Second Opinions: Women and Selfishness

As you might be able to grasp purely from a glance of this text, this will be long. Be warned.

I am nineteen. My second year of college will begin this coming September. I am madly in love with a young woman that we will call Ramona for purposes of Anonymity. I'm sure of this because I can confidently say there is no other person on this planet I would rather be with. I can easily think, as everyone might agree, that the swill of teenage hormones might still be in effect when I say this, but I believe it to be true. I would not change her, nor would I feel different if she, herself, changed. I would love her the same if she were severely crippled, mentally stunted, horribly disfigured, or what have you. There is literally nothing that would change my feelings.
However, she has a boyfriend. But it gets better.
I have worked closely with her boyfriend, who we will call Matthew for anonymity as well. Matthew is a cold, boring, man with few emotions if any. I have spoke many a time with him, Ramona, and mutual friends with the couple. They seem relatively happy together. Still, close companions of mine who are familiar with both Ramona and Matthew have told me of their relationship. From what I have seen first hand as well as from rumors told by others, Matthew does not treat her as a significant other. He often neglects her and, albeit rarely, belittles her as a student. I have met and worked with him, and he seems very unaffectionate, even to his girlfriend. Ramona, however, believes that she is in a completely healthy relationship, just as other dominated women may.
I believe she is perfection. Perhaps quite innocent as well. She has recently turned twenty, but I do not believe that she understands that this is a relationship that is completely healthy.

I have expressed to her, quite calmly and plainly, that I have strong feelings for her. However, I have strongly pressed that it is her happiness that I desire rather than demanding a change in her life by requesting she leave her boyfriend, Matthew. I took my time to emphasize that I did not want her to come running to me if she indeed was happy. Her reaction was that of a half-surprised half-anticipated speechlessness. She believed that I told the truth, embraced me for it, teared up a bit, smiled, and said nothing more. Therefore, I still do not know her own feelings, nor am I confident enough to assume one thing or another.
Both before, during, and after this, we have been close friends. We have taken dancing lessons together, spent time with one another, and worked closely in both classes and theatrical affairs. I have noticed that we share similar interests, and she has returned a good amount of the attention I have given her. I expressed my feelings quite plainly, though not to make her overly uncomfortable at the time. This was approximately six months ago, if not less.

EDIT: I broke up with my current girlfriend, "Kim." It turns out she had a similar mentality about our relationship together, and we mutually, healthily, happily ended it together. Still good friends.

Now for the true dilemma.

I'm sure some would simply call me impatient and selfish, and I would agree, but I am still burning to show Ramona how I really feel. I think of myself as a romantic - I believe in grand expressions of infatuation like serenading from a moonlit balcony and all of that other wild grandeur. This lady deserves more than what she is getting. I want to be that man to make her life wonderful - to tell her every day how special she is to me. Ramona currently works at the Sterling Renaissance Fair - a perfect example of our mutual interests in medieval history, culture, and theatre. I have found the opportunity to visit her - something she has suggested once or twice (but such fairs are expensive, particularly to a college student over a summer vacation, and so such a visit must be carefully planned and what have you).
Being the thespian and musician I am, I have an acoustic nylon-string guitar that is beaten-up enough to resemble an older-aged stringed instrument, and I have access to costumes used by the local Shakespearean society.
Knowing where she works, I could dress up and serenade her at the very fair she works without disturbing the atmosphere around me. I feel the need to tell her that she deserves more than what she has, and I want to be the one that gives that affection to her.

Obviously, my actions have a myriad of severe consequences.
If I do not break up with Kim immediately, Ramona will resent the idea of me coming to her with a girlfriend of my own. If I break up with Kim at all, she will be devastated, and I will lose respect for myself as well as a surprising amount of my friends.
If she does not fawn over me like I hope, or if she is too loyal to the scoundrel, Matthew, I will have lost the friend I was so hoping to swoon, as well as allow her voice my exploit, causing my close ones to disrespect me for my selfishness.
And even if my plan works, and she returns my affections (a completely slim and unlikely outcome) I will have stripped two people of their significant others for our own happiness.

But I am young. In my heart, there is only one person I want in this world, and it is Ramona. I want her to know that. I would do nearly anything, short of killing someone or the like, to make her happy. This could be a critical mistake, a life lesson, or the greatest thing I've ever done in my pitiful life.

Fellow Escapists, I am at your mercy. I beg of your insight.

Brown Cap:
Fellow Escapists, I am at your mercy. I beg of your insight.

I definitely think you should wait for Ramona to sort out her situation with Matthew on her own. You may feel she deserves more, and she even may even believe you and feel that way too, but that is her problem to solve. If she asks you for help then by all means help her, but otherwise her romantic decisions are her business. Period. End of story. That is NONE of your business, and beyond expressing friendly concern as you have done you have NO right to make any decisions for her, or to push her into any situations she doesn't want to be in.

And because of that, I would strongly advise against a public serenade. You must remember that whatever consequences happen to you would also happen to her in just the same amount. Matthew would of course be affronted, and might be angry with her in turn. That is a horrible situation to put another friend in--whether or not you are romantically interested. Publicly going after someone in a relationship is NEVER a good idea. And it is selfish, but not just because you want her "all for yourself." It's because in attempting to override her current relationship, you are forcing her into an uncomfortable decision and essentially telling her that she's wrong about the choice she's made for herself. You're being selfish because you're pretending you have more authority than her when it comes to her love life. She is the maker of her own happiness, not you. She knows you're an option, and it's up to her whether or not she bites. And a public serenade or announcement of your affections will not help anything in that regard.

I concur: it's her decision to make, and publicly serenading somebody might sound wonderfully romantic, but not everybody sees it that way, and as Lilani said, there could be some serious negative consequences. She may even be angry with you.

It's difficult to judge somebody else's relationship from the outside, because only the two people involved know what it's really like. It sounds as though your are deciding for her that she would be better off with you, which it's not your place to do.

I'm going to come down on it being a critical mistake, with the potential for a life lesson.

You've done what you can, you've made it clear how you feel. She's still with the other guy.

All you can do is be available as a friend.

But for the love of every God in existence, real or imaginary, don't stall your life waiting for her. It's not worth it. She's not worth it.

Many of us have felt that kind of love before, where your entire being wraps around another person. Not healthy. Not good. And anyone with any sense looks back on it with a 'tsk' and a shake of their head.

Let Ramona and Matthew sort themselves out. Just because you don't want their relationship to be good doesn't mean it isn't.

And if that relationship is bad and she's suffering, and yet staying with him anyways... She's not worth it.

Let them be, live your own life. She may come to you, in a week, a month, a few years down the line. But don't wait for her. Never wait for anyone.

As someone said in the what is love thread, real love is wanting the other person to be happy no matter what. Even if that happiness doesn't include you.

Be honest
Have you asked her in private if she wants to be with you?
If so what was her response?
When you're talking about romance is the conversation one sided?
How many times have you told Ramona that you're in love with her?
How much effort have you put into being friends with Matthew?
On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your hygiene, looks, weight and confidence?
Do you act differently around Ramona then you do elsewhere?
What do you want from Ramona?

On a personal note though, I think you need to man up and be there for her. Be supportive and respectful of the decisions she has made (this means cut the criticism now), don't sacrifice either your or her happiness, and don't try to go either the nice guy or douche route. There's no need to be bitter or keep on forcing the issue especially when it puts you in the negatives and makes one of you victims of the other (exactly how you or her will see it).

Sorry, the tone comes off more aggressively then I intended.

Brown Cap:

Fellow Escapists, I am at your mercy. I beg of your insight.

Just do what you've gotta do. you may end up winning her heart, you may end up having yours broke, or you may end up looking a complete tit, but hanging around doing nothing will just guarantee you drive yourself crazy.

Also, strongly consider that what you may think makes her happy may not be what actually makes her happy.

Ahhh, young lust. Reminds me of when I was 15 and in a not too dissimilar situation. :) Nothing as wondrous as desire to inspire you.

Having been in poor Kim's position myself, I can't help but feel sorry for her most of all. If she has a reasonable amount of sense she's likely painfully aware that she's only playing second fiddle to another girl in your eyes. If she's like me, she may be trying to convince herself that if she just hangs on in there she can make you see that she's the girl for you. And if you're like my ex, you'll string her along for two years while moping over another girl until you finally dump her because you never had feelings for her anyway.

You might be worried about 'stripping her of her significant other' but staying with her while continuing to be all 'oh, what might have been!' over another woman is NOT going to lead to a happy or healthy relationship. Unless you can stop simpering over Ramona (my distaste may be showing through here, I distrust the feelings of anyone who says they'll do 'anything' for someone's happiness, that simply does not seem healthy to me, love can be tempered with some amount of reason and when it's not that's what leads us to dangerous levels of obsession and self-abuse), unless you can get your mind off of Ramona and start focusing on the girl who wants to be with YOU and not with another guy, then I would say you owe it to Kim to end it with her now, let her find someone who will really care about her instead of just using her as your comforter while you pine over someone else.

Nice use of Scott Pilgrim names.

Pressing on, I think the first thing is that you break up with Kim if you are so seemingly unhappy with her. If you don't love her the way she loves you then you have the danger of turning into Matthew yourself. Cold, unloving, unaffectionate because you're hung up over Ramona.
You shouldn't feel bad, break-ups happen and that's advice for another time. You and Kim both deserve to be happy and she deserves someone who loves her like she loves you.

I have been in Ramona's situation before. I struggle to call it a relationship, it was so fucking awful on reflection because he was cold, unloving, inattentive. I was so stupidly infatuated with him I didn't mind his neglect. I really wish someone would have slapped me really hard and told me he didn't love me because it would have saved a lot of hassle. If what you say about their relationship is true and you aren't seeing what you want to see, I hope she discovers she deserves better in her own time.
However, keep your distance from her love life and let her figure that out for herself. With me it was because I started talking to my current boyfriend I realised that is how I should be treat. He is kind and loving, we barely argue and he doesn't cause me to go to bed in tears because he's barely spoken to me all day and makes me think it's my fault.
My boyfriend now didn't push me into being with him or pressure me. He treat me like an equal, was a good friend and listened to my problems.
All she needs is you to be her friend right now and I hope she realises in time he isn't worth her.

Also, I don't mean this to be cruel but because you think you might be the perfect boyfriend, doesn't mean you will be. Her idea of perfect and your idea might be completely different. I would advise against the public serenading because that just sounds embarrassing. Just because you seem better than her boyfriend doesn't mean you should rub it in everyone's face.

Most of all, be patient. If she breaks up with him, give her time to heal. Be there for her and be her friend. Hopefully something will happen between you two but if not you simply have to move on from it because I know I've thought plenty of my boyfriends were absolutely perfect when I were smitten over them. Let everything go at it's own pace.

I'd agree with what other people have said- Don't. Wait for Ramona to sort things out herself. As for Kim... Well, she is still with you and she does know how you feel. That said, if she's getting more attached I'd suggest you break it off to avoid causing her more pain. Overall, I'd say forget about Ramona if you can. I understand it might be difficult, but in my book it is never ok to go making romantic gestures towards someone else's partner. I understand this Matthew guy might seem distant, but as someone who frequently comes across so myself, how do you know how he really feels? Regardless, I consider it disrespectful to both of them. If Ramona is unhappy she can sort it out herself, it isn't your place to stir things up, especially considering she's already aware of how you feel. She knows how you feel and hasn't acted on it, isn't that a sign? Don't put her in a difficult position.

You're nineteen years old. When I was nineteen I thought I could make this type of decision and I can assure you that you've got bigger things to worry about than "losing the one". You won't be "losing the one" you'll be "losing THIS one".

Jumping between relationships is never advisable and there's nothing wrong with being single. If you have to have Ramona then break it off with Kim immediately. It is not fair to either of you. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too.

If Ramona rebuffs your advances well, that's too bad. She's under no obligation to form a romantic relationship with you but YOU are under an obligation to remain true to Kim. If you can not keep to that obligation then call it off.

Brown Cap:
snip

Hoo boy. You're young, idealistic, and I think the only way you'll truly learn is to make mistakes, regret them, and emerge a little wiser.

My overriding instinct is to tell you to damn well chill out, enjoy what you have, and be happy with your platonic friendship. Your idea of a "grand romantic gesture" (at the renaissance fair, no less) is the stuff of teen cringe movies - the object of your affections is likely to be embarrassed and humiliated at her place of work, and you'll just have attempted to cheat on your current girlfriend.

Whatever you do, please consider the feelings of your current girlfriend. If you're not interested in her it'd be kinder to tell her sooner rather than later.

Brown Cap:
snipped

I understand, I felt the same way. I was head over heels in love with a girl (now we are both adults)I had known since I was little. Things would never work out, I'd come up with plans, try to be the perfect guy, try to say just the right thing at just the right time, etc, and none of it would ever work, but I wouldn't hear a word against it even though I knew it was stupid.

Basically what you need to do if you want to save your friendship with her (and trust me, you do. Bros before hos applies to female 'bros' as well :P) is just take a step back and let go. I know it's hard, but you don't want to spend your life pining over someone who doesn't share your feelings: if she felt the same way as you do, she would be with you, not this other guy. You've probably heard this cliche a thousand times, but there are *plenty* of other women out there, and you might be *VERY* surprised what you're missing out on while fighting a losing battle for the attention of someone things will never work out with.

Also, no one likes "grand romantic gestures." Those are for romcoms (emotion porn) and nowhere else. At best, you'll publicly humiliate yourself. It probably won't be good news for your friendship either. At worst, you could ruin your friendship. I want you to imagine, for a moment, the following scenario. There is a guy you yourself are friends with. Being male yourself you have no interest in him and barring some extraordinary life changing event never will. Then, imagine he approaches you at your place of work, in front of all your co workers and possibly others, and starts singing a romantic song at you. You find out he has been scheming to replace your girlfriend (we'll talk about your actual gf in a second, but for right now let's assume you're with someone that you are happy with) for some time, all the while thinking to himself about what a horrible woman your girlfriend must be and how he would be so much better for you. You wouldn't feel very comfortable about remaining friends, would you? Hell, if it was me, I'd probably call the cops.

You also need to break it off with your current girlfriend. If you're not happy, and will never be happy, just end it. The sooner the better, so you can start looking for someone you actually like.

And come on, man, you're 19! Never again will you have this much time, energy, passion, and life! Don't waste it worrying about women. Go to the library and study something (A lot of women hang out at libraries too, I might add, if you're into the bookish ones ;) or join/form a band or go volunteer or get a new hobby. Just enjoy life and enjoy being a single man with no romantic commitments (You would be surprised how much energy a relationship can take out of you). Just have fun and be an interesting person and the romantic crap will come to you on its own.

If you go through with this you will become "That guy". Trust me, no woman likes "That guy". Hell, men don't even like "That guy". "That guy" is a loser, he's a little creepy, he comes off as selfish, boring, lacking confidence, and emotionally shallow. "That guy" has made it his mission to have a girlfriend and all other things are secondary in priority, and no one likes being an objective. You can't be "That guy" if you ever want things to work out with anyone you ever are interested in: you need to be, for yourself, an interesting and unique person.

You probably won't be in love with her in three to five years time. You might as well realise that now and save yourself the trouble.

It's a bit worrying for me that you seem to put Ramona on a pedestal. I think that's the biggest mistake you're making. Coming from someone that put his love life on hold for someone for 8 years, just don't do what I did. I would also avoid the public serenades, it puts her on the spot, and life isn't a romcom.

Lilani:

Brown Cap:
Fellow Escapists, I am at your mercy. I beg of your insight.

I definitely think you should wait for Ramona to sort out her situation with Matthew on her own. You may feel she deserves more, and she even may even believe you and feel that way too, but that is her problem to solve. If she asks you for help then by all means help her, but otherwise her romantic decisions are her business. Period. End of story. That is NONE of your business, and beyond expressing friendly concern as you have done you have NO right to make any decisions for her, or to push her into any situations she doesn't want to be in.

And because of that, I would strongly advise against a public serenade. You must remember that whatever consequences happen to you would also happen to her in just the same amount. Matthew would of course be affronted, and might be angry with her in turn. That is a horrible situation to put another friend in--whether or not you are romantically interested. Publicly going after someone in a relationship is NEVER a good idea. And it is selfish, but not just because you want her "all for yourself." It's because in attempting to override her current relationship, you are forcing her into an uncomfortable decision and essentially telling her that she's wrong about the choice she's made for herself. You're being selfish because you're pretending you have more authority than her when it comes to her love life. She is the maker of her own happiness, not you. She knows you're an option, and it's up to her whether or not she bites. And a public serenade or announcement of your affections will not help anything in that regard.

I don't always agree with Lilani, but this is the answer. Don't do it, it's a stupid idea and no good will come of it for any one involved. Keep out of her personal life and try to move on with yours. She might actually love this guy and you have no right to get involved.
And I'm glad you split with your girlfriend, as your last paragraph left me feeling quite angry at you. Keeping a relationship going with someone you don't truly care about is unfair and incredibly selfish, it has nothing to do with sparing the other's feelings, it is just a selfish desire to not have to deal with the guilt of breaking someone's heart.

I appreciate you feedback, escapists.

I think you're right. In the end, it's like I'm trying to tell her what decision she should make, and that's no better.
I don't see myself changing any time soon, but you guys are right: It's best that I just let her live her own life, regardless of how I personally see it.

Thanks, friends.

I see you've already gotten some good advice but also. Don't do this mopey "friend zoned" thing. You've made your intentions known to her and she rejected you, kindly. If you honestly can't be friends with this girl WITHOUT the expectation that she will reward you being a decent human being with sex and love then don't be around her.
It's actually quite creepy what you're doing.

You should also break it off with Kim since you don't cherish the relationship and are thus being a total ass to her.

Also Mathew seems like a stable, alright dude despite what you think of him, he's apparently not the one lusting after other women.

Re-examine your world view, forget about what happens to the 'nice guys' in sitcoms and understand that you don't 'get the girl' just because you're nice and you think you're better than everyone else.

Instead of going to the Ren faire, I took her out to the next town over for lunch.
Needless to say, I sucked it up and had a little restraint.
I didn't say a thing, and I feel I made the right choice.
Thanks, Escapists.

 

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