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    Old 04-01-2005, 08:09 AM   #16
    SophiaM
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Hey Crimson Wow, you're definitely making progress as we speak--I am proud of you! Hmm, that is an interesting development about the guy. I assume he's not wearing a wedding band because then it wouldn't have been such a mystery what his status is. Why don't you try having a friendly chat with that girl he seems to talk to on a regular basis, and try to find out from her if he's married or taken. That's what I would do. Good luck, Crimson and let us know how things go!

     
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    Old 04-01-2005, 01:32 PM   #17
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Sophia already asked the question that came to my mind, too: does he wear a wedding band? I'm betting for sure he does not -- you'd have seen it (I know you've looked at his hands a lot when he wasn't paying attention)!

    CC: It's cool if you didn't make a move immediately. What is even BETTER is that you are not beating yourself up over it. Some folks would feel so bad about NOT having done anything that they'd consider it yet another nail in their social coffin. You, however, have the right attitude and are taking the extra time as an opportunity to "practice." Nothing wrong with that.

    I'm getting the "divorced Dad" vibe here. But that remains for you to find out. Mentioning kids in open conversation and within earshot and NOT mentioning wife is a good sign that he's single. Most men, if they wanted to properly not lead someone on, would make sure they let it be known they were married. Two reasons to NOT bring up your wife: you are looking for an affair or you don't mention her because she's not in the picture anymore.

    Briefly, about all those "self help" tips we discussed. Keep doing that, but... bear in mind that some folks benefit more from different methods. Some people find meditation to be what they need. Others will get results from looking in the mirror and realizing they look attractive. Others will gain confidence by talking out loud to themselves. Some people need to "align their chakras!"

    Just do what works for you. Positive affirmation is always good. Remember that bad Saturday Night Live sketch, "Daily Affirmation?" Stewart Smalley looking into a mirror saying: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh-darnit, I like myself!" Or something like that, at any rate. Well... that is a fun satire of the idea, but the idea itself is very solid.

    Try to focus your thought processes on what you CAN do and what you do well. Eliminate negative patterns and words. For example, saying: "I choose to not clean my house today" is different from saying: "I am too lazy to clean my house today," or "I am a poor housekeeper." Once you realize that you ARE, in fact, making your own choices on a daily basis and building your own personality, you can more easily focus on that which is positive. Simply re-arranging the words to get across the same sentiment really matters when you want to change your perspective.

    One last tip for a fun way to teach yourself better social interaction: use grocery store checkout clerks! No, really. I'm serious. Or ANY clerk or salesperson who is in a position to interact with you on a limited basis. YOU are always in charge of a clerk or salesperson -- and you can easily detach yourself from them. When you are checking out your groceries, look for a cashier that seems a little more friendly than others. Usually the high-school boys and gals are sullen and miserable and don't care to talk to customers beyond stating the price of the grocery order. Find a friendly person and get in his or her line. When it is your turn, make some very minor small talk. Look them in the eye. SMILE big. Maybe even laugh. Discuss an item you just bought. The weather. Whatever. Dumb stuff that doesn't matter. Just be FRIENDLY to a stranger. We do this on a daily basis -- but if faced with a little social anxiety, doing it INTENTIONALLY and more often can be helpful when it comes to gearing up toward more intimate conversations with people in whom you have a deeper interest.

    If you want, just for fun you could take it a step further. Go into Sears or somewhere similar and look at electronic equipment or appliances. A salesman will sniff you out and be at your side in less than two minutes. Ask him fake questions about something. Get him talking. Make up a story -- you are looking for a new washing machine for your Mom for her birthday in June (so he doesn't get excited and think he's got an immediate sale). This is a great way to learn how to PRESENT yourself to a stranger.

    I know it sounds silly... but this stuff WORKS. Things become FAR LESS FRIGHTENING the more we do them. This is pretty basic and obvious. It's just that we sometimes don't think of sly ways to teach ourselves certain things. The "salesman-cashier" tip is a good one -- and yes, I've used it, but don't have to anymore (and I'm sure Sears is glad of that).

    Also, try teaching yourself how your OWN projection of SELF affects others. You can also use cashiers for this. Go to a clerk and stand in line and look down. Act quiet. Act shy. Act a little nervous. Don't look them in the eye. Mutter. Fumble. WATCH the clerk. He or she will react accordingly. If they are normally gregarious, they will NOT be so open with YOU if you give the body language that says "leave me alone." Then do the opposite. Be open, polite, friendly, animated, smile. Watch the clerk again. They will mimic your behavior.

    This is a GREAT way to see that YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

    Just keep it a secret. We can't let the clerks know we use them in this manner!

    The topics of conversation you suggested -- all good. I also agree: try to find items to discuss that do not provide him an opportunity for a simple "yes" or "no" response. But even if you DO have a "yes" or "no" question, be ready for a follow up question that is NOT a "yes" or "no" question. SMILE when you talk. Eye contact about every three to four seconds. Fleeting at first. Glance, look away a little, glance up and meet his eyes again. As the conversation progresses hold his gaze for longer periods. Eventually you will just be talking normally without thinking about it and your eyes will meet naturally.

    Finally... social anxiety is VERY common. You aren't alone. Do not feel pressured to change your personality into something you don't ENJOY. It's OK to be shy sometimes. Even those of us who DO handle ourselves well with strangers have days when we just don't want to be bothered to be "on." I think the most important thing you can do is to HAVE FUN with all of this. If it feels like you are putting pressure on yourself to be or do something which makes you uncomfortable, stop and re-evaluate what it is you really want.

    Will check back next week or whenever and see how it goes.

     
    Old 04-04-2005, 06:53 PM   #18
    CrimsonClover
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Scruffy, you win your bet : nope, no wedding band. Thatís always the very first thing I look for. But some married men donít wear one, I know. He could also be seriously involved without being married. (And, for the record : he does have gorgeous hands! How did you know Iíd been staring at them?!)

    And itís so funny you should mention Stuart Smalley : I was very nervous before I left for class, and trying to calm myself down - and I said out loud, out of nowhere : "Iím good enough, Iím smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like me!" And that made me laugh! I canít believe we both thought of that.

    May I ask what is giving you that "divorced dad" vibe? Iím curious - because I totally get it too, but at least I have the benefit of the real living and breathing man right in front of me. I hope you are correct about those odds. But, here is my next question : why would he mention his kids if heís interested in me? Wouldnít that be more likely to scare me off?

    (And if he is just looking for an fling : I am no "midlife crisis affair" material, I assure you. As sick and tired as I am of being alone, I would never allow that to happen.)

    Sophia : great idea you had! Though Iím not sure I would be comfortable asking that girl something so personal, i.e. whether heís available or not; she might not even know either. If we started talking about other things and made our way toward that, maybe Ė but there are only 2 weeks left before the finals, so I may never see her again.

    About the self-help : one thing I am trying to do is cut "I canít" from my vocabulary. Iím also trying to get rid of the negative thoughts Ė but they are often playing on a loop in my mind, especially when Iím by myself; so that part is very hard.

    As for "practicing" on store clerks : Iíve already started doing that and it really does help. (And, Scruffy, your secret is safe with me!) Middle-aged ladies are the best, I find; usually very sweet and friendly. I have yet to really make small talk, but I can at least make good eye contact and smile. I have also been reading about body language and everything you say is true. Iíve had "leave me alone" BL for a long time, I guess Ė and itís hard to shake off, but I am getting there.

    And Iíve accepted my shyness. Not everyone can be ultra-outgoing and thatís OK - though a lot of people tend to see it as a weakness or a flaw, and thatís unfortunate because it isnít true at all (unless itís so extreme as to be crippling, of course).

    Once again, thank you so much (to you both) for your advice and support; I really appreciate every word of it! Ė CC

     
    Old 04-04-2005, 07:02 PM   #19
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Well, damn it, Crimson--ask him! Since he mentioned the kid already, ask him something about his alleged wife. If he doesn't have one or is divorced, he's going to deny having a wife. Just say "Hey, Frank, how was your weekend? Did you do anything fun with your wife and kids?" See what he says. I would have absolutely no problem saying that. It seems like a casually friendly question. You don't want to wonder for the rest of the year, do you?

    Or if you're definitely too shy to ask him yourself, have a friend from the same class ask him. It's so much easier when you don't have a vested interest in that person. This reminds me of a story when my friend and I went out one night and this guy started chatting her up. She came up to me after a while and said she "thinks" this guy might be wearing some sort of a band on his ring finger but she's not sure it's a wedding band or not. She was too shy to ask. Since I didn't give a damn about the guy myself, I started talking with both of them, and then I casually remarked "Oh, by the way, are you married--I see a band on your finger?" I tell you it was hillarious to see this guy turn beet-red (as far as I could tell in a dark club), and he mumbled "Errrgh, uhm, actually, I AM." He then proceeded to list all the reasons why his marriage was a mistake. He still asked my friend out, but obviuosly she declined. We laugh about this bozo to this day.

    Last edited by SophiaM; 04-04-2005 at 07:12 PM.

     
    Old 04-04-2005, 08:43 PM   #20
    CrimsonClover
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Hey Sophia! What Ė he still asked her out?! What a creep! If youíre a married sleazebag and youíre going to a club looking for a fling, I should think that the very first thing you would do is remove your ring! Wow - skeevy AND stupid!

    I wish I were as bold as you, I really do Ė but weíre not even at "hello" yet, much less "howís the wife?". When you can barely say hi to someone without blushing and/or shaking, itís not so easy. And I canít ask anyone else to do me a favor, since I donít have any friends in that class (though that is a GREAT idea).

    Of course I donít want to wonder anymore; I am getting very frustrated Ė with the situation, but mostly with myself. Iím also getting really down right now Ė and that is the LAST thing I need. I just feel like, once again, I am wasting my time and energy on something that will never go anywhere. And I know that you can relate when it comes to that : like, how much longer? Will I be single forever? I rarely meet men I find interesting Ė and, if by some miracle I do, either they donít even look at me or they are taken. It gets really depressing. Like Iíve said before, Iíd settle for just being friends or at least class buddies.

    Iíll see how it goes on Thursday, but I think Iíll give up after that and stop torturing myself. Our final is next week and then I wonít see him again until May. But I donít want to give up without trying or I will hate myself. I just have to think of him as an ordinary guy just like any other. Thereís no reason why he should make me so nervous, right? And he may not even be worth the trouble, anyway. I just need to find out.

     
    Old 04-04-2005, 10:23 PM   #21
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Obviously I am not the original poster, but I thank you all for posting! I am able to draw positively from this post. Thanks Scruffyguy for your insight.

     
    Old 04-05-2005, 03:40 PM   #22
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    The only way you will know for sure if the 'looks' mean anything is to ask. What do you have to lose? I say, "Go for it girl!" I know you're shy, but why not just ask him out for coffee or something after class one day. If he's married (and not a slimeball) he will tell you that he's married at that time and then you'll know. If he says he's not interested, THEN it becomes his loss. But maybe he'll be relieved that you asked him and it could be the start of something wonderful.

     
    Old 04-05-2005, 07:14 PM   #23
    SophiaM
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Well, as shy as you are, I don't anticipate you to ask him out for coffee or anything that direct, because I wouldn't either, and I am not nearly as shy as you are anymore. But seriously, what's the harm in just asking some innocent questions about the coming exam, and then, just as innocently , ask him how are his kids and wife? REally, what do you have to lose??? At least you'll know. Do you want to wait another few months to find out?

     
    Old 04-06-2005, 12:31 PM   #24
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    CC:

    Enjoyed your response. I don't have time to write a long post at this moment, but just wanted to let you know I'm still checking in.

    As for how I knew you were looking at his hands... ah... I just know!

    Why did he mention his kids? To get it OUT THERE. Sometimes us guys like to put it all on the table right away and avoid potential disaster later on. If a guy has kids and he meets a gal and doesn't tell her -- it could be a relationship-killer when the news finally breaks. Best to state one's status early on. So he almost certainly wasn't trying to scare anyone off -- more likely he was showing his cards so that anyone who was TRULY interested would be aware of his situation.

    Finally, for now... don't beat yourself up if you ultimately do not follow through on this immediately. May isn't far away. I'd assume classes start around the second or third week of the month. This might give you time to build up more confidence. Choice is yours: act now or wait. Either way, remember: it is YOUR choice and either one is acceptable.

    Oh, right... the middle-aged lady clerks -- I agree. Especially in the Southern US. I moved from north to south ten years ago and was surprised at just how talkative some clerks can be. It's the old "southern hospitality" thing. It seems almost mandatory to have a little chat before as your groceries are rung-up. At first the delay bothered me -- I was used to faster service up north. But now I rather enjoy the more laid-back atmosphere.

    Anyway, good luck to you still...

     
    Old 04-06-2005, 12:49 PM   #25
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    i havent been following this post... but i noticed there was a mention about shyness... i myself am painfuly shy and i have struggled my whole life to overcome this. i dont think people undertand how damaging it can be, as in my case, its often perceived as snootiness, which is not true at all! one thing i found that helps is to hang out with a friend that is particularly outgoing... sometimes when i am in a new situation i take along one of my friends who is extremely social... she usually gets the ball rolling and then once the ice is broke, i can take it from there... this doesnt always work in a romantic situation as she is also particularly cute (although her likeability contributes greatly to this i think) luckily, we pretend she is married sometimes to divert attention . anyways, maybe thats helpful, maybe not. take care everyone. hey scruffy, long time no see! i dont know if you remember my posts about not being appreciated, but i managed to dump the chump...can you believe it? things are so much better now too!

     
    Old 04-07-2005, 09:27 AM   #26
    CrimsonClover
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Hi and thanks for the replies, everyone!

    Our class ends at 10 PM, so coffee afterwards might not be an option even if I had the courage to ask. But that could still be a great idea, if he seemed receptive to it. Must at least manage to say hello, first! And find out about the wife Ė or lack thereof. Iím seeing him tonight. I know youíre right, Dulcisima and Sophia : I have nothing to lose.

    Scruffy, you read my mind : that is exactly my impression about his mentioning the kids. Like he wants it known right off the bat. Maybe (always assuming he IS a divorced dad, for the sake of argument) he started dating other women and they freaked out when he eventually told them about the kids, so he doesnít want that happening again. At least the kids are older (21 and 14); I wouldnít be comfortable if they were very young. Anyway, bottom line is : he made sure I would know about the kids, so if I still show interest it means I am OK with that Ė and serious about my interest in him.

    Juicylicious, I do have a female friend who is very sociable, just like you described. But, ever since she met her dude and had a kid, we never get to go out together like in the "old days". Itís like she doesnít exist as an individual anymore. I wish I had more single friends, but it seems everyone around me is paired up. (And here I am, the pathetic lonely spinster Ė heading straight for Aunt Patty/Selma-villeÖ Heck, not even : they both actually managed to get engaged or married a few times!)

    Iíve been reading some advice on sites for singles and there was a situation exactly like mine. This girl would always see this guy on the bus (no wedding ring) and he would always look at her and smile and sit/stand near her Ė yet never say anything. Everyone told her he was probably too shy to make the first move. I donít know how that story ended, but Iím glad Iím not the only one.

    The next class begins the first week of May, so I will have a couple of weeks to work on myself and get better. Right now I need to focus on my final, though Ė so, if nothing happens tonight, Iíll forget about him until then. And chat with lady store clerks! (Iím actually up north but when I go south, even if itís just Jersey, I notice the service industry people are much friendlier Ė itís true!)

     
    Old 04-07-2005, 12:28 PM   #27
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CrimsonClover
    Iíve been reading some advice on sites for singles and there was a situation exactly like mine. This girl would always see this guy on the bus (no wedding ring) and he would always look at her and smile and sit/stand near her Ė yet never say anything. Everyone told her he was probably too shy to make the first move. I donít know how that story ended, but Iím glad Iím not the only one.
    Oh, well, that's exactly my problem with this handsome guy I sometimes see on the train! He has no wedding band and we both recognize each other, but he never said anything to me. He intimidates me so much and I am way too shy to say anything first. You're definitely not the only one!

    Good luck with your finals and wish you luck with your cute classmate!

     
    Old 04-07-2005, 07:22 PM   #28
    CrimsonClover
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Thanks, Sophia! And good luck with that mysterious handsome stranger on the train!

    SighÖ still nothing tonight. It was a shorter class because of the upcoming final so there was no break. Although : if heís not interested, why would he turn around to look at me when heís sitting 2 rows ahead of me? HmmÖ I think Iíll surprise him when our new class begins in May. And if he looks pleasantly surprised to see me, then I swear I will sit right next to him! Like "Oh, hi there! How nice to see a familiar face!" (And we will have TWO classes a week then instead of just one!)

    On the "positive" side : I got called a "stuck-up witch" by another guy in the corridor. How lovely. And then they wonder why Iím so shy... I hope my adorable classmate doesnít feel the same way. Well, heís older and (presumably) wiser than that other guy, so maybe not. But I am so sick of stuff like this.

    Last edited by CrimsonClover; 04-07-2005 at 07:23 PM.

     
    Old 05-03-2005, 05:13 PM   #29
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    UPDATE - Well, itís official : adorable classmate and I are together again - in the same class, I mean! I am so grateful to be given another chance to hopefully get to know him.

    Even though I was nervous and kind of shaking when I walked into the room, I think I am actually making enormous progress Ė nobody will be calling me "stuck-up" this time! I smiled at and chatted a bit with the 3 ladies who were sitting near me, even though Iíd never met them before. That is something I could not have done a few weeks ago, and it felt great.

    Back to cute classmate : I could not sit near him last night because I was almost late to class, but I did catch him "looking" again a few times. (Even though he was in the front row and I was in the last!)

    But the problem is that I can never sustain eye contact long enough to smile at him or properly reciprocate, because he immediately looks away Ė like heís only comfortable looking at me when Iím not looking at him. How do I let him know Iím interested if he keeps doing that? (I know Iím guilty of having done the same as a reflex in the past, though Ė so I can understand what is behind it, if he indeed is shy too.)

    I am so very attracted to him (which is rare for me) and it hurts to see him there and not be able to interact at all. I wish I could just grab him and ask him what is going on. Either heís interested or heís not; and if he is but canít or wonít do anything about it, for whatever reason, then fine Ė but I want to know! Otherwise, those "furtive glances" of his are soon going to go from flattering to annoying.

    Iím seeing him again tomorrow night. Insight or advice, anyone? Thanks! - CC

     
    Old 05-03-2005, 05:50 PM   #30
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    Re: Should I just leave him alone?

    Not sure that I have any insight, but wanted to say GOOD LUCK!!
    I'm glad you've gotten another opportunity to 'make your move'.

     
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