Something I'm learning (the hard way): the law of can versus can't

  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Feb 22, 2012 5:10 PM GMT
    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to share something I'm having to learn the hard way--I think more to get it off my chest than anything else, but maybe it will generate some insights.

    I had a brief (6 weeks or so) but fairly intense long-distance relationship with an awesome guy for whom I fell really hard, and the feelings seemed mutual until he suddenly emailed me to tell me that no matter how highly he thought of me or the fact that I possess the qualities he dreams of in a man, he just couldn't do a relationship at all, and that long-distance was out of the question. End of story.

    It really floored me, and I'm still trying to sort out why it was so sudden and absolute (I asked--once--to have a conversation with him, and he said he wanted to talk to me, but he has not called). But one thing I'm learning from this is that when you meet someone who you are really into and want to pursue something with, if he's full of can'ts, and you're full of can, it's just not going to work. It's been hard for me to accept that it's time to put the oars down and stop paddling against the current and just let it go. Even if the welcome mat was out, once the door to the heart closes, no amount of can-do spirit can overcome it.
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Feb 22, 2012 5:23 PM GMT
    I should qualify this by stating that this was not an online "relationship" but it started when we met on vacation and then spent a couple of weekends following that with each other, once at my place and once at his.
  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Feb 22, 2012 8:37 PM GMT
    I can really appreciate where you are coming from NC3, I've definitely been there! The good news is that you've identified the markers for incomplete relationships, and from that, you can move forward with greater confidence and relationship skill. My previous relationship was, like yours short-lived but intense, yet I learned a great deal, which I've applied to my current one, to great success. I'm sure you will be as successful, just accept that it will take time to recover, get closure, and move on.
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    Feb 22, 2012 8:47 PM GMT
    he turned you down? well he is clearly insane so you may have had a lucky escape.

    good luck with the next one, handsome dude. icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 22, 2012 8:58 PM GMT
    I had a long distance relationship that lasted 11 years; it was until death do we part, not once did we ever communicate via e/mail, it was always snail mail, and I still have all those love letters from Russia with love. So they can work; but then we truly loved each other too. All the best.
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Feb 22, 2012 9:28 PM GMT
    Thanks, guys, for the kind comments and the good wishes.

    I'm a firm believer in "where there's a will, there's a way," but the willingness has to be fully embraced and expressed by both parties. I'm not angry, just baffled and wishing I could have some explanation. I know it won't change anything, but it might help me to gain closure.

  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Feb 23, 2012 1:48 AM GMT
    NC3athlete saidThanks, guys, for the kind comments and the good wishes.

    I'm a firm believer in "where there's a will, there's a way," but the willingness has to be fully embraced and expressed by both parties. I'm not angry, just baffled and wishing I could have some explanation. I know it won't change anything, but it might help me to gain closure.



    Closure is everything! Whether its work/relationship or family related, bringing things to a logical finish/completion is so essential. My last relationship ended back in Sept of 09, and I haven't been able to date - my self esteem was shattered, and I was still holding the torch for him, even though he had long since moved on.

    Finally, this fall i was on business in his city, and I looked him up. He was glad to hear from me, we spent some time together (non-sexually) and I was finally able to say goodbye to him. The relief in my head was gigantic, and nearly instantaneous.

    Less than 6 weeks later - and I honestly wasn't looking to date anyone - I met an awesome guy, pretty much by accident, and we've been together 4 months now. I realize now that if I hadn't made that business trip, and hadn't gotten the closure that i did, I'd never have been receptive to my new man, and I'd still be in some weird relationship averse limbo land.

    I'm not saying that you need to recontact this guy - everyone's need and method of gaining closure is different - but the closure will come. Hang in there!
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Feb 23, 2012 3:01 AM GMT
    Thanks, A303guy. I think it's so wise of you to actively seek out the closure you needed. I think we forget how a disappointing end to a relationship (whether initiated by you or the other guy) can otherwise have a haunting effect on any potential future one without the proper closure. I think with my guy the thing that bothers me most is that he is withholding any possibility of a real discussion about what led to his sudden decision to close it down. Mostly, it has been a real disappointment in the person I thought he was, but yeah, it does hurt that he hasn't accorded me that basic dignity.

    I suppose I will just have to be mindful of not giving in to negativity and let time work its magic.
  • dancedancekj

    Posts: 1761

    Feb 23, 2012 3:15 AM GMT
    I am in a somewhat similar situation. I've been communicating and visiting/being visited by an individual who is a distance away. Nothing is written in stone at all, minus the fact we both find each other very attractive, and we have very good chemistry together. If anything were to ever happen, it would have to take a very long time - we're talking 6 months before anything substantial would result, years before we would consider dating I believe - simply because we are unable to spend much time in person together due to our current life situations. I'm fully prepared for this to end at any moment, and am frankly quite surprised it is still ongoing currently, but I also still am interested and am just waiting to see what happens.

    Put it this way - at least he was honest with you now. And frankly, it's great that he was able to tell you definitively and firmly that due to the reality of the situation, the long distance relationship does not work for him and that he is not looking for a relationship. It stings now, I know, but it will be better in the long run. Better he be honest with himself and you right now, as opposed to dragging things out for far longer.

    I know that you're viewing this as a "can-do" attitude vs. "can not" attitude, but it's probably a bit more complicated than that. I know that despite me wishing to date one of the hundreds of gorgeous RJ men that grace these forums, long distance relationships are difficult at best, and that for a lot of people, it isn't something they're interested in.

    I'm guessing his position has been slowly building over many weeks. He probably gave it a try, because he did think highly of you, and was interested in you. He possibly wanted to give it a try, and to see perhaps if he could do the long distance relationship. However, he has discovered more and more that this isn't something that works for him. It caught you off guard since things were going swimmingly, but for him it has been a long time in the works I think.

    I applaud your "can-do" attitude, but there are some circumstances in which no amount of effort, commitment, and creativity will solve the issues that arise. You'd be better off working for a relationship that will give you better results.

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    Feb 23, 2012 3:20 AM GMT
    NC3athlete saidI should qualify this by stating that this was not an online "relationship" but it started when we met on vacation and then spent a couple of weekends following that with each other, once at my place and once at his.

    Have you not been out very long? As poorly as he handled this, it's not unusual. Some guys never took Gay Breakups 101, and totally mismanage it, as he apparently did.

    I'm sorry you experienced this. As already noted here, you appear to be a keeper in every sense, and this guy simply shot himself in the foot by unceremoniously dumping you. Leaving it to some other guy to take home the prize you seem to be.

    I also had an LDR, of 1500 miles, that lasted for 7 months. And then we became partners and moved-in together. Don't cross distance off your list, but maybe your man evaluation skills need some work.

    And know that we all get it wrong sometimes, so we pick up the pieces and try all over again. And that we NEVER let the legacy of the guy who treats us badly be a continuing hurt that holds us back and punishes us for his own failings. The best revenge is our own success after a guy dumps us.
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Feb 23, 2012 11:45 AM GMT
    Thanks, Dancedance and ArtDeco. I appreciate your insights.

    Dancedance, you're right that distance isn't for everyone, and it takes a very long time and lots of face time to really get to know someone well. I have to accept that it wasn't for him, though I suspect that his ex-bf is still in the picture more than he led me to believe, which is probably the real underlying factor. Either way, I can't change that and have no other choice but to bow out graciously. It's tough to swallow, though.

    ArtDeco, thanks for your kind words. I've been happily out since I was 21, but it has been several years since my last serious relationship. Though I've dated lots of guys in the interim, none really gained much traction or were very serious (and I always made the point of breaking things off with them as honestly and gently as possible). I guess this one meant so much to me because meeting him was one of those "thunderbolt" moments, where one simply feels compelled to give it one's best shot. Apparently a one-sided thunderbolt, alas.
  • alphatop

    Posts: 1955

    Feb 23, 2012 12:14 PM GMT
    Others have summarized pretty much everything, I just wish to point out two things. First, you are almost 50 years old, yet while I was reading your post, I was under impression that you must be high school or college student. Second, it lasted less than 2 months. Not 2 years, or 2 decades. Just 2 months.
    I don't want to be a prick, but honestly, I don't see a problem. Instead of breaking your head with a guy who clearly doesn't want anything serious, just play the field. You are smoking hot. Best of luckicon_wink.gif
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Feb 23, 2012 12:27 PM GMT
    Thanks, Antonomad--I know you're not trying to be critical. I realize fully that it definitely seems like my emotions are outsized relative to the situation. Believe me, I have very much been asking myself why that is. Sometimes you just can't help feeling the way you feel, even though it seems crazy.
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    Feb 23, 2012 2:29 PM GMT
    NC3athlete saidSometimes you just can't help feeling the way you feel, even though it seems crazy.

    +10. Happened to me too and not once.
    If he was full of can'ts, he didn't really WANT to make it work, for whatever reason. Best to move on.
    One of my favourite quotes is by Henry Ford: "Whether you think you can, or think you can't - you are right."
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    Feb 23, 2012 2:37 PM GMT
    NC3athlete saidThanks, guys, for the kind comments and the good wishes.

    I'm a firm believer in "where there's a will, there's a way," but the willingness has to be fully embraced and expressed by both parties. I'm not angry, just baffled and wishing I could have some explanation. I know it won't change anything, but it might help me to gain closure.



    Long distance relationships can be tricky. Being away from someone you love is tough esp if you can't see each other oftenly. For me personally it is mostly not going to work out as when I get that close to someone I can't stand to be without him. Imagine you having one of the days where everything breaks down and all you want is to have that person close to you holding you but it can't happen because you two are so far away. I know love is more about an emotional connection but physical is just equally important. It seems like you have a very different set of mind about relationship than him.
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    Feb 23, 2012 2:42 PM GMT
    I'm sorry for the way you were treated. He is clearly an idiot...

    You're a good looking and sexy man. You'll recover and find someone else that will appreciate you for who you are and go the extra mile to make it work.

    I don't understand why so many gay men seem not to be able to commit or put 110% effort into making something work with another person.

    Good luck.