Thursday, April 17, 2008

Q & A: "she's not the girl of my dreams"

Name: Alex
Question: My head is in a right mess so I'd be very grateful for any advice you can give me at all.

To set the scene... I'm a 20 year old, male, university student. My 'love life' has been unconventional to say the least. I'm learning by my mistakes at least (I hope). I became infatuated, virtually obsessed, with a cute girl when I was between the ages of 12 and 16. But my overly strong feelings kept me from acting as I was too scared of rejection. Then, when I was 17, I became infatuated with another girl who had, and still has, a long term boyfriend. I sometimes catch myself thinking about her still. For a year I became obsessed with her, I became very depressed, and in the end I left college early because I couldn't bear to be around her. Luckily I still managed to get the grades to get into my first choice university. I had three months of counseling after this period which really helped, and still does.

Anyway, so I left college and began a gap year before I went to Uni. Half way through I met a girl through the Internet who lived nearby. We got on ok and saw each other at weekends (as I was working) for about 3 months. I broke up with her. Then a month later I met a lovely girl through a mutual friend. And we were together for 4 months before we went to different universities. We stayed together though for another 2 months before, again, I decided to end the relationship. I'm not a dim person by any means, but it took me a while to figure out what was going wrong with the relationships.

I didn't feel the same way about them as I had done with the second girl I got obsessive about. And they liked me more than I liked them. I felt uncomfortable during the relationships, and this feeling just kept on building up until I had to end it.

So... I decide at this point that relationships just aren't for me... and this is where I begin to confuse myself. I still have fantasies about meeting the girl of my dreams and living happily ever after but then I remember what caused the last 2 relationships to end. A real girl couldn't compare with the girl I had previously been obsessed with because I had built her up to be perfect. This is one matter I would like some feedback on, and since then here's another...

So, as I decided no more relationships, I was on the prowl, a good looking single guy at university, I thought I would be able to have a great time. Just before the end of term I became friendly with a 3rd year. We have kissed and not much more, but I'm really worried about going back to university now (in a week) because I don't want to suddenly find myself in another relationship again. We've text messaged each other a few times over the Christmas holiday, nothing heavy just a bit of flirting. I worried that if I have sex with her I'll get sucked into a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship which I don't want because she's not the girl of my dreams, but she's attractive.

I hope you get a chance to read this, and I hope you can offer me some advice.


Hi Alex,

Thanks for writing...I could be very wrong about all of this (your counselor would be able to tell you), but it's looking to me like you merely have issues with perception. You mention the fact that the two girls you became obsessed with (I'm guessing the only ones you obsessed about) were both unattainable - The first through your own restrictions and the second because of a boyfriend. All the other women can't compare to these two... And I'm thinking it's because all the other women are attainable and that kind of turns you off in a way.

We all want what we can't have - It's an old cliche but one that holds true for many people. I know very few people who are truly content with their lives and want nothing else... But since that cliche works, let me toss another one at you - You don't know what you've got until it's gone...Now that one only works if you actually notice you had it in the first place. What I'm trying to say is this: Yes, you became enthralled in the "Lotto" mentality that you are obsessed with a particular woman and that since she can't be had by you, she must have qualities much greater than someone you do have access to. Actually being with her and winning her in the end would be akin to striking the biggest Lotto in history - Against all odds. But here's the catch - You might have put her as perfect in your mind, but you really don't know what she could actually be like in a relationship...She might actually be completely opposite of your style and likes. You might very well find characteristics about her that are really unpleasant/embarrassing/annoying to you...You might not think so, but it's always a possibility, right?

Now if you agree that it's possible for her to really Not be the all-in-all woman of your dreams, then it's also possible that these people who are coming and going through your life might actually BE the all-in-all woman of your dreams, if only given half a chance. You've already limited their future with you because you think that there has to be doves dropping ribbons of glitter over you while the London Philharmonic plays romantic music every time you look into each other's eyes (Obviously I'm using a bit of creative license here, but you get the picture)...Take it easy for a minute. Just because one girl might actually like you more or is available for you to grow a relationship with does not mean she's not worthy. Imagine if you did meet a nice girl who you finally thought might be the one and she
had the same kind of idealism you do and didn't give you the chance because she had some perfect notion of her mate that she felt you didn't fulfill? She'd really be missing out, right? Well, you might be missing out now as well.

Please don't think I'm being hard on you...You're actually being much harder on yourself. Open your eyes and your heart and just let things flow...Sometimes we all need to take a step back and relax to be able to see things (like the Big Picture) more clearly. The broader your perception, the more full life can be for you...Don't walk by happiness and contentment because you're too fixed on what's over the horizon (or what you believe is over the horizon). You deserve to be happy - Now allow yourself the opportunity and it's wonderful discovery...You'll be so very glad you did.

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