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Old 25th February 2018, 3:04 AM   #16
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You may as well ask what the meaning of life is while you're at it. If I knew the answers, I would tell you the answers. As I would for everyone and anyone whoever asks this question. All I can say is that life's complicated.

As for the examples that you sighted with this, well ... That's complicated as well. Unfortunately this is the world we live in. I often times wonder what our lives would be like if things like OLD and speed dating never happened. Where would we be today? OLD allows others to hide things about themselves to others, speed dating? Just watch that scene in the 40 Year Old Virgin and you'll be forever turned off by it. You might as well hang out by the public bathroom doors all day in an attempt to meet women (or men). But I digress ... Those you met in the OLD / speed dating examples are not worth your time or effort, as the majority of them are not worth anyone's time or effort. But you do OLD just because you can't think of any other means in which to meet others. And we end up disappointed in it. It's a lot of one time encounters or texting that goes no where, and you end up with a time waster.

Advice? I have none to give you as to what THE ANSWER is. It's what it is.
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Old 25th February 2018, 11:34 AM   #17
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You are right that I am super picky. It is a combination of me trying my best to be honest with what I want, and having met some very attractive women via photography. I am not vain or fixated on physical beauty and would rather find an average looking but sweet girl. And, this is perhaps one of my problems too - I have decided to not pursue some women that were interested in me because I could not convince myself that I was more attracted to her than her current guy. Although this keeps me honest with what I want, it also prevents me from opening myself up to potentially great relationships.

Dating apps typically do not work well for me because most of the women who are attracted to me in real life like my personality and drive a lot, which never comes across in online dating. My friend, on the other hand, who is unbelievably good looking, has a lot of luck with women online as it is a primarily visual platform. His problem is that he depends a lot on the validation he receives from women to feel happy, to the extreme that he would call me half a dozen times a day to express his displeasure and anger with every little "negative" thing that a woman would say or do to him.

A woman I met via photography a few months ago completely captivated me when we met, almost like a type of witchcraft. Unfortunately, I later learned that she was working on many self-image issues and was extremely closed-off, fearful that others would discover her problems and further reject her and perpetuate her insecurities even more. This is actually the same woman who woke me up from several years of simply pursuing my passions and being out of the dating scene.
Hmmm, ok I'm hearing you throw up excuses at every turn. Not as positive as I thought. The generalizations about this perfect for you girl you seek are not going to help you. You need REAL openness, which will mean setting some of your biases to the side.

About photography, I didn't take you for a guy that was interested or vice versa in those in front of the camera. I was thinking maybe another photographer or girl behind the scenes in photography--where you could bond over the artistry of that, similar passions or hobbies. Also the more a person is like YOU i think you will be more able to accept them. Even if that means they are like you more on the surface by what they choose to do with their time or level of education.

What i bolded is where you are on to something--something within yourself that will help you. As far as girls you meet on photo shoots that you have dismissed because they are involved with someone else--well that's a no brainer, they are involved with someone else so leave them alone and you don't seem like the type to have much respect for someone if they started something with you when they were still with someone else--so those are not viable matches for you and not the openness I'm talking about.

Ok what I bolded second, this is fine but why are you still stuck on it? She woke you up, ok but she is not miss perfect and has issues according to you, so let it go. Don't extrapolate, if that is what you are doing, and project this ONE experience onto future experiences. If I read between the lines, it sounds like you were highly physically attracted but not mentally attracted. So it's you that needs to rectify these things in your mind--both realizing that you might not find everything in one person but that you can find a better balance AND when it's the right person, somehow you will stop feeling so hypercritical. You will be just as physically attracted--if you let yourself--to someone in the future--you just have to believe she is out there and do the steps to find her. It's funny & ironic you say she was very closed off--have you thought that possibly people might say the same about you? Or that you are rigid?

About the dating apps, I hear you that it's not the best medium for some people. But you are missing out on an entire way that the majority of people meet each other for dating. Just like whoever you meet in real life, MOST people are not going to be for you. It's a serious sifting and filtering process. I can empathize with the fact that it may feel deflating when you are not getting a lot of attention and validation without a ton of effort while your friend or presumably others do easily. Don't make it your main way then or seek out the specific more helpful apps/sites. They are out there. My friend, who actually has a lot of the qualities you mention, is on this special dating app, that has something to do with people seeking high quality achievers of depth (she's Ivy league masters grad and it's invite only but you can get invited if you know someone else in that network--can't be that hard to figure out). To be 100% fair, EVEN IF you narrow it down to a more specific network, such as the more right app, the more fruitful places, you will still find that it's the exception rather than the majority of the people who will really be right for you (such as my friend on that app feels much more excitement about the guys she is matching with but she's still been hurt and still hasn't found her guy).

That is the conundrum of dating. You can either have fun, embrace the process and stay hopeful or be tortured every step of the way. The alternative, is that you can be someone who is too open, falling into relationships left and right with not bad people but not the right person for you--which is soooo not your problem! So take the positives and do the work.
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Old 25th February 2018, 12:58 PM   #18
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Speed datings always tripped me out,so I never did it. How does it work with different age groups? Are there like certain events by age? Not saying that age plays a part in some cases,but I know I really wouldn't want to sit across from someone my mothers age.
It's totally grouped by age. You won't be sitting across from someone your mothers age...

Speed dating is exactly like OLD in that it provides you the opportunity to meet a large number of people that you wouldn't normally cross paths with... I preferred speed dating only because I would much prefer to meet someone in person and get a feel for who they are - you can't do that with OLD. But, of the 10 people you meet that night, there may only be 1-2 that you would really want to see again. Like everything, there is a wide cross section of people. And yes, 8 minutes can fly by if you happen to meet someone interesting or it can be the longest 8 minutes of your life... trying to make polite conversation with someone that you do not want to see again.
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Old 25th February 2018, 12:58 PM   #19
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You may as well ask what the meaning of life is while you're at it. If I knew the answers, I would tell you the answers. As I would for everyone and anyone whoever asks this question. All I can say is that life's complicated.

As for the examples that you sighted with this, well ... That's complicated as well. Unfortunately this is the world we live in. I often times wonder what our lives would be like if things like OLD and speed dating never happened. Where would we be today? OLD allows others to hide things about themselves to others, speed dating? Just watch that scene in the 40 Year Old Virgin and you'll be forever turned off by it. You might as well hang out by the public bathroom doors all day in an attempt to meet women (or men). But I digress ... Those you met in the OLD / speed dating examples are not worth your time or effort, as the majority of them are not worth anyone's time or effort. But you do OLD just because you can't think of any other means in which to meet others. And we end up disappointed in it. It's a lot of one time encounters or texting that goes no where, and you end up with a time waster.

Advice? I have none to give you as to what THE ANSWER is. It's what it is.
That's all very true. I suppose that we just have to put ourselves out there and pursue different avenues to increase our chances in the vast sea out there.
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Old 25th February 2018, 1:56 PM   #20
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It's totally grouped by age. You won't be sitting across from someone your mothers age...

Speed dating is exactly like OLD in that it provides you the opportunity to meet a large number of people that you wouldn't normally cross paths with... I preferred speed dating only because I would much prefer to meet someone in person and get a feel for who they are - you can't do that with OLD. But, of the 10 people you meet that night, there may only be 1-2 that you would really want to see again. Like everything, there is a wide cross section of people. And yes, 8 minutes can fly by if you happen to meet someone interesting or it can be the longest 8 minutes of your life... trying to make polite conversation with someone that you do not want to see again.
Speed dating sounds interesting to me. My friend asked me to go with her but what if we pick the same guy? That would be weird.
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Old 25th February 2018, 10:54 PM   #21
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Speed dating sounds interesting to me. My friend asked me to go with her but what if we pick the same guy? That would be weird.
You may be thinking too far ahead
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Old 25th February 2018, 10:57 PM   #22
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You may be thinking too far ahead
I have an active imagination when I'm bored.
Anyway, I think she's about to get a bf so maybe I'll go alone.
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Old 26th February 2018, 12:06 AM   #23
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Hmmm, ok I'm hearing you throw up excuses at every turn. Not as positive as I thought. The generalizations about this perfect for you girl you seek are not going to help you. You need REAL openness, which will mean setting some of your biases to the side.

About photography, I didn't take you for a guy that was interested or vice versa in those in front of the camera. I was thinking maybe another photographer or girl behind the scenes in photography--where you could bond over the artistry of that, similar passions or hobbies. Also the more a person is like YOU i think you will be more able to accept them. Even if that means they are like you more on the surface by what they choose to do with their time or level of education.

What i bolded is where you are on to something--something within yourself that will help you. As far as girls you meet on photo shoots that you have dismissed because they are involved with someone else--well that's a no brainer, they are involved with someone else so leave them alone and you don't seem like the type to have much respect for someone if they started something with you when they were still with someone else--so those are not viable matches for you and not the openness I'm talking about.

Ok what I bolded second, this is fine but why are you still stuck on it? She woke you up, ok but she is not miss perfect and has issues according to you, so let it go. Don't extrapolate, if that is what you are doing, and project this ONE experience onto future experiences. If I read between the lines, it sounds like you were highly physically attracted but not mentally attracted. So it's you that needs to rectify these things in your mind--both realizing that you might not find everything in one person but that you can find a better balance AND when it's the right person, somehow you will stop feeling so hypercritical. You will be just as physically attracted--if you let yourself--to someone in the future--you just have to believe she is out there and do the steps to find her. It's funny & ironic you say she was very closed off--have you thought that possibly people might say the same about you? Or that you are rigid?

About the dating apps, I hear you that it's not the best medium for some people. But you are missing out on an entire way that the majority of people meet each other for dating. Just like whoever you meet in real life, MOST people are not going to be for you. It's a serious sifting and filtering process. I can empathize with the fact that it may feel deflating when you are not getting a lot of attention and validation without a ton of effort while your friend or presumably others do easily. Don't make it your main way then or seek out the specific more helpful apps/sites. They are out there. My friend, who actually has a lot of the qualities you mention, is on this special dating app, that has something to do with people seeking high quality achievers of depth (she's Ivy league masters grad and it's invite only but you can get invited if you know someone else in that network--can't be that hard to figure out). To be 100% fair, EVEN IF you narrow it down to a more specific network, such as the more right app, the more fruitful places, you will still find that it's the exception rather than the majority of the people who will really be right for you (such as my friend on that app feels much more excitement about the guys she is matching with but she's still been hurt and still hasn't found her guy).

That is the conundrum of dating. You can either have fun, embrace the process and stay hopeful or be tortured every step of the way. The alternative, is that you can be someone who is too open, falling into relationships left and right with not bad people but not the right person for you--which is soooo not your problem! So take the positives and do the work.
Thank you so much for sharing! I appreciate that.

Yes, the women that I often meet via photography are those who are in front of my camera. It started out as simply an avenue to explore my artistic side, but as I became more proficient at it, the women in front of the camera began to show interest quite often. It's true that a lot of them are physically very attractive, making this the new "normal" for me. Of course, only a handful of these women turn out to be both physically attractive and interesting at the same time. I am picky, but I will never consider a woman based on her looks only, as this has reinforced to me many times that a confident woman in good spirits is far more desirable to than someone beautiful but broken inside.

I know it sounds like many excuses on my part, but this is my honest assessment of the situation, and the anonymity of the internet makes it easy to talk unhindered about the truth. This one recent woman I met via photography attracted me largely because of her personality; her looks were average, but it never bothered me. On the other hand, she was also the only woman I met this way who both asked zero questions about me, as well as nudged me for a kiss (along with many other overt signs of interest, both verbal and non-verbal), all on the same day. Her insecurities are real - it was challenging to even convince her to photograph with me initially too. We are talking about a woman who has had to deal with weight problems when she was younger, including the associated ridicule before. These are the circumstances, and at least partially the reason that I cannot get her to come out for another date... But, who knows anyway? Lots of women I know went through similar phases in their life.

I recently convinced myself that I am just flirting with drama, and a lot of heartache, which prompted me to save my sanity and to look elsewhere (speed dating, online dating, etc.). This is consistent with the truth that only a rare and select few relationships will be interesting and will generate mutual attraction, and my experience with this one woman led me so close to finding someone wonderful, but not quite. It is an awakening on many levels. The reasons are probably no longer relevant, but the realization of what happened felt extremely unfortunate.

Ironically enough, I have never been as passionate or driven about anything as much as I am with photography, and this is what led me to gain the attention of these women in the first place. Call it a shared interest with some of these women, or simply an intoxicating display of ambition and passion, but the truth is that this hobby has led me this far. Maybe I just need a different angle, and to not let this one woman get me down for so long.

Well, I am going to try out different avenues in conjunction with my interest. That should help lift my spirits at the very least. The special dating app you mentioned - I will seek that out.
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Old 26th February 2018, 1:38 AM   #24
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Very interesting topic!

Some thoughts - will try to do my best to be helpful -

(1) Not sure what you mean by dating outside your culture, but if there's a race component to that, it can make finding partners hard. That's regardless of what race you are, or what race of woman you're into. Unless you're conventionally attractive, rich, or hung like a horse.

(2) I had a hearty LOL about your photography shtick. I find male photographers to have a very high opinion of themselves and a very low, limited opinion of women - despite being heterosexual. I love arts and artists, but every art field has its own personality and I would argue you're finding insecure drama-burdened young women because you're no walk in the park yourself. Not in a bad way, mind you ... it's just that there are almost no down to earth, relatively normal and stable, artists. Maybe dancers. But not even all or most of them. Crazy personalities are part of the beauty of art and art scenes. (IMO, anyway.)

(3) Interesting women are as rare as interesting people in general. They do not congregate anywhere, they don't look a particular way, and there are no helpful trends to find them. Unfortunately, you're going to have to simply talk to everyone you meet. They might be the interesting woman you're looking for, or know her. I've worked in customer service for yearsssss in many industries and levels of service. I've talked to a shmazillion people. I have always been surprised by who is interesting and in what way. The potential for discovery makes for fun times!

(4) Also, on the interesting/secure tip again - how interesting and secure does your ideal woman need to be? Perhaps reflecting on that as you resume your old ways of chatting people up everywhere you go (MAJOR kudos to you for that!) could help you identify specific traits that appeal to you. So when they pop up, you know you're possibly on to something.

Super extra good luck to you! Apologies if I misinterpreted things - please do correct any wrongheadedness I may have thrown your way. This thread was so complex and interesting, but I wanted to share some thoughts. Even if I'm the type to miss the forest for the trees, hah.

Oh, and PS: the no phone number woman sounded odd. Don't let her weirdness confuse your interactions with the other 2 matches.
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Old 27th February 2018, 1:01 AM   #25
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Very interesting topic!

Some thoughts - will try to do my best to be helpful -

(1) Not sure what you mean by dating outside your culture, but if there's a race component to that, it can make finding partners hard. That's regardless of what race you are, or what race of woman you're into. Unless you're conventionally attractive, rich, or hung like a horse.

(2) I had a hearty LOL about your photography shtick. I find male photographers to have a very high opinion of themselves and a very low, limited opinion of women - despite being heterosexual. I love arts and artists, but every art field has its own personality and I would argue you're finding insecure drama-burdened young women because you're no walk in the park yourself. Not in a bad way, mind you ... it's just that there are almost no down to earth, relatively normal and stable, artists. Maybe dancers. But not even all or most of them. Crazy personalities are part of the beauty of art and art scenes. (IMO, anyway.)

(3) Interesting women are as rare as interesting people in general. They do not congregate anywhere, they don't look a particular way, and there are no helpful trends to find them. Unfortunately, you're going to have to simply talk to everyone you meet. They might be the interesting woman you're looking for, or know her. I've worked in customer service for yearsssss in many industries and levels of service. I've talked to a shmazillion people. I have always been surprised by who is interesting and in what way. The potential for discovery makes for fun times!

(4) Also, on the interesting/secure tip again - how interesting and secure does your ideal woman need to be? Perhaps reflecting on that as you resume your old ways of chatting people up everywhere you go (MAJOR kudos to you for that!) could help you identify specific traits that appeal to you. So when they pop up, you know you're possibly on to something.

Super extra good luck to you! Apologies if I misinterpreted things - please do correct any wrongheadedness I may have thrown your way. This thread was so complex and interesting, but I wanted to share some thoughts. Even if I'm the type to miss the forest for the trees, hah.

Oh, and PS: the no phone number woman sounded odd. Don't let her weirdness confuse your interactions with the other 2 matches.
I feel like you could be my long lost friend that I have never met, thank you so much for the thoughtful insights!

(1) When I meant dating outside my culture, yes, there is a race component to it. This makes online dating difficult for me, despite my tall height and average looks. I dress well, so it helps, but not enough to override the preconceptions most women I am attracted to have about dating someone from my racial background. Over the years though, I learned that the race component almost never works against me when I first meet these women in person. An interesting guy is an interesting guy! Some days, I like to believe that being so different (in a good way) from what most women expect helps give me bonus points too

(2) Admittedly, I am quite complicated myself. It started when I met my first serious girlfriend, who was extremely attractive, but an absolute mess emotionally. That relationship derailed me from the picture perfect and mostly sheltered life that I lived in, and perhaps shaped me to enjoy and express myself easily via the artistic pursuits alongside my technical day job. I had to let that girl go eventually as it started to slowly pull apart my life too. On the other hand, I am big on principles. I will never date a girl if I do not believe that things will work out, and will never take advantage of her just for personal satisfaction. Same with no smoking, no drugs, etc.

(3) Honestly, I feel that I am in a bit of a rut. I understand a lot about women, social dynamics, and have good experience talking up random women that I would like to meet. The flipside is that I traded my mostly carefree college days and the associated "unbounded optimism" with a never-ending, predictable job that eats away at my overall happiness. I am working hard to change that, but the effects are not immediate. By the way, I'd love to hear about your insights after talking to so many people - what traits do most interesting people have in common?

(4) My thoughts are this - I'd love to meet more women who are on the recovery from a low and insecure point in their life; the ones who are happy and appreciative and just lovely to be around. What activities would this mythical creature be into? A friend mentioned church or volunteering, and I chuckled a little.

Actually, I imagine that you learned a lot about yourself via talking to so many people in your customer service role! In photography, we have a concept where portraits of our models often tell us more about the photographer instead, because he/she projects that mood onto their subjects, decides on the moment to capture, and creates an alternate reality of sorts because of their presence. I can only imagine the same parallels in talking to many different people - almost as an avenue to learn more about ourselves. Please share!
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Old 27th February 2018, 11:25 AM   #26
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If you quickly eliminate potential partners because you make quick assumptions about people based on a week or two of interaction, it seems to me that maybe you are only interested in Your Own agenda when it comes to dating? Have you asked any of the people, at any point, what they are looking for in a partner that you have met online or at functions? Because dating is about not just our own needs, but being able to meet someone else's too.
Maybe take the frustration of not finding exactly what you want in a date by actually being interested enough in another person to see if you are even what they are looking for too...that way you will know better where you stand in a potential romantic interest's eyes...it will take the pressure off of you and give you time to really appreciate and evaluate the dating scene...maybe you will have more fun since it won't be just about how you can't find someone to meet your needs...hope that made sense...have fun and have some faith, it will get better...
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Old 7th March 2018, 12:44 AM   #27
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Hmmm, ok I'm hearing you throw up excuses at every turn. Not as positive as I thought. The generalizations about this perfect for you girl you seek are not going to help you. You need REAL openness, which will mean setting some of your biases to the side.

About photography, I didn't take you for a guy that was interested or vice versa in those in front of the camera. I was thinking maybe another photographer or girl behind the scenes in photography--where you could bond over the artistry of that, similar passions or hobbies. Also the more a person is like YOU i think you will be more able to accept them. Even if that means they are like you more on the surface by what they choose to do with their time or level of education.

What i bolded is where you are on to something--something within yourself that will help you. As far as girls you meet on photo shoots that you have dismissed because they are involved with someone else--well that's a no brainer, they are involved with someone else so leave them alone and you don't seem like the type to have much respect for someone if they started something with you when they were still with someone else--so those are not viable matches for you and not the openness I'm talking about.

Ok what I bolded second, this is fine but why are you still stuck on it? She woke you up, ok but she is not miss perfect and has issues according to you, so let it go. Don't extrapolate, if that is what you are doing, and project this ONE experience onto future experiences. If I read between the lines, it sounds like you were highly physically attracted but not mentally attracted. So it's you that needs to rectify these things in your mind--both realizing that you might not find everything in one person but that you can find a better balance AND when it's the right person, somehow you will stop feeling so hypercritical. You will be just as physically attracted--if you let yourself--to someone in the future--you just have to believe she is out there and do the steps to find her. It's funny & ironic you say she was very closed off--have you thought that possibly people might say the same about you? Or that you are rigid?

About the dating apps, I hear you that it's not the best medium for some people. But you are missing out on an entire way that the majority of people meet each other for dating. Just like whoever you meet in real life, MOST people are not going to be for you. It's a serious sifting and filtering process. I can empathize with the fact that it may feel deflating when you are not getting a lot of attention and validation without a ton of effort while your friend or presumably others do easily. Don't make it your main way then or seek out the specific more helpful apps/sites. They are out there. My friend, who actually has a lot of the qualities you mention, is on this special dating app, that has something to do with people seeking high quality achievers of depth (she's Ivy league masters grad and it's invite only but you can get invited if you know someone else in that network--can't be that hard to figure out). To be 100% fair, EVEN IF you narrow it down to a more specific network, such as the more right app, the more fruitful places, you will still find that it's the exception rather than the majority of the people who will really be right for you (such as my friend on that app feels much more excitement about the guys she is matching with but she's still been hurt and still hasn't found her guy).

That is the conundrum of dating. You can either have fun, embrace the process and stay hopeful or be tortured every step of the way. The alternative, is that you can be someone who is too open, falling into relationships left and right with not bad people but not the right person for you--which is soooo not your problem! So take the positives and do the work.
Thank you! I signed up for that app two weeks ago and got approved today. Honestly, I do not expect much from it, but at least it's something new to look forward to.
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Old 7th March 2018, 5:05 AM   #28
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OP, I'd say you could slide into my DMs to find an interesting, low-drama woman. But you sound like you have too many hang-ups, so never mind.
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Old 7th March 2018, 8:44 AM   #29
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I feel like you could be my long lost friend that I have never met, thank you so much for the thoughtful insights!

(1) When I meant dating outside my culture, yes, there is a race component to it. This makes online dating difficult for me, despite my tall height and average looks. I dress well, so it helps, but not enough to override the preconceptions most women I am attracted to have about dating someone from my racial background. Over the years though, I learned that the race component almost never works against me when I first meet these women in person. An interesting guy is an interesting guy! Some days, I like to believe that being so different (in a good way) from what most women expect helps give me bonus points too

(2) Admittedly, I am quite complicated myself. It started when I met my first serious girlfriend, who was extremely attractive, but an absolute mess emotionally. That relationship derailed me from the picture perfect and mostly sheltered life that I lived in, and perhaps shaped me to enjoy and express myself easily via the artistic pursuits alongside my technical day job. I had to let that girl go eventually as it started to slowly pull apart my life too. On the other hand, I am big on principles. I will never date a girl if I do not believe that things will work out, and will never take advantage of her just for personal satisfaction. Same with no smoking, no drugs, etc.

(3) Honestly, I feel that I am in a bit of a rut. I understand a lot about women, social dynamics, and have good experience talking up random women that I would like to meet. The flipside is that I traded my mostly carefree college days and the associated "unbounded optimism" with a never-ending, predictable job that eats away at my overall happiness. I am working hard to change that, but the effects are not immediate. By the way, I'd love to hear about your insights after talking to so many people - what traits do most interesting people have in common?

(4) My thoughts are this - I'd love to meet more women who are on the recovery from a low and insecure point in their life; the ones who are happy and appreciative and just lovely to be around. What activities would this mythical creature be into? A friend mentioned church or volunteering, and I chuckled a little.

Actually, I imagine that you learned a lot about yourself via talking to so many people in your customer service role! In photography, we have a concept where portraits of our models often tell us more about the photographer instead, because he/she projects that mood onto their subjects, decides on the moment to capture, and creates an alternate reality of sorts because of their presence. I can only imagine the same parallels in talking to many different people - almost as an avenue to learn more about ourselves. Please share!
Hello Embers! Happy to be a friend. Sorry for the delayed response, my life is falling apart so I'm not always online. (Like, literally.) Anyway, here's some back-atcha - and hope your week is going well.

(1) Meeting people in person is so much better than online when you're different from the norm! And for a man, being 'different' in some way seems to be something women really like. My world is estrogen rich :-p and even women with the most basic partners describe them like a Greek god/unicorn combo. Keep getting out there, literally! More on this in (3).

(2) Being complicated isn't bad as long as you know it *and* own it, which it seems you are doing. As a fellow complicated person, though, I'd recommend really scrutinizing yourself to see which complications are noise and which are core 'you'. Get rid of the noise. You'll still be complicated when all is said and done, trust me. :-p And it's easier to do this while single, because it's a very self-absorbed process. Try not to share it with anyone who isn't ready to handle that sort of thing, though...not many people find our messy insides as fascinating as we do, sadly. You are always welcome to PM me, you seem like my favorite type of person - a crazy artist - and I'm a great listener/question asker. You can also journal. Try making a Google doc for your epiphanies and self-questions if you're not a paper and pencil type.

Also, this thought just came to me: if a woman's looks are very important to you, don't focus on them or describe a woman as attractive. If it's so crucial, you're only going to pursue/interact with good looking women anyway. Moving your focus past that while keeping your value for it intact will allow you to more quickly, and better, assess the other parts of a woman which require attention. Ie, her personality, lifestyle, interests, etc. Does that make sense? It's literally an 'aha' sort of thing from me and it's 730am here...and I'm no kind of early bird.

(3) Uggggggggh the crappy, soul sucking job rut! That's the absolute rut. I've been there so many times. Totally feel your pain here - one job was so bad it led me to drink (in a bar, but still). Terrible. What helped me fight it was creativity. I have lots of creative hobbies, and when I wasn't feeling inspired I'd curl up in bed with my favorite shows on Netflix. Or drink, haha. Anything to escape from crappy boring job life and schedule. A few days of that and I could usually have a few good days of socializing. Maybe you could challenge yourself to photograph things besides models (changing your preferred subject really changes a lot, I dabble in photography myself)? Or join a photo club where the group picks a topic and everyone does it, and has a critique? Etc. Find something 100% outside the crap job that will rebuild you, and that should eventually get your carefree juices flowing again.

Boo to sucky jobs.

(4) This is really interesting! What draws you to damaged women? I'd think that women who have always been happy, appreciative, good company because they have positive backgrounds, would be a better choice. I worry that a woman with a bad past, even if she's battle past it, will have psychological and other scars that linger longer than she or you might realize. I'm kind of that person myself, and I keep realizing there's still crap from my emotionally awful childhood that I need to excise from my adult self. And I'm 35. Will it ever end???? So keep that in mind. Also make sure you're not preying on the formerly/recently weak in order to have an upper hand in the relationship, even just in your own mind. Seek to be equals.

As to where such women hang out - I don't know. I'll have to think on it some more. I know a lot of women, but I don't think a large percentage of pleasant women are broken or come from bad pasts. And right now my lady-sample is skewed toward artists and community activists (natch). But I'll think and if anything comes to mind, I'll PM you.

(*) You asked about l'il ol' me *blush* hah, j/k. What did/do I learn from talking with so many people? Off the top of my head, I learned that people do not see me the way I see me - partly because people are shallow, partly because people have some crazy, uninformed preconceived notions about who is who. I also came to see how I differ from normal people, both psychologically and physically. This has been painful but great, as it has allowed me to choose my behavior. Do I want to be me, them, or a blend of influences, in any given habit, behavior, or perspective? This process has been exciting, as it's allowed me to reaffirm myself but also feel free to change without worrying about losing who I am. Some positives that have come out of this process:
- recognizing and breaking my sugar addiction
- letting go the need to be 'cool'
- changing from enmeshed/smothering/codependent to independent, a little forceful, and *most importantly* aware of boundaries
- accepting more and more that my intrinsic habits and behaviors are not flaws to be excised, but parts of me

... but I'm still a bit bananas. What's life without a little bit of fruit, right? Hope this answered your question!
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