I have men complaining that they feel that they’re being overlooked because they are the good guy, they’re the nice guy, they’re the friend, and what they find is that people are dating the unavailable person, the player, the pathological liar, the person who’s already married. So, we make all these decisions in our relationships, and we end up two, three years down the road, 10 years down the road, in despair. We struggle to try to find the relationship that we want, whether that leads to marriage or just to long term commitment.
Why do we repeat this cycle over and over and over again? And the woman that asked me earlier – that I had talked about, that asked my advice about why this happens – and she says: “Oh, no! I don’t date the Peter Pan guys. I just see them out there. Well, except the last two relationships, I did date the Peter Pan guy.”
“Oh, okay, so you do date them. So why do you choose them?”
She couldn’t really explain it. And then she just kept coming back and saying: “No, no, I don’t really date them.”
“Okay, except the last two.”
So, she became really defensive in this conversation and was denying the truth that everyone else around her could see – the people that loved her the most, her friends, her family.
And so I asked myself: on the path of love, what happens? What do we do? It starts off beautiful, wonderful, perfect. You’re totally in love with this person in a very short period of time. And then, we see a red flag, but we ignore it because we say: “No, no. It must be us. We’re crazy. We’re too picky.”
But the problem is that our friends and family see it too. And they are concerned. They may or may not say anything. And then, what’s our response? We attack them. “Well, you will never be happy if I am happy.” “I finally found someone I love and you can’t accept it.” “Well, you just don’t know him. He is different when we are alone.”
We tell ourselves this all the time.
Then there is a combination of red flags. And we tell ourselves, “Well, all relationships take work,” which is true, but we tell ourselves this in a misguided way, so our friends and family express their concern. And what do we do? We attack them. We’re defensive. And then we begin to isolate from them. They try to intervene, and they say: “Look, I am really concerned about this person that you’re dating. And I want you to think about that. I want you to try and pick someone else or just end it.”
And we may even admit to ourselves: “Yeah, I probably should end it. I know this person isn’t good for me.”
But we don’t. And so then what happens is – because family or friends, or anyone in our life, colleagues, co-workers, because they conflict with us, and they say, “Look, there is a problem here,” we feel embarrassed, we feel ashamed. And so, what do we do? We separate from them. So we don’t go to the friends’ house anymore because they’re always complaining.
Then the family gets angry, and then they separate from you; they stop trying. And eventually, we realize that we were wrong and they were right. And we hate it. It drives us nuts. And then we despair, and then we say, “Are we ever going to find anybody?” And we could have saved so much time and energy and despair if we would just listen to the people that are around us and not to be so defensive.
So why do we repeat this cycle? Why do we repeat this? Because we do it all the time.
Our brain – I think the same part of our brain that controls addiction, controls our feelings of love, because our feelings of love, that intense connection that we feel with someone, which is totally irrational — we don’t really know them, we don’t really have all those things in common but we want to believe that we do. It’s just like being addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s an addiction, it is. And for whatever reason, we’re not wise enough to figure it out. We’re not wise enough because our emotion and our perception, our feelings of this love controls our brain, our mind, our prefrontal cortex which is at the front of your brain. And the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that’s rational, it makes rational decision making. And it tells the other parts of the brain, “Knock it off.” When you want to punch somebody and then you realize, “Nope, that’s my boss, I can’t do that,” That’s the prefrontal cortex telling you, “Knock it off.”
But we don’t allow the prefrontal cortex to control our heart and our feelings of love, so that’s how we get into these situations. It could be genetics, it could be role models, maybe we don’t know anyone that has a happy marriage or happy relationship, things like that.