He a Good Boy, Buuuut...
Oh man, so let me preface this by saying:
1) this is about human boys, not dogs.
2) the photo of the dog was simply an opportunity to use a photo of a cute dog...my dog who is in fact a good boy.
3) I sincerely hope this helps someone recognize a little sooner what took me many years to understand.
*also I use good "boy" or "guys" because of my personal experience/perspective but this is 1000% applicable to people... dating people.
It's difficult, while writing this, to foresee how extensive or succinct this entry will be. I'm not sure how much detail is warranted to get the point across, haha. I'll start with this, right now my "dating life" is near nonexistent, again I say near nonexistent, since moving/starting medical school. I don't necessarily believe I live in the best place for it anyway, but that's just my opinion... and for those of you assuming my mans is somewhere within the many walls of my school, I won't say your're wrong. However, of all the people (men) I know right now, in this moment, I will say, I do not believe him to be a member of that population.
But enough of the intro, this is about a lesson it took me years to learn. One that stands true from when I started dating in Terrell, through Houston, and has followed me into my very minimal activity here out West...
For as long as I can remember "good boys" or "nice guys" were portrayed as the one no girl wants. They "finish last" is what every 90s movie tells us. The pretty girl girl wants the "bad boy", danger, thrill, etc. Well with time and sense (hopefully), it's clear that idea isn't the end all, be all. It's not the only truth, and it may not even be as true as it once was. The lesson I've learned and honestly sometimes keep relearning has to do with the complete opposite idea. It's about wanting "the good guy" and at what costs a good guy may come.
I think women (especially single women, myself included) have a habit of talking themselves into believing that good men are in short supply. Whether that's true or not, the very idea tends to influence behavior, a few prejudices or bias, speech, and a whole list of things we may or may not even notice we're doing. Just the same, failed relationships also influence all of those things. I had a break up just before coming to medical school, and it wasn't pretty. My mentality concerning romance starting school was "disinterested". I didn't want to deal with it, and I was happy that school, moving, and meeting new people would occupy enough of my mental and emotional energy to propel me forward. And it so did. I loved my classmates, studies kept me busy, and while I missed home, I was very much satisfied with how I was adjusting.
Fast forward to Nice Guy-X...
I met him in the summer through mutual friends. He was definitely unexpected, in every way. We were externally compatible without a doubt. I could be in any setting with him, talk to him, laugh with him, and he was good at his core. I mean an unmistakably kind, considerate, present individual with all the checks marked on that little mental list most of us have. The issue, my issue, was internal. It didn't matter how many boxes I could check, or how much I enjoyed/appreciated his friendship, I was not linked to or hooked on him, internally. And I did what most anyone would do when they realize they're not satisfied with a "good thing". I questioned myself, reprimanded myself with all the typical questions...
"What's the matter with you?What is the actual problem? He's great. You're good fit. You work..."
And we did work, we were a good fit except... we weren't or couldn't be so long as there was something inside of me "rebelling".
But it wasn't rebellion though. It was a voice speaking ( probably shouting TBH) until it had my full attention. But even then, I tried, I "fought" for what was rational on paper, what would make sense to others. But every thing I did in an attempt to ignore that voice, to convince myself I was wrong or crazy for feeling the way I did, was just creating displaced resentment toward him and physical discomfort within me. I remember texting one of my best friends, and sending her all these complimets/praises of his character followed by: " it doesn't make sense but I know that if I went forward with him, I would be settling... positive settling, but settling none the less."
What do I mean by "positive settling"? This term came to me in that moment, the first moment I attempted to describe what I was experiencing to another person. Settling is always thought of as: Awesome Person-A ends up with Subpar Person-B for secondary reason/gain/etc-QRS or in ignorance of red flag-XYZ. But settling isn't always settling down. Sometimes we settle at the risk of our very own desire, passion, or hope. It may be out of ignorance, out of fear you won't encounter another decent guy, out of laziness, out of disbelief, out of a lack of self awareness, out of peer pressure/self pressure, or hell just cause "it works".
I know this seems like an excuse to avoid intimacy or commitment, and I don't doubt there are people who do so with similar reasoning. But I truly love love, and the reason I say I keep relearning this lesson is because it never happens the same way. The first time I realized I did this it was because I convinced myself I needed to be in relationship or I would literally forget how to be a person's person. I know... ridiculous. But that's all it took for me to pressure myself into a relationship with a good person and waste a significant amount of his and my time.
As someone who wasn't always able to discern that inner voice and thus made decisions in opposition to that gut feeling, with good guys... I can say I've settled positively on more than one occasion, and that truth, deep inside trying to catch you before you make a mistake will surface at some point. And that point is never convenient, painless, or fair for either person involved. It sucks, and it REALLY sucks when the guy exhibits kindness and understanding even then....omg.
But this life, yes? This is one of the many lessons, one of the many "consequences" of living, interacting, exploring, and discovering not just other people but yourself as well. That ability to heed your intuition, or just know yourself well enough to understand whether you are standing in your own way or truly perturbed, is acquired not inherent. So a few mistakes are bound to happen, but start paying attention. Start listening. Start understanding. Every good boy isn't meant for you...so don't be too quick to latch on to what you may need to let go of or what you may not ought to even reach for.
Be patient with yourself as you navigate such things, and never ever settle...
not even for a good boy.
The Third Voice