For a long time, I've written how dating is such a brutal experience. We are judged, dragged through the mud, and hurt in a quest for love (something that many of us don't even know how to get or how it feels).
I told one friend of mine, Jenn, that our 2011 resolution would be: "We will get in to healthy relationships. It's healthy relationships for 2011!"
She responded: "I don't do healthy relationships."
Dating is full of masochists.
Another friend, Anna, friend recently told me she's meeting up with her ex-boyfriend over the holidays.
The scary thing about this meeting is that this guy has dumped my friend four times. So, it doesn't take a genius to figure out how this is going to end up. My friend is intelligent and has plenty of friends. So what would compel her to go right back in to this fire?
I asked her that exact question. Her answer was: "I know it's bad to do this. But I'm a masochist I guess."
But what makes my friend allow herself to be hurt over and over again in dating? The answer is based on low self image.
Anna recently told me that she thought my buddy was cute. In subsequent discussions after I told her I'd see if I could get them together, she spelled out her fears.
First of all, she told me that his ex-girlfriend was a "twig," and she's not built like that. So why would he ever go for her?
Secondly, every time she has a chance to talk to my friend, she shies away. She told me she kind of just clams up.
These aren't new phenomenon. It's tough to talk to people you're into, and many people have a poor self-image, especially when it comes to their body.
The crux of the problem of masochism in this sense is that the person does not feel as though they deserve happiness, success, and to be treated well. Therefore, they go back to the painful situations that they are most comfortable in...and they feel that this is the best they can do.
I have hope for my friend. She can definitely do better than some guy who asks her out whenever he wants to and then dumps her over and over again. I'm not sure if she'll end up hanging out with my buddy, but that's not the issue here.
My friend needs to step away from dating for a while -- not forever -- but for a while. She will never find a healthy relationship with such a poor image of herself. She'll continue to find ways to be hurt, and sell herself short in love.
There are many ways that the dating masochist finds ways to hurt themselves:
- Going for the same jerk
- Knowingly getting in to situations that won't pan out
- Going for someone they know they can't have
- Having many one night stands
- Letting nice guys get away-because they don't think they deserve them
- Comparing themselves unfavorably to others of the same gender
- Accepting terrible situations as a fact of their life
Men are able to find women with poor self-images and they prey upon them. Going from hurtful situation to hurtful situation just continues the cycle.
To break the cycle, the dating masochist must step away and strengthen themselves before re-entering the brutal dating world, and to realize that they do deserve a healthy relationship with a good person. But there are some out there who will argue that no one can get over a situation without facing it. So, instead of walking away, one might suggest that my friend has to get dumped by this guy until she's over it and ready to move on.
What signs have you seen in yourself and your friends that you might be a dating masochist? Do you agree with my cure for dating masochism, or do you think that every situation must be faced to get over it?
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