Ask Dr. NerdLove: Why Do Guys Keep Ghosting Me?


I’m not searching for information so much as an explanation about something I have encountered a couple of times.

I am a girl who dates men, and more than once, I have ended up in a sort-of-ghosting situation immediately after checking in to see if friend remains into hanging out (and him telling me he totally is).

This is how it stands out:

We have been hanging out/hooking up for over 1 month but fewer than 3. He seems like a nice, ordinary guy (ie: has passed my weirdo/creep/asshole filter). Things feel reciprocal, and fairly relaxed. We are chatting frequently and getting together maybe once or twice per week.

Then things begin to feel different. I realize I have made the past one or two sets of programs and he has not made an attempt to make more, it has been maybe two months since we last hung out (ie: it is a break in the pattern). But he is still initiating nearly daily text talks.

As opposed to continue to indicate hangouts and get shot down, but not wanting to invest a whole lot of time texting with somebody I never really see, I request something along the lines of,”Hey, we have not hung out in awhile — is that something you are still into? It seems just like perhaps not.” And he answers, necessarily,”Oh, I have just been busy, I {} to hang out.” So I say,”Okay cool, let me know when you are free.” Or something along those lines.

(With one exception, where he chose to fulfill, then stood up me, THEN I never heard from him again.) WTF?

Why do guys that are otherwise fine do this?

And perhaps I do want advice — is there anything I could do differently? I really don’t want to be a person’s texting friend forevermore, whether or not I am wanting something casual. However, it seems weird to just vanish from a thing that has been happening for more than a month with no fundamental –“Hey, are we still doing this? No? However, it feels far worse attempting to have an honest convo, and being ghosted for this.

Each time it happens I get a little caked with Men-In-General (an too, warier), and I would love to become a Bitter Old Hag (TM). Help?

Sincerely,

The first part of your question is simple, JDGI: they are taking the path of least resistance. Or rather, the course of {} . They have decided that, for some reason, they have decided they don’t wish to see you again, however they do not necessarily need to mention that to you. So rather than actually having a conversation that ends with”Hey, I am just not feeling it”, they are doing The Fade rather in hopes they can quietly depart this connection without needing to have what they imagine to be an ugly or awkward spectacle.

Here is the disconnect: you know that all you will need to hear is”yeah, we are not doing this any more”. No fuss, no muss, no harm, no foul. However, what they are expecting is something a lot more dramatic. Maybe they think you will be angry or loud. Maybe they’re expecting you to… I dunno, shout, call them names, refuse to leave the relationship, who knows. But whether that conflict they are imagining is real or only a fantasy, they have decided they don’t wish to take the risk on it getting actual. So they simply try to gently fade into being an ex in hopes that should they do it slow enough you won’t see it happen. Because women apparently are like T-rexes and monitor by movement.

It’s rude, it is inconsiderate and after you’ve been hanging out that long and relationship on the routine, you deserve the courtesy of a”hey, this is not working for me, peace out, cub scout” text or call. But unfortunately, the fade appear to have become a permanent part of the contemporary dating landscape.

(Incidentally, this is not exclusively a man thing; lots of girls do it too.

Unfortunately, because the reason people do so is to prevent conflict — even though there is not likely to be battle — there is very little you could do about it. You are essentially dealing with the situation in somebody else’s mind and unless you are secretly Professor X or Eleven, there isn’t much to be done there. You may try to preempt the notion that breaking up with you is a enormous drama-fest by bringing up how very low play you’re. No? Or you might just straight up ask them to be straight with you if they are not feeling it.

But again: that is attempting to pre-empt someone else’s problems and you can not do this without actually getting in their head. You can say all the appropriate things, lead by example and give every indication that no, you really ARE as low-key as you appear to be. But if they are that conflict avoidant? They are still going to attempt and sneak out the back door without you noticing.

Sadly the only thing to do is concentrate on what you can control… and that is the sort of guy you are dating. If you are into a particular personality type — say, shy, conflict avoidant nerds — then you might want to see about filtering them out and going for guys who are simpler and open about what they’re searching for.

Very good luck.

Hey Doc,

You know those questions from men where the answer is essentially”get your life together before you begin considering dating”? Well, I think I might have the opposite problem;

During the past 18 months I went from essentially a call centre operator to a senior software developer. During this time I’ve mended my charge, began saving, got to the gym, and generally leveled up my entire life.

Now I feel like I’m completely undateable. My life seems completely incompatible with people who I knew a couple of decades back and to people I am meeting now, I am still too far behind in life to grab.

Is this just what eventually becoming a your life together in your 30s is like?

New Money Same Issues

First of all: congratulations on all of the work you have put in. You’ve made plenty of progress and you should feel proud about all you’ve accomplished. It says a whole lot about you that you could generate all this happen.

Now let us discuss your problem. The problem here is that you are taking a look at things the wrong way, NMSP. Your problem is not that you are too far behind in life. Your problem is that you have leveled up.

As you level up your character, you may realize the mobs in the area you’re in give you less and less experience… often to the point where you are going to stop getting any XP for having fought them. This is because you have outleveled the region; you have outgrown that region along with the enemies and quest lines are for men and women that aren’t as far along as you are. Consequently: none of it will be meaningful or satisfying to you; attempting to mill in that area will be the experience equal of a car spinning its wheels while it is stuck in the mud.

I strongly suspect that your main problem here is that while you have done some remarkable work and gotten your life into an great location, you are still falling on older routines. You might be going to the same bars, coming the exact girls and expecting the same results. The issue is, now that you have developed this magnificent new life, they are simply not right for you any more. You are a different person than you were two decades ago, and that person should stop dwelling in the past. It is time to move from the starting area and begin pursuing the new opportunities you’ve… chances that you might have previously thought were just out of your reach or off-limits.

This doesn’t mean that you need to stop what you are doing; it just means you will need to change expectations to your new reality. If you have been a pub guy, it could be time to move up to cocktail lounges and bars rather than shot bars and dives. If you have been mostly a dating program kind of dude, then it is high time that you update your profiles and begin setting your sights higher and more sophisticated.

Frankly, NMSP, you have what we in the relationship information business call”a quality issue”. The sole issue is in how you are looking at it.

Very good luck.

Hello Dr. NerdLove,

I have an ongoing issue with always attracting guys that turn out to behave like huge jerks. I must be a part of the problem because I am drawn to them and keep going through the exact same cycle of professional bullshitters again and again. It’s like I’ve”big hearted empathetic sucker” invisibly stamped on my forehead, but that kind can see it a mile off.

I am fairly powerful, attractive, keep myself well, smart, fun, witty… I have been a winner since Star Trek TNG was brand new and I have been playing video games since before there was net.

I’d really enjoy a loving good partnership. I know I am worthy of what I need and can be that sort of partner for somebody else.

How do I break out of the cycle and fix this problem permanently?

Free Lunch

If you continue dating the very same sorts of men, you are going to keep getting the same sort of bullshit you are dealing with now. So the obvious starting point would be to look at exactly who it is you are attracted to and why. The why part is essential, because presumably you are not aroused by people treating you like shit. So you will need to look over these relationships in your past and determine what sort of Venn diagram they are creating.

What I’d suggest is that you begin searching for commonalities in these men — beyond being jerks — and see if you’re able to zoom in on exactly what it is they have going for them which pulls you in like a fly into a Venus fly trap. It might well be that these men represent or meet some lack which you feel in your life. Identifying that and resolving this lack so you don’t search for it elsewhere means that you are no longer attracted to the men that are hot but poisonous for you.

Or perhaps it’s a matter of traits you find attractive that just so happens to be comorbid with being a garbage fire of a human being. Maybe there is a certain degree of cocky assurance that you dig. Perhaps it’s that you are trying for men with a certain degree of status in their community, standing that leads to them with swelled heads and overdeveloped perceptions of entitlement. Or perhaps the problem are the relationship pools which you have been pulling your spouses from. It might well be that what you need is to look further afield and see about finding guys who are your type but not as inclined to treat you like another mark.

Be methodical about this FL; the more you’re able to winnow out potential causes, the more you can zero in on the reason you continue going through the very same routines in your relationship. As soon as you recognize the pattern and the cause, the easier it’ll be to split the sequence and find someone who is ideal for you.

Very good luck.

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Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Can I Stop Creeping Out Women?

I knew this lady through Twitter this past year, we share the exact favorite TV show and I wish to stay in her part of the world, I am studying her language. We communicated through Twitter through the year, enjoying each other’s tweets and learning about our own lives from it.

Things began to change every month, when she has started ignoring my comments and queries, though we had some discussions and I {} her likes. Things got worse with each passing week, and tonight I could not take it anymore, I DMed her, asking if I had done something wrong.

Yes,” she said. She said we appeared to have different ideas on our relationship, and she did not like it that I inserted her on other social media apart from Twitter. Turns out we also have various cultures — in my civilization acquaintances easily add each other on Facebook, in her culture it is reserved for close friends.

The fantastic news is she did not block me and we’re still mutuals on Twitter.

Turns out I repeat the same mistake I did in college. Two friends I enjoyed literally running away from me and I did not understand what is happening — no touch, no lewd talk, but it occurred. We stayed friends, but I’d scared them away. Another love interest ghosted me, and if we had a chance meeting, I had been so blessed she prevented the shop assistant from calling the police as I was weeping within the store.

Some people have asked me to dial it down when chasing a girl, and I thought I have it, especially today I write column for a feminist site. Turns out I have made lives miserable for me and another person due to my bad habit.

My question is, how can I restrain my intensity? How do I attract a girl better without scaring her? How do I win her trust slowly? How do I distinguish between being caring & supportive and being overbearing?

Thank you,
Too Intense

Y’understand, TI, initially, I was going to chalk this one up to a difference in how people use social media. Some folks collect connections and followers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc while others prefer to use it strictly as a method of staying in touch with close friends and loved ones.

Then I got to the part about friends literally running away. And the line on your freaking someone out since you ran into them at the shop.

Hoo boy.

Look my dude, you do not only come on too strong, it seems like you’re becoming so involved in emotion that you are blow through people’s boundaries like they are not even there. Even if we are allowing for the fact that you aren’t touching people inappropriately or saying inappropriate things… there is a good deal of space for making people deeply, intensely uncomfortable during your behaviour. And lots of it appears to stem from the fact that you have absolutely no comprehension of how your behaviour comes off to other men and women. I meanI hate to say it, but if you are not engaging in hyperbole on your letter but you’ve had friends run off or had the cops come on then the issue here is not that you are coming off as too extreme, it is that you’re coming off like a psychopath.

I mean, okay I get it. I get being into a person or so excited by somebody that you receive a bit over the top, in ways which make people uncomfortable. It is a little like being an over-eager golden retriever who would like all the attention, all the time. In its head, it only needs to play with its new friend. But in its excitement, it is not recognizing how it’s ruining the living area, digging up the carpet, chewing on all of the furniture and leaping around people that aren’t comfortable with large dogs.

You may not mean to be causing all this discomfort. You clearly are not aware of it. But not being conscious of it really is not an excuse. When it keeps happening to you over and over again, particularly if folks keep bringing it up to you.

It seems to me like there are two issues here. The first is that you look intensely needy. It is one thing to be excited and enthused about a new friendship or dating. But many times, once we have low self-esteem or feel like we are not”worthy” of relationships, we could begin getting incredibly pushy and clingy and emotionally overinvest in {} . We wish to lock down those relationships as quickly as firmly as possible, before they could realize they made a mistake by getting together with us. We would like to eliminate the chance that they could find somebody else cooler, more attractive, more interesting or more”worthy” than us so we would like to occupy all their time, spend all our time together and otherwise just be certain we are their whole world. Otherwise they may stop liking us that would be a goddamn tragedy.

However, it’s rare that we recognize this behaviour for what it is. More often than not, we just chalk it up as”being excited” or”being a hopeless romantic” or”with a big personality”, not understanding how we are demanding a far greater degree of intimacy or relationship than is actually justified. And that results in behaviour that’s DEEPLY bothering to people on the receiving end of it. And by even the most charitable reading, it seems to me like you did not just assume a greater degree of friendship than ever existed, you began behaving like you’re the only person in their own lives.

I mean being ghosted absolutely stinks, but responding so over the top at a chance encounter that people felt they had to call the goddamn police?

The second issue is that you are very self-centered. I don’t mean this in the sense that you are selfish, I mean this in the sense that you appear to be wholly unaware of how other folks feel. How you describe things makes it look like things had escalated to such a level that people were literally running out of you and you had not realized how bad it had gotten until there. And this was not one time, this is multiple times within the span of years. That is not good dude. That is not a case of”not very good at reading people”, that is”verging on being oblivious” or”living in my own version of reality”.

Now here is the thing: this is obviously not something that’s completely out of your control. All your examples of the behavior are with girls, which informs me that this is selective behavior. If you’re ready to control your”intensity” with guys, then you are able to control the exact identical intensity with women. Yeah, you might not be sexually attracted to guys, but the fact which you can seemingly recognize that acting like this with men you know would be bad means you have the capability of acting like this with girls. Even women you have a crush on.

At the moment, the last thing you should do is wondering how to win people’s confidence or avoid scaring away women you are attracted to. You will need to get this shit in check by, for example, yesterday. Frankly, I believe the best thing you can do is start looking for a therapist, particularly a therapist that helps people deal with emotional problems and social consciousness. This is the type of thing that you will need a trained mental health professional because man it’s past the paygrade of a loudmouth with an advice column. You want to devote plenty of work at not learning how to give up your own neediness and regulate how emotionally invested you get in {} , but in learning how to read the goddamn room. You have been missing a great deal of warning signs and signals and it retains contributing to increasingly intense confrontations with people. You have been fortunate so far, but it is the type of thing which could very easily have consequences for you, including getting fired from your job.

Concentrate on getting better. Dating can wait until you are in a better location.

Hey Doc,

I will do my best to keep this somewhat short. To start I had been excited for life as I entered my final year before I turn 30. My wife and I moved into a rural area close to both of our families as we’d planned following my army service. We both earn over the median income wages on our own, and were prepared to travel and do lots of exciting things that we can afford because of our low cost of living. I also had the benefit of my close but little group of friends in town to fulfill all my RPG, tabletop, and standard nerd needs.

The Issue? My wife asked me for a divorce after 7 years together, and I wish I had a cool story or a real reason but she simply stopped loving me. When she brought her desire for this about a year ago I asked her what had to change and to her disbelief I did what she asked and much more. She even gave me credit for it but stated that the atmosphere just never came back.

While it’s not exactly what I need I can not make her return to me without feeling like I manipulated her into something contrary to her true desires for the sake of relaxation. I know what mistakes I made and I can not go back and become a better spouse. I know this and consequently we’ve been very agreeable and pleasant with one another in finalizing the divorce. She gave me one of those dogs when I’d always figured I would have to fight for one.

Now the actual problem, I have worked professionally to maintain a fantastic spot. My job pays me well and provides me well over the average vacation days. The down side? I don’t know what I need to do anymore. This strategy worked when I had the ideal partner picked out who’d explore and experience with me.

I live somewhere where many individuals are partnered off, the accessible girl my age are usually single moms. No offense but it is not something I am interested in as my ex-wife and I had already discussed not having kids. My close friends are amazing for all of my nerd stuff and are definitely capable of getting some meaningful conversations. That said just one is in a relationship he says might be his final and not in a fantastic way. The other uses all of the programs but has really high standards and is trending towards being lonely. The thirds spouse cheated on him a decade ago and he has not let go. None of them are big on going out and doing things besides staying home RPGing and hanging out, which I love but I also want more.

I am afraid to pick up and move to larger place as making adult friends at this stage sounds intimidating and frankly unfulfilling. So far as dating goes I imagine I could figure out that again, I work out, eat right, and assess a number of the self improvement blocks most areas recommend. The issue is that I just don’t have the motivation for this.

It just feels like I am missing out now and I am trying to live a life I intended with no one of the greatest parts. Han would not of made it far without Chewie. Now I am sitting in Mos Eisley by myself trying to find out if this is actually the place for me.

I know I have rambled and said a great deal but bottom line is, I am doubting every decision I’ve ever made and just when I thought I had life figured out and was excited for the future. I am now scared, confused, and searching for somewhere to start.

You should not feel bad about where you have ended up, HwC. You did not make a mistake, you decided that, based on all of the available information you had at the time, was the right one. It was the perfect choice for your life at the moment, a life you had no reason to think would change as drastically as it did.

Life comes at you fast and circumstances have changed. What worked for you under a particular scenario might not be as good of a match for you as it once was. The question now is if this new circumstance is such a terrible fit that you can not make it work or not.

Now let’s be honest: a great deal of your sense of despair and confusion is because, dude, you just had your legs kicked out from under you. You had every reason to feel that your life was going in a particular direction and then suddenly what has been thrown into chaos. You just had your bell rung; you are permitted to be confused and upset with this. That is perfectly normal; it is a fair individual’s response to an irrational situation.

What you should not be doing is trying to make significant life changes; you are still reeling from everything that happened, even if it is not immediately obvious. Your immediate priority should only be giving yourself time to heal and adjust to a new ordinary. You want to be certain that you’re making an educated decision rather than rushing out and making decisions based around that feeling of loss and upheaval.

As soon as you’ve gotten a bit firmer footing, then you may begin trying to determine what your next move is. And having a clear mind and sense of purpose will be important, since you have some choices to make.

The thing you will need to understand is that life is all about trade offs — what are you prepared to risk and what are you prepared to live with? It’s very, very goddamn rare that you are going to be in a place where you are able to adapt to all the vagaries of life without making significant changes to your status quo. You’ve got a list of goals and desires, many of which could be incompatible with where you are right now — both emotionally and physically. On the one hand, you get a fantastic job that provides tons of perks, you live close to your loved ones and you’ve got a relatively low cost of living. The trade off is that you are in a location where it may be more difficult for you to date.

Regardless of what you do, you are going to have to be ready to correct and make changes. {Are you going to adapt it to your {} , cannibalize it for parts or abandon it completely? |} What trade-offs are you ready to make to be able to adjust the plan or invent a new one? If you choose to move, then you are going to need to sacrifice your work and your circle of friends. If you choose to stay, then you are going to need to reevaluate your priorities with relationship. You might need to accept that your potential dating pool is smaller or analyze your feelings about kids. You might need to start looking further afield for prospective partners, maybe even looking towards a long-distance relationship before you move or they opt to join you.

Or you could do what many men in your position have done: take the time to concentrate on yourself and your own desires. You built your life around compromise and shared sacrifice so that your spouse could pursue her targets. Perhaps it’s time to dust off old dreams and chase these, especially if you’re in the financial position to take a few risks.

Concentrate on some powerful self-care and getting yourself back into psychological fighting form. The excellent thing about your future is that you can not miss it; it is always just ahead of you.

You have got this, HWC. You are gonna be nice. You are one with the Force and the Force is with you.

Very good luck.

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Hey Doc,
It has been a year since I joined the army, and looking back, I am in a much better place today than I was then. When I joined, I had just removed from school due to drug dependence and was living with my parents, feeling like dirt.

A year after, and I have a far better relationship with my parents, I have lost weight, and I am doing well financially. By all of metrics, I feel as if life is going better, which I have made immense improvements.

So why can not I stop feeling like a fucking loser?

Once I was skipping class, doing drugs, dismissing my well-being and relationships, I had been getting more dates than ever and felt more confident than I do now, despite my entire life being in shambles. In my head, I moved from an awkward nerd who had difficulty talking to people let alone girls, to somebody who partied, hung out with friends, and might chat up girls easy.

And I have built up myself. But I am not valuing that. And I can not stop believing that the me that seems when I am an addict is more attractive than the me who has my shit together.

I can not even trust my own mind. I guess that is why I am asking you; How do I get myself to begin valuing my accomplishments? I need to have the same confidence I had before but without the identical self-destructive habits.

Very respectfully,
Hyde wishing that he was Jekyll

You said it yourself, HWHEWJ:”on your mind.”

It is not that being an addict made you a cooler, more confident person: you are just remembering it that way. I mean, let’s be honest here: if life were {} , why would you stop? By your own admission, you’d dropped out of school, your relationships were awful and your life was falling apart.

We are not objective, impartial observers of fact; we lie to ourselves all the time. We distort our own memorieswe edit the unpleasant components and choose to only focus on the highlights of yesteryear. That’s among the reasons why, by way of instance, we are tempted to return into exes that we know are bad for us. It is also part of the reason we’re tempted to return to lifestyles which we know were ruinous.

That’s before we {} in mind-altering substances. To quote a wise man, everybody knows you will life forever once you’ve done a line or two. It’s quite easy to believe you are thicker, suaver, smoother and more attractive once you’re drunk or high. But the issue is that your ability to judge your state is severely diminished. You are not thinking clearly… you just think you’re. In your mind, you are the second coming of Oscar Wilde, falling bon mots and holding court into a room filled with admirers who are hanging on your every word. In fact… well, you’re the man who is slurring about his doctrine, laughing at his own jokes and overlooking the annoyed, uncomfortable and bored looks on the faces of the people around you.

And look, I am as guilty of this as anybody. I have had too much to drink and thought I was the smoothest of the smooth and the coolest of the cool… and in fact, I was being an obnoxious asshole to people.

The parts I remember in any way, that is.

At this time you are at a low point. You are missing that bullet-proof assurance you used to have. It does not matter that it was illusory, odor and smoke out of your own mind; you miss the way it felt, even when truth doesn’t line up. And that is totally understandable. But here is the thing: you have that confidence. You have the capacity within you. It is not that drugs magically imbued you with confidence and the gift of gab, it just turned down the volume on the sections of the brain that were holding you back. It is less Dumbo’s magic feather and much more Dumbo’s magic mushroom.

You felt that way before. You can feel like that again. You can still party, you can still hang out with your buddies and you can still talk up girls. You may find your confidence again. You’ll need to do it the hard way — not using the medication as a short-cut — but it can be achieved. You begin by recognizing what you have and learning to be thankful for them. Simply quitting and taking inventory of your life is a fantastic means of recognizing that you’ve got more going for you than you understand. And you have a lot to be proud of; pulling yourself back from the brink and rebuilding your life is really goddamn impressive.

The fantastic news is that you’ve got easy access to this too; you have got your brothers and sisters in the military… your literal squad. Let that be the basis for finding those significant, emotionally satisfying friendships, particularly with other guys . You can still hang out with your buddies without needing to be stoned out of your gourd.

And while you are at it, find your community. One of the things which can help build up us is feeling like we are part of something larger than ourselves. Your service in the military is one example. Another may be what you do once you leave the ceremony. Finding — or creating — your neighborhood and your goal will provide you leadership and fulfilment. You will have the feeling of satisfaction, of knowing that you are doing something which matters will help build that sense of confidence and make you realize just how much you need to offer.

Recall: the past you recall is an illusion, a mirage. It is a dream that obscured the ugly facts of your situation. You are in a position to reconstruct it… for real this time.

You have got this.

I am just coming from what I believe was my first connection, but to be honest I do not know whether it is over, or if it even begun. I am all mixed up and feeling lonely with no support she would normally be giving me. The events leading up to it are odd to say the least so I will begin at the beginning.

A couple of years back, two friends of mine started dating. I have been friends with a few of these — we’ll call her A — for three decades, but we were not super close. I had been friends with another man — who we will call B — for eight decades. A and B began dating around two-ish decades back, and they had been going steady ever since.

This season I started going to the gym. However, things began to get tough in her relationship, and she and her boyfriend fought a lot. It culminated in B damaging A, and performing some pretty bad psychological damage. I would rather not disclose the specific details of what happened, but this was lifelong injury levels of hurt.

They dragged out the connection for about a month later, through which A came to me for comfort, while B turned off all of the help I offered. I opened up in ways I have never opened before, and managed to get emotional support in a way that {} really common between men. Furthermore, it felt as though I had been genuinely helping someone to be a happier person, which gave me a excellent warm and fuzzy feeling. Over all, everything was terrific. I had found someone who I could genuinely call my very best friend, a name I had never wholeheartedly given out before.

Here is where things go wrong. A was separated from her ex for about a month and a half, though the breakup was just formalised a couple weeks ago. At this point in time, A and I were hanging out one or two times per week, and we talked every night before bed. I realised that had feelings for A, but I did not really understand them. I could not tell if I liked her, or if she had been just a friend who also happened to be extremely attractive.

Her last relationship had left her {} pretty ruined, and she said she did not want a complete relationship yet. I was going to let it go and move on when she said she would be amenable to being casual, and that she had really had a crush on me because before the big bang that ended her relationship. I was ecstatic. I had never been in a relationship before, and I had never been close with anybody as I was using A. I was afraid {} ruin our friendship when she turned me down, but what was going better than planned. The next few weeks were paradise. We had sex a few times, and we spoke even more publicly than before.

Unfortunately, school ramped up, and we did not have enough time to hang out. I had been feeling a bit lonely. In my drunkenness, I decided to “test” her. I pretended to be gloomy and denied interaction from anyone to determine if she would come and check on me. She sent a friend to do this because she believed she was too drunk to assist. I translated this as her not deeming me value the time. It was a dick move. Apparently her ex used to do so and she actually did not like that I did it too. She became distant during the next week before telling me she was angry, and I was hurt that she had not told me I had messed up earlier. It has been downhill from there.

And now we have reached the present. We have been talking lately. Apparently what she had wanted from”being casual” was casual hookups along with being friends. What I thought she had meant was an open, short term relationship. She revealed to me lately that things just got to close to a complete connection for her comfort. She has been wobbling between wanting to be friends with benefits with me, needing to cut off things, and everything in between.

I believe I still have feelings for her, but I do not really know. Last time we hung out was before everything went bad, and we had a excellent time. I wish to continue to spend some time with her, but she keeps leaping on what she wants. She is leaving for out of town soon, so she will be gone for some time. I’m all mixed up inside and I do not know what to do. This is not just the first (nearly ) relationship I have had, but also the first time I’ve really liked a woman this much. I know that a critical relationship is wholly out of the question, but I would love to go back to the way we were before.

Will we ever have the ability to return to being close buddy like before? The support from this was amazing and really helped me make it through the entire year, and I would like to return to that.
Is it possible for us to be intimate, but also be friends, with this happening again?
How do I tell how she feels? Everything she says contradicts something she’s said, is contradicting something that she ends up saying afterwards.
What should my next steps be? I truly don’t like the concept of going nuclear with her.
How can I avoid this type of thing happening again in the future?

Best Wishes
-All Mixed Up

Hoo boy.

This was… not the ideal connection for your first foray into relationship AMU. While I do not doubt that you and your buddy had a real relationship, there was plenty of crossed wires, miscommunications and complicated background there.

The fantastic thing is that this is {} to offer you a great deal of much-needed experience that will serve you well in future relationships. Assuming, of course, you really learn the lessons from this one.

And the first lesson is do not test your relationships. You were drunk, you’re feeling low and you’re having doubts. But there is feeling low and having doubts and then there is trying to make your girlfriend jump through hoops to be able to prove… something. Part of the purpose of being in a relationship with someone is learning how to trust them and to rely on them. If you’re concerned about things or have questions, the solution is not to see if she will pass your ordeals three, it is to use you words and speak to her.

That, incidentally, is the next lesson. As long as the two of you were, you were not speaking with each other… not in how you should have. The most obvious disconnect occurred right at the beginning. Among the main parts of getting the Defining The Dating Talk is to really define your terms. It’s pretty apparent that you and A had quite different ideas and expectations of the sort of relationship the two of you’re likely to have. She, on the other hand, expected to simply add sex to your preexisting friendship without expectations of monogamy and commitment.

If the two of you had had a conversation about what you anticipated and defined your terms, things may have turned out otherwise. You may not have been so upset by her being busy with school and inadvertently reopened the wounds that B gave her.

So taking your questions in reverse order:

  • How you avoid this in the future will be to prioritize clear and open communication. Ensure you and your prospective partners are on the exact pages about what you expect from the connection, and do not be afraid to express your feelings to them.
  • Your next step is to speak with her, find out what she wants and allow her prioritize her recovery; she’s not been outside of her connection with B quite long and when things were as traumatic as you said, she is going to need time. That may, unfortunately, mean time away from you.
  • You tell how she feels by speaking to her and ensuring you understand what she is saying. It is not that she had been asking for conflicting things, it is that you two were talking at cross purposes. You’d conflicting ideas of what this relationship would entail and that detonated the entire thing.
  • No, I do not think you are going to be FWBs again anytime soon. I think you are going to have to acquire more relationship experience under your belt before that is a real possibility, and she is going to need time to concentrate on getting over her past relationship. If you can return to being her friend and letting go of your hope to get back into her pants, then perhaps. But again, this will depend on her.

Unfortunately this leads into your next semester: not everything can be fixed, no matter how badly you need it. Sometimes the consequences of your mistakes is that the connection is permanently changed and can not return to what it was. The one thing you can do from this point forward is see what this new connection will be… or if there’ll even be one.

But that is going to depend on A. And the only way you can ever know for sure is to speak to her.

Very good luck.

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Hey Doc,

I’m a huge fan of your site. I discovered it after doing some googling to make a decision and help my mental state of being with my connection of over two and a half years. I am a young, 24 year old man who’s struggling with the decision to break up with my girlfriend or not. I have made an expert con list, I have talked to family and friends, and I {} come up with a conclusion.

We have been dating for two and a half years and fulfilled some friends in college during the fall of the senior year. When I first met her, she was just getting over a catastrophic relationship with a boyfriend who’d cheated on her, abused her (emotionally physically and emotionally) and was an all around poor dude. The first few months are rugged and she pushed me away because of her natural anxieties of getting in a relationship, and used the space to hookup with other men, have fun, and find herself. I did exactly the same, but only after being extremely hurt by this decision from her. Fast forward to early spring, she comes around and realizes that I am a fantastic guy. Apologizes for it all and blames her fears and beyond. I take this and we opt to check out the relationship, irrespective of our post-grad programs (she moved to Boston to go to law school, I remained in CT).

After a month or two, she expected me to move to Boston because she wanted to be there for college. I didn’t want to move there, but I looked for jobs no matter and she wasn’t happy when I could not find any. She asked me to sail to Boston while working my job in CT (a 1.5-2 hour commute each way) and eventually asked me to just move there with no job, which I denied. This was the beginning of where things got rocky.

Ever since that time, about a year ago, she’s been picking fights with me about things she’s insecure about, probably stemming from her past relationships. She has plenty of trouble moving on from previous issues. She brings up old things a lot. I’ve comforted her and restricted what I endure, as I do not think it is healthy to let insecurities to get worse. This is my first relationship, and I am a pretty confident man with a great deal going for him and come out of an old-school household of values and customs. I have never brought a woman home before her, since I’m pretty picky and don’t commit to relationships unless I’m serious.

That said, I am tired of everything happening. She’s asked me to pick her morals and beliefs, saying she ought to be well worth the sacrifice. My brothers and friends have gotten angry at hearing the things she says to me and for being with her since she picks fights all of the time. And of course, she takes up plenty of my time. I’ve seen her every weekend I could and put a great deal of miles on my car, missed family events and things I wish to go to so that I could be with her. She tells me every day she loves me and appreciates me and what I do for her. She constantly reassures me we are a team. She writes me notes, calls me a few times a day, texts all night and day. She treats my family so well, always bakes for them and checks them up. But I am tired from the constant fights Repeatedly about BS. I don’t hang together with other girls whatsoever, I do not go out to pubs, I do not look at other girls online, etc.. I find myself skipping out on things I’d normally do with family or friends so that I could be with her on the weekend.

We’ve mentioned about a dozen times that we are going to change and communicate better, not shout, etc.. And we wind up continuing to argue about the exact same old things she’s upset about. I have made some adjustments but they are not helping. At times, she can even speak to me like shes my mother and try to tell me exactly what to do. I care about her, but I am so exhausted and hurt to the point that I am falling out of love with somebody I’ve committed so much to. Can I go on? Or throw in the towel? The choice is finally my own, but I don’t want to let this drag out any longer and would love to act urgently.

I get a whole lot of letters from people who do not really have questions. What they are actually doing is asking me for permission for what they want to do. They just can’t, for several reasons, bring themselves to pull the trigger themselves, so they want another person to let them know that it is ok to do the thing.

And I am getting the impression that this is exactly what you’re searching for, ETD. It is possible to list the experts all you need, but there is no quantity of texting, love baking and notes you can do that is going to compensate for continuous struggles and unreasonable demands. Demanding that you proceed, getting angry when you can not find work and then demanding you create a long and expensive commute rather are examples of somebody being unreasonable. These are times when you undermine — two hours is not far to get a long-distance relationship, for example — rather than sticking to your guns and insisting that somebody uproot their life and throwing things into chaos. In the same way, demanding that you give up family events for her — you WILL go to every weekend, no exceptions — rather than allowing for you to have your own life is just as unreasonable.

While it’s a shame that she has been hurt and has her insecurities… that is a her problem, not a you trouble. It would be one thing if it had been only 1 thing that you do this sometimes triggers something… well, then you may learn how to avoid doing this one thing. But when it is a neverending chain of insecurities that she desires you to handle for her? That’s when you are well beyond the point of”I have some scars from past relationships and I could sometimes use some reassurance” and well into “You may conform your whole life around not bothering me”

It’s time to confront the fact ETD: this connection is already over. You are having the same fights, making the same resolutions and nothing is changing. That’s among the surest signs that things have ended, and all that is left is the revived husk of a connection. You have come to this conclusion. The only question now is if you are going to finish it now or wait till this connection has floor away whatever happiness and affection you have for her and left you with only bitterness and resentment.

And honestly? You do not need that pro/con listing, you do not need to record her sins or the disagreements you have had or why. If you have decided that you will need to leave, then you have all the reason you will need to leave. And I think you already have.

Do what you will need to do, ETD. You will be much happier once you’ve got.

Very good luck.

I had been in a long distance relationship with a woman who I sort-of grew up with (I live overseas, but see during school breaks). This hurt me a lot; she was my first ever crush, love, etc.. Now, almost two decades later, I’m still not over her. Despite not speaking to her for more than a year, I think about her daily.

Our families are extremely close, so this is my dilemma: I can’t avoid seeing her unless I avert my loved ones. So, the way I see it, I want to find some way of getting over her which is not merely to cut out her. However, I’ve tried a great deal of things and nothing has changed. I have gone through trying to despise her, ignore her, be friends, and so on, but my romantic love for her does not dwindle.

I don’t have any clue what I can do to remedy my situation. I’m exhausted by the pain this causes me, and fear just how much worse it is going to be when I live nearer. I think that the best way to describe my ideas would be like we are still in a relationship, and I never got the memo that it is over (albeit with much more obsessive behavior than a connection should have).

It seems to me like you have done everything except really proceed, SIL. Almost whatever you have done has been concentrated on her, especially, as opposed to on yourself. You have made her the middle of what you do, whether it’s trying to force yourself to hate her or ignore her or attempt to form a friendship. But what you have not done is focus on you.

The difference here is important. It doesn’t matter whether you are considering how much you”hate” her or how much you are consciously NOT thinking about her… you are still allowing her occupy your thoughts 24/7. Small wonder that you could not get over her; she has been dominating so much of the time which I would be amazed that you had the time to consider other things.

One reason why I advocate what I call The Nuclear Option — blocking them on social networking, deleting their texts, putting off all the letters, emails and photos and cutting them from your own life — is because you will need time to not consider them. You will need time to get space and view and let yourself heal… none of that can happen when you’ve got all these reminders surrounding you and the urge to keep checking. You want to let yourself have time without her — time to rediscover who you are when you are not The Guy Who Got His Heart Broken, time to remind yourself that there are countless amazing women out there who are not her and that you have a life and a future that does not revolve around her or the relationship you used to have.

It’s also one reason why folks say”the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else”. It is a primitive saying, but reminding yourself that there are other folks out there that you find attractive and find you attractive is a excellent method of realizing that your ex is not the ONLY woman on the planet. It permits you to realize that she was not your last chance for love, you will see other folks that you will care for as much as you cared for her… and it frees you from considering her 24/7.

Unfortunately, it is somewhat harder to do this when you know you are going to be up in each other’s space. So right now the best thing you can do? Speak with your folks. Let them know that you are still stinging after the break-up and, if at all possible, you can use a little breather from her. That does not mean that you are going to have the ability to prevent her completely… but getting some advance warning that she may be about can provide you the opportunity to make alternative plans or get some time and relative dimensions in space off. Getting that time where she is not omnipresent will be important… even when she is literally the girl next door.

You will need to focus on you for a little, rather than her. The more you can recover your life and understand {} be ok and proceed, the easier it’ll be. And then perhaps you’ll have the ability to come back around and have a new and different relationship with her. One that is not based on the one you used to have.

Very good luck.

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Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Can I Tell People I Am a Virgin?


I am a junior in college who’s very busy all the time with school and activities. I am a nursing major, so I’m constantly spending some time at the library studying for hours and hours. I’m a really social person and enjoy being with other people, but one thing I am lacking — I have never been in a relationship and I am a virgin.

I know {} something I shouldn’t be ashamed of, but in our culture, it attracts my confidence down a good deal. It is not that I am not interested in a relationship, but I have never had a chance for you personally, so I feel like I’m behind and do not know how to speak with guys.

Not a lot of folks know I am a virgin, as I just try to prevent the topic and have {} just went along with the fact that I’ve had sex, despite the fact that I haven’t.

How do I become more confident with myself and how would I go about talking to some man about my lack of expertise?

I could really use your information, as I’ve been fighting with this for a couple of years. THANK YOU!!!

First Timer

One of the issues with how our society deals with sexuality and sex is that we wind up creating problems where there {} be any. Virginity is a classic example of this, since it functions as a perverse double-edged sword. Men have a challenging time using being virgins and with little sexual encounter as it’s regarded as a mark of being a failure as a man. In addition, we assume that all men are horny satyrs who are ready for sex at any time. Because of this, we not only teach men that not having sex is shameful, but we also ignore the times when men have been abused or mistreated. When, say, a twelve year old is raped by his teacher or babysitter, we are more vulnerable to discuss how blessed he was or just how much of a stud he was to bang an older girl.

Women, on the other hand, are taught that their worth is from the sex they do not have. That women should be sexy but not sexual, that by not having sex they are staying”pure”. We can all think of times women are shamed for having a lot of sex partners, when a lot of translates to”any”. Shitty dudes will speak about girls”riding the cock carousel” in precisely the same breath where they will brag about the dozens to hundreds of girls they have supposedly plowed. But at exactly the same time, women that are virgins past a certain age — again, when that era tends to interpret”teenagers” — are seen as damaged, broken or distressed. People joke about how virgins are great because they do not know any better so they will assume you are the best at sex, or the way it’s risky to sleep with a virgin since she will get clingy and emphasise on you like a baby gosling. They will assume she must have something wrong with her, emotionally or physically or she has to be a religious zealot, whatever the actual facts on the ground.

And unfortunately, lots of this shame gets in our minds and people that have little or no sexual experience, for some of perfectly understandable reasons, internalize that pity. You are in that headspace yourself; intellectually, you know there is nothing to be ashamed of, but you still feel awkward about it. And so you remain quiet about it. And perversely, that silence ends up perpetuating the stigma, because now nobody has that counter-example in their own lives.

And here is the thing: you are hardly the only person who’s virgin in their 20s, whether man, woman or non-binary. While you’re a bit to the side of the middle of the bell curve, around 13 percent of girls 20-24 are still virgins; not common, but certainly not rare or unheard of. All this indicates is that you are in good company; you will find more people like you than you understand.

So the first thing I’d suggest is not to treat being a virgin like something to be ashamed of. It is no more a defining feature than if you have ever eaten roasted crickets before. The less you treat it like something unusual or black, the less other people will. The people who do give you shit are just proving themselves to be assholes and assholes are gonna ass, no matter what. You have better things to do than worry about the opinions of assholes.

The second issue is that if and when you do talk about it, do not justify it as though you have done something wrong. People will respond to the way you treat being a virgin. If you do not treat it as something bizarre or unusual or a big deal, others won’t either. You are incredibly busy — I mean, you are a nursing student, c all — and you just have not had time to date or pursue a relationship. That’s all. Folks understand what it is like to be this busy not to have time for anything else. If anybody asks, all you’ve got to say is”I have been too busy with school and work, so it has not been a priority.”

How they respond will tell you a good deal about what you will need to know about them. Some will believe your first time will be momentous or”a gift” or any other thing. Others will take it as just one more fact about you.

And if and when you do decide you are ready to sleep with someone for the first time, just be sure it’s somebody who is likely to be considerate of you and your pleasure. Not in certain”ok that is gonna be uneasy” manner (which is more myth than fact ) but in the sense of being a fantastic lover generally.

After all, if you are gonna sleep with somebody, they need to be worth it.

Very good luck.

Hey Doc,

Long time reader (first found you through google). My question is not dating-related but it’s on something you have talked about every now and then.

Long story short–I can not find a buddy group or anything remotely similar. I have tried to connect with other men and women who share my interests (gambling and at one stage card games) but each time I’ve tried it has been games I do not play (i.e., Smash or till lately COD/Halo, though I do not mind watching any of these, TBH) or I have come from the match up bawling like a baby (something my parents can attest to) or worse, either. I can not begin to tell you how many times I walked into gambling meetup where they were playing Smash or something, figured”eh, I could at least observe,” within ten minutes some asshole shouts a particular”r” word (or worse) and I go home shaken. Hell, a couple of years ago I’d routinely hear”f*g” thrown around in a kids’ CARD GAME circle and the first time I tried online gambling (something I DEEPLY regret…) I got called the n-word (yes, actually ) along with being cyber stalked and sexually harassed in the match’s PMs (I am a dude, but the douchebag on the other end kept calling me”woman” and well…you know the rest).

I guess it doesn’t help that I am not on social media in any respect. Nothing against it personally it is just…well. I was the child who, if myspace (recall that dinosaur?) First showed up, was completely puzzled why anybody would want to be on it and still feel like that about Twitter and the like (besides business reasons). It doesn’t help that I can not stand fandom culture (too much nostagia-bating circlejerk yappin’ about how amazing the 80s/90s/whatever was half of the time).

Is there any surefire way to prevent the toxic bullshit? Or does EVERY”male-centric” (I use that term loosely) nerd community behave like a fucking frat house full of supposedly grown-up manbabies?

You can not completely insulate yourself from encountering assholes, TLG. Assholes gonna ass, and a great deal of people have determined that trash talk and shitty behaviour is merely a core element of competition in general and gamer culture specifically.

But that does not mean every group will be the exact same cadre of smack talk and casual racism, trans- and homophobia. You might want to begin by checking out gaming stores in your area, especially tabletop gaming shops and seeing if they have regular game nights. However, you will want to be picky about which gambling shops you go to. You can nearly always judge a shop’s clientele by the shop itself and its own employees. If the folks working in the shop are the exact same type of folks who believe shit talking is cool, then the chances are higher that you are going to obtain the identical toxic behavior you’re seeking to avoid. On the other hand, if the shop is well-lit, well-organized with friendly and diverse staff who act appropriately, they are FAR less inclined to put up with people acting like 12 year old edgelords.

You may also need to spend some time on local boards and forums to your city generally. When there’s a subreddit to your city, which may be a fantastic place to not only meet local people and vet them, but to also find gaming groups which are not as crappy.

And at worst? Establish your own MeetUp for any game you are interested in playing, make good sportsmanship component of these rules for attending and be the change you wish to see in gambling.

Very good luck.

Hi Doc,

I saw you like to get follow-ups from previous columns so that I wanted touch base and thank you so much for your help with my previous query about being clingy and sabotaging my relationships.

I followed the advice that you mentioned and enhanced my communication style and figured out what was becoming to me and the best way to concentrate on overcoming my fears. It ends up really talking with him about it helped so much. He is not the very confrontational person when it comes to feelings (i.e. total goofball) but he heard me out, we spoke about it soon, the elephant in the room had dissipated — all while we got a better comprehension of each other. So much so that we are moving in together this summer (and yes, it is miraculously somehow in the exact same building! Serendipity, you are seriously trendy AF)

Thank you for taking the time to reply and for all you do. Your column and podcast provide vital information for everybody, not just dudes but also the girls ladies to know each other better and I am very thankful for it.

Wonderful! Thank you for letting us know how you are doing, AN, and congratulations on what exercising!

This post was formerly published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Do I Rebuild My Life


Hey Doc,

Here is the skinny: It seems like time is running out and I am scared to death of turning thirty.

I went to community college and wound up with a few different degrees I ultimately did not pursue. I was frustrated that I had not found my calling. I’ve held the exact same steady job for six decades.

I settled. I went to work, came home, and finished up on autopilot. I remained at home to help pay bills so that my mother could afford the mortgage. I had not dated, had not built a community of friends, and went through exactly the exact same routine. I became miserable, tired, depressed, and fought with anxiety. I cut when I could not handle my feelings of loneliness. My life was going nowhere and that I tried suicide.

I went to counselling off and on and proceeded to find a general doctor. The pill I had been given to take care of my mood disorders literally changed me immediately. My anxiety went away immediately and indications of my depression lifted. I felt confident and unstoppable.

I did not realize what I was doing at the moment. I spent several times the quantity of money I had in savings across multiple credit cards and cards at a really short and destructive quantity of time. I had been inappropriately pursuing a relationship with somebody who already had a child and a steady boyfriend. I had been out of control.

The medication gradually ceased working despite gains in dosages. My depressive episodes gradually came back and that I had gained an unbelievable amount of weight. Afterward, I started to reckon with what occurred.

I had been misdiagnosed. This year I have learned I am bi-polar along with the pill I had been given was not what I needed. I felt good — too good — all the time and did not understand that was not normal.

{I {} know if should blame myself, the pill, or a little bit of both for my lack of self-control. |}

Doc, I feel so far behind and so incredibly lonely.

I am turning thirty this autumn. I spent lots of my twenties trying to determine what the hell was wrong with me and blew up my life in the procedure. Meanwhile, I am seeing colleagues have fulfilling relationships with one another, have kids, and live fulfilling lives. And in my manic state, I have damaged lots of my own relationships together.

I feel like I must catch up to my peers. I’ve set up plenty of expectations for myself I can not possibly meet. I must be in an apartment with x date. I must have x paid off by x date. I should be financially secure. I feel like I must fix everything all at once. I feel like when I had a few more years, I would not feel as much pressure.

I am working on service and learning how to control what I could. I found a new therapist and continue to work together weekly (without medication that’s difficult but so it goes). I was connected with a fitness trainer who has helped me lose thirty pounds and forced exercise a regular part of my life. I have been sober for six months. I am slowly trying to fix relationships with my peers. I will be volunteering shortly to help me get out of my mind, meet new people, and possibly live for something outside myself. I applied for college on a whim and am now in the process of seeing if I get approved. If I don’t I will find another job to repay my debts.

It is going to be a couple of years before I could get my life together. Settling my debts and repairing my credit will take quite a long time. However, the prospect of getting it all together well after turning thirty is eating me up. I am already making a great deal of sacrifices, like not spending a lot of anything on myself or having free time to explore hobbies.

I’m unsure how to approach making friends, relationship, and living in relation to this. A whole lot of meetups in my age group revolve around social drinking and I am not touching alcohol at the moment. I can not keep waiting to have it all together before I start searching for somebody, because then I will always be waiting. Dating right this very second is not the perfect time, but when? How do I get new and interesting experiences when I am going to be broke until my debts are repaid? How do I do any of this when I am working on a lot else?

How can I construct the life I need without beating myself up or burning out in the procedure?

Sincerely,

***

I think you’re taking a look at things the wrong way, FE. You are not missing time, nor are you behind everybody else. You have been trying to correct these foundational issues in your life which have been sitting in your center and waiting to detonate as a bomb.

There is no question this has been a rocky procedure, but that is not your fault. You’re misdiagnosed and given treatment for a disease you do not have. That, sadly, is something which often happens to people. Many mental health disorders can mimic one another and many have what are called comorbid conditions — conditions which often occur alongside those key conditions; this may make diagnosis and treatment incredibly tricky. You’re bipolar, not miserable, and the remedy which you had been given meant that you’re prone to manic episodes. Again: that occurs. And if I could be perfectly blunt: you are incredibly lucky. There were people in my life who had bipolar illness who would only take their antidepressants because they loved the feel of being on a manic high… and they suffered from the effects of the way those highs impaired their judgment.

However, you made it. You figured out things, you pulled yourself out of this spiral and you are beginning to rebuild your life. That is not something to be ashamed of, that is something to be proud of. You should not be ashamed of this, you should take pride in how you have yanked yourself back from the brink and all the progress you have made. I mean, look at what you tell me towards the end of your letter. You are working with a therapist, you are getting fit, you are clean and sober, you are volunteering and being financially responsible. That is so goddamn amazing that I am in awe, FE. I am unbelievably proud of what you have achieved, and you should be too.

And holy hopping sheep shit my dude, you are doing so before you are 30? That’s wonderful. You are not falling behind the sport, you are setting yourself up for an remarkable life.

I am gonna degree with you, guy: I did not begin coming to my own until I was in my late 20s. I needed to go through some dark shit to get to where I am now and while yeah, I wish I’d my 20s otherwise, all that lead me to the place in my life, right here, right now. And I could complain about what I did not do in my previous… or I can focus on creating my present and my future amazing.

Everything you want more than anything right now is self-compassion. You had a rough beginning and that is fine. You’re more than your worst day and you are not defined by your worst errors. You’ve got the ability to be so much more as you’re proving right now. All it is doing is blinding you to the awesome progress you have made and the brilliant future you are setting yourself up for. Yeah, it may feel as if you’re supposed to strike these numerous milestones in your 20s… but you know what? You are going to be in a much better position to hit them than you would have been then. Take it from me: your 30s are like your 20s but with much more experience and better charge. That’s gonna open up some broad vistas for you, FE, in case you simply take the chance.

Listen to Jay-Z and recognize that 30 is the new 20. This is not the end of your lifetime. It is not even the start of the end. This is the end… of the beginning.

Make sure you write back and let us know how you are doing, FE.

Very good luck.

***

Hi Doc,

I am a woman in my late thirties that had been burned very badly in a cooking accident four decades back. We’ve had sex only a couple of times in the years since the collision, rather than once in the previous couple of decades. We’ve been in couple’s therapy for many months now to work on this matter, but I am frustrated with the speed of things. Not only do I not need to engage in sexual activity, but kissing, cuddling, hugging and even casual physical touch make me incredibly uncomfortable. I miss this, but even more I feel an overwhelming quantity of guilt for denying my husband even the most basic physical touch. It seems cruel but I can not help it! My burns are largely on my chest and chest so that they are front and center once we are intimate and I feel that may be contributing to the situation. I am not in pain but my skin is very sensitive and my husband forgets this occasionally, which is another problem. Add to that the trauma of my treatment, when I had been trapped at the hospital, always being poked and prodded in horrible ways.

I honestly do not understand how to proceed. Our therapist needs to do is talk about my self-esteem in abstract ways but I desperately want concrete suggestions for how to get over this. I wish to rediscover the degree of familiarity that we had before I was hurt but it seems hopeless because I am no longer the person I was before I the collision. My spouse is endlessly patient and understanding, but he’s a human being! It is not fair to either of us that we’re stuck here. Please assist.

Untouchable

***

I am so, so sorry this happened to you Untouchable. Feeling like you are cut off from intimacy with your spouse can be bothersome. When even small things such as simple physical touch is off limits for you — for whatever the reason — then it may feel as if you’re totally isolated and alone, even if you’re surrounded by people. It is made all the worse when you are unable to get that easy, casual intimacy with those you love. It’s awesome how much things, like feeling your spouse’s hands on your back or having the ability to put your head on their shoulder, can mean so much… and just how much you do not realize this until you are cut off from it.

Regrettably, some of those issues are far beyond my paygrade; like I am often saying, Dr. NerdLove isn’t a doctor, he is a loudmouth with a site. A few of the things I’d suggest are things you should definitely run by a real medical professional first. It might be doing things to relieve the physical symptoms of stress could make life easier for you; even if it is legal in your area, smoking marijuana or a few edibles might help calm your anxiety enough for at least informal caring contact with your husband. I realize that occasionally beta-blockers are used to assist people with PTSD too and that MDMA also shows promise; it could be worth your time to determine whether you can be a part of a study for the consequences that those may have on recovery from injury.

Another thing that immediately springs to mind will sound a little bizarre, but stick with me: you may want to incorporate kink in your life. If, as an instance, you end up triggered by lack of control, then it might help to set up things so that you’re absolutely accountable for . If your husband is, say, tied to the bed and not able to move his legs or arms. Then you are capable of not only initiating contact but controlling how much, how long and how much everything goes. And while being tied up might look like a lot just to, say, have the ability to break your head on his chest… which may be a way to bring a degree of touch and intimacy back into your life together as well as increase your feelings of control and agency. Likewise, having him be tied up and blindfolded may provide you the confidence to become physical in a way you haven’t been able to enjoy since then. After all, this might indicate that you have all the control, not only of your own body but his.

If this seems like something you believe is worth trying, see about locating a munch locally or look in the feminist and female-owned sex stores locally. They frequently have lectures and workshops about intros into kink, role-play and other areas of a power exchange that may be exactly what the not-a-real-doctor ordered.

But the other thing I wish to bring up is the therapist. 1 thing that we often forget — or never realize — is that if you are able to advocate for what you want from the therapist. While coping with your self-esteem is important — learning to see yourself as more than your scars can be enormous — if what you want are ways to become intimate with your spouse, then request it. And if it feels like your therapist does not know you or is not fulfilling your needs… you may find another therapist. It could be worth your time to see the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists’ site ; they have a referral directory which can assist you in finding a sex-positive counselor or therapist in your region who might be a better match for you and your needs at this moment.

You are lucky to have your husband, Untouchable, and he is lucky to have you. I hope you can find a few ways to overcome this impasse and discover ways to recover that affection and intimacy you have been missing.

And please, do not be afraid to write in and let us know how you are doing.

Very good luck.

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Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Do I Get Over Someone?


Hi Doc,

Before Christmas, I met a young woman and I instantly liked her. It was the first time I was going to make my move (late bloomer here) so I was really excited … and anxious of course. I asked a common friend if she is available and it turned out that she was – she broke up with her boyfriend before a couple of months. So I added her on Facebook and I arranged for another beer with all our friends in order to get to know her better. I was planning to move quick but it turned out that she was to leave the town the next day for Christmas and she would return after 2-3 months. I decided to occasionally chat with her on Facebook in order to keep some kind of contact. I noticed that even though we had long and smooth conversations she would never text first. As a result, after some weeks I decided that she had no interest so I stopped texting.

After 2-3 months she returned and we hung out as friends for some weeks. I could not notice any interest signs but I found strong feelings emerging inside me. At first, I tried to ignore them as I always did in the past, because I was anxious of getting rejected and I was sure she didn’t like me. One day after some smooth and playful chatting – thanks to your great new book – I decided to ask her out on a date. The worst that could happen would be her turning me down so what’s the big deal I told to myself. It was the first time in my life that I did such a heroic act. I received no response so I assumed that it was a soft no and I continued hanging out with her as a friend. But after a few days, something unexpected happened.

She began flirting with me and we ended up going out for a date with all the kissing and stuff. We would hang out as a couple for a week. Although I was really happy I started feeling that something was not right. As the days were passing by she started looking uncomfortable. I asked her what the troubling was and she replied that she wanted to end our “relationship”. It turned out that she couldn’t get over her ex and moreover she was planning to leave the town in few months. She said that although she liked me, the timing was not right. She apologized for the pain inflicted and then came the dreadful question: “Can we remain friends?” I was feeling devastated at that time and avoided giving a definite answer.

I decided to take the semi-nuclear option (unfollowed her in Facebook, stop talking with her) and get on with my life. I thought that if I wanted to be a genuine friend I should get over her first. It has been almost one and a half month since then and I am still thinking about it. It was my first “relationship” although it lasted a little less than two weeks. Perhaps I suffer from Oneitis but at the same time, I am thinking about her proposal to remain friends. It is sad that we stopped talking to each other – we haven’t talked to each other since our “break up”. We have a lot of friends in common so things feel a little awkward right now. I stopped talking with some people although we hung out together and had a good time just because they are close friends with her.

The following question keeps returning in my mind ” Should I contact her and try to act as a genuine friend regardless of my feelings or should I take the full nuclear option and let it go once and for all ?”. To be honest the nuclear option seems very brutal to me and at the same time I feel angry with myself feeling messed up about something that lasted only a few days. So, Doc, what do you propose?

Thank you very much for your time.

To Be or Not to Be

***

So there’s a lot to unpack here. But let’s start with the obvious:

We often talk about “The One” or finding someone who’s “right” for us. But when we talk about someone being “right”, we tend to talk about things like shared interests and personality traits. One of the things that we don’t often talk about with dating is how much dating success is about timing. Someone can be amazing and tick off all the boxes for what we want and need in a partner… but if we aren’t or they aren’t in the right place in life, then it just isn’t going to work. It’s frustrating as hell when it seems like we’ve met someone who’s absolutely perfect for us but a quirk of timing means that the relationship isn’t going to work out… but unfortunately, that’s life for you.

The good news is that there is no One. There’s no single person who’s right for you – there are many, many people who are right for you and who are in the right place in life to date.

Part of why you’re hung up on her right now is because of what she represents to you. The reason why you’ve got this nasty case of Oneitis is because she is The One That Got Away, this near-miss at the sort of love you only find in bad fanfic and instant coffee commercials. The arc of “I like her, she’s not interested OH MY GOD SHE LIKES ME, oh no it’s not going to work,” hangs in the air like a lingering fart because you had happiness for a brief fleeting second before it got snatched away. Now she’s less of a person and more of a representation of What Might Have Been. When that’s your first relationship, that’s hard to swallow. Hell, it’s hard enough when you’ve had plenty of relationship experience under your belt, but it’s even harder when it’s your first brush with romance.

But here’s the thing: part of what’s messing with you right now is that you haven’t given yourself any closure. Part of why I advocate The Nuclear Option – unfollowing them on social media, deleting their number, etc. – when it comes to breakups is because you need time to tie off that cauterize that particular emotional wound… and you aren’t really doing that. It’s not about “you left AND NOW YOU’RE DEAD TO ME”, it’s about the fact that it’s much easier to feel, process those feelings and finally move forward when you aren’t constantly being tempted to check on them and reopen the wound. Out of sight, out of mind is a thing after all, and it’s much easier to heal when the person who you’re aching for isn’t symbolically right in front of you all the time.

Which brings us to the issue with “Can we still be friends?” We all want to be able to say “yeah, sure” because friends are awesome and someone we want to date is someone we should also be able to be friends with. But the problem is that it’s hard to be friends with someone who just hurt us. They may not have meant to – hell, it may not have even been their fault – but the fact is that we’re still hurting. It can take time to get past that and get to a place where you can be friends. But if we’re honest… there’s a certain amount of pressure involved to say “yes” immediately. The last thing that anyone wants is to give the impression that the only reason to be with someone is if you have the chance to sleep with them. So a lot of times, we get hung up in the middle – wanting the distance we need to heal but not wanting to send the wrong message or close the door on the future relationship.

That’s where you are at the moment, TBONTB. You’ve stuck yourself in a place where you can’t NOT think about her or move forward because, well, you’re picking at the wound. And the conflict inherent in this limbo is starting to spread out to affect the other folks in your life. It’s one thing to cut ties with your ex; cutting out your other friends just because they’re connected to her isn’t healthy. That’s just going to isolate you further, which is bad. You’re going to need folks in your life who care for you, who you know have your back. You aren’t going to heal if all you’re doing is trying to excise every association of her like some sort of damnatio memorae; all that does is create an unhealthy feedback loop that will leave you always on your guard on the off chance you see ANYTHING that reminds you of her.

You need to close this loop and give yourself some closure. First, while this isn’t strictly necessary – the fact that you haven’t talked to her in a month and change is sending a message, even if you didn’t intend for it to – you may want to send a quick email that says “Hey, I know it’s been a while but I wanted to reach out. I DO want to be friends, but right now this is still kind of raw and I need time to get over it. Thanks for being patient with me.” Then set up a filter so that her emails get sent to a folder, not to your inbox. This solves the bigger issue that you’re struggling with: what to do about her. This gives you the best of both worlds: you give yourself permission to let her go, with the understanding that you can try to resume a friendship if that’s what you want down the line.

But the next step? Forgive yourself, my dude. Getting angry with yourself about how much you hurt is pointless. You can’t control how much you hurt, so instead of trying to tell yourself that you’re not “supposed” to to feel the way you do, just accept it. Let it flow through you instead of damming it up. Accept that yeah, this sucks… but it’s going to suck less over time. One day you’re going to wake up and you’re going to realize that the pain has reduced itself to a dull ache. One day, you’re going to wake up and you’re going to realize that not only does it not hurt any more, but it hasn’t hurt for a while. But that’s not going to happen for as long as you keep telling yourself you’re a loser for caring for someone and being hurt when things didn’t play out the way you hoped. So forgive yourself for being hurt and for loving not too wisely, but too well.

This will get better. I promise.

All will be well.

***

Hi, Doc.

I’m embarrassed to be writing this, because I’m ashamed I’ve let things get to this point.

Nine months ago I had a baby. Between her health issues and my disabilities, it makes the most financial sense for me to stay home and do the 24/7 childcare and house upkeep, and my husband generally works about 50 hours/week. I feed the baby round the clock on doctor’s orders (she can only have small amounts without getting sick, so she needs to eat frequently), and I get pretty busy sometimes.

I’m writing because our sex life has become basically nonexistent… and while I feel fine, I’m worried about my husband’s needs not being met. I’m totally willing and I’ve tried initiating things sometimes, but he doesn’t seem particularly interested.

I’ve seen you write before about how it can be hard for a man to shift back from seeing someone as a mother to seeing her as a sexual partner before, especially if he’s present for delivery (which my husband was) and I’m sure that could be part of what’s going on. However… I also just don’t have much to offer right now.

I’m still carrying some baby weight. I have stretch marks everywhere. I haven’t colored or cut my hair since early in pregnancy. Breastfeeding did not do my figure any favors. Between caring for a baby with extra needs, keeping up with my own freelance work, cooking and cleaning, and dealing with my own issues without the money for medication, I can’t seem to find much time for things like skincare, hair care, or weight loss. I walk for an hour or so every day, but that’s the most strenuous exercise I can really do with a baby in tow when we live ten miles from town and have no car to get to a gym (my husband needs our only running car to get to work).

My point is, I look disgusting. My husband isn’t shallow or cruel, and he has never said a single negative thing to me about the way my appearance has deteriorated, but I can’t imagine the way I look now is particularly enticing. My question is… should I suggest an open relationship? I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea and I have no interest in seeing others myself, but I feel like he deserves the opportunity to have sex with someone more appealing than I am at the moment. He’s a good person who shouldn’t have to put up with this.

I’m trying to get it together for him, but I haven’t found a way yet, and he’s been patient with his gross slob of a wife for too long already.

What do I do, Doc?

Post-Partum Blues

***

So it’s true that some men have a hard time making a mental shift when they see their partner give birth, PPB… but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here.

There’re a couple issues at play. The first is that, come on, you JUST HAD A BABY. Having a child is a massive disruption to your life, especially during the first couple of years. Your life is going to revolve around taking care of the little miracle, and that means that everything goes out the window – from keeping house, to sleep to your sex life. Under the best of circumstances, y’all are going to be stressed and sleep-deprived, which is as hard-core of a libido-killer as you’re likely to find. But when you factor in that your baby has special needs and your husband is working long, long hours? Yeah, that’s gonna throw a major spanner in people’s desire to get down.

But the other issue is that honestly? I think you aren’t being fair to yourself.

Actually, I take that back. I think you’re getting upset at yourself for not being superhuman and holding yourself to absolutely insane standards. I mean, the language you use in your letter is kind of telling: you’re ashamed that you “let things get to this point”. This implies that you should, what, have been able to slip back into your old life exactly like it was before without missing a beat? How in pluperfect hell was THAT supposed to happen?

I mean, yeah we see stories on Instagram and in tabloids about how so-and-so got their body “back” after the baby… but here’s the secret: most of that is bullshit and the rest of it is because they have money and resources to burn. It’s much easier to focus on “getting your body back” when you’ve got the money to pay for a nanny or a housekeeper AND a trainer, or your partner doesn’t need to work like a maniac to keep food on the table so that they can take time off from work and share in the work at home. Being upset at yourself because you weren’t able to “bounce back” like Beyonce or Kim Kardashian or any celebrity mommy is like being upset that you’re not an Olympic athlete; you’re getting upset that you can’t measure up to 1% of the population who have advantages and resources that most of us can only dream about.

And while your husband may feel a little weird about sex right now – and notice how very carefully I said “may” not “does” – I think the bigger issue is how you feel. The way you describe yourself makes it sound like you don’t believe you could possibly be attractive or desirable. That’s going to radiate through the way you act, the way you speak and the way you carry yourself… and that is going to be much more of a turn-off than stretch marks or carrying a little more weight or watching you squeeze out a baby. It’s a little difficult to get turned on when your partner is saying “Yeah, I know, I’m an unfuckable trashfire,” even when that’s not actually true.

And that bit’s important. It’s not helping that you’re making assumptions about how your husband feels, based on facts that aren’t in evidence. Yeah, you two haven’t had sex in a while but that’s par for the course for new parents. There’re so many things that’re gonna get in the way of having an active sex-life right now that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with how you look – or how you feel you look, which, I can’t stress enough, isn’t the same thing. You’re drawing conclusions based on how you feel, not on how he feels.

So what do you do?

Well, my first suggestion is that you check in with your husband and have an Awkward Conversation about the current state of your union. It doesn’t need to be a big, dramatic meeting; all you’re doing is let him know that you have concerns and you want to make sure that he’s OK. Then let him reassure you. If he legitimately is ok with things, then do yourself a favor and believe him. Because as hard as it can be to wrap our heads around it: our partners love us as holistic beings. Things like stretch marks aren’t going to be the end of desire; they tend to get folded into our concept of who our partners are. So when he tells you that he’s fine, he still loves you and that hey, it’s a little hard to get busy with the life you two have right now? Take that “yes” for an answer.

(And if you’re really worried, you can always order him a Fleshlight or Tenga and some lube to help ease the pressure until you’re both in a place where you can get down and dirty again).

My next suggestion is see if you can get some help with the baby. I know that “it takes a village” is a cliche… but some things are cliches for reason. If your parents or his parents – or hell, even a family friend – can come and give you a hand, then by all means, do that. Getting a little time for yourself is crucial for new parents. That’ll let you have some effective self-care, even if that just means having a chance for a hot bath, a face mask and some deep conditioning. Easing some of the burden – even if it’s just for a couple of hours – can make a night-and-day difference.

But trust me: this is a temporary problem. It may take a while – kids take a lot of time and attention, especially in the first couple years – but if you two can white knuckle it and hang on, you will get through it. Just be a little easier on yourself and a lot more forgiving for not being Instagram-perfect after such a relatively short time.

This will get better.

Good luck.

This post was previously published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Ask Dr. Nerdlove: If I Hold Out for Something Better?

I am having trouble handling the many impulses between my connection, my livelihood, my balls and my thoughts.

For a timeline: I have been dating this woman for 7 months now. Due to a family divorce and job relocation conditions, we are essentially living together today and have signed a year lease.

One on one, she is very enjoyable to be around. We are both flirty and weird with one another, are extremely experimental in bed and love doing daring things together. When I am with her it seems like nothing else matters; we are literally like kids together most nights. Her character and character are admirable: she has made me aware of my own shortcomings, has taught me the value of creating a shared story with someone I trust and her optimism is infectious. However there are two triggering scenarios that make me rethink my relationship situation:

Firstly, I always see pictures of other women and feel like I’m settling. I will admit there are angles and clothes and lifestyle changes that she works to her advantage, but sometimes it {} feel like enough. She is acutely aware of me feeling this way, as I am bad at hiding feelings, and blames my feelings on the entire’Tinder creation’ if there always being something greater. She might have a point, but to what level should I suppress this urge?

Secondly, to add fuel to the self fire, I recently got a big job promotion and will be in earnings. It is a tough enough job as it is, where I will need to be focused and sophisticated with my social interactions, but it also provides me a massive ego boost. I believe that the money, status and chances I will be presented with will be last feeding the monster within me that desperately needs all of the spoils life offers, which would contradict a monogamous relationship. I am 24, and while I have screwed many women already, I have become such a high quality person and feel that I deserve more.

Can you help me know if this is something many men feel? If so, how long is it before I can not take it anymore? Meanwhile, what can I do to keep myself satisfied with her?

Alright SDSF, I am gonna be blunt: it seems to me as if you’re searching for a reason to dump her without feeling bad about it. And if that is the case, then yes, you must break up with her. For her sake, not yours.

I mean shit dude, you are already hurting her. How you have been conveying the concept of”You are great but I believe I could do better” is a pretty shitty thing to do to someone you care for, even though she is blaming it on”the Tinder generation” rather than your having a watch out for the newer, sexier version.

So straight talk: yes, you are settling. It does not matter who you date, whether it is your present girlfriend or some unspeakably sexy Instagram model: you are always going to be settling. That is because nobody will get everything they want in a relationship. There are always going to matters that you’re going to need to let go of to maintain a relationship with someone. It could be accepting the person you’re dating is not as sexually adventurous as you would like and so there will not be some threesomes or sex clubs in your future together. It might be that they are not a bikini model and rather are a lovely but-not-unearthly-gorgeous individual. It might be that they are unspeakably beautiful but are not ambitious or do not have a lot of intellectual curiosity or won’t do monogamy. There are always going to be tradeoffs when you commit to a relationship with somebody; you need to recognize what you do get is so amazing that it makes up for the fact that you are not getting those other things.

Now going by that metric, it seems like your girlfriend more than meets that standard. You describe all of the ways that things are great… except for the fact that she does not quite stroke your self as arm candy. And look my dude, I’m not gonna say that you are bound to date her or anybody to show that you are not shallow, but if the problem you are having is that you are worried she is not hot enough to impress your friends then that is a you trouble, not a her difficulty.

The other issue is that you are doing something I have seen plenty of men do in your position: you are throwing off happiness you do have for the possibility of getting something better — something that is not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination. You have gotten the promotion and salary bump but that does not automatically interpret”and now I have access to sexier women” You are going to be the identical person that you are now, with the identical social skills. If the only difference is that you are going to be talking to people who are more impressed by cash or standing… well, good, but you will mostly be attracting people that are into money or status. And speaking strictly for myself, if someone’s only interested in a version of me that is precisely the same but with bigger digits in my bank balance, that is someone I would rather not be dating.

In actuality, many times the very same guys who have been in your position and put aside their existing relationships to be able to”trade up” (as it were) have begun to regret iteven if they date someone who’s physically sexier or more ego-polishing, they still realize that it does not compensate for what they lost in the procedure.

But hey, if you believe you deserve, then that is your call chief. But I will tell you now that aspect of things will make it impossible for you to”keep yourself satisfied with her.” If you would like to remain with her, then everything you will need to do is begin actually appreciating what you have, how she makes you feel and what she brings to this relationship and stressing about the proverbial two in the bush. The more you can concentrate on what you like about your relationship with the more thankful you can be for what you have, the more satisfied you will be.

But if you are always saying”you are great, but I believe I could do better,” then all you are doing is condemning your connection and her feelings into a death by a thousand cuts. At which point, you would be better off simply breaking her heart today rather than slowly bleeding it dry over time; at the way she will have an opportunity to get over you faster and without unnecessary pain.

However, they don’t all bring you lasagna at work.

Dear Dr. NerdLove,

First I’d like to say I am from a South Asian country. We take relationships seriously and culturally. I have a girlfriend (4 months affair). She’s my first love. But she had a boyfriend and I am her second love. I am really suffering that I couldn’t be her first love. She informs it and I am actually feeling that. She always tells I am far better than him and she says”nobody loved me as you do”. We’ve got good sexually and emotionally love life. She’s totally happy with me. But I am really suffering.

I feel as she lies to me since she does not like to broke my heart and she secretly love her ex because it’s’first love matters’. Sometimes I ask her that she recalls her ex. But I can not believe it. I truly love her and I can not even feel that she’s considering another man even for an instant.

Dude, if you love her, then you want to shut the hell up and trust.

I will give it to you straight: pretty much anyone you date will have a history. The older you get, the less likely it’ll be that you are going to be a person’s”first”. And that is fine. There is no prize for being someone’s first love, somebody’s first connection, somebody’s first sexual encounter. It does not magically confer significance on the connection that nobody else will ever match or outdo. I mean, fuck dude, you know this because she has already told you about how her first boyfriend fucking cheated on her and dumped her. That is such a low goddamn bar that you clear you could roller-skate it over.

And here you’re agonizing about the fact that somebody else was there.

Here is another thing about firsts: they are almost never”continues”. However badly one’s culture takes connections, the reality is that the huge bulk of the population does not remain with their first spouse until death do they part. While it does happen — I have a buddy who has been with his wife because they were 13 — it is rare enough that you shouldn’t be betting the farm on it. Hence the fact that you aren’t somebody’s first only suggests that the chances are better that you two may be able, the experience, the perspective and the emotional maturity to go the distance.

But NOT when you are sitting there, telling someone that you love that she is a liar when she states that she loves you and only you.

This ai not about love, chief. This is all about insecurity. This is all about you worrying that you don’t step up and that she is going to leave you for someone else as motives. And I am here in the future to tell you that this is precisely what’s going to happen if you do not quit throwing her previous relationships in her face. You want to either accept that she is being directly when she tells you that she loves you and cares for you and wants to be with you, or you will need to prepare for the break-up which will be coming down the pike.

Rather than dealing with if she loves you or not — accept that she’s telling you the truth — you will need to work on your own self-esteem and your sense of self worth. I believe the best thing you can do for yourself is to find yourself a counselor or therapist and begin unpacking these insecurities you have, until they detonate something great you have on your life.

Dear Dr. NerdLove,

I wrote to you before about how my husband’s sex-life had cratered after the arrival of our child. In the event you’re interested, I thought I would inform you that your advice was really beneficial. We have talked to a counselor a bit.

As part of the process, he confessed that he has been in near continuous mouth pain since soon after the baby was born. He has gotten some significant dental work done (wisdom teeth removed, cavities filled, and gum disease treated) rather than being in constant pain has definitely also helped.

Things still are not perfect, but they’re a great deal better. Thank you.

Doing Better In Seattle

Hey, thanks for letting us know how you have been doing, DBIS! Glad to hear things have improved, particularly because it means your spouse is no longer coping with severe constant pain! Congratulations on the job the both of you have put in and having the guts to talk things out, and I hope things continue to improve for you both!

This post was previously published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Have you read the first anthology which was the catalyst for Your Great Men Project? Purchase here: The Great Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood

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Ask Dr. Nerdlove: I Wish to Date Younger Women.


Hi Doc,

Thank you for all the hard work and fantastic articles, lots of amazing advice that has helped in the past — your publication New Game+ has been a big benefit to me. My question is a fast one, about how sexual desire changes when you get old.

I will hold my hands up and say from the get-go I myself am very young, only 26! However, I have been in relationships with older women (10+ years older than me). Recently, I’ve been in a wonderful, loving relationship with an older women over the last year or so. Nevertheless, in my day to day life, I encounter a number of other interesting and attractive ladies, lots of whom are young (18-26, I work in a school ). Understandably, I find lots of them sexually attractive — but I struggle on a somewhat daily basis with feelings of lust and guilt, as I am discovering the contrasts between the younger women and my partner more often.

Concurrently, I was listening to podcast by Russell Brand lately, and he said how he’s gotten to the point of having such a rich spiritual and emotional relationship with his wife he does not feel the need to place someone else in between that distance anymore. {This got me thinking — as you age (50+, 60+, 70+), your lusts for nubile flesh and younger women (or men) must be {} to fulfill. |} Instead, you’ll have to prioritise experiencing the entire psychological and spiritual relationship with another individual in its entirety (rather than simply needing them for their sexy ass!) . I am also conscious of your other blog post about how society fetishises younger girls of a particular demographic, and we’re living in an Instagram and porn-addicted world where our criteria of gender are enormously warped.

So, tell me Doc, will you successfully lust after young, nubile partners as you age — will it make you happy, and sexually satisfied? Or should we rather prioritise only valuing the religious connection with someone else during sex? Or can you have both?

Benjamin Button

The majority of the time when someone writes to me with questions about something that’s years — or decades — down the line, the issue is they’re borrowing unhappiness in the future. A future that, in actuality, may never come to pass.

You, on the other hand BB, are not borrowing trouble so much as just making shit up to get worried about. Worrying about whether you are going to be in a position to become a dirty old man — or, y’understand, the male lead in many Hollywood films — in 40 years is not just missing the point, it is managing to miss the whole world the stage resided on and sending items out beyond the Van Allen Belt.

So let’s break this down a bit, shall we?

First, you are assuming a good deal of facts not in evidence — beginning with the question of if you are going to be into the exact same sort of girls as you get older. As easy as it is to believe that you are gonna want only jailbait and girls in their early 20s, you might realize that your tastes have changed radically as you get older. There’re loads of people who hit their 30s and 40s and realize that although that young flesh could be hot to look at… a lot of times, that is all there is. They are great eye-candy but you can not have a conversation with them, nor are they nearly as good in bed as girls who are more age-appropriate.

(Seriously: the reason we used to say that women hit their sexual peak at 35 is due to 35, girls often have run out of fucks to give and are shucking off the sex-shame-y bullshit society has thrown them. A woman without a fucks, who is come into her own sexuality is a glorious and frightening thing to behold.)

Secondly, let’s be real here: this is less about whether {} generally possible for an older man to get with a younger woman — obviously it’s. This is about whether you’ll be the type of person who will hook up with a girl young enough to be his granddaughter. In other words: this is not about if your desire gets tougher to meet and much more about your self and a desire for empowerment. After all, young girls are viewed as having a particular value and cachet, so obviously someone who can figure out how to date or sleep with one (or two or three) is obviously of high status.

Except for the part where that is not how it works. Basing your premises on how relationship will work on your later years on Hef is like highlighting your career trajectory on Mark Zuckerberg’s.

Additionally, past the allegations of mistreatment and sexual misconduct, do you honestly believe those were a relationship of mutual respect and curiosity? Dude desired arm candy to show off and to put on displays for him while his girlfriends enjoyed the benefits that being Hef’s girlfriend gave them. There might have been affection, but this was a same-sex connection at best and — going by lots of the novels and stories that have come out since — rather horrific.

Women, as a rule of thumb, do not date someone for status or value, they date someone who they have a valid attraction and connection with. The wider the gap you’ve got between two individuals — especially in era — the tougher it is to have these commonalities. Both will have fewer points of commonality or cultural touchstones than somebody who is 24-28 — never mind the differences in where the both of you are on your life.

Being an old man with a young girlfriend… it will be possible, but improbable, and the odds of it lasting is much more unlikely.

Third: I am glad that Russell Brand has a close and passionate relationship with his wife, but I believe you tried to put 2 and 2 together and got”moops” instead. Nothing he said has anything to do with whether or not you will want young ass as you got older.

Now if you are asking whether you will want different people despite being in love with your spouse… yes. So will your spouse. We’re a species developed to seek out novelty, including sexual novelty. As I am so frequently saying, a monogamous devotion claims that you decide to not sleep with anybody else, not that you won’t need to. Likewise passion fades over time with a spouse. The newness and novelty goes away as you get to know someone. That is just part of being in a long-term relationship — that closeness and familiarity means that you understand them in a way that you did not initially. How you keep the spark alive and vibrant is by recognizing that you can not re-experience the novelty of getting to know your partner, but you can inject excitement and novelty into your lives… that will also bleed into your sensual connection. So part of keeping that spark alive is not to let your lives — sexual or otherwise — fall into a rut.

So yeah: you are asking the wrong questions and inventing issues to get worried about that have absolutely nothing to do with your life today. Rather than worrying about whether you are going to be the old man in the club rather than the most intriguing Man on earth, consider focusing on the relationships you have today. You’re better off figuring out how to construct, maintain and nurture what you have now — a clinic which will serve you over your whole life time — instead of worrying about if your future self will have the ability to score with young ass.

Howdy Doc.

I recently reconnected with two friends over spring break, after having not seen them for decades. We talked and had plenty of fun, but we were in a diner and my one friend, J (f, now 20), was revealed that she had had a problem. She told me about a crush she had on an underclassman in her college, K (f, now 19), and how they were best friends but not in a relationship. J asked K out to prom 1 night, and K could not say no. But when they got to prom, J spent all the time dancing and flirting with other men rather than spending time with K. K felt incredibly betrayed, despite the fact that they were not really”relationship”. Smaller moments, like ditching a group cosplay at a conference and J dating different people that both she and K knew — people that H did not like — further afield the connection. K finally went so far as to inquire whether J saw her as a friend or girlfriend, and J wanted nothing but to remain best friends. Presently, the two of them seldom speak.

While she informed me about this, I tried my best to comfort her. I asked her questions about how she felt, what she had been and was not okay with in the connection, gave suggestions about what I would have done, and gave bashful”I am sorry J”s through the tough parts of her narrative. But then conversation I might still feel that she had been gloomy and unsatisfied. I believed her talking about it would make her feel a bit better, but that did not appear to be true. It made me feel that somewhere in the conversation I might have said something wrong or might haven’t said something right.

My question is how should I have a conversation like this again? How do I comfort a friend who’s going through a rough breakup or stuck on something that never was? Whenever someone comes to me with something like this again, I wish to understand how to do it so that they feel as though they have a much better grasp on their own emotions.

Thanks,
Friend Indeed

Not gont lie, FI… I am not exactly sure what your friend was anticipating. J has seemingly gone out of her way to be shitty to somebody that she allegedly had a crush on and who certainly had feelings for her. There is just so many times you may dropkick someone’s heart till they say”fuck this sound” and bail.

(Frankly, I am amazed it took as long as it did for K to decide to peace from the whole relationship.)

As a rule of thumb, when someone’s hurting, the majority of the time, what they need is comfort. Sometimes that means someone to listen and allow them to unload all the pent-up emotions they have been feeling. They might want a neutral party to listen to — somebody who will not cast judgement or who was not involved — so they could open up and find a response to”am I the asshole?” Sometimes it means somebody who is there for them — a hot body to cling to and cry on so they don’t feel lonely or abandoned or lost. Other times, they need somebody who’ll let them know that it will all be ok and as awful as this is, it will all fade in time and they will feel normal again. Still other times, they need someone who can divert and distract themto take their mind off their pain, if only for a little bit.

What they typically don’t want is somebody to fix their problem for them or to indicate solutions. This is a problem lots of men have; we are socialized to believe our value is in doing things and solving problems, so we attempt to throw out solutions when what most folks want is to be noticed. This is the reason it can be helpful to ask whether somebody wants action and solutions or tea and sympathy; it makes it much easier to understand what psychological protocols to engage.

Not being there, I can not tell you exactly what J was needing. The cynical side of me suggests that she had been hoping that you would reassure her that she was not a poor person and did not blow up a relationship from… I dunno, undergad drama, I guess. If — and that’s a mighty big if — that has been the situation, I am not surprised that she went away disappointed.

But the thing you will need to bear in mind is that you are not magic. You can do all of the right things and extend somebody the type of comfort they want or need rather than fix them or make them feel better. A whole lot of times, people will still go away sad and that is ok. That is not a failure on your part to relaxation correctly, it’s just they still need to feel that the fuck out of the feels. However, while you may not have treated them, you did provide them comfort and comfort for some time, when they needed it.

And the majority of the time, that is exactly what they require.

Very good luck.

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This might be about your own ego.

The article Ask Dr. Nerdlove: I Wish to Date Younger Women. Appeared on The Great Men Project.

Download my eBook The Secrets to Attract Women FREE now by clicking here