ramble of the moment
It IS armchair psychiatry. I got fed the same thing when my only love left me. It was so painful it nearly killed me. I'm now happily married and that love is like ancient history.

I'm not proud to say this, but I really hate her now. I never thought that would happen.
--AuSkeptic Thu Apr 22 10:49:16 2004
At the outset, I'll state this is drawn from my personal experience, much of which you lived under the same roof through. It is my riff on the parental role and what it has meant to me over the past 10 years.

I don't know of anyone who doesn't put their long-term significant other into the role of parent on occasion. Being in need of a "mother figure" or a "father figure" is simply the enhancement of the role as sexual partner. It is a heightened level of emotional intimacy from which most people shy away. A sexual partner is a reward for being attractive. A conversation partner is a reward for being witty. Casting someone in the supporting role similar to that of a parent is to be open and accepting of that person's criticism and trusting that they are acting in your best interest. Being given the opportunity to act as a parental figure is a reward for being trustworthy. 

However, that position can be abused. When one acts as the parent figure, one provides safe haven so that the other has a time and a place to digest criticism. The criticism can be directly leveled by the parent, or it can be a "correction" provided by experience. If the criticism is not received, or the person receiving is perceived as abusing the safe haven, the person giving will feel misused. If the criticism is too constant, and the safe haven scantly offered, the trust placed is eroded.

There is also an expectation among equals that one will take turns acting as the parent ( guardian / protector / reward provider ) figure. If roles aren't reversed from time to time, the relationship becomes unequal.

Well, that was exhausting to write. I hope that it isn't received as a rebuke, that it doesn't come across as a pithy simplification of a complex situation. It's only what I have learned, rather painfully.

However, I do have a rebuke, a criticism, a comment: this comment box is too small. 6 by 26 is hardly room to edit and proof. It doesn't resize to fit the window. One might think that you were trying to keep comments down to a terse and pithy limit.
--evil bastard Thu Apr 22 11:05:55 2004
I come from the planet "cut-and-pasteia". In combination with our allies from "external-editorean", we have much to teach you!

Just joshing you. Thanks for the comment. Though it doesn't explain the negative sense that the phrase is always used in. 
--Kirk Thu Apr 22 11:51:27 2004
Be yourself. Stay honest about it. Nothing wrong about your for the right person and vice versa. Just get out more to enjoy life so that the opportunity to find and be found becomes a reality. Our friends are friends because they find things attractive about us, they care, feel maternal, paternal and often glad they can feel unhibited and left free of the need to clean-up or cook for us. The idea of crawling into bed with us may intrigue them, and so does keeping us worthy of their ability to care for us. Remember that they grew to like and love us and what those basic reasons were. Some friends what us to grow and evolve with them, some outgrow us, some we outgrow. A parent is a safe harbor, but each can change as much as a friend, which a parent becomes once you both become adults. Again, that relationship can be like that of friends with a bit of basic responsibility guilt or happiness. Be yourself with honesty. You can evolve in being yourself. You don't have to be the "used, second-hand, relationship failure" Kirk to anyone. Life can begin anew each morning. Get up, shave, enjoy that coffee, get out and enjoy yourself and don't worry what others think so much. There is that perfect person out there who will accept you for yourself as long as you do that person. It clicks and screams out to pay attention when the chemistry is right and will you ever LOVE the difference and appreciate the wait (in retrospect). IF you had all the answers now, wouldn't life be boring? Get copies of: Desiderata, Love, Medicine and Miracles, What I Learned In Kindergarden et cetera or borrow my Rennie (Cliff) notes that give you the skinny -- be yourself ..... Rennie
--rennie Thu Apr 22 12:00:55 2004
That "mother figure" bit
can be interpretted in three ways: neutrally, reflecting on the emotional immaturity of the man, and reflecting on the inability of the giver to inhabit that position temporarily without taking up permanent residence. Of whom it is perceived as critical of is a matter of perspective an nuance. The negative connotation is that you do not know how to take care of yourself. The contra-positive is that you did not consider that level of care necessary. As you've pointed out, you have simple needs and when people go out of their way providing you at their need level, you feel awkward, and guilty for not appreciating more. Consider how much Mo did that you thought was over the top, then think about how much of that effort she put in hoping you would notice, appreciate, and eventually contribute.

Thank ghawed that you are dripping Java Beans rather than doing UI, because your excuse doesn't hold water. Go ahead, expend the extra five minutes it would take to make the edit box a resizeable. Yeesh.

--evil bastard Thu Apr 22 12:18:47 2004
Currently the size of the edit box is linked to the size of the comments display, which in turn is narrow, which is thought to increase readability (that's why magazines and newspapers tend to use columns rather than just stretch line across the page) Arguably, I'm not old-schooling the comments box enough, since it opens up in a bit of a presized popup.

I haven't seen many edit boxes on webpages that resize based on the size of the containing window. It would be adding DHTML to a page that is currently old school HTML, which has certain backwards and multiplatform compatability issues. You might be thinking of VB, where that kind of change is trivial.
--Kirk Thu Apr 22 13:14:13 2004
How about a bit of insight to your thinking about the "mother figure"? Discussing HTML seems like a dodge.

--evil bastard Thu Apr 22 14:08:38 2004
Wasn't much to say. Yes I generally prefer less effort being spent on me, no I didn't express enough appreciation. Sometimes I thought a lot of it was just some things she wanted to do as part of her self-proclaimed Ideal Life project, not just to be nice to be.

Also, I think people tend to forget about the responsibilties I did take on to keep household together. Especially in the endgame of her and I.
--Kirk Thu Apr 22 14:25:18 2004
I think there's a handbook out there for women that lists this as a good breakup shot.

In my experience, women seem more keen on playing mother than guys are on being mothered.

I give you credit for laying all your emotional truth out here for the world to see.
--Cole Thu Apr 22 18:28:47 2004
Well, I'm a bit of an emotional exhibitionist.

I do try to be very honest about my strengths and flaws.
--Kirk Thu Apr 22 18:31:51 2004
If you don't see how the charge applies, don't take it on. I think what is hurting you is that some of your mutual friends, according to Mo, believe that you're in need of a mother figure. Is this just the mutual friends giving Mo a sympathetic ear? Does the blaming/naming originate with Mo or the friends - or some kind of 'groupthink'? Does it matter?

It seems like a 'stereotyped' excuse for deeper problems in a relationship - and in the breakup you seem to be faced with most of the blame. You're still looking for why, and this is the bit of bait you've bitten. Maybe it's time to let go, put your expectations aside for a while and see what life brings for you. Bouncing just hurts you and the other person. But it's hard when you're accustomed to having intimacy in your life and suddenly it's gone.
--Wing and prayer Fri Apr 23 04:53:42 2004
And... I hope you take what everyone (including myself) wrote here with a grain of salt. Only you know what you're going through, where you're at.
--Wing and a prayer Fri Apr 23 05:10:33 2004
One of the greatest advices in my life was given when I graduated from high school by my physic/chemistry teacher. It has something to do with marrying late in your life in order to keep it together.

I think you married a little too early, Kirk. There are plenty of reason and faults to look at now, trying to make sense out of the failure in one's marriage. I think Mo's "mother figure" thing is a little whack. Too much Freud in the whole ideas of it. But it depends on how good your mom is under your scrutiny, then maybe I believe her just a very little, little bit.

Hang in there, my man. You're one of the most interesting persons that I have come to read and observe for the past 5 years. You're ok. Don't worry.
--Nick Fri Apr 23 22:29:07 2004
Thanks for that Nick.

(5 years?? Yow! Where did you first see stuff by me?)

You might be right about the marrying early. Or more specifically: a combination of knowing I'm adaptable to a wide range of life situations and also being a little unconfident about new romance in general, I don't evaluate relationships with a critical eye. Most of the time (admittedly it's been a while...) I'm not the one who ended the relationship, and when I did, there was usually some blatantly obvious reason.
--Kirk Sat Apr 24 08:57:03 2004
For the record, that was another Nick.
--Nick B Sat Apr 24 12:36:57 2004

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