Just received a phone call from a friend on the verge of tears. This friend is so beautiful, talented, smart, career-driven and talented, but when a man is concerned, she gets a big fat “F” for failure. The guy cheats on her with other women, he lies to her, and generally treats her badly. It’s painful to see them in public—I find myself wincing at every turn. The guy is downright abusive. She knows this, and yet she still stays.
Another friend of ours, also gorgeous, uber-smart, and an all-around good soul, always chooses to date men who strings her along. By the time she gives the “man of the moment” the ultimatum to either commit or leave, 3-4 years have already passed and he ends up leaving.
What an unhealthy way of thinking! Generally, woman who stays with abusive man or choose man that are not good for her do so because she may be afraid to commit, and admittedly, it makes sense—“I’m going to pick a loser so I won’t have to make a decision about leaving because he’s the jerk”. Another reason behind this pattern of behavior is the want to “fix” him. Perhaps it’s a projection of a bad parent who was awful to her and this is her way of “fixing” that part of her life.
“Repeat offenders” of this nature shouldn’t date for at least a year or two, maybe even three, after such a relationship. Why?
Because even though she knows she should not go back to that particular kind of man, or that she needs a dating break, she is compelled to go back to a relationship of that nature because her impulses are unhealthy, even if her thoughts are healthy (e.g., “I can’t date this type of man”, “I shouldn’t be dating right now, I should focus on myself”, etc.)
If this is your case, you have to make a conscious decision to listen to your thoughts rather than your impulses. Those impulses are not healthy. The emotions tied to those impulses are distorted when it comes to love, but your rational mind is still there. If you don’t listen to that, then your romantic life will always be in trouble.
Of course, I understand that it’s easier said than done. You can’t simply will those emotions to go away. So what do you do with those feelings?
How about taking up a hobby? Hiking, biking, painting, sculpting? You may find a talent that you didn’t know you had. Go learn a language. I am talking very seriously. Change your life in some dramatic way with sports or arts. Better yet, volunteer. Get involved and invested in being creative in some very positive way. Make friendships that are healthy, say no to dating for a while. Don’t waste your life while you are waiting for your emotions to mature.
When will you know your emotions are mature? When you are no longer attracted to jerks and you’re able to speak up for yourself. You’ll know when that time comes. But unless you exercise your life by adding healthy activities and quality friendships, your emotions won’t mature.
Everyone expects things to happen without work, always asking, “how long it will take?” Well, it will take however long it needs to. Meanwhile, your life will have a lot of quality in it as opposed to you feeling sad or anxious after you get another jerk to replace the one you just left and continuing the cycle.
Yearn for something of quality, yearn to create something—don’t be one of those people whose lives have been spinning around, getting bad or broken men to be good to you, while you’re trying to remedy your childhood. If you need professional counseling, go ahead. I personally think that meditation will do a better job (and it will cost you a whole lot less).
Don’t let your life be all about yesteryear. Now it has to be about something creative.