinite quickies. There are 2 people involved, remember.
     
    Anyways, this is a very narrowly focused discussion that really does have nothing to do with LW.
    You can make blanket assumptions and judgements of men and women. You’re just more likely to be wrong, and limit yourself with such beliefs. Like, limiting yourself to not letting go of sex with one particular man because he can pump for 40 mins straight while also talking, and “other stuff”…

  24. 174
    Marie

    @ Karmic – thanks for clarifying.  We are very different people I suspect so I have a hard time figuring out where you are coming from sometimes.  I DO think the OP is just plain wrong and should kick him to the curb. What did you think about the issue of his total lack of respect for her?  If you factor in respect, I think it’s both the man and the relationship that is wrong for her.  I don’t think she is capable of participating in an elaborate scheme to downgrade the relationship.  That is something you could pull off well with your extensive experience but I think she is too emotionally involved.
     
    @Julia – I agree with your approach to dating if you want to find a husband.  My 30 something girl friends and I started this process at the same time over a year ago.  We all tried to follow EMK but the difference was they continued to have NSA and meaningless flings while I put my whole concentration on finding my match.  The result a year later was I found my husband while they are all still floundering around.  I don’t think I am any more special or lucky but I do think they wasted a lot of emotional space and time.  40 minutes of NSA is 40 minutes you could be emailing 3 new men on match with husband potential!  Good luck to you.

  25. 175
    Karmic Equation

    176@Marie

    You only caught half of what I was throwing out for LW…Downgrade the relationship to keep the man (Mr Right Now), then start doing the dating to look for Mr Right. I never said STOP looking for Mr. Right. I’m suggesting she keep Mr. Right Now ACCEPTING him to be Mr. Right Now and start her search for Mr. Right. Basically string Mr. Right Now along for sex while looking for something better if sex with him is important to her.

    We women can multitask in ways men can only dream of. Why do women have to be binary (only have sex with men they’re in monogamous relationships with or not have sex at all; look for men only when they’re celibate or not look at all). I’m not the one with limiting beliefs about what women are capable of handling.

    I’m only different from most women because I don’t believe the standard narrative (women are temperamentally suited only to be in monogamous relationships) but I am apparently one of the few that thinks juggling men is doable.

    And I agree with you that if OP wants to get married, she needs to put a focus on finding Mr. Right. But, you know, she can still be banging Mr. Right Now at 2am, also, without it interfering with her search if she ACCEPTS that Mr. Right Now will never be Mr. Right. If she *cannot* accept that THEN she will have a problem multitasking.

    You’re all assuming she can’t. I’m assuming she can. If she can still like him after he’s cheated on her; she has the capacity to search for Mr. Right while having her fun with Mr. Right Now.

  26. 176
    Joe

    The person with the most power in a relationship is the one who cares the least.  Elizabeth clearly cares more than her BF does.  We can’t really say whether or not it has anything to do with leagues.

  27. 177
    marymary

    Karmic
    I agree that if she can pull it off, 176 is a good option.  That last sentence is a killer.
     

  28. 178
    Ruby

    It’s pretty clear to me that Elizabeth is in love with this man. That’s why she’s hung on for 4 years, not just because he’s hot and the sex is good. Not easy to downgrade “love” to “like”, from wanting “forever” to “okay for now”.

  29. 179
    Karmic Equation

    One note, 176 was directed at Stix for the most part.

    The last two paragraphs of 176 were meant for Marie.

    ————-

    @Marie 175

    “What did you think about the issue of his total lack of respect for her?”

    Well, this is going to come as a complete surprise to you…NOT lol..but I think the lack of respect really is a one-way street when it comes to feelings. It only affects the feelings of the person who lacks respect, other than displeasure, it rarely has any affect on the person at whom that lack of respect is directed.

    For example, I stopped loving my 6yr bf when I lost respect for him when he spiraled into full-blown alcoholism. My loss of respect for him didn’t change him one bit. He continued to drink. However, I stopped feeling that “in love” feeling for him. He became ugly and pitiful to me and I lost all attraction for him.

    In the OP’s example, her guy’s lack of respect is indicative of the fact he’ll never love her the way she wants him to. But that lack of respect obviously hasn’t kept OP from hoping otherwise.

    So until OP truly loses respect for him or for herself, her feelings for him will remain unchanged.

    I think he’s wrong for cheating, if indeed he is cheating. I think she’s wrong to accept his cheating, if it makes her unhappy. To me those wrongs cancel each other out.

    So something else needs to break the stalemate. If she’s young, it should be her ticking clock. If she’s my age, then she has some flexibility with her options.

  30. 180
    Marie

    @Karmic – we do agree that you can date multiple different Mr. Right Nows while looking for Mr. Right.  That should be the default setting and in no way takes away from someone who is interested in monogamy.
     
    I think where we differ is you feel that the OP’s guy can be just a Mr. Right Now.  I think in her heart of hearts she has him pegged as Mr. Right and will get confused if she keeps any kind of physical relationship with him.  I advocate she start over with a bunch of NEW Mr. Right Nows! :-D

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