I really dug Honey’s post, When is Enough, Enough, because she touched on a number of points that are relevant to my life. Really, they’re relevant to all daters and LTR folks out there. Here are three points:
Investing in relationships and wasting time. My take here is that all relationships are worthy experiences, and experience is a good thing. It’s a good investment even though you break up, and you’re gonna have breakups. I wrote an extensive post on relationship experience here.
Overlooking bad behavior. I’m certainly guilty of bad behavior in some of my relationships and also overlooking bad behavior and trying to stick it out. I like to think I’m past this now. Generally, I did this because I was comfortable and didn’t want to go find another chick, not because I was worried about the investment level. I believe in the clean break rule, but I also want to caution against breaking away too soon.
People can change. This is what I want to sink my teeth into.
The majority of the time, I agree completely with Honey, if you’re in a bad relationship, one or both of the partners won’t change. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This sucks, but it’s absolutely true, because people are lazy and undisciplined, and once you get comfortable, it’s game over. You’ll keep repeating the same patterns and habits, just like Honey said.
However, it’s worth pointing out that humans are the most adaptable, dynamic creatures on Earth, and that we’re capable of making radical changes in a short amount of time. We have to in order to survive. I want to throw out a few examples of when people change:
- A man has a heart attack. He radically alters his diet and starts going to the gym.
- A single woman with two kids has a sucky job. She finds a better job because she has to support her family.
- A woman finds out her lame BF is cheating on her. She leaves him and gets a better bf.
- An ugly guy has never had a girlfriend and he’s really sad. He gets into social artistry, becomes cooler and more attractive, and gets girlfriends.
- A married couple is going through a rough patch. They have kids. They decide to seek counseling to improve their relationship. It works and the family stays together.
As you can see, people are capable of making changes, but it usually requires extraordinary circumstances to bring about those changes, sometimes even life threatening. I call these extraordinary events change agents, and change agents are a tough way to go about changing your life. I mean, it’s just dumb to wait to have a heart attack before getting motivated to exercise. It’s dumb to wait until a divorce to realize you need to grow your emotional self and your attractiveness. We should be able to get to those point in other ways. But how?
My way was to study and practice social artistry (ie pickup). Pickup is great, because when done properly, it removes your ego, teaches you to be disciplined and embrace hard work, and gives you the tools to criticize yourself and make adjustments. That’s what happens when you approach 1000 women and get rejected 900 times. You become outcome independent and you start to analyze your interactions for flaws and areas to improve. You realize you’re going to make mistakes, it’s all a process of learning, and that you’re going to fuck it up.
I don’t know another system for getting those tools, but I can recommend a) accepting blunt, even harsh, criticism, b) dating a lot for the experience, and c) reading cutting edge advice.
So I do believe that people can change, but it takes a lot of hard work and a willingness to do so.