We Can Choose Joy

October 24, 2012

If  you’re lucky, you’ll fall head over heels in love at least once in your life with someone who returns the favor. On the way to that joy you’ll likely experience many brokenhearted moments. So many things have to fall into place to find a life partner. Right person, right place, right time. Timing can be especially tricky in our modern world. Young people are always moving, moving on.

There will be more unhappy endings than happy ones, and no one is immune, unless you sit it out entirely. You’ll get there, but it will take patience, self-awareness, a willingness to take risks and make someone else’s happiness a  priority. 

Last weekend I spent a little time with a young woman I know. She was feeling blue about an ending, but she was still able to hope for something better down the road. She said:

Making the best of a situation is a choice. Maybe some times are difficult but we can choose joy, you know?

I do know, and I also know she’ll find what she’s looking for. 

James Mercer of The Shins is one of my favorite musicians. I’m currently obsessed with the song It’s Only Life from their latest album, written as Mercer reflected on his struggle with depression as a teen. It’s a hopeful and encouraging song written to his young, desperate self. 

“We all spend a little while going down the rabbit hole.”

 

Died in the world, you’ve been cornered by a natural desire
You want to hop along with the giddy throng through life
But how will you learn to steer when you’re grinding all your gears?

You’ve been talking for hours
You say time will wash every tower to the sea
And now you’ve got this worry in your heart

Well I guess it’s only life, it’s only natural
We all spend a little while going down the rabbit hole
The things they taught you, they’re lining up to haunt you
You got your back against the wall
I call you on the telephone, won’t you pick up the receiver?

I’ve been down the very road you’re walking now
It doesn’t have to be so dark and lonesome
It takes a while but we can figure this thing out
And turn it back around

You used to be such a lion
Before you got into all this crying on my lap
Back when you thought I’d never get this far

But did you really think I’d shut an open door?
The future’s calling and Imma answer her
The wheels in motion, I never drank your potion
And I know it breaks your heart
Open up your parachute, something’s gotta stop the freefall

I’ve been down the very road you’re walking now
It doesn’t have to be so dark and lonesome
It takes a while but we can figure this thing out
And turn it back around

2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • Lokland

    Bull shit from the first line.

    “f you’re lucky, you’ll fall head over heels in love at least once in your life with someone who returns the favor.”

    If this is what you want luck should have nothing to do with it.

    PS Favour. F A V O U R. Favour.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      If this is what you want luck should have nothing to do with it.

      It shouldn’t but it does. Unless you believe in fate, I suppose.

  • JP

    I know that the first thing that I do when I see a post on Joy is to write an inaccurate attack comment.

    Huh?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/favor

  • CanadianF

    Hate to say it but some people get in and out of relationships very easily.

    Some of us can’t even get to just one…JUST ONE!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @CanadianF

      Some of us can’t even get to just one…JUST ONE!

      Relationships that begin and end easily are not quality. You are MUCH better off holding out for one great partner and locking them down than taking a spin with several so-so guys. You only need one, you can only marry one. Wasting time with the wrong people has a huge opportunity cost, as it ties you up when you might otherwise be available to meet someone great.

  • Rob

    No, there’s no “head over heels.” That’s Oneitis, pure and simple; and a curse to modern man. These days, a successful relationship, from first kiss to when one of you dies on the bed, is a lifelong game, pure and simple. Of course you play it to win, but the first time you forget that you have to consciously manage your partner, every step of the way – with either Athol’s MAP or Roissy and Rollo’s ‘dread’ style – you’ll LOSE.

    Unicorns and fairies and rainbows and puppies, etc. Divorce is too real these days to leave your potential happines and even your very life up to the vaporous whims of the current, legally-enfranchised matriarchy.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Rob

      but the first time you forget that you have to consciously manage your partner, every step of the way – with either Athol’s MAP or Roissy and Rollo’s ‘dread’ style – you’ll LOSE.

      This makes me so sad. Mutual oneitis is about the best high there is.

      Here are my suggestions, FWIW:

      1. Be extremely selective in your choice of partner. Do not marry a narcissist or woman with low self-esteem who requires validation from males to feel OK. If you’re prone to oneitis, avoid sluts even when single. I think this is where a lot of very bad decisions get made.

      2. Manage yourself rather than your partner. Be the man she fell for, don’t slide into being someone you don’t respect. If you do that, you’ll never need the MAP.

      3. Only take advice from the R’s – all Dark Triad males – if you want to end up like them, instilling dread instead of relaxing in the knowledge that your wife is 100% into you.

  • Ted D

    Damn. For once I don’t feel like the resident “doom and gloom” bringer.

    I’m off for day two of the Couch to 5k program. I hurt now and will hurt later even more. But as Rob pointed out it is a game, and I’m playing to win.

  • Lokland

    @Susan

    “It shouldn’t but it does. Unless you believe in fate, I suppose.”

    Fate, pfff.

    Strategy is infinitely more important than luck.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lokland

      Strategy is infinitely more important than luck.

      I agree with that – I’m pretty sure you know that. I meant lucky in the sense that a person who finds that is fortunate. I know you feel very fortunate to have wound up with your wife – you have said so. The fact that you were strategic and intelligent in selecting carefully no doubt explains it, but no matter how careful and prepared we are, there is always an element of kismet. You might have missed meeting her by 10 seconds.

  • JP

    Relationships are fun for the first few years because things are exciting. Then they get relatively dull and boring and slowly get worse over time.

    Isn’t this how life generally works because the excitement wears off?

  • Ted D

    Susan – “Manage yourself rather than your partner. Be the man she fell for, don’t slide into being someone you don’t respect. If you do that, you’ll never need the MAP.”

    OK I’ll grant you this is a better frame for what Rob said. Perhaps it is a fine line between the two, but your take on it at least sounds positive. I still think there is some minimum level of “partner management” necessary, but it probably varies widely woman to woman.

    Oh, and I hurt. A LOT. I’m so out of shape it would be funny if it didn’t hurt so much. :-p

  • JP

    @SUsan:

    “1. Be extremely selective in your choice of partner. Do not marry a narcissist or woman with low self-esteem who requires validation from males to feel OK. If you’re prone to oneitis, avoid sluts even when single. I think this is where a lot of very bad decisions get made.”

    I dated a slut-ish woman once.

    The problem was that it triggered my extreme jealousy response, which ultimately resulted in me being dumped, which was a definite positive event. I would have hung on for some time.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @JP

      The problem was that it triggered my extreme jealousy response, which ultimately resulted in me being dumped, which was a definite positive event. I would have hung on for some time.

      You were lucky. A lot of those pairings end in marriage. Perhaps this is the cock carousel —-> beta provider thing.

  • JP

    @Susan:

    “This makes me so sad. Mutual oneitis is about the best high there is.”

    Yes, but it’s annoying to get oneitis when you are already married. That’s just plain annoying and irritating.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Yes, but it’s annoying to get oneitis when you are already married. That’s just plain annoying and irritating.

      LOL, for your wife or someone else?

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Strategy is infinitely more important than luck.

    Is it me or we are agreeing more now in certain things now that you are married? Can’t wait for little Lokland to be around is a wonder to see how people change with parenthood…:)

  • INTJ

    @ Lokland

    PS Favour. F A V O U R. Favour.

    Silly Canucks with your u’s all over the place.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Silly Canucks with your u’s all over the place.

      I didn’t even know Canadian’s followed the British spelling. Is this why their “o” vowels sound so odd?

  • J

    A lovely, positve post, SW, no matter what the naysayers say.

  • Lokland

    @Ana

    “Is it me or we are agreeing more now in certain things now that you are married? Can’t wait for little Lokland to be around is a wonder to see how people change with parenthood…:)”

    In for a penny in for a pound.

    @Susan

    “I didn’t even know Canadian’s followed the British spelling. Is this why their “o” vowels sound so odd?”

    Pff, whenever I’m listening to an American say ‘out and about’ I hum the jeopardy theme song. You people literally drag out the ou sound so much more than is necessary.

    “You might have missed meeting her by 10 seconds.”

    This I’ll agree with. I don’t often get superstitious but we were both on opposite sides of the country/world attending different schools and I somehow wound up hitting her in the ass with a door.

    I’m not big on the idea of fate/destiny but it can be comforting and nice to imagine.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lokland

      This I’ll agree with. I don’t often get superstitious but we were both on opposite sides of the country/world attending different schools and I somehow wound up hitting her in the ass with a door.

      I’m not big on the idea of fate/destiny but it can be comforting and nice to imagine.

      That’s a great story! I’m not big on fate either – your wife is probably one of many, many women you might have been happy with. There’s comfort in that thought too. Still, when we get what we want, we can appreciate the accidents of timing – sliding doors – that brought us to our particular destiny.

  • Joe

    Susan, I’m on your side with this one. The naysayers and bitter souls have succeeded only in annoying me.

    What they’re missing is that, even though the unhappy endings outnumber the happy endings, all it takes is one happy ending to even the score.

    I just lied. With one happy ending, the scales move all the way to the other side. The needle is pegged. I understand the bitter people have a hard time recognizing this one, simple fact of life. I should know because I was one of them myself. I was wrong then, and so are they, now.

    It’s got nothing to do with sex, or how many sexual partners you’ve had (much less, the quality of the sex you’ve had). It’s got everything to do with being human.

  • Cooper

    “This makes me so sad. Mutual oneitis is about the best high there is.”
    vs
    “Oneitis, pure and simple; and a curse to modern man.”

    These are the two birds on my shoulders.

  • Valentin

    I’m glad you are happy and have a positive outlook Susan. However I’m throwing you a red flag that has the term “ivory tower” embroidered on it.
    Until you’ve experienced quite a few friend-zones, nuke rejections and learned helplessness I don’t think you should throw happy platitudes around like this as if happiness is just chosen.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Valentin

      Until you’ve experienced quite a few friend-zones, nuke rejections and learned helplessness I don’t think you should throw happy platitudes around like this as if happiness is just chosen.

      Happiness is indeed largely a matter of choice. There’s a ton of work that has been done on happiness in the field of Positive Psychology. In addition, the positive effects of having an “attitude of gratitude” have been demonstrated to be profound. From a WSJ article:

      Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.

      …Cultivating gratitude is also a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which holds that changing peoples’ thought patterns can dramatically affect their moods…As simple as it sounds, gratitude is actually a demanding, complex emotion that requires “self-reflection, the ability to admit that one is dependent upon the help of others, and the humility to realize one’s own limitations,” Dr. Emmons says.

      Being grateful also forces people to overcome what psychologists call the “negativity bias”—the innate tendency to dwell on problems, annoyances and injustices rather than upbeat events.

      Thank you. No, thank you.

      Happiness is also a burgeoning area of interest to economists.

      In the manosphere I see a reinforcement of negative attitudes and a romanticizing, even coddling of pain. There is a certain “misery loves company” aspect to this, but I don’t think it actually helps people much, if happiness is what they’re after. Then again, many people are more interested in vengeance.

  • Lamia

    Beautiful :)

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Susan…”…Cultivating gratitude is also a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which holds that changing peoples’ thought patterns can dramatically affect their moods…”

    There is apparently a saying in the Hawaiian traditional religion that goes something like “Monsters cannot survive in an atmosphere of gratitude.”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @david foster

      There is apparently a saying in the Hawaiian traditional religion that goes something like “Monsters cannot survive in an atmosphere of gratitude.”

      I love that. I also love this part of the song’s lyrics:

      But did you really think I’d shut an open door?
      The future’s calling and Imma answer her
      The wheels in motion, I never drank your potion
      And I know it breaks your heart

      I think he’s talking to his younger self, and how instead of embracing his own pain, he moved toward a better future. He feels almost disloyal to that teenage boy, but he wants him to know this is the better way.

  • Escoffier

    Arthur Brooks, an economist, has done a bunch of research to show that happiness derives above all from a sense of “earned success.” In other words, people at various socio-economic levels are happy when they feel they have personally earned what they have, whether they have a lot or a little. OTOH, people who did not earn what they have, whether a lot or a little, are more likely to be unhappy.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Escoffier

      OTOH, people who did not earn what they have, whether a lot or a little, are more likely to be unhappy.

      Here’s an interesting chart from the Freakonomics blog on U.S. levels of happiness by income, from the GSS.

      gss

      While the rich are clearly the happiest, in the bottom 10% of Americans, 74% are very happy or pretty happy.

  • Ted D

    Susan – “In the manosphere I see a reinforcement of negative attitudes and a romanticizing, even coddling of pain. There is a certain “misery loves company” aspect to this, but I don’t think it actually helps people much, if happiness is what they’re after. Then again, many people are more interested in vengeance.”

    This is exactly why despite reading the ‘sphere for info I rarely participate in converstaions there. I get the need for info, and I even understand that for some people to truly grasp a concept they have to be beaten over the head with it. But does it REALLY need to be delivered with such negativity?

    perhaps for some it does. For me it either sets off my BS alarm, or puts me in a crappy mood. In either case the result is less than optimal.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      For me it either sets off my BS alarm, or puts me in a crappy mood.

      Ha, for me it does both. Hence my attempts to distance myself from it. I have zero desire to wade into the miasma at my age. I wouldn’t do it for millions, much less what this blog earns. :)

  • Escoffier

    Yeah, it’s not the negativity of the sphere per se that I see as a problem–after all hard truths do need to be delivered in the face of lies and happy talk.

    It’s the refusal to see anything positive anywhere, an especially to attack like feral dogs when someone says something positive about women or even about an individual woman. It’s like they think their very being is in jeopardy if even one virtuous women is conceded to exist anywhere. So all counter examples must be rounded up and sent to the camps.

  • bellacoker

    It seems to me that the some men, some people but men in this instance, over-estimate the emotional pain of breakup and rejection. I’m not saying that it doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t have to be a soul-crushing hurt. And we have the capacity as humans to recognize patterns, so when we go through the same type of pain again we can recognize it and know the measure of it and know how it feels when it begins to get better.

    It’s like when you are a child and skin your knee, the proper response to the pain is to fall down crying and run to your parents. But it would be odd for an adult who skinned their knee to react the same way; we even make choices to go rock-climbing or engage in other activities that make knee-scraping incredibly likely.

    It is the same way with breaking up, I think. When one’s heart is first broken, it does feel like the world will end, but when the world doesn’t end then that is something to learn from. And if we are going to engage in activities that increase the likelihood of emotional upheaval, don’t we owe it to ourselves and the people we interact with to get better at taking the knocks?

  • Ted D

    Bellacoker – “I’m not saying that it doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t have to be a soul-crushing hurt. ”

    Well there is a lot of variables here. I’ll start with oneitus. A guy that has his entire life and well being tied into a woman is in for the worst hurt of his existance if/when she walks out the door. In a sense it really is like losing your purpose to live. I know, it sounds rediculous, and looking back at my own life I can see that clearly. But when you are knee deep in shit, you can’t smell anything but shit…

    Second, if you are talking about “dating” then yeah, it isn’t usually THAT traumatic. But, if you are married and have children? Man I’ll tell you, as hurt as I was by discovering my ex-wife was no longer “in love” with me (yes, she actually used the “I love you but I’m not IN love with you” line on me, word for word) I was far more upset by the prospect of not seeing my children every day. In many ways I’d already been “checking out” of my marriage after over 5 years of no sex and interacting more like room mates that husband and wife, but I was NOT prepared to lose my kids. In my case things worked out for me partly because my ex wasn’t a bitch, but I know far too many men that get to “play” dad on the weekends at best, and a few that are lucky to see their kids two holidays a year. I can fully understand how that can be utterly soul crushing.

  • JP

    @TedD:

    “Well there is a lot of variables here. I’ll start with oneitus. A guy that has his entire life and well being tied into a woman is in for the worst hurt of his existance if/when she walks out the door. In a sense it really is like losing your purpose to live. I know, it sounds rediculous, and looking back at my own life I can see that clearly. But when you are knee deep in shit, you can’t smell anything but shit…”

    This happened to my cousin. He never dated or did anything ever again.

    He’s an old-fashioned chain-smoking lawyer.

    Who now has COPD.

  • JP

    @Escoffer:

    “OTOH, people who did not earn what they have, whether a lot or a little, are more likely to be unhappy.”

    Which would explain why I don’t feel any satisfaction when I look back at either my chemical engineering or law degree.

    All I had to do was show up and be extremely intelligent.

  • Escoffier

    JP, I can’t tell if you are being flip or not but there is truth in what you write even if you didn’t mean it.

    Part of the problem with our modern “meritocracy” of brains is that people, indeed, do not earn their brains. They are basically part inheritance and part felicty or chance (since even smart parents can have stupid children and vice versa). So, while the intelligent do indeed have to show up and do the work to receive the reward, the work is often not that onerous.

    You certainly “earned” your degrees but I gather it was easy hence you don’t feel like they are much of an accomplishment, they way they would have been for someone who had to study constantly and really struggle.

    The problem, or one problem, is that most of the cognitive elite do not feel the way you do, they feel that they absolutely deserve everything they have and that chance and inheritance had nothing to do with it, it was all “hard work.” This makes them rather callous to the plight of the less smart. It also results in policies that favor the smart over the average and the dumb, and that can be justified under the rubric of fairness, equality, and democracy.

  • JP

    It wasn’t until I got out into the working world that I was actually required to be productive in any sense of the word.

    This generally isn’t good when your first job is at a law firm and you have to bill a ton of hours.

    Part of my work is monetizing low IQs. Just like I monetized my high IQ.

    So, either high or low can be exchanged for cash prizes.

  • Escoffier

    I have absolutely no doubt that you and lots of other high people know how to monetize low IQs. The question is, how much of that money actually ends up in the pockets of the low IQ?

  • JP

    It depends on whether they have a rep payee.

    The cutoff for disability is an IQ of 70.

  • Ted D

    “I have absolutely no doubt that you and lots of other high people know how to monetize low IQs. The question is, how much of that money actually ends up in the pockets of the low IQ?”

    I know we are going WAY off the rails here, but can one of you explain what this means? Is it finding out how to make money from low IQ folks, or some other means of seeing them as an income flow?

    I’m dreadfully bad at detailed economic stuff. I get the overall idea of economics (I had to pass an economics class to get a degree after all) but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, I get lost quickly. Mike C often has me reading his posts several times just so I can get a feel for where he is coming from. Nothing makes me feel “dumb” more than trying to figure out economics, well maybe other than when you guys start talking about Plato and stuff. LOL

  • Escoffier

    Getting way OT here but I didn’t realize were talking about government benefits. It should be obvious to most what problems that introduces.

  • Escoffier

    Well, we appear to have been talking about different things. What I meant was encapsulated in the economic concept of “arbitrage.” Two markets price the same assets differnently, only most buyers and sellers in each market do not know what is happening in the other, so that someone with a broader perspective can take advantage of the difference. This is supposed to be dealt with by tranparency and real time, complete information, but perfect information is impossible and even if it could be achieved, some people are going to be quicker and smarter about exploiting it than others.

    So, in terms of the less smart, they can be induced to make poor decisions in terms of their own interests (e.g., buying lottery tickets). That is not a pure arbitrage example, not exactly, but the point stands.

    There are all kinds of business models that operate in this way.

    Beyond that, there are simply broader policies that benefit the cognitive elite (which means, increasingly, the Davos class and the UMC) that hurt the poor and working classes, but all in the name of “fairness,” “competetiveness,” “opportunity” and above all “meritocracy.” Many of these are not really arbitrage schemes at all but they have the same effect.

    God, I sound so left wing!

  • JP

    When you have an IQ of 70 or below and another impairment, you are automatically considered disabled by the Federal Government and you can receive SSDI benefits.

    It also helps if you are illiterate to get SSDI.

  • Ted D

    I read an article today on one of the more popular MRM sites that I forwarded to Susan regarding almost exactly this topic. I won’t post it here, because I don’t think Susan would appricate giving them any more traffic, but she has it and perhaps might share some of it here.

    The crux of it is this: The UMC sets policy for just about everyone else, but they DO NOT have to live under those same rules by virtue of the fact that they have the means to work around them, or because their own personal behaviors do NOT place them in a tight spot where those rules and laws would apply to them.

    VERY intersting read IMO. I really want to share it, but I understand Susan’s distaste for doing so here, and many times cross-linking brings the madness to our doorstep. :(

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ted D

      Feel free to link. What the hell. I think it’s an interesting article, and better for you to link in the comments than for me to write a whole post on it.

      I was particularly interested in his observation that UMCs are living like Neo Victorians while calling themselves feminists, while, the LC lives like feminists while ignoring the movement.

  • Cooper

    Susan, I’d dearly like to experience mutual oneitis, in my lifetime, but it soo many guys seem to preaching that limerance is a tale sign of a guy, essentially, being had.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Susan, I’d dearly like to experience mutual oneitis, in my lifetime, but it soo many guys seem to preaching that limerance is a tale sign of a guy, essentially, being had.

      Limerence is two people falling in love! How is that being had?

      I suppose a woman faking falling in love would be taking advantage. Personally, I don’t know how one could mistake one for the other. I used to cry during sex with my husband because I was so happy and in love.

      When it happens and it’s real, you’ll know and you’ll trust it. I suspect many of the people giving this advice have never experienced it, sadly.

  • Ted D

    Cooper – “Susan, I’d dearly like to experience mutual oneitis, in my lifetime, but it soo many guys seem to preaching that limerance is a tale sign of a guy, essentially, being had.”

    The trick is, if you both have “oneitis” then it isn’t a trick. The downside is: I suspect that women are far more likely to be able to break oneitis in her own best intersts with less emotional trauma. I know NAWALT. But, in general, women do seem to “get over” the loss of a relationship faster than men. Now, that may be changing a great deal with the younger generations. I’ve said before that I see much less of what I’d call supplicating behavior from my boys and their friends. To be sure, they sometimes still fixate a great deal on their “girlfriends” (whatever that actually is in middle school…) but even then they take break-ups in stride and move on. Now, to the best of my knowledge there is no real sex involved yet (but I’m sure it’s coming soon, no pun intended) so perhaps they haven’t yet truly “bonded” to a young woman. But, I’m happy to see that unlike the guys I knew and hung out with in HS, these kids just seem to have that “aloof” attitude down cold.

    In truth its like a drug to their female peers. They really go nuts trying to figure out why the boy they like just isn’t all over them. I’m hoping to simply foster their current attitudes right on through to college, where it will pay off for them 10x over.

    As far as it goes, I don’t like the term oneitis anyway. It conjures bad images for me just like the word beta, simply because I represented the worst of both terms in the past. There is nothing wrong with deep mutual love, but even then a man MUST remain anchored in himself first, and then his mate second. To be honest, I don’t think you can have a truly fullfilling relationship without that mutual “oneitis”, but it is a VERY scary and risky proposition.

  • JP

    Limerance isn’t voluntary, rather it’s something that happens to you.

    So it’s quite different than dating or anything intentional.

  • Cooper

    @Ted

    Tom.S created a forum post (in the girls-only section) asking girls how they demonstrate that they’re interested, to which I think only Saywhaat replied.
    He emanates how he’s toning down the aloofness, which to Saywhaat questioned whether it was in general or with a particular girl.

    Well, continuing on their thought – I have no desire to seek a girl who like aloofness.
    I’m looking girls that aren’t afraid to know ‘I like *them*’
    I know Susan has told me before that there is a certain invalue to ‘uncetainty’ in terms of female attraction, but I don’t want to attract girls that chase uncertainty. I want one that does cringe at receiving affection.
    IMO, a girl who thinks I’m hot caues I act aloof certainly isn’t going to be kind to enjoy a mutual oneitis.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I know Susan has told me before that there is a certain invalue to ‘uncetainty’ in terms of female attraction, but I don’t want to attract girls that chase uncertainty.

      I agree, you definitely want to steer clear of girls who don’t like any guy who likes them. And there are a lot of those around. OTOH, if she never has to wonder, even in the beginning, you’re depriving her of the frisson of risk and uncertainty that most people actually enjoy – call it butterflies.

      Don’t distance yourself, and don’t coming rushing in either. Give the attraction an opportunity to build, the anticipation will pay great rewards.

  • bellacoker

    Ted D: I think that this is true, ” I suspect that women are far more likely to be able to break oneitis in her own best intersts with less emotional trauma. I know NAWALT. But, in general, women do seem to “get over” the loss of a relationship faster than men.”

    I think that there are two scripts that girls are told that pull us in that direction. The first is that if someone breaks up with us it is always because of something that we did or didn’t do. If you have control (even phantom control) of a situation, then it is probably easier to get over. The second is that if we fall in with someone who ends up being bad news, then it is our own fault. I distinctly remember my grandmother seriously advising me when I was about 8, so way too young to care, that it is just as easy to fall in love with a rich boy as a poor one. In her mind, she was dispensing helpful, perhaps life saving wisdom.

  • JP

    Wikipedia says limerance is something else:

    “Limerence is an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one’s feelings reciprocated. ”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limerance

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @JP

      A more thorough concept is Fisher’s attachment:

      THE ATTRACTION SYSTEM (in humans termed “passionate love,” “obsessive love,” or “infatuation”) is characterized by increased energy and the focusing of attention on a preferred mating partner. In humans, attraction is also associated with feelings of exhilaration, intrusive thinking about the beloved, and the craving for emotional union. Attraction, I hypothesize, is associated in the brain primarily with high levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine and with low levels of serotonin. This emotion system evolved chiefly to enable males and females to distinguish among potential mating partners, conserve their mating energy, prefer genetically superior individuals, and pursue these individuals until insemination had been completed.

  • JP

    I’ve always wanted to be a Victorian.

  • Cooper

    “I suspect many of the people giving this advice have never experienced it, sadly.”

    Even Ted?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Even Ted?

      It sounds to me like Ted has definitely had it with his current wife, but probably not with his first. He has shared how, in retrospect, he believes he ignored a lot of red flags, in part because he didn’t know what was a problem and what wasn’t.

  • Ted D

    Susan – ” I used to cry during sex with my husband because I was so happy and in love.”

    While I completely understand the reason for this, I’m sure you had to explain it to your husband pronto! I’ve often felt that being that deeply in love is almost painful in a way. It is something I desire (and have with my wife now) but is also one of the most frightening feelings in the world to me.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      While I completely understand the reason for this, I’m sure you had to explain it to your husband pronto!

      Yes, I did the first time. He was very moved by it, I remember, and he hugged me tight.

  • Lokland

    @Susan

    “Personally, I don’t know how one could mistake one for the other. I used to cry during sex with my husband because I was so happy and in love.”

    So easy not to mistake one for the other cause that just makes perfect sense…

    So a woman who isn’t crying during sex is also not in love?
    Or is it that only some woman cry during sex when in love?
    Or is it that all women cry only sometimes when in love?
    Or is it that some women cry sometimes sometimes during sex because their in love?

    I could keep going but you get the point.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lokalnd

      I could keep going but you get the point.

      There’s no rule about being in love and crying, ever, and certainly not about crying during sex. I was just giving an example of how my husband knew. What you should have is a 100.0% certainty. Not 99.9%. 100. You’ll know it when you feel it. If you don’t feel it, you should not marry! 0.1% of a doubt is too much.

  • Cooper

    “Limerence is two people falling in love! How is that being had?”

    IDK – why is acting aloof is such a DVH?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      Not supplicating is /= aloof.

      Eager is the opposite of aloof.

      You’re aiming for a middle ground.

      I don’t think I’ve ever said, “Be aloof.” If I did, I take it back. That is way too close to “dread” for my taste. I don’t think you should ever pretend to be disinterested. I think you should reveal your hand gradually, in step with the woman.

  • Lokland

    @Cooper

    Limerance is mutual reciprocated.
    Oneitis is one way attraction/desperation in the hope the feeling is mutual.

    the first involves staying up all night having wild sex and talking about the names of your future kids.
    the second involves staying up all night in your room checking your phone every 12 seconds, creeping some girl on Facebook to see if she has any pictures of her with another guy.

    See the difference?

  • Cooper

    “See the difference?”

    Yes. I meant to originally say unrequited limerance, aka oneitis.

  • Ted D

    Cooper – ““I suspect many of the people giving this advice have never experienced it, sadly.”

    Even Ted?”

    No one is perfect!

    I’ve experienced it a few times in my life, but the unfortunate truth is despite that feeling of being mutually in love (and I believe that my exes were honest about it) things still feel apart. I think the key here is that mutal love (or oneitis) just isn’t nearly enough to make things work long term. I used to believe it was, that love can conquer all. But it can’t and it doesn’t. Should you have it with your mate? Definately. Should you depend on it in order to slack off in other areas? Not on your life (or your bank account if you marry!) I don’t doubt the ‘power of love’ one bit, I simply overestimated it by a large magnitude.

    “Well, continuing on their thought – I have no desire to seek a girl who like aloofness.”
    Well I’m not suggesting that you or my boys should do so. But the fact is, being aloof DOES get you attention. Whether or not you like that attention and those that bring it is all about taste and objective. For guys looking to add N? Works like a charm. For guys looking for something deeper? It can work to your advantage as long as you know to be VERY careful about filtering on the women that present themselves to you. It isn’t always a bad thing, especially of the woman in quesiton is particulary hot or popular. Realize that these women are used to men fawning over them, and when one doesn’t it makes them wonder why. That doesn’t mean she is promiscuous, unrestricted, or a bad mate choice. It just means that among all the men around her, YOU stuck out. ;-)

    “IMO, a girl who thinks I’m hot caues I act aloof certainly isn’t going to be kind to enjoy a mutual oneitis.”
    See my comment above. You truly can’t know that until you know her. Is there an increased chance she’s not what you’re looking for? Surely. But as long as you don’t risk too much too soon, why not find out for yourself the old fashioned way? If she isn’t the right type of woman, you’ll know soon enough by escalating towards a relationship. Women that aren’t interested will run screaming from you (which you’ve already seen I’m sure). It sucks, but that is a feature, not a bug.

  • HanSolo

    @Cooper

    Acting aloof is a DHV because you’re implying that she’s not good enough for you and that you’re of higher value…that sets the hypergamy glands afire….

    But you already new that. ;)

    And for the record, it sucks, but it is what it is. Same with social proof by being seen with a hot girl. You’re the same person either way but many women want a man of high value, both intrinsic value and social value. The social value is perceived when you’re seen with a hot women or leading other men in a way that the woman values. Discovering intrinsic value is difficult and so subconsciously many women will look to how other women (and men) are voting, kind of like buying a computer when you don’t know that much about it, you’ll read online and see what other people are saying is the best one for your needs.

    The desire for social proof that many women want isn’t necessarily intrinsically shallow though. In the tribal days when you’re place in the tribe was important for resources and protection, picking a man that had it would provide benefits to the woman.

  • Ted D

    OK Susan here goes. I hope it doesn’t bring a shitstorm…

    http://www.the-spearhead.com/2012/10/25/feminisms-future-the-underclass/

    I told Susan not to dismiss this simply on the site hosting it. It is a damn good read, and goes straight to some of my biggest complaints about the UMC. I really don’t hate on anyone for succeeding, but damn can’t the successful people just once practice what they preach?

  • JP

    I’ve always been excellent at being aloof.

    Here’s a snapshot of one such situation.

    Girl: Thinking (“I’ve been flirting with this guy for five minutes. What is his deal? Why isn’t he responding at all? I’m cute! What’s happening?”)

    Me: Thinking (Let’s see, if we know that one of the key reasons for the collapse of the Roman empire was a deeply rooted agricultural crisis, then how is that analogous to the current geopolitcal posture of the west…I think that we are heading into a recession, but the numbers don’t quite add up…and if we put the sovereign debt issues into perspective, I’m going to need some major asset allocation changes in a few years. Where am I again? Who is this person? Ok, it’s some girl. Was she talking at me just now?”)

  • Cooper

    “That doesn’t mean she is promiscuous, unrestricted, or a bad mate choice. It just means that among all the men around her, YOU stuck out.”

    What is says to me – that she fascinated by disinterest – is that there’s a good chance I’ll be re- grouped into the 99% once she obtains my interest, which she certainly will at some point if we progress towards a relationship. It makes the initial attraction based on something that, if all goes per plan (towards a relationship), won’t be there.

  • Escoffier

    #67 was an “Aha!” for me. It occurs to me that I’ve known a few females like that. Show them interest, they LJBF you. Pull back, they get interested. Show interested again, get ruled out again.

    Can’t win with that type. Run.

  • Ted D

    JP – ROFL. I’m glad I’m not the only person walking around completely oblivious to the world around me because I’m thinking about something so deeply.

    Cooper – “What is says to me – that she fascinated by disinterest – is that there’s a good chance I’ll be re- grouped into the 99% once she obtains my interest, which she certainly will at some point if we progress towards a relationship. It makes the initial attraction based on something that, if all goes per plan (towards a relationship), won’t be there.”

    Dude, I’m the resident sour puss negative nelly, remember?

    I don’t disagree with you, but you might just be selling a particular women short here. In general you are probably correct. But, IF you get that attention, why not use it? If nothing else it is a learning experience, right? Again, feature, not a bug. But here is the thing. that woman that is so used to guys drooling over her is perhaps tired of it. Maybe she’d like to find just one guy that isn’t ready to jump her bones right this moment. Maybe she simply wants to know why you don’t think she is that attractive. And, to be honest, in a way it sets the frame in your favor from the word go. As was pointed out above, aloofness implies that you consider her beneath your view for some reason. When other guys go out of their way to chat her up, you politely answer a hello and move on. It piques her interest in a way that no other guy will, because she feels the desire to qualify herself to you right away, to PROVE she is more than worth your consideration. You might just find out after a little chit chat that she, like you, is all about a serious relationship, but the only guys that hit on her are looking for a romp.

    I’m not trying to convince you of anything really. I just don’t want you to limit yourself too much based on negative attitudes. I get it, I really do. There was a time over the last year that I began to find myself looking at women in general in a rather dark light. Had I not been with someone, it may have been very worse, so I just want to make sure you’re keeping your head in the game. Don’t lose site of the goal, just because you have your head down.

    If finding love is a numbers game, then the best bet is to increase your opprotunities to find it. You are in a great position because just showing up somewhere can generate interest for you. Think about how tough it is on guys like me that don’t stand out in a line-up. Be careful. Be cautious. For God’s sakes cover your ass! But don’t start shooting yourself in the foot man.

  • HanSolo

    Teddism of the day: For God’s sakes cover your ass! But don’t start shooting yourself in the foot….

  • Ted D

    HanSolo – “Teddism of the day: For God’s sakes cover your ass! But don’t start shooting yourself in the foot….”

    Whew I’m glad you found it. Now I can relax the rest of the day. :P

  • HanSolo

    @Ted D

    Great expectations! ;)

    You have a reputation to live up to.

  • JP

    Ah, here’s a good definition.

    Lovestruck.

    This is always fun to experience when you have no idea what’s happening.

    “According to Tallis, some of the symptom clusters shared with being lovestruck include:

    mania or hypomania – abnormally elevated mood, inflated self esteem, extravagant gift giving

    depression – tearfulness

    Insomnia – loss of concentration and difficulty sleeping

    anorexia – lack of appetite

    stress – high blood pressure, pain in chest and heart, acute insomnia; sometimes brought on by a “crush”

    obsessive-compulsive disorder – preoccupation and hoarding valueless but superstitiously resonant items
    psychologically created physical symptoms, such as upset stomach, change in appetite, insomnia, dizziness, and confusion.

    More substantively, the estimated serotonin levels of people falling in love were observed to drop to levels found in patients with OCD.[9] Brain scan investigations of individuals who professed to be “truly, madly, deeply” in love showed activity in several structures in common with in the neuroanatomy of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for example the anterior cingulate cortex and caudate nucleus.[10]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovestruck

  • Lokland

    @Susan

    “There’s no rule about being in love and crying,”

    You realize this makes your original claim that misidentifying love vs. not love is difficult to do really weak right?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lokland

      You realize this makes your original claim that misidentifying love vs. not love is difficult to do really weak right?

      I was just giving an example of one of the ways my husband came to believe I was 100% reliable on the “in love” front. I don’t think there is a set of rules or “tells.” I think people should trust their gut. If you are certain, proceed. If you have doubts, proceed with caution until they are addressed. Otherwise bail.

      In almost every case where someone has learned that their SO was not who they thought, they confess there were some worrisome signs they chose to ignore. I guess what I’m saying is don’t ignore anything.

  • pvw

    @ Susan: I was particularly interested in his observation that UMCs are living like Neo Victorians while calling themselves feminists, while, the LC lives like feminists while ignoring the movement.

    Me: They call themselves feminists because they believe in women’s rights and equality, ie., in education, in the workforce and in the home. These are not radical separatists, “don’t depend on a man” types. Never forget the significance of the softer versions of feminism that were never about that. They believe in women making their own choices, ie., birth control and abortion. But with respect to their own parenting choices, it is about replicating the 2 parent ideal.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @pvw

      These are not radical separatists, “don’t depend on a man” types. Never forget the significance of the softer versions of feminism that were never about that. They believe in women making their own choices, ie., birth control and abortion. But with respect to their own parenting choices, it is about replicating the 2 parent ideal.

      You’re so right. In the same way I am happy to call myself a gender equity feminist – actually I’m probably exactly like these folks, except that in this particular article, all but one had delayed or avoided having kids. Price contrasts them to the women having children OOW.

  • Cooper

    “OTOH, if she never has to wonder, even in the beginning, you’re depriving her of the frisson of risk and uncertainty that most people actually enjoy – call it butterflies.
    Don’t distance yourself, and don’t coming rushing in either. Give the attraction an opportunity to build, the anticipation will pay great rewards.”

    And, to me, this only comes in form of channeling a MGTOW-attitude.

    I have, recently, completely done away with acting uninterested. (It never seemed to work very well for me, and usually left my with unrequited, and unspoken, oneitis)
    Now, I have no patience for hiding that. If a girl is shy to it, I’m much more confident in saying “her loss.”
    To me, I have no need to move slow. If she likes me, great, if she doesn’t, I’ve found out faster. Win-win!

    I understand, for women, attraction can take time. And I admittedly am not very accommodating to that fact, but I also look at that ‘time’ as a bit of a red flag. It’s not that I expect love at first sight, but to me, any sign on being undecided, is NOT a signal for requiring more time, but more of a indication of hesitation, being unsure, and most important weighing her other options.
    If she’s doing they NOW, well… Well, now, I say ‘next!”

    I know it’s not the best filtering system, if good at all, but I’ve done so with my requirements as the center focus, and hopefully that will help me getting what I want. (I think the main difference in my entire outlook, now, is I’m now looking for what *I* want, and not how to be what others want)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      A few weeks ago you reported being open with women about interest in a relationship, and felt that was working well for you. Is that still the case? It sounds like you’re trying all kinds of things, and I’m very interested to know how it’s going for you, what works and what doesn’t, if you care to share.

  • Ted D

    “Lovestruck.”

    For a person that dislikes strong emotions and the physical manifestations of them, this is truly spooky stuff. I can’t deny a real rush from such strong emotions, but they also make me feel very much out of control sometimes. It takes a great deal of effort on my part to keep some small bit of emotional separation from my mate. But if I don’t leave any room at all, where is there left for us to meet in the middle?

    Cooper – “And, to me, this only comes in form of channeling a MGTOW-attitude.”

    Sure I can see that. It isn’t the ‘spheres definition of MGTOW though, at least not as I understand it. (there are guys here that can correct me if I’m wrong in this one)

    To me it isn’t so much going your own way in that sense, but more along the lines of just doing your thing. Not being so wound tight looking for a woman that you literally change your behavior FOR one.

    “Now, I have no patience for hiding that. If a girl is shy to it, I’m much more confident in saying “her loss.””

    Good. Don’t hide shit. But, don’t just throw your hand down and sit back all smug either. Even the woman you are looking for wants to discover you on her own. What fun would reading a book be if you already knew the ending? (well, maybe not the best example as I’ve read books knowing how they end. Just work with me here…)

    “To me, I have no need to move slow. If she likes me, great, if she doesn’t, I’ve found out faster. Win-win!”

    Easy fella. Two things jump right to mind here:
    1. moving too fast can come across as needy/clingy. There is NOTHING wrong with wanting intimacy. But, if committment is your offer, no woman wants to think you offer it to every girl you meet.
    2. See my point above. Women like a mystery, and not knowing a guy IS a puzzle to be solved. That doesn’t make her bad, or even a poor choice. It makes her a human female. Don’t think of it as holding back you ‘true self’ but more as letting her discover that true self at her pace. Your job is to set that pace and keep her on track, not just throw it all on the floor in front of her to sort out.

    “I understand, for women, attraction can take time. And I admittedly am not very accommodating to that fact, but I also look at that ‘time’ as a bit of a red flag. It’s not that I expect love at first sight, but to me, any sign on being undecided, is NOT a signal for requiring more time, but more of a indication of hesitation, being unsure, and most important weighing her other options.
    If she’s doing they NOW, well… Well, now, I say ‘next!””

    Hrm. Patience is a virtue! (I don’t buy it either, but my grandma believed so…)

    This paragraph has a lot under the surface for such a tiny statement. A woman taking time to “get to know you” CAN be a red flag, or it can be a sign that she is actually very into you. I very much dislike price descrimination, but I understand why it happens. (for the record ladies, do you best NOT to do this. It makes those few guys you actually want to be with very nervous at best…)

    how about this: If you are sitting at home and you want a quick jolt of excitement, would you possibly go bungee jumping or to the library to read a book? A woman actually looking for a “good time” (I’m NOT saying this is a good thing to be clear here.) isn’t going to take her time to “get to know” the guy, because all she wants is the quick hit and run. If she meets you and thinks you’ve got potential, it makes sense that she’d much rather read you than jump you and run. From a man’s persective this is totally screwed up. (and I can’t argue the point, because I feel the same way) but to her she is taking her time because she is planning on investing more, and we all know that is scary crap.

    Love at first site: BS. It has never been “love” and always been “lust” at first site. We humans just have a bad habit of confusing the two. Now that doesn’t mean that lust at first site can’t lead to love, but be honest: you can’t love someone you don’t know.

    “I know it’s not the best filtering system, if good at all, but I’ve done so with my requirements as the center focus, and hopefully that will help me getting what I want. (I think the main difference in my entire outlook, now, is I’m now looking for what *I* want, and not how to be what others want)”

    Nothing wrong here at all. As long as you know you are filtering agressively and possibly filtering out some good possibilities, go for it! If you have more attention than you know what to do with, I would guess aggressive filtering would be in your best interests actually. You should always get what you want from a relationship, but also be willing to give so they get what they want as well. To be honest, it is mostly about give and take across the board I think. Doesn’t matter if its sex, affection, love, friendship, FWB (do I really need to say I’m not supporting this over and over? I’m asking because I don’t want anyone to think I’ve had some major mind shift here. I’m still the same conservative grouch I’ve always been, just in a better mood. I firmly blame the flood of chemicals in my body from all the exercise.) You should get what you want, she should get what she wants. If you two can make that exchange with little to no drama or anguish, you’ve got a winner.

  • Valentin

    I understand what you’re telling me Susan and I agree. However first of all you’re talking about happiness as some sort of total sum which I don’t think is how it works. We are happy with some things in our lives, we are unhappy with other: the other being relationships which is the context I was moving in when I wrote my reply. When it comes to that I stand by my remark that you are, first of all; looking at this from a female only perspective and second of all also a bit more idealistic than realistic to put it in as a respectful manner possible.

    I swear to God my German genes love making me write overly long sentences and paragraphs…

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      When it comes to that I stand by my remark that you are, first of all; looking at this from a female only perspective and second of all also a bit more idealistic than realistic to put it in as a respectful manner possible.

      That is very possible, as I tend to do both of those things.

  • pvw

    @Susan: Price contrasts them to the women having children OOW.

    Me: Because those women really believe that they and their children are better off without the men. Or if the men don’t stay around, they are unsurprised and ready to go it alone. Why? Mom was a single or divorced mom, Dad left or was a sperm donor, and mom was seen as valiant, while the men were painted as evil, “we don’t need him”….As for these feminists, they come from intact two-parent homes, or if they are children of divorce, they are prepared to learn from their parents’ marriages. They are determined to do better. Doing better means entering into marriage and parenting with the most maturity and resources at hand. Doing better means making the sacrifices to replicate the best of the ideals they adhere to–stable two-parent families. If that means both parents working, that is fine. If it means someone stays at home, that is what they will do.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @pvw

      They are determined to do better. Doing better means entering into marriage and parenting with the most maturity and resources at hand. Doing better means making the sacrifices to replicate the best of the ideals they adhere to–stable two-parent families. If that means both parents working, that is fine. If it means someone stays at home, that is what they will do.

      Far be it from me to criticize them! For all of the dumping on UMC types, their desire to “do better” for each generation is the essence of the “American dream.” I realize that money helps, but it’s more than that. Perhaps it is simply personal responsibility.

  • Cooper

    “Sure I can see that. It isn’t the ‘spheres definition of MGTOW though, at least not as I understand it. (there are guys here that can correct me if I’m wrong in this one)”

    No? I guess, mine definition is more literal.

    “1. moving too fast can come across as needy/clingy.”

    True, but consider the type of girls I’m going for – restricted types. Shy girls. Idk why, but sometimes a little social awkwardness gets me curious, cause I know it’s usually from over-thinking about something; I wonder about what it is and whether there’s another side they don’t show, ect.

    And some awkward people aren’t intelligent or interesting, sometimes awkward people are weird! Usually this is immediately noticeable.
    Anyways, with shy girls, they sometimes keep distance, and if you don’t test for it, sometime they like it to keep it like that, no matter what.

    “just in a better mood”
    Yeah, n cut it out!

  • pvw

    @ Susan, see the following WSJ article, the Divorce Generation:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303544604576430341393583056.html

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @pvw

      Thanks, I’d never read that article. I have read similar things about Gen Y – I wonder how they differ.

      Also, this jumped out at me, as it runs counter to claims I often hear about the sex difference in infidelity:

      A 2003 study by the late psychologist Shirley Glass found that the mores of sexual infidelity are undergoing a profound change. The traditional standard for men—love is love and sex is sex—is dying out. Increasingly, men and women develop serious emotional attachments with their would-be lovers long before they commit adultery. As a result, she found, infidelity today is much more likely to lead to divorce.

  • Escoffier

    I would not say that the UMC retains the same old American “My kids will have it better than I had it” ethos. They don’t by and large.

    There are a number of reasons for that, among them: 1) They are doing so well it’s bascially not realistic to expect ever-rising standards of living any more. The days of a family rising out of the Lower East Side to Scarsdale in three generations are over and not really relevant when you start in Scarsdale. 2) The way things are going, it’s plain to anyone with brains (and that includes 95% of the UMC) that just holding on to what you have is a lot more important than trying to get more. What they really fear is “loss of caste” for themselves or for their children.

    Most people I know are like this. They/we really do not “do better” than our parents. Our standards of living are about the same. Although it does cost quite a bit more money today than it did in the ’70s and ’80s to maintain that. I would bet, Susan, that your kids will have the same experience: not appreciably better than they grew up, but not appreciably worse either.

    The great exceptions are the few who hit big in high-payoff industries like banking, tech and entertainment. They are indeed vaulted into the Davos overclass but culturally, they are no different from the UMC people they vastly out-earn. They have the same tastes, educations, manners, and backgrounds. Moreover, even with all their money, they will still inevitably end up spending a lot of time around UMC people both in business and social settings. It’s not like Old England where you could be upper class and socialize exclusively with members of your own class, and deal with the lower class through your servants and by doing good works, and never see the middle class at all and have nothing in common with them.

    Most telling, I think, is that being born into the Davos class is no guarantee that you will stay there. Except for the very few who stand to inherit a large enough pile after taxes that can, generating 3%, consistently throw off mid-six figure returns, the rest will have to find their own Davos-class jobs to remain that rich. I know a not inconsiderable number of UES and PacHeights/Hillsborough kids who live more or less like I do today either because they didn’t make it into one of the big payday jobs or because they didn’t want to try.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Regarding IQ….one thing that happens is when people are continuously told how smart they are, they often (a) neglect the development of other skills and character attributes, and (b) become excessively arrogant. I’d suggest that this has clearly happened with the man who is our current President: consider Michelle’s assertion that “Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will DEIGN to enter this messy thing called politics” and his friend Valerie Jarrett’s comment that “He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do” (the implication being that most human activities were just not challenging enough for his intelligence.

    Maybe if Obama hadn’t been told so often how smart he was (and in reality, he’s fairly smart, but not super-smart….super-smart people are rarely bored, whether they’re doing nuclear physics or running a scrap metal business), he would have developed some of the skills he lack, such as the ability to listen and to interact (viz, at intelligence briefings) which are at least as important as raw IQ for the job he currently holds.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @david foster

      Regarding IQ….one thing that happens is when people are continuously told how smart they are, they often (a) neglect the development of other skills and character attributes, and (b) become excessively arrogant.

      This is often what people say about good looks too. I think the lesson is that if anyone rests with satisfaction on one trait, they become shallow and obnoxious!

      “He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do”

      What a bunch of crap. I agree with you – if a person can’t find intellectual stimulation anywhere they’re lazy and incurious.

  • Ted D

    Cooper – ““just in a better mood”
    Yeah, n cut it out!”

    Nope!

    Have faith, I’m sure before long I’ll have a terrible day at work and be back to my grumpy self. Actually, if you knew me personally, you’d find that I’m much more like this than as I appear online. I bring the doom and gloom for a purpose, and that purpose is often shock value. Like I said earlier, extremes are what get noticed. It is the squeeky wheel that gets the grease and all that. But I’m trying out the Desi plan for peaceful
    dis-armament here at HUS. I think everyone gets my drift by now, and it isn’t easy always being the “heavy” of the conversation.

    Besides, I’m rooting for you man. Be as negative as you need to be in order to internalize all this stuff and move on. I’m just throwing you a lifeline so you don’t drift out to sea. Not that I don’t think you are more than capable of figuring it all out for yourself or anything. This is just how I support my friends. Well that and telling them when they are being complete idoits…

  • Cooper

    “A few weeks ago you reported being open with women about interest in a relationship, and felt that was working well for you. Is that still the case? It sounds like you’re trying all kinds of things, and I’m very interested to know how it’s going for you, what works and what doesn’t, if you care to share.”

    I’m probably the closest to having ‘plates’ in all my life. And much not to mu surprise, it’s kinda cool. I’m certainly not dating multiple people, as I wouldn’t describe any of the girls that I see as dating yet, but I have begun getting to know a few. So, far the similarity of all them is that things are going very slow, to me at least.
    The one I’d say is the closest is a family friend, a in-law of in-laws. (That sounds strange) I think we could become official. As Ted mentioned above in #86, about how a girl is less likely to get to know a guy if its for a quick hit and run, and vice versa. Well, we both know parts of each others family. And if either of us intended for a hit and run, or try for one, there’s a good chance that her family, mine, and thr whole 3rd family that connects both ours would all hear of it. I’m assuming she’s thought of this (!) and that in proceeding I haven’t needed to clarify this, quite yet. I think she’s done a pretty good job at picking up on my interest, cause we began regular contact with each other pretty early. Everyone keeps telling how “sweet” of a girl she is, but honestly SO much it makes me wonder sometimes. (I know shes had 1 ONS, that I know) Nonetheless, fingers crossed.

    One thing that I’ve begun to.. utilize.. is dating outside of the City. I’ve been downtown for almost a year, and in the City for several years. I’m originally from Greater ‘insert City,’ about an hour out. Returning to see some old friends, I quick became aware of immense uncertainty, i suppose, that I posed to the girls, most of whom I’d probably haven’t seen since HS.
    I was from “downtown” . . . Ooh, what bustling social life I must have there. Heheh.
    Simply, the fact that I had a separate social network, that they didn’t know, just sent preselection of th charts.

    Along with what could be butterflies from the first girl, is also the unfamilar confidence that I have other options available, too. I could not tell you which it is, actually.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      Bravo, I thoroughly approve of your having options and spinning plates, because I know precisely what you do not mean by that. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling good about things. And I’m not surprised about the preselection from the city scene either. Well played!

  • Sai

    The lyrics went right over my head… orz Maybe when I get older.
    Of course I read the article Ted D linked to. Sad but it makes very good sense. (Nobody should want to be like Snooki. This is one of those times a memory hole would be useful.)

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    OTOH, people who did not earn what they have, whether a lot or a little, are more likely to be unhappy.

    I think we discussed this when talking about the difference between self steem and self worth.

    Which would explain why I don’t feel any satisfaction when I look back at either my chemical engineering or law degree.

    Looking back I get more satisfaction from the conversations and experiences I had in college, the books I read on my own time and all my Internet experiences than from my major either and funny enough I use more of that than what I got my degree on too as well…funny that.

    The crux of it is this: The UMC sets policy for just about everyone else, but they DO NOT have to live under those same rules by virtue of the fact that they have the means to work around them, or because their own personal behaviors do NOT place them in a tight spot where those rules and laws would apply to them.

    I think the issue is that the elites has a difference self of charity. I visited a manor museum in vacations once and this was the most powerful family on the town they did a lot of charity that included employing the men, taking care of the elderly and sick directly and things like that. Now we have a more “efficient” system doing donations and I think they assume this is the way to fill their social responsibility quota without actually thinking how effective is to really create a better world. I don’t think the elites are malicious and want to keep the poor on a savage like state while they close their doors to them and are protected by their upbringing more than they don’t know how to asses this and PC culture doesn’t really help them either. Is a complex issue, YMMV.

    I’ve always wanted to be a Victorian.

    I’ve always been excellent at being aloof.

    You realize this makes your original claim that misidentifying love vs. not love is difficult to do really weak right?

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Oops quote fail!
    I’ve always wanted to be a Victorian.

    Charles Dickens fan?

    I’ve always been excellent at being aloof.

    That is exactly my train of tough when I don’t feel I need to entertain I’m usually too busy inside my head to notice anyone. Sadly that doesn’t work with men :p

    You realize this makes your original claim that misidentifying love vs. not love is difficult to do really weak right?

    Yeah there is not one way to find out if a person loves you, but I guess action speak louder than words so like Susan says if there is any shadow of doubt unless clarified don’t commit. Too high of a price obviously.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    For all of the dumping on UMC types, their desire to “do better” for each generation is the essence of the “American dream.” I realize that money helps, but it’s more than that. Perhaps it is simply personal responsibility.

    Hum. I don’t want to hijack this thread or go down a rabbit hole I can’t get myself out of, but I would like to push back against this statement. There really is nothing more frustrating than graduating Phi Beta Kappa in the top 10% of your class just to become devastatingly ill, drop out of grad school for medical reasons, and realize that the few jobs in your field will be snatched up by people with more experience or better connections. Oh wait, there’s one thing that’s even more frustrating: being told that you’re not working hard enough or taking personal responsibility for your situation.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Olive

      I realize that personal responsibility is a controversial phrase, and no doubt accusations of people lacking it are often misplaced. That said, every day I see and speak with people not taking basic responsibility for their lives.

      I’ve shared this before, but as my kids were growing up, we had the terms PMOS (productive member of society) and UMOS. They knew that becoming a PMOS was the best manifestation of our values. When they were lazy or made excuses, we shamed their UMOS tendencies. That’s one of the things I got right in parenting.

  • Jackie

    ((((Olive)))))

    Olive, I think there’s an unspoken clause in there– as long as things remain in your control and you keep your health. I think it’s tacit because none of us like to think about how we don’t really control our lives 100%. On paper vs Reality can be way different sometimes.

    It’s obvious you work really hard and take responsibility, Olive! You do an awesome job and I always look forward to reading what you write. Hang in there, chica. :)

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Jackie,
    Thanks! I would also offer my BF as another example. He has not had a health crisis, but he came from a working class family and while he has an extremely high IQ, it will take him awhile to make it past the “crappy job” stage since he hasn’t been able to complete his Bachelor’s.

    Really my point is just that I don’t believe in the meritocracy “I got here solely because I worked for it” meme. I’m sure that’s the case for some, but for many others, they were born or married into the UMC.

  • Ramble

    He was very moved by it, I remember, and he hugged me tight.

    And if he hadn’t been moved by it, how would you have reacted? Let’s say he responded with an, “OK. I understand now.” with no judgement in his voice. How would you have reacted?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ramble

      And if he hadn’t been moved by it, how would you have reacted? Let’s say he responded with an, “OK. I understand now.” with no judgement in his voice. How would you have reacted?

      If that had been congruent with his normal personality that would have been fine. But he has always been on the sensitive side, so his response was in keeping with his normal MO.

  • Jackie

    Hey Olive!
    You’re welcome. :mrgreen: I’m always glad to see you around!

    Well, it’s not a level playing field, that’s for sure. I think a lot of us want to believe it, though, because if we had to see injustice, many beliefs (and even convictions) would be toppled. That is a scary thought– what if the stuff you believe and live by is wrong? Better not to think about it, you know?

    To contrast, with the example of your BF: A family my family knows, the dad is a successful surgeon (multiple vacation homes, multiple grand pianos in the homes– for some reason that detail always struck me!) The mom was able to stay at home with the kids, they went to great schools. Anything they were deficient in, subject-wise, they had tutors and help until they mastered it. Prep for the SATs, the best teachers for their extra-curriculars (piano, etc).

    Can you imagine the huge chunk of energy and time would be freed up for your BF if money was no longer a concern? Not to mention, how many other things would change due to eliminating those stressors?

    My dad *insisted* that we put ourselves through school (college). When he went, it was CHEAP in comparison. But more than that, at the root of his fear was that we would somehow become dependent, clinging vines. After his own health issues and the loss of my mom, the possibility that we weren’t 110% “independent” really scared him.

    We all put ourselves through as full-scholarship students. But Olive, I remember being hella-stressed about the conditions of my scholarship. I obsessed about my GPA and my qualifying exams in a manner that was most unhealthy. For me, it always felt like anxiety was always gnawing. To use the common vernacular, it stunk.

    I think I might have reached a better kind of independence if there had been a safety net underneath, waiting to catch me if I should fall. This is really running on! So anyway, I totally get what you’re saying. ;)

    Peace, Olive. I will be thinking of you and the BF!

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Jackie,

    Can you imagine the huge chunk of energy and time would be freed up for your BF if money was no longer a concern? Not to mention, how many other things would change due to eliminating those stressors?

    You’re preaching to the choir girl. :-) Don’t I wish it. Must be nice.

    I think I might have reached a better kind of independence if there had been a safety net underneath, waiting to catch me if I should fall.

    Yes, it is 100% true that people with financial safety nets often do much better for themselves. And that’s my point. George W. Bush didn’t get where he is because he worked himself up from the bottom, or because he was extra responsible. He started 1000 steps ahead of the rest of us. How can the tortoise ever hope to catch up if the hare has a 10 second head start?

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Susan,
    I liked the PMOS/UMOS distinction when you first mentioned it. I really just wanted to make a larger statement about class differences and the difficulties associated with moving up. In addition, there are tons of UMOS who still end up with awesome jobs because they’re connected in the right places (erm, one of your favorite young bloggers comes to mind lol).

    By the way, have you figured out who I’m voting for yet? (Hint: it ain’t Romney :-) )

  • Escoffier

    Olive, really, it’s a mistake to take one’s bearings from exceptions like rich kids who have the good life handed to them. Intergenerational wealth and privilege like that are dying.

    Rather, it’s not going away, but simply being born lucky is no longer good enough to keep you lucky. The real reason for intergenerational privilege today is that the rewards of life acrue to the smart and intelligence is heritable. If you are born smart, the overwhelming odds are you can achieve a UMC SoL unless you are extraordinarily lazy or extraordinarily unlucky.

    We know the cure for laziness but no one as yet has learned how to conquer fortune. Machiavelli himself, the man who launched the enterprise to conquer “Fortuna” (Prince 25) said that the best we could do would be to master “about half.” I think we achieved that a long time ago but the belief persists that we can do it all.

  • Esau

    Olive: Really my point is just that I don’t believe in the meritocracy “I got here solely because I worked for it” meme. I’m sure that’s the case for some, but for many others, they were born or married into the UMC.

    Or, they just got lucky in less singular ways, that are harder to see and easier to discount. There is a great tendency, I believe, for materially successful people to also assert themselves as dedicated “meritocrats”, with perhaps an excessive amount of zeal. I don’t have a scientific study to prove it, but I suspect this is for several and varying reasons, vis (i) it makes sense to them, as they did see the system “work” first-hand; but also (ii) it helps them fend off any lingering guilt or suspicion that they aren’t really, entirely deserving of their rewards.

    I’ve had the opportunity over the past 10-20 years to observe the computer & technology business, anecdotally, through my many tech friends who went into it. This is a field that should, by rights, function well as a meritocracy, since the job market is very fluid and the value is produced by individual brainpower. But that doesn’t really turn out to be the case: for every example of a genius who worked hard and became a multi-millionaire, there are two more folks of equal genius who worked equally hard, but simply caught the wrong wave and had their companies go bust (I’ve known several of each type personally). The most honest statement I ever heard from one of the millionaires was, “I didn’t do anything really special, I just happened to be standing in the right place when someone dumped out a bucket of money.” Another said, “I couldn’t possibly have planned this [path to success], it just worked out that way.” It’s anecdotal, but I’m inclined to give a lot of credence to these reflexively honest and modest people.

    I do believe that one shouldn’t give up striving and concentrating, if only for its internal benefits. But I also believe, like Olive, that there’s a great tendency for the successful to over-exaggerate the role of their own merit; to discount the very large influence of luck and chance; and to strategically ignore the examples of those who were equally talented and worked equally hard, but — somehow — didn’t earn the same rewards.

  • Sassy6519

    Personally, I don’t know how one could mistake one for the other. I used to cry during sex with my husband because I was so happy and in love

    I used to cry during sex with the man I dated for 1 year. He’s been the only man I have ever fallen in love with. My crying used to catch him by surprise, but I really couldn’t control it. It felt like a raw outpouring of emotion.

    My break up with him was by far the hardest I have ever experienced. I remember thinking, in the midst of it, that I would never get over him.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    it helps them fend off any lingering guilt or suspicion that they aren’t really, entirely deserving of their rewards.

    YES. This. Right. Here.

    A few years ago I studied abroad with 9 other students from different schools and SES backgrounds. One kid was extremely privileged and made no secret of it; another had been homeless as a child. These two had a very intense class-related conflict. One day, when we were at a restaurant eating lunch, it came to head and the rich kid actually started sobbing, loudly, right in the middle of the restaurant. He said things like “I’m sorry I’m rich, I didn’t ask to be born this way.” It was the first time I understood that there’s a fair amount of hidden shame associated with being rich, at least for some.

  • Escoffier

    I can say this until I am blue in the face: luck and chance have very little to do with it. Since WW2, the American elite have conciously built a society in which the rewards flow to the intelligent. On top of that, broad economic trends have reinforced the same movement of rewards from brawn to brains.

    To the extent that this was concious, it was indeed done in the name of “merit.” A big driver of that was how the WASP elite finally started to feel guilty about how they had been treating smart jews. They said, it’s really not fair to exclude all these smart people from the top schools and industries, we have to come up with a better measure than family connections. That measure turned out to be intelligence.

  • JP

    One of the problems with intelligence is that you don’t have to make any effort to do anything until you hit your 20’s and all of a sudden you are faced with basic human problems that most other people dealt with when they were 10 years old.

  • Ted D

    Olive – “He said things like “I’m sorry I’m rich, I didn’t ask to be born this way.” It was the first time I understood that there’s a fair amount of hidden shame associated with being rich, at least for some.”

    Call me jaded, but I’m glad for things like this. I don’t have a problem with people using what is given to them to the best of their ability. So a ‘rich kid’ doing well in and of itself doesn’t bother me at all. But, what DOES bother me is when that same ‘rich kid’ has an attitude of being “better” than the rest of us BECAUSE of their success. I’m not saying anyone should hide their success, but at least admit that you had a leg up.

    JP – “One of the problems with intelligence is that you don’t have to make any effort to do anything until you hit your 20′s and all of a sudden you are faced with basic human problems that most other people dealt with when they were 10 years old.”

    Or in their mid-30’s find themselves on the wrong side of divorce court without much of a clue how they got there. Ignorance may be bliss, but it comes with a harsh helping of “what the hell just happened” when life forces you to learn those lessons the hard way.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Escoff,

    I can say this until I am blue in the face: luck and chance have very little to do with it.

    The real reason for intergenerational privilege today is that the rewards of life acrue to the smart and intelligence is heritable. If you are born smart, the overwhelming odds are you can achieve a UMC SoL

    Last time I checked, being born into a certain family is all about luck/chance.

    Besides, I just don’t agree that society is stratified into “intelligence” classes, with the smart people at the top and the dumb people at the bottom. I think of my cousins, who both graduated from Ivy Leagues (one from Yale, the other from Brown/Penn med school). They’re my dad’s identical twin brother’s kids. Their mom was a poor immigrant from Puerto Rico, my mom was from a small town working class family that didn’t value education, so they probably have the same “intelligence” genes as me and my brother. The difference? Extreme pressure from their father. And money for private high school/SAT classes/etc.

  • JP

    I got into Dartmouth, but there was no way on God’s Green Earth I was taking out $100,000 to go there and my parents certainly weren’t paying for me.

    This was back in the early 1990’s.

  • Escoffier

    Extensive tutoring and a good education helps but you can’t send a dumb kid to Dalton and make him brilliant. And SAT tutoring adds at most 100 points to your score. It’s just not enough to get a kid over the wall unless he already has the brainpower.

    I shouldn’t need to point this out but simply having smart relatives will not make a person smart, necessarily. And the relatives that matter the most are your own parents, not uncles and such.

  • JP

    @Olive:

    “Last time I checked, being born into a certain family is all about luck/chance.”

    That depends on your take on the pre-existence of the soul and your metaphysical assumptions that underly your worlview.

    I can’t rule out pre-selection.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Also I should mention my dad’s twin is part of the UMC while my parents are straight MC, probably bordering on LMC depending on the year (both are self-employed). My dad is the Yale graduate, his twin didn’t graduate from college. He’s rich because he and my dad were once business partners and when my dad decided to venture out of the business, my uncle took everything for himself. Both of them are extremely intelligent… in this case, it was all about who was ruthless enough to come out on top. They haven’t spoken in over 15 years.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    JP,
    Have you researched anthroposophy? Rudolph Steiner believed children pick their parents.

    Escoff,
    I only brought up my uncle because he is my dad’s identical twin. There’ve been studies showing that twins have the same IQ.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Escoff,
    Either intelligence is heritable or it isn’t. Which is it? I only started mentioning smart relatives because your main point seemed to be that intelligence is determined by genes. Feel free to correct me if I was off the mark.

  • Escoffier

    Look, heritable does not mean that families replicate themselves in endless identical copies. Tall people tend to have tall kids, but I gather you’ve noted that children do not always grow up to be the identical height of their parents?

    Plus there is something called regression to the mean, so even if Einstein had mated with Marie Curie, chances are their kids would have been smart but not off the charts brilliant like mom&pop. Similarly, smart parents will sometimes have dumb kids, and dumb parents brilliant ones. The point is, when looking at whole populations, those tend to be the outliers, the tails in the curve. The bulge is made up of people whose intelligence is quite close to their parents’.

    Another thing relatively new about this UMC is that the smart tend only to marry the smart. Very few kids will have one smart and one dumb or average parent. So the average intelligence of children born in this cohort tends to be high, which is the main factor in preserving the high SoL within the “caste.”

    Yes, intelligence is heritable. Genetics is not the only factor that determines what your intelligence is, but it appears to be the most important one.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    Extensive tutoring and a good education helps but you can’t send a dumb kid to Dalton and make him brilliant.

    Okay but no one I’ve been talking about is dumb. Obviously, dumb people who aren’t gonna make it through college certainly won’t get through to Harvard with a little tutoring. My point is that the difference between two above average smart kids (one who headed to Yale, the other to American) could really just be parental investment, and have nothing to do with raw intelligence.

    And SAT tutoring adds at most 100 points to your score. It’s just not enough to get a kid over the wall unless he already has the brainpower.
    I agree with the second statement, but do you have stats for the first? I ask only because 100 points is negligible. Anyone who knew the change would be that minimal would never pay for tutoring sessions.

  • JP

    The Triple Nine Society still uses (older) SAT scores for admission.

    I have no idea whether it even exists anymore, but I’m throwing that out there.

    http://www.triplenine.org/main/admission.asp

  • Escoffier

    I have read stats somewhere that show a slight gain from SAT tutoring but not enough that really affects the underlying IQ. What it does is get you used to the test and it gets your brain into a groove suited for excelling at it.

    The reason everyone in the UMC “invests” in it is because there is an arms race. They know all the other kids around the country are doing it too so while the point bump may be negligible regarding what it says about little Johnny’s IQ, it is quite material when you consider that Johnny is competing for scarce and precious slots against other kids just about as smart as he is, but who have a 100 (or whatever) point bump to their scores.

    It’s like taking two fast sprinters, but you give one of them a 0.1 second head start but not the other one. The musculature and athletecism of each has remained the same. Nonetheless, the one with the head start is likely to win. In the UMC, the “head start” of test prep has become obligatory for the simple reason that everybody wants to make sure that nobody else’s kid has a head start over their own.

  • http://footpole.wordpress.com inlone

    No, you can’t choose joy.

    Joy is an emotion. There’s no such thing as choosing it – at least not directly. What you can do is choose those habits, behaviors, and mindsets which might lead to joy.

    Just like when people use platitudes like *happiness is a choice*.

    “Happiness is not something others can give you or you can get for yourself, but a byproduct of living well.” — Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You (1999), by Richard O’Connor.

  • Mike C

    Ted D,

    I don’t recall which thread you made a reference to my economic comments, but if you are interested in kind of getting a better handle overall, here is a good blog to read regularly. He covers a wide variety of topics, and is probably one of the smartest guys out there.

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/

  • Thin-Skinned

    Thanks Susan for a bit of hope n’ joy.

    You even sent it out on my birthday!

    Too bad I missed it when it was freshly published.

    My widowed Mom died two days prior, so I wasn’t exactly keeping up with the ol’ favorites at the time.

    That birthday of mine has always been cursed, but I suppose next year I’ll try find the courage to climb out from under the bed – if it isn’t another something terrible that yanks me out already.

    Well Susan, besides my little brother and my small circle of friends, reading your tidbits of wisdom (and kind “motherly” advice) is another little happiness gives me a smile and a dash of hope.

    No need for any expressions of sympathy here please.
    Not appropriate in public; I’ve already overshared.

    PS. I hope you’re wrong about the rarity of real love. “If you’re lucky, you’ll fall head over heels in love at least once in your life with someone who returns the favor.” Just once in a lifetime? Well I fear I’ve already had more good fortune than I deserve with 10 or so sweet years together with a sweet lady that I adore(d) that I ultimately wasn’t able to make work.

    Hope, courage, curiosity and being open to the unexpected.
    That’s what I’m trying more.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Thin-Skinned

      Happy belated birthday :)

      Hope, courage, curiosity and being open to the unexpected.
      That’s what I’m trying more.

      That is an awesome set of things to aim for! I love it that you’ve given it some thought and know what you need. I think those things are likely to lead to contentment, and possibly brilliant happiness and joy.

      I did’t mean to be a wet blanket by suggesting that people only fall in love once. Of course you can fall in love again, and probably even have a better relationship. I think a lot of what prevents people from falling head over heels is their own reluctance to become vulnerable to another person. You can have it if you believe you can (hope), are willing to risk it (courage), make an effort to discover new things and people (curiosity) and let things take you where they may. I guess this sounds pretty corny, but I do mean it.

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