Apparently, there was a general feeling that my last piece, "Why I Love Men," didn't really explain the headline. Some people suggested that I was just toying with Huffington Post's readers' emotions. Alas. I could respond with just two words, "Will Arnett," but OK, I'll try to be mature and state that I love men, because I don't blame men, or women, or anyone but myself, for my mistakes. Essentially, once I started working on my relationship with myself, I was able to begin the process of taking responsibility for my crappy relationships with men, and really, with other people in general. That helped me to stop seeing men, or anyone, as the enemy. The more I understood about myself, the more I understood about men. It's that simple and that earth-shattering.
After all, it's not (*insert ominous music here*) men's fault that I wasted my time in a lot of boring, empty relationships; it's not men's fault that I chased damaged, hollow men and tried to change them; it's not men's fault that I dated men who hated themselves, and so necessarily hated me. Nope. No one's fault but mine.
Everything I did was, and is, my own responsibility. Once I started working on my relationship with myself and wondering why I was consistently choosing these damaged, wounded men who did not wish to be happy and could not be happy, I was left to wonder why I did not want to happy. I had to accept that I was making poor choices out of fear so that I could confront my fear and learn my way to making great choices out of confidence. So, in a nutshell: I love men, because I don't blame them.
To be clear, when I took responsibility for my bad choices, I did start working on some of my numerous issues. (Miley Cyrus twerks her issues, I'd rather resolve them.) But I have many, oh so many other flaws that over the years, I've just shrugged and had to accept them: loving me means loving all of me. As the playwright Joe Orton said, "I'm an acquired taste." Not everyone's going to get me, and I'm not going to get everyone. Last time I checked, there's a lot of people in this world, so we should still all be able to get what we need on a Friday night.
But here's what I'd tell those women, and men, wondering why they can't have a great relationship:
1. Be clear about what type of relationship you're looking for.
Are you looking to get laid or to create something serious? Sure, in theory, they're not mutually exclusive, but let's be realistic: If you just go along to get along, there's plenty of people who will tell you what you want to hear and then at about 4 a.m., suddenly, it's all, "Baby, I can only sleep in my own bed, but sure, I'll call you." And then he goes and you're left to feel like a piece of ass, thinking, "These are the only types of guys I get." NO! These are the only types of guys you allow yourself to get. See the difference? You have to determine what you deserve and then be clear about it so you can recognize it. If you want to build something, start out with a strong foundation: the right person will want to get to know you, to hear your corny jokes, eat your terrible cooking and put up with your awkward dance moves. (I had one boyfriend who would literally cringe whenever I "raised the roof" on the dance floor. He still bragged about me to all his friends and introduced me to his parents. He would just give me The Look whenever I was about to raise the roof.)
2. Where are you looking for him/her?
True story, since I can't make this horsesh*t up: I used to know a girl who thought I was crazy for dating online, who acted like I had no self-respect. Meanwhile, she was "dating" a married man, and had given him thousands upon thousands of dollars. She paid his cell phone bill, hid his car in her garage from the repo men and let him drive her brand-new car. All the while, he kept stealing from her and calling her, variously, a "fat pig," "disgusting," and the like. I suppose, however, he found her money and charge cards clean enough for his usage. Now obviously, this girl is an extreme example. If you hate yourself, than yes, it can be extremely difficult to go on a dating site and create an upbeat profile and meet other positive people because you feel, at heart, that you're a fraud, you're unworthy, etc. I understand that. But if you're looking for a real relationship in the bars every Friday night... umm, I mean sure, you could meet some great man or woman who also happens to be at that particular bar, but then again... you a could also win the Powerball. If you want a committed relationship, why not join a book club, take up improv classes, volunteer, take a cooking class, join a co-ed sports league or a running group, etc.? Why not participate in some activity with other men and women who want to meet someone who shares their intellectual and emotional interests? That way, in the morning, you'll both have something to talk about besides the quickest way out of the apartment.
3. How are you presenting?
I was amazed by how many emails I received from men about my last article saying, "Nice try, but that's bullsh*t, you're just a bitch like all the others." Wow, who doesn't want to f*ck that, right? Hey, Sailor, call me sometime, since hate-sex is such a turn-on! Let's all step back, take a deep breath and remember that we receive what we put out in the world. If you're angry, you're going to meet other angry people who want to unload on you their pain, shame and heartbreak. If you're fun and confident, you're going to meet similar people. And, most importantly for the rest of us, if you're still at a place wherein you're working on being the best person you can be and you're committed to that process, yes, it can take a while, but you will meet other people who are also on that journey. I PROMISE!
Finally, it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have a loving relationship with another person if you dislike yourself. I truly don't think there's anything wrong with taking some time off from dating to construct a healthy relationship with yourself. In fact, I wish more people did it!
I'm sharing with you all the lessons I've learned through dating great men, bad boys, boring men, sad men and damaged men, through breaking hearts and having my own heart broken. And the greatest lesson I learned was honesty. So honestly, why do I love men? Hello, Will Arnett!
Tell me what you think in the comments, and I'd love to hear what helped you create your great relationship(s). Don't forget, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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