It must be frustrating hearing certain ‘truths’ or phrases about dating and relationships, especially if you know better. Here are four such phrases that I call bullsh*t on, especially on behalf of divorced women.
Nice guys finish last: If I had a nickel for every time I had a male client tell me that his wife left him because he was too nice, I would have at least $2.00. That is 40 nickels if you’re counting. The phrase ‘nice guys finish last’ is as etched in our dating lexicon as ‘one night stand’ and ‘should I stay over?’ The reality is nice guys do not finish last, timid guys do. Women want nice, confident men that will be decisive, proactive, and spontaneous. This is the opposite of timid. Margaret did not leave Tim because he was nice, she left him because he had no backbone. Terri needed a man that was going to take the initiative in the bedroom and Frank just didn’t fit the bill.
Having children will make your relationship whole or bring it back to life: When the physical, intellectual and emotional intimacies have been put out to pasture, having a child can sometimes be seen as relationship rehab. This is an unhealthy mindset to say that least. If two people cannot communicate or have lost a physical spark, having a child cannot resuscitate these things. I have seen situations where a couple can be happy when a child comes along but their happiness is directed specifically at what the child brings instead of what the couple brings to each other.
There are two certainties for couples who have children in an attempt to save their marriage.
- The stress that comes from having a child will compound the already existing stress that existed as a result of the rocky marriage. Children are lovely and innocent and playful but they are still a handful no matter how you slice it.
- The child becomes the focal point in the marriage. The relationship was not strong before the child and those cracks will not go away just because the child was born. Now, instead of taking the time to have the tough conversations and confronting the true issues, all of that energy is directed at the child.
Love conquers all: Monica really loves Damon. He was the thoughtful, intelligent and providing man she always dreamt of marrying. They have known each other 21 years, married for 19, divorced for 2. Monica never saw herself leaving Damon. They rarely fought, he was neither a cheater nor an abuser, they had lovely children and a model family portrait to those in their neighborhood. In fact, they had everything except the one thing Monica craved, chemistry. So leave him, she did. Because, as Patty Smyth and Don Henley sang in the song of the same name, sometimes love just aint enough. This was certainly true for Monica and a lot of women who seek more than a picket fence and a goodnight kiss. Love does not conquer all, it can sometimes fall short of a fulfilling marriage.
Marriage changes people at the core: We often think we can change people. Dominic has always been a bit arrogant and abrasive but once he married Melody, he will really change those aspects of him. And so Melody thought. The first couple of years, she was right and she was happy. “Just look at who Dominic has become since we’ve been married”, she said. Well, they are now divorced and she doesn’t understand what happened. “How could a man go from abrasive to gentle right back to abrasive? What did I do to deserve this?” You did nothing Melody, except perhaps expect that marriage would change who Dominic was at the core. People do not change without 1) a self-desire to change; 2) a string of negative consequences that drive the change and 3) the ability to see the positive side of changing. This takes time and strong self-awareness.