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  #71  
Old 08-15-2018, 02:42 PM
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River River is offline
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JaneQSmythe -

Regards your question about the sentence, “Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you” from the essay on spiritual bypassing I had posted. Did I mean to suggest to Arius that the emotional dynamic he's playing out with his partner is much more about him than about her? Yes.

Just before I said "You're dramatizing (acting out) something with her which is really about you," Arius said, "However, I am concerned that I will basically have to achieve enlightenment in order to be able to function in this relationship. Her and I are so different in so many ways."

What Robert A. Masters was pointing out in the essay you read was that when folks offer up “Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you” as a prefabricated "answer" to every situation, they are missing the contextual and nuanced nature of things. You will note that I, myself did not utter that sentence. And what I said was said in a particular context -- in which the context provided at least as much of the meaning as the words themselves.

I did not say, and would not say, “Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you”. That's an overreaching generalization. And it isn't true. But it can be true, sometimes, to say that a certain repeated dynamic in a relationship -- which is being repeated WITHIN a given person -- is more about that person (in which it is arising) than about the person who repeatedly triggers it.

I did not say that Arius' partner played no role in what had been happening which was triggering of an internally repeated dynamic in Arius. I would not say that. I simply alluded to the fact that the dynamic is living in him. It also lives in her, from her side, of course! But it is Arius' side which I was pointing out to Arius. Arius seemed to be saying something like, "If I can just be Superman, I'll receive the kindness and empathy I so want from my partner." I wanted to encourage him to forget about the quick costume change in the telephone booth. Something is going on with HER that's triggering off a dynamic which lives in HIM, which, if stated aloud, sounds like "If I can only perfect myself I will be worthy of the love I want".

Arius does not so much need to perfect himself as to simply love himself as he is, with all of the usual human imperfections. Were he to do this and find that she (his partner) doesn't reflect the empathy and kindness he's embracing for himself, he may choose to leave this relationship ... or to patiently explore the possiblity that she may shift in the light of what has newly arisen in their dynamic. But those who treat themselves lovingly tend to gravitate into relationships where their partner/s and friends treat them this same way.
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Last edited by River; 08-15-2018 at 02:51 PM.
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  #72  
Old 08-15-2018, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by FallenAngelina View Post
The way you're experiencing it is inner conflict, not just the desire. When we have thoughts of desire and only desire, there is peace. It feels good, pleasant, wonderful and we allow the desire to simply be what it is. When we add doubt, judgement, worry or fear to the mix, we have inner conflict. Inner conflict is what feels unhealthy and painful. I imagine that this is what those Buddhists are getting at - the attempt to soothe the conflict by trying to not desire in the first place. But I agree that desire is not only human, but what orients all sentient beings toward their own well being. Humans muck it up by adding worry, doubt, fear and judgement and those are what introduce the pain, not having the desire.
I found this quite intriguing. It has the feel of truth to it. But I'm not 100% sure it is always true. It may be, but I'm unsure.

I'm pondering cases of discomfort in desire which I've been having. One example is that I'd like to form a new, intimate connection with someone. It needn't be romantic or sexual, precisely, but I'd like it to include touch in ways that are not usually included in purely platonic friendships (e.g., cuddling, massage -- even naked massage -- I love giving and receiving this). I want there to be sharing of activities we both enjoy (e.g., spending time in wild nature) and really good conversation. I desire this strongly, but it never seems to come about -- except too briefly -- (I do have this with my one long term partner, but only with him). Anyway, I'm fine with the fact of this desire. I have no conflict with the fact that I desire this. And I cannot locate in my experience any kind of conflict around this desire. But the fact that I do not have this experience which I desire feels ... uncomfortable. It doesn't feel light and breezy-easy and enjoyable. So, is there some hidden conflict here I'm unaware of?
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Last edited by River; 08-15-2018 at 05:19 PM.
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  #73  
Old 08-15-2018, 10:08 PM
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..the fact that I do not have this experience which I desire feels ... uncomfortable. It doesn't feel light and breezy-easy and enjoyable. So, is there some hidden conflict here I'm unaware of?
The very nature of feeling uncomfortable is a conflict. Well, "conflict" might be too dramatic for your example, but certainly what you're thinking about is not just the desire itself. You have to be introducing conflicting thoughts of the absence of what you want (doubt) or else there would be no discomfort. It's understandable and human for you (for all of us) to have mixed thoughts like this, but still, it's not having the desire that causes discomfort or pain, it's holding conflicting thoughts. You're likely so used to your conflicting thoughts about non-sexual cuddling that you perhaps don't even recognize them as such, but there's no way that you would feel uncomfortable if there were no inner conflict in your thoughts about this subject.

Also, it's impossible to make ourselves stop wanting what we want. Try it. We can come to peace about not having what we desire in this moment, but we cannot make ourselves cease the desire.
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  #74  
Old 08-15-2018, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by FallenAngelina View Post
The very nature of feeling uncomfortable is a conflict. Well, "conflict" might be too dramatic for your example, but certainly what you're thinking about is not just the desire itself. You have to be introducing conflicting thoughts of the absence of what you want (doubt) or else there would be no discomfort.
Oh, heck yeah! I have "doubt" -- which I don't experience or understand as a conflict, per se. It may be a conflict. But I'm not at all sure that it is, or how it may be so -- because I feel pretty damned congruent with myself here.

I've come to be rather skeptical -- 'doubt' -- that I'll ever meet anyone quite compatible with what I want, who will want the same with me and be capable of sharing in it with me. Why? Experience! I'm very much like a scientist here, in that I've run a whole bunch of experiments and the results are simply what they have been, however else I may have preferred them to be.

I'd like to believe that there are innumerable folks in my neck of the woods who are compatible -- and interested -- to explore loving intimacy with me, under the necessary conditions (me being bi, me being basically married..., me being in various ways unconventional and weird -- but very loving, anyway)..., but I've open-mindedly explored this hypothesis and found that I've been mistaken. If such people exist in my neck of the woods, they are very, very rare. Or so it seems! Based on the available evidence. (It's science, after all! LOL)

I actually started out thinking, "Piece of cake!" LOL
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  #75  
Old Today, 02:26 AM
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Some here seem to be under the impression that she's not being empathetic toward you because you come off to her as having expectations and demands -- as being needy, wanting, grasping, clinging ... or whatever. Is this so? Are you that? Is she being repelled by that, and thus turning off the empathy she'd otherwise provide? Or is she just not very sensitive toward you?

In reading this thread I've often wondered -- as others have -- why you are staying in this relationship and wanting more from it than she wants to offer willingly. Are you open to meeting other women (or...?) for an intimate connection?
I imagine that my neediness and intense emotional reactivity may be repelling her.

I'm curious - what are normal people like? What do you do when your partner does things with someone else that you want to do and doesn't do them with you for no obvious reason? How would you react or feel about this?

I'm not sure if I'm open to meeting other women right now. I'm very ill and exhausted all the time and don't really have much to offer anyone. I have a second relationship that started out FWB and has blossomed into something more - though that relationship is also currently up in the air (for unrelated reasons) and has a lot of issues too.

Again, it's not like I can walk over to the Perfect Partner tree and start plucking fruit. On OkCupid, there's only a few women in my city who MIGHT be good matches - but I have no idea if we'd have good chemistry in real life because I sent them messages and never heard back. I am too ill to participate in projects outside of my home, and none of my current crushes are reciprocal - so I basically have no options right now.

And I'm fine with that. I want space to work on myself.

But I'd rather be with her if I can.
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  #76  
Old Today, 02:28 AM
Arius Arius is offline
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On the subject of desire and attachment...

Desire is a normal human thing. There is nothing inherently wrong with desiring something. It becomes a problem if the desire becomes an obsession, or if you're overly attached to the results.

For example, let's say I desire a cheeseburger. A cheeseburger sounds really, really yummy, and I'm thinking about how much I want one. That's a normal, neutral kind of thing.

If I start thinking, "Cheeseburger. I have to have that cheeseburger. When can I have the cheeseburger? Is it cheeseburger time yet?" to the point that it's keeping me from thinking about much of anything else (obsession), it's a problem.

If I'm thinking, "I have to have that cheeseburger. If I don't get the cheeseburger, it means I'm a failure and everything else in my life is going to collapse" (over-attachment to results), it's a problem.

But if I'm just thinking, "A cheeseburger sounds really good right now. Let's see what I can do to get a cheeseburger. If I can't get one, no big deal; there'll be another chance tomorrow," that's a healthy desire. (Okay, cheeseburgers aren't necessarily healthy, but you know what I mean.) And that kind of desire and way of approaching it generally isn't a problem.

If you desire your partner to do something sexual with you, and approach it with a constant thought-stream of "I have to have this, why isn't she doing this, why won't she talk to me, why can't we do this," it becomes obsessive. It's unhealthy because it's keeping your mind off other things that might be better places to direct your energy. If you approach it as, "If she doesn't do this, it must mean she doesn't love me and there's something wrong with me," you're overly attaching to the results. You're making it personal and fueling negative emotions with the idea that it somehow means something negative about you if she doesn't do what you desire.

If you're able to make the thought-shift to, "I really want her to do this with me, or at least explain why she won't, but I can't control whether she does it or explains it, and it doesn't say anything about me either way, it would just be really cool if she did," it's a healthier way to approach desire.
This is so helpful. Thank you.

This is the kind of thing I meant when I asked about how normal people think.

It also may function as a useful adjunct to River's probing about desire. It seems that, River, your conflict comes not from the desire but from being (mildly) attached to having the desire satiated. Which I don't think is a big problem. It's not like you're obsessing or being overly-attached to the outcome to the point of it causing emotional distress.

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  #77  
Old Today, 02:35 AM
Arius Arius is offline
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Originally Posted by FallenAngelina View Post
The way you're experiencing it is inner conflict, not just the desire. When we have thoughts of desire and only desire, there is peace. It feels good, pleasant, wonderful and we allow the desire to simply be what it is. When we add doubt, judgement, worry or fear to the mix, we have inner conflict. Inner conflict is what feels unhealthy and painful.
This is a very useful distinction. Thank you.
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  #78  
Old Today, 01:37 PM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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I imagine that my neediness and intense emotional reactivity may be repelling her.
It is quite possible. Neediness (especially neediness verging on desperation, obsessiveness, perseverating on the same issues) can be a turn off for many people.

If your partner is generally attracted to strength of character, confidence and independence in a person - partner or otherwise - then you may be unintentionally undermining your own cause (your desires and needs within the relationship) by reacting to her personal limits in ways that seem demanding, overly persistent and even whiny.

Quote:
I'm curious - what are normal people like? What do you do when your partner does things with someone else that you want to do and doesn't do them with you for no obvious reason? How would you react or feel about this?
By no means do I claim to be a "normal" person - whatever that is - nor do my partners do things with other people that they refuse to do with me (that I know of).

However, there ARE certain activities I would LIKE my partners to do with me that they, especially Jester, are not up for for reasons of their own. Both my partners tend to be submissive to me, and while I appreciate the fact that they are both very gentle, caring people... in the bedroom, I sometimes crave a more dominant, rougher approach. I would like to explore some kink aspects from the "other side" of BDSM, but recognise that I'm unlikely to get these needs met within either of my current relationships.

The desire is not SO great that it'd cause me to seek out another partner simply to get this "want" fulfilled, as I'm pretty poly-saturated (time-wise and emotionally) with two partners already. We three are in a closed V anyhow, with me as hinge. I consider myself lucky to have two loving, caring, immensely intelligent and unique partners... and I accept that compromises must be made in relationships. Not everybody is entitled to get whatever they desire from others, simply because they want it. If a partner is unwilling or unable to participate in a certain activity or dynamic, within a particular partnership, that is their choice.

Having said that, I would definitely reconsider ANY relationship in which I felt MANY of my needs/wants were NOT being met on a consistent basis, especially if there was no logical reason or explanation forthcoming.
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  #79  
Old Today, 02:26 PM
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You're welcome. I'm glad my post was helpful. (And no, I didn't get a cheeseburger after I wrote it... but I really, really wanted one. LOL)

Quote:
I'm curious - what are normal people like? What do you do when your partner does things with someone else that you want to do and doesn't do them with you for no obvious reason? How would you react or feel about this?
I'm far from normal, but I've been in a similar situation. Not as an ongoing thing, but at one point I asked my boyfriend to do a specific sexual thing with me. He agreed to it, but then it kept not happening. For MONTHS it kept not happening, even though I brought it up every so often and reminded him that he'd said we would do it. Then he met someone else and started seeing her, and very early on in their relationship, he did the thing with her that he had promised to do with me--and still hadn't done, months after agreeing to it.

I was upset, and I told him so. My issue wasn't so much that he had done it with her, but how quickly he had done it with her while having dragged his feet about doing it with me for quite a long time. It was something I very, very much wanted to do, and he knew this, but, at least to my perception, he had chosen not to work with me to make it happen. I admit to having trust issues (I'm working on them, it's getting better; this issue was a year ago now), so I get upset anyway if someone says they'll do something and doesn't follow through even after repeated discussions and reminders about it; this was something my boyfriend knew. And it felt to me like he was playing favorites by giving her something he'd promised to me.

We STILL haven't done the thing. But we did resolve the general issue to some extent, and made an agreement on how to handle something similar in the future if need be.
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