Personal strengths and weaknesses in a relationship

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It may seem very unnatural that anyone would ever want to write a wiki page about their own (private) fears, strengths and weaknesses in relationships, and that's why this page is set to restricted access. I don't want to share this with information with strangers (or even most friends), so if I've somehow shared this page with you then I'll have to hope and assume there was a very good reason! I have a lot of great things going for me in terms of good boyfriend material, and I've listed some of these to keep some balance, but it's probably more important I am very self-aware about what can make me very flawed in relationships. I'm a good, wonderful, positive and unique person, but despite the good intentions I have towards people, I have, in many ways, been a bad boyfriend, and have the potential to do it again if I don't learn from my mistakes. I'm hoping this will be therapeutic and yet scientific at the same time. Instead of writing a tome, I will try and keep my flaws, fears and concerns organized and itemized so that I can better address each of these flaws them over time.

By listing my flaws here I hope to change. I already know I have the potential for drastic change. Over the years I have changed from someone who was shy and used to sweat the small stuff, to someone who can be very social, relaxed and carefree. I do one day way to experience true love though, and so for that I may need to consult and revise this page occasionally to really work on my flaws.

Main Weaknesses

  • TODO(anoske): I missed the biggest one - I gossip + trust issues + slow to forgive + don't defend best friends... that's a lot.. ouchie.
  • Too consumed with work - I'm very career oriented, and passionate about work, but I really need to give my mind a rest after hours and focus on giving more attention to girl I'm with.
  • Plan more outings/holidays - I should soon have a car and the money that I have no excuses not to organize road trips etc.
  • Don't be cheap - In the past I've been pretty frugal with wanting to save money, but I have a good income now and I really should spoilt the girl and myself more often!
  • Take control - As a people pleaser, I tend to go with the flow and ask suggestions, but occasionally I should just say "we're doing this today", and she'll appreciate me being the man and taking charge occasionally.
  • Don't get out enough - I tend to want to stay inside if girl wants to, also have tendency to spend way too much time on computer instead of relaxing properly.
  • Better communication - When I have an issue I need to bring it up earlier - even/especially if the issue could lead to a breakup - generally I'm too relaxed to let things bother me, but they will bother the girl and bottle up.
  • Asking what's wrong - I always think people need time alone to deal with issues, but with women you have to ask early at any hint of a problem... rather than asking "is something wrong" several times, I need to know a woman to the point that I can say "I can tell something is wrong, what's on your mind" and make sure I help fix it. If I don't have this conversation early, it causes an unpleasant time and always builds up into a much bigger issue.
  • Better memory - dates I can program into my phone, but I can forget some pretty important stuff about her family, work etc - I need work on listening and remembering the things important to her.
  • Visiting her - Hopefully it was just the circumstances in my two past relationships (my location and not owning a car in the US) but once I get a car I must make sure I'm the one doing the driving and visiting her, not vice versa all the time. Unfortunately I have, in the past just thought: "well this is easier/more practical" and honestly, taken advantage of her coming to me.
  • Need to make more big gestures and spoil her - I've been good with little/medium stuff (flowers, massages, etc), but really I shouldn't be afraid to try for the occasional big gesture. I don't believe much in expensive gifts and/or girls that expect expensive gifts, but girls do appreciate finer things and/or appreciate you putting in the effort to treat her like a princesses everyone once in a while.
    • Fancy restaurant - Something I almost never did because I can be too frugal, but the occasional fancy dinner can be very romantic.
    • Picnic lunch / sunset trip - Now I have a car I should do these!
    • Surprise trip - Not easy to organize, but a weekend getaway would be lovely. I'm really disappointed I haven't really ever taken the reigns and organized one of these. Even if it's not a weekend getaway groupon and other sites have some great suggestions on activities such as spa getaways etc.

Main Strengths

  • Loyal and honest - Girls tend to notice pretty quickly that I'm refreshingly honest and trustworthy, which isn't all that common in men.
  • Highly affectionate - Not for everyone, but I'm a very affectionate person when it comes to hugs and kisses, both in private and in public (just lovey dove stuff nothing crude).
  • Laid back and funny - Have a unique but good sense of humor and laid back attitude whereby I would never force myself on someone (in any way!).
  • Creative and intellectual - I have a PhD, so that's something which many girls appreciate, but especially so when they realize that I'm not a "usual" smart person who's pompous and hard to relate to. In spite of any university medal or accolades I will never think of myself as a genius.
  • Down to earth - I add on my fingers, my memory isn't great and I suck at trivia, but I am a creative type. Everyone is smart in their own way and you can learn lessons from the youngest child.
  • Positive outlook - I'm not perfect by any means, but I hope to always keep a positive outlook on life and recognize the best in people! Sure I can be moody at times, and can also gloom over in a relationships or when things go poorly at work, but when I give myself just that little bit of time to smell the roses I can light up to the world.
  • Friendly and likeable - When I get myself away from the computer I am friendly to people, love to help strangers, and people generally like me because they can sense the playful side and goodness in me. In certain situations I fare better than others I have to force myself to get out and be social, but once I get going I am a really social person who always gets along great with a girl's parents and friends. I am introverted in some ways and sometimes, but can also be the life of the party up on the dance floor or when I allow myself to.
  • Playful - In dancing, in showing affection or when exploring with a likeminded person I get very, very playful and adventurous. I think women admire a playful spirit - and the girls that don't are not for me.
  • Deep - It depends on the person and conversation, but I know I have real depth to my character. And with the right person, and sometimes with strangers (I tend to volunteer information and overshare sometimes) I enjoy talking about the deeper issue and often very personal things in life.
  • Driven - I have may never reach all my goals, but I've reached some already and I will always want to change the world, or at least a small part of it while I strive to advance my career and help out all my colleagues along the way.
  • Good lover - I've only been intimate with two people, but feedback has been very good, so I know my ability to put the woman's pleasure first, mix things up sometimes (nothing too athletic though!) and take things slow sometimes time (when I remember to be patient) makes me good in that area, in a world where most guys are too fast or don't know what they're doing.
  • Thoughtful - Thoughtful tricky, because I go through phases where I forget that lavishing attention on women is critical, but towards friends I'm usually pretty thoughtful and always want to help.
  • Unique - I'm a tall, Australian doctor and, as a person I'm no-where near any stereotype or "cookie-cutter".
  • Good judge of women - I've had only two relationships, but both were wonderful girls and so I seem to pick good ones and should be pretty good at spotting the type of women that I should avoid (those that are high maintenance, superficial, stuck up, negative, etc).
  • Pretty good with the little gestures - Something I'll always try to do is remember the "little to medium" things, such as:
    • Flowers - Although probably should do more often, since are really quite inexpensive in the US!
    • Massages - Should probably take course and should also try and give occasional massage without it leading to anything (very hard to do).
    • Random Notes - Random notes / cards / doorway messages / phone reminders are something I'm pretty good at and get excited about when such ideas spring into my head - pity they don't spring in more often.
    • Gifts - When it comes to birthdays / anniversaries or other special events I'm usually pretty good at coming up with thoughtful gift ideas, and sometimes I'll decide to buy some chocolates or stuffed animal when it's no occasion at all. Probably don't want to do too often that it becomes predictable, but should always be often enough to keep her happy / surprised.

Biggest Fears

Here I get to the more serious, where I have list out some of my biggest fears in life / relationships, and think about how I might overcome these fears and shortcomings.

Never falling madly in love

My fear: As a child I imagined I'd become the type to fall head over heels for any pretty girl who flashed me a smile, but I fear I have become the opposite. The only two girlfriends I've ever had, three and two years respectively, were both smart, funny, beautiful people. I loved both of them very much (still do), but in retrospect I was never "in love" - certainly never to the point where I couldn't imagine life without them and willing to fight for them. My fear is that I've become the type of person who is never "in love" with anyone and my heart is something I detach from whenever I see risk. I always seem to lead with my head and not my heart, and so I'm afraid I will never fall madly in love with anyone, and while that may seem okay right now, I'm scared I'll wake up one day old and alone.

My pathway toward change: The optimist in me believes that I do have capacity for great love, I just haven't met the girl with the right key to trigger that explosion. Step #1 is to keep believing that one day I'll meet someone and "I'll just know", something unexplainable will happen inside me and that woman will become my everything. Step #2 is to realize that this girl may come to me when least expected or least convenient. Should this happen I have to drop my fears and make sure I throw logic aside for once and truly put my heart on my sleeve so that I do give myself that chance to fall madly in love. Any fantasies of meeting the perfect woman, at the perfect time, in the perfect place are not reality - so hopefully I won't worry about the where or how, and I'll be blind to all logistics - I'll just see a person that melts my heart and realize that anyone that melts my heart is rare. At the sight of something rare I have to be able to become truly vulnerable.

Believing I missed out on opportunities

My fear: My first relationship, and the first time I held a girl's hand was age twenty four. I beat myself up about that. I am disappointed that was so shy I didn't get to experience teenage love, and have only been in two relationships. I'm not a superficial man, but even so I can acknowledge that men are sexual creatures and so it's not just about a lack of romance, but about the fact that it can be healthy to play the field for a while (not to excess of course), so that when you finally settle down you don't resent that you missed experiences, just the same as people can resent never having travelled.

My pathway toward change: Fortunately I have realized that, even by my second relationship that it's not about the number of relationships - it's more about the quality and lessons learnt. The quality of my relationship has been very high. There were difficult times, but just the fact I smile at the memory of my ex-girlfriends puts me ahead of so many others that carry awful, awful baggage from volatile relationships. I should take pride in the fact I've been fussy about relationships. In terms of exploring my sexuality, I have to realize it's really mostly hormones talking - as I've heard often the reality never measures up to the fantasies and no-one likes a player. On the other hand, I have a chance now where really shouldn't feel guilty about wanting to "play the field" while I'm in my early thirty's because soon (I hope) I will be settling down and so long as I'm honest and open it can't hurt.

Breaking another girls heart

My fear: Two from two relationships the girl has been much more in love with me than I with them, and I've finally learnt that love imbalance over time causes heartbreak. In many ways it was selfish of me to want such relationships to last and to convince myself that I might "catch up". I don't know what real heartbreak is like but my fear is that, despite good intentions, I could devastate other girls if I don't learn from my mistakes.

My pathway toward change: In reality I should know just in a few months - or even two months - what the balance of love is like. If a girl is head over heels for me (even if she denies it) and I don't feel the same way then I must recognize that as "do or die" time. My major decision here is to realize that I must avoid at all costs being involved in an out-of balance relationship, and even though it might seem tough I need to know that ending it is doing the right thing. No matter how honest you are with a girl about long term intentions, the act of remaining together gives her hope if she is in love. I have to imagine I am the girl and that yes, I'd prefer a small amount of heartache now, versus a destroyed heart over a year down the road.

Being like my father

My fear: I'm very different from my father in my treatment of women - I'm honest, caring and have high ethics with relationships - I will always fear that, like my father, I lack a real conscience and that mine is artificial. I was raised well in that I know wrong from right and like to comfort people when upset, but for years now I have felt more likely to cry in a sad movie, song or while writing about something sad than to cry in my actual life when I see people around me upset. I tend not to miss people hugely, nor become hugely attached to anyone. It worries that I might be more likely to cry at the death of a character on televisions versus someone I actually know close to me, although touch wood this has never happened. When I was about twelve my parents divorced and my mother cried every day. I saw the effect it had on mum, but one day I just stopped crying with her, because it was too painful. Sometimes I worry that was a time I just detached and around that time my mother made the mistake of comparing me to dad whenever I did something wrong.

My pathway toward change: Step #1 is reminding myself I am my own person: I may share genetics, but I am and have evolved differently from my dad, and my mother too. I am very unique, but my dad's flaws are different to mine. I should also recognize all the great things about my dad, and it's these things - wanting to help strangers, being friendly, caring for the environment and a similar sense of humor and silliness - that I choose to inherit. For all the bad stuff from both parents I chose to be different. Step #2 is realizing that my conscious is real - all my emotions, feeling passionate about certain issues and wanting to help friends come from a real place. Sure I tend to be more logical and cry less than others, but my caring isn't just because I know it's good and right, it's because my heart is trying to shine through. Last but not least, step #3 is learning just how powerful suggestion can be, and knowing that when (and I hope I do) marry and have kids one day, I learn never to suggest to them anything negative, like the possibility that they have inherited my bad flaws - I should only remind them of the positive, their capacity for love and let them decide themselves who they are as humans.

Too much focus on work / projects

My fear: I've always *appeared* to be very project oriented, to the point there I am obsessive. I have, however, never been obsessive over the women I've dated - instead I focus so much on my current project they complain I'm not giving enough attention. Perhaps one day I'll meet a woman who doesn't mind, but even if this happens my fear is that I'll pay more attention to my projects than to the girl, and that will, inevitably cause our relationship to suffer.

My pathway toward change: My first step is realizing I've only had two relationships, so I shouldn't fear that this will always happen. I am in a stage in life where I want to be successful in work, but priorities change over time, and one day I may want to shift that focus to a loving wife and raising a family. My more immediate step however, is making sure that I do shift myself to someone that realizes that keeping a person you care about happy is the most important project there is. If tomorrow I somehow changed the world it means nothing without someone to share it with. I don't need to change the world with a great project; but one day I do want to change one girls life forever and make her complete. Always I should aim to make the people in my life happy by reminding them how wonderful they are - making sure I take time to smell the flowers.

A List of Good Stuff

To finish on a good note here's a list of things my last girlfriend wrote about me shortly after our breakup. I'm hoping we can remain friends as I did with my friend girlfriend... but I also can see how not everyone has the ability to stay friends with their ex! Unless the reason for breaking up was 100% mutual it's tricky at the best of times.

  • I love how goofy you are and playful! You enjoy life, have fun with things, and don't care what people think. That is one of the most attractive characteristics that you have and that anyone could have!
  • I love that you are so smart and love your work. You don't always love your specific job, but you love what you do and are passionate about it!
  • I love that you are so good with money. Sometimes I wished that you would have splurged a little, but you being good with your finances really inspired me to be good with mine. It also shows how responsible and disciplined you are.
  • I love that you always wanted me to smile! Just thinking about you makes me smile! You would do anything just to put a smile on my face and I was stubborn and stupid enough to resist at times and I'm sorry.
  • I love that you watch kids' shows a lot of times! I love that you are a big kid!
  • I love that you want to take care of your sister and are such good friends with your mom.
  • I love that you love obscure dance music and 80's soft pop!
  • I love the way you look at me when you think I look sexy!
  • I love the way you can't keep your hands off of me!
  • I love that you are not vein or superficial, but down to earth and like a more simple life.
  • I love that you can never lie!
  • I love the way you talk and the weird words you say :-)
  • I love that you can eat so much! And that you don't care that I eat a lot and don't tell me to watch my weight.
  • I love that you are a cautious driver, even if I'm impatient.
  • I love that you are so patient with me!
  • I love that you let the little things go, I hope to be more like that!
  • I love the way you look and the way that you smell.
  • I love that you think of others and make it a point to keep in touch with people.
  • I love that you can be so passionate with me and also so gentle and comforting.
  • I love the way you hold me and I feel like nothing else in the world matters and all my troubles go away!
  • I love that you know everything about me and I know everything about you!
  • I love that you never judge me but only want me to be happy!
  • I love the way you make me feel... both emotional and physically ;-) man it feels good!!
  • I love at least a billion other things about you, but will stop here because I'm sure your head is going to get to big to fit in your room if I don't! :-)