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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Decision not to date hurting others?

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Author Topic: Decision not to date hurting others?
Member # 28700

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After my last relationship broke up in January 2011 I decided that I wasn't going to get involved in another serious relationship for a few years. After infidelity, substance abuse, supporting her after a sexual assault etc I didn't want that level of responsibility that comes with a relationship.

Over the last 9 months though I've had three women become interested in me and ultimately been hurt when I rebuffed them. Two of them have mental health problems; one cut her legs up and sent me pictures and the other got so worked up her friends had her commited for a week.

I haven't taken advantage of these women or mislead them but really I would have loved to date any of these girls however I didn't because I'd chosen not to accept the responsibility. I don't think I've done wrong by chosing not to date but how can I when it's causing people harm?

And still the beds are burning, burning in our sleep.
Take me away from everything I see.

Posts: 66 | From: Australia | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jacob at Scarleteen
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 66249

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Hey Namida,

These women sound like they have their own problems and understanding your own limits as per what you can offer someone is sometimes the best you can give them. I don't think it's fair to start a relationship with anyone when you already know you can't help them.

I basically agree with you that you've done nothing wrong, rather I think what you describe is probably the best decision.

I think relationships are about wanting and enjoying things, not just about harm/benefit.

If my parents, for example, wanted me to date somebody I didn't like. It may benefit my parents if I did so... but evidently that sort of relationship is rather likely to be miserable.

I would say that to have mental health problems and be in a relationship with someone who isn't prepared to support us in that is a real recipe for further disaster and exacerbation of those mental health problems.

Despite really liking someone and being hurt when rejected things can still be worse than that.

I think it's important that we're sensitive and kind to people we need to turn down.

One final thought is on this sentence:
I would have loved to date any of these girls however I didn't because I'd chosen not to accept the responsibility
I think it's better, rather than describing your decision as some opposition between what you WOULD have loved or a disembodied choice (surely that choice comes from other things you 'would have loved'), to simply think of these decisions as a balancing of different wants and an understanding of what is actually feasible for us emotionally.

Your mental health is a factor here and there is a degree of closeness and responsibility which sounds like it would be triggering for you and your feelings about past relationships etc. Those things are real.

So here are your competing wants as it sounds:

  • wanting to spend time with someone

  • wanting not to be hurt by the weight of responsibility
  • wanting not to hurt them because of the emotional resources you just don't have right now but which a relationship with them would require
  • wanting to avoid relationship patterns you've previously been in

It's not just some opposition between wants and a guilty-sounding weakness to help... it's more simply a realistic balance between different wants.

Dating and relationships are not about rescuing people and where they are they can all to often turn ugly. I think you made a good decision.

It is important to remember how much more hurtful it can be to put someone, with a number of needs, through a relationship you know you can't dedicate to where they're at risk of being severely hurt and isolated, just because you're kinda into them. I would think of that as a far more selfish decision.

[ 02-16-2013, 09:55 AM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

Posts: 694 | From: Leeds UK | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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