I’m dating a guy that is really hard to understand. It’s like he’s determined to find reasons why things won’t work out, and yet I know he cares about me and doesn’t want to end it.
We are long distance right now so he has legitimate concerns, but what I want to know is this…when do you throw in the towel for a guy who is clearly putting up tons of walls and protecting himself from potential pain, and when do you keep putting up with somewhat ridiculous behavior knowing that once his walls are down, it could be a gold mine under all that fuss?
He’s been acting like a huge jerk lately and I really want to just tell him to get over himself, but I’ve seen very clearly how amazing and loving he is and truly think this is all just a form of protection “in case we don’t work out.”
I want to “crack his code,” but at what cost? Normally I wouldn’t ever put up with this kind of behavior, but something tells me to keep digging and to be patient. Am I wasting my time?
I don’t know how much of my stuff you’ve read, but you will notice that I nearly never (maybe never… not sure) tell a woman when to throw in the towel. It’s not because I can’t see when or because I don’t want her to know, but mainly because I know that if she’s determined to keep banging her head against the wall and wants to figure out a way to not make it hurt anymore, the only thing she’s going to want to hear from me (or anyone) is how to make her situation work the way she wants it to (and she will ignore anything that says, “It’s time to go…”).
That said, if this were my situation, I would already have thrown in the towel. My feeling is that if I’m going to have a relationship, I have the intention that it could grow into something more… deeper… more committed… more connected… etc. And sure, there would be titles and anniversaries and all that jazz to go with it, but underneath all that stuff, the only thing worth anything is the quality of the relationship…and if that’s not top-notch, the best it’s going to be is a casual thing…which I’m not against and there’s nothing wrong with that sort of thing… but it’s important to be extremely clear on what has potential and what doesn’t.
MORE: 5 Signs He’s Not The Right Guy For You
If there’s one thing I’ve known about my very best relationships, and the very best relationships of other people’s (the people they end up marrying), it’s that the relationship never had a quality of having to “crack” the other person… or make them come around… or one person putting in crazy effort to make it work.
Now I’m not saying that there aren’t instances where one person does eventually win over the other person… that happens. Sometimes those people even become couples, move in together, get married, start families.
Unfortunately, those are also the couples where both people feel cheated… that they were never “all in” with the other person… and there is a feeling of dissatisfaction that underlies the relationship (even if they have all the titles and statuses to say that they’re together)…
I wouldn’t be willing to settle for that being the quality of my relationship. For me, that’s much worse than being single since at least there’s the opening for someone great to come along who I connect with (and who connects with me) perfectly, naturally, and effortlessly. What a lot of people don’t realize (especially people seeking relationship advice) is that good relationships are mostly effortless. The effort that is required doesn’t feel like effort… it feels like giving love that they’re happy to give… not effort, not work, not a means to an end, not quid pro quo.
MORE: What No One Tells You About Being in a Good Relationships
My point is that being with the wrong person isn’t just frustrating, painful, and heartbreaking (not to mention digging yourself into a hole), it’s also blocking you from the opportunity to find and have something with someone who is a great match… someone who you just click with, who is as delighted to give to you as you are to give to them.
Actually, it’s even worse than blocking yourself from meeting that person. It is sowing seeds of resentment, distrust, and discontent into your heart that will likely haunt you next time you go looking for love (and this tends to increase the longer you stay in a bad relationship dynamic). Instead of your love life coming up roses, you grow a garden of tangled brambles and thorns.
Who you select is the most important variable in your love life. Yes, relationship advice can help you turn around tough situations, but there is no relationship advice in the world that can force an incompatible match to become a compatible one… and the greatest sign of compatibility is the ease of the relationship in general.
Conversely, I’m not saying that compatible people don’t have rough patches where things fall off track…… (continued – Click to keep reading Ask a Guy: When Is It Time To Leave?)