The danger of buts.

As a side note: This one took some contemplating and self-reflection before writing it out. I mostly wrote with my younger self in my mind, and it’s hard for me where I’m at now to be understanding of that girl and not want to strangle her a little bit. Some of the following words may sound pretty harsh,but realize I’m not preaching at you, I’m symbolically attempting to knock some sense into the old me. Ahem.

I remember, after my first heartbreak, all the excuses I made myself believe. Actually, the whole time I was in the relationship I filled my head with excuses. I tried so hard convincing myself that the wrong relationship I was in was right, that I even convinced my reasonable, rational best friend of the same. “Well, I mean, if you love each other and you’re happy together than maybe it is okay…” she finally told me on the phone one night, with a hint of doubt still resonating in her voice. I don’t want to get too into it, but the relationship I was in was never okay. I had watched too many movies that said it could be, and built too many defense mechanisms that couldn’t be easily destroyed. I’ve seen one too many of my friends do the same. It’s a dangerous game to play, because while I was out there building defense mechanisms and watching cheesy love films, I was letting other opportunities pass me by. By lying to myself, I was keeping myself from moving on and was wasting time with my list of reasons why. Here is,in my experience, all of the “buts” that became the easiest to fall for:

  • “But he’s broke/still growing up/ busy/ confused/caught in a bind/etc/but he’ll come around.” Have you read the book, “He’s just not that into you.”? If a dude is truly cares for you, you’ll know it. There will be no excuses. I hear that my hubby used to have stints where he was quite the immature asshole. He drank too much and partied too hard. He skipped work on a regular basis. He would stay at home for days doing nothing but playing video games, not responding or talking to anyone. There were random hookups and nights he doesn’t remember. However, whenever he has found a girl he’s cared for, I know he’s at least somewhat attempted to clean his act up. With me, it was a complete 180. He hasn’t skipped work in over a year now. I have to practically force him to come out to any crazy party with me. He’s curbed his video game addiction down to one game on his phone, allowing me to cuddle with him as he plays. Sure, he has grown up, but his growing up is partly because he found someone he thought was worth growing up for (me! ha.).  The stories I’ve heard over the years make me wonder how he could even be the same guy. I’ve very rarely seen any of these sides to Robby, and when I have seen tiny glimpses, he’s known for damn sure it’s not acceptable. And he’s fixed it,immediately. If a guy likes you enough,he will straighten his shit without you asking, and he will do it quickly. You should never have to spend your time making up excuses or waiting for him to change.
  • “But he loves me/I love him.” Whether you “love” the other or not really isn’t the question. That word is about to start an eye-roll reflex in me because it’s so often a validation for every mistake a girl ever makes. Here is what I should have been asking myself: Is the relationship hurting others? Do my family and friends like him? Does he treat me right? Do I trust him? Is our relationship built on mutual respect? Am I miserable because of the relationship I have with him? Considering all of the answers would have been no except for the last, love seems pretty damn irrelevant,eh?
  • “But he knows my secrets/likes/dislikes/friends/inside jokes.”  Yes, well, your mom probably does too. Would you date her? And believe it or not, There is another guy out there who can know those same things without using them against you.
  • But he’ll be settling with whoever he ends up with.”  I’ve learned this is one of the most dangerous lines to sell yourself because the “Shoulda been me” attitude leaves you with a residual longing and wishing for what could have been. I’ve never heard of a guy saying, “Oh. Well, the last girl I was with was way better, but I think I want to settle and spend the rest of my entire life with her instead!”  Smart,decent men (and if he’s not smart and decent, why be with him anyway?) usually marry someone because they think they have found their ideal and most suitable relationship partner. There are,of course, exceptions to everything. (ie pregnancy,etc) In the case that he is settling, that’s really beside the point because he’s still with her and not with you. Playing her vs. me is an unhealthy game of compare and contrast that is only hurting yourself. 

Have you given yourself lies/excuses/reasons/buts to stay in a useless relationship? Can I be nosy and ask what they are?

30 thoughts on “The danger of buts.

  1. I have to disagree with your last point. Not everyone gets married because they found their ideal life partner. A LOT of people settle, including my ex, who’s getting married in a couple of months. And I’m not convincing myself that he’s settling, I have evidence to support that 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Yeah,that’s why I said “tend to” because I do think that,as with most things,there are exceptions. Pregnancy is one huge exception,for instance,and I can think of a few others….but i still don’t think that thinking in terms of ‘settling’ is a healthy mind frame to get into, at least not in my case. thanks for the comment! i edited it in order to get my point across more thoroughly.

      • Oh yeah, I totally agree…it’s an unhealthy mindset to get into regardless of whether or not the person is actually settling. You made great points throughout the rest of the entry, just felt I had to comment on the last one…maybe because it hits close to home :\ Haha

      • i totally understand. and i’m really glad you did comment what you did, actually. because i was just thinking mostly of me at a younger age, i was only thinking in terms of my mistakes and didn’t at all make the point that i wanted to. my blog would have been forever errored if you wouldn’t have corrected me! lol.
        and i’m sorry about your ex. i know how tough stuff like that is. : /

  2. BUT what if I quit settling for losers just because they paid some attention to me for .5 seconds?!?

    I love “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken”

  3. 1. but if he just stops doing drugs, he’ll go back to who he used to be.
    2. but that girls lying, shes not really pregnant with his kid.
    3. but I wont be able to pay the bills without him … (wait, he doesnt pay for anything as it is)
    4. but i’ll be lonely.

    Wish i’d known then, that i’d be happier alone and not lonely now.

  4. Glad you’ve learned it so early on. Some women never do.
    Unfortunately I can’t contribute more then this, because I have been single since my teenage years. For a couple of reasons but also because I never made these kind of excuses for a guy. If he hadn’t anything to offer I wasn’t interested.

  5. Sometimes it is about timing, rather than the person. You could be with the ‘right’ person but if you yourself are not ready for it then it won’t work. When you are ready for commitment then that person could be long gone! I find as long a she can make pancakes then I’m happy.

  6. Meg says:

    He’s just not into you is SO TRUE. I read it. I felt like the biggest loser for buying it haha the sales clerk was like “He’s just not that into you, huh?” hahaha

    also, you are very right.

    I haven’t made excuses for being in a bad relationship.I haven’t had a super bad one actually. I’ve had ones that weren’t right though. When hayden and I first started dating, i noticed some things that kinda made me think, he’s not THAT into me! haha Like me coming over to hang out for an hour and he doesn’t put his video game controller down. (I was pissed) The weird thing was though, I knew that meant the didnt’ care about me that much, but at the same time it wasn’t a good enough reason to break up with someone! hah especially cuz it was so early in the relationship. In those cases you’re doomed. It’s like oh i really like him, but he doesn’t like me as much, but I can’t say, I’m breaking up with you because Friday night you played your video game instead of talk to me =P

    I completely, 100% agree with all those points however.


  7. I must admit I am guilty of this as well. I was quite smitten with my last high school boyfriend, even though he was completely wrong for me. I half think I dated him simply because I knew it would annoy the crap out of my parents. He was a musician, DJ’d at a radio station, had long hair, smoked, and generally had a huge bone to pick with society.

    I don’t know why I liked him so much, but I did. My previous boyfriend was a huge jock, so this guy was a completely different path. I saw a lot of potential in him, which is why I stupidly stayed. He would always ask why I was with him, because, in his own words, “I could do so much better than him”. My idiot seventeen-year old self thought that was romantic.

    The first sign that this was a bad relationship was when I went on vacation with my parents for a week. Ater getting back, I happily presented him with a souveiner (sp)? I had bought for him. He then guiltily informed me that he had cheated on me, and blamed it on being drunk. Instead of kicking him to the curb, I took him back after a week.

    He tried to clean up his act, but he simply wasn’t in a place in his life where he was able to commit to that. The final straw for me came when we had a Saturday afternoon/evening date. I had turned down plans with my friends to see him, but he never came. About six hours after he was supposed to pick me up, he called. His excuse? “I was driving, and decided to see where this road I had never been on took me”. He spent the rest of the day aimlessly driving around.

    It was then that I realized that the relationship was completely doomed, and that as much as I loved him, I would no longer allow him to treat me this way. I remember exactly what I said to him: “You know, you keep asking me over and over why I am with you, because I could do so much better. I have finally decided that I agree with you. It’s over”. Then I hung up on him.

    I made the decision after that to stand on my own until I found a truly decent guy. As fate would have it, five days later I met the hubby at a party. That was almost nineteen years ago, and with a baby now on the way, I’d say I definitely made the right choice!

    I don’t regret dating this guy now, even though I did for awhile. He did eventually turn out ok, went to college, got a good job, got married and had a kid. I still see him from time to time, and I’m happy that he is happy. He did have a lot of potential, I always knew he did. I just didn’t have the years it would take for him to realize it. Sometimes I want to go back and kick that younger version of myself for putting up with his crap, but I think I learned a valuable lesson. I learned what my limits were, and what behavior was acceptable. More importantly, I don’t think I would have initially appreciated the hubby, or recognized his wonderful traits, if I hadn’t been treated so badly. Bad relationships, as horrible and painful as they can be, are also wonderful learning experiences. You just have to be willing to learn the lesson, and not repeat mistakes!

    • thank-you for sharing this with me! and i can relate SO much that it’s almost uncanny haha. i found my husband only a month after my first heartbreak. i know for a fact that if it hadn’t been for the last guy, i wouldn’t be where i’m at with my hubby now. i wouldn’t have realized how good i had it or how rare finding a man like him is. i couldn’t agree with this more. still, because my decisions hurt others too, including my family, i still would like to strangle my younger self a little bit. but it’s because of all of that that i’m able to write with the bit of knowledge i have today, and i wouldn’t take any of it back if i could.
      ps: you had me hooked when reading this, i almost think you should be an author. friends were around me trying to get my attention but i was completely engrossed in reading your comment haha. 🙂

  8. This was a very timely piece! I feel like, sometimes when I decide not to be with someone, I end up in a heated battle of my head vs. my heart. Or in other words, my head knowing it’s a bad idea but my heart being addicted to all those happy love chemicals.

  9. It can be much more difficult once children are involved – when a lot of women really can not “afford” to leave the relationship.

    A few years ago a friend wanted me to meet her new boyfriend so we went out to dinner. I thought he was pretty ordinary and when she asked what I thought of him it was awkward as I didn’t want to say anything *really* negative as she was so happy with him. I think if I’d told her what I really thought our friendship would’ve suffered – I dropped little hints but she would blow them off with excuses. Eventually he did break her heart by running off with someone he met online.

    • agreed. i’ve actually experienced this (secondhand or caught in the middle or witnessing) a few times in one way or another, though i have no kids of my own. it’s very true and sad and it makes leaving about so much more than yourself. i can’t even imagine what i’d do:/

  10. Had a good day with Pete in the hospital today. He moves his suheldors and arms often and it’s promising to see this quick after the accident. Whats even more promising is we were lucky enough to be charmed with some Pete humor tonight. Even without the ability to speak he can still make you laugh. When we told him we had to leave he mouthed wait then followed with walk now . A little too soon for that buddy but yeah- you’re damn right you’re going to walk again. Love ya Uncle Pete. Stay strong.

  11. The very heart of your writing while airpaepng reasonable at first, did not settle perfectly with me after some time. Somewhere throughout the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer but only for a while. I still have a problem with your leaps in logic and one might do well to help fill in those breaks. In the event that you can accomplish that, I will undoubtedly end up being fascinated.

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