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Wellness Wednesday for January 10, 2024

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

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  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

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I have one big problem with my current relationship and I'm desperate. Basically since it has begun I've experienced constant low level pain and discomfort that increases when alone.

Before I've always had near perfect mental health which makes it worse. It's even made me consider breaking up with my girlfriend over it, despite everything else being great. None of my normal coping strategies work.

I'm having negative thoughts surrounding her previous relationships. Specifically that she has let herself be fucked by and been emotionally intimate with seemingly pathetic dudes and dudes in generall(very few though!!). It goes beyond that though and into general thoughts of inadequacy that make me want to receive constant reassurance that I'm the best she's ever had. Which I do know is true cognitively (I'm a chadlite, and have no trouble getting on dates with the rare Woman I actually meet and who interests me), but it's something I emotionally “forget” about. Again before this I would have considered myself an extremely self assured and level headed person.

These negative thoughts are plain making my quality of life worse and are a huge distraction.

Additional context: were both in our early twenties, this is my first serious relationship, not hers. I know we have great sex but for some reason I always desire assurance that it is the best she's ever had. (Which in a moment of weakness where I asked for it, she has given but it still leaves me feeling that even so the other guys did one particular thing better than me.)

Assume I'm not an idiot. Im fully aware I sound like an insecure wet noodle. Trust me, I'm not. I try my best to avoid annoying her with this and to communicate my feelings clearly. Despite successfully avoiding thinking about it, accepting the feeling and therapising myself, the disconnected pain still lingers

I'm looking for personal anecdotes and advice to help me understand what is happening.

You asked for it.

I had a thing in high school where, when faced with the attention of females, I would become so emotionally fraught that I would vomit. You may feel that this is unrelated to what you've written here, and I realize I am being somewhat vague when I say "attention of females," but just give me a minute.

The neurosis--if that's what we can call it, and maybe we can't--plagued me for some time. I can remember exactly when it started, when it ended, and when it threatened to return, which is the part of the story relevant to your situation, probably. But let me try and tell this properly.

I will begin, or, rather, continue, by making a statement that will probably come across as extremely arrogant and un-self-aware. Moreso than even the usual Motte dude waxing philosophical about women. That statement is: I am an attractive man.

Okay now that you've done your spit take, let me qualify: I know that I am not everyone's cup of tea, I cannot imagine I am anyone's version of a 10, and I am not particularly wealthy. Plus, now, I am older, or, relative to many on the Motte, just old. Nevertheless, I in my life I have turned heads, caused women to get nervous and awkward just by my speaking to them, etc. I have been on television and modeled for magazines as the "cool guy," blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. All this prelude to suggest that I have had, in some ways, an advantage over many males. But in the days of which I am writing, none of this mattered in any way.

The first time I felt the slow-rising bile was not the first kiss of youth, or any similar situation where you might imagine a callow young manboy might get bent out of shape. No. It was a rather benign moment where I was sitting at the bar counter of my then-girlfriend's kitchen, being served a plate of I think Stouffer's spaghetti. Why that dish, memory does not reveal. But I remember she served me a single portion (she herself wasn't eating) and I sat there and ate it. It probably tasted fine or at least not so bad that I would have wanted to immediately regurgitate it. Let's even say it was good, for after all she served it to me and why be ungrateful? The same is true of the apple crumble she served me as dessert. I believe her mother had made that herself. A nurse, she was, the mother, which isn't important but informs what happens later.

So I ate the crumble. It was good. Hot and very sweet and something I have never had since, though I had always liked it. But something about the sensation of fullness in this moment collided with whatever else was going on in the warring of my para- and sympathetic nervous systems, and I knew immediately what was to happen. I managed to croak out "excuse me for a second" and may have even said "I need to go to the bathroom." I remember she, my girlfriend, a lovely green-eyed stawberry blonde daughter of a university professor, looked at me with an expression of confused worry, but said simply "Okay" and turned back to her mother, who by now had come into the kitchen to perhaps see how I liked her apple crumble.

I made it almost all the way to the toilet. The key word is of course almost. What happened next is disgusting to relate (this isn't askreddit, after all) so I won't. Suffice to say I threw up, albeit quietly, there in front of the bathroom door. They had hardwood flooring, I recall. Oddly--well, the whole thing was odd--but oddly now that my stomach had relieved itself of its contents I was no longer nauseous. Which of course did not mean that I now had any idea what to do next. After a moment of standing there in baffled shock in the hallway, I stepped over it, rinsed my mouth and face, and returned with as much dignity as I could summon to the kitchen, saying "Can I possibly have a paper towel or something? I just sort of threw up."

They were kind people. As a nurse, the mother's instinctive, first reaction was to stabilize. They sat me down, they fetched me a glass of water, they adopted furrowed brows. There was no lip-curled disgust. No "Eeww" or similar. The mother instructed her daughter to lay me down on one of their couches in a dim room, and dispatched herself to the hallway for the unenviable task of cleanup.

They both seemed to suspect illness. My temperature was taken. I was worried over and pampered and urged to just relax, sip the water, don't worry about a thing. Only I knew the unspeakable truth, one that I dared not tell--the truth all males in such a situation know and have known throughout time: I was not physically impaired. I was just fucking scared shitless.

Now. While I say men throughout time have realized this about themselves, it's true that they have had such moments of purging panic fear in extremely different circumstances: When confronted unexpectedly with a woolly mammoth, or at the call of "Charge!" or in the ball-turret at 30,000 feet, or when about to storm a fucking beach under mortar fire. These men have puked in abject fear. And so be it. I, though, maybe because I had never been tested, maybe because I wasn't much of an athlete, or maybe because I had just watched too much goddam TV--I puked in the warm kitchen of a beautiful girl serving me comfort food. The heart is a lonely hunter.

Fast forward weeks, months, to prom night. She was wearing one of those strapless dresses where her shoulders were bare, as if she were rising up like Aphrodite out of it, and the moment arrived when I was supposed to do my thing as we lay there on yet another dark couch, and pull the dress down. I mean even in my state of chode-hood I wasn't incapable of reading signals. And so what, then, gentle reader, do you imagine I did?

At least I made it to the bathroom this time.

Let me be clear here in my description of what was happening: I was not revolted. There was no feeling of disgust, which is what is usually associated with vomiting or the urge to do so. Quite the contrary. The cause, as I have suggested, was panic fear. A normal reaction to stimuli thrown into bizarro world.

I lived with this for some time. I eventually broke up with the kind green-eyed girl. She married a close friend of mine. Then divorced him. Anyway the experience of wanting to puke any time I felt a tingling in my loins or flutter in the heart did not just go away. I was to feel this in many instances as I got older. Probably I should have drunk alcohol or ingested some other substance to lubricate my social self, but I was raised in a teetotaling household and wasn't equipped with the wherewithal. And although I came to drink eventually, and, eventually, even get high from time to time, this was always in a very specific context with a specific friend (who I've written about in a separate, equally rambling post).

I can remember moments poised over the porcelain dry-heaving, praying audibly as we are said to do when at the end of our respective ropes: "Please, make this stop." And it didn't, and wouldn't, for a long long time. Until it did. A time for all things, I suppose.

Now we move in time. Now in the story I am early twenties. I am still a virgin. I have left home and moved to Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. In my training group I meet a leggy brunette with bookish glasses and doe eyes, and I fuck her in a tent as we camp in a dark gorge away from our training group. Accidentally. She laughs that I am a virgin, but not in a mocking way. I am, to her--she a wild artist a few years older from Huntingdon Beach--I am like someone from a Harper Lee story. I embody a southern gentlemen fetish she never knew she had. And she shepherds me patiently through my belated sexual awakening--and Christ looking back on it how insatiable are young men, or at least we were then. Surely it wasn't just me.

So what does any of this have to do with your question or issue?

After I returned to the US I had changed. Many events far too numerous to write out or even summarize occurred in the interim, but suffice to say I came of age, whatever that phrase means for you. I left a boy and returned a man. I began to be the guy who threw parties. I organized social functions. I became gregarious, at least for a time. And in short order I met a new girl (the woman in tent I had long ago left behind, and then she had quickly moved on. Other entanglements had followed.) This new young woman I have also alluded to in these threads. She was a very attractive, confident, intellectual Jewish girl (not that that last part matters except that she was the only Jewish girl I was ever intimate with.) And we had sex and then she stopped answering my calls. And then the old familiar feeling returned.

In those days we still used answering machines. I'd call hers and leave messages I hoped were funny. And some of them probably were. It didn't matter. I saw her in a Camaro next to some buff dude who looked like his idea of good conversation was talking about Bama football, or bong types, or titties. And she was hanging on his side like a nymph to his Apollo.

Next time I saw her was at a bar. Two seconds later I felt like hitting the toilet. I didn't . Instead I spoke to her, had a laugh, and took my leave . I decided I wouldn't care about anyone enough again to be that worried what they thought. This required a considerable amount of bootstrapping for me to convince myself. But apparently, I did. A time for all things.

Is there any advice in here? God knows. But it's an anecdote, and you asked. Good luck man. I'm rooting for you.

This sounds like a great time to talk about our panics when dating.

Here's a fun one for you. Have you ever been out for a drive with a woman, limp as a wet noodle, and it is only after she leaves that you get erect? This happened with one woman who I met while hawking meats at a grocery store.

Have you ever had your leg suddenly shake uncontrollably when both your pants are off? This happened with a woman that I used to know back in my freshman year of high school, that I reconnected with in my early 20s.

Have you ever accidentally eaten so much at a date, all your blood rushes up into your stomach - leaving you unable to escalate the rapport? This happened after meeting a woman on a flight home from a job interview.

Guys, I have fucked up so much due to anxiety and inability to predict my own biology. It's kind of a wonder I managed to have kids at all.

If you're failing, at least it means you're trying.

These are unfamiliar phenomenon to me, but also vaguely reassuring. I am also married now with two sons, and would not have imagined that possible once upon a time. I am also regularly in front of crowds of 120+, and don't feel nervous in the slightest, where at one point the prospect would have sent me bowl-ward. Life's a romp.

In my training group I meet a leggy brunette with bookish glasses and doe eyes, and I fuck her in a tent as we camp in a dark gorge away from our training group. Accidentally.

How do you accidentally fuck?

I'll answer that with a riddle.

What's easy to do, when quite hard?

Our resident poet laureate.

A candle among torches.

Thanks man. I guess that's one way to overcome things. I'm attempting to keep my heart unbroken, though, fearless in love and all that. So your strategy is not something I will try to pursue...

I enjoyed reading your story!

Thanks Don't take me wrong Love above all else, etc. It's the neediness one wants to avoid. There's the rub.