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Unread 12-05-2016, 09:47 AM   #1
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Damned if I do, Damned if I don't

This is another complicated thing. I met a woman I will call HQ. This was January 1, 1998, I was stationed in Korea for a year and in the middle of a divorce. I used an old program called ICQ to meet new friends in the area I was going to be transferred to at the end of the year.

So I received a random chat request from HQ. This was in the day where all you'd see is age, sex, and maybe a paragraph about the person—no pictures. I tried to get away but our conversation became so interesting I canceled my work out and we chatted for about two hours. This person had a way of writing that drew me in, so there was a very strong intellectual connection. So after we chatted, she sent me a photo of herself—I was extremely surprised that she was gorgeous.

She was a Vietnamese political refugee who never met her father because the North took him prisoner before she was born and he was killed in a prison in Vietnam. Her family escaped in 1980 and she grew up in Washington D.C. She had a lot of emotional scars—Mom threw her out of the house at 18 and she married shortly thereafter and divorced two years later.

So we started chatting every day for hours after I got off my duty. It accelerated to a romantic exchange for a short time. There were definitely issues though—she had a one night stand and then she told me about it—she didn't think it was a huge deal.

She sent me a nude photo of herself which surprised me because I considered myself a Christian, but I felt I was falling in love with her, so I kept the photo for a few months and then deleted it because I thought it was wrong. Anyway, I told her I loved her. I was in Korea and she was in North Carolina, a Catholic, divorced after a 2-year marriage, she was 22 ½ and I was 32. After about two months of intense chatting, some that lasted eight hours or more, and our first phone call that lasted six hours, and a second one the next day that lasted five hours, she stopped showing up on chat. We'd seriously talked about meeting in Belgium during my mid tour in the summer of 1998.

I see now, 19 years later, that coming off a cold seven year marriage, she was my rebound—she was everything my wife wasn't—expressive, down to earth, unbelievably intelligent, wrote poetry, just an extremely interesting woman who I was never bored with.

But I grew depressed—I was coming up on my mid-tour and she was gone and all I had to look forward to was trying to get my future ex wife to let me stay with her because I had no where to stay.

After a week in Virginia on my month-long vacation from Korea, I decided that I would phone my lady friend even though she hadn't said boo to me in two months. A guy answered the phone. I hung up. Then later, I phoned again and the guy answered again, so I asked him if she was there, and he woke her. We talked and she said she had taken a guy in (they were friends with benefits). I just went on a limb and said, “I'm coming to see you.” She said okay, so I drove four hours to her place, found out she had started living with a guy around the time she stopped talking to me.

We stayed up all night talking while he got jealous, went to the movies, and I talked her into letting me drive her up to my beautiful home in Virginia. We exchanged wedding bands—she gave me hers from her marriage and I gave her mind. She lived in a bad part of town and had no money. Her guy friend was extremely jealous because he thought they were a couple but she considered him a roommate she slept with.

So HQ and I drove up with the agreement we were just friends. We kept extending and extending until I drove her up to the Washington D.C. Area and reunited her with her family whom she hadn't seen in five years. I met her cousins and brothers and it was so nice. I have never been so infatuated over a woman in my life—she was so beautiful and so down to earth, and so interesting. After being away for a week, I took her back and didn't hear from her in eight years. I was extremely hurt for about six months and never forgot her. I was writing poetry about her for years and years and I got one letter from her in all that time, and perhaps two or three phone calls, all initiated by me. I often wore her tiny wedding band on my pinky.

After being in a few relationships myself, we reconnected in 2006 when I was interested in someone else. It was just like old times in respect to our communication. We were older—I was 40, she was 30, and we were old friends. I was in a four year relationship that ended in engagement and then me being left 29 days before the wedding and I was a mess again. Before my engagement I had melted down HQ's wedding band—I had moved on. She was just a friend I had a long connection with.

So we were on facebook as friends but rarely spoke. In 2011 she was running into problems and since I have a big house I offered to let her stay with me for a while just to get away from the mess she was in. She knew I was kind and would give my life for her—she knew I was totally trustworthy. A few years later her ex husband contacted me because he thought she was living with me—he was worried about her. I tried to track her down and ended up talking to her mother in Virginia from my home in Indiana. During this time I began to see that although I thought she saw me as a sweet guy whom she hung out with and then discarded, her friends and ex husband knew about me and her family did too, and by now me and her ex husband and her family were the only friends she was still with after 1998. In 2014 we decided to phone—it had been a while and we wanted to catch up. We talked for seven hours and it never got tiring. I can't talk to anyone that long without being exhausted. It was nice—the nervousness from 1998 was not there—we were old friends. I was also very surprised that in those years she had disappeared she had been keeping track of me on my website—she named the poems she liked the most and was obviously very knowledgeable about what I'd been doing. She told me what her favorite poem was and asked me what it was about—I told her it was about her.

So when she found out I was graduating from college this past spring, she said she would drive from Virginia to see me graduate. I was very surprised but knew it would be an honor—I still feel she rejected me in 1998 but it's so nice now to see that she respected me and would do that. I had been through another horrible experience with other women and just liked the idea of seeing an old friend who happened to be gorgeous.

She then phoned me out of the blue and asked me to come see her in Virginia over Memorial Day. I was so surprised—suddenly, she was asking me to see her. She was totally wrong for me romantically, but I figured it would be fun just to hang out and catch up after 18 years. She disappeared again and I never saw her on Memorial Day, and while I was thinking of just blocking her because she was pissing me off, I prayed about it and sent her a message on her birthday. I was 50 years old and my skin wasn't so thin that I would let her get to me.

That afternoon I got a call out of the blue—she was surprised at the birthday message (I only wrote “Happy Birthday”). I told her I was ticked off at her for doing that to me, but I wasn't surprised, what with her record of disappearing. I now knew that when she disappeared, it wasn't because she didn't like me—she did that to EVERYONE. And I was probably one of her best friends.
So we had an eventually warm phone call and I told her I could still see her but she needed to follow up and I would not plan on anything without her address. She had a sickness she said that caused her to be out of pocket for sometimes three days at a time or more. I knew about her illness, I just didn't know how bad it was (she didn't have it when we met in 1998).
So I got her address, told her when I would arrive, she asked me how long I would stay and told me I could stay as long as I wanted. A week before I arrived I told her if she was seeing someone or living with a guy, I would not visit her--I told her, "This is not 1998." She never replied to that, but she knows when I see her, it's just me and her.

So I drove there on July 3rd and my three day stay ended up lasting six days. Of course, through all this, there was no romance—we cooked together, went to a few historical sites, and talked sometimes eight hours a day—we watched three hours of testimony on CSPAN, just sitting together on the couch looking at her laptop. We'd hug every night before we went to our respective beds. She complained about me a lot for the first three days, little things, and I stopped doing them and she stopped complaining and seemed to drop a lot of her physical barriers. I told her I had to leave but wanted to do a road trip, so we went to Washington D.C. She showed me a lot of the places she loved and we went to the shore until after midnight and walked and talked alone.

She was very lonely. She told me I should come see her again soon. The day I left she looked sad but she rarely said anything about it—she went out of her way to tell me we were not romantically compatible. She said it so much it got annoying because I wasn't bringing it up. She smokes, she told me “I don't date, I cohabitate” and she was a non-practicing Catholic, three big strikes against her. But she talked often of God and it was obvious she wanted more from her faith—we read the Catechisms together and discussed them.

I have been very open with her about how much she hurt me before, in 1998, and also how I feel about her. I can tell her she's beautiful without expecting anything in return. I have to be a man and not let her get to me. I did notice that after I told her I had to leave, she seemed to act differently—I took charge of the visit and she stopped complaining completely. She has to know I have a life and she's not the center of it. And I have not been shy in telling her that at 41 years old, she is just as beautiful as she was at 22. She knows, or at least I've mentioned to her that she is the most beautiful woman I've ever met. And I can say that now without expecting a response—just being honest.

I hugged her and kissed her on the cheek and she tried to push me away but then giggled. It was a nice visit. I got back here and she had posted photos from the visit all over facebook and told all the details about what we did (she's very, very private, so this really blew me away).

She asked me to come live with her and help her with her business. I told her no—she saw it as a business proposition but I told her I don't cohabitate. She kept pushing it and even wrote on my timeline, again, very surprising since she had before seemed very uncomfortable with me telling people personal things about us. She didn't even want to shoot a photo of us together – I told her we'd known each other for 18 years but there were no photos of us together! She started to smile and found it cute I guess and finally gave in, but now, she was posting the photos of us all over her timeline so all her friends could see them.

I told her I'd love to visit and stay longer and work with her on her business but she kept getting stuck on the issue of us living together. I told her that it would be horrible if she started dating and I was living with her—and the kind of women I want to attract would never date a guy who was living with a woman. And if we were romantically involved, I wouldn't live with her in an attic apartment because I don't cohabitate. I told her she needed a plan B.

I had an idea of taking her to Hawaii in October and she liked the idea but couldn't make it since she lacked the proper paperwork to fly (long story). She had an old uncle she adored and hadn't seen in over 20 years and I have Air Force friends in Hawaii and was looking for an excuse to go there—I could take her and she could be with her uncle and I could be with my friends, but hopefully, HQ and I would have fun together there too. She had told me that her family never forgot what I did for her in 1998 and I love doing nice things for people.

So I asked her if I could come see her in November. She never answered so I made other plans. I decided to go to the inauguration and I let her know, but then she contacted me and ask her if she could come with me. As we were planning that I told her I was going to Virginia for my birthday (she lives about an hour from the place I am visiting—I frequently go bicycle riding in the mountains). When she found out she wanted me to visit for my birthday too.
So here's the deal—she keeps saying we are only friends and the way we are now, I agree. But she's the most interesting woman I've ever known and at 41 ½ years old, she's still as beautiful as she was in 1998. We can sit and talk all day and spend a week with just the two of us and be perfectly fine. I may be closest friend at this point, and she's wanting me to come back.

But I could not be with a woman who doesn't consider her faith a priority. I know she went to confession a few months ago and seems to want that but is afraid—still, I'm Baptist, and I left the Catholic church for a reason.

If we could find common ground on spiritual issues and if common ground on saving sex for marriage, and then, if she and I decided we wanted to give romance a shot, that would be great. No one can keep my attention like HQ can. The fact that January will make 19 years since we met, and the fact that we only spent 10 days together in 1998 and then 18 years later we spent six days, and overall it was a very nice experience—as little as we've spoken—there's something there. Something is special about this. I doubt there are many guys who can keep up with her conversations—they are so intense. She knows she can trust me with her life. I look at the developments of the past year as a blessing, but I can't deny I do still find myself wishing we had more. But she needs to change, and I can't make her. From a faith standpoint, I can't be her boyfriend—and that's only if she is interested in me. I know she notices me and it almost seems she is overcompensating to tell me she isn't interested, then she complains about things I did in July, and then she asks me to come see her again and/or live with her. Even if we wanted a relationship, I do not want to move in and I would not want to sleep with her—it would betray everything I believe in, and it would just put me in the same category of all the other guys she's known. I'm not like them, and if I betray who I am, I will lose her and me. If I stand for what I believe, I believe she will respect that. She may not want me as her mate, but you can't win a woman by being someone you are not.

I want a relationship but not at the expense of who I am, and I am willing to walk away from the idea that HQ and I could be a couple. But I would like to see what the possibilities are.

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Unread 12-05-2016, 01:03 PM   #2
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I've read over this a couple of times now just to make sure I didn't miss something.

Honestly, given your history with this woman, I can't see a good reason to hold on to the hope that she is going to change. That's just my take on it. I do realize that God can change people but I think people have to want to change. Based upon what you've shared it doesn't seem that she is at that place.

May God grant you peace and wisdom here.
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Unread 12-06-2016, 12:17 AM   #3
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Pastoral Advice

Opendoor,

Assuming that all you have written (pretty sure you take the most words for post-count prize!) is true, one question just jumps out at me ... what does your pastor say? While the good folks here can give a few words of advice, you need a lot more than a few words of advice. I can understand that a military career gets in the way of being shepherded in a local church, but you obviously need this more than a wife, maybe-wife, friend's-fiancé, maid, or more-than-a-friend. The support of a congregation and shepherding care is the best way to find your way, even if it's not what you want to hear. This could also help with loneliness ... and even help you find the woman God has chosen for you.

Blessings and Good News to you in Christ Jesus!
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Unread 12-06-2016, 06:23 PM   #4
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I have no pastor. I retired from the Air Force in 2005, moved back to my home town, fell in love with a Baptist Church here, became an active member, joined (of course) fell in love with a young lady who was the most popular girl in the church (or maybe I should say she fell for me--not sure who did it first) but we dated four years and she left me 29 days before the wedding. After that, the church turned its back on me and even threatened me when I tried to pursue her again. I left after almost five years and have had a hard time trusting anyone in this town since--you know how so many of the churches can be networked. My former church only paid attention to me for a short time after the most popular girl dumped me. So I've skipped around to 25 different churches in the past seven years.

My Christian counselor and most other Christian friends say the same thing--be careful. My counselor tells me I should take this as a witnessing opportunity and if there is any potential for romance it would only be if hers and my beliefs lined up. Our of everyone, my counselor knows me best--I've been seeing her for five years, sometimes four hours a week--she knows my history and how I tick very well, so I put the most weight on her advice.

I believe that too--the part about our beliefs lining up. Only one friend told me not to go, but I'm not sure he has a realistic view of this situation. I've known this woman almost 19 years now and I trust her at least to respect my boundaries if a situation should arise. I think we stand to gain more by visiting and remaining friends--she seems very alone and did tell me repeatedly that she was very lonely and kept asking me to come see her more often. She seems hungry for the truth, although she is Catholic, I think that's where we should look for common ground. I feel if I abandon her I would be wrong.

I also see how much I enjoy her company and how excited I am to look forward to a week with a friend I can be myself with. There are obvious spiritual benefits for both of us--the risk is that I fall for her and compromise my ethics, or get hurt again. Everyone I know, except for my one friend, says it's a good thing if I am very careful to stand strong in my faith. I've already told her flat out no, I would not live with her. But I did offer to visit more often and longer. Remember I dropped her off at her place in mid June 1998 and didn't see her again 'till early July 2016--so we are barely friends. Both of us are very lonely--I pray that doesn't lead us to weakness. And I keep wondering why, after all this time we are suddenly visiting again. On many occasions I had considered getting rid of her completely.

On a funnier note, my friend who is against this (and I am listening to him) told me I should bring protection. I told him I wasn't planning on doing anything that required it. He told me to bring it anyway, as if she were planning to seduce me (she is pretty cold as far as physical affection).

I told my friend the closest we ever came to having sex was when we were both sitting on the same office chair while she showed me how to create computer programs, and I had to hold onto her bare leg so I wouldn't fall off. I told him the next time that happens, I'll be sure to put on a condom first.

I think at this point I have nothing to worry about from her. I was very surprised she even let me touch her leg, but I was hanging on, and I was trying to leave and I think she was sad that I was leaving--she was different that afternoon. It was the first time I ever thought she would miss me. She usually doesn't show emotion, but I saw it in her eyes. I don't know if she was sad because she would be alone again, or if she was sad that she would miss me--there is a difference.
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