Off the Cuff #3 – “Did I make a psycho move?”

Hey guy, I am really enjoying your blog posts! Any insight into the heterosexual male mind is always welcome! So, here is my issue: I have been seeing this guy for about a month. We are not seriously dating but we go out every weekend and we are “getting to know each other” (without having sex) so that it might grow into something more. Well, I want to have the “I don’t want to see other people and I don’t want you to, either” talk with him. I tried to get a hold of him on Sunday and he wasn’t replying, so I sent 3 texts and called him once… I thought that was a little excessive… but I did it anyway. We still haven’t talked on the phone, but we made a date for next Sunday. This morning I really wanted to talk to him so I sent him a text at 7:15am! I sent another text stating that I was sorry that I texted so early, but I want to talk to him and I tend to get impatient. I haven’t heard from him, probably because he is working… but I feel like I may have made a psycho move… thoughts?

Twenty-Something Female in Philly, PA

Fellas, take note! I have had 2 questions from ladies and only 1 from a man! Don’t let them win the free advice arms race!

First, the immediate problem…

Twenty-Something, you didn’t make a psycho move. Being impatient isn’t psycho. It just looks psycho – unfortunately, that’s just as bad.

Remember, he doesn’t really know you well enough to know how impatient you are about certain things, so he might think you’re psycho at this point. And yes, you did that. It’s okay, though. Life goes on, and who knows, maybe it’ll blow over.

Anyway, my greater point : In all my time as a guy,  getting into a relationship has never, ever been complicated when two people like each other. Getting out, however… well, that’s another story for another time.

I propose the following:

If your life were a silent movie, based on the actions of the characters involved (you and this guy), would you be able to tell that there’s deep romantic potential here? That the two like each other? Or is it more one-sided?

Here’s a Hollywood myth that needs debunking – a table won’t stand on the efforts of just one person. It takes two people who like each other (chemistry) and are compatible (mutually independent, have the right amount of proximity, and non-conflicting life goals). Not only that, but would you even want to be in a relationship where you were the only one putting in effort? I think not.

So no matter how hard YOU try, it doesn’t matter if the other person isn’t.

Here’s where it might sting: I don’t see this guy being all that into you.

You might say he’s bad at getting back to you.

You might say he’s forgetful sometimes.

You might say ______ or ______ or _______.

But I’d say there’s a million theories and only one fact: He’s not in touch with you about this. That is, in my experience, not a good thing. At best, it’s neutral.

Granted, I could be wrong. But, experience has told me that, when it comes to relationships, a healthy dose of skepticism is VERY important for a) keeping you in perspective, b) keeping you out of relationships you don’t want and c) acting right when a relationship that’s good for you comes along. You have to be real about all of this.

I mean, hell, how many successful relationships do you come across in a LIFETIME of meeting people? Those are the odds you’re working against.

And when we can’t deal with being alone, we get all anxious and needy and psycho about how this other person’s feeling, because we (stupidly) think he or she might “be the thing we need in our lives.”

When it comes to relationships, you must always see things for the way they are, not the way you want them to be.

For my other readers, I’m not saying that after 2 years in a mutually beneficial relationship that you should run at the first sign of trouble. But you should RECOGNIZE that trouble and DEAL WITH IT however you can, instead of just plopping it on your table and just trying to forget about it.

Now for the real meat of my responsethe problem behind your problem with this guy. Or at least, what I sense is the problem behind the problem.

My parting piece of advice has nothing to do with this guy, because the facts about you and him will reveal themselves in time: Work on yourself.

In every case, every single one, where I’ve spoken to someone about how anxious they are about someone else’s opinion of them, it’s because they had very little in their lives to be happy about.

These people have come from all walks of life. Some of them have awesome jobs, and great hobbies, and are even held in very high regard by their peers. But, if they’re talking to me about it, there’s still something missing – the sense of self-esteem and confidence that comes from whether they think they’re good enough. They all have something they want to become, and they’re not there yet. This leads to anxiety, panic attacks, depression and all sorts of bad stuff in their personal lives.

Relationships come and go, but you are always stuck with you.

You seem unhappy. You will never find that in someone else. You, like 90 percent of the other people who listen to my advice, might even agree with me on this point, but here’s where I really need you to listen. If you know that you have anxiety issues, or anything that you wish you could do better, fix it. Stop thinking about how it “makes you feel” or “how hard it is.” Just do what you need to do to feel better and happy with yourself.

I guarantee you there is someone who has been through what you’re going through, and has made it out. Find those people, and do what they did.

I know what it’s like to be in a place where you think you can’t get out. I’ve been unemployed, overweight, untalented (at least in the ways I cared about), with health problems, and full on depressed – many of those at the same time, and many at varying times.

Each time, the key to getting out was to stop focusing on how I feel today, and instead do what will make me happier tomorrow.

It’s tough. I’m one of the most emotional, and thus emotion-driven, people I know. I mean, how many people do YOU know who have made it their life pursuit to talk about emotions as they pertain to relationships? So, trust me when I say I know how tough it is to ignore those voices in your head that are telling you how pointless something might be or how unhappy you are, because reality and experience have repeatedly shown me that emotions are knee-jerk reactions that by themselves won’t get you what you need in life to be happy.

Don’t get me wrong, emotions have their use – they can tell you what you want out of life, but you have to remember they will never tell you how to get it.

In Buddhism, there is a tenet of the 8-Fold path (the way to enlightenment) called “Right Action.” The idea being that to allow emotions to drive your actions is like a cart pulling a horse. Your actions every day have a much stronger effect on your emotions than the other way around, so allowing a negative emotion to create negative actions hugely unwise.

Instead, do right by your own standards and your emotions will follow.

Hope it all works out for you.

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