Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

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Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by Andrew Corvero on Thu May 21, 2015 10:09 am

I've realized that I've found a way to reframe my thoughts so that my anxieties do not kick in as much as they do.

It's a simple trick, actually, one that probably many of you have already used, but I want to share with the board anyway.

I simply say to myself that I don't NEED dates or relationship, and I don't just "WANT SOMEONE" in my life.

I WANT someone who WANTS me.

It sounds easy, doesn't it? And it really is, at least on the surface. But it's an incredibly liberating thought to me, because it means that if I keep myself in the "game" of flirting and approaching people then failure simply doesn't exist.

Because if I like a woman (which is different from wanting her) I flirt with her and I ask her out there are most likely only two possible outcomes:

a) she says yes

b) she says no

If she says yes, then it's great! She wants to at least get to know me better, so it's at least possible that she wants me.

If she says yes, no big deal. It clearly means that she doesn't want me, and that's precious feedback from her, because she's now out of the list of people I want.

The same thing is also true for every other step: if she comes to the date, then it's great, because she at least really wants to get to know me better. If she doesn't come (and gives me no good reason) it simply means that she didn't want (and she was a bit rude, too, so there's less to like about her). If I get a second date, then she wants to know me ever better. If not, she didn't want me. Lather, rinse, repeat.

In any case it's impossible for me to feel like a failure. If I find someone who wants to spend some time with me (at any stage) that's a step on the right direction. If they don't it simply means that their company is not what I want.

Now I know what you're thinking. "No shit Sherlock. We understood this ages ago!" And I know that. I'm not saying that any of this is a groundbreaking discovery.

Also, some of you may shake their heads and say "You can't control yourself like that. You can't decide who you're attracted to". Actually, though, I'm not saying that. Of course I can't control the people I am attracted to. But the attraction is different from what I WANT.

An unrequited attraction is clearly something I don't want. I may be disappointed that someone that I'm attracted to isn't attracted to me, but I simply realize that if they're not attracted to me I don't want them anymore, because they don't want me. I may still feel attracted to them, even a lot, but when they say they don't want me I say to myself "They're not who you want, either".

There are of course some more complex situations, like when someone may genuinely want you as a friend and not as a partner, while you'd like to be a partner. Again, though: they don't want me as a partner, so I don't want them as a partner, either. Depending on the levels of attraction I may not even want them as a friend, at least for the time being.

I'm not saying that self-improvement isn't important. It really is: it makes it more likely that you do what you want, and so that others may want you, too. But self-improvement is also immune from failure: you may go a little bit slower than you'd like, it may be harder than you thought, but as long as you keep up with it you can't really fail.

However the most liberating thought for me is still the idea that I can't really fail at relationship if I keep trying. Because while I might be disappointed that someone that I like and I'm attracted to isn't attracted to me, I realize that they're not who I deeply want.

Because who I want is someone that I'm attracted to and who's attracted to me. So if I find someone who's not into me, I've simply found someone who doesn't belong to the list of people that I really want.

That's a really comforting and liberating thought to me. It means that I can improve myself, I can change things, I can make mistakes and even slide back at times, but as long as I carry on there's no such thing as failure.

There are only some people that I don't really want, because they don't want me, and some others that I want, because they want.

The only way to find out who is who is to interact with them.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by Guest on Thu May 21, 2015 10:27 am

Andrew, this perspective was similar to mine when I launched my "six-months-of-bad-dates" plan. I flung myself into it wholeheartedly, because if I got good dates, then hey! dates! And if I got bad dates, then my plan was going GREAT.

It turns out that if you're looking for bad experiences, there are options out there -- paid blind date services where they match you up with people, speed dating, singles groups/mixers/dances, expanding your parameters on OKC and Match.com to a truly vast spectrum of people.

It came from a different point of view, but it had the same effect -- success and failure both became success, just of a different kind.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by Caffeinated on Thu May 21, 2015 4:35 pm

Andrew, that was beautifully said. Thumbs up!
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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by jcorozza on Thu May 21, 2015 10:33 pm

This is a big part of why I started actually telling guys I like that I liked them, or asking them out, etc. Because while it never stops being terrifying, I've also found that once I know for sure that they aren't interested, it's sooooo much easier to stop being into them. While I could hold on to hope when I didn't know, that hope didn't do me any good.

It's also part of why I'm hyper-aware of any signs that the other person isn't interested in the same way as I am, or as much as I am (I've been in that relationship...1.5 times...and it's a terrible, terrible feeling. Much worse than finding out early on that they just aren't interested). And I completely understand why it's liberating - once you are able to let go of thinking of that person in that way (and for me, finding out that they aren't interested lets me do that), you're ready to move on and find someone else.
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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by nearly_takuan on Fri May 22, 2015 1:53 am

I'm in a similar position but feel trapped instead of liberated. I think I would need to un-learn the "knowledge" (for that is how it seems) that whom I want doesn't exist.
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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by Andrew Corvero on Fri May 22, 2015 5:51 am

nearly_takuan wrote:I'm in a similar position but feel trapped instead of liberated. I think I would need to un-learn the "knowledge" (for that is how it seems) that whom I want doesn't exist.

If it helps, think about numbers. How many people are there where you live and work? I bet the number is in thousands. Half of them are women. Part of that half is in your age category. Part of that category is single, or will be single when you meet them. There are many, many people out there, far more than our brain can imagine.

The scarcity mentality comes mainly, IMHO, from the fact that we can't mentally process the concept of a really large number of potential encounters. Our brains aren't good at picturing more than a very small number of people: that's why they say that "a million is a statistic".

A scarcity mentality is the default position for someone who lacks a lot of experience. But it can be fought: you have to meet as many people as you feel comfortable with, and interact with them. Probably nothing will happen for a while, but sooner or later you'll notice that there are many, many people who are interesting to you, and those people know other people, too. The more people you can afford to meet, the better.

Of course you shouldn't overstretch yourself. Start small: make small talk with someone you don't know but who seems in the mood (a chatty bartender, someone who loudly complains about a problem, etc.). Join a group activity that you like and talk with like-minded people. Don't think about dating or relationship at this point.

If you already do that, that's great! Time for your next step: starts bringing up the argument of dates and relationships in general with the people you know. Do it naturally, gradually, don't press the issue. You'll soon realise that there are many, many people looking for a relationship or dates out there. Maybe you'll stumble into some of them who will look interesting to you, or maybe you'll get to know someone they know.

If all of this seems taxing, maybe try a stab at online dating? Tinder offers a lot of profiles of people in your area. Don't look at it as a surefire way to get dates straight away: give it a try as a game at first. Build up a good profile, message people. Don't take it too seriously at the beginning.

Gradually you'll see that the scarcity mentality is merely a result of experiences you didn't like in the past and (in some cases) of social isolation.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by nearly_takuan on Fri May 22, 2015 11:52 am

Right... Sorry I asked.
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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by Jayce on Sat May 23, 2015 9:43 am

Recently I've discovered that perspective as well, but from a slightly different thinking pattern. When I like someone I make up a version of them in my heads, the version of them that wants to be my girlfriend, spend time with me and want to be with me. But when I find out that the real version of them don't like me, I realised that I was always interested in the fantasised version of them (it's still largely them but difference is that they would be into me) and that fantasy would never become real. So I should go to look for someone else instead.

I reinforce this belief in my head, by imagining dating/relationship scenarios with the real version of them. Can you imagine having coffee/tea with someone who you know who isn't into you? Or having sex with someone who you know wasn't into you? No, I don't ever want that.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by PintsizeBro on Sat May 23, 2015 12:10 pm

Jayce, that reminds me of something Captain Awkward said about getting hung up on people: You might think you're interested in "Jane," but you're actually interested in "Jane+". That is, "Jane+thinks I'm attractive" or "Jane+lives in my city" or "Jane+anything else that you want in a partner and she doesn't actually have".

Focusing on the reality of the person sounds like a good way to cope with the fantasy build up. The fantasy is pretty normal, I think, but it doesn't hold up to reality.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by litterature on Sat May 23, 2015 12:31 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:Jayce, that reminds me of something Captain Awkward said about getting hung up on people: You might think you're interested in "Jane," but you're actually interested in "Jane+". That is, "Jane+thinks I'm attractive" or "Jane+lives in my city" or "Jane+anything else that you want in a partner and she doesn't actually have".

Focusing on the reality of the person sounds like a good way to cope with the fantasy build up. The fantasy is pretty normal, I think, but it doesn't hold up to reality.

Nothing prevents you from getting hung up on "the real Jane" once you get to really know her, though, and that's when things get scary, but you've gotta live with that I guess.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by PintsizeBro on Sat May 23, 2015 12:39 pm

But that's the thing - the real Jane doesn't want to be with you. So you want to be with "Jane+wants to be with you," who is still a fantasy. That's what Jayce was talking about, too.

I was hung up on my own Jane for years, she was a good friend, but she just didn't want to date me. I wasn't able to move on until I accepted that the real Jane was a person who didn't want to date me.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by litterature on Sat May 23, 2015 1:24 pm

So you've never liked someone without the perspective of actually going out with them? I'm a bit surprised, actually. I know I've had crushes where I knew full well I was never going to end up in a relationship with that person, where I didn't really make a move at all nor intended to, and where I couldn't move on until much later. Maybe that was just my more immature self from a few years ago, though? I dunno.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by Guest on Sat May 23, 2015 1:46 pm

I don't mean to poop on your thread but this been my experience in the dating realm. I've had the same philosophy you've had before and I still do to a degree, but currently, I'm tired of being alone. I'm doing stuff but I'm not getting anything back from it. I know I've done some great things without a partner and I'm proud of it, but I think it's time to share.

But nobody wants it.

Andrew Corvero wrote:
If it helps, think about numbers. How many people are there where you live and work? I bet the number is in thousands. Half of them are women. Part of that half is in your age category. Part of that category is single, or will be single when you meet them. There are many, many people out there, far more than our brain can imagine.

That's a comforting thought considering I live in Southern California where there's 1 million plus people here. But what are the chances that they're single and actually interested in me or that will be single and interested in me? From personal experience, the chances are low.

Andrew Corvero wrote:
A scarcity mentality is the default position for someone who lacks a lot of experience. But it can be fought: you have to meet as many people as you feel comfortable with, and interact with them. Probably nothing will happen for a while, but sooner or later you'll notice that there are many, many people who are interesting to you, and those people know other people, too. The more people you can afford to meet, the better.

Oh there's dozens of people who I've met and found to be incredible and very interesting to me. But none of them are interested in dating me. Razz

Andrew Corvero wrote:
If you already do that, that's great! Time for your next step: starts bringing up the argument of dates and relationships in general with the people you know. Do it naturally, gradually, don't press the issue. You'll soon realise that there are many, many people looking for a relationship or dates out there. Maybe you'll stumble into some of them who will look interesting to you, or maybe you'll get to know someone they know.

I've done that, I've been in those conversations and they always end in that nobody's looking for anyone and would rather remain single. Then I ask if anyone knows anyone who's single and looking. And oh, it turns out that nobody knows anyone single.



Andrew Corvero wrote:
If all of this seems taxing, maybe try a stab at online dating? Tinder offers a lot of profiles of people in your area. Don't look at it as a surefire way to get dates straight away: give it a try as a game at first. Build up a good profile, message people. Don't take it too seriously at the beginning.

Gradually you'll see that the scarcity mentality is merely a result of experiences you didn't like in the past and (in some cases) of social isolation.

I've done both of those for a year and half and still haven't gotten a single date from either. So I just ended up deleting my OKC, I'm still on Tinder but Tinder as a dude sucks too since it's filled with nothing but fake profiles with some real ones thrown that you don't match with ever or very rarely.


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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Tue May 26, 2015 5:02 am

I read this article somewhere, I wish I could find it again, that was based on this premise:
Women are taught that they should be wanted. Men are taught that they should be needed. Both are also taught that they cant/shouldn't be the opposite. Its not something I've ever felt. I don't want to be in a relationship because I have leverage. I want to be in a relationship because I am the specific person that my partner wants to be with. It really is a liberating thing to be able to just shrugs, think "eh, not matching up" and move on without needing to justify it to yourself.

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Re: Wanting someone who wants me: a liberating perspective

Post by nearly_takuan on Tue May 26, 2015 5:43 am

So...while I did deliberately avoid some situations I had ample reason to believe would be extremely bad, I've also gone out on a limb for things that seemed iffy at best. And nothing. Unlike some here, I haven't found that there are any people who could "want" me. Scarcity is not a mentality I've merely fabricated or scared myself into.

Online has not been a godsend; it has been more of the same.

In college there were few group activities I found enjoyable; now there are none. Naturally the physical activities I liked best were either relatively obscure (American Handball) or else only enjoyable when not a group activity (biking, calisthenics). Drinking makes me physically ill. Despite my closest friends apparently being junkies, I'm not remotely interested in illicit substances. Cooking bores me. At crafts I work slowly, and in group settings I feel rushed if I have to do something I'm slow at. (Between that and my generalized dislike of competitive atmosphere, I also hate Friday Night Magic and its ilk.) I suspect I could carry on for a while, but I hope I've made my point by now.

I'm surrounded by obstacles, and being told how easy it's supposed to be is anything but liberating. Smash against wall
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