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  #21  
Old 03-25-2012, 10:55 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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I've been grappling a little with this too. I'm really excited about my new relationship with C, and sometimes find myself wishing I could see him more often, or that he would be able to promise to keep this going (he's mono and seeking more than I am able to offer). Now we joke about "living in the present" when we are together. Snuggled up together in our imaginary gift box, colorfully wrapped, we don't hold back any of our feelings, and we consciously avoid hanging them onto plans and hopes and expectations that are all outside the present we are reveling in. It has been a helpful mindset for me. Every time life gives us another "present" together we enjoy it for what it is. A gift.
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  #22  
Old 10-01-2012, 12:49 AM
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I am struggling with feeling too attached to Lively, which prompts me to feel jealousy - and I am not usually a very jealous person. I am not sure if what I am feeling is very accurate. I keep feeling excluded and as if Lively would rather be with his other friend than with me. It's silly. If I look hard at how we've conducted our relationship all along, I really don't think anything's changed all that much, except for a few small things. However, I keep feeling like he's distant. I can't talk to him about NRE because we are "casual" lovers and it isn't really my place. I also keep comparing guys (Chessy and others) to Lively, in my mind. I feel a bit like a crazy person, stirred up and volatile, and very uncomfortable - all because he spends time with another woman he cares about besides me. When we're together, I have to keep myself in check so I don't say some stupid cutting remark. ARRRgggghhhh, I hate this feeling, it's like being back in high school again. I should be beyond this. I am going to re-read this thread and the articles I posted here. Hopefully, this will pass and I can let go and feel secure again, without attachment.
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  #23  
Old 10-01-2012, 05:01 AM
ladyslipper ladyslipper is offline
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I am struggling with a similar thing as well : wanting to be less attached, wanting to need less reassurance. A good professional told me recently, that if I feel like I need reassurance something is amiss. Basically, that if I feel cared for and my needs tended to, I shouldn't need reassurance. She pointed out some ways that I wasn't being cared for that hadn't occurred to me. They weren't on my radar because I tend not to feel deserving of much. A secondary is right there in that spot that women so easily get to - putting our own needs to the side in service of harmony in our relationship.

I'm feeling excluded too. Lonely while thinking he is having fun. Forgotten. Jealous a little.

So where do I find the balance between asking for more and accepting what's given to me? I think you just have to ask. If someone is upset by such a request then they must be just a little bit selfish, no? It's the "needy woman" trap to be careful of...
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  #24  
Old 10-01-2012, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyslipper View Post
Basically, that if I feel cared for and my needs tended to, I shouldn't need reassurance.
Yes, that is a good point, from one perspective.

However, oftentimes these feelings of not getting enough are created out of our own negative thinking, rather than being an organic response to a certain stimulus in the present moment.

This is what I am having trouble sorting out - knowing whether I am actually being slighted, or if it is my imagination and I am just seeing things that way, based on my old patterns of behavior and thought surrounding "being picked" or rejected. Yes, I might feel rejected but it could be just because I've trained myself to wait for the other shoe to drop, so to speak -- in my mind, I always believe I am inadequate and will inevitably be tossed aside. I expect rejection just because I am me. So, my thoughts and insecurities take me to the worst case scenario, which brings up shitty feelings. I am trying to get free of that pattern of thinking which brings up such manufactured emotions, so I can see things more clearly.

If I can see more clearly, then I can respond appropriately to what is, and not what I fear.

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Originally Posted by ladyslipper View Post
A secondary is right there in that spot that women so easily get to - putting our own needs to the side in service of harmony in our relationship.
I wish this thread had a different title. I am not in a primary/secondary situation but recalled that this thread had some good stuff in it. Lively and I are lover-friends, and I do not apply a hierarchy to my relationships. I think it's valuable to look at attachment and non-attachments in relationships, whether primary, secondary, non-hierarchical, or whatever.

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Originally Posted by ladyslipper View Post
I'm feeling excluded too. Lonely while thinking he is having fun. Forgotten. Jealous a little.

So where do I find the balance between asking for more and accepting what's given to me? I think you just have to ask. If someone is upset by such a request then they must be just a little bit selfish, no?
I have expressed what's been bugging me, but he felt I was laying too much responsibility on our relationship, which is casual. He is not my bf, I am not his gf. We are friends who are lovers. He has been loving and kind since my meltdown, but I find myself questioning my importance in his life, and feeling distance when I am not sure he is distant or not.

I was feeling rather secure and happy with what we have until he told me he started seeing someone else. He has been apartment-sitting for her and spending time with her and I have this idea that he spends more time with her than with me, but I am not really sure if that is true. We've always had a relaxed, "get-together-when-we-can" arrangement, so I don't think it would be received very well if I started getting indignant about how he spends his time. I have never been one to keep score, but the thoughts keep coming up around how much time I've invested in my relationship with him (over a year - his longest relationship ever!) and how unfair it is that he wants to be with her.

It's all ridiculous and irrational but I am caught up in it anyway and struggling to get free from this "stinking thinking." I love him and feel like somehow I've found myself very attached to him, when all along my goal has been to love without attachment. So, not only am I disappointed in the changes in our dynamic (his having this new friend) but I am disappointed in myself. I feel that I should want him to be happy, but I can't seem to be in that head space for very long before I feel sorry for myself again. Ugh, it sucks.

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Originally Posted by ladyslipper View Post
It's the "needy woman" trap to be careful of...
Yes, I hate coming across that way.
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-01-2012 at 12:11 PM.
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  #25  
Old 10-01-2012, 01:27 PM
ladyslipper ladyslipper is offline
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Good point about our own tendencies to try and reinforce our insecurities. I should certainly keep that in mind as well. I guess that is central to the internal struggle at play.

Myself, I don't strive for non-attachment, I fully expect to become attached to anyone I'm intimately involved with. What I am striving for is healthy boundaries, for myself and for my partners.

Hierarchies aside, I use the term secondary because it denotes the amount of time/energy the other person is able to give to me. In my situation my partner is married and a father so I know, factually speaking, that the time he is able to give to me is finite. But there are ways of being attentive to me that don't require a lot of time or energy, for example, if he knows I'm going through a difficult time a simple message to say "I'm thinking of you" lets me know that while I'm not present I'm also not forgotten.

I don't want to feel inconsequential or replaceable. I want to feel valued and needed. As though I add something to his life that he values enough to put effort toward maintaining.

And the "needy woman" trope is a trap - a social construct that does not apply to men, instead it reinforces our feminine ideas of females subordinating their needs to those of others. So toss out that idea that you're being "needy" because you do have neeeds!
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  #26  
Old 10-01-2012, 06:58 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Nyc, maybe your needs just really aren't being met in this relationship/friendship/what-have-you. My sense is that this isn't about the other woman, maybe instead it's about things between you and he being more problematic for you than you were quite willing to admit, because your feelings didn't match his or your expectations of how you should feel or what you should need.

Keeping it very casual, as Lively has always wanted, is just fine as long as both people are on the same page. But if you find that you're wanting more, after a whole year, such as freer expressions of feeling, some ability to expect when you might see him or if/when he might leave your life... I dont think that's necessarily a bad or wrong thing, except inasmuch as he doesn't feel the same and now there's a mismatch.

We're humans with feelings and wants, and that's OK. Maybe in a case like this, non-attachment doesn't have to mean never letting yourself get attached, it can mean DE-taching if there's a mismatch in attachment. Like, if you've developed stronger feelings and want,if not to formalize a bf/gf relationship per se but SOMETHING more, and he doesn't, maybe you say "this attachment has become unhealthy/unbalanced, I will consciously let Lively be, give him more space, seek connections with others, and try to re-orient myself away from this attachment to the point that it no longer hurts me."

"Myself, I don't strive for non-attachment, I fully expect to become attached to anyone I'm intimately involved with. What I am striving for is healthy boundaries, formyself and for my partners."

LS's comment above really sums up my feelings. None of us are Buddhist masters, so attachment is just sometimes going to happen when we love someone. What matters is how we deal with it -- by clinging harder (unhealthy attachment for the other person), denying our own needs (unhealthy attachment for us), or by taking the steps to lessen our degree of attachment until it's at a level that doesn't leave either party feeling stifled OR smothered... even if that means that you might have to not just step back a little, but ultimately terminate the "lover" part of the lover-friendship?
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  #27  
Old 10-02-2012, 02:20 AM
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Everything changed the moment he told me about her. Up until then I was content. Since then, I've been in turmoil. So I don't think it's that my needs weren't really being met. It is very much about feeling like I will be replaced or become an afterthought to him.

I'm not approaching non-attachment as or like a Buddhist. For me it is about letting go of an addictive need for someone's attention. I have experienced non-attachment in loving relationships before. I had a bf whom I dearly loved and yet I encouraged him to move away to the west coast because I knew it would be good for him. This was in the days before email, so staying in touch was much harder. We were in love and I told him to go and was happy for him because I was not attached.

But I have also been told by many men I've been involved with that I become clingy and place too much expectation on them. Maybe I am drawn to guys who are unavailable (father abandonment issues), but it is a difficult tightrope for me to walk sometimes. I feel like when I am in a healthy place emotionally, I can be happy, loving, and unattached. When I am stressed, wanting to avoid my problems, or feeling fragile, I latch onto the very people who cannot or will not give it, instead of reaching out to the ones who can be there for me. It's like I reinforce my own need to feel dissatisfied (and ultimately abandoned if I push them too hard) - that's an addiction.

I agree with you, Annabel, that I should strive to "consciously let Lively be, give him more space, seek connections with others, and try to re-orient myself away from this attachment to the point that it no longer hurts me." This is good stuff to remember - thank you. The key about "it hurting me" is that he isn't hurting me -- I am doing it to myself. I am hoping I can accomplish this kind of detaching while still maintaining our sexual relationship as part of the friendship. I don't think I should fall into the trap of getting all fucked-up over someone just because I share my body with him and have deeper feelings for him. I do think I need to reorient my focus, to distract myself from my obsessive thoughts about Lively, and lord knows I do have enough going on in my life to do that (divorce, school, new job, finances, etc.) - but to daydream about him, long for more, wonder what he's doing and who he's with, get pissy about so many little things, compete for his attention, test him, and so on... is such a drug.
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-02-2012 at 02:26 AM.
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  #28  
Old 10-02-2012, 08:58 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I keep coming back and reading this thread. And the links.

I can't entirely decide what I think about seeking to love without attachment. On the one hand, I very much agree that things are easier for me if the actions of others don't affect my emotional state. If I'm content with myself, my choices and my life and not dependent on others for happiness, contentment or pleasure. If I seek my own goals rather than trying to force a partner or a friend to do things for or with me just because of our relationship.

I get all of that. Really and truly get it.

But - on the other hand - I see human beings as social beings. We do get attached to each other and to beings that are not our species. I think our tendency to do so is wonderful.

Of course, we can go too far and lose ourselves in relationships with others but for me, the answer isn't to try and remain unattached but rather to look for ways for attachments to be healthy for all involved and to bring benefits to the lives of everybody who is attached.

Even if being attached means that the actions of somebody I love can really ruin my day or if it means that I would be devastated by their loss. Even in some cases if it means repeated and ongoing moments of discomfort - depends on the attachment and the reasons for the discomfort.

Cyndie - I have been thinking about your feelings for Lively. I wonder if it's possible that what you fear is that your relationship with him might change because of his new friend?

It would seem to me that some concern over it is utterly reasonable. Sometimes a friend getting somebody new in their life does mean a change. I have experienced being edged out by the new person, deliberately edging myself out because of the new person, gaining a new friend for myself and most often - no change at all to the relationship I have with my friend.

But knowing the possibilities, it often does make me edgy if somebody I care lots about announces that they have met somebody new and exciting. I can be happy and excited for them and still anxious and worried for my relationship with them.

I think you might be being a bit hard on yourself. It's fine to feel worried and anxious under the circumstances. More so as you are making your way through a really tough time. I hope you are being as gentle and kind with yourself as you are with Lively.

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  #29  
Old 10-02-2012, 09:06 PM
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For me this whole thing comes around the progression from dependance through independence to interdependence. There are people who are quite content in each of these modes of relating to others.

My preferred mode is interdependence, where I can have a select few people on whom I know I can rely - they've "got my back", as it were. I don't care whether they live with me (primaries) or don't (secondaries) - I can still form attachments and I enjoy those attachments - I just don't give them out willy-nilly. It takes time to develop a foundation of trust that allows for a solid interdependent relationship to develop.
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  #30  
Old 10-03-2012, 12:50 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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I get all of that. Really and truly get it.

But - on the other hand - I see human beings as social beings. We do get attached to each other and to beings that are not our species. I think our tendency to do so is wonderful.
This is how I feel. It seems to me that it is normal, good, even necessary, to have attachment in our relationships. That's sort of the whole point. I feel like I'm in a situation where I'm expected to continue going deeper with emotional and some physical intimacy, yet not develop messy emotions to complicate the situation. He wants 'harmony,' and 'honesty,' but wants me honestly not to develop any attachment beyond what works in his life. I'm on the brink of ending this relationship because I don't think that's healthy, either, to try to have a relationship without the normal attachments.
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