The other day I was talking with a friend about the long string of boyfriends I’ve had, and how I keep going back to the same guy.
Not literally, of course. I’m not that addicted to pain. What I mean is, when one relationship fails, I go back to the same thing that didn’t work out the first eleven times. I meet him in the same type of place, am attracted to the same qualities, and live out the same dating trajectory: from blissed to pissed.
So my friend asked what I wanted in a relationship—a good relationship, that is—and I told him. Besides the obvious—no prison affiliations (arrested, escaped, paroled), no tendencies toward violence (animate or inanimate), financially self-supporting (via legal and ethical means, which rules out embezzlement and pimping). I also want someone who brings out the best in me, chooses compassion rather than judgment, and is an avid reader (you’d be surprised how many people proudly announce that they haven’t read a book since high school).
“Can you be all that for yourself?” asked my friend.
“Not unless I get a sex change,” I quipped, “because I also want…“
“And you wonder why you keep attracting the wrong kind of guys,” he said, shaking his head.
Most books or other relationship advisers give you rules (NEVER, EVER do this! ALWAYS do that!) or encourage you to focus on the other person. You want a rich husband? Hang out in 5-star hotel bars!
So my friend’s suggestion seemed like a revolutionary concept. Don’t wait for someone else to bring out the best in me, bring it out of myself. Don’t tolerate judgment from myself while finding it unacceptable from others. And don’t wish that someone else would enjoy books as much as I do; go ahead and enjoy them on my own! (Ok, this one I do.) In other words, fulfill my own needs myself.
So I gave it a try. And I must say, it’s been working out pretty well. Come Valentines Day, while other women were pre-bitching about the fact that their husbands never send them flowers anymore, I was giggling with anticipation at the bouquet I knew would be waiting for me at home that day. When others bemoaned the idea of being alone on date night, I was picking out my outfit for Saturday (pjs, by the way). And when I overheard two gals confide in each other in a way they never could with their boyfriends, I immediately had an intimate tête-a-tête with myself—which, admittedly, looks a bit like schizophrenia from the outside.
In fact, my new relationship with myself is going so swimmingly that I’m a little worried about what may happen when a man next asks me out. “I’m sorry, I’m already seeing someone” goes from healthy to narcissistic real fast the moment he finds out that ‘someone’ is me. Ah well, at least I’ll have someone’s shoulder to cry on.
Read more posts by Selena Templeton, love and relationship expert. Selena blogs for JenningsWire.