Savage Love Letter of the Day: The Longest Read

Comments

1
If you have to ask yourself if you dodged a bullet, you dodged a bullet, independent of any self-betterment that can come while you're out of the situation.
2
Oh. My. Fucking. God.
3
@2/Sandiai: Nailed it.

That's harder to get through than a James Joyce novel. If this is what fills up Dan's e-mail everyday the man is a saint.
4
Seriously, just move on with your life. Don't waste another minute dwelling on the past.
5
Seriously, I only skimmed and have a vague idea about what the question was. However, I have to say that if somebody writes a novella in which is embedded a question, there are two glaring issues. 1. Whatever is wrong with him has been analysed to the nth degree, so he has no chance = DTMFA 2. Brevity is a virtue, particularly when it comes to describing your issues. If you have pages worth then either you're over-analysing or it's doomed. I suspect column A and B.
6
I discovered when I thought the letter was wrapping up that I must have just been about half way through and decided I didn't need to go any further, except that when I scrolled down, I discovered I must have been 20-25% of the way through.

Anyway, the LW dodged a bullet, but it was about the third shot; she shouldn't have gotten back together with the guy after the first dumping.
7
Looking at the title of the post, I wonder if this is Dan's longest letter ever.
8
R-U-N
9
I hope the person who wrote in a few weeks back to ask Dan to stop editing the letters (but to keep his answers short) now regrets it.
10
@6: Haha, me too. "God this is boring and too long," I thought, and then realised I was nowhere near the end of it. So I gave up and went straight to the comments.
11
@6: "Anyway, the LW dodged a bullet, but it was about the third shot; she shouldn't have gotten back together with the guy after the first dumping."

Oh don't worry. Knowing human nature she'll give him a few more shots. He can change! He's for really reals this time.
12
@10: I knew the outcome and only read the key phrase, I figure I've missed zero necessary context.
13
@9 I hear ya.
14
@6 I think the people who really dodged a bullet were those who skipped the rest of the article after the 4th or 5th paragraph.

Synopsis: Long, drawn-out relationship. Both into d/s. Guy wanted threesomes, girl didn't. The end.
15
OMG. I made it 2/3 of the way through before losing interest. This woman needs an editor as much as an advice columnist.
16
I sometimes think that Dan is a lot more caring with gay male letter writers and a lot more lackadaisical with straight women. I take it all back! Making it all the way through that letter and giving reasonable advice qualifies him for sainthood.
17
WOW! You did the right thing by ending this relationship, LW. Any guy that causes your brain to tie itself into a giant tangled knot like this isn't the right one for you. Save yourself, NEVER think of this dude ever, EVER again!
18
Dude twists it all around to make his issues all the LWs fault. No wonder she's doubting herself, her friends and her therapist. LW, you got out and you know it's a good thing. The only thing you can do to make your next relationship easier is to trust yourself. So, if the next dude is telling you you're something you're not because he wants to control you, you'll be more confident in saying 'this is not what I want' and getting out before the damage is done. FTR, not being comfortable with things that break your boundaries doesn't make for a jealousy issue, and perhaps staying in the therapy that this dude forced you into is not the best thing.
19
Is there a safeword for when a letter hits the "please, please stop writing" limit?
20
I only read the title.

Didn't read the letter.
Didn't read Dan's response.
Didn't read any comments.

My answer is DTMFA.

Was I right?
21
@20 more or less. MF was A D'd, in this case.
22
Anyone else come away from this thinking the ex-BF is the one who dodged a bullet? LW sounds at least as manipulative and demanding as he does.
23
Lord above. EDIT, GIRL.
24
@22 I thought the extreme jealousy and "you can't keep exes around" mindset was questionable. Also, the idea that unwillingness to adopt instead of having biological children is "a moral failing".

Yes, I did read the whole thing.
25
Well, Dan did warn us.

The only thing that jumped out at me as being 100% BULLET's failing was "I don't think it's appropriate to keep exes around, as all of mine are long gone and did not contact me throughout the course of this relationship." Danger klaxon. Not everyone feels the same way about exes as you do -- many of us are at least civil, if not actually friendly, with one or more exes with whom we got along well on a personal level but not a relationship level. Who are you to deem that "wrong"? It's actually healthy to remain on good terms with someone post-breakup, depending of course on the cause and the nature of the breakup. Doesn't sound like this is the ex she should start with, but she should definitely re-examine this prejudice on her journey to resolve her jealousy issues. The rest of which do seem mostly reasonable, presuming she's not twisting facts to make herself look better.
26
Answer key for relationships:

If your partner is not nice to you, you should break up.

If you aren't/do not know how to be nice to your partner, you should break up.

If the sex with your partner is bad or way too in/frequent for you, you should break up.

Bonus:

If for any reason either you or your partner tend to feel like shit when you are together, you should break up.

Talk about stuff with your partner.

Be open minded.
27
I've often wondered why I hang around Savage Love when there are so many other corners of the internet where you'd think I'd be better suited. I'm comparatively monogamous and vanilla in this group, but I like being somewhere where even people who are ordinarily marginalized can feel safe. No one gets made fun of for being gay or kinky here. Today we've found a different marginalized group: The folks who don't express themselves well, the ones who wander around a point instead of making it, people who think out loud, people who give examples instead of conclusions, people who are disorganized in their own minds and are therefore longwinded as they chase down tangents. Add to that people who make decisions then stew on them even when it no longer matters. I don't want to see too many letters like today's, but I'm glad Dan treated this one seriously and kindly
28
@27: Poor communicators who waste everyone's time and aren't sure what they want aren't a protected class nor should they be? Most is probably just her age coming through, and only time can cure that.
29
@26: If only people were given a cheat sheet like this earlier on...
30
Thank you, Fichu. That is wisdom and kindness that the professional snarkers would do well to think on for a bit.
31
I'm going to second #s 24 and 25, because that leapt out at me, too. Lw, if you're reading these comments, there's no blanket one-size-fits-all position to take regarding staying friends with exes. If you can't, you can't. But if you're dating someone who can, I think you should understand and accept that unless you have some sort of really hard evidence that your partner is pining for his/her ex or that the ex is making a serious attempt to inveigle your partner back into a romantic/sexual relationship. It helps if you know the reason for the breakup as well as can see why the two would still want to remain friends. I'm still good friends with many of my exes, including my ex-husband, and believe me, none of those exes threaten any subsequent romantic relationship I have had or will have. We're exes for a reason, but they still have all the qualities that drew them to me and I still have all the ones that they liked. There are a few exes I am not in touch with anymore. Sometimes it's just too hard to stay friends if you were the dumpee--this applies to me as well as some exes of mine. And some people, like you, apparently, believe in a scorched earth policy, so that even if I wanted to be friends, they just don't do that.

Anyway, as to the rest of your letter, I understand that you are trying to make sense of a relationship that frustrated you. It seems to me that you had a partner that manipulated you and was emotionally slippery, and definitely seems to have been emotionally abusive; at the same time, you have a tendency to try to understand everything, both about yourself and him and to make it make sense, which leads to what appears to be almost obsessive analysis of every sentence uttered by either of you. It's a combustible combination.

Here is what I have learned: I have a hamster in my head. When it starts spinning on that wheel, trying to figure out what x meant, or why he said y, but did z, then IT IS TIME FOR ME TO GET OUT, no matter how "good" any- or everything else is. Good relationships don't cause my hamster to spin; mixed signals do. Mixed signals are not good. When you get them, learn to react to the negative ones. React by removing yourself for the source.

Good luck to you.
32
I like NoCute’s hamster analogy, awhile back I came up with a similar one, but math-y: most math problems are a to b to c, if you’re tearing your hair and using a ton of scratch paper, you’re going about it wrong. You should be able to figure out/already know what’s what in a relationship with relatively little trouble. That said -
I’m not parodying this shit ‘less I’m being paid on spec.
Will wait for Hunter to condense this for me.
33
Another skimmer here, but IMHO they both dodged a bullet.
34
LW reminds me a a friend who can tell you about a movie she saw and it will take longer than the actual movie itself.
35
LW you are 50% responsible for this situation and 100% responsible for resolving it to your satisfaction. Man up (or the female equivalent - whatever that is.)
36
Hmm... maybe I'm just intolerant of jealousy, but anyone who said I couldn't talk to my exes or stay overnight while traveling with platonic friends of the opposite sex would be dumped before they could turn around.
37
@34 I may be your friend, from what you describe.

hashtageveniknewthatwastoolong
38
@31 wise words about the hamster.

BULLET: your head is milling over tons of things because the guy checked the boxes for so many areas and you find it difficult (as many of us have and still do) to reconcile that with the fact that there were several deal-breakers.

You recognise that there are still issues you need to get a handle on, and that is a healthy insight.

From a personal perspective it is a bitch that the one that really hit the spot was still not a good enough match to make it work but your challenge is to find a way to let go and work on your own outstanding issues so you are ready for someone with whom it will work.

Please work more on precis ;-)
39

She supported him financially despite their not being married with the idea that they would have a future together.

He continued to badger her for a sex act (threesome) which she rejected soundly over and over despite some initial waffling.

She blames herself for blowing up in a situation where she was provoked. They disagreed about where to live and how to commute to work. She offered a more than reasonable compromise which he rejected.

He's controlling on the subject of biological children even to the point of hypothetically demanding something that would be seriously detrimental to her health.

In other words, take away the D/s sex, and you've got a terribly ordinary dysfunctional relationship.

She's trying so hard to be cool that she's in therapy seeking a cure for something that's normal and possibly beneficial. In a traditional monogamous relationship, not wanting your husband to go on sleep-aways with other women isn't seen as out of control jealousy. It's seen as common sense. Being in a constant state of baseless suspicion isn't healthy. False accusation isn't healthy, but drawing the line at no more than friendly relationships with women and exes is fair. It sounds like this guy has gaslighted BULLET into thinking there's something wrong with her for ending a relationship where he got all perks and is seen as some sort of prince for putting up with her.
40
I agree, the hamster image is spot-on.

@Cat Brother @32, about this: most math problems are a to b to c, if you’re tearing your hair and using a ton of scratch paper, you’re going about it wrong.
I think I get where you're coming from, but I just can't help jumping in in defense of mathematics and saying: sorry, but when it comes to all the good bits of math, you're dead wrong. In the good bits, you'd better be using up stacks of scratch paper and tearing your hair, or you haven't got a chance in hell. (That said, most people sadly don't get to the good bits of math, so your analogy works perfectly well for them.)

And okay, maybe I'm in a bad mood, and I get that this is the internet and all, but I am finding the omnipresence of "ti;dr" as a legit response to things (not just this letter) a bit irksome. That letter probably wasn't two pages long when printed out. And this is way too long for us to read now?

*head in hands*
41
You should have broken up at about 3 months in when he wouldn't stop with the threesome shit. If it was that important to him and that abhorrent to you, you just weren't going to be compatible.
Since you kept flogging the dead horse for another year+, neither of you came out looking great, which is not surprising. He does come out looking worse but given that this is just your side of the story, that's not surprising either.
42
I'm gonna go on a tangent here and say I really dislike the idea that jealousy is something that happens randomly to women, and it's our job to deal with it. And in no way can a partner nurture or inflame jealously, either intentionally or unintentionally, and asking for support/compassion when dealing with it is unfair.

LW this guy sounds like a jerk. You don't want the same things, he doesn't listen to you, and he seems to happy to poke at your soft spots to get the reaction he wants. Listen to your friends he was a bullet and not someone to waste your limited time and energy on.
43
😲😴💤💤💤💤💤💤💤
44
@41: "Since you kept flogging the dead horse for another year+, neither of you came out looking great, which is not surprising. He does come out looking worse but given that this is just your side of the story, that's not surprising either."

Again, the best reason why assigning blame in these stories is less important than Ging T FO. The longer you're in a diseased relationship the more you hurt yourself.
45
@43SNJ- RN, my idea exactly. You made it look pretty. Don't you love Z.
I haven't read this letter all the way thru. After reading that she paid for everything, I thought, honey this boy is a tramp.
46
I find that sometimes the act of writing things out tends to calm my mind, especially when my hamsters get active. These essays are for me only, so I don't really worry about logical ordering or conciseness (concision?). Maybe the LW was doing something like this and then decided to send it to Dan.

Also, I'm with ciods on the math. Lovely stuff.
47
#40- You’re entirely right; I was only speaking of the more pedestrian forms of math, none of which I got good at, as, right thru my undergrad, I was what would be generously called an indifferent student. But at least I knew that if I knew the way to go about solving those basic things, there should be little hair-tearing, even if I couldn’t at that time be arsed to do it.
As far as reading long screeds, if the first paragraph, or the narrative voice, is a grabber, I’ll sit there AFD; unlike The Maths, reading’s always been my strong suit. Guess there wasn’t enough in my quick scan of the first couple paragraphs to hold me, maybe more rhinos?
48
There are some people out there who call themselves dominants who are really just assholes. They want control and dominance in every domain and with every person in their lives and they use manipulation to get it. #Notalldoms obviously, but some people, consciously or not, really do use that as cover to set everything in a relationship on their terms, irrespective of how their partners feel about it. Barring a full-time, complete slave-owner situation, being in a d/s relationship is not about being boundary-less, or ceding all agency to the other partner, but about a very specific method and framework for understanding and negotiating boundaries in a relationship. The fact that that method is erotically charged doesn't mean that the expectations for empathetic, compassionate, and respectful consideration are suddenly null and void. I'm not sure that LW's confusion required the length of a bible to describe, but I completely understand it. My ex-husband was very similar (right down to the financial mooching, the endless ultimatums, and the near-obsessive demand for threesomes that I was very clear about refusing) and it took me many years to break away from him and a couple more years to understand and make my peace with what happened. So, yes, you dodged a bullet. My advice? Don't apologize for anything--he sure as hell is never going to apologize to you--and walk away as cleanly as you can and to whatever extent possible. Keep processing with your therapist, but don't just focus on "fixing" your issues with jealousy. Focus instead on what you need in order to feel safe in a relationship, and which of these needs are negotiable and which are ironclad. That, more than anything, is a good way to figure out jealousy issues. You may find, for example, that having a partner hang out with platonic female friends doesn't actually bother you that much when you feel that other needs are being met that help you to feel safe and secure in the relationship. Do what you can to take care of yourself, let yourself feel righteously angry when you need to, be accountable for your role in what happened (even if it's justifiable to feel that the bulk of the responsibility rests with him--it sounds like it does) and try to move on at a pace that feels right.
49
I completely checked out after getting to the bit about the offer of parking pass and gas, and... ugh, I'm dozing off thinking about it now.

Regardless of what the rest of the letter says, sometimes people who enjoy spending time together are just incompatible relationship-wise. Forcing that relationship to work anyways just causes misery for both people involved. End of story.
50
When a man wants something specific sexually, he isn't going to let go of the pursuit until the absolute death of all hope. When you tell that man, "no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no... or at least not yet," all he hears is that last phrase.
51
Imagine having to hear this many words. I bet LW is like this all the time with every issue. The ex is the one who got lucky when dumped.
52
MsAnonymous @42: Women aren't the only ones who have jealousy issues.

Generic @46: Good theory. I also find writing stuff down as a brain dump is helpful. Guess she dumped her brain but still didn't find any answers. Usually, though, websites have editors for this kind of situation.

Ghost @50: #notallmen
53
tgomrj @50 well, if the no-sayer doesn't mean "or at least not yet", they shouldn't say it but stop at "no". I can't blame "that man" in this case.
54
Cat Brother @47: Thanks for taking my math rant in stride. And reading rant as well, although it wasn't directed at you in particular, or even anyone here in particular, so much as at a larger cultural shift that bugs me. Ah, some days I should just put the laptop down and step away from the desk....
55
@50: Ghost of Mr.J, I counted 26 or 27 "no"s before getting to that "or at least not yet."
Any person who would keep asking--really nagging--for something 26 times should have bitch slapped at least 20 asks ago.
56
Classic needy sub syndrome, totally topping from the bottom.
57
@53: "Not yet" should be a firmer "no" but is still "no" regardless.
58
@26 If your partner wants to guilt trip you into a high risk pregnancy so that you both can pass on both of your "terrible genes", you should break up.
59
@52 I agree and should've made that clear. Jealousy can happen to anyone, but I do think there can be a gendered element to how it's handled. I mean in the letter the problem wasn't that the LW was irrationally jealous, as much as it was she had a partner who selfish and manipulative, someone she couldn't trust.
60
what a mess. complementary weaknesses all round.
61
@50 / @53: And "at least not yet" is far more likely to change into an "okay, let's try it" if "that man" DOESN'T RESUME HARPING ON AND ON ABOUT IT.

And what @55 and @57 said.
62
@50 Ghost. This the Bart Simpson approach? Harass and harass till the other is worn down. Barely acceptable from a kid, not so much from a grown man.
63
I wasn't making a moral evaluation, I was just pointing out the results you should expect if you tack on that "not yet" at the end (as the LW did). So, yes, you will have a child pestering you from the back seat, "are we there yet?"

The flip-side advice for men is: If she didn't say "yes," that means "no." Did she say "yes?" No, she didn't, did she? And if you can't decipher what the hell she's talking about, then notice that she didn't do what you asked for. There's your answer. It's "yes" or "other." Do or not do. There is no try. This is not the droid you're looking for.
64
Also, Thin Lizzy works pretty well here. "If that chick don't wanna know, forget her."
65
If she is in life as she seems to be in this letter I would say that the guy dodged a bullet.
66
"Did I dodge a bullet, or do we just want different things in life?"

Does there need to be a difference?
67
@22: "Anyone else come away from this thinking the ex-BF is the one who dodged a bullet? LW sounds at least as manipulative and demanding as he does."

Yup. Breaking up with a partner who wants different things from you is dodging a bullet. For everyone involved.

At least the advice was good. Flip the genders, and all the advice for the LW would've consisted of "You're a terrible person for being jealous--you're not allowed to want monogamy--and you're using your jealousy to abuse your partner."

I'm glad took off his "poly is the only legitimate preference" hat for a little while, though.
68
If I remember the many many Simpsons I watched with my kids growing up, Bart would say; Can I . Can I ; Can I. Have X.
Oh Mr E. Mr Predictable E.. No, if the genders were reversed, I doubt many people would be saying the man is terrible for being jealous. Most of us, I assume, know jealousy well. Know what a difficult emotion it is to work thru.
69
Ghost @63: One should be able to expect better behaviour from grown men than from children. That's why it's called "growing up." It's pretty sexist to claim that men are no more mature than five-year-olds. I do, in fact, expect men to be able to take "no" for an answer the first time. An inability to do so isn't something "you should expect"; it's a DTMFA-level offense.
70
I expect people to take "no" for an answer too. But I'm not surprised when people persist in seeking their heart's desire when they are told "maybe." I've found that anything other than a "yes" (literally the word "yes" without caveats) should be treated as a "no."

I wonder if the "not yet" was an attempt at a softened "no." That's a mistake, as we see here.
71
@63: "I wasn't making a moral evaluation, I was just pointing out the results you should expect"

Do you find that people believe you when you say these things? Because you are most certainly trying to say something here beyond what you claim.
72
"Flip the genders, and all the advice for the LW would've consisted of"

Your gimmick is so sad and tiresome.
73
It is at least amusing that these whiny posts are only posted in your fantasy scenarios instead of actually I scenarios where they would be applicable. They are shoehorned in here because you (funny enough!) don't find them in the wild.

May you one day be less insecure as to not have to craft fiction to prove a point.
74
Executive summary: I think she's on the right track but she's neither as innocent as she'd like to believe and the boyfriend is not quite as abusive as she wants to believe but he was more bad for her than she was for him.

------

I slogged through the whole letter but it was hard to get through all the comments. I really should do the work they pay me for here...

I hope I'm not being repetitive because I started skimming comments after 30 or so. :)

Manipulative breakups from him attempted control over who he can see from her. Both the LW and ex-BF were being manipulative in this situation. Based on the letter, I'd say he was the worse offender but not by as much as she would like us to believe.

If threesomes turned out to be a core kink (for doms, being denied something can turn it into an obsession) then being denied it made it the MOST IMPORTANT thing of all to him. We really are just 3 year olds.

Basically, my dominant behavior map puts this guy as not deliberately manipulative but as a dom feeling powerless for reasons of financial, control over his partner (threesomes, etc) and even self agency (who he could hang out with). Having been there, it is hard to respond to this in a healthy situation. The worst part of it is that being in that powerless space and believing that if you just try hard enough, that you'll find a mutual path leaves little room for realizing that there is no amount of anything that'll fix the relationship.

I recognize some uncomfortable parallels to a younger monkey in here. I want to believe I wasn't this bad and I'll definitively claim I wasn't but, you know...

Regardless of why he did it, the behaviors described in this letter are toxic to the relationship. These two weren't a good fit and the sooner they recognized it, the better.

One positive thing for the LW, I've found jealousy issues are big when I'm not secure in the relationship. If I don't trust my partner to go get drunk on NRE with someone new they are playing with, I'm gong to be jealous. So, she should keep going to therapy and find a partner that helps her be secure in herself and she may be surprised to find that ex-partners and maybe even threesomes are no big deal. She should, however, cut out the shit of trying to control who her partner can see. That's a manipulative action that is particularly toxic for any relationship.
75
Re-reading my post, it may seemed like I was giving this guy too much of a pass.

I can understand the why of his actions. That doesn't make them any less horrible. At the very least, he was exceptionally manipulative and it would be easy to convince me that he was in abuse territory. Especially with those controlling breakups.
76
@50, 52, 53, 55, 57, 61, 62, 63:

"I want this thing."

"I don't want to do this thing."?

"I really want to to do this thing."

" But I don't want to do this thing."

"Will you do this thing?"

"No, I won't do this thing."

"Why won't you do this thing?"

"Because I don't want to do this thing."

"But why not?"

"I just don't. Do I need to give a reason?"

"But I really want to do this thing, so yes, tell me why you don't want to."

"Because it makes me have sex with someone I'm not attracted to--in fact, it makes me have sex with some I'm sexually repulsed by because contrary to the representations in pop culture, not all women are sexually attracted to women; because it forces me to perform a role I don't want to play and have a response I won't really be having so that you can pretend that I feel a way I don't; because it makes me watch as you have sex with someone else, and not only am I not a voyeur, I also struggle with extreme jealousy, and seeing you have sex with another woman right in front of me would devastate me."

"But I want this thing. Please?"
77
One more thing: Sometimes "Yes" doesn't even mean "yes." She-who-must-not-be-named was a master of that trick, although I think LW had less nefarious motivations for sprinkling a few rays of hope in her no doubt lengthy turn-downs.

And if it's still confusing to anyone, I think the guy was a dick. Bullet dodged. She should learn to be more clear and concise nevertheless, and break up with people sooner if they are this annoying.
78
@76

I don't believe that you would stick around for that. I think you'd say "stop asking" after the first "no" wasn't heard, and then you'd leave if that message wasn't received. Is that wrong?
79
@78: Are you taking about me, personally, when you said "you," or were you using the generic "you?"
80
You personally.
81
I also doubt that you are unable to distinguish the difference between "no" and "not yet." Of course in this case you don't seem to think she was ambiguous.
82
@mrj's spectre: I'll answer this in much more detail later today when I can, but let me just start by saying that there are other contexts in which people say "maybe," or "not yet," or "we'll see" and 95.5% the time they mean "no." Those are parental responses to constant whining for something you really don't want to provide or do (a dog, a motorized skateboard, a trip to some crowded amusement park, fill in the blank), but don't say "no" directly from a combination of not wanting to be that denying parent and hoping that maybe some conditions could be met that would make the kid's desire be okay, and not wanting to deal in that moment with the full-on nuclear meltdown that you know a straight-up "no" will result in.
83
@76 no cute Exactly, but you forgot to add, "Gee, I wonder if I should stay in a relationship with this guy?"
84
Ghost @70: You're undermining your own case with the example you gave @50. As Nocute helpfully counted, the hypothetical asker asked 27 times before the askee amended their answer from an unambiguous "no" to "not yet." There is absolutely nothing reasonable or expectable about this behaviour.
"Can we?" "No."
"Can we?" "No."
"Can we?" "No."
"Can we?" DTMFA. Seriously, unless someone is a complete doormat, that's how it's going to work.

This is very different from what you seem to be describing in your later posts, which is:
"Can we?" "Not yet."
"Can we?" "Probably not."
"Can we?" "Not unless X."
In this situation the asker is receiving an answer other than the unambiguous no. And while they should probably take the damn hint that the askee doesn't want to do it, it's a very different situation from repeated attempts to overturn an unambiguous no. In this case, if the askee means no they should just say no. And the asker should stop bloody asking.
85
@77: We suggest you do the best with the tools available (and dump any yes does not mean yes-ers) these people are not exceptions nor should they be used to judge others.

Again, life is complicated but why make your life and someone else's more as well? You'll encounter less problems of you stop telling people what they want to hear and take not now as not now or take yes (but I didn't mean yes) as a sign to divest and date someone who knows what they want out of you / for themselves?
86
@84 BiDanFan
The original point I was trying to make was that "I told him I was no longer comfortable with the subject and did not want to put it on the table" was immediately followed by "at least not anytime soon" which, unsurprisingly, was followed by "he never really stopped talking about it."

Now, it's abundantly clear when you read that whole sentence as she wrote it that it was just never gonna happen. She didn't say "no" unambiguously as in the hypotheticals people are giving. And that's even after she already felt nagged. Then she stuck around for more nagging which I find incomprehensible.
87
@86: Staying around in misery is probably more the default behavior, not the exception. Here in these comments while not the most common there are always people, even regulars who actively encourage incompatible people to stay together in misery. It's rarely as important to wonder why they're doing so as it is to encourage them to leave.
88
ncn @76 The scenario as described by the_ghost_of_mrj in @50 is a bit unclear. Is it 27 separate questions, each answered with "no" and the last time with "not yet", or is it one question answered with a string of 27 "no's" and a final "at least not yet"?
I was assuming the second interpretation because the first one seemed even more bizarre than the second.

If we are talking about repeated questions, to keep on nagging after, say, three "no's", seems unreasonable to me.
89
This post is eerily similar to horribly long winded conversations I've had with drunk girls at parties. It usually involves glazed eyes, back rubbing, and "yeah honey, you're way to good for him. You DEFINITELY shouldn't get back together."

I feel for this girl's friends, if their conversations are anything like this letter they must have the patience of glaciers.
90
Sometimes a 'maybe' is a true 'maybe'. It means that the askee would like to put a little thought into it, would perhaps feel comfortable doing 'act X' after the relationship has been established longer. In that case, asking again a few months down the road might result in a less uncertain response. Asking again a week later, and then three days after that, and then every twelve hours, well...
91
Ha, this sounds similar to my ex: tangled me up in knots mentally and emotionally so he could control a situation and make me think things were my fault, he's still in touch with exes which would usually not even be worth mentioning except that they'd occasionally (and sometimes weekly/daily, as in the case of one coworker/friend with bennies) hit him for some over the line flirtations, cuddling, or straight up sucking/fucking. Some of these women were seriously awful - I thought the type only existed in badly written romance stories, and he was also heinously selfish emotionally....a total narcissist in many ways. LW you totally dodged a bullet. Like me, I hope the next guy you find (or who finds you) calls you an amazing woman and tells you his c*ck is all yours. Cuz that's what you deserve.
And PS the narcissistic ex is still a sorry little playboy who can't maintain a LTR because of the aforementioned, and he still, months later, expresses interest and tries the same ol abusive tactics. My point being that even though he could choose to be a winner and put that shit aside, he's still a LOSER. By choice. I win, by choosing my own happiness over his lame bullshit.
92
A compliment for Ms Thinking.
93
My recommendation as a Alpha female submissive is try CoDa! It's a wonderful place to work out your personal issues (like jealousy). Just as AA, Codependents Anonomous gives you a program and tools to take back the crazy in relationships. In terms of self development it will teach you appropriate behaviours and communication and coping skills.
94
A lot has been covered in these comments, but one piece of advice I would give LW is to work on listening to your gut a bit more in therapy. On some level you knew that this guy was getting into dtmfa land. The sooner you can hear that little voice the better off you will be.
95
You dodged each other. You wanted different things out of a relationship, different things out of life in general, and you would have been a car crash. But you're out now, so draw a line under it. Keep on with the therapy. Date people who want the same things out of life. Good luck.
96
Tl;dr: too long, didn't read
97
Lw you definitely dodged a bullet
98
Ghost @86: The original point I was trying to make was that "I told him I was no longer comfortable with the subject and did not want to put it on the table" was immediately followed by "at least not anytime soon" which, unsurprisingly, was followed by "he never really stopped talking about it."

That result is still the opposite of "unsurprisingly." See @90. "At least not anytime soon" should be heard as "Ask again in a few months." "Not anytime soon" means WAIT. He did not WAIT. Any reasonable adult who's been asked to WAIT and does not should realise that that's the easiest way to turn a maybe into a no, which is exactly what happened here. And asking someone to WAIT and having them do the exact opposite is not "what anyone should have expected." It's aberrant, as you recognise, and also stupid, because maybe if he did WAIT like she asked she might have been more amenable.

TL;DR: "If you ask someone to wait, what do you expect?" I expect them to wait.
No brainer.
99
@88 Registered European

It's one long string, not 27 questions.
100
@31: "Good relationships don't cause my hamster to spin; mixed signals do. Mixed signals are not good. When you get them, learn to react to the negative ones. React by removing yourself for the source."

This, very much this. What makes this so hard is that mixed signals and uncertainty are exciting, in the literal sense of the word. It's the same as gambling--it's addictive, and it's easy to get lost in it. The solution is the same--to take the long view--but long views are so hard to take.