I have two questions, not about a particular situation (although, of course, that’s a complete lie) but more a desire for more exposition on certain recurring themes. Should you have the time or inclination. Or want to flip it to the commenters. Or whatnot.
First: How does one spot a Darth Vader? It’s possible, but also possibly not, what I have.
Second: What’s the real deal with Feelings![insert]? Why such a bad idea? Ever a good idea? How to differentiate between Feelings!Bomb and Using My Words To Let Others Know What I Want?
As a 35 year old woman I feel that I should probably already know this shit. However, that’s the same voice that listens to her Aunt when her Aunt says “how come you’re not married with 3 kids by now”. Admission: I don’t know and Because I’m not.
Thanks for anything you could send my way!
And, you’re awesome.
Maybe the commentariat can help us come up with a working list of Darth Vader identifiers? Can you tell us some specific things about your own situation that are making you wonder about this?
In my own experience, I’d compare it to an addiction.
Everything happened really, really fast. The person was an expert at figuring out what I most want to hear and telling me that. He turned all of his charm and attention on me, and since the thing started long-distance, was able to spin a fantasy of how it would be. If I had doubts, he would try really hard to move the relationship forward. When I bought in, he’d retreat, so I’d be in the position of trying to move things forward with someone who I was “meh, I don’t know” about a few days before. He broke things off “for my own good,” so it was one of those “I would totally be with you, it’s just that I’m a bad, bad (sexy) bad (sexy) man and not good enough for you...we shouldn’t do this…okay, if you want to” breakups that took a long time to really “take” because we kept having sex. I felt obsessed and off-balance the entire time. We didn’t have good boundaries. It felt so good at the beginning, so how could something that felt that good not be real? I kept chasing that good feeling like an addict, and I willingly signed up for every bad thing that happened to me.
Oh, here’s a big one: I felt weird and embarrassed about telling my friends about him, even when things were new and shiny. The whole thing seemed unbelievable (because it was unbelievable), and to tell them about it might burst the bubble with common sense. As the story came out of my mouth, I might have the insight that whoa, this is a bad story that does not add up, and then I might have to stop living inside that story. That Darth Vader guy is why I might tell my friends a bit more than is strictly classy about new dating partners. If I’m excited and I want to tell my friends about someone, it’s a good reality check for me that things really are as good as they seem. I’m listening to myself for the parts of the story that don’t add up.
Readers, can you think of any common Darth Vader markers?
As for your second question, the difference bewteen FEELINGSBOMBS, FEELINGSMAIL, and/or FEELINGSART and speaking up about your feelings has mostly to do with timeliness.
Speaking up about feelings: “Hey roommate, it’s your turn to do the dishes, can you take care of that today? My parents are coming tonight.”
FEELINGS______: You don’t say anything to your roommate. You get angrier and angrier. You second-guess whether you should be this angry. You make a LiveJournal post bitching about your roommate and how he never does the dishes. You wash the dishes yourself with a lot of crashing of pots and sighing. When you finally talk to your roommate about it, it’s in a long email where you list every single thing that bugs you about this person and ask WHY do you NEVER do the DISHES even when it’s clearly YOUR TURN, GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
Speaking up about feelings: “Hey, I love spending time with you. Would you want to go on a date sometime?”
FEELINGS_____: Nurse the crush for two years, obsess about the person, wallow in Hamlet-like indecision, then send a giant long email declaring your undying love which totally puts the other person on the spot – there is no way s/he can now say a casual “Sure, let’s see what happens” and will default to “no” for reasons of being “freaked the fuck out and embarrassed.”
In both of these scenarios, you’re unlikely to get the response you want, and you’re also making the other person responsible for your feelings in an oogy way. You’re putting them on the hook for your unspoken feelings, like they owe you something now.
Edited to Add:
Speaking up about your feelings: “Aunt, when you ask me why I’m not married yet, what is it you’re hoping I’ll say?”
Try it out sometime?
Hope that makes sense. Happy weekend, everyone!