Last week we were talking about a 36 year old man who had never had a relationship that lasted more than 6 months. A few women said that that was a major red flag. Which is understandable But let’s do a little critical thinking. What if he had had a relationship that lasted 3 years, but the last 2 were tumultuous? What if he cheated? What if they stopped having sex a year in? What if that relationship, overall, was unhealthy? Do those 3 years still count as a plus for him?
It’s funny thing things we choose to take at face value because they align with our inner narrative.
“Well, if they’re divorced, at least that means they can commit.”
And my personal favorite…
“Why would you ask a SINGLE WOMAN for advice?”
While reading Private Man’s latest post, I came across an interesting comment.
If you want to seek advice from a woman, talk to a happily married woman. There’s a huge difference in how they respond, versus the single bitter woman. – Anonymous
Another commenter responded with:
“If you want to seek advice from a woman, talk to a happily married woman who has been married for many years. There’s a huge difference in how they respond, versus the single bitter woman.” There. Fixed that for you. A woman who can remain happy in her marriage once the big day is over and reality has set in probably is a valuable resource. Women place way to much emphasis on marriage and being married. The credit they give women just for being married is undue. - Sheldon
Allow me to now amend Sheldon’s statement:
The credit they give women just for being in a relationship or married is undue.
There. Fixed that for ya, Shel.
It’s true. Women, for the most part, place a heavy emphasis solely on the fact that a man can commit or that a woman can get a man to commit. The quality of those relationships doesn’t really matter. As long as they’ve “done it” then those people hold a higher place on the relationship food chain and have more credibility. Watch how women react to the men in the comments or in posts that appear to be “serial daters” or “not looking for commitment.” Some women love to throw that in their faces in an attempt discredit them. (Fun fact: Upon doing a little research, those guys come from families where their parents are still together. Something else people dismiss that they shouldn’t.)
There are other attributes that could imply that someone has the ability to both commit and develop a healthy relationship that have nothing to do with relationship history. Starting with:
1. Owning a Pet- Taking care of an animal is a big commitment. Not only that but it takes nurturing and patience. I know people who plan dates around being able to get home and walk their dog. They aren’t going to let their pet hold it in until 10 or 11pm when they get home. You also don’t get a dog or cat, take them home and they magically behave. There’s training involved. Which takes patience and a time investment.
2. Owning a Home - It’s rare that someone invests 25K or so in a home and then bail a year or two later. They worked hard to save up some or all of that money. By buying a home, they are agreeing to take on all the responsibilities involved. They don’t have the luxury of ringing up the super to unclog their drain.
3. Holding long time friendships/Being at a job for several years – Friendships take work. It’s easy to let them slip to the wayside. They take maintenance. Friendships, like romantic relationships, have peaks and valleys. Friends don’t take advantage of each other (often). Friends apologize even if they know they’re wrong. Friends are supportive. It’s almost impossible to avoid conflict or disagreements in a years/decades long friendship or job position. Learning how to navigate these arguments effectively takes skill.
All of these things require a willingness to commit, effective communication, conflict management and compromise.
Other things to consider when trying to determine someone’s ability to commit or ability to have a relationship:
1. Does this person support themselves (for the most part?) - Someone who is responsible for paying their own bills/debt and other day to day needs usually does so through hard work and discipline. Getting help from parents every now and then is one thing. Being mostly supported by your parents is another. Some who is financially aided by parents typically miss out on some major life skills. Namely financial management and general responsibility.
2. Are they surrounded by sycophants? – When you’re always being told what you want to hear, you never learn how to disagree. Nor do you learn how to deal with criticism.
3. Are they emotionally mature? – A lot of people have an overly idealized or romanticized view of relationships. When reality doesn’t match up to their fantasy, they’re more likely to quit the relationship. This is one of if not the biggest hurdle that many single women encounter. Especially women who have been single for a very long time. They’ve been alone for so long and are likely surrounded by women like them that their ideas about relationships never mature. They’re expectations and perspectives are almost childlike and definitely one-sided. They are baffled by the simplest of things.
There are a lot of people out there who commit pretty effortlessly. I’ve spoken about the guy I know who, by age 30, has already lived with 3 different women. Take that at face value and he might have real relationship potential. Dig a little deeper and you learn that he cheated on two of them. Multiple times. For years.
Still want him to be your boyfriend?
One’s experience with commitment has little to do with one’s understanding of commitment. And like anything, a true understanding of something involves knowledge of all aspects of the experience. Not just the act itself.