I’ve had a series of horrible relationships in the past year. Despite my bad luck I decided to open my heart and let someone in. We agreed to be exclusive. I really thought we had a good thing going until I found out that he cheated on me. I was completely blindsided by his behavior because he appeared to be a great guy. He was making plans for our future. He even told me that he was “falling in love with me” and “lucky to be with someone like me.” I’m devastated that I was duped into believing he was something that he wasn’t. This pattern of attracting liars and cheaters makes me question my judgement that I can be so easily fooled into believing someone is a good person when they have a severe moral deficit. Is it something that I’m doing? How am I supposed to trust again?
Blindsided by Bad Boys
Dear Blindsided by Bad Boys,
Bob Marley posed the question best when he asked, “Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?” And that’s the question that we’ll consider. So, you’ve had a string of bad luck. I’m sure it feels overwhelming and frustrating, especially with this last guy who blindsided you. I would be devastated too if I invested and cared about someone and they played with my emotions. I always tell people that you can’t expect everyone to have the same heart as you. At the same time, you can’t expect everyone to have the same moral compass. The shame and blame is on him. Sad to say, there are people masquerading as angels and wrestling with demons. We are surrounded by cops and robbers. The task is to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys, but the line is often blurred. What you can do is take solace in the fact that a person’s bad behavior is only a reflection on their lack of character. It has absolutely nothing to do with you. Lying and cheating are severe character flaws that stem from insecurity and selfishness. Do you not fault yourself for someone else’s character flaws.
I find it interesting that you used the word “boys” to describe the men in your life because that’s exactly what they are. Real men are committed to a relationship and don’t act on impulse for self-gratification. Real men care about their partner’s feelings and how their actions affect the relationship. On the other hand, boys act solely based on primal urges that Sigmund Freud refers to as the “Id.” They are driven by their own needs and desires in the pursuit of pleasure. You’d think that age would bring maturity, but unfortunately some men don’t ever grow up. Many men remain stagnant in this infantile state. I’ve met men in their 40s and 50s that still have the intellectual capacity and emotional intelligence of a 20-something year old. It’s like they’re stuck in the frat boy stage and living in a perpetual college party fantasy world as if they were a character in the movie Animal House.
I was recently discussing the fable “Scorpion and the Frog” with a friend. If you’re not familiar with the story, I’ll give you a summary. The frog agrees to carry the scorpion across the river as long as the scorpion agrees not to sting him. The frog trusts the scorpion and they proceed to cross the river. When they reach the other side the scorpion immediately stings the frog. The frog asks why and the scorpion replies, “because I’m a scorpion.” The lesson is that you can’t expect someone to be something that they’re not. If lying and cheating is in a person’s nature then you can’t expect anything more than that type of behavior.
What you can do is be more aware of words and actions aligning. If the guy tells you that he’s falling in love with you consider if his words are matching with his actions. Are they just meaningless words or is he showing his love for you? Remember, genuine love takes time to cultivate. If it feels too fast, then it probably is. As far as him saying that he’s lucky to have you in his life, I’m certain that he was telling the truth on that one. He was lucky to have you and now unfortunately based on his indiscretions he’s unlucky to lose you.
So, what are you going to do when the bad boys come for you? Be mindful and pay attention to the red flags. Understand that a person’s bad behavior has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. Guard that trusting heart until a person shows that they’re worthy of being in your life.