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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » how to avoid the same mistakes (Page 1)

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Author Topic: how to avoid the same mistakes
MaddleyLove
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hey guys [Smile]

so as some of you know, ive been seeing someone else since my boyfriend broke up with me. things are going good, i really like him and i think me likes me too [Smile]
however, im stuck on a couple things- namely, i want this relationship (not quite one yet but im hoping!) to be better than my last one. its good already: he has no baggage, and we seem to have more in common than me and my ex. however, sometimes i am seeing similarities with my last realtionship, mostly being anxiety about whos texting who, getting stressed out when he doesnt text me and just overthinking everything.

sexually..i know exactly what needs to be different, and i absolutely categorically need to take a step back and star again. i mean, waiting until its right and sorting my issues about everything out.

i dont want things to be like last time, so im just asking if anyone has any tips on avoiding mistakes i made in my last relationship? how did you change your mindset about past issues you had?

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Heather
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My big suggestion for you with this, bouncing off your history here, is to REALLY SLOW DOWN.

In other words, you *just* started dating this person. So just! So, how about not getting to attached right from the start, and so focused on the future instead of the present?

How about not even deciding you want this to be something bigger yet until you actually spend more time just getting to know this person?

How about limiting how often you are seeing them so early on, so you don't get so involved and invested right at the gate?

I also hear you saying this person has "no baggage." They do. Everyone alive does: none of us are issue-less. If they seem like they don't to you, you can be sure that's just because you don't know them well enough yet to know what theirs is.

I'd also suggest doing what you can not to put all your focus on this guy, and make sure that you are focused just as much on other relationships in your life, like friendships, and other parts of your life. So, for instance, when you feel anxious about him not texting you back, how about going and living some other part of your life connecting with a friend who IS texting you back, or some such?

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(I think it's great, by the way, that you're being self-reflective like this, Maddley. Good for you!)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MaddleyLove
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yes, we haven't yet spoken about what we are. he asked me what I was looking for and I said nothing in particular, and he said he was just seeing what happened, and if it turns into a relationship then it does. and i'm okay with that [Smile]

sometimes i still get overwhelmed by everything, and feel so mixed up inside thinking about where this is going, and thinking about my last relationship: i found out last sunday he has a new girlfriend already, basically meaning he's been lying to me for months about liking someone else. that hurt alot [Frown] but i feel more 'prepared' for this new potential relationship, if that makes sense? i think that by being in a relationship where things weren't quite right around lots of things i can now learn from those things and make this friendship/relationship even better.

(oh, and by 'baggage' I meant he wasn't already in a relationship when we met, unlike my ex was. I have more than enough issues myself to understand everybody has issues [Razz] )

oh, and just a small PS: ive just been reading through your revised Birth Control Bingo series, and on the page for the Implant it says the currently used one is implanon. now, I don't know if things are different in the US but here in the UK nexplanon is the one now used. what is the difference, if anything, between the two? is it literally just that nexplanon is visible on x rays?

[ 05-23-2014, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: MaddleyLove ]

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MusicNerd
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Hey Maddley! Great to hear from you. [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
I'd also suggest doing what you can not to put all your focus on this guy, and make sure that you are focused just as much on other relationships in your life, like friendships, and other parts of your life.

First off, I wanted to chime in here and just say: THIS!! So much this.

Society underestimates just how important and amazing friends are! Seriously, my friends have been some awesome people who've helped me through some really rough times. But even for times that weren't super serious, they've just been really fun to hang around. [Big Grin]

Also, I'm sorry to hear how you were hurt by finding out that info about your ex. I know that must not be fun. [Frown]

So, I wanted to also talk about what you were saying in your post here about feeling overwhelmed by everything. I've gotta reiterate what Heather said in that: just focusing on the present and not worrying about what this interaction with this guy is going to become? That can make things a whole lot less stressful and feel a lot less overwhelming.

I know, sounds totally counter-intuitive, because it's like, "How can you be so calm about not knowing what's gonna happen?!" [Eek!]
But the thing is: you can't plan for the unknown. You just can't. You also can't plan for it to be like anything in the past either (and in some cases that's a good thing!). It might feel scary to know that you don't know, and trust me, I've been there and I totally get how scary that can feel. But what I've found helps me feel less anxious when I'm in the beginning stages of getting to know someone, is just kinda slowly learning more about them and going with the flow and focusing my attention on my close friends during that time (even though, I hang out with them a lot anyway! lol [Big Grin] ).

Also, hobbies: do you have any that you enjoy? Maybe sports, or writing, or music or something? Those are also super helpful ways to focus your attention in other places, too! [Smile]

[ 05-23-2014, 02:25 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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And bouncing off something MusicNerd said:

"I know, sounds totally counter-intuitive, because it's like, "How can you be so calm about not knowing what's gonna happen?!" [Eek!]
But the thing is: you can't plan for the unknown. You just can't. You also can't plan for it to be like anything in the past either (and in some cases that's a good thing!). It might feel scary to know that you don't know, and trust me, I've been there and I totally get how scary that can feel. But what I've found helps me feel less anxious when I'm in the beginning stages of getting to know someone, is just kinda slowly learning more about them and going with the flow and focusing my attention on my close friends during that time (even though, I hang out with them a lot anyway! lol [Big Grin] )."

I think the big answer to this is not to enter into any serious relationships or invest your heart if you do not feel you will be okay no matter WHAT happens; if you can't have at least some nonattachment to outcomes. If it feels like you can only handle this if it becomes a certain thing, or goes a certain way, that's a cue that maybe you can't handle this yet, if you follow me.

If you are still feeling so hurt and upset about your ex (especially about your ex having a girlfriend when it seems you, yourself, are also pursuing new romantic relationships), I'd also say that might be a big clue that while casually dating could be okay, you probably still have some more healing and processing to do per your last relationship before pursuing a new one.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MusicNerd
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Hey Maddley! [Smile] Just wanted to check in with you and see how you were doing and if you saw Heather's or my posts?

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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MaddleyLove
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hi! yes i did, thanks so much for the input [Smile]

err well things have gone downhill. we agreed to take things slow, keep doing what were doing then if it feels right take it to the next step. i went out last night and had a bit too much to drink and ended up dancing and kissing another guy. i felt so awful i told the guy ive been seeing and now im so upset im such a bad person :'(

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MusicNerd
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Hey Maddley! I'm kinda confused. I thought that you and the first guy had just started getting to know each other a few times, but correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Well, just to be clear: you guys didn't agree to be exclusive or anything like that yet, right?

(P.S. You're not a bad person. [Smile] )

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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MaddleyLove
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yeah were not 'in a relationship' but still we were heading that way by getting to know eachother thats why i feel terrible :'( i feel like a bad person. he probably hates me now and never wants to see me again.
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Heather
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Honestly. If people do not have discussions about, and make agreements with, exclusivity, they cannot figure they have those things.

If this guy did not talk to you about that and ask for that agreement, and then he was made at you for this, I think that would be a signal this guy is not so awesome.

If you are just dating, without any exclusivity agreements, then kissing or dancing with someone else should be fine, seriously.

I would also check into your freakout about this here though, because it may be a good signal to you you may be, again, jumping in too deep too fast. The world should not feel like it hinges on a just-starting-to-date thing.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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OhImpecuniousOne
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How did he react when you told him? I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that he "hates" you unless he has actually said that, in which case, Heather's quite right about him.
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MaddleyLove
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he just told me to forget about it. to be honest, I don't think he's interested in taking things further anyway [Frown]
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Heather
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You know, dating really is a lot like shopping. Window shopping even, more than anything else.

It's about just starting to get to know someone to see how we do or do not click, and if we do click, to feel out how, and if we feel out how and think we might click best in a certain relationship, a kind we want, then to start talking together about what we each want and how that might work.

And just like with window shopping, more times than not, we are going to see or discover way more things -- people, not things in this case -- that are way wrong, aren't quite right -- be that they don't look like we want, don't fit right, cost too much, what have you -- or maybe are just right, but for any number of reasons, the timing is just off. I feel like it's safe to say that with dating, we will pretty much always have way more misses than hits, and a lot of misses before we get a hit.

For sure, though, if someone begs off early on, or something really minor -- and dancing with or kissing someone else is really minor, especially without anyone having even asked for any exclusivity agreements yet, let alone having made them -- chances are good that, for them, for who knows what reason, they were kind of already not feeling it to begin with in some way.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MaddleyLove
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yeah youre right [Frown] my mum keeps saying i need to be single to have some time to figure out who i am, i know it sounds stupid but i really just want to be in a relationship, ive decided i dont like being single [Frown]

im actually abit jealous that my ex has got straight into another relationship, i dont see why things have worked out for him and not for me, when hes the one who lied to me about why he broke up with me and all i ever did is be loyal to him. i just dont userstand how thats fair, y'know?

[ 06-02-2014, 12:55 PM: Message edited by: MaddleyLove ]

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Heather
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I gotta say, I agree with your Mom (as you already know). And I agree all the more, if, in fact, you are not at all okay with being single and can't yet feel complete and happy on your own.

In other words, to me, that says that someone clearly needs to learn to be outside of relationships first, because it just never is a recipe for the good stuff IN romantic relationships to feel so desperate to be in one. For those -- or any kind -- of relationships to go well? We have just got to first have learned to be okay -- happy, even -- without them.

You really want things to be different, as you know from me talking to you about that in the past as well, I feel like that is THE thing that would probably bring about the most positive change.

When we are SUPER hungry? We will eat pretty much anything. And the same is true when we are too hungry for a romantic relationship: we usually set up, wind up in, or get stuck in something crappy, because we literally accepted anything.

This stuff with your ex? And you being single now? SO not about fairness. It's not fair or unfair for someone to be in a certain kind of relationship and someone else not to because no one is entitled to this stuff, and relationships? Not prizes or rewards. See where I am going with this?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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OhImpecuniousOne
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Why don't you like being single? Maybe if you can figure out exactly what you hope to get from a relationship, you can work out ways to get that from yourself, your family and friends, and so on. Then you'll be able to date worry-free, knowing that you're happy on your own, but getting into a great relationship would be a lovely bonus on top.
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MaddleyLove
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I think I want someone who I can talk to about things I cant talk to my parents about, and just someone who's there for me, just not in the way of a parent,family member, or friend you know?
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MusicNerd
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I get how some things would be uncomfortable to talk about with parents. But could you clarify a bit more what you mean by: "someone who's there for me, just not in the way of a parent,family member, or friend"? What kind of support do you think a romantic/sexual partner could give you that a friend couldn't?

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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MaddleyLove
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i like intimacy; not sex, but hugging and kissing and being close to someone romantically. sometimes hugging and kissing or making out are better than talking about stuff, you know?
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MusicNerd
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Well, the good news is that you can definitely still have intimacy even in friendships. Cuddling, hugging, telling someone your deepest secrets, having someone see you in your most vulnerable states? All those forms of intimacy are still very possible with a close friend(s).

So, since you can still find intimacy in platonic friendships -- and you express that the intimacy you're talking about is not relating to sex: what is it about romantic relationships that you think would be more fulfilling than the intimacy you can have friendships? Is it maybe that you don't have any friends that you're currently close to in that way? Or is it just something else entirely?

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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It can sometimes be helpful, too, I find, if and when someone is in the kind of headspace you are ariund this stuff to think about what YOU offer in a relationship, not just what you can get from the other person. Thinking about what good things we offer, and not just "I will cuddle you," or "I will keep you from being alone," can help clarify what we really want, but also what we might need to work on about ourselves before relationships are going to be great for us, and something we want and enjoy, not something we cannot go without.

And one big thing any of us brings any kind of relationship, that we need to for it to be something good for everyone, is a person who already likes themselves and likes being with themself, rather than someone who deeply wants to avoid being with themself or doesn't like themself very much.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MaddleyLove
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just to update you all...
after going on a few more dates, we decided to make a go of a relationship last Friday. Saturday afternoon he texts me and says after sleeping on it, he thinks we should wait until he comes back from a lads holiday he's on this week because 'he doesn't want to do anything stupid and hurt me'. i'm not stupid, and I can read between the lines well enough to know that he thinks he might cheat during this holiday. I agreed to wait for him for when he comes back and then we will talk about it again. but i'm so conflicted and in two minds as to whether I should have said ill wait or have just moved on. people I have spoken to have given me conflicting opinions, most saying I should have just said no and moved on, but some saying they agree that we should wait and it was sensible of him to say that. what do you guys think? [Frown]

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September
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It sounds like you are both not in a good place for a relationship right now. Do you have any sense for why you are pushing this, when it doesn't seem like such a greata fit at the moment? What do you think a relationship would give you that dating isn't giving you?

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MaddleyLove
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i guess i just feel if we dont end up in a relationship ill just feel like what if all the time,what if we were meant to be but werent? what if he was like the one, yknow? [Razz] i know it sounds silly, but im a romantic like that i guess [Smile]
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September
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You know, I think that if something is meant to be, we can tell by the way that it seems to work out without too much effort. Obviously relationships always take good communication and some willingness to compromise, but they should not be this difficult, espeecially not in the beginning when everything is still new and exciting and fun.

So if you find yourself having to stretch so much to make things work, and feeling so disapponted and upset so much after the first few dates, then that is a pretty good indication that it is probably not "meant to be".

What do you think a relationship with this guy would be like, realistically? What do you think you would miss out on by not pursueing this further?

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Johanna
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OhImpecuniousOne
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imo, there isn't a The One. We'll meet and interact with thousands of people in our lifetimes; some of them will be people we could have amazeballs romantic relationships with, some won't, but missing one such person doesn't mean you won't get to have amazeballs relationships with other people. I also don't think love is that mystical - if you and a person are an amazing fit, you'll be able to tell because you'll fit amazingly. You don't have to hold on just in case - trust your experiences. [Smile]
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MaddleyLove
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so its about two months since we broke up, and I still find myself getting very very angry about everything- the way he treated me, the way hes gone and got another girlfriend basically straight away, confirming my suspicions he pretty much cheated on me. I am so angry, and feel humiliated hearing from my friend that everyone feels sorry for me and are probably laughing behind my back. I feel so hurt. any advice on how to dissipate the pain?
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Heather
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So, clearly, you still have a lot of processing to do with this LAST relationship.

So, the very first thing I'd suggest is that you not try and pursue any new romantic relationships when you obviously still are not over this last one.

I'd also not focus on what other people may or may not think about you, nor assume anything about this ex seeing other people while you were together. Not only does his seeing someone new not tell you that, that relationship is OVER, so the past.. it's in the past.

Before anything else, were you yet able to connect with a counselor or therapist you can and do see in an ongoing way?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MaddleyLove
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i just dont know when ill be over this, or when ill feel like it doesnt matter anymore. its only been two months, which doesnt, to me, feel like long at all really, although so much has happened already since we split. i dont know how long ill be like this, or when things will change. i just cant see an end to this right now.
it also doesnt feel like the past, it still feels like its in the here and now for me. i want to move on, heather, but something inside is holding on so very tightly to it, and i dont know how to make it let go.

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Molias
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As Heather asked above, have you gotten in touch with a counselor you can talk to about this? At this point, that's probably going to be the best way to process these feelings and work past them.
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MaddleyLove
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I am having some ongoing counselling with the Samaritans over all this.
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Molias
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Sounds good!
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MaddleyLove
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i dont really feel any better for having it [Frown] i guess im looking for anyone who has been through what ive been through to just give me some support and an objective view of things?
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I don't mean a crisis line, if that's the kind of counseling you've been getting: I mean working one-on-one with a counselor or therapist, the same person each time, over time. Crisis counseling via a hotline is a very different thing, and I wouldn't expect it to be able to help you make any real progress with some of these longtime patterns.

That's not what it's for, and that also isn't something you can do without working with the same person over time.

If you ARE getting ongoing counseling from one person, it often won't result in feeling better. That's not really what it's for or what it does. Rather, what it can do is help you better understand why you keep feeling the way you are, and give you tools and support for working to make some positive changes or new approaches so that, in time -- and more months or years, not weeks or days -- you begin feeling better or differently.

If you HAVE been getting that kind of counseling, what has the counselor suggested to you so far? What have you been trying or working on that they have suggested? How have those efforts been going? What are you doing differently than you have in the past?

(I gotta tell you, Maddley, I feel like we've tried to do what you're asking for for a long time now, so I am really not sure what you're looking for anyone to offer up that has not already been said or suggested?)

[ 06-29-2014, 04:45 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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