where are they?
Jennifer has done it again …. she’s got me thinking again …. real issues, truth & exchange of ideas without a picture of a cat or boobs may be illegal on the www … I’ve been mulling it over for a while since I mostly hate comment windows. But I think now that I’ve had my OJ & bacon and my brain is awake I will offer my $.02 [pause for applause]
Let me first state that having recently ended a 6+ year ‘on again/off again’ relationship may give me a somewhat unorthodox viewpoint. Then again, maybe not. However, having a relationship end due to sudden death reinforces my distaste for wasting time. Life [time] is too short, and by extension, too valuable to throw away.
My knee jerk response to Jennifer’s question, ‘Where have all the good men gone?‘ is, ‘Right here!‘. However being somewhat self aware, I’d have to admit this would not be true or accurate. There’s a song about ‘as good as I once was’. I’m sure you’ve all heard it. The truth is that as good as I might have been once, I’ve been re-trained to be something else, something less imo.
Let us take a moment and define the term relationship. For the purposes of this post, let us say a relationship is:
the joining of 2 (or more) separate people in the common purpose of building, sharing & enjoying a single, combined life together for a period of time.
I say building because it takes effort and work, sharing because you can’t do it alone and enjoying is a large enough non-specific umbrella term that no one should feel locked into anything stereotypical. mmmkay?
Now, many moons ago I was a Nice Guy. I believed in the fairy tale. I could listen AND care. I had patience. I went shopping at the mall. My shoulders got cried on. I gave hugs & massages. I opened doors. I could make eye contact. I cleaned up blood and tears and drove ‘just friends’ to the ER. While this did give me a lot of exposure to the things that women think, talk & worry about, I still went home alone. I knew what I wanted. I refused to settle for less.
Gradually however, Loneliness came to exceed Patience and I grew tired of the endless search. Single girls became single women and single women have lives. As more and more calendars go in the trash, those lives become more complete and less receptive to change. Over time, constant exposure to the evil nemesis of quality relationships has contaminated the Nice Guy I used to be. This evil force I refer to is none other than the ‘woman with the complete life’. This woman that has everything she needs and is happy with her life but just wants a man, this is the bane of all Nice Guys.
If you look at it logically for a moment it becomes clear. If your life is complete where are you going to put a man? Men have stuff, men have baggage, men have socks & beer & guns & dogs & bacon.
If your house is full, compromise is essential because his house is probably full too. (skipping over the idea of which house to live in for the moment). This is just the material stuff, but it applies to the emotional stuff as well. Once your lives come into contact they change. They change because they are in part integrated into the new life and in part left behind. Once you decide to move forward together and combine them you are going to have to communicate, compromise, and commit. Failure only leads to misunderstanding, pain, anger, resentment and more baggage for the next relationship.
The Complete Life Woman (CLW), will not want to move out of her home. The CLW will not want to make room in her home for a life partner that walks upright. She wants to get up at the same time, shower at the same time, leave for work at the same time and will expect you to work around it. The CLW does not make adjustments to accommodate a mere man. She doesn’t NEED a man and will often state the fact. She WANTS a man and can’t understand why men don’t stay around. She only wants to add a man to her life, just the man, nothing else. She doesn’t want to be a part of a different life. She’s worked hard to get where she is, build a life and will fight to keep it; she will resent, violently, rabidly, viciously any attempt to change that life.
If you have a complete happy life now and you’re single, you don’t need a man, you need batteries.
I have spent years trying to compromise with CLWs, waiting for the promised changes to manifest. (They will lie because they hate buying batteries.) I have wasted years; learn from my experience. You can not..repeat..can not force a CLW to change anything. In order to have a lasting meaningful relationship she must leave the CLW lifestyle behind. This decision is voluntary, it comes from within, and no amount of advice or logic will speed the process. Dating a CLW is possible but while this can be satisfying short term, it is basically only reinforcing their resistance to change.
Prolonged exposure to a CLW will make you adversarial, erode your ability to trust, reduce your tolerance, and frustrate the living hell out of you. You will need therapy. You will no longer be a Nice Guy. That being said, they are also habit forming and it can be difficult to stop being an enabler, force yourself to cut your losses and move on with the search. A CLW is much like a carrot on a stick, you can see it but always somehow the thing you want is just out of reach.
If you commit to a relationship, that includes setting aside the old life. It means saying good bye to that phase of your life. You said good bye to high school, college and any number of other milestones along the way, you can do it. It is a major undertaking and will require just as much or more planning and changing. Aspects of the single life will carry over and deciding what to keep from previous phases of your life is part of the compromise. Working as a team to make these choices and move forward is the beginning of the new life and brings you closer together. Failing to communicate and compromise will lead to resentment and contaminate everything you accomplish.
Be honest. Listen. Do not ignore things or set anything aside to be addressed later. Be up front about where you want the new Team Life to go. Do not smile and nod and avoid confrontation, because once you add history to the issue it will become harder to address and resolve. All the major topics should be addressed. Don’t quit with ‘do you want kids?’ Talk in depth about rearing, discipline & education. Having 2 careers and a desire to homeschool is a big deal and you just might need more than 8.5 months to figure it out. Communicate about religion, career progression, diet, insurance, politics, hobbies, finances, family and all your priorities. Yes people change and yes no plan survives first contact intact, but the desires & philosophies can be addressed. No one wants to discover a deal breaker after 5 years of marriage. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone that won’t eat bacon or wants you to go to church on SuperBowl Sunday?
I tend to trust people and it is (apparently) easy to lie to me. Four major relationships in a row I have begun with ‘This is who I am and this is where I’m going‘ conversations. Each time I’ve had to deal with lies and hidden agendas at some point, usually at the end, and after lost time and effort.
I miss the nice guy & I don’t want to settle, but time’s a wasting.
BTW, Energizer makes the best batteries.