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    Exploring Love
    lovely_lemon_tree posted:
    So this is going to take a little different tone than most of my posts about love do.

    My brother has been with his (very serious) girlfriend for two and a half years. They are apparently joined at the hip and are rarely seen without each other during their free time. There's a lot of talk about them getting married. But she doesn't want to get married until she's 30. She's 28 (and a half) right now, same age as my brother, older by a week. Apparently she and my brother have talked about engagement and wedding rings, and there's a great deal of pressure (I'll only speak for my side of the family) for him to go ahead and just ask her to marry him.

    My mom is insistent that it not be a long engagement -- but I do think that at least a year is required to plan a wedding (at least of the caliber of what I've heard they're thinking about). They want to have a summer wedding. So odds are that around their anniversary (which was around the 4th of July or so) my brother will pop the question.

    I've watched many of my high school friends tie the knot -- and also many more of my friends from college. My question is -- how do you know if you can love the person you're with for the rest of your life? I don't believe in divorce, and I know my brother doesn't. Maybe I just haven't had that kind of love where it goes without saying that you're going to love each other for years -- my parents are married upwards of 30 years, as are my dad's brother and sister. I worry though, that this is my brother's first romance. It is possible to get caught up in the hearts and flowers (God knows I did) of the first romance... I just wonder if he's second-guessing. I wonder if it's even OCCURRED to him to second-guess it. I think it would be healthy to. It being the first time, I think it's important to take it with a grain of salt. And I've seen first-time romances blossom into a wonderful marriage exactly once out of all that. The odds just aren't in their favor.

    I also think that although she's a relatively intelligent cookie, she's no intellectual match for my brother. My brother's intellect is razor-sharp -- I mean he got a degree in physics and graduated magna cum laude. It seems like she's dulling him down. I don't want him to "settle" -- it's not because I want him for myself or that I don't think that anyone is good enough for my little brother -- it's quite the opposite. I don't want him to dumb himself down and I do want someone who is good enough for my little brother. I just question whether or not she is. (Actually I have arrived at a tentative answer: I don't think she's smart enough for him.)

    I guess such questions are why most churches require at least some premarital counseling. I know, we being Catholic, we are required to have six months of premarital counseling. I guess it's to save us from getting a couple years into the marriage and being dissatisfied and then leaving.

    Now I'll admit to several things: I've never met her in person. I've only spoken to her maybe twice on the phone. She may be totally different in person -- I realize I'm only getting an incomplete picture. But there's something about her that rubs me the wrong way ... it's a bit like having your hair brushed against its usual way ... it doesn't exactly irritate me, but it leaves me ruffled, disoriented, and questioning why it happened in the first place.

    Maybe I've never been lucky to have (and continue) the once-and-forever love. I've thought very highly of people I love dearly. But I think without the opportunity of continued presence in my life, I find that my attention turns to other things and other people. I dunno. I just wonder how you know you can love someone for the rest of your life, and be more sure of it than anything else in your life.
    Headline responded:
    If you want honesty, read on. If you want hugs and agreement, stop reading this comment right here, because I'm going to be very honest that the way you've said some things here has made me very, VERY angry.

    What do you mean she is "not smart enough for him"? Why does she have to be an "intellectual match" for him in order for him to be happy? Why does it bother you that she doesn't have piles of degrees, or that he doesn't sit and discuss quantum physics with her?

    I've been the "dumb one" (not my own words) in most relationships I've been in, and those words - which often came from friends or family of the person I was with - HURT. They still hurt to recall today. Do you care that your attitude toward this "not smart enough" woman might be short-sighted, smug, dismissive, prejudicial and hurtful? Or are you like the friends and families who labeled me the stupid one in an effort to get rid of me?

    Maybe, just maybe, your brother and his girlfriend are really happy together. And honestly, I wonder if that's what's really bothering you - not that you want your brother to be unhappy, but that you envy his happiness and wish you could be intimately, deeply, passionately, physically and otherwise, loved by someone the way that his "intellectually inferior" girlfriend loves him.

    Please do some soul-searching before you continue to dismiss this person your brother loves deeply. I doubt she's done anything to you to deserve being belittled and labeled "not smart enough."
    Do you know, in 900 years of time and space, I've never met anyone who wasn't important before. -- The Doctor (as written by Steven Moffat)
    jankearney123 responded:
    Lovely lovely lovely.......................

    This is going to sound rude and i don't mean to burst your bubble but going on 33 years of marriage in august i think i can speak from experience and also having a son married to a dil of a foreign variety that hates me and my whole family.......... lets put it this way (o and i also have a daughter your age who is 29) ......................First off its non of your business what your bro does. It's his life and all you can do is hope for the best. My son chose his wife like your bro is choosing his bride perhaps so it is what it is and you have to have acceptance because why have rejection (especially you don't even know the gal and you're seeminly making a lot of presumptions) I know you were just talking out loud in your post which is a cutie of you when you're thinking out loud! on the written language!

    So hears the deal >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>I met my husband and didn't fall in love out of respect for him being so kind to me and because my mother told me don't hurt his feelings and that he was a good man. What do mothers know right?

    Well we know before you do! But of course! lol Sometimes we really do., Just like you're having this intution about your bro. But really lovely unless he asks you don't offer up ok. Do yourself a favor and butt out. If you have the kind of relatiuonship that you talk a lot back and forth it would be different but it doesn't sound like you do talk back and forth a lot iuf you've only tgalked to gf two times.

    anyway about love for life ......................ytou don't know. It's like do you know if anything is ever going to last? THe earth could be hit by a meteor and there wouldn't be a damn thing to do about it would there?

    So here's the deal................You've had phych 101 right?

    What did you learn there and what have you learnt being a mentally ill person? C HECK IT OUT don't make assumptions. but we still do because we are human and to be human is to make mistakes. Maybe your bro is comfotable with gf because he is smarter than her and so he can feel superior? who knows the reason why maybe he thought she smelled good in that human scent thing? or maybe he just loves her lovely. nothing wrong with that is there?

    You're p;rotective i know so is my daughter of her bro but then she had to give it up after he picked jj. cuz jj is one something something. my son is going to get a real rude awakening and already is but i have to butt out. its his life so he's partying real hard and going to probably be on his way to alcholism ifnot already and what can i do sit back and watch and hurt inside. but then i have to let it go...........i have to concentrate on the people in my life who make me happy and that i make happy. that's what my therapy team has told me to do and it makes a whole lot of scense (sp).
    its just hard to do becuz i feel like i'm loosing him and in a scense i am wish i could spell that durn word right! ugh i hate when i can't spellk right!
    jankearney123 responded:
    pt 2
    anyway got off track sorry about that! true love comes out of trying to be the best person that you can be know we're all flawed but if you show the best person you can be to the person you're in love with and if they are honest with themselves then they will be honest with you and show you their best self too. Along with that there has to be Honest COMMUNICATION! no bs. none of this let him read my mind stuff. or her read my mind cuz i know you've not decided which you are yet. being who you are good bad or indifferent but realizing that we get the best of ourselves to ourselves when we are trying to be the best that we can be.
    Does that make sense? there is a lot of acceptance that goes on and when you're young its really harder unless you were raised in a very accepting environment which most of us here rweren't,.......................most of us here do not accept ourselves for who we are. Myself included. but that tho it stops me sometimes doesn't stop me completely which is why there are times of clarity times of goodness in my life times of happiness and joy but i forget that. I forget that the true purpose of life is thepursuit of happiness which is love.
    For without it we die. That is why they have peeps come to the hospital to take care of babies because we need that human touch and love. So you see R just like all of life love has its ambiguity too! I forget which poet wrote about it but love IS FICKLE! no doubt about it.
    I definetly feel that God gave me my life partner because he knew i wouldn't have made it otherwise and likewise with my husband.

    Its weird i used to just stuff it all and cry silently and the tears would roll down my throat and choak me sometimes and now i'm an emotional idiot. i know in the back of my mind with all that has happened to me and whence i come from that this disease most likely rooted itself pretty tight by time i was 10 or 11. but it didn't rear its ugly head till i was about 18 in a most serious way of my first sui attempt. but see anyways sory got off track again. its give and take in life with anyone anything. I gave a lot to my husband with his severe alcholism when we had small children and it really sucked by time youngest was 11 and oldest 13 i mentally broke down and left and told him either quit drinking or i want a divorce. he loved me enough to quit drinking and he's quit ever since. i want to be the best i can be for him. because he deserves that but i keep getting messed up.
    he accepts me for who and what i am and i do the same of him. sometimes we need to be seperated from each other and we do and ohter times we really need to bond and we do that too. but def. not enough hugging time for either of us.

    well lovely R Ihope this was meaningful to you as it was to me. take care and see ya
    off_the_wall responded:
    I can tell you that I married my first love and knew very early in our relationship that he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Not a single doubt in my mind, then or now. He feels the same way. I got the feeling that his family didn't care for me. I am so introverted that it takes a long time to get to know me and I felt (and still feel) judged by them. I am not as smart as my husband, but I'm not dumb either. I know for sure that he doesn't care about that. He loves me for who I am. Please don't be like my in-laws who judge people before they have a chance to get to know someone. Talking on the phone a few times doesn't give you any idea at all about the kind of person that she is. Try to be happy for your brother and support the decisions that he makes.
    jankearney123 replied to jankearney123's response:
    well crude it lost the other part of my post. anyway about love either way is communication honest communication and being the best you can be which makes you love yourself (i'm told) and makes others love you back. I've always tried to do this and always feel like i'm not good enough but that s on my not my husband!

    when my husband got so heavy into his alcholism and yes i drank along side him for years but i was the one to be responsible for everyhhthing and take care of all the issues and all the "stuff" relationships all the enchilada and i am 7 years his jr. i didn't no what to do how to handle it all. lost my cookies and here i am.

    you took phych 101 what's youlearn? checkit out rihgt?

    you keep checking things out and dont' make assumptions because that's exactly what they are are assumptions. nothing more they're not accurate they're not facts they're just swirls in your head!

    So why don't you get to know her? Get out of yourself and get into someone else? you live a lone and it would be good for you to have more peeps around anyway. idon't know where they live but we all have cheap long distance ifnot free long distance. reach out and touch someone...... lol.

    ok. i'm thru
    slik_kitty responded:
    we cannot know the future. we can't not take steps forward, or not take chances, if we want to live our lives. i married the love of my life, my best friend. he wasn't my first love either. we did everything together and were rarely apart. divorce was not in my vocabulary at that time. but times change and people change. there are no guarantees in life. if your bro is happy now, then that is a good thing. if he loves her, that is great. even if she was someone you liked, that is till no guarantee that a marriage will work between them. let him make his own decisions in life and see where it takes him. that's how we all live. we make our own choices and have to live with the results. it's his life and his choice.
    lovely_lemon_tree replied to slik_kitty's response:
    After taking several (long) moments to dwell on what happened, I came to some conclusions:

    1.) I speak to you guys/gals here the way I do (being judgmental of others, being snooty) because I consider you to be my equals. If I thought you beneath me, I would not speak to you as I do. I think that everyone here is smart and knowledgeable, and that's why I make the judgements about other people that I do.

    2.) Even though you claim that you're "never going to post here again," J, it is my experience that those people who walk away in a fluster actually continue to lurk, whether or not they continue to post. So I'm going to say this to you: I think one of the reasons why you reacted so strongly where others didn't is because you have better self esteem and a better self-image about yourself. I won't name names, but I know there are a lot of people here who don't think nearly as highly of themselves. Your upset, J, was provoked because you knew you were better than those people who treated you so badly. I also noticed that you said "former" relationships -- meaning that you don't tolerate that treatment.

    I'm not entirely sure what happened here (not on this thread, but the board itself) or what I missed. I guess it's that I haven't been here much in the last few days as much as I have recently. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm seeing unexpected shades of reactions in people I don't ordinarily associate with those reactions. It is probably a stress maneuver, but it is nonetheless very upsetting. I'm sorry if I caused more distress than I helped.
    DOGDANCING_TCOS responded:
    LLT, (as gently as I can) who your bro marries is none of your concern. Its his choice. I am nine years older than my hubby and of course I got a ration of (deleted) about it. Sure I could have not married him, but then where would I be? 11 years older and still dying of loneliness, and the same for him too.

    So we ignored all the doubters out there and have spend 11 glorious years together.

    Who your heart falls for and who makes it sing is a mysterious wonder. Look beyond the cultural confines of "ideal wife". and "who he deserves" they may not be who he needs.

    All my Bros but one got married before me. It changed my relationship with them. I am not close with any of my sister-in-laws. Our family isn't like yours. My mother has called me more in the last year, since she has gotten dementia, then she did in my entire life.

    We have all gone our own ways and gotten busy living our lives. We play catch up at least every other year or so, but no real regular contact.

    I am glad my brothers have found someone they want to spend their lives with. I wouldn't want them to be lonely.

    Sounds like you may have expectations of his future wife, some standards for her to measure up to. Toss those out the window. There should only be one standard for her to live up to. Does she make your brothers heart sing?
    I'm not really a psychopath, I just play one on the internet.
    Headline replied to lovely_lemon_tree's response:

    Yes, fine, guilty. I was lurking to see if anything I said had gotten through to you other than "J is in the wrong," and I'm posting this now because I feel very disappointed.

    You: "I think that everyone here is smart and knowledgeable, and that's why I make the judgements about other people that I do."

    That doesn't make the judgments right. If indeed we are all smart and knowledgeable, it doesn't make us superior to anyone.

    By your judgment of who is smart and who is not, LLT, I am in the "not smart" department. I didn't get a science degree in college. I dropped out of a master's program without finishing, by choice rather than being forced to by illness, and I went to my second choice of graduate school because my first choice rejected me. At the age of 32, I'm working in a non-supervisory, hourly wage, ground-floor job in a field that does not require degrees of the vast majority of practitioners, with people who have been slandered with far worse labels than I ever will... people who are labeled stupid, idiots, uneducable, incapable, the R-word, by others who have decided they are not smart enough.

    So, no, I don't tolerate labels like "not smart enough" being thrown at me. And I don't tolerate them being thrown at anyone else, either, because I have seen first-hand how much those labels tangibly harm people.

    You're wrong about the reason I reacted so strongly. I reacted that way not because my self-esteem is supposedly good, but because those words - not smart enough, not good enough - are hurtful and continue to damage my self-esteem to this day. So many people have called me the dumb one, and continue to call me the dumb one, that I've been convinced for a long time that it's true. I KNOW it's wrong that that's been done to me, but you should know as well as anyone that one doesn't just recover from and ignore abusive words overnight. Seeing you post those words in print, seeing you hold up that type of judgment as something OK to do, is why I reacted so strongly. I hoped posting my raw feelings, rather than doing what the board has since informed me I should have done instead and shut up for several days before saying anything, would let you see that judgments like the one you wrote cause real pain. It seems that what got through instead was "J is wrong," and it seems that that's the majority opinion around here at the moment.
    Do you know, in 900 years of time and space, I've never met anyone who wasn't important before. -- The Doctor (as written by Steven Moffat)

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