Situation: I have a friend, we’ll call this friend Casey. So, Casey has been “dating” this guy for a few years now. The dude? Well, I guess he’s nice enough; If you’re into the “I love you, but I still want to sleep with other people” type. This is the first guy my friend has actually been in love with, *sigh* so the breaking away process has been less than easy and far from ideal.
Problem: Casey has been wanting more than “maybe” we’re together for quite some time now. Whenever my friend tries to express this the cycle begins. I call it a cycle because this guy runs the same exact game EVERY TIME! It’s like he pulled one play from the player handbook and decided he didn’t need any other. Here it is: Casey gets tired of chasing him and decides that this is the limit, the fleeting pleasure is no longer worth the longer lasting pain. Therefore, Casey does something extreme–like telling him it’s over or blocking his calls. Does the guy accept that? Of course not! Instead, he starts to be on his best behavior, he becomes the ideal boyfriend: he’s around more frequently, calls when he’s on his way home from work, sends good morning text messages, recommends going on date nights more, whatever it takes to make Casey feel that he is committed. HOWEVER, the moment Casey feels comfortable and “happy” the old negligent behavioral pattern begins to resurface.
Dissection: This is basically “eat my cake and have it too” 101. I’m a firm believer that cake is made for eating, but I always urge transparency. This, unfortunately, is a case of ambiguity and emotional manipulation. The guy gives Casey just enough attention to be wanted around and knows which buttons to push to get back in good graces when Casey grows tired of being toyed with. It’s not a bad game, pretty elementary to be honest, but it gets the job done. The job? Sending mixed signals to emotionally confuse the person. The first keys, and most importantly, to seduction are arguably mental, then emotional manipulation. If a person doesn’t know what to think, then they don’t know what to feel; if they don’t know what to feel, well then you demonstrate what you want them to think and feel. Basic. Your absence makes them want you, and your presence, no matter how temporary, fills the void. This works best on a specific type of individual, but that’s for another week.
Solution: “People don’t give you what you deserve; they give you what you accept.” This quote is important in relationships because often too much power is given to the other person to determine the tone of a relationship. People look for the other person to say what they want when the opinion that is the most important is your own.
Casey and the guy are looking for two completely different things from a relationship. My friend yearns for commitment, while the guy wants flexibility and freedom. Casey spends a lot of time wondering if the guy is in love, or even truly cares about what they are. The truth? It doesn’t matter what he feels. No, honestly, it doesn’t. At this point, it’s only about how the person makes you feel. Like I told Casey, ‘you have to find someone who loves the way you do.’ If you can accept the type of love he is giving you, and be happy, then stay. If you’re miserable then you have to move on. Right now it’s about self-care and self-preservation. If you want love, and a lasting relationship, you can’t continue to deal with someone who only brings mediocre to the table.
Now, with that being said, I’m a staunch believer that “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” It’s okay to love someone else, but you have to remember to love yourself also, if not more. It is said that love borders on insanity, so make wise choices!
-Ms. Malcolm Hughes