Dear Dude Whisperer,
i’ve got a question. and it’s a burning question for years that i just want to put out. extinguish. be done. I can’t seem to find an answer and i need some help. here’s the deal. i’m a 30’s something professional female who pretty much has her shit together. I have a good job/career, am successful and have a nice home — read: small but well decorated apt :)… I lived it up in my early 20’s, partied a lot, went out a lot, dated a lot. Met lots of nice people, fell in love once, ok twice, but wasn’t able to sustain those relationships. Mainly because there were major differences between me and the partners I’ve had and i felt those differences were too severe to really allow us to be together, long term, over time. I gave one of them 2 years and the other 3.5 years, but it just didn’t work — I wasn’t happy, I wanted more. I wanted a person who was more confident, able to take feedback and give a little to get a little. You know, the whole back and forth thing of compromise.
So, I broke up with both of them and I dated some more, met some other ppl who I also felt super duper excited about, (the whole butterflies thing) but when it came down to being in a relationship, they weren’t able to deliver. For example, one dude (who was exceptionally HOT – i mean like stop you in your tracks hot!) wouldn’t call me for like two weeks even though he considered me his girlfriend, and I just wasn’t into that. It didn’t work for me and when I tried to explain this to him, he agreed to change but things remained the same, so i said see you later to that dude… so let’s fast forward to present day. I meet this dude, who is stable and smart and funny. He and i start dating and i like him. he is a genuinely good, decent, person who treats me well.
but dude, here’s the issue. I’m not head over heels in love with him. i think i love him, it’s been about a few months now. he is a great boyfriend, he is respectful, loves my family, loves me, etc. he does everything right. he tells me he is in love with me and all that jazz. but dude, the thing is, i don’t think i’m in love with him. but do i have to be? i mean, i’ve dated a whole bunch of people. I’ve had some serious relationships that didnt’ work, and some not so serious ones too. dude, i didn’t just arrive on the dating scene yesterday. but i’m tired of dating. i am not scared of being alone, or that i won’t find anyone. i always meet people and dont’ have a hard time getting dates. but dude, enough is enough.
i want to settle down and have a family soon and i dont’ know if i’ll be making the right choice if i stay with him. should i be madly in love with the final dude i choose, or can i just know that he is wonderful, treats me well, and that we are compatible and that is enough? it’s a real struggle for me dude. i dont’ know if i’m being realistic. i mean does that exist? a person you are like madly in love with AND you are compatible with? i don’t know if i’m too stubborn and i want someone perfect or what. like maybe what i’m looking for isn’t there and i need to just deal with what i have.
i don’t know dude, i’m lost and i need your counsel. what do you think? any words of wisdom? tales of truth?
So, the DW’s been friends with this one dude for twenty years. We’ll call him KY – for the state, not the jelly. And in all that time knowing KY only one thing ever caused some serious tension. It was nothing to do with gals, beers, sports, beersports, beergals, politics, or money. It was living together for one semester at college.
The proximity was brutal. It was like living in a warm bag of each others farts. Too much was seen. Too much was heard. Too much was, on purpose or accidentally, shared. By the end of the run the DW felt like drugging KY and giving him an insane forehead tattoo. And this is a dude with whom the DW really, to this day, couldn’t be much better friends. (If you didn’t just click on that last link, btw, reconsider.)
(As an aside, the DW’s solution for the rest of college was to room with this dude we called Scoop who was never around. Still no idea where he went or what he got up to. Nice chap. Bright. Interesting. Big Meat Loaf fan. A little intense. Scoop, if you’re out there, give a shout sometime. The DW’s dying to find out if you’re a bigshot filmmaker or if you killed a dude with an empty bottle of Kiwi Mad Dog. Wouldn’t honestly be surprised either way.)
Anyway, the point is this. Dipsh#t college aged dude or not, living with someone isn’t practical. Living with the same person for the rest of your life is even less practical. Throw in an exclusive intimate relationship, planning major events like weddings and vacations, add in buying houses and cars, having children, potential emergencies and illnesses, in-laws, growing old? Come on. Managing all that with the same person, every day, forever? Really? As a matter of pure practicality, this is an incredibly stupid idea and doomed to failure.
Which is why you need more than pure practicality to see you through. Look, the DW, being a dude, would love to be able to tell you that there is a logical way that you can enter some sort of contract of common sense behavior with this almost perfect dude of yours and you could ride off into some mellow sunset of contented-if-not-excitedness. But a business contract like that won’t work. You need goofiness and irrationality and exuberance and blindness and extreme ability to overrate someone. You need magic.
For instance, if the DW was asked to assess the wifey in terms of pure fact the description would probably look a lot like what a cousin or casual acquaintance might say. The wifey would come across as a pretty great person, but flawed like everyone else and maybe not all that distinguishable from any number of other pretty great, but flawed people. Objectively attractive for sure, but who can quantify how much more or less than other women?
Ah, but you ask the DW to tell you what he really thinks of the wifey? All of a sudden the so-called ‘facts’ mean less to him than they do to Karl Rove. The DW will tell you there’s nobody like her, JT. There just isn’t. She’s the best. She’s the smokin’est. She’s magic in a can, the wifey. The DW does crazy&ssed sh*t like think of her and smile for no reason every day. Seriously, the DW actually understands sh*tty movie dialogue since meeting her, for f#cks sake. You know, all that “You make me want to be a better man,” horseflop? The DW gets it now! All of it! What the f^ck! (Okay, to clarify- the DW gets the sentiment, but not how any of that sh&t doesn’t get edited. Even so- WTF!)
Picture the easiest person to get along with, man or woman, that you’ve ever known. Maybe you could watch the news with that person every day. Maybe talk on the phone. Now picture having that person in the bathroom at seven in the morning tomorrow accidentally bumping into you as they pass, naked, on the way to the shower while you’re trying to brush your teeth. Now picture that every day for a week. A year. Twenty years. Yikes. There is no practical way to cope with that sh*t. You need magic!
Anyway, this is all to say- hold out, babydoll. If you’re not sure about this dude who’s doing everything right, you’re probably not gonna get more sure. What’s he gonna do, get perfect-er? Not to parse words, but when you say things like “he tells me he is in love with me and all that jazz” it belies a certain lack of enthusiasm that’s really hard to work around and talk yourself out of. Since you have the great gift of meeting people easily, the DW suggests you use it. There’s a dude out there who’s gonna spin you like you’ve never been spun. It’s worth waiting for. Trust me.
Here’s to illogical goofy ridiculous thoughts,