My lurve life has been a source of great consternation to myself and those around me for a very long time. I have and always have had a great bunch of friends, yet I always date assholes. Wassup with that?
Over time, I came up with a series of answers to justify my romantic failures:
- I had clearly been destined to be alone forever because there was something intrinsically horrific about me; why else would my family have rejected me?
- I was too fat and/or ugly.
- I had no self-confidence.
- I had no social skills.
- I was a complete failure at adult life.
The interesting thing is that at various points in my life I absolutely believed the above statements, despite the fact that reality blew holes in them the size of cathedrals. Intrinsically horrific people don’t tend to have really cool friends. Fat people generally weigh more than 50kg. Complete failures don’t tend to be reasonably successful. You’d think I’d notice that kind of little detail, but no. Each and every one of those theories made perfect sense to me at some point and absolutely explained why I was dating assholes and forever destined to do so.
It’s funny how things can click into place when you ask yourself the right question. All along, I’d been asking myself “what’s wrong with me?” As I was surrounded by people having lovely home lives, it wasn’t precisely an unnatural or unreasonable question. However, it just wasn’t that helpful. It wasn’t giving me information I could look at critically. Then a different question popped into my head: why did I ever start going out with each of those people? The answers are as follows:
- “He asked nicely.”
- “He was the opposite of the one before.”
- “It was time to settle down, and he was there.” (twice)
- “We were going through the same problems.”
- And, my personal favourite, “Me and a friend wanted to practice pick up techniques we’d read in Cosmo, so we choose guys we didn’t like much so we wouldn’t blow it with the ones we did like, and damn but it worked.”
Hmmmm. Now, when I set out to make new friends, the criteria tend to be things like “I like this person” or “we have a lot in common” or “we enjoy spending time together” or “we get on well”. It’s totally crazy and far out, but in picking friends I actually, like, take into account my feelings and tastes. I’m going out on a limb here, but I wonder if there is a possibility that if one picks partners completely ignoring these little details, one may end up in less than satisfactory relationships. Seems to me that I’ve been infinitely more careful picking up dogs than partners. And, lo and behold, I’ve never had the urge to split up with any of my dogs, because I like them and we get on.
It seems as if I did everything backwards. The decision to be in a relationship came first; love (or a facsimile) was created by a combination of adrenaline, hope and passion; and, after a few months, I actually got around to working out whether I actually liked them or not. What could possibly go wrong with this sort of selection mechanism, hey.