The 6 Reasons You Stay With the Wrong Man for Too Long

I don’t know where you’re at in your love life, but if you’re anything like my other clients, you aren’t too thrilled with the state of affairs.

You may be taking a long “guyatus” from dating after one too many disappointments.

You may be dating, and dealing with the ups and downs inherent in the process of looking for love.

You may even be in a relationship, which may or may not have long-term potential.

Staying in a dissatisfying relationship is one of the main reasons why you’re not in a GREAT relationship.

All I know is that people who are feeling great about their relationships rarely reach out to their dating coach.

So it should have been no surprise when I had three different clients last week tell me some version of “I love him. He’s a jerk. I can’t let him go.”

Sigh.

Staying in a dissatisfying relationship is one of the main reasons why you’re not in a GREAT relationship. If you’re sitting around waiting for him to act like a prince, but he pretty much hasn’t acted like one since the first month, it’s time to move along.

This is one of the underlying themes of my Revolutionary Relationships Retreat.

It’s surprisingly simple, and surprisingly deep.

Your man should be the cornerstone upon which you build your life.

If your relationship isn’t making you happy, what’s the point of it?

Revolutionary Relationships are easy, satisfying, and solid. Your man should be the cornerstone upon which you build your life. And if he’s not – if you are always second-guessing yourself, or second-guessing him, I’m guessing that you need an entirely new decision-making architecture to help you choose a good partner.

To that end, I have created a short video series that should let you know if you’re wasting time with the wrong men.

So take a minute and make sure you check out the first 2 of…

The 6 Reasons You Stay With the Wrong Man for Too Long

Enjoy the video. Hope to see you soon…

Join our conversation (32 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Joan

    I so wish I could be apart of your event in San Diego Evan.  I started following you back in 2008 and there is rarely a day that goes by that I’m not reading your blog.  Maybe next time! 
    Your biggest fan 🙂 

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Aw, thanks, Joan. You’ve known me almost as long as my wife has! Too bad you’re not gonna get to meet her – she’s pretty special, and she’s running the event.

    2. 1.2
      Christina

      Yes me too I wish I could join (I’m in Australia by the way) just started getting into Evan’s dating advice through his book ‘Why He Disappeared’ while doing some research into my relationship dilemma and this year 2014 started following his blog. I have great respect for all his words of wisdom he shares with us continuously and very fortunate to have found him online, yes would be nice to actually meet this guy in person and say thanks! 

  2. 2
    Ben Iyyar

    When you write such an unreasonable line like, “If your relationship isn’t making you happy, what’s the point of it?” I wonder what you are thinking.   You would be serving your readers better if you made it plainer that no relationship can only be judged by it’s “happiness” due to the simple fact that every relationship has a fair amount of non happy things that determine the strength of the relationship. Valuable and very helpful things like common interests, religious beliefs, shared cultural values, and yes, children.  If indeed “happiness” is your litmus test for the strength and viability of a relationship, then it is not hard to understand why divorce is so common.  Look, most of us are reasonably “happy” most of the time, yet all of us have our “unhappiness” even with ourselves and our own condition, not to mention someone else’s!  Too many people are “unhappy” with themselves, and have a difficult time making themselves “happy.”  Yet all too often they demand that their partner make them “happy” or that their relationship, made up by the way of imperfect and inconsistent human beings, somehow bring them the “happiness” that they themselves cannot find.  If you want happiness, get a puppy, or a kitty cat.  But if you want a real relationship with a man or a woman, then get ready for ups and downs, misunderstandings, affection with sex, affection without sex, smiles and laughter, and tears and yelling, happiness and sadness, children and their problems, money difficulties, and occasionally the problems that wealth brings, and yes, wealth has it’s own problems.  We bring ourselves to our relationships and none of us are perfect, or even come close, and yet far too many of us expect our partners to somehow be better than we are no matter how unfair and unlikely that is.  Happiness is good, but there is far more to a mature relationship than that!

    1. 2.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Totally missing the point, but that’s cool. A relationship, in an of itself, isn’t a guarantee of happiness, for the aforementioned reasons. Your kid can get sick. You can lose a job. You can go through a rough patch. But fundamentally, your relationship partner should buoy you, be a value-add for you, be a rock for you. And if your partner is a drain, a critic, an abuser, withdrawn, or chronically selfish or unemployed, you BET I would tell any woman of any self-esteem to move on to a man who gives more. And if you think that’s all puppies and rainbows, then keep staying in your unhappy relationship. I will continue to enjoy the one person on the planet who makes me happy ever day.

      1. 2.1.1
        Androgynous

        I think Evan, that you mean a partner has to ADD postively to your already content life. I hestiate to use the word happy life because like Ben observes, no life is completely without its challenges and occassional unhappiness. Like Ben, I agree that no one else is responsible for your own happiness except yourself, but I agree with you that your partner should add to your happiness rather than take away from it. However, you need to be strong and resilient and happy enough within yourself for the possibility that your partner may change or not value you as much as they once did, even if they wanted to.
        This is just a clarification that needs to be made.

      2. 2.1.2
        CC

        Evan, you do a GREAT service to woman telling them to get out of a relationship that hurts them. Never stop doing that. You have helped me get out of emotionally abusive situations that I would have doubted myself on for months and months. And you help women realize that even if they miss the guy, they don’t miss the bad behavior that feeds self doubt and deep sadness. I appreciate your guidelines for what makes a good relationship and what makes a bad one. You are the only dating advisor that plays this point up and supports us in listening to our inner voice, the one that stops making excuses for inconsiderate men, the one that says its better to take a chance on finding someone good than using fear as a guide and staying with men with no social skills or empathy. RIGHT ON!

      3. 2.1.3
        Nicole

        I love your response❤️

      4. 2.1.4
        Cindy

        Great response!

  3. 3
    Henriette

     
    Evan, I watched the first video.  Thank you.  I absolutely agree on the relative unimportance of common interests.  There are plenty of friends & acquaintances with whom I can do my activities.   A romantic partner needs to have other, more difficult-to-find, qualities like kindness, integrity and a desire to be in a long-term relationship with imperfect me.   As for instant chemistry: I’ve never been a fan.  It’s no indication of long-term potential and jams my radar.
     
    Alas, the majority of men seem to want red-hot chemistry on first sight.  And I’d be awfully wealthy if I had a shekel for every guy who says something along the lines of, “if a woman won’t join me on my 15 mile-hikes/ watching football every Sunday/ 5AM meditations, why on earth would I want her as my girlfriend?” 
     
    I know I can’t change men but it’s painful to be a woman sitting on the sidelines, watching men chase chemistry & shared interests and then complain about the poor quality of their relationships. 

    1. 3.1
      Androgynous

      Unfortunately, Heniette, it is a fact of like that men (particularly young men) chase after “chemistry” which is a euphamism for women they find physically attractive. This is not a complaint or saying men should change. That’s the way they are biologically engineered, just as women are biologically engineered to select a best mate possible that she is able to attract. Once that basic requirement of attraction is met, men then screen for thing like kindness and integrity and compatability which narrow the pool of women they sleep with, to the pool of women they date and eventually marry. If a man is not screening for “relationship” qualities like you mentioned, then he is simply not ready or looking for a relationship – just sex. Should men be like this ? Well, the sexual revolution (which women supported by the way) allowed them to have their cake and eat it, just as it allowed women the same.

    2. 3.2
      Joe

      Um, it’s not just men who chase after instant chemistry.

    3. 3.3
      Chance

      Henriette,
       
      I have an untested and unproven theory that goes like this:  I think it’s more difficult for women to weed out the men who are chasing after white hot chemistry than it is for men to do the same.  Why is this?  I think it’s because the traits that make a man attractive to many women are the same traits that cause a man to chase after chemistry.  More specifically, charismatic men who are driven and successful tend to expect a lot out of life, which means they are likely to expect a lot out of their partner – to the point that their expectations aren’t realistic.  I think men have it easier because the characteristics that make women desirable to men – which is more heavily weighted towards looks (at first), kindness, and being a nurturer – don’t really have anything to do with women’s expectations out of life and their partner.
       
      You may already be able to detect these types of men from a mile away, but I can share with you what worked for me.  Like you, I was very concerned about staying away from women who I thought were chasing after chemistry, but I will admit that it was probably easier for me being a man.  However, I felt like a did a pretty good job of it by paying close attention to things that women would put in their online dating profiles and what they would say on dates.  What helped me was to get a sense of how content they were in their lives.  Were they searching for something?  Did they have these overly ambitious expectations about what their lives should look like ten years down the road?  Do their preferences/requirements for what they want in a mate seem reasonable, even if I happen to meet those requirements?  What helped me the most was to pay attention to any “must haves” or “can’t stands” that were listed in a woman’s profile.  I felt it told me a lot about the person, but a lot of women have told me they don’t even pay attention to that.  The woman I ultimately chose was, in large part, due to how grounded she was.  Four years later, I am very happy with the decision.

      1. 3.3.1
        Henriette

        @Chance:  You used to write some rather harsh comments on this site.  But I’ve noticed that your words have become sweeter and sweeter, as well as more thoughtful and helpful, as time passed.   Please know that your insights (as well as the kind way in which you now share them) are truly appreciated. 🙂

  4. 4
    Alena

    This is definitely not my problem. I am 33yrs old and never been in a relationship. Even though I have started dating around 19 and gone out with soo many guys and they´d more or less all follow up and made me feel like the only girl in the world I bailed out after a maximum of 2 months, wait once i had an on/off thing for 4 years where I felt imprisoned even though he lived in a different country and we rarely saw each other. I have always had romantic dreams about love but can´t get myselt to commit to anyone no matter how tall, rich, intelligent, sporty, fun or nice they are. I can´t even understand the concept of staying with someone for the wrong reasons. 
    I like your blog it makes me also want to experince all these “crazy” things that other women have for just the sake of it.

  5. 5
    Noquay

    My biggest reason for staying with someone or trying to force myself to be attracted to someone long past the expiration date is a near complete absence of good, healthy choices. I tend to keep failed rships around as friends (by mutual agreement) simply to have someone I can have good conversation with, do things with. Chemistry, as attraction is vital for both men and women but is only a first step towards a rship, certainly some common values/interests are good; it’s hard to be in a rship with someone one can barely have a good convo with or whose interests are solely things you don’t want to do. A good rship should complement one’s life, not make it seem harder.

  6. 6
    m

    “So it should have been no surprise when I had three different clients last week tell me some version of “I love him. He’s a jerk. I can’t let him go.”
    Sigh.”
     
    As I say so frequently that you’re sick of it, EMK — when the culture at large stops shaming single women for merely being single — shaming them to the point where women feel forced to make relationships”work” whether they’re benefiting from them/happy in them or not — you’ll see a whole lot less of this kind of behavior you dislike so much.

    1. 6.1
      Noquay

      m
      Good point. Often we women are so marginalized for being single, something few men have to deal with. The way I am regarded at public functions, restaurants, work events, when I show up partnered,
      even with a strict friend vs. alone is waaay different.

      I don’t approve of but can sympathize
      with the woman who stays in a rship because she lacks the skills/education/income to be on her own.

      I tell my female students not to even think of
      marriage/childbearing until they are completely self supporting.  The fact is, nowadays, there are more
      single women than single men, particularly among the middle aged and older, so there’s a numbers issue. Educated, successful women now outnumber men;
      from my own experience coupled with actuarial data, in some Western cities, professional older single
      women outnumber men in the same situation 10:1. Believe me, those remaining men are single for good reason. Yep, being alone sucks, especially when one has no family and I truly wish I could be married again to a like minded man that I respected and was
      attracted to but when one’s available choices are the exact opposite, sticking around with “Mr. Friend and Good Enough for Now” or just bailing out of rships for awhile starts to look pretty good.

    2. 6.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      I can’t speak to the “culture at large”. I can say that as a member of the culture at large, I certainly don’t “shame” women for being single. After all, that’s my entire paying customer base. I am entirely empathetic to single women and I help those who are motivated understand men and make different relationship choices. You seem to take it personally that women can ever be given advice about what they’re doing wrong. Your comments almost invariably tell me what’s wrong with men and society. And even if I agree with you 100%, there’s nothing to learn when you constantly pound that same drum. “Men suck” and “Society sucks” isn’t dating advice, and I won’t spend too many words on it. I made three videos about why women stay with men for too long. Do you agree with them? Do you disagree with them? Or do you just want to remind me that life is unfair? (Hint: I know!)

      1. 6.2.1
        Noquay

        Evan, I agree with your videos. If I didn’t, I’d be one of those women stuck in an abusive situation.  Nope men don’t suck, parts of society do suck, especially those parts that seem to hold a serious double standard for men vs. women, and that somehow we are defective for being single, especially us older chix. I feel that all of us, male or female, should be fully self supporting, independent, emotionally healthy, responsible folk before even thinking of pursuing a rship. Our society does seems to condone greater levels of emotional unavailability and lack of accountability.

        I read your advice and take it when helpful. I had a wonderful marriage and truly wish I could meet someone remotely as good. I know what a good rship and a good man is. I make good choices which, given the realities of my geographic region, quite often means avoiding men who aren’t good rship material from the get go, and yes,  if they seem like good people but not rship ready, keep a few guys on as friends.  Most of the single, professional women in my region face the exact same issues, regardless of race, age, etc. Yep, I wish I could leave but the realities of the job market and my need to pay the bills and save for a retirement that doesn’t include poverty makes that impossible at the moment. A lot of women and men face this, especially post recession. I ather doubt that bailing on my mortgage, walking away from financial responsibilities would make me good dating material myself. I suspect a good many women in rural areas, mountain towns, economically depressed areas, face similar issues, I understand that you are a city dude, but much of the nation  is not within a huge urban metropolis. I’d really like to see a column addressing this issue or one addressing what appears to be a huge double standard between what is expected of men vs. women in the dating world.

        1. Androgynous

          What double standard ? Perhaps in rural, socially conservative parts of the country this may be the case.  But in these regions, women are not expected to have to work to support herself so the only logical way for her to be financially supported is through marriage to a man – hence the nagging so the community at large does not have to support a single women. If a woman chooses to live there, then she has to accept the social context there. If she wishes to leave, but is unable to do so, then all she has to do is to keep working at whatever it is which will enable her to leave. It is much much easier to change one’s attitude and actions and behaviours than it is to change that of a total society. Mind you, some attitudes and beliefs may seem outmoded to some, but they do serve a function in some circumstances. You believe that people, particularly women, should be self supporting and independent. Sure, if you have the capacity, physical and mental for it.  But what of women who do not have the capacity ? They may be young and pretty and that is all they have – no intellect or talents on which to base a livelihood on. If there are men willing to marry her and take care of her, should she still be forced into menial low paying jobs with no future just because many in modern society believes she should be independent ?

  7. 7
    susan

    ‘A good rship should complement one’s life, not make it seem harder.’

    I get that it’s not always easy. I get that relationships have ups and downs. But I’d have to say that if ON THE BALANCE you’re spending way too much time angsting about a relationship (ergo it’s harder), or he’s making you feel insecure/unsafe/emotionally exhausted (duh…harder!!!) then the answer is right there.

    And there it is.  The reasons we stay past use by date fade into the background if that bit of logic is applied…I reckon I might have saved myself years of heartache (and financial drain!) if I’d simply asked ”is this making my life harder?”

     

  8. 8
    Noquay

    To Androgynous:
    “What double standard” ?
     That women have to be fit, healthy, look good, not age hardly at all (regardless of age), support herself, often at a high standard, but still be willing to accept men who do none of these things, otherwise be labeled as elitist or snobbish.
     Most rural areas, and I have lived rural most of my life, being a serious environmentalist and outdoorswoman,  actually expect women to not only support themselves, but often their men and kids too, and often do the traditional “man” things such as fix stuff, build stuff etc.  ” If a woman chooses to live there, then she has to accept the social context there”.  No one should accept any social contexts, anywhere, that involve addictive behaviors, deadbeats, stalking and other forms of disrespect of anyone. this goes for rural as well as urban area, men as well as women.  “If she wishes to leave, but is unable to do so, then all she has to do is to keep working at whatever it is which will enable her to leave”.  Exactly what I am doing; keep in mind that one doesn’t know the social context until he/she has lived there for awhile and generally, has, by then bought a home, accepted a job. One usually goes to a place with a positive attitude, tries everything possible to make it work; tis not always easy to just up and leave, especially in todays job market and when one is middle aged. “It is much, much, easier to change one’s attitude and actions and behaviors than it is to change that of a total society”.  True, one is not going to change a total society, though I do believe the actions of some such as those fighting for civil rights, women’s rights, did just that. If our society as a whole has issues such as accountability, emotional availability, honesty, increased mental illness and addiction rates, alienation, even suicide, increases in broken families, we need to own our truths and address them in the light of day, not shove them (and us really) under a rug.  What action should I change? Learn to like treatment  as less-than when I go to events alone?  Learn to settle for a less than relationship, which here, Evan and anyone with sense advocates against? “You believe that people, particularly women, should be self supporting and independent”.  “They may be young and pretty and that is all they have – no intellect or talents on which to base a livelihood on”. No disrespect intended Anon, but a lack of intellect and ability to care for oneself is a disability and yep, society does care for such folk. A young and pretty women will have her looks fade in time, her husband may bail on her, become incapacitated, die, and she WILL have to support herself or settle for an abusive situation because she is  financially trapped; exactly, I believe, the sort of situation Evan is alluding to. Better to have your ducks in a row from the start and face reality, however harsh.

    1. 8.1
      Chance

      Noquay,

      I understand that you’re frustrated with your current situation, but respectfully, how do you know what it’s like to be a single man?   How could you know what he feels like is expected of him?  


        “That women have to be fit, healthy, look good, not age hardly at all (regardless of age), support herself, often at a high standard, but still be willing to accept men who do none of these things, otherwise be labeled as elitist or
      snobbish.”


       
      If it’s any consolation, I can tell you that I’ve observed many women who aren’t any of these things, and they didn’t have to accept men who did none of these things, and the men are still thrilled out of their socks to be with them.  Chin up and good luck.

      1. 8.1.1
        Noquay

        Chance
        I have no idea what it’s like to be a single man, very true. Men want what they want as do we women and neither of us wants to be told to write off our life,
        either be alone not by choice or settled or someone
        totally incompatible or where I live, potentially
        dangerous. That leads to sticking with someone waaay past the expiration date, and I agree with Evan, life is too precious to waste in that way. You are very well right, but here, a woman who has done her utmost to be the very best she can be is repeatedly pressured to accept a man who she will have to support, is not compatible with nor attracted to.  I am often
        approached by men, but most have serious
        red flags or are attached and
        conveniently forget to mention that, incredibly heart breaking and soul sucking because I know the next man I am attracted to, who’s compatible,
        will be long in coming. When I went back home, I was immediately asked
        out by a stable, well mannered, healthy man though I was in mourning
        for my dad, not at my best; it’s a geographic/socioeconomic issue.  I am tired of being told by colleagues to settle, embrace the old maid life. Men aren’t being told to do this.  Theres been a major
        exodus of the professional/educated segment of the
        community so again,  tis not just me. I am keeping my chin up as much as possible, teaching myself another
        career, up classing my home to get enough for it, paying down unsecured debt, so I can bail. It’s going to take years and for an older woman, time and perhaps luck,  is running out but thanks Chance, you made my morning.

  9. 9
    Noemi

    Evan, I wish you would have elaborated on the “good but not great” reasoning. I, like your client, am in a relationship that I would describe as “good but not great.” He is not perfect, but he treats me well, respects me, and I enjoy spending time with him. He is there when I need support, and we have a connection between us. But for some reason, I am not confident that I could spend the rest of my life with him. What is your reasoning behind leaving a relationship that is, in your client’s view, good but not great? She, like I, has a great guy. What was missing? At times, I try to justify not leaving my boyfriend because I feel that I am looking for something ” better” which may simply be idealistic. 

  10. 10
    Maggie K

    The last video piece on “Last man on earth” and “good but not great” really resonated with me. Much like the client you mention, I am in a new relationship (2 months) and he is doing everything right. I’ve read a lot of your blog as well as your books so I feel like I have a good idea of how a guy should act when he really wants to be your boyfriend. But I’m starting to feel my interest/attraction waning and it seems too soon for that. My concern is not that I am staying with him due to fear of not finding another man but rather fear that I am doing something to undermine my chances of finding a real, deep, and connected relationship.

    I don’t have that feeling like “he’s the one,” but maybe it’s too soon to know that anyway. I just don’t know whether it’s legitimate feelings that he’s not the right fit or an underlying fear of emotional vulnerability. This is likely a much deeper issue that I should work on but I worry that I’m guarding myself and won’t fully engage with him until I figure this out.

  11. 11
    lindajoan

    Dear Evan,

    Thanks so much for your website and this blog! It’s really been a lifesaver and a buoy for me after the end of my 7 year LDR. Although my relationship ended three months ago, I still feel dark, miserable and at times, hopeless about my future. Like so many, I do want a partner to experience life’s ups and downs with, to be in love with, to help nurture and provide comfort to, etc. etc. I was a relatively late bloomer and didn’t really think about starting building a life with a man and having kids until I was in my late twenties, after my studies. I”d had several semi–long term relationships, where there was passion, electricity and chemistry,but no real long-term committment…until I met my ex-husband. Then, everything seemed so effortless and so right. Well, after a 13 yr marriage, and three children, he cheated on me with his married work colleague and my whole world just went downward after that.
    After a couple of years of post-divorce therapy, and therapy for my kids (he left us when they were 3,5 and 7), I finally started to see light again and started casual dating. However, I felt I really couldn’t handle multiple dating. I just didn’t seem to be the ‘light’ type of person that could handle dating’s rejection. Despite this fact, I joined Match.com and continued to slowly casual date…no sex or anything, just coffee, movies, etc. Then I finally met a guy that I had the thing you seem to warn us all about,…that passion, that spark…chemistry. Everything ‘seemed’ to click…I even broke my own codes and had sex with him on the second date! But soon after, red flags started to creep into our relationship. Strange thing is, my body almost sensed these warning signs in that I didn’t always feel at ease when I heard him say certain things, but I ‘wanted to give him a chance’. Slowly, I noticed his over-critical tendencies, his tantrum-like temper, his nitpicking at my physical appearance, what I wore ( I was forbidden to wear jeans or pants in his presence), he monitored what I ate constantly (verbally ‘announcing’ when he was ‘finished’ at the dinner table or a restaurant so that I could ‘take my hint’ to be finished as well); never admitted his own flaws when he hurt me in some regard (he would always divert my critique by saying “This isn’t about me, it’s about you…you have to be the better example!”. He even went so far as to threaten to leave me if I gained weight (mind you, I am 5 ‘6 and weigh 138 lbs) because he found fat people ‘repulsive’. It really hurt to hear him say such a judgemental thing because I know and love some people who have weight problems!

    After our relationship ended, he admitted to me that his irrational nitpickiness came from a diagnosed condition of OCPD and that he’d had it since he was 16??!! And he never said a word to me about this for seven years?? And then, the reasons why he was 50, never been married, didn’t want his own children, never lived with any woman outside his own mother, all just screamed at me in my ears!

    Towards the end of our relationship I felt utterly useless, powerless, exhausted and extremely unattractive. My doctor told me that I was at a normal weight. I exercise three times a week, dance tango on the weekends, and have always been weight conscious and health conscious with my own children and myself. She also said that I needed to let go of this man who would judge me as being overweight when I was far from it.

    After all of this ‘proof ‘ of my being in a bad relationship, what I don’t get is, why is it still so hard to let go of this man that was not good for me, psychologically in the end? He made me feel badly towards the end and I didn’t want this feeling to be projected onto my children. They deserve a mom who feels good about herself! I’m just so thankful that my kids weren’t really involved with him so much, because of the distance and also, I never expected or wanted my former SO to be a ‘father figure’; they have a dad. I really just welcomed him to be their friend. I guess the way that he ended the relationship doesn’t help,… after celebrating his 50 birthday with a present from me to a seaside town in the country. He told me, “the romance had died and that I was more like a really, really good friend’ now. Then, he sent all my stuff to me, no note and no contact. I want to let go of the pain, but just keep feeling and hearing his negativity towards me. I’m in therapy again to work through these feelings of rejection, but don’t know how much help it’s doing. I’m ‘terrified’ of men now..just feel closed to opening up about anything. And yet, I really would like to feel love and acceptance again, and that I am a person that is a treasure for someone!

  12. 12
    rabina jettoo

    ill take him under one condition. thats if he starts to trust me.

    im sorry evan daniels:}}

  13. 13
    SerenityNow

    What I am wondering is how much of the angsting that takes place in a person’s mind as she (or he) goes through the daily motions of the relationship — questioning whether this person is the right one (or a good one) to stay involved with — how much of this mental anguish is self-induced based on the baggage of our own past that may not have anything to do with direct behavior or traits or situations that have come up in the current relationship?

    He may say or do something that sets off a warning bell for you because it bears a somewhat vague resemblance to something painful that occurred in your past with someone else.  For example – in my current relationship, after a month and a half of dating (with daily communication and going out 2-3 times a week) I brought up the subject of connecting on Facebook and he was reluctant.  He ultimately agreed but that’s not the point – it was his reluctance that was the trigger.  I was burned in the past by a player who said he did not want to add “girlfriends” to his Facebook due to his own bad past experiences with it but then I found out that was a lie and the real reason was he already had a woman on his friend list whom he was interested in (before he met me) and began dating (after we were already dating) and, though he had marketed himself on his dating profile (and reinforced through early communications with potential mates, including me) that he was a serial monogamist, that was clearly not the case.  Therefore that baggage stayed with me and tainted my perception and caused trust issues in my current relationship why… merely because the guy expressed reluctance when I asked him to connect? …. Which there could be a whole host of perfectly innocent reasons for?  (And yes, we did ultimately have a discussion about it and cleared the air – he is very good with the face-to-face and tackling concerns at the molehill level so they don’t become mountains.)

    This is but one small example of baggage that could cause a distortion in one’s perception.  I guess the point of my post (and question) is really this – how do you sort through the baggage in your mind and essentially undo or erase it in order to give the person you are with a fair assessment of whether they are truly the right one for you?  Maybe that person really could be a great and wonderful addition to your life if you could just get out of your own head and stop worrying and stressing over every perceived “signal”.

    1. 13.1
      ScottH

      That’s a great question but you’re obviously on the right path having the awareness to even ask the question.   One of Evan’s basic tenets is to not hold the current person accountable for the last guy’s sins.  I believe the correct psychology term is transference.   Having the molehill discussions are the right way to manage this along with your awareness.  Yes, you need to recognize the warning signs but you need to THINK before you act.  Was this action innocent, was it malicious, or does it warrant a discussion.

      I was just thinking about this the other day since there are so many things that can trigger a bad memory and being middle aged and having been through marital hell and 2 short relationships with commitment-phobes and 1 normal relationship, there are a lot of memories that can be triggered (for me).  It really is a lot of baggage but we need to be able to carry it gracefully.  I remember reading (Hendrix in “Getting the  Love You Want”, I believe) that every memory resides within us and our brains use them as guidance.  There’s a great article on it if you google “serenity online reparenting the wounded child”

      In my 2nd commitment-phobic relationship, I got dumped after a month because something innocent I did triggered a memory within her and she thought I was out cheating on her.  We got through it that time but I should have taken the discussion further or just ran.  She wasn’t over what the previous guy did and I should have recognized that.  Never date someone like that.

      There’s a lot of people out there with a lot of baggage who lack the awareness of what’s going on in their heads and that makes for a lot of landmines.  Be careful where you step.

    2. 13.2
      Karla

      This is exactly what I was thinking but you were able to put it into words much better than myself!

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