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Post by The Wisp on Thu May 07, 2015 11:33 pm

So, as came up in the comments on DNL prime, and more and more recently*, I get really upset and even triggered by certain dating topics and attitudes. I don't want to be, I want to be able to manage these emotions and eventually overcome them.

So, I'm going to describe what I think is behind these emotions. They may or may not reflect something real in the world.

These negative emotions pop up in a few cases. One is in cases when I encounter people who describe getting laid really easily with no acknowledgement that others struggle with that, and that those who struggle aren't all bad or oblivious people. I feel like this is very much a case of envy.

Another case that seems common is when people are down on male sexuality for one reason or another. Whether it be criticizing young men for "using" young women, or criticizing men for being selfish in bed, or whatever.

Another is anything that feels like it's putting a lot of demands on men in dating and not a lot on women.

There are certain others.

I think a lot of it comes down to some very low self-esteem when it comes to men and dating, and myself and dating. I guess I feel like male sexuality and men in dating don't get valued very much. I guess I feel like the default for men in dating in sex is to not be of much value, to be a burden and something that must be proven to be of value. I think deep down I feel like men in dating and sex are inherently exploitative, manipulative, and gross, not desirable. It feels like there isn't as much potential for men in dating or sex to be gifts with and not burdens without ancillary benefits like status, success, an unusually charismatic personality, etc. I feel like men have to offer much much more to be seen as valuable, and so usually either have to be manipulative or be themselves exploited. When I see or hear about a man with a good relationship with a woman, I feel like it is because of the ancillary benefits brought rather than just being an attractive person. It doesn't seem to affect my general attitude. I'm not really sure I'm making sense here.

Anyway, I'm just wonder what I can do. I get very very emotional when these sore spots are hit, and I feel like this is making me less happy and may hurt me with dating in the future.

*I suspect part of the explanation for the increasing frequency may have been redirected academic stress, this past semester was really rough


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Post by PintsizeBro on Fri May 08, 2015 1:11 am

It stands to reason that you're more likely to notice articles, stories, etc that feel like they're targeted at you (even if they're not) and you're less likely to notice them if they are not targeted to you. And the articles you do read, you filter through your expectations.

Remember that there is a difference between devaluing an aspect of who a person is and criticizing their (bad) behavior. Being selfish in bed and treating partners badly is not what male sexuality is. It's bad behavior, and it should be criticized. So criticizing men who are selfish in bed for being selfish is not devaluing male sexuality.

The "men aren't sexy" idea is extremely common and hard to shake. And it's directly tied to the devaluing of female sexuality. The logic goes that women are sexy and men want them, men aren't sexy and women don't want them; that's why men have to offer other benefits to entice women to have sex with them. It's hard to invert this, but you have to: men are sexy and women want them.

So what to do about all this? Read some crappy media aimed at women. One of those Cosmo "50 tips to wow him in bed" articles to remind yourself that for every crappy message you get about what you have to do to please women, a woman is getting an equally crappy message about what she has to do to please men.

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Post by Conreezy on Fri May 08, 2015 1:18 am

I think a lot of it comes down to some very low self-esteem when it comes to men and dating, and myself and dating.

I understand this feeling Though I don't date, I am in a relationship. I worry frequently about becoming the shit-bag husband lots of women complain about. (Also, in a more general sense, I worry being the shit-bag man women complain about.)

While reading those opinions has given me incredible insight into how I can be a better husband/person, there comes a point where I have to stop studying the theoretical aspects of these things by getting away from these discussions entirely. (It's just my opinion, but I think spending too much time picking apart the smallest details of gender relations, sexuality, and dating becomes detrimental to applying any learned lessons because of how endless and fragile the possible scenarios are.)

Life's usually not as deeply analyzed as stories on the internet are, after all, even in a mind as cynical as mine. Practicing the concepts I learn here in real life helps restore my confidence and helps me feel more accepting of the fact that I'm flawed.

When I see or hear about a man with a good relationship with a woman, I feel like it is because of the ancillary benefits brought rather than just being an attractive person.

Aren't those benefits part of being an attractive person

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Post by Autumnflame on Fri May 08, 2015 12:42 pm

The Wisp wrote: When I see or hear about a man with a good relationship with a woman, I feel like it is because of the ancillary benefits brought rather than just being an attractive person.

Isn't that a factor for the woman, too? A woman in a good relationship with a man is in a good relationship because she has other things to offer besides just attractiveness, like kindness, respect, caring, a compatible sense of humor and values, etc. Any relationship where at least one side doesn't bring anything more than being hot doesn't really sound like a good relationship. You might be underestimating the number of bad relationships out there.
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Post by eselle28 on Fri May 08, 2015 1:20 pm

There are a few strategies for managing emotional reactions to triggering stimuli.

One is to look at the triggering material critically. If you can, it may be helpful to take a breath and use the intellectual part of you to think about who a piece is addressed to, what its aim is, and whether its author's desires or boundaries or frustrations actually have that much to do with you specifically. Sometimes it might and sometimes it might still have some aspects that are really objectionable, and other times you might be able to step back and respond with some sort of version of your kink's not my kink, but your kink's okay.

I would say that's a strategy for when you're feeling strong, though. One for when you're not feeling so strong is to be attentive to when those feelings tend to be strongest and your reactions tend to come the quickest and with the smallest triggers. There may be both long term factors (exams, family tensions) and short term signals (thoughts that are phrased in a certain way, or maybe repetitive, or maybe a negative fantasy about your worst case scenario relationship) that you can identify. Long term factors might be a sign that it's good to stay away from media you know to be especially triggering for a few days. Short term signals might be a sign that it's time to launch some kind of self-care operation involving stepping away and doing something comforting to you.

A third strategy which I think you may want to experiment with a bit might be to seek out and quietly be an audience for people discussing triggers about something that doesn't trigger you even a little bit. People with disordered eating or PTSD need to learn to manage their triggers as well. You might pick up some practical tips by reading their discussions, but even more importantly, I think it's sometimes good to see the thoughts of people who have strong emotional reactions to things that don't bother you at all and that you might be writing about or bringing up in conversation. It sometimes helps with remembering both that people writing about dating in ways that are painful to you aren't necessarily doing it at you, distinguishing the times when they are being more malicious from the ones where they aren't, and remembering that some of your hopes and fears for relationships may not be neutral reading for everyone else. It's more a mindset than a practical step, but I've found that it's at least helped me when it comes to being around people who blab constantly about their diets and how fat they feel and how awesome Crossfit is.
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Post by Enail on Fri May 08, 2015 1:56 pm

It seems like you often feel like these stories and articles are by default talking to or about you. I wonder if it might be helpful for you, when you start feeling affected by an article, to step back for a moment and try and identify who the article is addressing or who the "you" is at that point, and what you think their goal is.

This isn't always easy! DNL often says things like "we've got to do better" at speaking up against sexual harassment, say, addressing all men as 'we' in the same article where he talks about how men might not know any better than try and hit on a woman in a situation where she wouldn't feel safe, or even about men intentionally harassing women - there's a switch of audience that's not explicit there, between 'men who collectively should use male privilege to help stop harassment' and 'men who are upset that they got called creepy' or 'the men who are the problem.'

Or, the article you linked to recently from that woman who talked about dicks being cheap, the tagline was addressed to men and seemed to be pretty clearly talking to men who are not having success on Tinder - it was priming you to expect advice or admonishment about your behavior in online dating.  But the article was mostly her talking about her joy in discovering that she could reject for any reason and the gleeful freedom she feels doing so. She talks about the terrible messages she's received and what kinds of men she thinks are successful in OLD, but in spite of the tagline, it's not framed as an advice article, or even a rant, it's certainly not balanced or claiming to be. I'd say her main points are 1. She likes that she feels able to reject people who don't interest her for any reason at all (be it that they're rude and inappropriate or that they enjoy going to an event that she presumably dislikes), and 2. She recommends Tinder.

Do you see what I mean? A lot of articles are mixed in goal, and it might help to parse out their angle and their focus. Even when there's a genuinely problematic message included or implied in a text, it might be useful to recognize when that's something the author is trying to say, and when it's something they probably aren't thinking about at all - just demonstrating some of the lazy default assumptions in our society that you probably already know many people are affected by, rather than making troubling assertions. Of course, sometimes it's worth discussing harmful assumptions or implications hidden in a text, but sometimes maybe it's useful to say, "oh, yeah, she's got some of those same careless stereotypes in her thinking about X, and that bugs me, but that's not the part that she's trying to champion here, so I'll just note that it's got them and not worry about it too much."

ETA: Or what Eselle said much more clearly.
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Post by litterature on Fri May 08, 2015 3:17 pm

Enail wrote:It seems like you often feel like these stories and articles are by default talking to or about you. I wonder if it might be helpful for you, when you start feeling affected by an article, to step back for a moment and try and identify who the article is addressing or who the "you" is at that point, and what you think their goal is.

This isn't always easy! DNL often says things like "we've got to do better" at speaking up against sexual harassment, say, addressing all men as 'we' in the same article where he talks about how men might not know any better than try and hit on a woman in a situation where she wouldn't feel safe, or even about men intentionally harassing women - there's a switch of audience that's not explicit there, between 'men who collectively should use male privilege to help stop harassment' and 'men who are upset that they got called creepy' or 'the men who are the problem.'

Or, the article you linked to recently from that woman who talked about dicks being cheap, the tagline was addressed to men and seemed to be pretty clearly talking to men who are not having success on Tinder - it was priming you to expect advice or admonishment about your behavior in online dating.  But the article was mostly her talking about her joy in discovering that she could reject for any reason and the gleeful freedom she feels doing so. She talks about the terrible messages she's received and what kinds of men she thinks are successful in OLD, but in spite of the tagline, it's not framed as an advice article, or even a rant, it's certainly not balanced or claiming to be. I'd say her main points are 1. She likes that she feels able to reject people who don't interest her for any reason at all (be it that they're rude and inappropriate or that they enjoy going to an event that she presumably dislikes), and 2. She recommends Tinder.

Do you see what I mean? A lot of articles are mixed in goal, and it might help to parse out their angle and their focus. Even when there's a genuinely problematic message included or implied in a text, it might be useful to recognize when that's something the author is trying to say, and when it's something they probably aren't thinking about at all - just demonstrating some of the lazy default assumptions in our society that you probably already know many people are affected by, rather than making troubling assertions. Of course, sometimes it's worth discussing harmful assumptions or implications hidden in a text, but sometimes maybe it's useful to say, "oh, yeah, she's got some of those same careless stereotypes in her thinking about X, and that bugs me, but that's not the part that she's trying to champion here, so I'll just note that it's got them and not worry about it too much."

ETA: Or what Eselle said much more clearly.

It should be noted, too, that that one article was written in a completely bollocks pseudo-witty style which I suspect is the actual issue here (the improv troupe bit in particular was pure cringe.) I'd simply think "well, fair points she's making but the way this person writes makes her look like a complete and utter knobhead to me, plus all of this is extremely obvious" and then forget about it. Even with touchy subjects, you have to separate the wheat from the chaff sometimes...

I'll have to say, though, that when I was a teenager I used to feel terrible about what being male supposedly means, and while I eventually forgot about it, it's not something I've really ever got over. For example I find it difficult to relate to males. Whenever a male wants to be friends with me I usually end up giving them the cold shoulder and running away because there's no way to avoid the point where things get too awkward. In fact I'm trying not to play a stupid character with my only male friend (I tried to sneak out on him but he pulled some ninja moves so we actually became friends... I guess) and I think our friendship is going to wither and die because he's visibly bored, but I digress. My point is I suspect this is actually a very common feeling, so maybe you could think about that so you can put whatever you read about "men" into perspective? If that's not who you are, then you shouldn't care, right? Any expectations people have about what men are supposed to be like are luckily easy to thwart as long as you aren't as stupid as I am and feel comfortable revealing what you're actually like to people who aren't close to you.

And besides, when it comes to dating, it's not like people are waiting with their knives out so they can be mean to you. Dating is about finding people you like, right? About wanting to like people. The problem of some people not being decent human beings is a different matter altogether.

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Post by The Wisp on Fri May 08, 2015 9:53 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:It stands to reason that you're more likely to notice articles, stories, etc that feel like they're targeted at you (even if they're not) and you're less likely to notice them if they are not targeted to you. And the articles you do read, you filter through your expectations.


Totally.

PintsizeBro wrote:Remember that there is a difference between devaluing an aspect of who a person is and criticizing their (bad) behavior. Being selfish in bed and treating partners badly is not what male sexuality is. It's bad behavior, and it should be criticized. So criticizing men who are selfish in bed for being selfish is not devaluing male sexuality.

When I've heard so so much more about the bad than the good, it's hard to have this (correct; rational) view of it.

PintsizeBro wrote:The "men aren't sexy" idea is extremely common and hard to shake. And it's directly tied to the devaluing of female sexuality. The logic goes that women are sexy and men want them, men aren't sexy and women don't want them; that's why men have to offer other benefits to entice women to have sex with them. It's hard to invert this, but you have to: men are sexy and women want them.

You summarized what underlies a lot of these feels so well here.

But how to invert it? I've understood this at a theoretical level for years, but it's a very tenuous belief. It takes so little to have men and male sexuality being desirable and valuable to (straight) women feel like a contradiction to me.

PintsizeBro wrote:So what to do about all this? Read some crappy media aimed at women. One of those Cosmo "50 tips to wow him in bed" articles to remind yourself that for every crappy message you get about what you have to do to please women, a woman is getting an equally crappy message about what she has to do to please men.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean, but how does seeing how women have it bad too help?

Conreezy wrote:I understand this feeling Though I don't date, I am in a relationship. I worry frequently about becoming the shit-bag husband lots of women complain about. (Also, in a more general sense, I worry being the shit-bag man women complain about.)

While reading those opinions has given me incredible insight into how I can be a better husband/person, there comes a point where I have to stop studying the theoretical aspects of these things by getting away from these discussions entirely. (It's just my opinion, but I think spending too much time picking apart the smallest details of gender relations, sexuality, and dating becomes detrimental to applying any learned lessons because of how endless and fragile the possible scenarios are.)

Life's usually not as deeply analyzed as stories on the internet are, after all, even in a mind as cynical as mine. Practicing the concepts I learn here in real life helps restore my confidence and helps me feel more accepting of the fact that I'm flawed.

I agree, but I feel like a lot of these emotions would persist even in the real world and hinder me. They would prevent me from even practicing.

Autumnflame wrote:Isn't that a factor for the woman, too? A woman in a good relationship with a man is in a good relationship because she has other things to offer besides just attractiveness, like kindness, respect, caring, a compatible sense of humor and values, etc. Any relationship where at least one side doesn't bring anything more than being hot doesn't really sound like a good relationship. You might be underestimating the number of bad relationships out there.

I guess it's more that deep down I feel like the attractiveness + sex side of things adds nothing of value at best, at some level. Which I know isn't true in my rational mind, but...

eselle28 wrote:One is to look at the triggering material critically...

A third strategy which I think you may want to experiment with a bit might be to seek out and quietly be an audience for people discussing triggers about something that doesn't trigger you even a little bit. People with disordered eating or PTSD need to learn to manage their triggers as well. You might pick up some practical tips by reading their discussions, but even more importantly, I think it's sometimes good to see the thoughts of people who have strong emotional reactions to things that don't bother you at all and that you might be writing about or bringing up in conversation. It sometimes helps with remembering both that people writing about dating in ways that are painful to you aren't necessarily doing it at you, distinguishing the times when they are being more malicious from the ones where they aren't, and remembering that some of your hopes and fears for relationships may not be neutral reading for everyone else. It's more a mindset than a practical step, but I've found that it's at least helped me when it comes to being around people who blab constantly about their diets and how fat they feel and how awesome Crossfit is.

This is all great advice, thank you!

What do you mean by the bolded part?

enail wrote:Or, the article you linked to recently from that woman who talked about dicks being cheap, the tagline was addressed to men and seemed to be pretty clearly talking to men who are not having success on Tinder - it was priming you to expect advice or admonishment about your behavior in online dating. But the article was mostly her talking about her joy in discovering that she could reject for any reason and the gleeful freedom she feels doing so. She talks about the terrible messages she's received and what kinds of men she thinks are successful in OLD, but in spite of the tagline, it's not framed as an advice article, or even a rant, it's certainly not balanced or claiming to be. I'd say her main points are 1. She likes that she feels able to reject people who don't interest her for any reason at all (be it that they're rude and inappropriate or that they enjoy going to an event that she presumably dislikes), and 2. She recommends Tinder.

This is a very good point, and one I hadn't thought of (I should know better by now than to attribute titles and taglines of any article to the author unless it is a personal blog)

litterature wrote:My point is I suspect this is actually a very common feeling, so maybe you could think about that so you can put whatever you read about "men" into perspective? If that's not who you are, then you shouldn't care, right? Any expectations people have about what men are supposed to be like are luckily easy to thwart as long as you aren't as stupid as I am and feel comfortable revealing what you're actually like to people who aren't close to you.

First, sorry to be that guy, but you kept referring to men as 'males'. I don't mean that as a harsh criticism or anything, just pointing it out.

I find I can relate to some other men. Rather, it's more about, in part, the whole "men can't be sexy" thing pintsizedbro mentioned, and maybe "men aren't very valuable to women as sexual partners or in relationships unless they really go above and beyond".
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Post by Enail on Fri May 08, 2015 10:24 pm

The Wisp wrote:
PintsizeBro wrote:So what to do about all this? Read some crappy media aimed at women. One of those Cosmo "50 tips to wow him in bed" articles to remind yourself that for every crappy message you get about what you have to do to please women, a woman is getting an equally crappy message about what she has to do to please men.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean, but how does seeing how women have it bad too help?

I may be taking this somewhere other than PintsizeBro was meaning, but I think it might be less that women have it bad and more that media aimed at women believes that men's sexuality is desirable to women, enough so that they consider it an excellent carrot to dangle for whatever messages they want to sell, and, since those headlines sell magazines, that shows that women themselves think so too. That shows that (most) women want to please men, they want to feel like what they can offer is good enough for men's desire, enough so that they might even grab at whatever ridiculous and/or terrible suggestions Cosmo serves up if it promises it can help them do that.
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Post by PintsizeBro on Fri May 08, 2015 10:54 pm

Regarding men behaving badly, the fact of the matter is we live in a society where most men can get away with behaving badly. And people are lazy - if they can get away with behaving badly, many will. So a lot of men behave badly, and that means that you're going to see a lot of women talking about that. Perhaps the hardest thing to remember is, if you're not behaving in the way they're criticizing, they're not talking about you.

If you're in that "C grade" range of being inoffensive but unable to attract positive attention, it feels like you're invisible. And you're used to reading about men behaving badly, so when you read women (and other men) talking about men behaving badly, it feels like they're talking about you. Because hey, negative attention is better than no attention. But you are better than the failing-grade assholes who get the negative attention.

Regarding my suggestion to read Cosmo, Enail is exactly correct.

The article on DNL Prime today couldn't have better timing. The Letter Writer is a woman who has intense desire for her husband and is deeply hurt by his lack of desire for her. Reading her letter I sympathized with her husband, yes, but I empathized far more with her. And I think you do too, as she is in the position that you feel yourself to be in with women.

It's easy to get swept away by the current of your own negativity and fear. Hold on to examples like this letter, they're a lifeline.

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Post by Guest on Sat May 09, 2015 1:20 am

litterature wrote:It should be noted, too, that that one article was written in a completely bollocks pseudo-witty style which I suspect is the actual issue here (the improv troupe bit in particular was pure cringe.) I'd simply think "well, fair points she's making but the way this person writes makes her look like a complete and utter knobhead to me, plus all of this is extremely obvious" and then forget about it. Even with touchy subjects, you have to separate the wheat from the chaff sometimes...

Whether or not this is directly related to Wisp's issues with these articles, I do see a lot of fallout related to this on articles similar to this. I myself don't exactly dig the smarmy tone. Hell, a lot of DNL's supposedly 'positive' articles with regards to men read like an exercise in trying way too hard to be 'smart and funny'.

That said, it's a matter of just finding people who write the same messages in a tone you find more palatable. That can take some serious shopping around, but it's worth it for peace of mind. It can also be easy to fall for someone with less than stellar messages or someone who simply tells you what you want to hear because they don't practice smart arse writing styles. So, yeah, watch out for that.

All that said, I share a lot of the same concerns, Wisp. Not to the same degree, I think, but I suspect litterature is right and it's not exactly uncommon a feeling. Especially if you feel like you're already in a compromised position when it comes to relationships.

PintsizeBro wrote:If you're in that "C grade" range of being inoffensive but unable to attract positive attention, it feels like you're invisible.

I can't speak for Wisp, but I'd say it's less 'invisible' and more 'cops entirely different negative attention'. All stemming from that 'not man enough' bullshit, of course.

It makes me think that a lot of 'inoffensive' or more passively inclined men get pissed at people poo-pooing macho behaviour that they don't even participate in or approve of because, well, even being what a man is supposed to be apparently sucks too!

When the clear routes are closed to you and you are left with nothing but what could be considered unknown waters, it's pretty easy to sink into depression, take up disturbing views to defend yourself or succumb to apathy of the entire issue altogether (*ahem* that's where I come in).

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Post by lonelyoffices on Sat May 09, 2015 12:04 pm

Wisp, I only have a moment so I wanted to make a quick comment and then return to this topic later.

I'm nearly 58. When some triggery something gets me going, it often doesn't apply to me in the same way it doesn't apply to you; neither of us are the person or do the things being discussed. Then in my case, I'm older and in a relationship and so there's another layer of distinction, and why do I even care? And yet, when I read what you and many other young men are struggling with, I'm right there with you sometimes. Right there.

So I appreciate you opening up and looking critically at yourself. So much of my past is a baffling clusterfuck to me, and while I wonder if I should just let it go, I can't quite. Looking back through experiences like yours helps me see where I went wrong, and by "went wrong" I mean my failure to look critically at what I was doing, and using the info to do something different. Had I done that, I might not be sitting here now with my stomach in a knot.


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Post by eselle28 on Sat May 09, 2015 6:03 pm

The Wisp wrote:
eselle28 wrote:One is to look at the triggering material critically...

A third strategy which I think you may want to experiment with a bit might be to seek out and quietly be an audience for people discussing triggers about something that doesn't trigger you even a little bit. People with disordered eating or PTSD need to learn to manage their triggers as well. You might pick up some practical tips by reading their discussions, but even more importantly, I think it's sometimes good to see the thoughts of people who have strong emotional reactions to things that don't bother you at all and that you might be writing about or bringing up in conversation. It sometimes helps with remembering both that people writing about dating in ways that are painful to you aren't necessarily doing it at you, distinguishing the times when they are being more malicious from the ones where they aren't, and remembering that some of your hopes and fears for relationships may not be neutral reading for everyone else. It's more a mindset than a practical step, but I've found that it's at least helped me when it comes to being around people who blab constantly about their diets and how fat they feel and how awesome Crossfit is.

This is all great advice, thank you!

What do you mean by the bolded part?

I was given that exercise by my therapist when I was working through a bulimia relapse, and the proposed reason was that I might pick up some helpful management strategies without having to read about food and weight. A possibly unintended side effect was realizing that I sometimes say and write things that probably trigger other people without having any idea I'm doing that. Of course, I don't mean to. I may have no idea that person is even my audience or that they're triggered by that particular thing. I'm just expressing myself in ways that would generally be considered socially appropriate, sometimes about things that are important and helpful to me to discuss.

I think there may be some use for you in having an experience where you identify more with the person who creates the trigger rather than the person who is triggered as well. You probably say some things that trigger people with various issues, and there's probably a young woman out there somewhere whose anxieties revolve around ideas about men only being interested in casual sex and multiple partners who'd be triggered by your honest comments about what you'd like in a relationship - even though they're valid and reasonable and even though you're not trying to hurt anyone and even though it's helpful to you to be able to talk about those topics. The ideal end product of this is eventually being able to step back from the trigger a bit by putting yourself in the other person's shoes and thinking about things from their perspective. Worst case scenario, though, you still might pick up some tips without getting triggered in the process.
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[adv/disc] Managing and overcoming negative emotions around dating Empty Re: [adv/disc] Managing and overcoming negative emotions around dating

Post by The Wisp on Sun May 10, 2015 9:17 pm

Enail wrote:I may be taking this somewhere other than PintsizeBro was meaning, but I think it might be less that women have it bad and more that media aimed at women believes that men's sexuality is desirable to women, enough so that they consider it an excellent carrot to dangle for whatever messages they want to sell, and, since those headlines sell magazines, that shows that women themselves think so too. That shows that (most) women want to please men, they want to feel like what they can offer is good enough for men's desire, enough so that they might even grab at whatever ridiculous and/or terrible suggestions Cosmo serves up if it promises it can help them do that.

Okay, that makes sense.

PintsizeBro wrote:Regarding men behaving badly, the fact of the matter is we live in a society where most men can get away with behaving badly. And people are lazy - if they can get away with behaving badly, many will. So a lot of men behave badly, and that means that you're going to see a lot of women talking about that. Perhaps the hardest thing to remember is, if you're not behaving in the way they're criticizing, they're not talking about you.

True. Sometimes I feel like it is relevant to me all the same and harms me, like a well kept house whose value is damaged because it is in a neighborhood full of poorly cared for homes.

PintsizeBro wrote:The article on DNL Prime today couldn't have better timing. The Letter Writer is a woman who has intense desire for her husband and is deeply hurt by his lack of desire for her. Reading her letter I sympathized with her husband, yes, but I empathized far more with her. And I think you do too, as she is in the position that you feel yourself to be in with women.

It's easy to get swept away by the current of your own negativity and fear. Hold on to examples like this letter, they're a lifeline.

I will.

Though, to be honest, my jerkbrain says that she merely wanted to be desired, but didn't desire her husband per se. She desired him desiring her. I know that's kinda a BS distinction, but there ya go.

MapWater wrote:All that said, I share a lot of the same concerns, Wisp. Not to the same degree, I think, but I suspect litterature is right and it's not exactly uncommon a feeling. Especially if you feel like you're already in a compromised position when it comes to relationships.


I'm glad I'm not alone on this.

MapWater wrote:I can't speak for Wisp, but I'd say it's less 'invisible' and more 'cops entirely different negative attention'. All stemming from that 'not man enough' bullshit, of course.

It makes me think that a lot of 'inoffensive' or more passively inclined men get pissed at people poo-pooing macho behaviour that they don't even participate in or approve of because, well, even being what a man is supposed to be apparently sucks too!

I would say I actually do feel more invisible. I generally think the C-grade guy who is good enough to not be offensive but not so good as to attract people are generally ignored. It sometimes seems like it's either creepers and misogynists on one side, and charismatic progressive dudes who somehow manage to be traditionally masculine minus the misogyny.*

I do agree it's hard to know what to do. I don't know about you, but I'm still pretty attached to being a man in some ineffable sense, and I'm not androgynous really, but I also reject certain mainstream masculine traits. It's hard to know what to do. Especially when it feels like the positive progressive alternative often proposed is just as demanding, if not more demanding, than traditional masculinity in many ways (I will say that this line of discussion is straying off-topic; if you want to continue it mapwater a threadsplit would work).

*Exaggerated both sides to make the point, to be clear

eselle28 wrote:I was given that exercise by my therapist when I was working through a bulimia relapse, and the proposed reason was that I might pick up some helpful management strategies without having to read about food and weight. A possibly unintended side effect was realizing that I sometimes say and write things that probably trigger other people without having any idea I'm doing that. Of course, I don't mean to. I may have no idea that person is even my audience or that they're triggered by that particular thing. I'm just expressing myself in ways that would generally be considered socially appropriate, sometimes about things that are important and helpful to me to discuss.

I think there may be some use for you in having an experience where you identify more with the person who creates the trigger rather than the person who is triggered as well. You probably say some things that trigger people with various issues, and there's probably a young woman out there somewhere whose anxieties revolve around ideas about men only being interested in casual sex and multiple partners who'd be triggered by your honest comments about what you'd like in a relationship - even though they're valid and reasonable and even though you're not trying to hurt anyone and even though it's helpful to you to be able to talk about those topics. The ideal end product of this is eventually being able to step back from the trigger a bit by putting yourself in the other person's shoes and thinking about things from their perspective. Worst case scenario, though, you still might pick up some tips without getting triggered in the process.

Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you for elaborating.
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Post by kath on Tue May 12, 2015 2:38 am

The Wisp wrote:True. Sometimes I feel like it is relevant to me all the same and harms me, like a well kept house whose value is damaged because it is in a neighborhood full of poorly cared for homes.
Wisp, could you also look for counter-examples? Especailly when the "house" isn't your goal for "well-cared-for"?

Out in the world, there are couples where the men don't read as "ideal" (in looks, or in whatever other qualities), but their partners seem to be pretty darn into them, so they can't have had their "value" completely decimated by the broken windows that are some other men. Ideally these would be people you know a bit, because it's easy to make assumptions about why that person you think is hot is with that guy you think is not, but when you know the people, it's a little easier to see that they do snuggle on couches or kiss in public or whatever.

Not sure if that would help, so if not, don't do it Smile. It might be hard to find them, because it would be consciously working against a cognitive bias (which is of course very difficult), but since you're less likely to notice those examples because they don't fit a world-view that probably isn't doing you a ton of good to try and keep up, actively looking for the counter-evidence may help over time to re-calibrate a bit.

(Now of course, these men are attractive in whatever way is important to the women they are having loving relationships with, so this won't be evidence that men who aren't in any way attractive can ... still be attractive. But hopefully it would serve as evidence that women do find men attractive in ways you might not understand or anticipate automatically, or be able to easily wave away because you consider the men to be outliers in some way. )


The Wisp wrote:
Though, to be honest, my jerkbrain says that she merely wanted to be desired, but didn't desire her husband per se. She desired him desiring her. I know that's kinda a BS distinction, but there ya go.

I think that can be a real distinction, and I haven't read the letter so I can't / am not trying to speak to the example, but I also think that "we were both attracted to eachother, and now he's not attracted to me so I can't really do the things that provided the most intense experience of my attraction to him / our mutual attraction" is also a real feeling that women have too. Do you sort of think women can't / don't have the "I'm attracted to you and you aren't attracted to me" feelings, and have those hurt? If that's accurate, do you have any insight as to why you can't go with that? Figuring the why on that might help, if that is what's going on. I'm not assuming that it is, I'm just asking.
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[adv/disc] Managing and overcoming negative emotions around dating Empty Re: [adv/disc] Managing and overcoming negative emotions around dating

Post by lonelyoffices on Wed May 13, 2015 7:14 pm

The Wisp,

I have a strong tendency to do almost anything to avoid really experiencing a troubling emotion. Pure joy might be the one emotion I'll take at face value and just go with. The things I do include intellectualizing things by over thinking, along with various mostly mild (sometimes not so mild) self destructive things like consuming caffeine, over exercising, or doing endless google searches related to whatever I may be feeling. All of which kind of validates the feeling as powerful and maybe based on some truth.

What a therapist recommended was that I "sit" with the emotion without trying to do anything in response to it. Sometimes that's not very feasible, but when it is, I've had some success doing this. What the therapist emphasized based on my experience was that I should not react to the emotion, especially by analyzing it or by trying to counter it with arguments. She suggested that I literally sit still, locate where and how I experienced the emotion, and focus on those sensations. She also suggested that attributing physical qualities to the emotion, like shape or color, might keep me present.

She explained that when I tried to think my way out of or through an emotional experience, I gave it more truth value and validation by focusing on it. Distractions like caffeine and exercise can cause problems in excess, and googling "solutions" when I'm hurting is a time waster. She did say that later, when I could think of the experience that caused the emotion without feeling it intensely again, there could be value in considering what prompted the feeling. But in the moment, she suggested that I experience the feeling as a physical sensation and think about it that way if at all. When I've done this it's helped me see the feeling as transitory, and therefore as not an essential part of me.

So if I get a particularly nasty reminder from someone that I'm 57 and that prompts some anger of fear or shame about being old, I try to just feel the feeling. In the moment I don't try to figure out why someone would say or do X or Y, and I don't challenge why someone doing X or Y bothered me so, and I don't rant about ageism. I just go with it, and the feeling eases after a bit. Later I may look at the motivation of the other person or at my beliefs that may have prompted my reactions, but only when I can do so without feeling the original emotions.

Your results may vary, but when I've worked this it's been somewhat effective.

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