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Down On Love

Question:

I’ll call myself Jack. I am 40. I was dating a guy that I fell completely in love with. I knew then (May 2002) that he was the one that I would grow old with. His words and actions at first made me truly believe that I definitely felt that in my heart. Unfortunately, he had a troubled childhood and I saw many warning flags right away but I couldn’t stop my feelings and I tried to work threw them. Just 3 months after meeting him, he beat me badly and I ended up in the Emergency room. I ended the relationship immediately and he moved out of my apartment. I was convinced then and truly believed that he would be the last guy for me and that I would never be with another man again. Well, it has now been two full years since he beat me. I have not spoken to him again and I have gone on with my life. I’m not sure if this is a problem or not but I have not had sex with anyone since then and I still feel like he was the last chance at love. Whats your advice? At this point, the thought of sex and intimacy is the last thing that I want in my life. Is it ok that I have given up dating and sex or would it be healthier if I tried to trust again?

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Answer:

You sound like a passionate man who values feelings and an emotional approach to life more than a rational one. You got involved with this other man and stayed with him because of your passionate feelings despite the rational part of you knowing that there were serious problems. You paid for that decision to not act rationally by getting beaten up. Now you are 24 months into a self-imposed exile from love; one that you suggest is motivated by a passionate belief that this aggressive man you dated was “the one”, and so therefore there could be no others. It’s certainly okay for you to give up sex and dating if that is what you want to do, but it doesn’t sound like that is what you want to do, so it does seem that you’ve got a problem. I’d suggest to you that while it is a wonderful thing to take a passionate approach to life, we have both hearts and heads and each is there for a reason. Both passion and rationality are necessary guides if we are to have a good shot at a satisfying life. You seem unbalanced on the passionate side, and as though you could benefit from learning to act more rationally. Rationally speaking, there are many more than one fish in the sea. There are many other men out there who you might date, and some minority of them are men you might have a satisfying relationship with who would treat you well. If you continue to pine for your lost love, or avoid the real possibility that you’ll be rejected or hurt if you start dating again, you’ll never find one of these good men. However, if you take the risk to get out there and get involved again, you’ll almost certainly get hurt again, but you also may find one of these good men for you. It’s your choice, but if you’re asking me, you’re better off taking the risk of getting hurt and getting out there again. I think that working with a therapist on these issues of when to be more rational and when to be more passionate would be a good idea for you too.

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Comments
  • Bill Zimmermann

    Thank you Anne. This man's story is a duplicate of mine. Except I am now 50. I went into emotional exile at 32 and have lived in a torn and solitary world since then. I am safe and sane and have gone un-hurt since that ghastly breakup where I threw myself head over heels into a relationship for all the wrong reasons and found myself seriously damaged from an out-of-balance rational / emotional equation. Far on the passionate side I lacked the rationality to sustain the relationship. I could not fight for it because my emotions overcame me like toxic fumes preventing me from examining, dealing with and confronting issues head-on with my lover. I exploded cried, begged and finally left him and never saw him again. Since then life has progressed but intimacy experiences have been few and far between. I have never fully trusted since and am just now beginning to understand the consequences of this. For me it has been a good decission to abstain from passionate emotional relationships. I am very imature in that reason and passionate instinct can not be ballanced when charged with the real-time issues of a serious relationship. My negotiation skills, sensibilities have improved but the window of opportunity is narrow and requires a very special kind of partner to pursue joy, healing and love in a manner that moves life forward for all concerned. I wish the originator the very best. I hope he ballances out his life always remembering that when in doubt let reason overcome instinct. I have learned that this will always save me. Even if it is extreemely difficult and emotionless. A rational decission in the midst of turmoil is far more functional and bennificial than an emotional tirade. Cry later, scream tomorrow, but never in front of your beloved. For where men are concerned when the rules of relationship are being laid carved into stone emotion kills the process. Bill Zimmermann San Diego

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