Monday, April 19, 2010

The Asshole Theory, Parts I and II


The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care, right?
The Offspring

I have a theory about why women date assholes, it’s creatively named “The Asshole Theory”. Maybe it works for men too, I don’t know . . . but here’s my story and I hope you like it.

When you’re dating an asshole (if you’re easily offended you should probably not be reading any of my stories but this one in particular is going to use the word asshole a lot), ok, when you’re dating an asshole you are, in fact, taking the easy way out. I know, I know, just hold your horses a minute. When you are dating an asshole, you give yourself the luxury of always being right. You get to stand tall and proud up on your dais and pontificate down to your dating partner beneath you and care not for his opinions as they are wrong . . . wrong, wrong, wrong and always will be because that person down there, your dating partner, IS AN ASSHOLE. You get to win every fight. You don’t really even fight, you just storm out of the house, the room, the car, the restaurant, wherever, or slam down the phone in righteous indignation because there is no point in actually listening to the troglodyte you are involved with. There is no need for discussion, for being quiet and listening when it is your turn to listen, or maybe even entertaining another way of seeing things. You don’t need to pay attention to what he is saying because likely he is just ranting or childishly yelling and saying hateful things anyway. And yet, some women stay. Why? Because it is easier than having to put in the time and effort that a real relationship with a good person needs.

When you date an asshole your friends will always tell you that you are right because typically, you are. Date a nice guy whose opinion you respect? You may not always be “the good one” and you will have to put some work into this relationship. Dating an asshole is tedious. Dating an asshole can be brutal on one’s ego. Dating an asshole will find you crying on the phone to your friends. And please my darlings, don’t think for one minute that you can change him, just stop. Stop it right now. We think people will change. We really do and at the very least we hope they will change but they won’t. Well, maybe someday, but only if they do it in their way, in their time and you can’t do it for them. I know you wanna help, I know you have good intentions, but how about focusing all that goodness on yourself and on someone who actually wants to receive it from you? Give all that good to someone who will stay through the less than beautiful times, someone who will do what it takes to nurture a mature, committed relationship. Dating an asshole is painful, but it still gets you out of having to face yourself and your own frailties and you don’t have to face the fear of being alone. I’m not pointing a finger, I’ve done it myself. I’m not just spouting out crap I make up off the top of my head, I live the crap I write about, it’s all for you, all in the name of research!

We all desire love and we all need love. Remember Dr. Masura Emoto’s water experiment in “The Secret”? You ignore the water, say mean things to the water and it becomes murky and dark. Pay attention to the water and say kind things to it, it becomes clear and sparkly. Everything is made of energy and that energy thrives on the positive input it receives. You can survive without it, but you will not thrive without it. Then why is it that some people have so much trouble finding love and then keeping that love?

There is such a fear and so we choose poorly, we date assholes. This is not really a cognitive choice, but so few choices are until it’s pointed out to us
. . . or maybe that’s just me. We choose poorly because, as I’ve written in another story, losing something wonderful is hard. Never having it is just never having it. You can’t miss what you haven’t experienced. We all want love and we want it to be so good that we are quite willing to mess it up if we have even the slightest notion it could fade. Note that I said could fade. Of course it could, and sometimes we ensure it fades by sabotaging our own happiness. It’s so much easier to endure a broken heart than it is to nurture true love and companionship and partnership and a relationship for a life time. With any luck a life time is a long time and rather than seeing the joy and freedom (yes, I said FREEDOM, we’ll get to that in Part II) that can come from being in a good relationship we focus on how painful it will be when, and if, it fails. We make it fail. We invite failure by not giving it our all because giving it our all is work, and so we date assholes and asshole-ettes. Giving it our all means NOT walking out when there is a disagreement, it means really listening, it means making amends, it means apologizing when you have screwed up and maybe even sometimes when you have not screwed up, it means honoring your loved ones feelings, doing things to honor them and not doing things to dishonor them. When you are given a heart it’s so important to know what a beautiful gift that is and to hold it as carefully as you can. You have been entrusted with the care and feeding of your loved ones most sacred gift. You know how to break it, you know all the crappy things to say to hurt it, but it was a gift given freely and with love and trust, so you try with all that you have to take care of it, even in the roughest of rough times.

Not too long ago I gave my heart to someone and that someone decided to return it to me, it was very painful. This time I felt I had chosen someone so utterly different from the others, someone who seemed so giving and so mature and so capable of an adult relationship. In some ways he was all those things, but only to a point. Only to the point where it was time to either be in it or get out of it. He chose to get out of it and my ego and my heart took a beating. He was tentative and afraid. Nonetheless, I am not daunted in my belief of finding love. I have seen it and I know it can happen, but not without some bumps in the road.

Epictetus said “Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes”,
which brings us to . . .


Did I say that I need you? Did I say that I want you? If I didn’t I’m a fool you see, no one knows this more than me, as I come clean.
Pearl Jam

I read the following modern day wisdom on a friends refrigerator:

"The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating--in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life."

It’s so true. The FEAR (False Experiences Appearing Real) that dresses itself up as rational hesitation. How many times have you heard or said “Let’s just take things slow”? What the hell does that even mean? Relationships travel on their own clocks, just let it be. No need to force it to be any faster or slower than it is naturally going. If you’re feeling pushed, you should say something. If you want things to progress more, you should say something, but this is part of being in a relationship. Learning to talk to each other about how you’re feeling, that’s how it works between two sane people, none of whom are assholes.

Being committed is so much more freeing and opens up so much in your life. So much that you had barricaded back in fear can come out and breathe fresh air and see the sunlight. You can rest. Even during times of trials and tribulations you can say to your partner “Let’s go to bed. This mess will still be here in the morning . . . and so will I. We can talk about then.” In a good relationship with a good partner there will be disagreements. Sometimes those disagreements will be heated and difficult. You know why they will be difficult? Because when you are dating someone you respect, someone you admire, and someone who respects and admires you, so much more is at stake. You want to listen to them and you will also be responsible for saying what you need to say with a kind, compassionate, and truthful voice. Sometimes that kindness, compassion and truth only emerges after yelling some ugly things in a very unpleasant manner, but a nice person will get through this ugliness with you as you will get through theirs with them . . . because you care about him (or her), as he (or she) does for you.

We’re all turning into head thinkers and not heart followers. We’re all so afraid to follow our hearts because we may get hurt and we may fail. Well, yeah dumbass, you may, but what kind of life will you be living if you never follow your heart and you always take the safe and painless road well traveled? Boring. Good Lord people, get out there! Tentative is useless and fearful. Let’s all get out there and love others and get our hearts scraped and bruised and compose goofy poetry and wear red shoes and eat chocolate! Life should be fun and it’s going to be painful too, but you get so much good out of the painful times as well as the fantastic times. That’s why we have them. God in his or her infinite wisdom chose to give us many, many, many colors and feelings and emotions and they are all part of the spectrum and if one of them is missing the others are not nearly as colorful and bright.

Choose wisely by knowing yourself first, loving yourself first, choosing your happiness first, and then find someone who cares about you as much as you do.