Join 3,415 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Should I cut off contact with him?
May 20, 2011 5:17 AM   Subscribe

Should I cut off contact with him?

So I dated this guy for five weeks and decided to break up with him about a month ago a week after he'd moved overseas for a two-month project. My reasons were that, though we are both artists (he a filmmaker and novelist, I an actor in addition to being a Ph.D. student), he didn't seem to genuinely appreciate my creativity. This came through in his lack of enthusiasm for my moments of creative expression and even snarky comments from time to time. When I brought this up during the breakup, he became defensive and said that he meant something else and wrote that I'm "a multidimensional actor, an emotionally complex antihero capable of approximating an oceanic depth and breadth." So there were a few possibilities: 1) although he's a novelist, he was being sincere and had a moment of terrible writing, 2) he just wasn't into my creativity, which is why he had to exaggerate everything to the point of sounding fake, or 3) this is just how he communicates his feelings and I didn't respond well emotionally to that style of communication. Anyway, I never expected false praise from him, but it seemed that either he'd have no affirmation of my creativity or some saccharine language to describe it. He was devastated that I broke up with him, saying that he had been willing to cut his trip short overseas to three weeks just to come back to see me. Now, a friend of mine who is on the website we met through told me that his newly activated, updated profile appeared to refer to me indirectly:

"I enjoy a challenge but do not want to date a competitor; I think it's important to be secure in your talents and personality; I don't think it's healthy to have to "perform" whatever you want me to think you are all the time. Just be. I don't judge. Well, not too harshly anyway. My only aversion is to pretension.

I strive for genuineness and would never offer false praise; I am honest to a fault but also believe that there is a fine line between honesty and cruelty. I can take criticism, as long as it's fair, founded, and constructive."

This wasn't there when I saw his profile while we were dating for five weeks. I'm not at all a narcissist, but I'm pretty sure this is referring to the experience he had with me. He told me many times that I was "perfect" and that he couldn't imagine us being out of touch. It was HIS idea to remain friends and I agreed. But it seems that he's learned nothing from our experience except that I'm an insecure, competitive bitch. If that's true, then should I bother to maintain a friendship? Or should I drop this like it's hot?

Another note: I know that I have a reputation of overthinking things. I confess that freely. But saying "stop overanalyzing" is very general advice that doesn't address the situation at hand concretely (except as a way of saying, "don't even think about this issue"). Thanks!
posted by cscott to Human Relations (72 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
If that's true, then should I bother to maintain a friendship? Or should I drop this like it's hot?

Like it's real hot. This was a guy you dated for five weeks and it didn't work out. You don't need this kind of drama a former short-term relationship.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:26 AM on May 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


It sounds like you two don't get along all that well and shouldn't be friends.
posted by facetious at 5:26 AM on May 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


He sounds like a drama queen - all this for 5 weeks of dating - just cut contact and move on!
posted by leslies at 5:27 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"a multidimensional actor, an emotionally complex antihero capable of approximating an oceanic depth and breadth."

What the eff.

"I enjoy a challenge but do not want to date a competitor; I think it's important to be secure in your talents and personality blah blah blah"

What the eff.

It sounds like you have good reason for not liking him; his side of things I cannot see from here. Anyway - you don't get along.
posted by tel3path at 5:28 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe he was trying to do a "neg," that silly pickup artist trick. Consider that if the new content in his profile is obviously alluding to you very shortly after you broke things off, he might have been hoping you'd see it. Anyway, as leslies said, if there was this much drama in just a few weeks of dating, it's probably not a good match even on a platonic level.
posted by John Cohen at 5:29 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Contempt is a dealbreaker. If you can sense a partner's contempt for you, including artistically, it's time to get out because the relationship is eventually doomed anyway.

Yes, he was referring to you and he thinks you're pretentious. He also seems annoyed that you brought up a perfectly valid complaint and pinned him down to the truth.

You're not overanalyzing, this guy sounds unpleasant and useless. Drop him. Don't be friends if you'd rather not.
posted by Nixy at 5:30 AM on May 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


If it doesn't feel write and you want to write for advice then the answer is pretty clear.
posted by tarvuz at 5:30 AM on May 20, 2011


errr.....RIGHT
posted by tarvuz at 5:31 AM on May 20, 2011


1. If this sort of thing bothers you, you should probably stay away from internet stalking him. Including having friends look at his online dating profile and inviting you to dissect it. Don't haunt yourself with this stuff.

2. Look, you are the one who broke up with him. Rejection is hard. You don't get to have your cake and eat it, too - when you dump someone, they have a right to be angry/sad/vindictive. It's not really fair for you to be all butt-hurt about that.

3. Maybe this guy wants to be friends with you in the long run, maybe not. But it's only fair that he get to wallow for a bit after being rejected. It doesn't seem like he posted anything directly insulting to you, or even anything that is any of your business.
posted by Sara C. at 5:31 AM on May 20, 2011 [38 favorites]


So first he writes about "a multidimensional actor, an emotionally complex antihero capable of approximating an oceanic depth and breadth," in some type of gesture way, and later he claims
"I don't think it's healthy to have to "perform" whatever you want me to think you are all the time."
Not to judge too harshly, but I feel like he's the narcissist here, and a projecting one too; the first quote seems to be a performance of what he wants you to think of him, in some twisted way. Other than that, 1), especially the end, and 2) and 3), in my opinion.

That said, I could imagine that "genuinely appreciating your creativity" perhaps is too narrow an expectation from your date. A partner ought to somehow be able to show appreciation for who you are, including your creativity, but he's surely not supposed to be your audience, right? That kind of praise is usually not part of a partnership, or if it is, that gets old really fast.
So the answer to your question depends not only on his terrible prose (uh, do you appreciate his creativity, btw.?), but also on how intensely specific your expectations of his appreciation are, and whether you maybe could mellow it down a notch and see if that makes him write some normal stuff again.
posted by Namlit at 5:37 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


He sounds like a prick. Walk away, and stay away.
posted by VikingSword at 5:39 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember your previous question about this same guy, and I thought it was odd then that you needed a new partner to so validate your "creativity." Perhaps that's a concern that couples face after the honeymoon period ends, but during a five week thing? Really? You sound like you're being the drama queen.

Also, if I were a director, and I were dating an actor who was constantly putting on a show for me and my friends, seeking praise and validation, I would feel like you were doing nothing but auditioning for me, and I would seriously question your intentions. Are you really into me, or are you auditioning?

Yes, I do think you should drop it like it's hot; you hurt this dude's feelings, and you should just leave him alone.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 5:47 AM on May 20, 2011 [26 favorites]


Thanks, guys. It's hard to define what genuine appreciation of creativity counts as. He'd never seen me perform as an actor, but I do wear my creativity on my sleeve. For example, I'm good at impersonations and impressions and I approximate accents well. He told me that I'm a "good mimic," "capable," "passionate," and "alive," all of which are complimentary adjectives, but none of which were ever said with an ounce of enthusiasm, and sometimes seemed to be said grudgingly. On top of that, he said that, as a filmmaker, he disliked theatre-trained actors (I'm one) and that he could teach any actor with raw talent acting technique in a day before going on camera. And when he showed me his film, I said that I liked it, that it was smartly written, etc. and offered some constructive criticism. I said that one of the characters didn't seem to hit the right emotional note in one of the scenes and his response was "Literary and film geeks understand this character and the rest of the world doesn't." Wow, okay, so I'm just "the rest of the world." When I brought this up during the breakup, I said that I felt that I was pretty generous toward him about his artistry and didn't feel that he ever reciprocated that. He insisted that all of these comments were meant in some other way and then came out with the whole oceanic depth and breadth b.s.

So, no, he's not my audience and, yes, he should appreciate all of me, including my creativity. But given that I told him even before I saw his film that I thought he was talented, he could have thrown me a bone at some point. Even if I was wrong, I told him over the phone that maybe we didn't speak the same emotional language. I'm effusive and forthright about my opinions. At his going away party before he went overseas for two months, one of his friends heard my impersonations and burst out with "You're clearly an actor, you should do voiceovers, you should be cast in a film, etc." with all of this enthusiasm while he sat there next to me staring at me blankly. So that's the background ... I'm over him, but since it was his idea to stay friends, I'm asking whether it's a good idea to follow up on that. The answer, so far, looks like a no.
posted by cscott at 5:50 AM on May 20, 2011


Esmeralda, I've thought about this quite a bit, and I don't think it's unreasonable to want to feel appreciated for an important part of who you think you are, especially if it's someone you're dating and who claims to care about you. I wasn't expecting him to tell me that I'm the next Marlon Brando. I know my limitations. But there was an imbalance, from my perspective, as described above. If you still feel the same way about my being unnecessarily dramatic, then please explain further. This is a learning process for me, late as I am in the game as a gay man who came out four years ago and has only dated once prior to this guy. Pathetic? Sure. But I've got to learn from this kind of stuff. I hope you can understand that.
posted by cscott at 5:53 AM on May 20, 2011


A five-week relationship is not worth burning so much energy on. Drop him like a stone and move on.
posted by londonmark at 5:54 AM on May 20, 2011


Add to all this the fact that when we asked each other what we'd told our friends about each other, I told him "intelligent, creative, sensitive, etc." and he told me, "I told my friends that you're handsome, brilliant, incisive, intellectual," and said nothing about creativity.
posted by cscott at 5:55 AM on May 20, 2011


This sounds like a squabble over who deserves top billing. I'm an actor too, and the creative process is really most interesting to those who are directly participating in it. Perhaps taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture is in order here.

You dumped him, amidst a lot of detailed sniping over artistic integrity. But if it wasn't artistic integrity it would have been whether the salt goes to the left or the right of the pepper and whether the spice rack is alphabetized or color-coded. The basic problem is, you don't get along and continuing to engage with each other is not doing much for the ability of either of you to take perspective.
posted by tel3path at 5:59 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


cscott- there's a difference between sharing your work in a proud, joyous, and unpretentious way, and fishing for compliments. If he'd never seen you perform as an actor, how was he supposed to offer sincere praise? Mugging for his friends doesn't seem like it warrants anything beyond the complimentary adjectives he offered, as stated above. What did you want him to do, weep?
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 6:02 AM on May 20, 2011 [31 favorites]


Woah, you are seriously overthinking this. Meaning, you are giving hugely more importance to every nuance and detail of this than they are worth. It was a month-long relationship that didn't work out; there's no point and no value to obsessively picking it all apart.

And, by overthinking so much on the details, you are allowing yourself to miss the bigger picture here. Unless you can let go a little bit, step back, and gain some perspective, you are going to keep spinning frantically in one place.
posted by Forktine at 6:02 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you have some friends you can bond with over this? It sounds like you really want to have a good bitch session about this dude, and I don't think Metafilter is a really great forum for that.

Bottom line about your question, you already broke up with him and the ball isn't really in your court right now to remain friends or not. It doesn't sound like you like him very much, anyway. "Let's stay friends" is often just something people say. Move on.

And, yeah, from what you've quoted of his profile he sounds pretentious. All the more reason to Just. Move. On.
posted by Sara C. at 6:03 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're well rid of him. Move on now.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:04 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is your second question about this. I have to say that you seem kind of.... needy about praise for your "creativity". No other praise will do; just praise for your "creativity".

Anyway, as everyone else said, it's done. Move on.
posted by kestrel251 at 6:10 AM on May 20, 2011 [18 favorites]


Well, I lied, Esmeralda. He saw a fifteen-second clip in which I did a small part for the soap opera, "One Life to Live" because he insisted on seeing it. This was after our first date. Ever since then he started acting all weird, even though the part required ZERO acting skills and didn't show off what I'm really able to do as a performer. Date after date it seemed like he had made some judgment about my abilities and wasn't willing to show the enthusiasm for me that I showed for his work even before I'd seen it. Is there an element of "fishing for compliments?" Sure, but there was certainly also on his part. That's why he told me that he was nervous about showing me his film and he took that jab at me about how "literary and film geeks" understand the character I was talking about in my constructive criticism and "the rest of the world" doesn't. In other words, he too was insecure about his creativity to some degree. He denied this flatly. I wouldn't have brought it up over the phone while breaking up but when I said "I don't feel the chemistry any more," he pressed for specific details and descended into hysteria. I had to tell him the truth about how I felt.
posted by cscott at 6:10 AM on May 20, 2011


Kestrel, you are ignoring the fact that I gave him endless praise for his creativity even before I saw anything of his artistic work. This was based just on my optimism and the fact that he spoke of his work enthusiastically and intelligently. So maybe the problem isn't that I demand that my dates tell me that I'm the next Ben Kingsley. It may be that I offer too much unwarranted praise to them, which I don't receive in return, and then feel that something hasn't been reciprocated.
posted by cscott at 6:12 AM on May 20, 2011


The stuff about whether and how he's supposed to appreciate your creativity and artistic ability is interesting -- but irrelevant.

This was a five-week relationship and you broke up with him. You broke up with him because you didn't like him. Leave him alone to wallow.

Is he actually actively trying to stay in touch and be friends? If he's not, it's not even your decision at all. If he is, don't be friends, since again, you barely know the guy and don't like him all that much and he doesn't make you feel good.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:13 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


>>Kestrel, you are ignoring the fact that I gave him endless praise for his creativity even before I saw anything of his artistic work.

That seems weird to me, if you're really just fishing for opinions on that. It sounds empty and meaningless, and I wouldn't necessarily be comfortable offering empty and meaningless praise in return.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:17 AM on May 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


Listen, this is the last thing I'm gonna say about this subject.

"He saw a fifteen-second clip ... the part required ZERO acting skills and didn't show off what I'm really able to do as a performer. "

Um, so how is he supposed to offer sincere praise? He's NEVER SEEN YOUR WORK.
I think you really need to work on letting things go. As they say- don't sweat the small stuff.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 6:18 AM on May 20, 2011 [15 favorites]


Okay. So obviously the anonymity of the internets allows for a great deal of sarcasm and dismissive remarks instead of constructive advice. I only came here because people here in the past have showed some sympathy and offered advice that worked well. A few of you might better avoid commenting if you're just going to make fun of the person who is asking a question out of a sincere desire for advice. I never asked that he weep or kiss my feet for my unparalleled acting abilities. I only asked for some affirmation. There's a big difference between the two. Of course, since I have worked as an actor, people will make all sorts of assumptions about how narcissistic I really am. I still believe that if two artists are to date each other, then they MUST affirm each other's creativity in some way. Affirmation is not the same was false praise or melodramatic reaction.
posted by cscott at 6:21 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


cscott, i really liked what you said in response to kestrel, it has the ring of self-recognition. sounds like you were trying to evoke a particular response from this guy by pumping him up, and you didn't like what you got back. that's perfectly fine. people get wrapped up in not being "insecure", as if that's something shameful. you cared about somebody else's opinion a little too much, you tried to get that person to have a particular opinion, it didn't work, and that doesn't feel good. that's ok. it sounds like you really like praise and recognition - welcome to the human race, right? and yeah, there's no need for people to be sarcastic about this. it's not a big deal, it's just life.
posted by facetious at 6:24 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think this is one of those times when everyone is a little bit right.

It is indeed very possible that you may feel a bit....overly-wedded to getting validation for your artistic, creative self. I understand the sentiment (I'm holding on to the self-description "writer" with my fingernails right now, and I work in theater myself), but I think you may want to examine whether there's a bit more of a balance you could find between "need for validation" and "need to not be needy". That is an awfully high standard to hold anyone to that you've just met, and really, only a month into a relationship is serious "we just met" territory. You're both still in the sex-and-giggling, "you like pancakes? No way, I like pancakes too!" stage of your relationship.

However, that is a separate issue from the way he handled the breakup. And the way he handled that is....not good. I mean, my ex posted something on his Match.com profile after we broke up that alluded to something I said, but it was something good I'd said about him, and it definitely wasn't a "take THAT, you, because I know you're reading this" kind of thing the way this guy did.

So -- I'd perhaps take this chance to reflect on your own self a tiny bit, but I also wouldn't feel the slightest compunction about mentally telling this guy to go pound sand.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


"a multidimensional actor, an emotionally complex antihero capable of approximating an oceanic depth and breadth" This statement feels incredibly icky and narcissistic. I don't think he's able to give you what you are wanting from a relationship, whether it be friendship or more. It's truly not worth struggling about this, especially after only 5 weeks. I would walk away and feel lucky things were not worse.
posted by goggie at 6:24 AM on May 20, 2011


He sounds like a doofus and a bad fit - early in a relationship, it's appropriate to praise everything to the skies (as honestly as possible, of course) even if it's not precisely your favorite art form/food/etc. You sound like you have some serious insecurities about your creativity and what you want you want in a relationship - like you might be rather rigid in how you relate to people.

Your questions really do read very oddly, like you're very hung up on the form of your relationships rather than how they feel.

...Although I just had an idea. I know a bunch of actors and in general you-all aren't quite like non-actors in your relationships and your feelings about your creative work. Do you have any way of getting relationship feedback from other actors? Is there some kind of actor-chat on the internet? This whole business might make total sense there. I've definitely seen actor friends' relationships founder over their work in ways that aren't totally obvious to non-actors.
posted by Frowner at 6:24 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would guess someone worth dating WOULD affirm your creativity if they felt like doing so or were capable of doing so. Asking someone to do it usually is an indicator that the match isn't so good.
posted by tarvuz at 6:25 AM on May 20, 2011


(If someone described me as "an emotionally complex anti-hero" type, I would be over the moon, personally. And if I described someone that way it would be even more complimentary than "you are dazzlingly handsome, brilliant and witty". Some people do give weird compliments.)
posted by Frowner at 6:26 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


You aren't owed equal an equal quantity of praise from your partner.
Don't be "friends" with him, it would not be a genuine friendship at all.
If what you really want is to have him apologize for what you think he's done wrong, have him praise you to the heavens and be in a relationship with him - well you can ask but I don't think you're going to get it.
posted by meringue at 6:28 AM on May 20, 2011


I never asked that he weep or kiss my feet for my unparalleled acting abilities. I only asked for some affirmation.

Which you didn't get, and now you're broken up. You can't hold someone you're no longer in a relationship with to the standards of what you're looking for in a partner, and it's a waste of your time and energy to bother doing so. Maybe you two can be friends some day, but it sounds like now it might be better for the two of you to not have contact. And tell your friends to stop telling you about him, too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:31 AM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Frowner, thanks for your honest, helpful feedback. I do have quite a few actor friends. I spent a year training in a respected theatre program in New York. I got the whole nine yards from excellent, Broadway-starring teachers there. I say that not to brag but just to say that I know what criticism of one's artistic work feels like and how to manage it and become better because of it. Also, about form, it wasn't just about that. Things felt pretty shitty when he'd sit there and squint his eyebrows whenever the subject of acting or anything relating to creativity came up. It was as though he were the creative authority (he even said that he sees himself foremost as "a creative soul" but never came close to extending that description to me). Maybe he thought I sucked. That's fine; he's entitled to his judgment. But I don't think it's a good idea to date someone who thinks you suck at something you think you're good at and which is important to who you are as a person. So it really was about how I felt. And when he left for two months, I had to ask myself why he was sending me e-mails about how much he misses me and I was sitting here feeling angry.
posted by cscott at 6:31 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your question is - should you cut off contact with him? I think the answer is a resounding yes -- you two just don't seem to be able to communicate and you're sensitive about his perception about you, and it doesn't sound like you have the foundation for a real friendship - which is probably part of the reason you're not dating anymore!

If you are looking for him, or the internet, or anybody else to affirm that you had a right to break up with the guy for the reasons you broke up with him for, you should stop it right there, partner. You have every right to break up with someone if you don't want to date them. Case closed! I think you're feeling frustrated that he hasn't accepted why you broke up with him and decided to change, or something. He may never get it, and it's not like you broke up with him because he's a monster who needs professional help. You and he just did not gel - he didn't get you. Let him - and yourself - off of the hook!
posted by pazazygeek at 6:32 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


ThePink, good advice. Thanks. He's been e-mailing me on occasion from overseas with the whole "how are you?" stuff and I haven't been sure how to proceed. The answer is much clearer now.
posted by cscott at 6:33 AM on May 20, 2011


Empress, your answer was the best. Thanks very much!
posted by cscott at 6:37 AM on May 20, 2011


Yes, you should cut off contact with him. A five-week relationship is not worth this much drama.

You might also want to think on why you feel like you need a certain level of artistic appreciation from this guy. Is it because he's also an artist, instead of, say, an accountant? Is being an artist some indicator to you that he would/should be more understanding of your artistic capabilities?

It's entirely possible that your ex placed a different meaning or level of importance on artistry than you did--from what you've said, you two obviously have had some differences in opinion in that respect (theater vs. film). I wouldn't say it's a shortcoming on your part, but you definitely have to think on whether this is a dealbreaker for you in future relationships.

And the thing that I came in here to say is: I'm an engineer. If I ever dated an engineer who wanted me to find ways on how to compliment him on his engineering skills when we weren't doing anything related to engineering... we would not be dating for very long.
posted by Stephanie Duy at 6:57 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kestrel, you are ignoring the fact that I gave him endless praise for his creativity even before I saw anything of his artistic work. This was based just on my optimism and the fact that he spoke of his work enthusiastically and intelligently.

Don't do this with people. The vain and insecure will be flattered and mollified, but those who are truly hardworking or talented are going to think you're a total bullshitter.
posted by hermitosis at 7:12 AM on May 20, 2011 [45 favorites]


I remember your last post about this.

Head's up: I'm not going to mince words. Were I dating you, I would have probably felt very defensive at the accusations of not nurturing your creativity or heaping on the praise heavily enough. When I enjoy someone's work, I'm effusive--I've probably said things to the order of the "bad writing" you're quoting here, and meant them genuinely. However, I resent the feeling that I have to do these things on demand and expectations that I heap praise on someone inevitably make me withdraw and eventually grow resentful. A dating relationship is not an obligation to be someone's OMGBIGGESTFAN!!!. Hell, I showed my husband one of my short stories yesterday and he hated it. This doesn't mean that he's not nurturing my creative soul or whatever claptrap (and such a focus on whether someone is "into your creativity" strikes me as goofy woo-woo talk that will actually put off a lot of genuinely creative people. Think of the "nurturing the artist within" character from Californication). It just means that he's a human being with opinions. And he's allowed!

This relationship is already dead and buried, and you probably won't listen to me, I'm guessing, but having been an insecure, self-sabotaging mess when I was younger, I wish someone had said this to me: stop being so needy. Validation has to come from within, and the more time you waste on fishing for compliments, worrying that someone isn't respecting you enough, arguing about whether their compliments are genuine, overanlayzing their compliments and picking them apart with your friends/on metafilter, the less energy you're going to have for living a genuinely creative and successful life.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:31 AM on May 20, 2011 [40 favorites]


Jesus Christ. This is making me nuts: "Add to all this the fact that when we asked each other what we'd told our friends about each other, I told him "intelligent, creative, sensitive, etc." and he told me, "I told my friends that you're handsome, brilliant, incisive, intellectual," and said nothing about creativity." So someone you basically just started dating called you handsome, brilliant, incisive and intellectual and that wasn't good enough for you.
Frankly, even if he did call you creative, you probably don't think that he said it in the right freaking tone of voice, per: He told me that I'm a "good mimic," "capable," "passionate," and "alive," all of which are complimentary adjectives, but none of which were ever said with an ounce of enthusiasm, and sometimes seemed to be said grudgingly. No wonder he said it grudgingly, it sounds like you were freaking browbeating it out of him.
I have no idea which one of you is causing or extending the drama, but the answer to your question about cutting off contact is a resounding yes. This is not friendly behavior - partners don't do this to each other and friends don't either. Just freaking drop it already.
posted by 8dot3 at 7:33 AM on May 20, 2011 [40 favorites]


I would cut off contact. There is no need to be friends with him. My impression is that if you remain friends with him, you might end up constantly trying to get him to appreciate your work and being continually disappointed when that's not going to happen.

Both of you are coming across as a little pretentious in this thread. It seems like both of you brought out each other's insecurity. Let it go. Some people just have a tendency to strike emotional chords with each other that bring out their worst.
posted by parakeetdog at 7:40 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the kudos; but promise me you'll pay attention to the "spend some time in self-reflection about how you may have contributed to this" part, eh?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:49 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"a multidimensional actor, an emotionally complex antihero capable of approximating an oceanic depth and breadth."


hhhahhahha... come on. Move on. Plenty of fish in the sea etc.
posted by modernnomad at 7:59 AM on May 20, 2011


I still believe that if two artists are to date each other, then they MUST affirm each other's creativity in some way.

Given how specific your expectations were (no, I want THESE compliments about my art, given HOW I WANT THEM, not THESE OTHER compliments) for your fellow artist after such a short time dating, I think you could be happier dating non-artists. Let him go.
posted by *s at 8:14 AM on May 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Something occurs to me: it seems like you are responding to this thread the same way you responded to the guy. It sounds like he did give you compliments, but they weren't the compliments you wanted, so you felt slighted and got upset. You posted something here on The Green, and you got feedback, but some of it wasn't the feedback you wanted, so you feel slighted and get upset. Also, you're hovering and writing a quite a lot of retorts to the negative comments.

Maybe spend some time thinking about why you become defensive when you feel like someone isn't validating your opinion. I don't mean that to be sarcastic or unkind, just trying to give an honest observation.

To answer your actual question, yes, move on, his friendship doesn't sound like it would do you any good.
posted by roscopcoletrane at 8:15 AM on May 20, 2011 [31 favorites]


Okay. So obviously the anonymity of the internets allows for a great deal of sarcasm and dismissive remarks instead of constructive advice. I only came here because people here in the past have showed some sympathy and offered advice that worked well. A few of you might better avoid commenting if you're just going to make fun of the person who is asking a question out of a sincere desire for advice. I never asked that he weep or kiss my feet for my unparalleled acting abilities. I only asked for some affirmation. There's a big difference between the two. Of course, since I have worked as an actor, people will make all sorts of assumptions about how narcissistic I really am. I still believe that if two artists are to date each other, then they MUST affirm each other's creativity in some way. Affirmation is not the same was false praise or melodramatic reaction.

Respectfully, this comment really highlights how you are looking for reallyreallyreally specific things for people to say, and when you don't get that, you start thinking of them negatively. You make an AskMe, and discount people who tell you that you are acting needy. You get a boyfriend and dump him because he didn't praise your creativity.

I agree with other posters who think that you are too hung up on getting boyfriends to appreciate your creativity. That really can't be the only thing that's noteworthy about you, c'mon. It'd be one thing if he only appreciated you for one dimension of your personality, but it sounds like he thought you were really great, but just didn't think that you were as creative as you thought he should've. It seems a bit narcissistic and vain on your part. And what he said on the dating site? It's negative, sure, but far from harsh. It would really benefit you to have enough self-confidence in your own creativity to the point where a boyfriend not saying "you're creative" is grounds for a break-up. If you really think that you're creative, then one person's opinion shouldn't be that bad, even if it's your boyfriend's opinion.

Should you cut off all contact with him? Most definitely. It sounds like you are not comfortable with the compliments he gives you.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:40 AM on May 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


Wow! I've never seen an OP participate so actively in their own thread! I think you've squeezed about all the drama that is to be had out of this thing. Drop it. Move on. Never date another artist again.
posted by txmon at 8:41 AM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Given that you've practically spelled out your entire Resume in this thread, I have a suspicion that your ex thought that you were constantly trying to impress him. Some guys like this, others don't.

This also comes down to another issue at hand -- sometimes, it can be a bad relationship dynamic for two people who are in the same line of work to date each other, especially when their work is artistic or performance oriented. For one, this will bring out any insecurities or jealous tendencies that either one of you has, as you'll constantly be comparing yourself to your partner. Also, it can be nice to step away from your work when you go home. It's not a good relationship if one of you is constantly trying to outdo or impress the other.

Additionally, apart from relationship compatibility issues, sometimes people have genuine artistic differences. A Shakespearean actor and a science-fiction writer could easily be "meh" about the other's work, even though they're both genuinely talented, and technically in the same line of work.

I think it's pretty clear that your ex wanted to separate his work from his personal/dating life, and that it's even more clear that you want your partner to be in the same line of work, and to shower you with praise, which you've specifically stated about four times so far in this thread.

He praised your work (albeit unenthusiastically), you criticized his, and then you dumped him because of it. I'm having a hard time reconciling that (and, evidently, so is he). His lack of enthusiasm is almost certainly because he sees critiquing actors as "work," and probably does it about a dozen times a day. Directors see actors very differently from the way that actors see themselves -- this is not a criticism, but rather a necessary part of the creative process.

Okay. So obviously the anonymity of the internets allows for a great deal of sarcasm and dismissive remarks instead of constructive advice. I only came here because people here in the past have showed some sympathy and offered advice that worked well.

Also, don't do this here. You've been on MetaFilter for 5 years, which should be plenty of time to learn that "Why did my relationship fail?" questions will almost always generate a certain amount of flak for the poster. Lashing out against the people attempting to answer your question is also unlikely to garner any sympathy.

posted by schmod at 8:49 AM on May 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Hold on. We already had this discussion.
posted by schmod at 9:15 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you should definitely drop contact - 5 weeks of history is not worth this kind of drama and it sounds like you two were on totally different wavelengths.

As for the artists dating artists thing, I'm nthing the suggestion that you not date another artist. I know if I was dating an artist I'd be hopeless at criticism because I like art but I don't like dissecting it, but that also means that praise would be because the person I cared about was doing it, not because their work is the most amazing thing ever. Maybe that level of support would be better for you, if you can accept them not being able to give technical praise.

Your comment about how artists dating artists MUST affirm one another's creativity also bothered me a bit. I affirm my partner by thinking they're awesome as a person, not just in one specific aspect of their personality. Your responses here read like you are so invested in this image of yourself as creative and an artist that anything outside of that is unacceptable, but one of the awesome things about finding someone is that maybe the things they love the most about you aren't what you like most about yourself, but they still love you for them. As other posters said, definitely take some time to consider why you need this definition of yourself so desperately.
posted by brilliantine at 9:25 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think many valid perspectives have been layed out here for you to think about.
Though my view on this has already been expressed by others, I wanted to mention first of all that although it might be overwhelming to read so many comments analyzing your personal behavior, I think most if not all of them mean well. So I hope you can take your time to process it.

The reason this thread has become so personal rather than simply answering your question of "should I let him go" is because I'm guessing many can see you going down the same road each time you find someone new. And this is a universal conundrum for all of us I think.

I find that ultimately, we are all insecure to a certain extent. And that's ok. It's natural to feel that way when we start questioning who we are. But as someone already said above, you will never get the validation you want from others. It's gotta come from you yourself accepting your own situation and dealing with it yourself.

I bet it's difficult being an actor with its precarious and immeasurable nature, and it's natural to seek affirmation from others, but not so fixated to the point of losing the sight of the reality: that we are all different and complex individuals, and therefore things like complete reciprocation or synchronization don't exist. I think it's by accepting that, that we can start being ourselves, and loving someone for who they are, and not for who you want them to be. I kind of digressed, but I wish you best of luck in the future!
posted by snufkin5 at 9:31 AM on May 20, 2011


It sounds like you two have different perceptions of the sincerity of his compliments, and of the ways in which your creative lives should be part of the relationship. That difference was so important to you that you broke up with him, and it sounds like you feel hurt and angry about not getting enough creative validation. His profile sounds like he's "trying to set the record straight," and this question sounds like you are in some ways trying to do the same, and that you are hoping we will validate your original perception that his comments were insincere. 

Obviously, this debate about what happened -- did he validate you? were his comments sincere? did he hurt you? -- is one where there is some disagreement. An interesting question to me is why all this matters to you, what's at stake? Is it just the understandable desire for validation when you feel hurt? If he said "it sounds like you feel hurt and angry," what would that mean for you? 

What if he said that, then said, "to explain, that was not the intent of my comments nor my deepest feelings?" Suppose that internally, he believes you're a good actor and his words just came out wrong. (That seems to be what his profile is claiming.) Then what? He could still take responsibility for contributing to a misperception, of course. But the deep hurt and anger you feel (if I'm hearing you right) may be a misunderstanding and/or may come partially from other sources as well. (Are your own internal fears, someone else in your life who disparaged your skills, or something else making a contribution here?) 

It's very natural to want to have your feelings heard. To explain, though, he may have trouble doing so if he feels wrongly accused -- if you are not correctly reading his beliefs about you and his intentions. It might also be because your expression of hurt/anger related to the break-up, and he can't agree that he "deserved" it. 

After your unheard hurt and anger can find some relief, what then, do you want to take from the other debate going on here, the one about "shoulds?" It sounds like you strongly believe partners should be one another's biggest fans. It sounds like he's saying people should be confident and secure. You guys could both be right, by the way. What, if anything, do you want to take from these comments above saying that the most solid validation comes from within and that without that, nobody could fill someone's full need for reassurance? Maybe your belief that people should be their partners' biggest fans is something to talk about with potential new partners to see if you agree? My two cents is that you might want to watch for whether this feeling of "they're saying nice things but don't mean them / but it's not specific enough / but ... / but ..." recurs. That would signal that you're inadvertently blocking people's attempts to give you what you're wanting. 

The question to me is where you want to go from here. You've heard lots of people agree "yes, stop contacting him." Is not being in touch with him the relief you need for the upset you feel? It sounds like you are not going to get overwhelming support for the idea that he is a Bad Guy, despite the hurt you feel, if that's what you're looking for. Or is the relief you need related to receiving creative validation, and if so, how could you find other sources or provide it to yourself?

The last thing I'll ask is, what do you make of his defensivess about your constructive criticism of the character. Sounds like he was defensive in a way that insulted you. That combined with the "... not competitors" bit makes me wonder if he felt (perhaps this was not your intent, I don't know) that you were comparing yourselves or trying to not just claim you were good but claim that you were better? It might just be another unique aspect of this star-crossed relationship, but that's another thing you might watch for in the future -- are your partners hearing your constructive criticism in the spirit you likely meant it, or are they reacting defensively or in other ways saying or showing that they feel competed with or like you're trying to be not just good but "better."

Anyway, good luck. Breakups suck. Breakups where people try to get the last word via the internet really suck. Maybe get yourself some space and time to heal. 
posted by salvia at 9:31 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stop the drama. Yours and his. You broke up with him. If you have an interest in hearing what he has to say, listen. Stay facebooked, whatever. If what he has to say is just pulling you back in, disconnect.

There's a technique with phone marketers where you hang up while you're speaking. It lets them have the last word and makes it sound as if you had a poor connection. This, in a nutshell, is what you should do.
posted by theora55 at 10:06 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dump him. He sounds incredibly pretentious, frankly. Think about all the trouble and anguish he's caused you in such a short time. It's written all over your posts. Ask yourself if this is the future you want.
posted by cnc at 10:46 AM on May 20, 2011


I really don't understand your obsessive dissection of his praise to see whether is effusive enough. Frankly, you both sound very high-strung and horrible for each other, so yes, drop him.

I've known very, very talented artist-types before who actually did not want to be constantly and effusively praised by the people in their lives. Perhaps not hinging your relationships on your boyfriend's appreciation of your creative brilliance would make your future relationships less fraught. A lot of artists and writers take refuge in relationships where their partner really doesn't care much for their creativity and brilliance. People who are unimpressed can keep you grounded and focused on what matters. You seem to live for praise.
posted by jayder at 11:08 AM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I still believe that if two artists are to date each other, then they MUST affirm each other's creativity in some way.

I know several couples where each person is some sort of artist. The most common way they seem to "affirm each other's creativity" is to give the other person space to create - literal, physical space as well as psychological space. This doesn't mean critiquing in not allowed; it does seem to mean that constant browbeating for feedback or praise is heavily discouraged.
posted by rtha at 11:38 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


cscott, you ask:

should I bother to maintain a friendship?

I don't understand the "should" here. What's up with "should"? I think the better question is, "Will it make me happy to maintain a friendship with him?"

As desjardins points out, almost all of your AskMe's have been about relationships. It's like you think there's some Mysterious Dating Manual out there that everyone knows about but you. But dating is just another form of interacting with people. So why not just listen to your instincts when you're out there dating?

Do you want to stay in touch with this guy? It sounds like you don't like him very much. Why would you want to stay in touch with someone you don't like? There's a whole world of other people out there to meet.

But he's right, you know:

I think it's important to be secure in your talents and personality; I don't think it's healthy to have to "perform" whatever you want me to think you are all the time. Just be.

It doesn't sound like this is the right guy for you. But his advice is good: nobody else can give you the praise and respect you need. That can only come from within yourself.
posted by Tin Man at 12:01 PM on May 20, 2011


> "a multidimensional actor, an emotionally complex antihero capable of approximating an oceanic depth and breadth."

Pardon the hasty and shallow observation, but either he has terrible taste, or he thinks you do.

For that matter, "cutting off contact" also seems a bit strangely dramatic.

Just file him into the "no longer relevant" bin, and find new people to think about.
posted by darth_tedious at 12:54 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


And when he showed me his film, I said that I liked it, that it was smartly written, etc. and offered some constructive criticism. I said that one of the characters didn't seem to hit the right emotional note in one of the scenes and his response was "Literary and film geeks understand this character and the rest of the world doesn't." Wow, okay, so I'm just "the rest of the world."

Criticism on a piece already finished is rather useless. The guy can't go back and reshoot the scene. The film is done. The only reason you might have for pointing out specific flaws (instead of overall weaknesses that would carry forward) is to show the guy how clever and discerning and sensitive you are to the intricacies of the craft. Which probably rubbed him the wrong way, because it's a dick artist move to point out very specific flaws that are set in stone. It's like walking up to a painting in a gallery exhibit and announcing to the artist that the anatomy of one specific figure is off. What do you expect them to do, run over with a paintbrush and fix it? Congratulate you for finding the mystery flaw and drag out the oversized novelty check? If they're smart, they'll shrug and say that's the way it turned out. If they're dramatic, they'll internalize it and feel anxious and hurt. Either way, does no good.

Then you chose to take his rebuttal the wrong way. It's pretty much impossible for everyone to get every character in every situation (just as it is impossible for everyone to agree an actor's performance is superb - there's always someone in the back going 'meh' (which in this case is you, by the way)). There's nothing wrong with something not being your particular cup of tea, but just ducky for other people. He didn't make the film for you.

I agree with everyone else - you take all his interactions the wrong way (and possibly he takes yours the wrong way, too). Leave him alone and get on with your life, because he is 100% guaranteed to make some comments in the future that will set you off. Don't worry about whatever he puts in his profile - he might have been dating someone else with a similar MO, or is beginning to see a pattern of which you are only one part. Choose not to take it personally. You should also do a lot of thinking about your creative process. Do you really like acting, or do you only like it as a tool to validate your self-perception and create opportunities for others to see and praise you? People sense that, you know. It will harm your work. Sure it's nice to get support from a partner, but you are borderline vampiric in your needs and what you expect an SO to deliver.
posted by griselda at 1:10 PM on May 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


I know several couples where each person is some sort of artist. The most common way they seem to "affirm each other's creativity" is to give the other person space to create - literal, physical space as well as psychological space. This doesn't mean critiquing in not allowed; it does seem to mean that constant browbeating for feedback or praise is heavily discouraged.

This.

I'm a creative type who works in both academia and the art scene. I know a lot of artists. Many of my friends are artists. Many of my partnered friends are artists. And they will be quite blunt about whether they can live in combined artistic worlds, as it were, or whether they just have to step back and give each other space. One couple (a dancer and musician) are extremely successful co-collaborators who, in addition to their solo projects, run a joint dance troupe that has them working together at least four days a week. They not only do it, they do it successfully - their work is excellent, as is their relationship.

Another couple (two dancers) have attempted to work with each other, or help each other out with productions, and will be honest that it was TOTAL DISASTER. They cannot take criticism from each other. They cannot take compliments from each other. They cannot stick to the same project schedule without it devolving into a fight. So they don't. In order to save their engagement, they came to the understanding that, while they supported and respected each other, and would give each other the necessary creative space, they shouldn't really go too much into the particulars of their work. And they're happily cruising towards a wedding.

It sounds like you want to have a close artistic relationship within your romantic ones, which is a fine desire to have, but it doesn't mean it can always happen. Though I definitely think that whatever friendship you have with this guy should be left dead in the water, you may want to consider whether future relationships that don't live up to expectations should actually be considered failures, or whether they are just another way of negotiating between two people.
posted by vivid postcard at 1:24 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm dating another writer, and it seriously FREAKED ME THE FUCK OUT when he first sent me some of his work to read. I am a competitive, impatient bitch when it comes to evaluating other people's work (I mean, I keep myself in check but it's like a pit bull on a leash).

Anyhoo, creative types have different freak-outs about their creativity. Mine is to be a monster (at least in my head) to other writers. I can read my guy's stuff now, but this is only because he's been published quite a bit and I'm a huge loser in that regard. So my beast is humbled, tamed.

And it sort of seems like this thread is your creativity freakout. Which is fine, but it might help you if you are cognizant of this.
posted by angrycat at 1:49 PM on May 20, 2011


Okay. Thank you for all of the comments and observations. I have to say that I really appreciate the time so many of you have taken to offer feedback--some of you more than once. Since it was too much for me to reveal that I have been in therapy to address various issues, including this need for validation of my creativity from others, I didn't mention it in the beginning. That particular issue remains raw for me, and unresolved. That's why I reacted defensively when I didn't hear what I wanted. I agree that this was not mature or helpful to me. I actually wasn't looking for people to say, "He's a douchebag, move on," based on what he wrote in his dating profile. I think what bothered me was that while I was willing to admit to him that I may have misread or misunderstood some of what he said and even that I was working on trying to be as secure and confident as I could be as an artist (who are, probably by nature, rather fragile and insecure), it seemed that all he learned was that I'm desperate, needy, competitive, and unpleasant. This struck me as proof that even if he said he wanted to be friends out of desperation when we broke up, he either didn't mean it, or he did and, after further reflection, decided that I'm the bad guy in the relationship.

Anyway, I'm working on absolving myself of this need for validation. Part of that is developing self-esteem in general. One issue that I HAVE resolved is the feeling that I'm being rejected or slighted because I belong to a small ethnic minority in the gay male community in this country. So, in the past, if a Caucasian guy rejected me, it's because I have brown skin; conversely, if one was really into me, then he was fetishising me, etc. The solution was to stop thinking about skin color, give people the benefit of the doubt, and focus on substance in relationships. This guy was Caucasian and that didn't matter one bit. I've also resolved the problem of feeling that, if I were a straight guy, I'd be happily married by now because my cultural community provides a system whereby eligible young singles meet through families in "assisted" marriages. It's probably true, but my reality is that I'm gay, and I have to make the best of that rather than yearn for the impossible.

The issue of creativity arose unexpectedly along the way in this relationship. I'd never dated another artist prior to him. And I never felt this deeply insecure in acting school because I did good work there; one of my teachers who had starred on Broadway even tried to introduce me to her agent at the end of the year. She was very blunt toward me in the first month because I was being "too cerebral" and needed to physicalise my actions more specifically. I did take that personally, but I knew that my teacher was telling me what I needed to hear. I listened, I improved, I became a better actor. She saw the change; I felt the change. By the end of the year, she said that I was "brilliant." I earned that. I was never cocky around other actors (again, I'm working on self-esteem; it's a different kind of insecurity which produces narcisissm and cockiness), though I can see why people here think I want nothing but endless praise from my partners. Somehow everything that was said and done in this regard in a romantic relationship became heightened in a way that it wouldn't have had we just been friends all along.

Griselda, I take your point. But that is life. Film critics don't withhold criticism of a director or an actor's work in a film just because it's already done and can't be changed. When you create artistic work, you accept that people will have both praise and criticism to offer. My "dick artist move" was a response to his specific question, "So, give it to me straight, what did you think?" If he's allowed to be blunt, honest, and unenthusiastic about my creativity (it was only five weeks, I'm being too needy, etc.), then it seems that I have a right to be honest and constructively critical of his, especially when he asks for my opinion. Besides, I prefaced my constructive criticism with praise and affirmation, something I didn't feel he did for me. When I gave him compliments even before seeing his work, I wasn't bullshitting; I just happen to be effusive and probably generous to a fault when it comes to other people's artistry. The problem, at the time, was that I didn't get that in return. Maybe he wasn't into my creative chops and, as I said, that's fine. He's certainly entitled to his opinions too. But it's hard to date someone who thinks you suck, even though you're otherwise "perfect" to him or her.

Lastly, another thing that I've learned is that most people will probably see me as an intellectual first before they see me as a creative person. I'm a Ph.D. student at an Ivy League school, and though I have overcome my "nerdy" mannerisms as a matter of personal choice, it's clear that this is the part of me which is exuded most naturally and most forcefully. I say that not to brag, just to point out that this is often what people remember about me when they meet and get to know me. Being smart and being creative are by no means mutually exclusive (think of Ben Kingsley or Meryl Streep), but people sometimes think that if you're writing a dissertation in history, then the commonly said, "I never would have suspected that you're an actor, because you're so smart!" is a backhanded compliment that just needs to be forgiven. This guy in question here told me once that being an intellectual is of a "different order" than being an artist; an artist can be smart, but his way of "thinking" is not the same as that of an intellectual who is analytical in a way that is inconsistent with the enigma that is art. I call bullshit on that. Just listen to Cate Blanchett in any interview; she's so smart that she sounds almost like an academic AND she's a very good actress. And, again, I should be secure enough in my own creativity that even if a boyfriend yawns while I'm "being creative," then I shouldn't care.

All right, as is my habit, I've rambled for long enough. Again, looking back on this thread, I appreciate the brutal honesty from many of you and shouldn't have reacted so defensively. Onward and upward.
posted by cscott at 2:06 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's good that you've learned stuff from the thread.

(Incidentally - to quote a few things you've said in the thread:

"one of my teachers who had starred on Broadway even tried to introduce me to her agent at the end of the year"

"By the end of the year, she said that I was 'brilliant' "

"I'm a Ph.D. student at an Ivy League school"

"I spent a year training in a respected theatre program in New York"

I know that twice you point out that you say these things "not to brag," but... you don't talk that way in real life, do you? Because even if you say "I say these things not to brag," it can come off a little like subtle bragging. Maybe you only say those types of things in AskMe because this is sort of therapy-ish and you're letting it all hang out here, but... just wanted to make sure.)
posted by Tin Man at 2:43 PM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yup, Tin Man. It's hard to talk about some of this stuff WITHOUT sounding absurdly pretentious. Actors have a notoriously bad reputation of being narcissists, but not all of us are that way. Look at Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep. They are incredibly humble. And the truth, though no one here can confirm it (because no one here knows me), is that I was rarely given affirmation or praise from my parents as a child and that this is probably partly why I have this irrational need for it now. I don't talk this way in real life at all. Can you imagine telling people at a cocktail party that your "Broadway-starring teacher" thought that you were "brilliant?" That would be incredibly arrogant and irritating to listen to!

I never share what I do with people unless asked and my low self-esteem as a gay man belonging to a minority has wrought much havoc for me emotionally over the years. My response to this has not been narcissism; I don't even think I'd ever be able to find that in myself. I just wasn't built that way. I shared this information just to make the point that I'm dealing with (1) allowing people to respond to whatever they see me "first" as or as "most impressive" about me (i.e. you're an intellectual) and (2) the fact that I SHOULD be secure and confident about my talents, especially since people who matter in the industry have given me praise, so I shouldn't have cared much what this guy I was dating said or didn't say about my creative abilities anyway. Many lessons being learned.
posted by cscott at 2:55 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


When I gave him compliments even before seeing his work, I wasn't bullshitting; I just happen to be effusive and probably generous to a fault when it comes to other people's artistry. The problem, at the time, was that I didn't get that in return. Maybe he wasn't into my creative chops and, as I said, that's fine. He's certainly entitled to his opinions too.

OK, see, this is what I don't understand. You were complimenting him on what you thought his work would probably be like, not his actual work. And then you got mad -- and you're still mad -- because he wouldn't reflect your compliment precisely by also praising your creativity despite not having seen any of your work. What's the point of a compliment like that? Why are you still saying that you wanted him to compliment your acting when you've acknowledged that you really just wanted him to tell you he was sure, just from talking to you, that you must be good at it?
posted by Adventurer at 6:20 PM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Aw, cscott, I'm sorry. That comment seems kind of unnecessary now. Don't worry about this guy, that's for sure.
posted by Adventurer at 6:23 PM on May 20, 2011


Look, if you know that you need the person you're dating to be impressed by and complimentary towards your creative work, the least you can do is SHOW THEM YOUR CREATIVE WORK. Preferably really fast, like in the first week of dating. That way, if they're not impressed or don't express it in a way that feels validating and affirming to you, you can both move on as easily and smoothly as possible.

Knowing your own needs (however idiosyncratic they may be) is an admirable thing, if it leads to you taking steps to getting them fulfilled in a fair and reasonable way.
posted by Salamandrous at 10:20 AM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


A bit late in joining this conversation here and will be really honest - I skimmed through because it was getting really long.

This is rather irrelevant, but I wanted to affirm you for having the courage to put your stories and personal information to the public. It is definitely hard in having to fight through barriers that others normally wouldn't have to go through. Especially when you've been marginalized within both the queer community and your ethnic community, and that compounding experience must have been extremely toxic. Often times the gay community dismisses the experience of person of color unaware of their white privileges while the nonwhite (not particularly fond of that word but can't think of a better term this late at night) community often demoralizes homosexuality.

You can tell that there is also a hidden culture and subtle to not so subtle undertone in the message that the community is conveying. As a person of color, I also picked up quite a bit that the types of advice here still comes from more hetero-normative standards and white dominant culture. If some of the comments were hostile to condescending, it's probably because they made a quick judgment who you are and your character without fully understanding the context and the complexities that led you to your current situation. Not knowing your previous struggles, they quickly concluded that you're insecure, drama seeking person, bitter about the creative affirmation you didn't get to receive. It's usually a privilege to be able to dismiss these really important factors because it will not personally affect them and they have the luxury to turn their head the other way.

I had a hunch feeling prior to you describing your situation further that this was the case. Of course you might feel like you're over thinking everything because you're new to the whole relationship thing. I sincerely hope that you don't further internalize some of the comments that were previously made on this thread. Your feelings are your feelings and no one else should tell you how you feel. Especially when we're constantly told how we should feel. That is part of the marginalization; that our experience is not worthy enough to be validated and considered as abnormal. Also regardless of whether you might need more affirmation than the other supposedly "normal" people comparatively, those are your needs and you identified them to be a priority in the relationships that you're seeking.

Creativity might be one area that you identified that you know you need affirmation on. Perhaps there might be more work that can be done in affirming yourself in all areas of your identity and having a healthy relationship that reflects your value as a person. It's great that you're going to a therapy because as you can tell it's quite impossible to have an effective advice without knowing the full picture while being it still a safe space. Oh and I hope you don't take this as your insecurities necessarily indicators as your character and who you are. There were many social conditions that made you feel this way and reinforcing onto you as your shortcomings.

I wholeheartedly wish you the best of luck in finding the right compatible person who is loving and willing to give you the affirmation that you need. You've already done a lot and persevered to make it all the way to getting a Ph.D. I'm sure as you venture into the romantic relationships, it'll be as rewarding as the artistic and academic journey you have traveled so far.


As I'm about to post this just now, I'm a little bit embarrassed to post this to someone getting a Ph.D. Please bare with me my grammar and disorganized mix of random thoughts.
posted by Kimchee.Noodles. at 3:32 AM on June 6, 2011


« Older You Are Not My Neurologist: so...   |  Do electric burners ever wear ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.