If you want to be like me, follow the basic steps, below. One day it will dawn on you that you may have made a mistake somewhere along the way. If you are already following this advice, you can glimpse the end of this path here at Love ≠ Love.
Do you want to go there?
This list is in response to an article over at Your Life Better that illuminated my poor decision-making skills seventeen years ago, and illustrated how I could have avoided a few of my mistakes. I’ll link to the article at the end so you can take in the full effect.
- Explain away any family problems you notice.
Does he expect his mother to clean up his messes while he purposely leaves trash in inaccessible places so it can’t be easily cleaned? Just tell yourself this is a strange family joke and assume he won’t do that to you, even if he does litter in public places also.
Does he make fun of or mock his mother for normal concerns? Consider her strained laughter to be evidence that she’s fine with this. He only does it because they have a really good relationship.
Do his parents always feel the need to proclaim what a good son he is on repeat, as if you might not see how much he loves them without a really long explanation? Assume they love their son a lot and think how nice it will be to be part of their close family.
- Take all the blame when friction erupts when you’re together.
Is he angry because you’ve asked him to keep his hands to himself, even in public? Well, you must owe that kind of contact to him because you’re in a relationship. After all, you love him and want to make him happy. Assume you’re making too big a deal out of it. After all, you’re going to belong to him soon, so why would it be okay to say “no?” Push away the thought that you’ll always be at his whim in this area and overlook the times he causes physical pain before you give in. Imagine he’ll learn to treat you better because he loves you.
Does he charge into every conversation like it’s a battle to be won? Just think how nice it is that he knows what he thinks and remember the few times he has agreed with you fondly, because they mean he thinks you’re smart sometimes too. Maybe you can learn enough from him to keep up, someday.
Is he saying all his problems are someone else’s fault? Take a defensive stance every time anyone tells you something negative about his character and protect him for all you’re worth. They’re proving him right. Don’t ask yourself WHY so many people seem to feel they must warn you about him, even though it’s not normal in this culture.
Gladly change yourself to fit his whims and ignore the fact that you don’t really like the new you. Depend on him to make the decisions so you won’t have to think.
- Overlook the strained atmosphere in his friendships.
Does he claim most people just don't understand him? Think to yourself how tolerant and kind his two closest friends seem to be, even when he says painfully mean things to and about them. Remind yourself that guys’ friendships are strange. Assume that they must have a really good relationship in order to stick around for that treatment.
Does he write off nearly everyone for one reason or another? Overlook his treatment of anyone who makes a mistake and think they must deserve it because he wouldn’t just be rude for no reason.
Does he tell stories of all the good things he has done, over and over? Ignore the fact that you’ve never seen him do anything like this recently. Overlook the fact that he looks down on all the people he has helped.
- Overlook the fact that he’s a careless driver.
Does he proclaim he is a really good driver, capable of driving dangerously without causing problems? Don’t think about it when he jokes about scaring people with his driving and laugh with him. If you have to point out the cyclist on the side of the street so he will slow down to pass them, or hang onto the door so you don’t fall over on corners, it’s no big deal.
Is there a contrast in his attitude when he proudly cuts someone off vs. anger when anyone does the same to him? Ignore your inner voice, feeling pity for those people. Believe him when he claims he’s always the victim of run-down cars when he talks about how they break down on him all the time. Laugh when he jokes about all the accidents and tickets he’s had.
- Take his stories of leading charity work (or other amazing feats) as indicators of his true character.
Does he seem to dwell on how he was able to make everyone follow his ideas? Just admire all the dramatic sacrifices he made and overlook his lack of focus on the actual reason for the charity. Ignore the fact that he blames the charity’s methods as the reason he burnt out and no longer wishes to work with them. Shrug at the evidence that he doesn’t take responsibility for his own choices or show any desire to help or serve anyone, except while critiquing other people's efforts to make a difference.
Do his mother’s stories of his angelic childhood seem a little off balance? Assume she’s not biased at all. Marvel that you’ve found such a paragon and try not to wonder why she doesn’t seem to know the rest of the stories he’s told you that don’t jive with the innocent angel she remembers. Remind yourself that he won’t keep secrets from YOU like that.
There you have it. A terrible relationship is guaranteed to follow.
However, if you’d like advice on finding a good partner, consider Darrell’s tips, “Secrets to a Happy Marriage.” I think most of them apply to anyone, male or female.