Most adults try their best to make good decisions in life. We realize that life is a series of choices which eventually results in positive or negative consequences. As careful as we try to be, we sometimes make poor choices and suffer the negative consequences. This is true when standing in front of the refrigerator at midnight trying to talk ourselves out of that pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a stressful day at work. It’s fairly easy to recognize that the better choice than chocolate ice cream at midnight would be a glass of milk or a few grapes. Recognizing the best choice in almost any kind of decision-making process, from deciding on a midnight snack to choosing whether or not to honk at the driver of the truck that cuts us off in traffic, is almost always more difficult under stressful situations. One of the most important, and sometimes stressful, choices women make is choosing who to date. So, if this is such a crucial decision, then why does it appear that some women are blind or desperate when picking their Mr. Right?
Not that everyone chooses poorly. Some women fall in “love at first sight” and this choice leads to a lifetime of happiness. But as statistics surrounding divorce would suggest (it seems to be a 50/50 proposition), some people may make rash, desperate, or blind decisions about who to love, and as a result, have some unhappy trails to navigate. If we all recognized the “warning signs” that trouble looms ahead in a relationship, why would we continue down that bumpy road? The answer might be that love is blind (and or desperate). We just love everything about our new boyfriend. We love his sense of humor, his good looks, his taste in music, and the way he makes us feel like the only woman in the room. Our family and friends just hate our new boyfriend. They dislike his cockiness, his lack of filters, and the way he makes them feel like they are not even IN the room. Many times, our family and friends care so much about hurting our feelings that they never share their concerns until after the eventual breakup. “We never really liked him,” is the first phrase out of their mouths once we break the news to them that Mr. Right was really Mr. Wrong. Maybe Mr. Right looked so much better to us than to everyone else because we were lonely, stressed, emotionally vulnerable, or because he looked like Ryan Reynolds and the sex was so good that it trumped all of the red flags. Some women may recognize the red flags, but think that they can live with the warning signs or change the undesirable behaviors. So, in this example, love is not only blind, it is also desperate. Desperation can stem from poor self-esteem or lack of confidence or hope that someone else is out there for us, that really is a Mr. Right, versus a Mr. Right Now.
While family and friends are often on target with their opinions about boyfriends, they may not always be right. And sometimes they may be biased by beliefs or values that we do not mutually share. They may not like our new boyfriend because of cultural, ethnic, or religious differences, or because he doesn’t fit into their social circle. Everyone has opinions. Sometimes they share them with us and sometimes they hold them in, but the ultimate choice on who to date is ours. Trusting in our ability to make clear and thoughtful dating decisions depends more on our own emotional health and past dating experiences, and less on someone else’s opinion of who we should date. Life is full of choices and we can choose to sleep with Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, or the dog.
Merry Christmas! Here is to choosing wisely this Christmas on which boyfriend to unwrap for the holidays!