Making The Case For The Single Guy
The running joke amongst my friends is that people who are married (or hell, even people in a committed monogamous relationship) absolutely hate their single male friends. I know this is true because they are always trying to set me up on dates with their co-worker, or college friend, or sister’s ex-roommate’s cousin, in the hopes that I will find true love and therefore no longer be single.
It comes across as sweet enough—they want me to feel the same level of spiritual and emotional connection with another person that they share. But there’s a part of me that distrusts their innocent intentions. Like Tom Sawyer convincing his cronies to whitewash the fence, my well-meaning buddies are trying to get me to share their burden and pick up the chore that they’ve decided to tackle.
Misery loves company, after all. But I’m not buying what they’re selling.
I love being single. The freedom, the autonomy, the control I have are irreplaceable. I’m never more than two hours away from a spontaneous road trip or weekend away. When friends have an extra ticket to a show, sporting event, or theater production, I’m always the first one they call because I always say YES. If I see an attractive girl, I don’t have to pretend not to notice her. I walk right up and introduce myself. Unlike my romantically involved friends, I never have to check my schedule with anybody else. I never have to refuse a social invitation because I am obligated to spend more one-on-one time with somebody I already live with. I know there are definitely perks to having someone you love share your day-to-day life and responsibilities, but I’m just not convinced that they are more valuable than the perks I already have now.
According to my mother, I’m just “finding my way.” My uncle says I’m sowing my wild oats before “some gal slaps the chains” on me, and my brother believes that I’ll “just never grow up.” But I’m not so sure.
There will always be overgrown man-children with Peter-Pan complexes who are too afraid to settle down, but I assure you, I’m not one of them. I am not scared of romantic commitment. I am simply averse to the concept. My life is full and ebullient. I share it with friends and family, whom I love dearly. I’m not lacking in affection or emotionally meaningful bonds. I have no parental issues to speak of—I meet my mother every Sunday morning for church. Children love me, and I love my little cousins more than anything in the world. I do not fear change, I actively embrace it.
Instead of defining who I am by being the “other half” of a couple, I am able to adapt and change to each new casual partner I see, date, or sleep with, according to her needs. I am whoever she wants or needs me to be. Until I want to be something else.
The stereotype of the 30-year old frat-boy prolonging his adolescence by bedding as many women as he can before one of them ropes him into marriage will always persist. In truth, I never lie to get laid. I never deceive my partners, and I’m very upfront about my decision to remain unattached. I’ve never cheated on any girl in my life, and I don’t plan to. I’m not notching numbers on a bedpost to brag to my friends. I’m making connections with as many interesting and attractive people I can. Sometimes, that connection is physical. Sometimes, it isn’t.
To be honest, it’s just easier for people to think that men like me are simply overgrown 15-year-olds without the spine to make a strong and lasting commitment to anybody but themselves. While I’m sure the criticism fits a certain percentage of single dudes, there are also a growing number of intelligent and thoughtful men (and women) who are simply enjoying the fact that men and women are on a much more level playing field these days.
We’re finally reaping the benefits of sexual liberation and the closing of the wage gap. When women set their own sexual standards and earn their own money, everybody wins. We no longer “need” to marry one another for sexual or financial security. And that’s a great thing.
A woman will not date me for my car, my apartment, or my job because I never use them as sexual marketing tools. If a girl likes me, she likes me for the way I make her smile, for my laugh, for the feeling she has in her stomach when we part company for the first time—not for any superficial bullshit that other guys have used to “sell” themselves to her in the past.
Women who are just as smart, successful, and sexual as I am don’t fall for tricks, pick-up lines, or insincere posturing. These women don’t intimidate me. They turn me on. And meeting as many of these women as possible and establishing connections with them—be it intellectual, spiritual, or physical—is my favorite thing to do. And my favorite reason for remaining single.
Because how could I marry just one? Each person I meet brings out a new and exciting aspect of my own personality, challenging me to broaden my definition of myself to create more common ground with people who fascinate me. Sipping dollar beers at an open mic in Brooklyn can be twice or half as much fun as a “Fashion and Finance” mixer at Tavern on the Green. The crowds are polar opposites, but I’ve met charming and challenging women at both venues who have brought out the best in me.
I can’t say for certain that I’ll ever find one woman who will be everything I need her to be (it’s unfair to ask that of anyone), so I’ll continue living the single life and simply hope that my married friends don’t hate me too much.
SCR would be so ashamed…
Good article DB… I swear I’m gonna finish mine one day and get it on here.
(disregard the fact that my avatar on here scowls at you)
great article, DB. While I can’t say I agree with you, I can at least see where you’re coming from. It also makes me happy to know you’re honest with yourself and those you pursue. I honestly think more and more people are coming to the conclusion that marriage (or even a long-term monogamous relationship) just isn’t for them, and that’s great. Hopefully over time this sort of attitude will catch on and those people who have always felt this way but conflicted with their desire to conform to a “traditional” lifestyle will begin to see that it’s perfectly OK to live outside the box. –at the very least, it should prevent some heartache 🙂
“Because how could I marry just one? Each person I meet brings out a new and exciting aspect of my own personality, challenging me to broaden my definition of myself to create more common ground with people who fascinate me.”
Ohhhh this is fantastic DB!!! I really love your perspective and admire how firm you are with that, in spite of the pulls of society and well-meaning(?) friends! I see positively nothing wrong with this. However, from a single girl’s perspective, I have one thought on the (possible)”down-side” from that other perspective. If one of the joys here is that your choice to be single allows you the freedom and ability to re-create yourself with every casual(or otherwise) contact, then I can only imagine you represent the “ideal” guy to have a relationship with for many and various type women. It brings to mind a quote from the movie Top Gun, “Hearts are breaking wide open all over the world tonight”…but obviously for different reasons than the quote was intended in the movie:-P
But you’d be perfect for my sister. J/k. I enjoyed your perspective.
Well done! Even if someone doesn’t agree with you, they can’t deny you make some good points.
With my brother’s recent wedding and (I can’t believe I’m going to reference this, but I am) Sunday’s episode of Entourage (one of the guys is getting married, and the show is totally playing into all the stereotypes), I’ve been thinking about marriage and relationships a lot lately, and I can’t say exactly if I’m pro- or anti- at this point. I saw the way my brother and sister-in-law were looking at each other during the ceremony, and after, on the dancefloor, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that kind of love in my life at some point. But then I think about other things I want to do with my life, and somehow, being in a committed relationship seems like a mutually exclusive option. I’m still undecided on whether wanting to do your own thing is selfish or selfless, or some combination of the two.
I’m glad you know what you want, because there’s security in that, and pride, and confidence. I don’t like how there’s a system we’re all supposed to play into, even though I see myself eventually jumping on the bandwagon too. People should do what makes them happy, and not worry about what everyone else is thinking. I think people would be much happier (in relationships and in life in general) if they followed your example.
Out of curiosity, would you ever consider giving up the single life if you met a woman worth giving it up for? (I’m not going to say the “right” woman, because I think that idea is kind of absurd.) Or would that cause some internal struggle too difficult for you to bear?
I have this friend…
No seriously- good for you. I mean, I’m not hoping to remain single for the rest of my life, but I do enjoy the independence I have. Maybe I’m just naive to think you can sort of have both.
Thanks all! I’m still figuring out the ins and outs of this site, so I apologize for this rambling response.
KaPau- Thanks! You’re right. No matter how upfront I am initially, some (ok, most) women believe that they can change me somehow. Women like a good challenge as much as men do- don’t let anybody tell you differently.
Allison- You know I’m a sentimental guy. I always get jealous when the groom spins his bride on the dance floor for the first time. But then I remember all the bridesmaids… and the jealousy fades.
I’m a cynic, but I am a romantic. I could see it happening for me someday, I suppose. But for now, Salma Hayek is still married.
RE- Sorry doll, but you can’t have both. Think of how many responsibilities you have and how little free time you have now- double them both, and that’s what they call a relationship.
So what are you trying to say? We have to keep this at the FWB level?
But seriously, great article! Nice to see someone who’s so honest with themselves, and as a result doesn’t string others along under the guise of unrealistic expectations.
Very Good, cuz….
I think you’re doing just fine.
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Oh my god, I think I dated you recently! Kidding, but I recently dated a guy as honest and open as you. He was the perfect guy and everything I wanted and needed him to be, so even though I knew his attitude and philosophy and desire to remain single and unattached, I fell for him hard. So did most of the girls he dated, because he fit into whatever person we wanted him to be. It doesn’t matter how honest you are, that very flexibility and ability to fit into whatever role is desired is deceiving. People mistake it for the real you and fall in love, they don’t realize they are falling in love with a fantasy. You don’t want to be pigeonholed, stereotyped or put in a box, I get that. But I wonder if part of this adaptability is a fear of admitting who you really are, a fear of being rejected as yourself? Just be careful of who you hurt by being a girl’s Mr. Perfect.
Meg yes!!! …that’s exactly what I was saying….there must be a whole lotta broken hearts out there at the “Mr.Perfect who got away”. In fact, I’d rather never (EVER!) meet “Mr. Perfect”, if he’s just going to be unavailable….:-)~
But I do think in a sense we all recreate who we are to some level in most relationships or associations which continue on with whatever label we give them. Every person brings out a different aspect of ourselves, if we get close enough to them…
Who’s to say that they’re falling for a “fantasy” at all? As much as I admit to playing a necessary role in a woman’s life, I will not admit to acting one bit. You’re right, it might be fear of admitting who I really am; or, it may be that I’m open to the idea that “who I really am” is constantly evolving and changing. Nobody is typecast in his or her own life story- every person is just a molded piece of clay waiting for the next impression to hit.
It may be cliched by now, but not all who wander are lost.
Okay, I’m gonna plug myself here, because this was the realization that started me off on this entire blogging endeavor….
I think the difference is that, the way DB describes it, it sounds suave and charming. The way I described it, it came across as fake and manipulative to some. 😉
Okay, Dan, here’s the rebuttal that I had mentioned…. 😉
You make a very compelling point, and I totally understand where you’re from. As an evolutionary biologist, I tend to look at dating and relationship through the lens of natural selection, though. So, here’s where I’m curious about your past experiences (especially since you’ve mentioned that you have had a girlfriend before).
The traditional view is that male humans are driven by instinct to mate with as many females as possible in order to spread their seed. This would support your view about staying single in order to meet as many women as possible.
However, more recent research suggests that humans can indeed form monogamous pair bonds (albeit not *permanently* monogamous), and in fact, males can become quite attached to individual females. Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been so hooked on a girl that I literally felt unable to do *anything* when I lost her (*cough cough* Meg *cough cough* you know who/what I’m talking about).
So, my personal experience suggests that it is definitely possible for guys to become singularly attached to one specific female… and be content at that. As such, I’m wondering if you’ve ever felt this attachment? And, if you have, how have you dealt with it previously, since it would seem to go against your philosophy?
Dan, I feel like I’m just discovering this whole dating thing. I too like being single, I like getting to know other people. I don’t agree with you about quantity however, I think trying to get to know all the cool people in the world leaves you not really ever being close to getting to know anyone. I’m also curious, how much you stay in touch with these really fascinating, cool women. In my experience of dating without purpose or intention, I met a lot of cool people who turned out to be really lousy relationships, because they BORED THE HELL out of me. Sure, I have friends who do Comicon and I enjoy food and wine and dancing. I can be a fantastic listener, but ultimately I run out of conversations about action figures or eating and tire of the endlessly repeated stories about his ex-girlfriends. While our interests and tastes evolve and change, underneath that lie our values, hopes, fears, dreams. Part of you is still the boy you were at 5 and 10 and 15. Part of you is a you that has developed opinions, interests, likes and dislikes, standards, etc. Flexibility, spontaneity and well-roundedness (I might have made up that word) are clearly traits you value and look for in others. I love being single, I also value these traits, but ultimately I know deep down who I am and even more than being honest with women about not wanting to be committed, you owe it to yourself to find out and be honest about who you really are deep down. How will you ever know if a woman likes YOU, if you don’t know who you are?
To evolve and change you have to have a sense of where you are starting from. The chameleon might take on different colors, but throughout the changes, it is still a chameleon.
P.S. Gentleman and ladies, you telling someone who likes you that you aren’t interested in a committed relationship, while acting like the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend, does not automatically somehow create a protective zone around the heart preventing the other person from liking you or wanting to be with you. Just because you are honest and upfront about the fact that you are going to run away and be out of someone’s life by breakfast doesn’t mean that we have any control over whether or not we get attached. For that matter, it doesn’t mean YOU won’t get attached. Biology has a funny way of messing with people’s heads and bodies. An intimate conversation or connection doesn’t simply disappear with the words, “I don’t want to stay with anybody/you.” It should, it would be nice if it did and make life a whole lot easier, but it doesn’t. “Honesty” is not a free pass to play with someone’s emotions. Sex and dating ignite fires and when you play with fire, people get hurt.
Okay, Meg, you’re starting to judge people based on your own bad experiences again.
What more can you ask than the guy be upfront? As long as Dan’s making his intentions clear, it’s not his fault if the girl gets attached. He’s not “playing” with someone’s emotions. If she feels like she got played, when he makes it clear from the beginning that he’s not looking for a relationship, then those are *her* issues to deal with, not his.
Blaming him for her getting hurt would be like blaming the bar for someone getting a DUI.
I see where people are coming from when they say sometimes you’re just setting a woman up for heartbreak, but I don’t think that’s really your fault. You’re as honest with them as possible, and the only other thing you could do to prevent it would be to be an ass to them and treat them like dirt 😉 And, hey, even then that might not work.
Out of curiosity, if you see someone getting too attached, do you gently let them down and stop seeing them? Like, if you’ve made it clear you don’t want a relationship and they want you to meet their entire family, or even something more innocent that shows she’s not in the same place you are, is that grounds for dismissal?
Oh, and great article, DB 🙂
@DB: Great article!
@Dennis: Totally agree with you on “those are *her* issues to deal with, not his.” bit. We are each responsible for our own feelings. If you still decide to be with the guy/gal after his/her “honest” speech, then, any feelings you develop for him/her, and any heartbreak that _you_ feel when things don’t go the way you wanted, these feelings are _your responsibility_, not his/her.
Whoa, Max. I mean, that first post was cool and all. But to come right back 12 hours later and say THAT?!?
What the hell is wrong with you? :-p
It’s not that I don’t believe in monogamy- I’ve been in some great relationships during my life- it’s just that I don’t believe I’ll ever get suckered into it again. I really think that you have to be kind of young and/or naive to fall in love. The idea that your “one and only” is out there waiting for you (or is sitting next to you on the couch) is much easier and safer to believe at 19 years old than it is at 30. Regardless, I’ve learned enough about men and women during my dating lifetime to know that it’s all about choice and compromise. I can choose to be with any woman who chooses to be with me, as long as I can compromise for her- but then again, I choose not to compromise any part of myself for the sake of a woman.
Dennis, Meg is right to project her personal experiences onto me. I’m sure I deserve it! I don’t think of it as playing with people though, Meg. I don’t think that the desire for monogamy should be a prerequisite for physical intimacy with the opposite sex. I understand that I will hurt some women along the way. It’s a mistake, however, to think that I don’t get hurt, either by the women I date or my own mistakes. I’m hardly advocating my lifestyle as the “right way” to do things- sure I have some good stories to tell, but I wouldn’t wish some of them on my worst enemy. I don’t think I’m any happier or any more depressed than the average person in a relationship- the only difference is that I can’t place the blame for my well-being on any other person besides myself.
In a way, I think that being in a monogamous relationship is the end of personal development for both parties. In the beginning it’s all milk and honey- you try the things she’s into, she tries the things you’re into, you broaden each other’s horizons- then eventually you stop. You stop trying new things after a while. You settle into patterns. You settle into modes. You pick up the slack in the areas where your partner is lacking (planning ahead, finances, housekeeping, etc.) and he/she ends up enabling you to be even more lazy in the area(s) that you’re lacking. And that’s what being committed looks like to me- laziness. Rather than seeing all there is to see and having new adventures and meeting new exciting people, you finally just decide “ok, this is as good as I’m going to be,” and drive the last nail home.
This isn’t to say that every person in a committed relationship is “lazy”- maybe that’s not the right word… but there’s a reason it’s called “settling down,” isn’t there? There’s a lot to be said for the comfort and familiarity of a long-term partner. The best sex I’ve ever had was with my ex-girlfriend whom I dated for 4 years. I can picture now how my life would be had I chose to stay with her and make the babies we often talked about- I’d be lying if I said a part of me doesn’t regret letting her go. But I love who I am- and I wouldn’t be who I am today by compromising and subjugating myself to suit her needs. And she wouldn’t be who she is today by doing the same things for me.
I’m honest to a fault. It gets me in more trouble than I care to repeat here. As a result, I am very honest with my own shortcomings- I know that this attitude may look like a guise or a slick way to deflect responsibility for being flippant with another human being’s feelings- but I’m also a romantic. I could imagine a woman might one day turn my world over and make me eat every single one of these words. But that doesn’t stop me from doubting even the happiest daydream. If Salma Hayek knocks on my door tomorrow, I can’t honestly promise myself that I won’t think back on these days when life was simpler and more fun without her.
Dennis, saying that people can still get hurt isn’t generalizing, it’s inductive (or is it deductivve?) logic based on the fact that i am a person and i got attached, therefore some people get attached. i’m not saying all people will or do, or that it’s anyone’s faullt. but if someone were to act like prince charming and fit my ideal of the perfect guy, i’m much more likely to fall for him then if he’s a slam bam thank you ma’am sort of guy. sorry my phone doesn’t like capital letters. this site is about sharing the lessons we’ve learned. that’s the lesson I’ve learned from the other side.
dan, don’t you think that every time you become a perfect person for some new girl, that’s compromising who you are? relationships are far from lazy, they take a lot of work to maintain. one could equally argue that being single there’s no point really in growing if you intend always to be single. why get rid of the beer gut or find new hobbies or have a real personality or clean your house? if someone doesn’t like it, they will be gone soon anyways. Women are replacable after all.
Meg, you’re absolutely right. This site is about sharing the lessons we’ve learned. However, this is the problem I have with your argument:
You’re saying that, even if the guy is upfront about not wanting the relationship, the girl can still get hurt. Therefore, the guy has to be careful not to hurt her.
If you want to share a lesson that you learned after getting hurt by a guy who was “too perfect,” it should be, “I (Meg) have to be careful and not let myself fall for the guy,” not, “this guy needs to stop playing me.”
If you want to say, “watch out, ladies, you can still get attached even if the guy is upfront,” that’s fine. THAT’s a lesson.
But to say, and I quote you:
That’s not sharing a lesson you learned. That’s forcing the guy to take responsibility for your inability to keep your emotions in check. In fact, in this case, you haven’t learned anything. You’re actually shirking your own responsibility and trying to force a lesson that you should’ve learned on someone else.
The bottom line is, he hasn’t played you. Therefore, the lesson is not his to learn. It’s yours. So don’t lecture the guy. Lecture yourself.
Meg, I feel like I’ve given you the wrong impression. I definitely play a role in these girls’ lives, but not through any pretense or deception. I know exactly who I am, and I’m proud of the man I’ve become. When I meet someone new, I don’t pretend to like the things she likes just to get her into bed. I’d rather be honest and let her explain to me what she likes and dislikes, what she values, and what makes her tick. Everybody’s favorite subject to talk about is themselves- if being a good listener compromises who I am, then I guess I do compromise myself quite a bit.
Again, perhaps “lazy” was the wrong word. Complacent is probably more like it. It’s a scientific fact that people gain weight when they’ve pair-bonded, and in my personal experience people in a relationship eventually become much more comfortable revealing (most of) their faults to the person they’ve chosen to be with. When I’m single I am always on my best behavior- I always put my best foot forward. When it comes down to it, men are just as replaceable as women are- so I work hard to be in great shape, my place is (almost) always spotless, and despite the insinuation, I have a pretty well-rounded and authentic personality. I don’t “act like Prince Charming” as you put it- I just think that women are attracted to any good listener with an open, positive attitude and an uncompromising sense of self. And I’m not about to apologize for that.
So Dan, what you’re saying is that you don’t act like Prince Charming. You are Prince Charming.” Right? 😉
“Honesty” is not a free pass to play with someone’s emotions….Dennis, you know those friends of yours who say they are just friends and don’t want anything more and then they make out with you when they are drunk. Well, weren’t they being honest with you when they said they didn’t want anything more than friends? But it is still messing with your head isn’t it? They didn’t lie, but their actions said something different than their words. I think it works the same way when a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship and then he introduces you to his friends and his mother and acts like Prince Charming and calls you on the phone every day. We are trained to recognize the booty call and the guy who just wants to get laid, but it is very confusing when a guy is everything we want him to be in a relationship, but then says he doesn’t want a relationship.
Dan, I thought your article was well written and I’m a firm believer in singlehood and not committing to someone you don’t want to commit to. I quite believe in staying single as long as you desire to.
What I thought was weird about your article was this: “Instead of defining who I am by being the “other half” of a couple, I am able to adapt and change to each new casual partner I see, date, or sleep with, according to her needs. I am whoever she wants or needs me to be. Until I want to be something else.”
Instead of defining who you are by being the other half of a couple, it sounds like you redefine yourself every time you meet someone new, which doesn’t really sound like an uncompromising sense of self.
Far from making us lazy, I think that one’s ideal partner is someone who pushes you to be your best self and holds you up to your own highest standards.
Dennis: Why would I ever advise someone not to fall for the perfect guy? Do you really think that a girl doesn’t know who she shouldn’t fall for? Logically, you can tell yourself not to get hurt, or not to let your emotions get control of you or not to get attached, but no matter how much you know, no matter how many defenses one puts up, no matter our efforts to avoid falling for the person who is not available, it still happens.I’m not saying anyone is to blame for it happening. But I am saying, if you don’t want a girl to fall for you, if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t be a relationship guy. I believe though you are the one who wrote the article about how you can’t expect your friends to feel sorry for you the second time you get burnt. Having all the information, knowing what to expect, doesn’t stop the burn, does it?
I’m not blaming the writer here for my past experiences, I’m not even blaming the guy who hurt me for me getting hurt, but should we actually care about the feelings of the people we are dating, which I assume that we all do, because we aren’t cads, it’s important to realize that words and actions often send mixed messages. DON’T TELL ME WHAT LESSONS I HAVE AND HAVEN’T LEARNED.
I was not saying that the author doesn’t have a personality. I was just giving an example that it really doesn’t matter if a single person does. Which of course I don’t believe, I was just pointing out that all of the arguments for people in relationships being lazy could equally be turned around on people that are single.
Hello, I’m the person who just wrote the article on why I love being single! But whether I’m single or in a relationship I don’t decide to be someone for someone else and then suddenly decide to stop being that person. I don’t think that people should ever or do ever stop striving to better themselves whether they are in a relationship or not. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that life becomes stagnant and we’ve reached some definitive end.
Now we’re arguing semantics again, Meg.
The two examples you give (my female friends who get drunk and make out with me, and the guy who introduces you to his mother)… that, to me, is not being “honest.” That’s giving mixed signals, and no, I would not condone that.
But that’s not what Dan is talking about. So, again, you’re transferring your own experiences and judging Dan’s behavior based on these assumptions you’re making about him.
I didn’t see your last post when I posted mine.
Yes, it sucked to get burned a second time, but did I ever blame the girl? Or tell her that she needs to stop playing with my emotions? No. Because that’s not my call.
I know you’re trying to make this a lesson for the guys out there who would allegedly toy with women’s emotions. But, you’re sounding like a victim here.
I have serious problems with statements like this:
“But I am saying, if you don’t want a girl to fall for you, if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t be a relationship guy.”
Bullshit, Meg. Stop blaming the guy and take freaking responsibility for you own actions. You can’t *make* a guy treat you a certain way. You can only be responsible for your own actions.
So, stop transferring your issues and making assumptions about Dan.
I’m not judging! I’m questioning why he would be whoever the girl would want him to be. I think that’s a legitimate question since he is suggesting that people in relationships compromise and settle.
I have been the honest girl. I have told a guy I didn’t want to be his girlfriend, but I would sleep with him. Unfortunately, this was after he already had feelings for me. So when he asked me if I wanted to get coffee the next day and I said no I don’t think we should hang out for awhile, he was more than just a little upset. Understandably so. Dennis, when I say, being honest doesn’t mean you have a right to go messing with people’s heads and hearts, this is a lesson I have learned from my own experiences being the “honest” one.
Okay, Meg, I’m gonna try not to let this devolve into another argument.
You make a legitimate point that toying with other people’s emotions is messed up. I can’t disagree with that. However, look at the context that you brought up your argument:
You took Dan’s article about why he loves being single and turned it into fodder for your argument about why you shouldn’t mess with someone’s emotions, in the process making some HUGE assumptions about what he does and questioning his behavior.
THAT’s messed up.
Fine. If you don’t want a guy to fall for you, if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t be the relationship girl. I’m not speaking to Dan, I’m speaking in general, Dennis. It’s not blaming the guy or the girl. People get hurt, no one has control over people getting hurt. It happens, it’s a part of life. But I do have control over my own actions and I know that if I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone, then I shouldn’t play the relationship role. Again, I have done this. I have had that guy friend who liked me, who I dated a bit, then didn’t and I have continued to be the relationship girl for him and it’s was very confusing. You are assuming I’m speaking specifically or out of bitterness, I’m not at all. This is a point about relationships and the conversation has gone way away from the original article to another realm. It’s not about Dan or what he does or doesn’t do in relationships. To be quite honest, whatever injury I got was a mere scrape on the knee. I don’t really have any issues to be transferring here. You make it sound like I’m some gravely injured victim who is lashing out from pain or hurt or something. I’m not suggesting any victimization. I’m not even suggesting that Dan acts like the relationship guy, how would I know?
As far as Dan’s article however, let me ask your opinion Dennis. Do you or have you ever been whatever the girl wants you to be?
For that matter, you don’t have total control over hurting someone or not. You can’t stop others from getting hurt anymore than you can stop yourself from getting hurt.
Nobody’s assuming anything about DAN! Sorry Dan if you thought that’s what I was suggesting. I wasn’t suggesting anything about the way you date or suggesting that you were going around hurting people right and left. I thought this was a forum for talking about relationships and other thoughts that your article generated.
I don’t know if Dan thought it, but *I* did. Go back and reread your first series of posts. They come across as very… well, antagonizing and lecture-ish.
My “Love’s Greatest Irony” article addresses that. But, in a word, yes.
Meg, you’re questioning why I would be whoever the girl I’m seeing needs me to be- that’s a valid question. I won’t delve into the discussion that you and Dennis are having, because I don’t know the whole back story, but I thanks for pointing out that you aren’t necessarily talking about me when you talk about all the nasty things guys have done to mess with girl’s heads…
Anyway, to answer your question, I believe everybody becomes who their partner needs them to be. Who I am when I hang out with my best friend over beers is the same person who goes to church with my mom on Sunday mornings- but they’re both different parts of my personality. With girls it’s the same way. If she’s been hurt recently and needs a guy who will listen and console her, I’m going to be that guy. If she’s just loving life and wants a little male attention to make her night complete, I’ll be that guy too. It’s nothing that I actively do, it’s just reacting to the situations that arise. And this doesn’t compromise who I am or my sense of self- everybody is looking for someone who will empathize and identify his/her wants and needs without asking. And that’s who I am.
Well said Danny!! I don’t see this as “just another guy thing” either. All relationships, however brief or whatev… require a nature of compromise or adaptation…even most friendships…I have friends I party like a rockstar with…and friends I go to church with and discuss God and religion, etc… I’m not faking either of these aspects of me..it all depends on the nature of the association itself and what traits serve to bond that specific association. It’s a point of compromise or commonality that is natural IMO… It’s only “negative” if we do this while purposely hiding who we really are, along with the intent to prey upon vulnerabilities and deceive and mislead another…now *that* has some sociopathic tendencies;-p
You know what I see here? A LOT of defense mechanisms. We all have them, they are what keep us sane, from feeling pain and anxiety, but they also keep us from really knowing ourselves, from growing. Denial, suppression, regression, displacement, sublimation, projection, intellectualization, rationalization, avoidance, compensation, and even reaction formation are all being used by every one of us in how we deal with relationships and failures of them. Some more healthy than others.
Danny, you say you feel being single is what allows you to continue to grow as a person. What I see from this post and your replies is someone who is trying to grow, trying to know himself, but hasn’t moved past his own defense mechanisms. I understand better than anyone the pain associated with allowing love into your life and losing it, and if you ever read my blog, you’d also see I’m the queen of defense mechanisms and putting up walls. It’s the easier way to do things. I’m not putting you down, please don’t take this as an attack, it’s really not. What I see through your defenses is that when it happens for you, when you lose the defenses and fall in love, it’s going to be HUGE. You are starting to look inward at yourself, but you have just hit the tip of the iceberg with this post.
It is natural to use defenses to keep ourselves safe, and denial is a powerful bitch, the most powerful defense you can use is to deny, deny, deny. I also can’t help snicker at the differences between men and women in these replies. It fascinates me and yet frustrates me, so much of it is cultural, taught with out us even knowing we learned a lesson. But the honest openness here among all the responders is refreshing, especially if anyone learned anything about themselves. After all, isn’t that what life is about?
Wow… I didn’t realize I was performing so many -ations with this post!
I didn’t read this as an attack, V- I’m really not that sensitive on internet blog posts. What I DID read this as was an awful lot of assumptions about me, my past, and my state of mind. You’ve equated my lack of romantic commitment with a lack of introspection and (at best) a purely superficial grasp of my “true self.” That’s a fairly bold and borderline offensive comparison, but like I said, I’m not overly sensitive about this stuff- all you know about me as a man and as a human being is what’s been written above, so you’re entitled to draw your own conclusions.
What I find funny is that everybody responding to this (both men and women) are so utterly convinced that I’m somehow missing a piece of myself because I’m single. Which side is using more defense mechanisms- the crowd who believes that their own personal development necessarily hinges on finding one person to “complete” them, or the guy on the outside who doesn’t quite buy it? Is a committed monogamous relationship really the key to self-actualization and personal self-awareness? Somehow I missed this memo. If I believed for one second that waking up next to the same woman for the next 45 years would truly make me a more complete and self-aware man, I’d marry the next cute blond who smiled at me. I’m just not as convinced as some of you are that this is a realistic expectation.
I might be in denial about a lot of things, V, but not about who I am. I’ve loved and lost; I’ve spent days at a time alone and in tears, looking into all the nasty places in my heart that scare and frighten me; I’ve pushed myself into and out of the darkness at the center of me- and I came out a stronger, better man. I’m not denying anything, and I’m not in denial about my strengths, my weaknesses, or my defense mechanisms. For you, and really for every reader here, this post is just “the tip of the iceberg”- but believe me, I’m very familiar with the bottom of this particular block of ice.
Sorry if I wasn’t clear in my comment or if it came off wrong. You are right, I don’t know you, you could be a great guy, you could be some jerk that kicks puppies, idk. I am not making assumptions about who you are as a person, and I never made assumptions about your past, your romantic life is only one aspect of who you are as a whole. I’m just some random stranger that stumbled on your blog. I found it thought provoking, so I replied with some insight for you to ponder.
You said you can’t figure out why people feel this way about what you wrote, I think you misunderstand what I and other people on here have said to you. No one is saying you are incomplete, or they were incomplete with out a mate. What they are saying is it’s okay to want it, it’s perfectly normal, it is considered one of humans basic fundamental needs in this life. Right after physiological needs and safety are love and belonging. Keeping the wall up and denying it is what it is, well, this (the above responses) is what the rest of the world thinks about it. But who am I? who are they to judge? I mean, everyone else is wrong, not you right?
I wasn’t just commenting on your defenses in my comment, I was speaking of all of the replies. But I can see how I wasn’t clear about that. Your post really evoked some interesting conversation on here, clearly it brought up some painful things for people. I think the skepticism by me, and other commentators, is that you don’t seem to fully believe what you are saying, there are contradictions in what you write. Maybe they are also picking up on this. Or, idk, maybe they just like to see you squirm because it’s fun? 😉
I hope this clears up what I said earlier, unless of course, you are a puppy kicking jerkface, in which case I’ll come back and tell you off when I have more time. 😉
I appreciate the insight, V- I really do. This is my first real “blog post,” so I’m honestly very touched when random strangers are actually interested enough in my ramblings to comment on them. Thanks again!
This is the only part of your response that I take issue with:
You’re assuming I haven’t ever lowered my defenses. You’re assuming it’s never “happened” for me. You’re assuming I’ve never fallen in love. You’re also assuming that I’m “just starting to look inward” at myself. Maybe, possibly, almost, kinda-sorta, I might be able to see how somebody could make those assumptions based solely on the blog and the comments above. But honestly, you couldn’t be more wrong.
What it really boils down to is this: I really believe that most people form relationships just for safety and comfort rather than any real love. It becomes its own defense mechanism. Who has time to think about and improve their own shortcomings when they’re too busy “fixing” their partner’s? Who has time to ponder the existential mysteries of his or her life when they’re tripping over somebody else’s dirty socks? Filling your life with the petty minutia of another person’s day-to-day idiosyncrasies is the perfect way to wall yourself off from ever having to think uncomfortable thoughts. How many personal, individual problems do your friends blame on their significant other? How about your parents? There are very few couples that I know who truly have a healthy and sincere relationship with mutual love and respect. The rest of them are just going along with the crowd and doing what they’re “supposed” to do. For me? No. Not this pig.
As far as the love and acceptance bit, I agree with you that people should want that. But I’ll also tell you that love and acceptance doesn’t always have to look like the husband and wife on top of a wedding cake. My very large, very tight-knit family are the most important thing in the world to me- and to them, I am the most important thing in their world. If it sounds like I’m bragging, it’s because I am.
(And just so you know, the background on my phone is a picture of my puppy, Indy. Tomorrow will be three years since he died at age 11. I don’t kick puppies, V- I love them way more than I probably should.)