How to Succeed When We Fail at Love


There’s a common relationship scenario with which many of you ladies are familiar I’m sure. Girl meets guy and she’s absolutely sure that this time he’s the one. In the early stages everything seems to be going fine. There is terrific physical attraction and chemistry; lots of deep staring into the eyes and long, passionate, exploratory kisses. There is also an inordinate amount of time spent together doing fun things and going on romantic dates. And of course there is the regular communication by telephone, cell phone, internet, it just does not matter; it seems that this couple can hardly get enough of each other.

After a couple of months of heated intensity, however, things start to peter off. Phone calls diminish in regularity. He seems inclined to spend more time with his boys or in pursuing personal interests like sports, gym-time or car-racing; basically anything that does not include you.  Of course if you’ve been having sex with him, this may be the only thing he seems reluctant to reduce.

Then the nagging begins. Statements like “we need to spend more time together”, “we need to communicate more often” or better yet a question like “where exactly is this relationship headed?” begin to dominate each waking moment of couple time. As much as you appear to be running in his direction with arms and expectations wide open, he seems intent on escaping at break-neck speed; in the opposite one.

Finally, in true retreat fashion, it becomes decidedly more difficult to keep tabs on your guy. The romantic escapades are few and far between and you begin to hear words from him somewhat like “we need to evaluate whether this relationship is what we really want” or worst yet, “we need to perhaps see other people”. Then you get that sickening feeling of disappointment and inevitability in the pit of your stomach. Another guy has done it to you; again. Just when you thought you had him nailed, this man managed to slip through your fingers like hot butter. Now all you are left holding are his promises and your aching heart. You vow with all the estrogen-laden venom you could muster, never to let another man do this to you again; ever.

For the number of ladies who’ve found yourself in this or any somewhat similar scenario, there are perhaps a few questions you should attempt to answer. Why do guys tend to disappear from around you after a couple of months? Why do you seemingly make poor relationship choices? How do you know when you’re really in love with someone versus being in love with love? Are you doomed for repeated relationship failure?

The Disappearing Act

There are a number of reasons why guys find a need to call it quits. Whether after a few months or a couple of years, some guys have perfected the art of securing their walking papers. In the movie Disappearing Acts, starring Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan, the star, played by Snipes, finds a need to walk away after a brief co-habiting scenario. It appears that he felt pressured by his inability to contribute financially to the relationship; plus his woman had “hoity-toity” educated friends and he felt decidedly insecure. While the physical sparks were flying between them regularly, it became evident that good sex was not enough to sustain a relationship for the long haul. Sounds familiar?

Then there are the guys who tire of the girl who is just too eager to please sexually. I’ve known of situations where there appears to be an intense interest shown by a man. He is seemingly motivated to pull out every charm trick from the bag to win the apparent girl of his dreams. He may even confess to her that finally he’s met a girl who he can comfortably introduce to his mother. Before this sentence is completed the poor girl is hearing wedding bells and planning bridesmaids dresses. So what does she do? She gives him her juicy red apple. As if on cue, after a few licks, nibbles and bites, he tosses her apple in the bin in search of new fruit; so much for her premature wedding dream.

Of course some guys will walk because they simply don’t possess a decent bone in their bodies or an ounce of integrity. They want to “mess with your head” to get your sex because a woman, to such jerks, is nothing more than a conquest to be boasted about. To be fair, others will run out on you just because they have not a clue as to how to make a relationship work. They know that they are out of their depth when talking to a decent woman and prefer to disappear, than make a fool of themselves by falling too deeply in love. Such guys are afraid of deep intimacy and run from the vulnerability which is an inescapable part of a committed relationship.

So it’s not all about the girl when a guy disappears from off the scene. Very often, he has his own set of issues to resolve but is not man enough to admit this.

Repeat Offenses

But then some of us girls seem to be gluttons for punishment. We seem to have perfected the not so fine art of selecting the wrong guy from the proverbial line-ups of life. In other words, we excel at making poor relationship choices which are detrimental to our long-term peace of mind. Where ever there is a guy with a complex or a problem, our radars seem to find him with recurring accuracy. So this may mean a girl zeroing in repeatedly on the guy who does not want to commit, the guy who is still tied to his Mom’s apron strings, or worse yet to another woman, those without ambition or a sense of purpose, or at the most bitter end, those who thrive on physical and emotional abuse.

Amazingly, many a woman with a savior-complex believes that she has it within her creative powers to save, redeem and transform such bad-boys; but as women we need to get a grip of reality and realize that we are certainly not God. These guys actually don’t respond too keenly to cues about commitment and even if they do stay for a while, then it is often on their own terms and the relationship is never what a girl dreamt it could be. While people can change, it must be an act of their will and cannot be forced on them by another.

Through Rose-Tinted Lens

I admit that I am a die-hard romantic. I was schooled on romance novels. I cry at movies and at weddings. I love romance and I love love. But there is a fine line between being a soft-hearted romance buff and making uninformed choices because we are really in love with the idea of a romantic relationship. Women who are in love with love usually promise themselves a partner or a husband by a certain age or stage of their lives and mean to have it come what may. They are also often hooked on the “pleasant feelings” or emotional high of being “in love” and will go to great lengths to experience this repeatedly.

The fall-out to this propensity for viewing life through rose-tinted glasses, is that a man can be repainted to fit our mental or emotional script or we can re-frame a really poor relationship scenario because we can’t imagine giving it up. This is slightly different from the woman who tries to change the bad-boy; at least she is aware of his flaws but believes that her undying love has the power to transform. Women, who are in love with love, gloss over the truth that is staring them in the face. In other words these are women in denial so they choose to see what they want instead of what is really there. Such women in the grips of illusion are usually then devastated when they are forced to accept that their guy has either walked out for good or is not interested in taking the relationship to another level.

Because many men are experts at reading women, they will exploit to the hilt the woman whose heart is in their hands. This may mean playing along with what a woman wants or even languaging commitment until he has had his fill. The truth is that many men are turned off by desperation in women and at the first sign of it, will bail out with speed.

Will I Ever Be Happy?

No woman should live a life that is characterized by one relationship failure after the next. While the trend may be to look inward and blame the self, chances are that your relationships go awry because of multiple reasons. Some of these, as this article suggests, are grounded in flawed relationship habits but others may be hinged on the guy’s own glaring flaws, how each of you were socialized as well as your past experiences.

Keeping yourself happy in or out of love should perhaps begin with a clarification of your own relationship expectations, your values and a resolve not to “settle” for less, no matter how sweet the promise of loving may be. It must also be conditioned by a healthy dose of self-acceptance and self-love. Loving you, means that you are slow to make decisions which could put your emotional or physical well-being at risk. This should mean really taking your time to get to know a guy before bolting headlong into a relationship.

Celebrating who you are, all by yourself is also a critical factor in securing the love you want. I am not speaking here about vain self-absorption or narcissism but rather a healthy outlook of the self. This may mean journaling and reflecting upon your past relationship issues to make sure there are no more repeat mistakes. It should also include seeking counseling where necessary and splurging on yourself those things you really want instead of depending or waiting on a guy to give them to you. The confident woman who knows who she is and what she wants, is likely to be sexy and attractive to any man worth his salt.

Finally, it is absolutely necessary to believe that you deserve happiness whether you are in or out of a relationship. Being with a man should not define who you are. Ultimately, you must realize that you have it within your power to make the right choices, to secure the happiness you desire.

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