Friday, March 16, 2012

A Letter on Commitment

My good readers,

Our first email has hit our inbox.

Hey, guys!

I have a dilemma, and I was hoping for your help.

I've been dating a number of different, wonderful men, but my pool of dates has been shrinking almost systematically. Some guys simply drifted out of the picture. Others I forced away. And even more I lost despite my best attempts to convince them to stay.

All in all, I'm a little lost, and I'm having trouble seeing this objectively.

Of the guys I pushed away, most of them said flat out that they wanted to date exclusively. One even said he was in love with me! But something was always missing. I found myself struggling to commit to any of these men. Maybe I just wasn't ready, because things did move quickly, or maybe we really weren't right for one another. At any rate, when they wanted to commit and I didn't, things naturally fell apart.

You know that compelling feeling you get when you know you want to be with someone? There's no doubt in your heart. It's an almost desperate need. But of the men I wanted to stay, none of them was willing to commit to me. I asked where we were going and was greeted with a figurative door in my face. Crap.

What is my problem? What am I waiting for? Why is it that, of the men who wanted a relationship with me, I couldn't commit to a single one? But of the men I wanted, no one could commit to me? I guess we love what we sacrifice for, and we reject what comes too easily. I'm not sure what to do.

I assume that there's nothing in particular about my behavior that is scaring these men away, because there were those that were ready to commit. But I realize that when someone isn't ready, it's more likely that they really aren't ready to commit to you, specifically.

What do you, as men, look for in a potential mate? What makes it difficult to enter into an exclusive relationship? What makes it easy? How long does it normally take before you're sure that special someone is the someone you want to make your girlfriend? How would you recommend I approach a situation where I'm ready to commit, and the other party is not? I would love to meet the right person and make a commitment, but darn it all if that hasn't been working out!


Much love,

A girl

Dear A+ Girl,

I must admit: when I first read your letter, I wondered if I was even qualified to answer it. I'm dealing with some of the same things and I often find myself pondering many of the very same questions that you have asked me. As you’ve probably gleaned, I’m a thinker. I spend a decent amount of time pondering circumstances, actions, and the motives and meanings behind them.

Dating, relationships, and commitment are tricky things. In my last post I compared dating to marketing, the idea being that you’re looking to appeal to your target market. Now I’m going to tell you how dating is NOT like marketing. When you go to a store and pick something out, the product doesn’t turn around and size you up as well. As an inanimate object, it could care less who you are or what you do with it. But when it comes to dating, the connection is a two-way street. This is what makes it difficult. In my time, I have been on dates with wonderful women. Some of those resulted in relationships. Others, well…didn’t. There was nothing wrong with them. Our personalities simply didn’t mesh. There was some sort of block there. Different styles of humor. Being at different points in our lives. That sort of thing.

You’re right when you say that we love what we sacrifice for and we reject what comes too easily. When we put ourselves into something, when we invest in a relationship, we feel that it should work out. After all, work brings reward, right? So, once we start investing, we keep investing and it can be hard to break that cycle. Sometimes we put so much extra effort into something that we miss out on other opportunities by not being there or by failing to see them for what they are.

When something comes to us easily, when we don’t have to put much effort into it, sometimes we don’t feel invested. Other times we’re too focused on the people we’ve invested in to give these other opportunities the attention they deserve. It could be because we enjoy the chase. Maybe it’s because we feel that, if things don’t work out, we can always call upon that which came so easily. Whatever the reason, it’s a shame that we sometimes reject these potentially good opportunities simply because we didn’t have to fight as hard for them.

The trick here is to realistically look at each opportunity for what it could be, setting aside any previous investment.

What I look for in a potential mate is, in a nutshell, a person who I feel comfortable around and attracted to. A lot of things go into that. Shared religious beliefs are a must, as is a love of family and children. I’m a very family-oriented guy and I’m looking forward to being a father, so I’m looking for someone who is looking forward to being a mother. If a girl can make me smile, she has found an opening to my heart. I love to laugh and if I’m going to have someone around me for eternity, I want her to be able to make me laugh. Equally important to me is that I feel that I can talk with her about anything – that we can have conversations of all types and depths. And countless other things. I could talk your ears off about this. Perhaps one day I will. Ultimately, if I feel comfortable with this person and I feel that we would be a good influence upon each other, I’m willing to give it a try.

When I have met one of these girls, it’s taken me anywhere from a day to a couple months before I was sure that I wanted to make that special someone my girlfriend. That doesn’t mean it has always happened, but still. Some people just click on you and you feel that connection almost instantly, while others sneak up on you as you slowly begin to realize that you want to take that next step.

If you find yourself in a situation where the other person isn’t ready to commit and you are, step back and take a look at the situation. Why isn’t he ready to commit? Is it a matter of ill-meshing personalities or a failure to recognize an opportunity because it came too easily? Maybe it’s something else entirely. Maybe, like me, he's a bit of a shy fella. It’s okay to talk to him about it, but I don’t recommend pushing it.

I hope that I’ve been able to shed some insight on your predicament. I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with you – it’s just a matter of recognizing a good person with whom you mesh and going for it.


1 comment:

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