As I have mentioned in my previous articles, I have been working on becoming an early riser. It’s taken a couple months, but I finally figured out a way to force myself out of bed early in the morning and get started on the day. How? I picked up racquetball. But to keep myself awake in the hour between my alarm and meeting my buddy at the gym, I have begun developing a routine, much as my predecessors before me. My grandpa would pick up the WSJ to read before his morning swim: the front page, the business section and then sports. I pick up my phone and stare into it until the light wakes me up: Facebook, Clash of Clans, and finally, Twitter. You may ask, “how is this relevant to your love advice column, Winger?” Only a little.
This morning during my daily swipe through my news feed, I came across an acquaintance’s FB post. It linked to an article on another content site that featured a woman complaining that men never wanted to commit to her. The issue of failing to get a commitment from those guys is actually not relevant; what is relevant, though, is the fact that the author seemed certain that her problems – the same issue she experienced with several different suitors – would cease just as soon as Prince Charming knocked on her door. It’s a repackaged, slightly more pathetic version of the phrase “where are all the nice guys?” which also happens to be the flip side of the coin “why won’t girls date nice guys like me?”
Before I move forward, let’s revisit the case of the friend zone. Like all guys, I’ve been thrown into the friend zone on multiple occasions. The first time it happened, I didn’t really understand why she didn’t like me. The second time, I sort of got the picture but I held out hope that things would change. The third time, I was just being a dipshit. Let me be clear – I deserved no pity whatsoever, and the fact that I wasn’t getting where I wanted to with those girls was entirely my fault. The girls weren’t going to change how they treated me (and it would be unfair to expect them to do that), but I sure as hell could change what I was doing.
As ashamed as I am to admit it, towards the end of high school, after those three separate friend zonings, I dropped the pathetic “nice guys” line to one of my friends. The advice I got from that friend changed my life: “It’s entirely your fault you keep getting into this situation. You have to 1) change your behavior so you don’t get friend zoned, and 2) change the girls you chase. If you don’t change, then your problems will never go away.” The lesson? If you refuse to learn from your mistakes and keep chasing the same types of people, your love problems will never magically solve themselves.
Physical abuse and worse aside, this lesson applies to everyone and all types of relationships. It applies just as much to the author of the other article as it does to me. Now, everyone gets a mulligan or two when it comes to relationships – it would be unfair to expect people to avoid shitty relationships without ever having any actual relationship experience. But if you keep getting involved with guys who never see you as more than a hook-up, then maybe it’s time to realize that you are chasing the wrong type of guy and/or doing things that discourage them from committing. Waiting for “the right” guy to come along is a losing strategy, because odds are unless you change the type of person you are looking for, you’ll probably miss them.
It really doesn’t matter what type of persistent problem you’re facing – getting friend zoned, dating people who won’t commit, constantly getting cheated on, emotional abuse, etc. What does matter is that you learn to avoid relationships with those types of people and adjust your behavior while in the relationship to minimize the risk of those things happening (although adjusting behavior applies more to some scenarios and less to others). To be fair, some people hide their vices and do not allow them to surface until well into the relationship with few red flags with which to identify them. But those cases are the exception and not the rule, and I’m not writing about exceptions.
I’m not in a position to give advice any more specific than that, mostly because I am an internet columnist and I can’t possibly know the specifics of any particular person’s relationship. But I am qualified in saying that if you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect something to change, you’re insane. Given that most of us on this site have had our fair share of failed relationships, we can all probably identify warning signs in others that we know will probably lead to another shitty relationship. So it’s fair to say that if you’ve had multiple relationships that have all fallen apart for similar reasons, it’s about time to take a look at yourself and ensure you’re not making the same mistake with the same type of people. No Prince (or Princess) Charming will ever fix you and it’s wildly unfair to expect them to do so. Besides, if you haven’t fixed your problems by the time your knight in shining armor comes along you might very well miss the opportunity..
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