I was recently having dinner with two single male friends of mine. Both these guys are in their mid thirties, both attractive, successful, and in my opinion, normal and decent individuals. You can probably guess what the topic de jour was.......FINGER PAINTING!!! Oh wait...no....Dating...that's what I meant....Dating.
One of my friends made a comment about my last blog post...... http://anxiouswhitevirgin.blogspot.com/2013/04/dating-game-dance-horror.html
...and asked me about the statement I made that All Women Are Crazy. He admitted that in the past he had ended relationships with girls who he had really liked (up until the point they went "crazy") but now was wondering if maybe he had been a bit hasty. He wanted to know..in essence...what the "normal" or "acceptable" amount of crazy should be. What follows is a summary of my reply to him.
1. It Depends: Far be it for me to ever tell someone to put up with something or someone that drives them crazy just for the sake of keeping realistic expectations. In the end, only YOU know what you can and can't deal with. I have learned for myself that a man who is more interested in only his own thoughts, feelings, ideas, desires, and so forth has no place in my life. For you, it might be someone who treats strangers or animals poorly. As with many things in the life, it's the little things that matter, and it this way, the little things become the big things. So if you are the kind of guy that is incapable of dealing with "emotional females"..then first off, Good luck ever getting married, and secondly, realize that emotions are a deal breaker FOR YOU, but don't blame a woman for why you weren't able to make it work. And if you are a girl that can't stand that men seem to only have one thing on their mind all the time, I say to you pretty much the same thing.
So let's assume that you are a semi-rational and emotionally sound male.....where does the line between acceptable crazy and deal-breaker crazy lie? My opinion.....
The 80/20 Rule: Almost anyone who has ever tried to control their weight knows about this rule as it applies to diet and exercise. Basically what it boils down to is that if you eat Healthy foods combined with regular exercise 80% of the time, you can then indulge in things that are less healthy 20% of the time and still be OK. As much as we would all like to think that we can be "perfect" 100% of the time, we quickly learn that not only is this unreasonable, but it also robs you of the sweeter things in life.
Sometimes a girl needs a cookie dammit.
Now applying the 80/20 to dating, and specifically to women, I would like to propose that before you toss a potentially awesome relationship aside you take a good honest look at the behavior of the girl with a more overall and general eye. Ask yourself, How Often does she act in a way that I would consider irrational or "crazy". Keep in mind gentleman....women have these things called "menstrual cycles" which can cause these thingys inside her called "hormones" to go all bonkers. As a woman, this can be a frightening and frustrating experience. Much in the same way a guy says that he can't "control himself" once the other brain starts doing the thinking, a woman often feels like she is a slave to whatever chemical happens to be flooding her body at the moment. For the most part (but with recognized exceptions) no woman enjoys acting like a total bitch, or an emotional wreck, or an insecure ball of nerves. These feelings are scary to us....if anything we long for your compassion and sympathy and not you rebukes. So if the gal you are dating is a happy, vibrant, optimistic, loving, giving, and gentle creature 80% of the time you are with her....then really, I would plead with you on behalf of my gender that you not cast us off or make us feel terrible about ourselves for that 20% that we are not particularly in love with ourselves.
Feminine cycles aside, we as women as still flawed. We as people really, but now I am going to speak purely as a woman.
Men....you know what we love about you? A lot of things! And one of those things is that you Love Us even when we find it hard to love ourselves. 80% of the time we know that we are strong and beautiful creatures capable of accomplishing absolutely anything we put our minds to. 80% of the time we don't need to be coddled and cooed and told that everything is going to be OK. But 20% of the time...this is EXACTLY what we need from you. And here is the thing, if you want, you can even apply this on a smaller scale to use on a day to day basis. After all, if all of your days are filled with the 80/20 health and fitness rule, then by default, so will your year and your life. So think of your woman in this similar way....80% of the day she is going to be that strong, vibrant, independent, radiant creature you love......but 20% of the day she might need you to remind her of that fact.
Now...If you are the kind of person that doesn't believe that it is "your job" or "your responsibility" to build a woman up or remind/reassure her of these things ...well.... you are absolutely right. It ISN'T your job nor is it your responsibility. Here's the thing though...THAT fact is totally and utterly INVALID to the conversation and about a thousand miles away from the point.
Let me put it to you this way.
Is it her job as a woman to put up with you forgetting to put the toilet seat down, or pop the zits you can't reach on your back, or look the other way when you forget her birthday because things got crazy at work, or bare your children, or give up her career to then raise said children, or take care of you when you are sick, or have sex with you when you are really needing that connection even though she is utterly exhausted?????
NO!!! It is not her JOB to do any of these things. If you disagree then you might as well stop reading now because you and I live in two entirely different realities.
The point is....is it nobody's JOB or RESPONSIBILITY to do ANY of these things....so why do we do them? We do them because we LOVE and CARE about that person and we genuinely want the best for them. This is the definition of Charity, of selfless love vs. selfish love.
Selfish Love says I will love you, but only on my own terms. As soon as you do anything that inconveniences ME, or puts ME out, or causes ME to have to compromise or adapt to the way I have always done things, then it is simply not worth it to me.
Again...to these people I would say with all the love in my heart....You don't want a companion, you want an automaton. You might as well just order an Living Doll and stop wasting your time and money on dating. People are messy, complex, emotional creatures. You take the good with the bad, and if you can't take the bad....then you don't really deserve the good.
Selfless Love, on the other hand, says I will love you through the 80% and then I will love you even harder during the 20%. It says, Hey...it's OK, I realize that we all get a little scared, or insecure, or frustrated from time to time, maybe even from day to day, but that's OK! Selfless love says you are safe to show the 20% you try SO hard to hide from the rest of the world in order to survive. Selfless love says Show me that 20% so that I show you that it doesn't frighten me, or bother me, or burden me....for you see...there is a HUGE difference between, IF you feel like you need to share I'm willing to listen...and Please show/tell me what is causing you to forget the amazing person that you are. The first denotes obligation, the second, selfless love.
I hope that this has been helpful for you. I often wonder if these ramblings really do any good for anyone, but I guess if nothing else....they are things I need to remember for myself. Not only as a person who is looking for the person who is capable of loving me in this way, but also as the person who needs to remember that THIS is the way I need and want to love that special someone as well.