If you’ve seen the movie ‘The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’ with Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Michael Douglas, then you might recognize this quote. As I recall, this sage piece of wisdom came from McConaughey’s dead ‘playboy’ uncle (Douglas) who sought to mentor him in the fine art of getting anything he wanted from women.
Aside from the movie being a bit cheesy, the statement struck me as downright serious – and true! All of a sudden an amusing romantic comedy turns into a lecture on male-female relationships! My own experiences in certain relationships, particularly in my post-divorce dating experiences, all of a sudden became perfectly clear as to what was going on. There were certain relationships where I was very frustrated at the lack of engagement by the other person and then there were others where I sensed the gal was frustrated with me.
In the first case, I recognized that I was investing way more in emails, phone calls, text messages and the like than my partner, and I was delighted to make the investment – call it a labor of love. But it was in the waiting for reciprocation that was the most agonizing and the true measure of the ‘interest gap’ in the relationship – I was becoming way more invested than she was.
I’m sure the gals I chased were not checking their emails 27 times a day as I was, nor were they watching for text messages or waiting in the evening for my call. I was controlled 24/7 by this person….and they most likely didn’t even know it. From these encounters I want to make some preliminary observations.
When I recognize that I’ve been dumped in a relationship or just see that I’m the one holding it together, it definitely hurts. I’m finding that re-taking control of the heart is necessary first business and that a cutting off of contact with the person needs to happen, the more abrupt and complete the better. Taking on some other emotionally engaging activity – going out with friends (male and female), movies or going on an interesting holiday – seems to speed emotional recovery for me. Jumping right into another relationship is not, however.
I also am finding that attempting to keep some form of contact just prolongs the recovery period. During this phase, it does mean that you will continue to stare at the ceiling for hours on end, be lethargic toward virtually everything for days, and check emails 27 times a day to see if she contacted you or is online. That’s just gonna happen! It’ll stop eventually…. and sooner if you make the break clean. Once I’ve found emotional stability again, I do find that I can engage some of these women in relationships that are quite satisfying – call it friendship. It’s not that they are without their challenges but you can benefit from the fact that you do like each other and do know quite a bit about each other at that point. These are friends you can enjoy a meal with or a night out on the town.
There were also some relationships where that was not possible. Again, it’s about what our hearts can handle – hers and yours. When it is all said and done, however, you can only win at this game if you are willing to get back into the arena. So, get back out there!
About the Author: Master Hobbit