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Picking people who treat you as an idiot
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Carolyn • I have been seeing someone very nice and we have lot of fun together, but when it comes to intimacy, we are always fighting. He is not very loving, is not affectionate. He does not share any emotions, and if I ask for a feeling, he freaks out and says "no questions." When we are together, once a week maybe, it's more like a service without emotions. He never stays the night, must sleep in his own bed, will not even shower in my home, goes home and even locks the bathroom door. He has never been married and takes care of his mother — but she takes care of him, cooking, cleaning etc. It's always his way in the food we eat, what we do, etc. It's always about what makes him happy. I was married many years; I know how to compromise. I lived in an unhappy, uncaring marriage. I am very affectionate and have the attitude we only live once and want to enjoy what two people can share, love and companionship. He has said we are not in a relationship, I'm not a girlfriend, and he hates when I call. I know I should walk away, but he has my heart and I do not want to be alone. Will time make a difference?

Am I an Idiot

Dear Am I an Idiot • IQ, no doubt pretty high. EQ ... (shifts awkwardly in seat). You apparently have a soft spot for people who treat you like an idiot. Given that you are a self-described affectionate person, and that the only two significant, romantic attachments you describe here are with men who are stingy with their affection — and that's being too kind — I'm going with: No, time won't make a difference. Not because this guy will remain the same (he will), but because you will remain the same: guided by some force to choose cold men only to bemoan their lack of warmth. Perfectly smart people do stuff like this all the time — that is, when they are driven by needs they don't recognize or understand. We all think we're making rational choices — Exhibit A: your "very nice and we have a lot of fun together" — but a lurking emotional need can drive the rational into rationalizing, and undercut what's actually good for us, if it doesn't come from a healthy place.

Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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