Submitted by Frank on
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First, the disclaimer, in case you think I'm wasting your time, about what this post is about: I need your advice (regardless of whether you're male or female -- I need both perspectives) because I am currently in a situation where if I can take a few right moves, I might as well become a boyfriend (I guess that's a better phrase than "I'm going to get a girlfriend"). [And this is the first time I'll actually come to have a girlfriend, and I'm 18 now by the way; my past and only "girlfriend" was just a girl I made out with... no real relationship at all]

So, here's my situation: there's this girl (NJ) who's the daughter of my mother's distant friend. My mother and I had visited her nearly 7 years ago, so I'm sure she does not remember even my face. But my mother and her mother have been meeting like once in a year and over the phone, but they're fairly distant still.

Anyways, NJ is in the same college as mine, only that she's in the Finance/Commerce courses but I'm with the Science department. Now, our probability of being able to meet in college is not high, because we have two different schedules. But still, I've never even seen this girl as she is now. I remember her as she was 7 years ago.

I happened to get her phone number from another Finance student she knew (I can't use that student as a way to get us to meet, I just met that student randomly). So, I now have her cell phone number. I haven't called her yet. And this is where your advice comes in. Really, how do I approach her? If I call her, what do I actually tell her? That I want to go out with her? Maybe she'll think I'm some kind of desperate sexmaniac just looking forward to get laid. Maybe she'll think I'm just not her type. Maybe she'll think I'm plain crazy. If not asking her out on the first phone call, how do I approach her? That I just want to meet her? What if she thinks, "for what would this unknown guy want to meet me? pedophile!"... okay, I know that girls' romantic mentalities come in just too many varieties, but I just want a general direction to pursue. How do I connect with her? How do I actually build some interest?

There's this huge block inside me that says that maybe:

a) I'll just mess things up... I'm just not meant to be a pleasant romantic guy, maybe I'm just not of any girl's type
b) she's already going out with someone and declines right away
c) her parents will get in the way, maybe because she might go tell them that I asked her out (and, additionally, a screwed up impression of me in her and her parents' minds)

Well, okay, I'm not so much afraid of rejection as I am afraid of what might follow after that -- she'll remember it for a very long time, and then I wouldnt' even be able to talk to her normally, nor her parents, and if my parents come to know from her parents, I'm going to be in some serious trouble.

Now, you might have some reasonable questions/comments to me:

a) are you just desperate to get a girlfriend? you're a sicko!
b) it's part of what romance is about. deal with it!
c) why would anyone on Reuniting care about your personal problems? you're immature!
etc.

Now, I know I've been very negative about this in the past, but I no longer am. Let me just say that I'm now willing to really become a good boyfriend. This time, however, I can confidently say that I am NOT looking for a girlfriend to have sex. Maybe some hugging, I don't know. But the main reason is I just want to explore the territory of having a girlfriend. What I mean is, I want to explore girls a little -- not in the biological or physical sense (heck, I've explored enough, although only virtually), but in the mental sense. I'm really curious about how a girlfriend thinks. The most important reason, however, is that I want to connect to that special one romantically. I want to know what romance is and just to be together. Hence, what I'm looking for here is romance and not sex. [Besides, I'm 18, I guess it's time now :)] Now, maybe I am being desperate, maybe you're asking "why her? aren't there other girls you've known for a while?", and that's a very good question, but I just don't feel like I can go out with those other girls I know, maybe because I don't have a good impression with them or something. Well, it's not just any girl I'm picking out... NJ's mother knows my mother. And, it's really amusing to recall, when my mother and I had visited her place 7 years ago, I'd actually briefly fantasised going out with NJ the moment I'd seen her. It'll be really cool if it turns out to be true. :)

I apologise if you feel that I have somehow displeased you with this post. I have posted this because I know there are some really friendly members in here who've always given excellent feedback to me, and because I hope they can help me solve this confusing matter.

Thanks for your patience.

Just do it

I recognize your state of paralysis. Your problem is that you're making it too hard by only focusing on the things that could go wrong. Let's replace those with some positive thoughts:

1. There are lots of wonderful women in the world.
2. I am a sincere, nice guy.
3. Most women love to be asked out by polite men.
4. I don't need a clever line. "I think you're nice. Do you want to ________ with me sometime?" is perfectly good enough.
5. If someone says "no," it's not a big deal. It's kind of her to give me a straight answer, and I can ask someone else later.
6. Eventually, I will be successful. Then I will make two people happy!

Go forth and be happy!!

There are two ways of looking at this

One is through probability. "It's a long shot that we'll get along, and I know that, but what the heck?"

The other is fate. "Gee, we ended up at the same university...and we have this link. Maybe it's The Giant Hand at work." (I suggest you check an oracle to see if that's the case. Wink ) http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/inner_wisdom_oracle

If you meet, it might be good to suggest something with an activity in it...even taking a walk. That way, you'll have lots of potential topics to talk about furnished by the world around you. Even if you meet for a tea, you could suggest taking a walk if there's a lull in the conversation.

I agree that it's high time you began to explore us *real* females and our strange and unnatural thought processes. Wink There's no time like the present.

Here's a sample approach: "You probably don't remember me, but I'm Frank, the son of ____, one of your mom's good friends. [I'm absolutely certain she already knows this, but it's good to say it anyway.] We met when we were 7. I remember you as being [fill in something positive here from your memory...like "friendly" "nice" "shy" "cute" "funny" "having a nice smile, or pretty eyes"]. Since we ended up at the same university, I thought it might be interesting to see how each other turned out. Wink Besides, I'm sick of scientists as constant company, and could use some friends in other departments."

Warning....the real "target" may be one of her girlfriends. You never know. Try not to be attached to any particular outcome. As an aside, my cousin used to fix up a childhood friend of his (a female) with all of his friends...to find her dates. She was at Wellesley (all women) and he was a Yale (all men in those days). Finally, she said, "What's wrong with YOU?" And they got married. *chuckle*

If I were you I would follow

If I were you I would follow the approach suggested by Marnia, including not having too high expectations if you do go out together. After all, you may not be her type, right?
But if you don't give it a try, you'll never find out!

Good luck!

Awesome! I really felt a

Awesome! I really felt a surge of optimism reading your posts, Marnia and Mitsiky. Seriously, now that I have your broad perspective, it feels like I was just being so stupid thinking that way. The Oracle also informs me with the same insight! (of broadening my perspective)

Marnia, do you think that "I remember you as being a very sweet girl..." will make her think I'm trying to get her? As in, make her think it's some kind of pick-up line or even something I'm saying just to impress her? I tend to mess up my tone/pitch/tender/etc. (that is, the subtle things of speech, that which is virtually communicated, unlike the content of what I'm saying) very much, and so I'm not sure if I'll give her the message that I really want to give her. (My mother also tells me that I need to work on my body language and voice tone because I often tend to miscommunicate using those channels, even though I know I mean fully well)

Alright, I've decided. I'll call her up tomorrow and let all of you know what happened!

Wait for four days... you're going to get some real good news!

Be scientific...

...just a reminder to be scientific, franc.stoic, don't expect a particular result. You are starting an adventure, and you don't yet know where it will lead. All you have for the journey is your own nature, your character, your code of honor. Have faith in yourself. :) Galileo

You're adorable!

It's really important just to be yourself. So if you did honestly think she was sweet, it's okay to say that. If you ARE trying to manipulate her, then it may come off that way.

And quite honestly, you may find your communication skills improve as you unhook from porn use. I don't know if you were visiting the site when we learned about the POIS forum: http://www.reuniting.info/science/post_orgasmic_illness_syndrome But one of the most common effects after orgasm is communication problems. Many feel it comes from temporary brain fog, but it could be more than that. Recently, we helped set up a forum where men could record their symptoms. I happened to read one response, and sure enough, there it was again:

15. How old were you when you first connected these symptoms to orgasm? What caused you to make this connection?

17, i noticed i dont talk much to people and sometimes i can talk forever. one day i noticed my self talking alot and hold conversations with virtually any body and i was full of energy. And i had a great conversation with a ceratin person. That day i was so horny i had to ejaculate. After i ejaculated i went back out and all my conversational abilities had gone down the drain. The certain person i had talked with - i couldnt even keep a five minute conversation with them.

So you may *potentially* be a better communicator than you think.

Last night Gary and I listened to an Aussie radio program on the computer, called "All In the Mind." It was about brain plasticity. The good news is that if you want to change your brain you can. The bad news is that a rut (like porn) can be very deep, and you *really* have to stop using that pathway *completely* before your brain will start to form new pathways to other rewards. A middle path of "cutting back" just doesn't work.

But it can be done. For example, a stroke victim with damage in his brain who couldn't walk...LEARNED to walk again...by crawling first! And when his brain was later autopsied...the damage was still there. It hadn't healed. The brain had just formed new motor circuits *around* the damage and taught itself to walk again, etc.

So treat the porn track as a "damaged" part, and don't use it. Your brain will find other rewarding activities...like the challenge of asking out girls...and hopefully snuggling them! Wink

Good luck!

Strange so far

So I pressed the call button on NJ today but what I got was not very interesting: "The services to the subscriber you're trying to reach have been temporarily disabled." Damn! And they didn't even apologize for the inconvenience!

So, this got me thinking to myself jokingly: alright, either she's so poor that she hasn't paid her cell phone bill for a long time, or she's so rich that she forgot she had three cell phones and not two. Wink Either way though, I'm willing to be with her.

I have her home phone number now (from my mother's address book), but I'm really afraid of calling her house and talking to her. I mean, obviously, immediately after the call, her parents are going to be like "who was that?", and I'm sure she'll tell it out straight, and then her mother will inform my mother, and my mother will confront me, and as you know, my mother is really kind of opposed to me having a girl friend and all right now ("what's important for you right now is studying, not romance, please understand that"). And somehow she won't be convinced by "I have to spend time in relaxation anyway... maybe I'll spend it in some healthy time with a girlfriend rather than staring at the computer screen checking emails", maybe she thinks I'm not mature enough to handle all this. (She does think I'm impulsive, lazy, unorganized, etc.)

So, what do you think about this? I guess I should wait for about six more months when I'm going to have vacation for two months, maybe I'll have plenty of time to try become a boyfriend, I mean, I really am busy right now with academics, but hey, I like girls too. :)

But, honestly, what I'm experiencing right now is really something I'm liking. I don't know how it has occurred (maybe it's even some sort of temporary illusion), but I'm feeling really no sexual attraction to this girl. I don't know what's happening. It's like, I'm becoming interested in _girls_, not their _bodies_. Obviously, their bodies are really vital (;)), but it's not my prime focus here in what I'm trying to do right now. I'm just loving this healthy attraction to girls. In fact, I can say with confidence that I can speak to a girl right now for at least an hour without touching her at all, just enjoying her beauty (e.g. I really like the way some girls talk, it's part of their personality, their characteristic way of expressing that's very cute from my perspective).

I think these feelings started to emerge when I separated attraction to the opposite sex from a sexual addiction. They're two different things. For example, porn is very degrading, but a plain kissing scene is not. That's the kind of boundary to draw. I mean, a few days ago, I found some part of me thinking, "hey, porn is about sex, and sex is about expressing your love to someone... what's wrong with porn?" and just a few moments later I began to see it through... probably that's where I even began my addiction -- confusing porn for an act of expression of true love.

Don't be discouraged!

Notice that you could keep a porn addiction secret from your mother with no problem, even though it was probably affecting your studies, but if you actually want a healthy relationship with a real person, her opinion becomes an obstacle in your mind?

I wouldn't give it too much weight, if I were you. You don't know that she is going to tell her family what's going on, or that they will call your mother, OR that your mom will really have a problem with it (mothers have been known to suddenly soften up with they like the girl/guy in question!) Anyway, it's your decision not hers if you have the time or not! If your mother does confront you, which is not at all certain, I would just keep it light and not try to argue with her. Just say something like, "I'm sorry you think that. My grades are doing well and I'm learning to balance school with other aspects of life. But I appreciate your concern!" That last sentence has worked very well as a conversation-ender with my own mother! Blum 3

But kudos to you for finding the courage to dial the number! That in itself is a big step, and it's also wonderful that you're being able to separate addiction from healthy attraction. Go you!

What if you had to contact her

for a school-related reason? Would you be able to get her school post office box? (At the schools I went to, I would have been able to do that.) If so, why not drop her a note with *your* contact information, and see what happens? You could also go to the Finance department and see if they would deliver it. They must have ways of communicating with their own students.

You sound like you're moving in some really healthy directions these days. Good for you. Looks like all you needed was a change in goals...another direction for all that healthy yang energy you have. Wink

Advice needed

Marnia,

For the past day or two, I have had some real anxiety in me. When I wrote that previous post, I was feeling pretty confident that the positive/healthy attraction towards girls feeling will continue to grow, but somehow I've just been fearing it might go away (and it has also seemingly faded, yesterday somehow I got attracted sexually... and today morning I woke up to find that I had pre-ejaculate [not a wet dream per se] but I remember that part of the dream featured a girl who lives in the next building with whom I've had some fantasy of dating).

You see, I don't quite know where the healthy attraction suddenly emerged from. I guess it came after about a week ago when I simply accepted attraction towards the opposite sex as normal and healthy -- before I used to have these very self-limiting stoic ideas of denying myself pleasure and joy, but now I've almost become Epicurean (by the way, Epicureanism is about living a balanced healthy life, quite different from Hedonism which people sometimes confuse it with).

I know I might be sounding like a helpless kid, but I really am confused and there's no one to turn to except this forum. I mean, on one hand I still have that fear of turning gay, and then on the other the fear of falling into the sexual addiction because I might permit myself attraction to girls in the wrong way. It's getting really tricky now to balance it. I mean, yesterday, there was some sexual arousal when I happened to glance an attractive woman in an ad in the newspaper. Now, probably only a day before that I would have looked at her and admired her for her sweetness/cuteness/other such gentle feminine aspects, but there I was, only yesterday, getting sexually aroused by her.

Now that just kind of really disappointed me. Why can't I be attracted to girls in a healthy way? Should I in fact allow sexual arousals to take place because I'm afraid I might turn myself gay? (And then what if I fall back into the addiction?)

Relax!

Such mood swings are natural, and will probably be with you as long as you are on the planet.:-) They are not cause for alarm, although they are miserably uncomfortable. The good news is that they can settle down a lot, as you move toward equilibrium.

I think that one reason you felt better is because you had a plan for a healthy step forward. You have enormous energy, Frank. It simply *has* to move out into the world. You're a natural extrovert (never mind your current self-perception).

Why not find a way to talk to the girl in the next dorm, too? As soon as you take steps to *do* something constructive with your energy you'll feel better. You always do. I've seen it before.

I think you got a good taste of increased clarity...and you recognized it as a healthy state. Now you *know* you can experience that confidence in your healthy attraction to women and optimism. Of course those feelings will flicker from time to time. And of course sexual feelings will arise, too. After all, you spent the last few years connecting up the neurons in your brain to focus on sexual attraction. They're going to kick on from time to time with whatever little cues they can use to get your attention. Your job is to mentally smile at them and then firmly turn your attention elsewhere. And when you can't and you go into a temporary emotional "dip" of anxiety or self criticism, try not to assume your future will always be full of anxiety or lust. Instead do something constructive.

When you feel anxious, or experience sexual attraction, just observe it instead of "arguing" with it, or panicking. "Oh, there's that feeling again."

Know which things make you feel better (exercise? contact with others, writing on your blog, what?)...and *do* them! The late Japanese psychiatrist Morita (http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/buddhist_morita_marital_therapy) taught that "you can feel uncomfortable and still do something constructive." He's right. Don't wait for your anxiety to pass, just do something constructive. The very act of taking control - even if it's just to take a walk to clear your head and smile at some people - will shift your perception of your troubles.

Let us know how you get on. Did you find a way to contact the daughter of your mother's friend? What happened there? You promised a report!

A big hug,
Marnia

One issue that can be at the

One issue that can be at the root of all such anxiety is that the rational part of the brain seemingly agrees with the emotional confusion. What I mean is that yesterday I found myself actually justifying my fear. I told myself that it was much easier to get back into the addiction than to hold on to and develop the healthy attraction towards girls. I often have these panic attacks where I fear that I may lose some very fundamental part of me (such as my very strong love of simply thinking/philosophy).

Yes, I promised a report. But I still haven't spoken to her. Honestly, I'm in some confusion and anxiety currently, so I don't know what to do about me proposing to NJ. I wish to think more on this but it needs time, which I'm having trouble allocating -- I keep running out of time because I have all these myriad exams coming up all the time.
(Moreover, I have access to the internet only about once in 4 days, only for an hour)

But I'm going to solve it. I'm not going to use the word "fight" because I have found that in the context of emotions and temptations, it really hasn't worked for me. From my experience, when I've tried to "fight" these things, I actually feed them and thus they create more havoc. I'm now seeing this as a logical puzzle to be solved. Much more than that, I'm looking at this as an opportunity for growth.

And, Marnia, you are very correct in your assessment of me as an extrovert. A few years ago I really isolated myself, trying to become a n introvert nerd, but I've discovered that that really is not congruent with who I am. And, if you don't mind answering, how on earth can you figure such stuff out? (Is it some mysterious woman's intuition? That has always drawn my curiosity.)

Glad you're feeling better

I think you're right on the verge of a big breakthrough. Let's hope my intuition is right! But all personal growth goes in "tilted spirals." You're always progressing, but half the time you feel like you're going right back where you just came from. So don't assess your progress from day to day. Try month to month! Wink

In this regard, I referred to Morita's work in my post. These are some of the principles he taught for people suffering from emotional storms:

You must take responsibility for what you do no matter how you feel.

Your past or your family or your society or your economic situation or your race are not reasons or excuses for your behavior.

Confidence and feeling good about yourself are much less important than you have been led to believe. In any case, they result from doing well, they don't come first. Nobody else can make you feel genuinely good about yourself.

The optimal mind isn't constantly peaceful and anxiety-free; it is flexible, adapting to changing circumstances.

You don't need to fight against your fears. They don't need to determine what you do.

I always feel better when I read them. Hope they comfort you, too.

I don't think it took much intuition to see you're an extrovert. Smile Thank God for the extroverts...or there would be nothing to read on the forum! A true introvert doesn't even like to "talk" to others anonymously on a forum...and you share quite readily! It's a gift to all of those who are going through the same things, but don't enjoy sharing their thoughts with others.

So proudly, enthusiastically be yourself! You have many gifts. The world needs them. And the same goes for the introverts out there.