Saturday, April 17, 2010

Being Good but Dating Bad

The other day, Karin Tabke posted a rant about when good girls have relationships with awful men.  And although I did comment on her post, the phenomenon is still something that's been rattling around my head.

As I said in the comments, I think the problem has two interrelated sources: 1) a low self-esteem combined with 2) the idea that no one can be complete without some significant other in their life. 

Oh, and I'm not just blowing smoke out my ass.  I've thought about this many many MANY times over the years, because I was one of those women who perpetually dated Mr. Wrong - in all his forms and disguises.  I've also known far too many women who've also dated Mr. Wrong and a few who've married Mr. Wrong.  (Not talking about me here.  I married Mr. Perfect-For-Me after a good long stretch of Wrongs.)

If you don't believe you're good enough to deserve a happy, meaningful and healthy relationship, you'll be like me and those other women.  (Or other men - because we girls don't have a corner on being good dating bad.)

Now, of course, I'm not talking about the lure of the 'bad boy' in romance novels.  I'm talking about the kind of guy who makes you feel like shit, or the kind that hits you, or the kind that doesn't trust you, or the kind that treats you nice in public but is an asshole at home, or the kind that sponges off you because he's a lazy ass, or the kind that picks fights because he's empty inside...  You get the picture.  There's nothing romantic about any of those men.  They're not 'bad boys', they're just bad.

We all deserve better.

I know a gal - beautiful, intelligent, witty... but overweight.  Has been for most of her life.  Self-esteem?  Please.  How high can anyone's self-esteem be after years of getting picked on?  She ended up with a guy who smacked her around.  I know another gal - also beautiful, intelligent and witty.  She had a great self-esteem when she got married, but her husband took care of that in short order.  He never hit her, but he spent years telling her how stupid and worthless she was until she was just a shell of her former self. 

Both of those ladies divorced their respective shits and remarried men who make them happy, but not until after 15-20 years of putting up with that crap.  It breaks my heart to think about what they endured... about what all of us endured.

Because I was a gal who put up with crap like that, too.  Why?  Because of the two reasons I put forth above.  Now, I can't speak to why those ladies - or any other ladies, for that matter - end up in a situation where their mate is horrible to them.  I can only speak for me and after years of thought, I figured it out.  I never thought I deserved better, but I always thought I had to be with someone - anyone - to be complete.

And it kept happening to me until I learned that I was good enough to be with someone amazing, and that even if I never found that one amazing person for me, it was okay to live my life alone.  In fact, not long after I came to that realization, I found my husband and we've spent the past six years living happily ever after.

I started dating when I was sixteen... got married for the first and only time at 34... That makes 18 years of failed relationships, horrible experiences and truly bad dating choices.  Ugh.  If I could go back in time and slap my former self, I would spare her all that.  I wish I could spare the former me the guy who hit me and said he was 'just playing'.  Or the guy who was so jealous he thought I spent my business trips sleeping around and even intimated that the reason my brother and I shared a room on those trips was... :shudder:  Or the guy who used my head-injury against me during arguments... "I never said/did that, and you can't prove it because your memory sucks."  Or the guy(s) so incapable of thinking for himself that he wanted me to make all his decisions for him like I was his mother - but then got petulant when I didn't make the decision he wanted.

Ugh... I get tired just thinking about them all.

So, if you're in a relationship like any of the above, please rethink your choices.  You really are worth better and even if Mr. Right isn't out there at the moment, you're worthy of the wait.  Being alone, no matter how hard that may seem, is a better alternative than being with someone horrible to you.  Like they say in the writing business - having no agent is better than having a bad agent.  Well, that applies to romantic relationships, too.  No mate really is better than having a bad mate.

You don't have to put up with crap from the one who's supposed to love you.  You do deserve better.  Don't ever forget it. 

Have you ever been in a good person/ bad person relationship?  Do you know someone in a relationship like that?

And if you're in a bad relationship or know someone you suspect might be in one - especially an abusive one, be it physical, emotional or mental abuse - please seek help.  Here's a place to start: Emotional Abuse - if I'd had that checklist twenty years ago, I could've saved myself a lot of trouble and years of wasted time. Or if you really are being abused go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.


  1. I have a relation who dates men who beat her. I recall going to visit her in the hospital when I was a "tween": she had 2 broken ribs & a capsized lung from "falling on the coffee table". Just one of the occasions when she couldn't lie effectively to us about what was happening. She now lives across the country with a different guy who: smashed all her car windows and tried to run her over with his car (she jumped off a small bridge to save herself). As far as I know he is a drug smuggler who spent several years in prison for his "hobby". I don't have anything direct to do with this relation: she has made her choices and thus become a poisonous person. It is sad - you can try to offer your emotional support, but it is inevitably up to the individual to value themselves enough to care. I remember her saying that nice guys are "boring". ya. I suppose never knowing when he's gonna swing at you can make things pretty exciting. I'll take my boring, fish keeping hubby Thanks.

  2. I swear I could probably write a book full of stories like that about the people I've known who've been in abusive relationships. Sorry to hear about your relation, Lynne. She sounds very troubled, but you're right. There's only so much you can do to help people like that.

  3. What my mum said.

    Im sorry it took you 18 years of bad relationships to find Mr. Right. But at least you have him now =)

  4. It's inevitably up to the individual to value themselves enough to care.