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.

Occupational hazards

When you think of all the things that look good on a man, a career is definitely one of them.  However, there is a category of man who makes his work the focus of his life.  He’s the workaholic.

Pulling down a steady paycheck is obviously a bonus.  However, having a man who is so into his work that he doesn’t have any time left for the actual relationship is not so good.  While some workaholics are wrapped up in building their career, some are simply not ready to settle down so they hide behind their job.  Of course there is always the career workaholic who genuinely loves his job and can’t imagine what the problem with that is.

So first you must determine what type of workaholic you’re dealing with:

  • If he’s not ready to settle down, the timing may be off.  You will have to determine for yourself if you want to stick around, although honestly, you will need to weigh your priorities versus what you know about him to make the best decision for yourself.
  • If he’s a career workaholic then you will need to set down some ground rules about technical gadgets (we’ve all been on a date with the guy who was on his smartphone throughout dinner) and how much time he’ll need to carve out of his schedule to maintain your relationship.

It all balances out in the end, after all, it’s better to have a man who loves his job and makes time for you than to have a man who has all the time in the world to share his misery with you.

Not quite a manchild, not quite a man

There are men in life that we may incorrectly identify as a manchild.  In fact, they aren’t immature, they’re simply bewildered by life.  Not only do they not have it together, they’re perpetually in danger of it all coming apart at the seams.

These men go in fits and spurts but they always cycle.  They have a great idea, pursue it for a few weeks, and then give up when it gets too tough.  The big problem is that they honestly don’t know what they want out of life.  They’re still experimenting, trying to figure it all out.

While helping them may seem exciting at times, it can get downright tiring as you feel as though you’re constantly picking up the ball and running with it only to find him slowing down or even dragging his feet.  The trick?  Don’t pick up the ball.  If he has a direction he wants to go in life, be supportive but let him lead.  It’s his life and he, not you, needs to be in control of it.

Coping with the manchild

Perhaps you didn’t see (or didn’t want to see) the warning signs.  Or maybe you’re too far into a relationship with one to turn back now.  In any case, your significant other is a manchild and now you have to figure out how to cope.

He’s already quite aware of his state and therefore has no desire to change.  So anything that comes off as an attempt to parent your manchild will blow up in your face.  Attempting to control his behavior through threats or manipulation will work on occasion but they will also cause your frustration to grow.

If he’s willing, suggest some form of counseling.  A third party will be able to communicate with him without the emotional load the words would have coming from you.  A neutral observer will listen to both sides and may be able to negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement (i.e., if he refuses to clean, you shouldn’t feel obligated to carry his chores as well – a maid might be a better answer for the harmony of the relationship).  Document the arrangement so there are no questions about who does what later.

If he’s unwilling to compromise, you may find yourself in the position of sucking it up and soldiering through.  Pick your battles and let the rest go like water off a duck’s back.  Of course this “solution” will include arguments when you tire of being the bigger person.  At some point both of you will need to analyze how much you truly want this relationship and how hard you are willing to work to maintain it.

I ain’t yer momma

Some men just refuse to grow up.  For whatever reason, they are children inhabiting the bodies of fully grown men.  It could be that their mother took care of their every need thinking they’d find a woman to do the same.  Or it could be that they think if they do not grow up they will not have to fulfill the responsibilities of being an adult.  Or it simply could be that they simply don’t understand what they’re doing is wrong.

You may not recognize a manchild when you first see one.  You may find his boyishness charming or even freeing from the weight of your responsibilities.  He may be an adult in some ways and a child in others.  He may appear to have it all together on the surface but his shortcomings become apparent with time and knowledge.

Now, every relationship comes with compromises but you have to ask yourself, can you live with him exactly as he is?  If he never grows up, takes full responsibility for his actions (or inactions), or fixes what you deem to be flaws – can you fully commit to him as he is?  If not, you need to recognize him for what he is and not waste your time.

There is no point in having a relationship where you are half-in and half-out.  This is a recipe for frustration and unhappiness.  Rip the band-aid off quickly and move on.