Thursday, April 08, 2010

Does He Have True Feelings For Her?

Dear Terry,

I have benefited much from reading your insights and advice on your blog, and now I have a question to ask you.

Would a man who has true feelings for a woman put his feelings before hers? I mean, would he take steps to try to protect his feelings from being hurt regardless of the emotional consequences that it may have on the woman?

You see, I ask this because I am trying to make sense of the feelings this man had towards me. I need to be able to classify them so that I can be able to get over it, and I don't think I will be fully able to unless I do. It's a bit complicated, but we were never in a relationship because I knew from the get go that our ideological/religious/cultural differences would never make this work. However, we've developed strong feelings towards each other (or so I think).

Anyhow, I ask this particular question because I've noticed that even though I would make particular requests (or tell him that certain things may bother me), he would not do them because if he would his feelings would be put on the line. He wouldn't sacrifice being hurt just to see me happy even for a moment.

That being said, I truly believe that his feelings were genuine to a certain extent because I've felt that they were. I just don't know if that is the extent a man's feelings go, or am I getting the short end of the stick? I just want to be able to find closure and to know if his feelings towards me were genuine or not.

Your input is much appreciated.

-Aching soul

Dear Soul:

Thanks for the kind words. Now bear with me while I paint you a picture:

You and this man somehow manage to overcome your ideological/religious/cultural differences. You marry him.

At first, you're estatic. Your suspicions that his feelings are genuine are confirmed.

But days into the marriage, his selfish side re-emerges. At first, you tell yourself he's struggling under the weight of a lifelong commitment. He's vulnerable. He's scared. And he's acting out.

You're walking around hurt more often than happy, but you tell yourself it's okay. You need to help him with his feelings. It becomes your mission. Meanwhile, he becomes increasingly inconsiderate. Sometimes he's downright obnoxious.

After a while, you decide to have a baby. Maybe having a child will set him right, encourage him to be more loving and generous toward other humans. It could make him a better person.

So, you have the baby, but you quickly find out that caring for him or her is your responsibility. You're running around, taking care of your husband's needs and this baby's needs.

And who's taking care of your needs? Nobody.

You're sad all the time. Maybe you turn to food for comfort. Maybe you turn to alcohol. Substance abuse makes you feel better for a couple of hours, but then you hate yourself.

You catch sight of yourself in the mirror (because you don't actually have time to really look in the mirror). You look ten years older than you are. You look like one of those women who has just given up.

And you start to resent your husband. You go through the motions, but you're sad all the time. You're sorry you sold yourself short.

You long for the days when you had choices. You long for the days when you were captain of your own ship.

In other words, you long for this very day when you had the ability to walk away free and clear from a man who consistently puts his needs in front of yours, who wouldn't risk "being hurt to see [you] happy even for a moment."

Seize this day.

Raise your standards. Stop wondering what this man's feelings are toward you. I mean, who really cares? He doesn't make you happy. You don't have a relationship. He's not worth another second of your time.

Hold out for a man who will make your happiness a priority, a real man whose actions match his words and who never lets you wonder for a minute whether he loves you.

You deserve a good deal more than what you're putting up with now, and you'd be better off on your own.

You can get over this man. You will get over him. Tell yourself, "I refuse to let a person of such low quality ever have power over me ever again."


Anonymous said...

This article resonated so much with me. Thank you for inspiring women to have some self-worth and find a man that truly deserves them.

The hard part is forgiving myself for allowing someone to have such an emotional hold on my life for so long.

Anonymous said...

Gosh well written advice again Terry. I have a friend who is married to a man who comes back from work at 11 pm every week day, and on weekends he either will be jamming or play soccer with his friends..he says he can't stand being at home because it is noisy (they have a toddler )...and she tries to convince herself that this behaviour is normal. If he goes jamming he will come home at 2or 3 a.m...I don't even think he wants to be with her!!! I think women must face facts instead of making excuses for the guy!!

stardust said...

This article resonated so much with me as well. Take heart that you are not the only one who goes through this. A lot of us do.

For the man whom I had in mind - we never had a proper relationship too. We dated casually for a while, and while those were happy memories, he just decided on his own that we were not meant to be, and this was not communicated to me, until much much later.

He still does nice things for me now, nice things which by standards, a mere guy platonic friend would never do for a female friend. Yet, when I need him emotionally, for my woes or sorrows, he was never there. He shuts down and refuses to lend a listening ear. The part that hurts most is... he's able to be there emotionally for other girls.

For too long a time, I made excuses for him, that he was unable to commit to me emotionally. For too long a time, I went through in my mind over and over again why I wasn't up to his standards such that he could never show his concern for me freely. Then I got tired. And came to a realisation of sorts that, by my standards, he would never have made it anyway. I needed a man who's emotionally mature enough to be there for me in times of need, not someone who's a conflict avoidant and runs away the moment any problems occur.

I guess I will never understand why he does things the way he does. Sometimes I also feel like I'm not interested to find out anymore. I'm learning every step of the way that it is only worthwhile to believe a man by what his actions show and tell us, not merely by the words he say.

It still hurts, and I still have a soft spot for him, but I'm also growing stronger by the day. Be grateful for all these experiences because they make up who you are. One day, we will all be better persons. I hope you take some comfort in knowing there are a lot of us out here who share your pain.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving me the confidence that I deserve better. You're right. In the past couple of days I've found out that he truly was selfish. I just didn't want to admit it to myself in the past.

I do deserve better and so do the multitudes of women out there!!

Thank you for raising my spirits, giving me hope and reaffirming to me my self-worth.


Jewish Internet Dating said...

That is so true that we women live so much in our dreams and want to see the things as per our dreams and feelings...While most guys dont have such "Loveable" feelings and are only looking out for some nice night time with women, the females start visualizing them to be the dream lover. One should stop giving excuses for the guy and console oneself and start living in practicality. Only then you will save yourself getting more and more hurt.

postcodedating said...

Yes, that is sad but true unfortunately. Guys can be real pigs :(