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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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So, as I previously stated, I have another issue with this

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So, as I previously stated, I have another issue with this relationship, and this is probably related to any other relationship I've ever had being I'm extremely picky and notice EVERYTHING!

My gf's past wasn't written exactly to my liking, obviously. Other things bother me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to be doing 360's here. I'm going to list my thoughts....

Her previous boyfriend, who she absolutely resents, was/is a pothead. When she would see him on weekends, she would smoke with him. This was last year, so she was 26. They only dated for 4 or 5 months - besides the point - but she did this with him every weekend from what I understand. I have smoked before in my life, so I understand, but my case lies with the frequency at which she does it. Anything is good in moderation, but every weekend when you have a good job, from a good family, I just don't get.

Previously, years ago, she experimented with cocaine. This is a huge red flag with me because I've never, and never will, experiment with such a drug. I figure, you know how addicting it is, and you know what it does, I think that's enough for me to say "No, I don't need that". To me, were's the correct judgment there? Where is the power to make correct decision?

Another thing, she is a social smoker. She has pretty much cut her smoking down to almost non-existence. But why has she done this? For me, that's why - but not for herself. Smoking is one of my all time pet peeves. I knew she did it when we started dating, so I'm at fault for partially accepting such behavior, but I absolutely hate it. It's a deal breaker and huge fight starter with me. Something I've always been turned off by. Now, we've never argued about this, nor about anything, but she's well aware of my disgust by it.

And lastly, recently we were out for the LSU/Alabama (national championship game) and we live in NOLA, which means it was here. We watched the game in the quarter and from the results of the game, you know who won. We're surrounded by Alabama fans. They are belligerent, drunk and extremely high off of their victory. What does she do? She starts congratulating them, fine right? Well when you start doing that you invite them in and things happen - especially when everyone is drunk. Some random Alabama fan basically got in her face, hugged her, and kissed her on the check while my back was turned. Male ego I know..I brushed it off and told her to keep to ourselves- because if she would have not said anything, nothing would have ever happened. (small things like this I notice)

Finally, that same night, we ended up meeting up with my friends after the game. One friend, Adam, she had never met. He has one to two tattoos, and so does she - another thing i'm not totally crazy about at all (I'm a bit conservative) - and shows them to Adam. One on her hand, which I don't care about (so tiny), and the other on her bikini line (low stomach upper groin area). Now a more conservative person would have just mentioned the tattoo because they do not show that part of their body in public, but her, nope she goes right ahead and shows him. Totally inappropriate in my opinion, and that's a part of her body only I should see. Definitely is something that shouldn't be waved around in public. She doesn't do this often, but it comes in spurts and I damn well notice it.

I'm telling all of this because it all adds up. One small thing here, one there, and then BAM! I have a ball that's been rolling down a hill collecting tons of moss. I'm questioning her judgement. I'm questioning her sense of what's right and wrong. She's amazing, but is she amazing for me? Does she have the correct filters that I want a woman to possess? I definitely know she hasn't had in the past. I'm constantly asking myself all of these questions. And to tell you the truth, I'm on the verge of ending things with her just so I don't have to think about them anymore.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

I'm glad you posted your last outline of your girlfriend's behavior and values. They would seem to indicate several related issues. First, she is more 'liberal', than you likely are in terms of electing to follow or even chase after whatever is culturally normative in the moment. Today it might be tattoos, tomorrow, another fad will emerge and tattoos will fade as 'the thing'. So there is this theme that is a bit worrisome in that she SEEMS to be a bit willing to sell out her personal values or standards to chase after whatever is being socially rewarded in the moment. The alternative explanation is that she doesn't have very many finer grained, well-defined values and is more easily swayed or influenced by peers. So these are a couple of hypotheses about her.

The other thing that I'd speculate about is that she may have a higher thresh hold for obtaining excitement and gratification from everyday life that you do or most other women do. That is, she may be more prone to complain about boredom or things being mundane and to elevate her emotional state or 'affect' (psychologists word for emotions in the moment), she may engage in thrill-seeking or risky behavior, a bit more than you or other women. If I'm correct in these speculations, then added together, they may explain her lack of judgment and impulsiveness and lack of awareness of more conservative social limits and behaviors e.g, with other guys in social situations. I can tell you that her behavior would not fit in well with certain social circles e.g, high end business or high end professional circles (lawyers, professors, scientists) or social groups. This behavior would be deemed to be a bit immature and lacking in judgment.

I think I see what you are saying about her. The main questions have to do with whether she will mature a bit more and through your behavioral example of being more restrained modeling different levels of judgment, and communicating firm, clear values and beliefs, she will begin to internalize them and model them. This would likely be the case if she simply doesn't know better or hasn't internalized many, if any of the finer grained values in life. It wouldn't likely work if she is emotionally/affectively different from you and is fundamentally, more impulsive, more prone to thrill-seeking behavior and has this 'in-born' higher thresh hold for emotional stimulation and excitement. I'm going to pause here and solicit your reaction. But these are the best hypotheses I can generate right now based on what you've said. And they are just that---educated speculations.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I see your angle. Maybe I sure elaborate a bit more about her so you can generate a better speculation. That does my make me think...what you said there..

Everything I previously mentioned is what I don't like. I figured that was Important for you to know. Here is what I like.

She is an outstanding person. She is very easy to get along with. She is caring, loving and thoughtful. She comes from a conservative family. She seems like she would do just about anything for me. On top of that, a very good looking woman.

She seems to have a very good relationship with everyone she works with, as well as her friends. I'm not totally crazy about everyone she works with but I think that's normal. Well, one of her friends is very promiscuous and has hardly any morals, but I meet her through this person so I'm thankful for that. Also, another thing about her I really like is she can just about get along with anyone.

Your second hypothesis could be maybe off..as far as thrill seeking behaviors, I think I names the ones that stick out to me. Other than those I can't label any, at least from what she tells me and I know of her. Your first could be somewhat true, which is a little scary. It's hard to explain exactly who she is and how she is but all I can tell you is what I don't like. What I mentioned is right on the money. So your drawing your conclusions based on what I THINK rather than from both of our personalities.....??

But, if what you say is true, then I don't know if she's the one. You can understand someone on how they have lived their life. To me, it's how you lived your life that will tell how you live your future. I think that's the best predictor. Maybe I'm wrong here...I don't know.

I could be a bit judgmental. Maybe I'm being too picky. I really don't know. I mean, would I even be having these thoughts if this girl was "the one"....that's what I keep asking myself.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do understand that no one wants a boring partner at the same time...I feel my head is just pulling me all these different angles. I even watched the movie Chasing Amy to see if that would clarify anything, but all it made me think was they didn't be belong together because they were polar opposites. How could they share life experiences? I don't know if you saw that movie...
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
You are quite right in believing that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. But we do know that young adults---through their 20s and 30s, tend to mature and change and their values strengthen. I wonder what you would think about stepping back from the thinking, wondering and worrying about this relationship and contemplate doing the safest thing possible for you, which it to lengthen the time line you have in the back of your mind for making a decision about whether she is 'the one' or contemplations about getting engaged. One thing I note from your posts is a sort of urgency and a tad of frustrated impatience in not being able to figure this out and make a decision. So I would ask you what the 'rush' is and whether some of these questions you have wouldn't clarify themselves over time, if you simply committed to dating her more, planning on taking 6 months to a year to gather more information. Surely, if you extended whatever mental 'time line' you have on deciding whether to pursue this relationship more seriously or not, you have many more situations and episodes in which she could fall short or prove herself---in other words, you have more data and examples that really form clear patterns of strengths and weaknesses. So to me, you seem urgent and a bit rushed in trying to figure this out, and I just have to ask whether there really is this degree of needing to know 'now' or tomorrow', versus 3-6 months from now. So I want to throw out this alternative perspective to you on the urgency issue, and taking more time with this, and see what you think.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am eager to settle down per say. I get excited about having a family and home with someone I care about. So yes, ya got me there. I'm aware my thinking is a bit premature here, but my mind is racing - its like a race car on red. I want her to be her and I want to sort things out in my head. Like yesterday! It's not realistic. It's not how things work, and I know this.

You are right thag people mature vastly around this age group. This is the time when things happen. She has matured into an amazing young woman and I do respect her, no doubt about that. She's affectionate, loyal, funny, charming, motivated, a great listener, educated, optimistic, beautiful and loves the hell out of me. And in my opinion makes great choices, the majority of the time. So I should most definitely take my time. There is a problem....I'm a race car in red.

We had a talk a few days ago, I told her my thoughts. She cried (teared up) and said its not fair her past is a distraction between us. I disagree to disagree in ways... I did tell her she was right, because its really not fair to bring up her past. She's scared she's going to lose me - well was scared after the conversation. I did not bash her in any way, I just told her what was on my mind. And despite the topic of the subject matter, she still listened. I respect her so much. I was amazed with her sympathy and maturity. To be honest, I felt better after the conversation - even closer to her. But, these thoughts do still linger.

I want to give this time. I want to continue to let her show how great of a person she is but I have those taunting thoughts - the race care in red. I'm scared of what I might say. I'm scared of what I might think. I'm scared of what I'm thinking now. I even think, sometimes, that I should've/should experiment with more drugs to see what the hype is all about. I mean, really, how crazy is that!! Only because of her past do I think like that.

Like I said, I've done this with every girl I've dated...even broken up with them several times, but I don't want to do that with her. I know this one has a big heart and so much to offer. I guess we're back to ground zero here...how do I fix my head. I mean, is this something that can be fixed? I want to give this time like you said. How do I go about this?

Also, am I being irrational by ignoring all of my own standards/judgements/beliefs?
Sean
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Sean, I will mull over your last post and get back to you tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok, no problem

Sean
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Sean, you have this fast-paced, more impulsive mode of thinking that is tied to your emotions intimately; but you also have what we could call a wise, rational 'mind' about you. This is the aspect of your 'mind' that allows you to step back from a situation and look at it objectively and rationally. It is the part of your trains of thought that says (to quote you), " It's not realistic. It's not how things work, and I know this." So I think you'll be o.k. here if you begin thinking about and attending to what your wise, rational mind is telling you, how it would guide and direct the more emotional, fast paced thinking about this woman. You simply can't go wrong here if you do this---you'll make the right decisions in the end if you follow your wise, rational mind. But something has to bridle your sense of urgency and calm you down and force you to lay out a longer time line for 'deciding' all of this stuff about this relationship. Your wise rational mind has to be telling you that your emotional trains of thought are irrationally pushing you faster than you need to go. You need more time to assess the situation and get to know her better and test out hypotheses about her you might have. This time will also allow both of you to mature just a tad more along the way. THERE IS NO RUSH IN getting this 'done'. And thankfully, you really do have wise, rational mind----lots of people do not!!

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think you answered the question. I'm pretty much just tired of thinking of it at this point. It's not worth it to keep pestering myself. I figure, deriving from what you say, and what my "wise" rational mind says lol, if this is bothering me months down the road then maybe something will need to be done. A good friend of mine said his mom told him this once, "you should give a girl 3 months, and after that make a decison". Guess I'll let it go. I keep thinking there's this perfect girl out there. Perfect. I tell myself this. Then I really think no one is freaking perfect, there's only what you can put up with and what you can't. Time will undoubtedly persuade me one way or the other. In the meantime, think I'll recharge my batteries. In the meantime I'll let my mind sort itself out. Although, in the long run, I don't know if I can let go of it. I know I'm exhausted from thinking about it. So, I don't know how many ways I can ask you the same question, nor how many different ways you can answer them. In the long run, we'll see if frustration with her past prevails or happiness with her prevails.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
I don't quite agree with your friend's mom about the 3 months. Here is the deal: Couples are NOT perfectly compatible. If they get along 80% of the time positively, this is about as good as it gets. Your rational mind has it right---there is no one out there that is perfect. It is REALLY right in thinking, that you have to decide what you can overlook and live or not live with. However, I think what I'm telling you is that there is no rush in figuring this last part out, as your emotional mind thinks there is. My parting advice is, "take your time with this, there is no rush to it; she isn't going to disappear in the next 6 months or year---he'll be happy just to date and keep on getting to know you."

I have enjoyed this interaction. You are obviously a smarter-than-average guy and you'll do o.k. with women----this one, or one down the road.

Let me know if I can be of further help. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes 3 month comment definetely not a good one lol. Yes, thank you for your assistance in this matter. I've lightened up over the last few days and just let things flow rather than make an intervention for every single thought process. The conversation has been most informing, revealing and enjoyable. Hoepfully my next cornucopia of emotion will be an easier and less enduring road as this one is. And if not, guess I can ask you more loaded questions. Thanks Again.

Sean
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Very well. Let me know if I can be of further help. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen.
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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