Monday, September 22, 2014

The Gold Standard

I've been wanting to do this blog for some time, really it has been something that I have wanted to say but I didn't know if I should do it on video or here in this blog.  I really enjoy blogging but sadly the view counts I get here are less than motivational.  Some of my blogs I have spend days working on, this one has been a month of brainstorming and writing and rewriting.  For all of this I might hit 100 views.  Meanwhile I could film myself barking at a tree and get a couple thousand views.  Anyway, I decided that doing this as a blog would be better as I think I might get to emotional doing this story on camera.

For most of my adult life I have had problems with relationships due to holding each woman up to my idea of the Gold Standard.  While, based on a real person, my Gold Standard is more fantasy than reality.  She is the sanitized version cemented in my memory of what a great girlfriend should be.  If I were to meet her again I have no doubt she would not live up to the idealized version of her that I have in my mind.

I was 16 years old and one weekend I decided it was time to get a date.  I had broken up with my girlfriend and after a while I wanted to get back on the horse.  Have you ever heard the old story, ask 100 girls out and one will say yes?  Well that is what I did.  Only in my case it was 117 girls before I got my first yes.  She was 15, and her hair was long, really long.  It went down to her waist.  She had a pretty smile and that sweet southern accent that drives men wild.  

We dated for a while but then broke up, I honestly don't remember why.  Then when I was a senior in High School we ran into each other again and we decided to give it another try.  It is this round that I remember the most about her.  Back then gas was incredibly cheap and one thing we enjoyed was driving to different nearby towns.  That was pretty much our date.  We would drive to a town, then come right back.  

On Valentine's Day I wanted to do something special.  I had the house to myself that night so I bought some groceries and we made a date to cook our own dinner.  Too my surprise, her parents never taught her how to cook, thus leaving me with the cooking detail.  I am not a master chef but I can at least feed myself. If your children don't know how to cook, pretty much count that as failing as a parent.  Every child should know how to take care of themselves before leaving home.  I know how to cook, sew, do my own laundry, ect.  While this may be considered woman's work, I don't believe I should get married when hiring a maid would be so much cheaper.  If I can do these things for myself, then I save even more.

Valentine's Day is also the day we took things too far and we wound up having sex.  This is something I regret to this day.  There is something to be said for saving yourself for marriage and once you start having sex it is very hard to stop.  If I had access to do it again, I would not.  

Around this time is when the Gold Standard cut her hair.  It was her mother's idea.  She went from having beautiful long hair to pixie cut.  I have since found out the hard way that when a woman cuts off her hair it is time to go into full retreat, abandon ship.  You can google the info if you like but essentially a woman cutting of her hair is a tell tale sign of things are about to get really bad.  

There is really only one reason I stayed in the relationship after she cut her hair.  Essentially I did not have the life experience to know any better.  This is why I refer to her as the Gold Standard, all of my fond memories of her come with her long hair.  I managed to block memories of the bad parts of the relationship.  Every time I began to get serious with a lady, I would compare her to the Gold Standard and surprise surprise nobody lived up to it.  I've only been aware of this mistake of mine for the past few months.  

The Gold Standard's parents were the kind of people who went to church every Sunday but the rest of the week you wouldn't even know they were Christians.  Still many of their beliefs I found odd.  For example, in my opinion I should not have to teach my girlfriend what her cycle was about and essentially I introduced her to Midol.  Her parents just let her suffer, thankfully I got the stuff for her.  

After her hair was chopped off she changed.  No longer was she content to be my girlfriend, she began making demands on my time.  I was still in school, and she was not.  I had homework to do, tests to study for, and I had to make time for my guy friends.  None of this was acceptable any longer, she had to be there each day.  So rather than standing firm I gave in and each day after school I drove to pick her up and then at night dropped her back at home.  

At the time I was too young to understand that if you constantly give in to avoid confrontations, nobody will respect you.  As I gave in and granted her more time of my life the worse she treated me.  Despite all this I asked her to marry me.  Sadly this is something that is taught in many families that it is perfectly fine to get married right after high school.  You give a man his high school diploma and now he has the weight of a wife and often children around his neck and all it does is make it harder for him to get ahead.  I'll do a piece on this later but in my opinion a man should not be married until he has put in a few years into his career and is financially secure.

I decided that the Gold Standard should learn how to drive a car, in case she ever needed to in an emergency.  Her parents didn't think she needed that life skill, after all that is what men are for.  So again I did their job for them and began to teach her how to drive.  One day however, she got a ticket.  A ticket that I had to pay.  I was not happy.  So I proceeded to drive her home in which she started throwing a fit.  This escalated me to the point where I finally put my foot down, she was going home and I was going to cool off and I would call her when I calmed down.  

This was the final chapter.  Her mother called and left a message on my machine that she was not happy with how I treated the Gold Standard.  So I drove back over there and humbled myself asking for another chance, at this point the Gold Standard had no reason to respect me as a human being any longer.  About a week later she broke up with me, refused to give back the engagement ring, and even laughed when I told her I still loved her.  

Wow, that was painful to type.  The sanitized version I had come to idealize as the Gold Standard puts the blame on her mother instead of her.  The sanitized version still has her loving me but her parents didn't like me and I chose not to cause a wedge between her and her family.  

What I chose to often ignore when thinking about the Gold Standard is who she went out with next.  I will not go into details but needless to say, I was surprised and disgusted.  The man she dated next was a friend of mine, but never again after that got back to me.  

I tried to Google the Gold Standard to see how she turned out, did she continue down her self destructive path or straighten out?  Did she ever get married?  I did not find any information on her, which I guess is actually a good thing.  I would not want to be in a position that would compel me to save her from her own bad life choices.  

As stated earlier The Gold Standard is more fantasy than reality.  The fantasy has her as always loving, always feminine, always kind, always at my side.  The reality is that she was a person who put her own wants ahead of my needs.  Such as I needed to study to get good grades, she wanted time outside of her house.  I needed quality time with my guy friends to unwind and relax, she wanted me all to herself.  The list goes on and on.  

Since I became self aware of what The Gold Standard was doing to me I have made changes for the better, and my life is so much happier.  It made me realize several truths about dating but possibly the most important one is this:  A bad relationship is worse than being single.  A single man can always be happy, a man who is in a bad relationship is never happy.  

It has also forced me to remember what really works and what doesn't work when it comes to dating and relationships.  First and foremost is to always approach.  It took all day and over 117 girls before one agreed to go out with me.  Not that I intend to repeat that any time soon, but essentially it is a numbers game. Almost everyone can get a date, if they just get over their fear of rejection and start approaching people. Don't give up, even if you get rejection after rejection, keep at it.  

Secondly, it has caused me to re-evaluate my other past relationships and helped me to find common themes when things went sour.  Sometimes the relationships ended because of me, others it was me getting dumped. It however was all valuable life experience that will only help me in the future.  

Third it has helped me realize one of life's most important truths.  My own happiness is the most important thing that I should be focused on.  This is not selfish.  Quite the opposite.  Have you ever been around someone that is happy, they brighten up any room and happiness is contagious.  When you are happy, you feel great and you want to share that happiness with others.  You want to help people, and do nice things for them just for the pleasure of helping.  

Quite the opposite happens when you are miserable.  You bring everyone else down who has the misfortune of being around you.  You typically loathe the people who come over and try to cheer you up.  So I have learned to put my own happiness first.  I stand up straight and hold my head up high.  I have confidence like I haven't had it in years.  

I recently was talking to a friend via Google Chat, we haven't spoke in a year due to me being offline.  I was told how much more assertive I had become.  This person was surprised in the change in me.  

Final point, do you have a past love that you have let become a pedestal?  Is the memory more fact or fiction.  Regardless of who started the break up, the fact remains the two of you parted ways.  It didn't work out.  Quit wishing for what was and instead live in the now with a better future as your goal.  Instead of focusing on sanitized memory of a past loved on, focus on making yourself the best you that you can be and then and only then will you attract the kind of people you want to be involved with.