It isn’t often that a guy will admit that he was wrong and yet today, I feel compelled to. I’m not looking for forgiveness, but I do think that other guys will benefit from what I have to say. To start, I’ll say that this will be a post of some potentially humiliating personal reveals, so please, refrain from judging me because I too, have feelings. *cue world’s smallest violin* The first reveal today will be that recently, I finished reading the Forty Days of Dating blog. The humiliating part? I was riveted. For those that don’t know, it is a blog for an experiment in which two friends who have opposite relationship problems decide to date for 40 days. I won’t reveal what happened, but I will encourage you to read it. It gave me a rare glimpse into the female psyche that, as ashamed as I am to admit, I never had before.
Tim and Jessica are two design professionals who live in New York. Long story short, these friends found themselves to be single and decided to conduct a social experiment. They dated each other to see if they could get over what they deemed to be their biggest flaws in terms of long term relationships. Tim, a serial dater/player who loved the thrill of the chase. Jessica, a hopeless romantic who tended to rush into relationships. They agreed to see each other for 40 days, go on 3 dates a week, see a couples therapist once a week, go on one weekend trip together, fill out a daily questionnaire, and not date, hookup, or have sex with anyone else during that time.
To me, the experiment’s significance lies in the fact that most guys, at least that I know, would see Tim as the archetypal player. One that they would want to emulate. Yet, at the same time, he goes above and beyond what any guy I know, myself included, would do in a relationship. I guess I got a bit ahead of myself there, but as you read through the daily journals, you see Tim handwriting notes, buying flowers, recording funny messages, etc. for Jess very often. I asked many of my friends if they did any of these things for girls they’ve dated in the past. The answer, a resounding NO with the exception of several that had bought flowers (Can’t go wrong with the classics, I guess).
This got me to thinking, what have I done in the past for my girlfriends (second reveal coming forthwith): nothing. Well, nothing worth mentioning anyway. In fact, romantic gestures that I did happen to pull off were so measly and half-hearted that it would be less embarrassing to just say that all these things were nothing rather than be forced to list them. Suffice it to say, if it can’t hold a candle to handwriting a message for a girlfriend who’s had a horrible day, how good could it be, right? To me and to most of the guys I know, being sweet extends as far as dinner, drinks, dancing, and the adult sleepover. I fear the day when girls decide that they want to be punished by assholes no longer and look for guys who are gentlemen. Clearly, this isn’t happening right now and the majority of us guys are reaping the benefits. This isn’t to say that Tim was the best boyfriend in the world. He definitely has his own problems. If you read the blog, there is one point when he has to list all the girls he’s dated and he’s clearly been more successful than I have (Side note: He has an awesome memory). But damn, there’s a reason he’s been able to see a lot of girls and clearly, it isn’t because of any lack of effort on his part.
Third reveal? I am afflicted by horrible boyfriend syndrome. I have been accused of being unfeeling, unresponsive, frustrating, uncaring, selfish, and stubborn. Now, all those descriptors were not offered by the same girl, but yes, it has been a rocky road. I would say that I deserve 100% of the blame, but I know now, it wasn’t just me being a dick. It was that I was never taught what I needed to do to maintain a relationship on an adult level… Looking back on it now, all it would’ve taken might have been telling my work that I couldn’t work that 4th weekend in a row, or even just calling and asking how my better half’s day was. I think a lot of guys out there, once again myself included, want a girl that’s beautiful, smart, cooks well, is great in bed, etc., but when it comes right down to it, the effort is lacking. What are you prepared to do is the real question here. As obvious as it sounds, it’s like a slap in the face when you see it in writing: If you want the best, you have to give the best (and that statement goes both ways, for guys and girls). Sometimes, it isn’t about paying for all the meals, driving all the miles, or even giving the most expensive gifts… It’s about sharing and letting your partner know that you are and will be there.
Now, the site also revealed many of the shortcomings on the female side of the equation so let’s not turn this into an “all guys are assholes” thing. I don’t buy into that, nor do I buy into the idea that girls cause all the drama in relationships. In my humble opinion, every relationship is a two-way street and that delicate balance of give and take is what keeps people together. So bigger picture plans for me? Not much. Like many people I am much better at giving advice than taking it. That isn’t to say I won’t try. Next date I’m on, you can be sure I will make use of what I’ve learned at every given opportunity. Lessons for you? Take a long look inward and see if the real reason you’re in relationships that suck, or can’t find someone, or pine for those that got away, is because you don’t give the best. If you do give the best and everything’s still shitty, maybe you need to stop dating assholes and bitches. Just sayin’.