I don't usually write about my life in real time, because the difference between a blog post than reads like a diary entry and a blog post that someone would want to read is usually just time passing.

So time passing means that even though I get a ton of comments, I do not usually run my life based on the comments section. But in the last week I have been particularly lost, and particularly inundated by timely comments. On top of that, I know it seems like I can tell anyone anything, but I'm not actually like that. I don't understand the normal give and take of conversation.

I don't have friends, which is typical for someone with Asperger's Syndrome. I mean, I have friends, but it's not normal. Like, I know some people call their friends a lot. My two best friends are not in Madison, and I call them to say hi once every three months. At most. The second best friend doesn't even know she's my second-best friends. She'd probably be horrified to hear it. I'm probably her twentieth best friend.

(I am the type who has a significant other and they are my friend. I am a person who should be married. I like being married because I want a friend and that's really the only way I know how to do it.)

So I didn't tell anyone I was getting married. I wrote it on my blog. And friends who follow the blog wrote to me to congratulate me.

Ryan Paugh—who is my harbinger for good social skills and also my universal example of someone who I like and is nice to me but I don't know if he is a friend or not—called me the day I blogged about getting married. He said congratulations. He told me I should have told people at work. He told me it's weird that he heard about my engagement from the two people in his life who follow my blog closest: his girlfriend and his mom.

I told him I didn't know how to tell people. I feel too weird telling people stuff about me because I think, why would they care? It's so different on a blog. If you don't care, you can just type in a new URL. But if I'm standing in front of you and you don't care, I won't even know. Like many people with Asperger’s, I don't know how to tell.

So I have told only one person in the non-blog world that the farmer called off the engagement. Which means I'm definitely short on feedback. But, one of my strengths is asking questions and getting feedback.

So, I bridged the feedback gap by running my life based on the comments section. Here's how I did it

1. I paid close attention to why some people completely missed the boat.
There were a few comments that were very harsh, against me, and they were that way because the people didn't have the whole story. I considered deleting some of those comments. Then I wrote a response instead. Then I deleted the comments and the response. I never delete comments like that. But in this case, the process helped me to understand that I did not have the story straight in my head. Here's the missing part (from my missing response to the missing comments):

The farmer’s lawyer recommended that the farmer threaten to leave the farm in order to get an irrevocable inheritance. I wanted to stay at the farm he has now, and not leave.

And, I suggested that things would be easier if the farmer worked for cash, as he had been doing, and not worry about the land. And the farmer and the lawyer said no. It had to be the land.

So the farmer told me that I need to explain to his parents why I will have no security if they can revoke his inheritance at any time. Because with that arrangement, my behavior is always being tested. The farmer told me that if they still didn’t want to give him an irrevocable inheritance, then he’d leave with me.

I told them that, but, in the conversation it became clear, as the farmer distanced himself from me, that he wouldn’t leave. But I had already given the ultimatium.

2. I read the comments from farm families and gave them extra weight.
Some of those comments explained to me why farmers never leave their land. I didn't know this, because the farmer was telling me he could leave. I see why he was hoping he could leave, and I see now why he can't.

There were lots of people who told me that the family was insane and that the guy should always choose me before the farm but I decided that if you want to live on a farm, you have to live by those values, so I should go with what the farm family comments told me.

3. I gave special weight to people who said things I hadn't thought of.
Especially when I could tell that I was acting out of fear. People wrote that I was assuming the worst, which is true. And I don't want to be that kind of person. And people wrote that I've always been a risk taker, so I should take a risk.

This seemed true. I felt like I had been acting out of fear. And I didn't want that.

So I told the farmer that I'd move to the farm under whatever circumstances he wanted.

But, as you can imagine, it was too late. He didn't want to talk about it.

4. I paid attention to the comments about systems.
This comment, in particular, made me think about how people in relationships feed off each other. You want it to be that each person makes the other better. The farmer and I had that. But we had the other way, too.

I got scared and gave him ultimatums. He got scared and dumped me. And then we both got more scared and did the cycle again. Until, in the end, everything was based in fear.

So this is what I learned in the comments section: I need to not be so fearful. I think there are a lot of ways to do this. There are many ways to understand fear.

But that's not what I'm writing about here. What I'm writing about is how to take advice, and how to know what advice is good advice.

If you're lucky, you get tons of advice in your life. And if you're normal, only a small percentage of it is good. The key is to be able to tune out what's not right and to act on what is right, and take responsibility for fixing the roadblocks to doing better next time.

You know this. We all know this. But, like all things that are hard to do, if one more person is reminding you to do it, you're more likely to get it done.

And P.S. Thank you for all the great comments!

114 replies
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  1. CTannStarr
    CTannStarr says:

    Penelope, you are amazing and you have a lot more friends than you realize. Your inability to believe that makes you endearing…

    My 7 year old is Autistic and my 3 year old suffers from PDD-NOS. They are clueless in common sense but brilliant visually (with music, with art) and obsess over computers. Gifted and quirky, they measure their affections on a completely different level than most folk, so I do get what you are saying and understand how complicated making the right decision is for you.

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

    Your commentary has gone through “the three stages” of Authur’s theoretical: (1) proponents and opponents have opined on what they feel is ridiculous, (2) your hard core career advice fans hint at their opposition to the turn of blogging events and miss your career advice and (3) the circular arguments for what is “self-evident” are based upon fallacies.

    Here is my anal retentive para-military point of view: When you are in an emotional hell you do not stop to wallow in the middle of that journey. You have to keep working your way through it because it is the only way to get to the other side and discover what the answer is. We know our answers because we went through it and speak from hindsight, however, our hindsight may hinder you just as much as help you because we all color our thoughts based upon our experiences and what we know to be true from our point of view.

    When you love someone you fight to protect what is important to you. You are going to have to make decisions based upon what YOU know about YOUR farmer. No one in this forum knows that man like you do. I love your blog and am going back to lurking silently like I usually do with this final word of advice: GO GET HIM if you still want him because you will feel like hell no matter what. Why? Because you still love him… From what I know, you two still have a chance… TAKE THE CHANCE.

    We are rooting for you and we care. You have more friends than you think… :-)

  2. Anne
    Anne says:

    Penelope,

    Husband left the room. From someone who followed the more advised path from friends, listen to your heart. I am going on three years without a very important relationship and I am still miserable. Time has not made things easier. I did the more socially acceptable thing and regret it. It was messy and there were too many obstacle so I thought.

  3. Dale
    Dale says:

    Penny,
    Emotion will always be there – positive or negative. You know this and write about it often. You have come to terms with yours and have been a success because of it. I want you to ask yourself why this situation any different?

    I suffer from depression and anxiety. Some times are worse than others. I know this. I make sure to talk to my wife (my best friend) when things get bad, and I need to make a decision. You should do the same. Have a personal board of advisors (who love you without vested interests, and who know you well). They can help when things get bad. You sought of have this already, so just formalize it in you head. Following a system when times get bad is easier once its predetermined, but you already know this don’t you:)
    Mytwocentsworth

  4. Alisa Bowman
    Alisa Bowman says:

    Penelope–I wish I could hug you, even though that gesture would probably make you uncomfortable. But you really deserve some nice warm comfort. A mother’s lap. Some hot soup. A shit load of chocolate. A good vibrator. Something.

    Like you, I suck at the friendship thing, and that’s mostly because I suck at talking, especially on the phone–which is how most non internet people seem to communicate. When my marriage almost ended, I realized that I had no one to lean on–no true friends who I felt comfortable calling and saying, “I’m really in a hot mess here. I need a fiend.” That bothered me.

    So I thought about the people in my life and about who I would most like to be in my closest friendship circle. I told these people that I would like to be their friends–but that I sucked at things like wishing my friends happy birthdays and giving holiday gifts and other things like that. I set up standing appointments with a few of them–a once a year visit to a friend who lives in a different state, a once weekly night out with another friend, and a once a month breakfast meeting with a third. Because they were “meetings,” these appointments didn’t feel so social to me. And honestly, these people know that I’m a dork. They don’t care that I don’t talk that much. They love me just the way I am.

    Find some friends who can be there for you–in the way you need them to be there. The ones who know that you don’t like to be hugged–so they won’t hug you. The ones who know that you don’t like to talk on the phone–so they don’t call you and ask why you haven’t called.

    These people exist. They really do. And you are a great, wonderful human being–someone who people are attracted to. Feel your power. Own it. Love yourself.

    • Dave C.
      Dave C. says:

      @Alisa Bowman: Apologies upfront Alisa, I don’t normally comment about minor spelling errors, but I got a chuckle out of yours, when you said you needed somebody you could call and say “I’m really in a hot mess here. I need a FIEND.” I’m sure there are many relationships where having a fiend on call would be helpful! ;)

  5. Katie
    Katie says:

    I love your blog because you’re original, strong, insightful and inspirational. I sorry that you’re in pain right now. I just wanted to point out: I know you wanted the farmer, but don’t forget that you also wanted a farm. You can’t have the farmer (and shouldn’t try–life is too short for that much struggle), but why can’t you have a farm? I know you’re not an experienced farmer and you would need help, but (a) you have resources, (b) farm help is not exactly expensive, and (c) so what if it’s not a particularly productive farm? It’ll be yours and your boys’, and it’s what you want.

  6. M
    M says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty in talking about your life and the different problems you face. Your descriptions of what it is like to live with Asperger’s has helped me learn to think more about my interactions with others and to think more about new ways of communication. I know that you are in a difficult time, and can only hope that you are able to come out of it as a happier, more knowledgeable person. Even with love on both sides, sometimes relationships just don’t work.

  7. Beth V.
    Beth V. says:

    The Psychology of Self-Deception.

    We play hide and seek with our own motives. We are so convincing that we can keep even ourselves in the dark about what we're doing, and why.

    Is this honesty?

    Nature loves deception. She weaves camouflage. Encourages disguise. Elaborate games of hide and seek are played out in rain forests, deserts, and suburban backyards for her creatures to secure mates, food, status, and safety. Everything from orchids, to moths, to we humans.

    All of us deceive – big deceptions, little deceptions. Who hasn't exaggerated a resume, or hidden feelings from a friend, boss, or spouse. Then there's the excuse as to why you didn't get that report in on time. Try to live a full day of nothing but the truth. You'd be impossible to your loved ones. Impossible to yourself.

    A scientist on social evolution once wrote, "One of the most important things to realize about systems of animal communication is that they are not systems for the dissemination of the truth." Animal signals convey correct information, misinformation, or both.

    Nature has given we humans an even more clever deceptive capacity – €“ self-deception. We not only hide our truths from others, we are masters at hiding it from ourselves. Scientists consider self-deception an elaboration and improvement in our deceptive abilities. It provides a much needed check on our self-awareness.

    As important as self-awareness is to both our well-being, and getting along with our loved ones, it also has its shadow. Awareness of every single motive, of all the biological/physiological mechanisms and sensory signals bombarding us would paralyze our capacity to act decisively. We'd never do the things we need to survive, to mate, to improve our lot in life.

    It's dog eat dog out there. With every attempt to get ahead, there's a potential rival out there with the intent to get there first, or at least thwart your attempts. Want that job? That mate? Money back on your tax return?

    The scientist again writes, "Self-deception renders the deception being practiced unconscious to the practitioner, thereby hiding from other individuals the subtle signs of self-knowledge that may give away the deception being practiced."

    We play hide and seek with our own motives. Like expert investigators, we'll build a case to support some action – a case that is so convincing that we can keep even ourselves in the dark about what we're doing, and why!

    We spin stories to deceive others and ourselves, so we can bypass conscience and self-awareness; so, we can get what we want comfortably. When was the last story you told where you were the villain, and someone else the hero? How many times in our stories of some misdeed are we the wronged party?

    With many of our motives remaining unconsciousness, we are thus better able to hide deception's signals. In essence, we increase the probabilities of meeting some need without the telltale signals that accompany our sometimes burdensome awareness. We even create entire belief systems with hidden self-serving biases.

    As a scientist writes, "The more skillfully these self-serving components are hidden from both the self and others, the more difficult it will be to counter them."

    Some common forms of self-deception:

    Beneffectance: We all tell our stories as being beneficial and effective. We exaggerate our own role in a beneficial outcome, and minimize our responsibility when things go wrong.

    Exaggeration: repeated tales of humanitarian accomplishments grow in the retelling. Memory can always be counted on to supply the new facts.

    Illusion of consistency: We rewrite past experiences to make them seem consistent with present realities. Consistency gives the illusion that we make very few mistakes. We even add details to memories to alter new information that may be potentially derogatory.

    Perception of relationships: We are altruistic. It's someone else who is selfish.

    Perceptual defense and perceptual vigilance: We see what we wish to see. We eagerly embrace any information that is self-satisfying. And, if it's not? We have built in biases that will make it seem that way.

    The best we can do? Own that we are one of nature's creatures. Be honest, about our wonderfully irritating capacity, to tell stories that deceive ourselves as well as deceiving others.

    The puzzling paradox of self-deception is that it bestows short-term benefits to self by helping us maintain consistency in order to avoid anxiety. But this comes at a great price to ourselves in the long-term, as well as to others – in both the short-term and long-term.

    If history is instructive, the greater an individual's proclivity for self-deception, the more pronounced is that person's capacity to harm others – without even perceiving his or her actions as harmful.

    To speak of complexity and difficulty, however, is not to speak of impossibility. If cognitive psychologists are correct, human beings are capable of "divided attention"; it is possible to gaze into both a full-view mirror and through a full-length window simultaneously. Awareness, attendance to self, and articulation of engagement with the world frees the mind from self-deceptive tendencies.

    Both attentiveness to deception and maintenance of attention become the prime prerequisites of integration.

    We play hide and seek with our own motives. We are so convincing that we can keep even ourselves in the dark about what we're doing, and why.

    Is this honesty?

    Respectfully,
    Beth V.

  8. prklypr
    prklypr says:

    Commenter Cathy hit the nail on the head
    “It should be easy. If it’s hard work there’s something wrong. This might seem simplistic but it’s not when you give it some thought.”
    No relationship should be this hard – whether friend or lover, if it requires so much work as to physically and mentally exhaust you just to keep the relationship afloat, it is NOT a good relationship. Sometimes we are so desperate for something – companionship, love – that working hard seems necessary. But in the end, you are the only one who is working hard. And one-sided relationships rarely work.

  9. MaLo
    MaLo says:

    Both you and the farmer have a strong personality and a loaded background: him: the farm, his family. You: the kids, your blogging carrier. You are adults in your 4th decade. You already tried to create your own version of the ideal family: a couple, one house, some kids. Now that it has been experienced, there might be no need to try again. You can move on to a new model that fits your two lives better. Marriage might not be the option here, or even moving under the same roof. It is imperfect but it might work better than trying to replicate a model that has not been thought for your profile.

    I am sad to see that things are hard for you right now. Good luck with everything.

  10. rainie
    rainie says:

    Penelope, I think what you often mentioned in relation to the farmer was stability. It seems that stability wasn’t as stable as you thought.

    Also, you have friends like I have friends. There’s only a handful but they’re really willing to be there for me if I need them and vice versa. But, we’re not “let’s do lunch” or chat on the phone friends. I learned that it’s okay to have those kinds of friends but those are the only kind I need. Why have extraneous friend activity if you don’t need or want it?

    Again, much love to you. Hang in there.

  11. Scot Phelps
    Scot Phelps says:

    Penepole,
    I had a student do a presentation in class yesterday about his cluttering disorder- he obsessively collects things. But he pays a friend to come over once a month and clean out all the junk he has collected. He can’t stay to see it being thrown out, because it feels like throwing away memories, but feels better when he comes home to a clean home. He knows he has a problem, but has a constructive way of dealing with it. That actually seemed to be the definition of healthy.
    My point is that you have all these different problems, but have structures to help you overcome, and thus, you are pretty healthy too.
    You’re a great writer- clear, emotional, and thoughtful. The fact that you are no good in conversation is just the balance of strengths-and-weaknesses that we all face.
    Like thousands of your readers, I would be baking you cookies right now just to show you that we’re all thinking of you and that we care about you, even if we don’t know you personally. We’d even give the farmer a kick in the shins just on principal.

    Scot

  12. Terry Vermeylen
    Terry Vermeylen says:

    Fear is the cause of every problem. It is the root of all prejudices and the negative emotions of anger, jealousy and possessiveness. The purpose if spiritual evolution is to remove to blockages that cause your fear.

  13. Terry Vermeylen
    Terry Vermeylen says:

    Fear is the cause of every problem. It is the root of all prejudices and the negative emotions of anger, jealousy and possessiveness. The purpose if spiritual evolution is to remove the blockages that cause your fear.

  14. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    P,

    A list:

    1. My husband would give up anything (family, country, job) to be with me, but the difference is that I would do the exact same for him. In fact he didn’t have my commitment until I knew that were were both coming to the table with the same willingness to give. We are from opposite ends of the earth (literally – almost as far apart as we could have been), and our relationship is only possible by knowing that, if the need ever became too great, the other would sacrifice what was needed. I wouldn’t be in his homeland right now if I didn’t know that I could call upon that if I needed to.

    2. Your comments on friends ring so true. My family calls it my ‘persecution complex.’ It manifests as not believing that anyone likes you (in fact – believing that they think you are awkward, weird, annoying, etc.) until the person in question tells you straight to your face (and overly emphatically) that you are friends. I’ve found it’s ‘best’ to get in a big fight where the outcome is to have them say out loud “you’re one of my best friends dammit!” Until then, who knows whether they like you out of duty or need or convenience or whatever? Haha! Weird – yes, dysfunctional – probably :).

    3. Most importantly – if you are going to run your life on the comments, then know this: The comments that hit home will be the ones that you want to hear, not necessarily the ones you need to hear. They are also the ones that you will likely act on. The overwhelming response from everyone on your original “lost” post was that you’d made the right decision and that you are wonderful and need to be strong. You read the few about farming families as justification for the farmer’s actions and used them to back up your choice to go back for more. Your heart is hurting so just remember that you are only going to hear what you want to hear.

    Good luck, and if you need a vacation to the opposite end of the earth, then drop me an email. I’ll be your friend, and I won’t even require you to have a fight with me :).

  15. Alex
    Alex says:

    Dear P,

    This is my first time commenting on your blog.

    Mazal tov!

    I really applaud your transparency. I know am learning from it, and I am grateful.

    As for “The Farmer”, give yourself permission to deserve better than a man who is not ready to “leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife”.

    I’m a man and new better than to marry a woman before I had dealt with the majority of my family-of-origin crap. Not all men are alike, and I don’t think it’s fair of people to paint us all with a broad stroke.

    Anyway: happy Hannukah coming up!

    A

  16. CrazyGirl
    CrazyGirl says:

    So sorry to hear about The Farmer. Do you ever wish you had never started blogging about him–like now you have to feed the hungry masses that is your audience? If you wanted to–and maybe you don’t–do you feel like you could have stopped blogging about him at any point and had little uproar? Just wondering? I’m always debating about whether I should blog about my relationships. I always end up doing it, and then sometimes wishing I could make peoples’ curiosity stop–although I was the person who piqued it in the first place.

  17. Lula
    Lula says:

    I tried to leave a message on an earlier post, but my Internet connection is toying with me in a bad way. What I wanted to say that I am also from a farm family,and I do understand the farming point of view. I thought at first that indeed you were farm-crossed lovers, but something didn’t fit and I worried a bit. What bothered me is that phone call you described, the one where he let you hear the message from his sister. A man who wants to get married doesn’t really do that, I think–a man who wants to get married wouldn’t mention it at all to his intended, but would quietly, lovingly, tell his sister to mind her own business.

    So I wonder if family-politics are much different from office politics. And if with Aspergers you aren’t adept with the office type, maybe you would be more easily blind-sided by the family type? I don’t know, and I’m being presumptous. I know that I do badly myself when people start maneuvering, because manipulative behavior makes me panicky. I’m just one of your readers of course, not even a second-best friend, but still I’m relieved you’re not moving to the farm.

  18. J (the regular)
    J (the regular) says:

    Penelope,
    Hope you are hanging in there okay. You’re stealing other people’s food, so that’s got to be a good sign :-)

    I think Prklypr and Cathy hit the nail on the head, especially with this line:

    “It should be easy. If it’s hard work there’s something wrong. This might seem simplistic but it’s not when you give it some thought.”

    I think a lot of people tell themselves that relationships are hard work to make themselves feel better about the choices they’ve made. Not putting people down for it, I just think it’s a widespread issue that needs to be taken into consideration before jumping onto the ‘all relationships are hard work’ bandwagon.

    I’m not surprised that when you tried to ‘take back’ what you said earlier that the farmer would have none of it. The farmer has lots of great traits but being reasonable or gentle with you is not always one of them. It seems, from an outsider’s perspective, that it is often his way or the highway, hence all of the break-ups.

    I say all of this to say, don’t second guess yourself. You weren’t wrong in asking what you did. He put you in a difficult position. I’m not saying he’s the total bad guy, but whatever you feel and do in the coming days, weeks and months, try to hold on to that- you weren’t wrong.

  19. Dale
    Dale says:

    We’re all lost. Some of us are just more sensitive to that condition than others. Few things in life are really easy, but waivering on a question when you have most of the facts (or all you’re going to get) just makes life harder. This is easy to say but hard to do since I’m a poster child for waivering. But really, pushing the button as opposed to thinking about it is what seems to separate the career success, from the 40+ year old dude/tte with alot of potential.
    As you said (sought of) in several of your articles over the last 10 years, the last time being about 2 years ago, seeking perfection is a flawed life/business model, and you’ll never have perfect information. So I guess you have to do what you know you have to and either enjoy the fruits or endure the grief.
    It’s harder though when it’s personal:(
    Be well.

  20. Kat
    Kat says:

    Holy crap was I sad to find out this news. Was actually in Middelton this past weekend (Mustard Museum) and couldn’t help but think of you.

    You underestimate how brave you are and how often you give your readers courage to battle challenges in their own lives.

    Here come the two shiny pennys: When a man chooses to not put his partner first, it will always cause conflict and resentment to all sides. Loyalty and being a good son can still be accomplished, but setting boundaries and supporting his partner is critical. By not being able to move forward in confidence in his choices, his family made you the issue and I’m sincerely sorry you had to experience that.

    We are all sending you good vibes.

  21. Scott
    Scott says:

    Hey Penelope!

    I was a big fan of yours on Yahoo! Finance (as cubandcat at Yahoo), and I was sorry to see you go.

    I was even more sorry to see how many thoughtless people erupted with vitriol in the Yahoo comments just because you were telling it like it is.

    Of course with the market downturn, I think the commentators have become even more “bitter” to the current experts, so you were probably ahead of the curve in finding a more hospitable forum.

    I hope you are doing OK.

  22. Liza
    Liza says:

    I will tell you this. Your last serious relationship was a marriage. The farmer obviously has commitment issues. You have fear and obsessing over the right decision issues.

    Compare your relationship with the farmer to a lifetime. It isn’t very long. I think that the engagement sounded like a great idea, and someday it might, but you guys are rushing things. Rushing things ruins things. If you really want to work it out then you need to take the time that is needed to grow the relationship. Marriage is not an end result, it is a journey just like everything else. I promise if you took your time and decided to marry in the (far distant) future, your kids will learn from that and be able to use it to good for themselves (i.e. don’t rush into things just because its there).

    For example: I met my now boyfriend 6 years ago. We hit it off immediately, after about month 7 or 8 he told me that we would someday get married (that’s what he wanted to happen). It scared me. 2 months later we broke up. for the next 2.5 years our relationship was a tumultuous, on again, off again, love/hate nightmare. Then I graduated and move near him and we decided to try one last time. Our relationship had developed to where we knew we hadn’t nothing to lose. Right now we live together and are very very happy after 2 years. But that doesn’t mean we are planning a wedding. We both know there are more important in both our lives and as a couple than rushing into something as serious (and crazy) as a marriage.
    But that doesn’t mean that our relationship doesn’t count, is less than a marriage, doesn’t have quality and isn’t committed to being there for each other when we need it.

    I think you and the farmer can succeed just as I have. Just enjoy each other without thinking the next step needs to be taken.

    :)

    As far as his family goes-they’ll adjust, and they’ll see over time that you don’t NEED the farmer (or his money), but that you WANT the farmer. And he WANTS you too.

  23. Jay
    Jay says:

    Happy Birthday, Pen! Wasn’t expecting so much content today. Will have to come back later and read it all. Promise to tell you my favorite “happy-making” post.

    Jay

  24. Triin
    Triin says:

    Something similar happened with my sister too. Her boyfriend’s boss told him to choose between the 2, work or my sister. And the boyfriend chose work. It was year or two ago and I haven’t heard of this boyfriend anymore.
    I can’t imagine myself forcing someone to choose like this.
    Reading your blog made me think again and again about what happened to my sister. Maybe it will make sense one day, but not yet.
    It’s great you are so open about life!

    Happy Birthday!

  25. Socorro Luna
    Socorro Luna says:

    I want to be among your friends list of people to call or talk to. I would encourage you and tell you it is all going to work out. You and the farmer have hard decisions to make, but you love each other and something will work out.

    You are an incredibly brave and wonderful person. Thank you for writing from your heart. There are many of us that are standing with you. Don’t be discouraged. It is going to be OK.

  26. Deborah
    Deborah says:

    Dearest Penelope, May I introduce you to your best friend -it is you. I hope the day comes soon when you understand that you are your own best friend. I am 54 yrs old and after the end of a 21 yr long relationship I am just ‘getting’ this – and loving it! You are brave enough to take this on I know it. And smart enough to see that it is the only way for any of us to live our best life. Warm, warm wishes, Deborah (a lurker but loyal)(I love your writing)

  27. TwistedByKnaves
    TwistedByKnaves says:

    Ha! enough of this soppy stuff.

    I see myself as my own worst enemy.

    I’ll be lying in wait for myself up at the gulch, ready for a good bushwhacking.

    This is disturbingly close to the truth.

  28. Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    “What work will be like for generation z”

    I love this blog post! Not only did it touch on my generation (Y) a lot and hit that nail squarely on the head. But it also made me think about the people I am going to have to work with in the future. This gave me much to think about, about what to expect and how I can adapt myself to the ever-changing workplace.

    Happy Birthday!

  29. alicyn
    alicyn says:

    Penelope, for some reason, certain things you write about yourself remind me of my own self, too. I’m seriously wondering if I either have Asperger’s Syndrome, or we just have a lot in common.

    I think it’s so refreshing that you are so open and honest about your life and who you are. And I think you actually put a positive spin on things that I would normally think of as depressing, like not really having friends. I don’t really have a lot of friends and I don’t know why. Maybe some people are just not “having friends” types. Or they only need 1 friend instead of 20. I guess it’s all about what you need and what you want, and how you look at it.

  30. ms
    ms says:

    I married someone with crazy family problems and it’s not going to work out. Making you explain to his parents anything is for the birds. You can’t fix that, when someone is already an adult and is stuck in a crazy family dynamic. I cannot tell you the pain I am in and have been through because of my husband’s relationship with his family.

  31. Kathmandu
    Kathmandu says:

    Penelope, the extra information you gave this time makes an important difference. I’m going to quote it slightly rearranged to highlight the dynamics:

    I wanted to stay at the farm he has now, and not leave. And, I suggested that things would be easier if the farmer worked for cash, as he had been doing, and not worry about the land.

    And the farmer and the lawyer said no. It had to be the land. The farmer’s lawyer recommended that the farmer threaten to leave the farm in order to get an irrevocable inheritance.

    So the farmer told me that I need to explain to his parents why I will have no security if they can revoke his inheritance at any time. Because with that arrangement, my behavior is always being tested. The farmer told me that if they still didn’t want to give him an irrevocable inheritance, then he’d leave with me.

    I told them that, but in the conversation it became clear, as the farmer distanced himself from me, that he wouldn’t leave.

    He was using you as a proxy. He wanted the land; he depends on it, but his parents won’t give him the security of owning it. He got you to challenge them on his behalf, so he could blame you if the threat didn’t work. And that’s how it happened.

    He preserves his relationship with them, because he can claim wasn’t trying for the land; it was that devil woman from away! When really he was determined to try for the land, even though it didn’t matter to you and you advised him to not worry about it.

    • Cathy
      Cathy says:

      I so agree. Two issues have been (deliberately?) confused here. One is the relationship and the other is ownership of the farm.
      Scenario 1. The farmer works on the farm for cash. You are happy to move to the farm with him while he continues to work for cash. If the relationship fails, you leave, and don’t claim the farm. If the relationship works, then in the long run the inheritance issue will have to be determined, SEPARATE to your relationship.
      Scenario 2. Somehow, the farmer convinces YOU that YOU(!!) have to take up the difficult inheritance issue with the parents. Everything falls apart.
      The big question: Why is the farmer not ok for you to move to the farm while he keeps working for cash and everything else stays the same?
      Why don’t you ask him, P? And let us know…

  32. Major Fleeble
    Major Fleeble says:

    Before the right one comes along, there are only wrong ones. I had a clumsiness that I thought was a symptomatic illness, until I learned about the mystery of near-sighted shoes. The solution made me feel the ground, which made me not clumsy, which made me confident, which propelled me toward the right one just around the corner. If this means nothing, then delete this as not pertinent.

  33. Jonha @Happiness
    Jonha @Happiness says:

    “The key is to be able to tune out what's not right and to act on what is right, and take responsibility for fixing the roadblocks to doing better next time.” There’s always bits and pieces of your post that I really like. I copy them on my notebook. These are not the principles that I live by since I don’t live by quotes. I just like how true they could get in real life. Sometimes I deal with situations by blaming myself. Then I would listen to a ton of advices and you are right about determining which should I listen to.

  34. Happiness
    Happiness says:

    Can anyone define the
    word Happiness? What is Happiness we do not know because every single person
    has its own meaning of happiness. Finding the ways to be happy in life is
    only a way that can make everyone happy in this world.

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