Wanting what you can't have (or can you?)
December 4, 2007 6:33 AM   Subscribe

Im infatuated with this girl who I knew I couldn't have from the start. She has a partner. She is more than 10 years younger than me. She lives in another country. But I wake up with thoughts of her every morning. I construct new theories about what she was really thinking.

After my (long) marriage turned sour Ive been keeping an eye out for the possibility of love again. While studying I met this Polish girl who I thought was very nice. I invited her out once and it went well until she told me she had a serious partner. At that point I was sort of gutted inside but didn't show it. When I found that out, she became all that more attractive to me - a challenge I couldn't let go of. Her partner was coming over in a few months to be with her. I went out with her a few more times but it just made it worse and she was concerned I was getting too attached. Anyway I vowed that I would end it before boyfriend came over and I did. I changed countries and kept away from her for a few months until I emailed her again and we got back in contact. I'm living with a girl friend at the moment.

She told me straight up she and her boyfriend believe that they should meet other people because no one person can fulfill all of your needs. On one trip we made together she told me that her boyfriend was in her background for a few years while she was "playing around" until she found out he really liked her and thats how they started together. Apparently she had also hung out with this other guy in another country too before me. She is a sweet girl but I wonder whether she and her boyfriend have this thing that turns them on about being with other people. I mean she said when the boyfriend came over, we could still go to dinner and hang out etc. Maybe I am out of the scene these days but it seemed really strange. Is this some modern style of relationship? At one point she told me that she felt I had gotten too close and she didn't feel the same way and all she could offer was being my friend. I knew this so it wasn't exactly a surprise to me. She said I had confused her and she wasn't sure how she would feel when her boyfriend came over.

Anyway I still think about her a lot and I haven't heard from her in a few weeks (as she is travelling with bf). Every time she sends me a letter it is always very enthusiastic and nice (but I think thats just her nature). She promises to come and visit me here some time.

What is wrong with me? Why do I still think about her? I knew from the start this was going nowhere. I was just compelled by her enthusiasm and charming nature. I know there's something missing in my life and there are other people in my life but I was just very attracted to this one girl. Any thoughts about what I should do and why I am like this?

email : ificanthaveyou@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps her very unavailability is part of her charm. You say you just came out of a long-term marriage; even if you wanted the divorce, it is going to leave scars. You may not be ready, psychologically, for a serious relationship right now. Fixating on someone who is not available lets you have your feelings of romance and infatuation without the danger of commitment.

Another thing about fantasies of someone unavailable is that you never have to see them "warts and all." You can build this woman up into Ms. Perfect in your mind because you don't know her that well. It's the same kind of distance that celebrity crushes can give - you see this person at their best, you never see them unkempt, sweaty, broken out; you never have to smell their feet or hear their snoring. You don't have to put up with nagging about household chores or visiting Sephora when you'd really rather be watching The History Channel. Etc.

As to what to do about this, I'd say enjoy the fantasy, enjoy the crush, but let go of any possibility of a real relationship. Instead work on yourself, so you are comfortable with yourself and when the time comes for you to have a new relationship, you can enter it as someone who has recovered from their long-term marriage breaking up. If you haven't had therapy, I urge you to do so - not because of your crush on this woman, but because any marital breakup leaves scars behind.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:51 AM on December 4, 2007

The WORST thing you can do in a relationship is the wait around for the other person to change. Are you doing that? That's a very enticing thing to do, because (a) it allows you to have hope, and (b) it gives you permission not to take any action. So, is part of you hoping that she'll leave her boyfriend and decide to be with you? KILL THAT PART.

I'm not telling you to move on (plenty of other people will tell you that), and I'm not telling you to pursue her. I'm telling you to not do something in-between those two options.

She is who she is RIGHT NOW. Don't base any decisions or indecisions on how things may be in the future.

So, either throw caution to the winds and aggressively (as in honestly and passionately, no as it violently) pursue her ("leave your boyfriend and be with me!") or accept that this is not to be and move on.

"Move on" doesn't mean stop having feelings for her. You can't control that. It means stop acting on them.
posted by grumblebee at 7:22 AM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

hey anonymous- i've been in a position similar to yours, so i can't take the high hat... but i want to let you know that now, some time after my crush finally evaporated and my infatuation went "poof", i look back and wince.

you need to let her go and move on. i have a pretty harsh opinion of people (her) who maintain relationships w/ someone (you) who has made clear they have strong, unreturned romantic feelings. she is going to keep being fun and responsive to your attention as long as you provide it. she should cut you loose, and you need to do the same.

plus, you aren't being fair to the girlfriend you sleep next to every night.

but again, i've been where you are... and i suspect that you are currently impervious to this type of advice ;-) a suggestion that would really work is this: go visit her and drive this relationship-car straight into a tree. some grade-A embarrassment could snap you out of it.

good luck!
posted by cgs at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2007

"Every relationship is a power struggle. And nowhere are the combatants less equal than in a love affair. To love is to be vulnerable, naked; a declaration of love is a confession of weakness. To be loved is to be strong, pampered, armoured in the lover's ardor. The withholding of love is such a valuable weapon; it forces the lover to keep trying to scale the frosty peak of the beloved's indifference. Like danger, indifference is an aphrodisiac to a lover on the make. The challenge is both moral ('I will reform the Other') and monumental ('I will make the Other love me!'). And it tends to end in humiliating defeat, since emotions of the heart or loins are rarely susceptible to siege."
-- Richard Corliss
posted by mattbucher at 7:35 AM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]

Obsession tends to be self-replicating. I don't mean to cast aspersions by saying "obsession," but your inability to move on despite seeing the need to ("I knew this was going nowhere from the start") indicates that is what you're going through. Throw yourself into other things and do your best to stop thoughts of her in their tracks, until she is not the focus of them.
posted by waraw at 7:50 AM on December 4, 2007

Any thoughts about what I should do and why I am like this?

This is obsession. You think constantly about a problem which is highly likely never to be resolved, in this case a young Polish girl you barely met with a boyfriend who lives in another country and who is not the girl you are living with. That's a lot of roadblocks to ever getting a resolution on that.

So why are you putting so much energy into such a situation?

Because there is something else you don't want to think about and unsolveable Polish crush with your emotional energy tied into it keeps you from thinking about the something else.

Something else in your life needs addressing. Focus on things you don't want to think about.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:50 AM on December 4, 2007 [4 favorites]

Ironmouth nailed it. The key to understanding fixation or obsession is to try to tease out what it is that it is keeping you from.
Do you hate your job? Did you make the wrong choice with current GF? Or with your divorce? Your focus is on a symptom of your current malaise. Try counselling?
posted by Wilder at 7:57 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well yeah sexy 'enthusiastic' and tantalisingly available-unavailable girl 10 years younger. It's all calculated to have you hanging on her every missive like a faithful doggy-woggy. Without wanting to offend anyone, I have to say, she's what my dad used to call a prick-teaser. I'm not saying she can help it. Reality is, not too many girls 10 years younger are going to really fall for you. Some will want to play with you; remember, they're not feeling pressed for time like you, maybe, are. I wouldn't necessarily write her off, but I'd get my balance back through work, socialising, dating others.
posted by londongeezer at 9:27 AM on December 4, 2007

Break up with your girlfriend and take some time to screw your head on straight. You're not doing yourself or anybody else any favors by going on like this.
posted by Salamandrous at 10:00 AM on December 4, 2007

There is no reasonable chacne that she will ever wind up with you and you are wasting your time communicating with her. As a fellow Y Chromosome I urge you to cut her out of your life, as she is useless, and stop being so pathetic about this.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:50 AM on December 4, 2007

It could be that you see something in her that you don't see in yourself. Sometimes we attach ourselves to others because they have traits we admire. Sometimes we obsess when we wish upon wish that we could be like that person.

It sounds like you probably have done a lot of daydreaming about this girl.. I've always been a big daydreamer, sometimes I confuse the daydreams with reality. So, here's the question, how many versions of the relationship with this girl have you gone through? How many times have you married her, made love, had kids, grew old together?

When you see her now, do you see the daydream version or the true version?

I learned a long time ago to get good with yourself before starting any kind of relationship. If you don't like you, you're not going to find anything but bad apples, relationships you'll look on 5 years from now and ask yourself "How much did I hate myself to have associated with those people"

I got my first apartment at the age of 25. It was a great experience for me. In that year, I had a chance to spend time with me. I didn't really have any friends and I rarely saw family. I got to a point where I was ok with being me. I went out regularly even if at times I had to force myself. I decided I wasn't being a hermit.

The point in this babbling is that you don't sound like you are ok with you. No matter how perfect or wonderful a girl is, you are never going to be happy if you don't get good with yourself.

I'll stop now
posted by mrflibble at 12:24 PM on December 4, 2007

I can't believe this hasn't been linked yet... I'll just post the link and leave it at that. Polyamory.
posted by qvtqht at 2:49 PM on December 4, 2007

I'm living with a girl friend at the moment.

Break up with her and then try to have sex with the Polish girl. At least that's honest.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:33 PM on December 4, 2007

Being of a fairly enthusiastic nature myself, and being a girl, i surely can relate to your questionning..the other way around. It has happenned more than once in the past some guys i met expressed their doubt about my intentions towards them at some point, wether i had a boyfriend at the time or not, wether i had already turned them down or not. Simply, i have come to realize that my behaviour, and deliberate enthusiasm (some days i just want to make everyone feel great... super generous days happen like this.) can end up looking charming..if not flirtatious (!). It has gotten me in trouble, and is doing an amazing job at messing up friendships with the opposite gender... and so on.

Of course i dont know all of the story but.. how about you listen to the words she spoke first ? the
"she felt I had gotten too close and she didn't feel the same way and all she could offer was being my friend" ... ? sometimes charming girls simply dont get it, ...and believe me, we can be quite simple-minded when playing this game : just wanting to stay "friends" for the heck of it... Actions speak louder than words, and the invite sure looks a bit strange, but who knows ? she may be a bit naive and just wanting to keep you in her life like this..by hanging out with you, yes, along with her companion
posted by Jireel at 2:02 PM on December 8, 2007

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