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Wouldn’t it be great if people were like computers? Instead of acting on things like "feelings" and "emotions", we’d work off facts and empirical evidence, so that we’d never be fooled by the same racket twice. Sure, no one would be able to cry at chick flicks or sense when something’s wrong when you come home from work, but who cares? The day you emulate your laptop will be the final day you look across the dinner table at your boyfriend and ask yourself, "What the hell am I doing with this guy?"
Regrets? I’ve had a few. And after each bad relationship, I find myself retrospectively scratching my head, wondering how I could have been so blind. Ever ask your friends, "Now that we broke up, what did you really think about him?" Sure, you have. Upon which you learned that everyone unanimously felt he was a jerk since Day 1. What are friends for, if not to lie to you by lending unconditional support?
So if the rest of the world can see that someone is toxic, why do we stay? How do we end up with people who turn others off, but turn us on? I think it’s those damn human feelings getting in the way again. Even a total jerk can be expected to be a nice guy 80% of the time. And that 80% is all the positive reinforcement you need to stick around for too long with the wrong guy. If you were to be an impartial third-party judge of your own life, you might act differently. But it’s a lot harder to leave your own neglectful boyfriend than it is to tell your girlfriend to dump hers.
It’s simple to put labels on a guy to justify why he should be dumped– he’s neglectful, he’s abusive, he’s selfish, he’s gay, blahblahblah. What’s far more interesting is when you find yourself wholly invested in someone who defies any of these "bad" descriptions. In fact, you’re pretty sure you’re dating a good person. He was generous when courting you, he was respectful when he met your parents, and he gets along really well with your friends. You couldn’t have seen his downside when you first got together. But since he lost his job, you’ve discovered he has a really short temper. Plus, he hasn’t been too aggressive in finding work. In fact, he said that he’s contemplating a new career, although he doesn’t know what that will be quite yet.
Revelations like this present a real problem. People fall hard and fast for each other, which is wonderful and normal. No one should begrudge anyone’s puppy love. But as any parent will tell their teens, puppy love is evanescent. True love takes endurance. Which is why there’s no point in beating yourself up about not trusting your judgment. It doesn’t do you any good.
By the same token, I’m not saying that you should always trust your judgment. We’re humans. We make mistakes. However, like lab rats who get shocked when they go for the wrong cheese, we have the capacity to learn from them. And if you’re going out with the same narcissistic guy or the same alcoholic guy or the same emotionally unavailable guy over and over and over gain, THAT’s where you need to beat up on yourself. The one thing you can trust is that you’ve been down this path before and you know how it ends….
Why He Disappeared is the smart, strong, successful woman's guide to understanding men. If you want to learn how men think, and rediscover how to have meaningful relationships - all from a man's point of view - click here to learn Why He Disappeared.
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