Today I spoke with Roberto about my recent debacle with my former lover (I now refer you to exhibit A, and exhibit B. (Yes, Roberto is that awesome that he can still listen to my relationship problems with other lovers.)
Just to summarize what “situation” I am referring to, here is a brief overview. I have spent the past 2 years in love with and fighting for a relationship with a man I recently found out is an asshole. Yeah. That pretty much covers it. If you want more details, please refer to my prior posts.
Roberto says this: The reason women get caught up in these kinds of situations is because of fairy tales.
Lola: Wait a minute, you know I don’t agree with the whole fairy-tale theory.
Roberto: Well, I respectfully have to disagree on this particular fairy-tale.
Lola: Okay, what’s the fairy tale theory that I supposedly subscribe to?
Roberto: The beautiful woman who kisses the frog and he magically turns into the prince.
Hmmm. Damn it all to hell. Roberto is just too wise for me. After the relationship I just came out of, I would have to say that Roberto’s right. Now this is not easy for me to say, nor is it something I am proud of. But it is the truth, and I do tell all.
Going into my last relationship there were red flags. Red flags which I happily ignored in the name of my stupid-ass theory “Love conquers all.” Straight out of the gate this guy started saying inappropriate and lewd things. How in the hell did a woman as smart as me who has been through as much as me ever fall in love with such a man?
I wanted to believe that he was better than what he was showing me. I wanted to believe that if I was patient enough, open-minded enough, and loving enough that he would eventually love me so much that he couldn’t help but to respect me. I likened him to a “diamond in the rough” and I might have to help him smooth out some of the rough edges. It was only further complicated by the fact that he was a widower. (no that’s no excuse, but it is an additional complication, trust me).
Maybe it will be more helpful if I use a real-life example to show where my mindset was with this guy, why I was allowing for so much flexibility and the possibility for him to change. I use this example to say this to women: We often fall into the trap of thinking, “well, my situation is different….” as a means of justification for why we stay. I have been guilty of this as well, and I understand that life is not black and white and there are going to be muddled occurrences in which we aren’t sure where to draw the line from being patient to being a doormat. So here is an example of why I thought he was worth it and why I hung in there for as long as I did.
As I mentioned before, he was a widower and that complicated things. After his wife died, he had a lot of free time on his hands and he needed an outlet for that time. There was a group of guys in his age group who met weekly for happy hours and morning breakfasts, and he soon became a regular with them. Sadly, these guys are of a cruder nature. These men tend to objectify women, pass raunchy jokes back and forth and talk about women’s bodies incessantly. He mentioned to me once that he did think that hanging out with this crew had been somewhat of a bad influence on him and had lowered his ability to be more “gentlemanly” when speaking with women. Now as a woman who sees so much potential in this man, here is what I thought when he said that: Awww, he is opening up to me about how he knows he needs to change in order to improve himself not only as a man, but for me. Now that may not have been what he was thinking at all, but it was what I thought, and in turn why I decided to give him more of a chance to see how our relationship played out. Was I wrong to do that? I really don’t know the answer to that, but I don’t think I was. I think eventually a person makes it clear if change is possible or not, and he made it very clear recently that he is not trying to make a change at this time. This means I need to abort mission. Is it possible for him to make the necessary changes in order to better himself as a man? I don’t know that either. I do know one thing for certain: that is up to him, and not my problem or department.
I think the above example is probably pretty typical of what other women do as well. I mean, let’s face it people: This is a dog eat dog world, and the men that are tolerable enough for us smart and attractive women are few and far between. And that’s being generous.
Over the past several years, I have subscribed to the theory that men don’t “come out of a box” the way we want them. Mainly because I so rarely find a decent man. But you know what? That’s bullshit too. I am suddenly re-thinking my whole stance on relationships. It’s epiphany time people!
Without even realizing it, I was waiting for my last boyfriend to become more respectful of me once he fell in love with me. The problem with that is being disrespectful is a character flaw, and it ain’t goin’ nowhere. At least not without some serious introspection and hard work to change it.
So yes, I feel a bit naive right now, but as another wise male friend says; lesson learned.