Dithering idiots

Okay ladies, this is going to sting.

So we’ve all been in that somewhat ambivalent relationship where we don’t know where the guy’s head is at.  He’ll tell you that he’s not ready to commit yet but you can’t see a really good reason (really good reasons include a family medical emergency, finishing school, etc.).  Let me break it down for you – he might be ready to commit but not to you.

If the right girl came along, he’d commit in a nanosecond.  However, you’re not that girl and under no circumstances will I advocate attempting to change yourself into *that girl* just to make him happy.  This isn’t about you though.  In all likelihood, you’ve done nothing wrong; you’re simply convenient for the moment, however long that moment lasts.

How do you differentiate the dithering idiot from the manchild?  The manchild refuses to grow up.  The dithering idiot is a already an adult who handles his responsibilities.  The manchild doesn’t realize the relationship has no future; the dithering idiot is fully aware that you’ll never be anything more than his ‘girlfriend.’

If you find yourself in this situation, recognize it, extricate yourself, and move on.  Don’t blame yourself for anything more than allowing him to waste your time, and go find a guy who deserves you.

Addicted…to love?

Some men are addicts although their drug of choice does not come in pill form, they’re addicted to love.  Or rather, they’re addicted to the first blush of love – the crush.  A crush brings a rush of hormones that create that heady feeling, where you’re swimming through a pool of euphoria, skipping from one high to the next.  I mean, when you put it like that, who wouldn’t want to live with that feeling all the time.

Except for the fact that it’s just a crush.  It’s not real love, it’s a chemical reaction in your body to convince you to breed.  It’s easy to get and almost impossible to sustain.  Like addiction, you want that constant high but a long-term, stable relationship rarely delivers that fix.

So a man who is addicted to crushes will constantly go out in search of them, even if he’s already in a stable relationship.  He’s chasing that high and that means that his full attention is not on  you.  Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to solve this for him.  It’s a bottomless pit that he’s going to have to learn how to fill up, patch over, or build a bridge – all on his own or with the help of a therapist.

If you can see this guy coming, avoid him.  If you’re already involved, get him help or you’ll forever play second fiddle.

The monkey on his back

I think most of us, if presented with the situation at the beginning of a relationship, would run a mile from being involved with an addict.  However, addiction can present itself even in a long term relationship and your decisions are a bit more complicated at that point.

In case you don’t know the downside of being involved with an addict, it involves feeling as though you’re slowly losing your mind because your possessions keep disappearing, feeling alienated from your partner as their priorities shift from your relationship to their addiction, and feeling despair as you feel increasing isolated and stressed out as you attempt to keep your life together while not letting anyone know what’s going on.  Suffice it to say, it isn’t pretty.

If you find that your significant other is an addict, you must insist that they get help.  While it is true that an addict will not maintain long-term sobriety based on someone else’s desires, you can not remain in a relationship where the addiction, not you, is the top priority.  If they refuse to get help (and real help, not just a promise to stay away from it) you need to consider your options, both financially (you may wish to separate assets) and in the relationship.  You will also need to get help for yourself – a counselor to talk to, a legal adviser, and a strong support system to help you through the worst of it.

Choosing to commit

So once you’ve decided if you’re in or out, then you need to choose to commit.  In choosing to commit you are choosing to look past the small issues that could derail your relationship and you are choosing to concentrate on the bigger picture.

No relationship is perfect.  (If it is, you may want to ask yourself if you’re interacting with an authentic person.)  In every relationship you will need to make choices – choices in what you do and what you do not do.  When faced with a “crisis”, take a moment and ask yourself how you can best handle the situation.  You can choose how you react.  You can choose to focus on the whole, not the parts.

When you choose to commit, you are choosing the other person with all their flaws.  Do not attempt to “fix” them beyond recognition, after all, you were attracted to them as they were to begin with.  You are choosing to live with their imperfections and they are choosing to live with yours.  Like many things in life, it’s a trade-off.

Keep in the forefront of your mind that committing is a choice.  You should not make the decision lightly but you should do it with your whole heart and mind.  Neither you nor your partner deserve anything less.

In or out

There comes a point in every relationship, perhaps more than once, when you have to decide if you’re in or you’re out.  It’s a simple decision but it can take a while to come to terms with the ramifications.

The moment may come on suddenly or it may be a slow burn.  It may be a sharp strike or a dull ache.  It may be one striking issue or a combination of smaller ones.  When the moment arrives, you may find yourself having to talk yourself off the ledge.

You need to ask yourself one question – are you in? or are you out?  The answer to this question will dictate the rest of your relationship.  It’s your moment of commitment, when you ask yourself if you can overcome the obstacle that has been placed in your path and dedicate yourself to your relationship.  You will need to decide if what you want is what you have.

If you are out, wrap up your relationship as peacefully and quickly as you can and allow the other person to get on with their life.  However, if you are in, be in.  Resolve the issue(s) with your partner and commit to being in the relationship.

Direct from my desk – week 33

I’m always amazed at the people who think that a relationship should run itself.  To me, that’s akin to saying that our only responsibility to our (future) children is to birth them out and after that, they’re on their own.

There are people who will break up with their partner when it’s no longer fun or when things start getting tough.  You probably have a friend with a story of how, when the chips were down, their partner cut and run.  While it may not seem like it at the time, the partner leaving was a blessing.  Who wants to be involved with someone who is only kind-of committed?

Relationships require work.  They’re sometimes uncomfortable.  Most of the time, a relationship requires your best efforts.  Only a tiny amount of the time, you can be on cruise control.  That’s part of the beauty of a relationship – it’s not perfect and it’s always evolving.  You are challenged to adapt and to better yourself through that adaptation.  There is a certain nobility in a long-standing relationship.  It is a manifestation of character.

“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold.  They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”  ~Barbara Bloom

My mailbox is open:  girldontbestupid@gmail.com

Direct from my desk – week 27

This past week must have seemed a bit like Break-up Week on the Discovery Channel which must have seemed a bit strange on a relationship blog.  However, breaking up is an important part of the relationship process.  We would feel incredibly lucky if the first pair of jeans we took into a dressing room fit perfectly on us forever but somehow we expect that of our relationships.

As you grow and change throughout this life, you will need someone who will be able to grow and change with you.  When you’re picking someone for a relationship, consider how you’re going to feel about them in 5, 10, 25 years.  They might be fabulous for you right now but are they going to evolve in the same direction as you do?  If not, are they going to be comfortable with the changes you experience and are you going to be comfortable with them potentially staying the same.  Alternately, you may meet someone that you could see settling down and raising kids with but you’re just not there yet.

You can learn something from every relationship you have, even if it’s what you don’t want.  Learning to break up the right way not only allows you to gain insight as to why a relationship didn’t work (and what you might need to work on), it can allow you to re-enter the life of that not-right-now guy at a later date.  Breaking up can only refine you, don’t dread it.  When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

My mailbox is open:  girldontbestupid@gmail.com