9/6/98 Advice Column
However, I think that I am too impatient. When I meet someone new, I immediately fool myself into thinking that it's Mrs. Right and shower that person with affection, only to lose interest slowly over the course of several months. I end up breaking many hearts that way. I find that I am constantly comparing the girl that I'm with other women and then finding faults with them. I think that I subsconsciously tell myself that I can find someone better and won't settle for second best. It's ruining every relationship that I have. I'm not getting any younger so I wish that there was a 'magic pill' that could change my way of thinking.
Your impatience is definitely a problem for you since it leads you to "instant love," overgiving, and burnout of the relationship before you've gotten further along than good sex. The next time you meet someone who seems like a possible, slow down. Don't shower the person with affection, give too many gifts or spend too much time together.
Most of all, though, your self-defeating behaviors come from making comparisons of one woman with another. Sure, each woman you meet will have special qualities, but they won't be the same special qualities that the last woman has. The danger here is that you collect the special qualities of each woman in your life and begin to search for that one woman who has all the great qualities of all the other women -- and you're doomed to failure in that search.
Stop comparing women. Instead, appreciate each one for the unique person she is.
Stop looking for someone perfect and start looking for someone you can live with. Look for someone you can love and rely on, someone you'd trust to raise your children and take care of you if you became ill. Make a list of the qualities that really matter to you. Think in terms of qualities that will last, like kindness, intelligence, being affectionate, nurturing etc., and stop focusing on the superficial attributes like color of eyes, hair, etc.
Realize that you won't find anyone who is better in every single way, just different.
That could be me, except I'm 36 and my boyfriend is 24. I'm also divorced with two children. My boyfriend and I have been dating a year now...at first, I had a real hard time with the age difference, and kept saying the same things to myself as the writer of that letter did. "Will he leave me for a younger woman?" "What could he see in someone 12 years his senior?"
You know what? I finally wised up. You're absolutely right that if it was the other way around, nobody would blink. You hear about older men and younger women all the time. There are no guarantees in life, and if the younger man makes her happy, she should definitely go for it. Life is too short to waste any time worrying about what might happen in the future. I'm just enjoying each day as it comes, and so far it's better every day!
Thanks for the good work. I sure hope she takes your advice.
It's wise to stay in the here and now. (And meanwhile, he's getting older each day, too :)
Thanks for writing,
Get him into an anger management therapy group. Tell him you're concerned, and go to therapy with him if you can't get him to go on his own. Don't marry a man who has a temper problem and think it'll go away. It will only get worse.
Many men control their tempers until they're married and then boom, they think it's okay to lose it because "you're theirs now." And the first thing you know there is more than pushing; there's slapping, punching, hitting and verbal abuse as well.
You both need to find other ways to deal with problems so that your tempers don't get out of control and you don't wind up saying things that you wish you hadn't. You need to learn to fight fair. That means not bringing up the past, dealing only with the issues at hand, not blaming each other, and learning to compromise and reach agreement rather than yelling and hollering. Work it out before you get married -- it's easier to do when you aren't burdened by children, bills, and other problems of living together as man and wife.
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