Good Idea or Bad Idea? Waiting For A Man To Change His Mind About Committing To You
They say “slow and steady wins the race”. Given enough time — with persistence and the power of incremental action — you can beat anyone, in any race.
Of course those sorts of statements are meant to drum up images of a New York City Marathoner slowly outlasting everyone on the trail until he eventually wins first place. However, when it comes to relationships, the endurance of an Olympic marathon runner has nothing on these girls who are willing to wait it out in pursuit of a particular man’s affection.
You know the kind. They’re the Carrie Bradshaws who blush with pride when announcing their Mr. Big has decided to marry them after ten years, two wives and countless cold-hearted actions. Their relationship is the stuff chick-flicks are made of: boy meets girl, boy shows interest in girl, boy likes girl for five minutes, boy loses interest in girl, girl waits around for fifteen years, boy comes back to girl, boy and girl live happily ever after.
It’s not just movies though. This stuff happens in real life! I know a girl who was infatuated with a guy when we were juniors in college. He wasn’t interested in titles because he was more interested in bedding girls all over campus. He seemed to like her, but then again he seemed to like every girl on two legs. Instead of showing any self-respect by leaving him alone, she waited. And waited. And waited. After college, when he finally decided to be her boyfriend, unbeknownst to her, he also decided to be someone else’s boyfriend. When Girlfriend #2 found out, she unceremoniously dumped him. Girlfriend #1 found out at the same time, but she didn’t dump him. No way, she felt she’d won! After all the girls he had been with “at the same damn time”, she was finally the last woman standing. Now, they’re married.
In some ways, I am happy for her. She got who she wanted. In other ways though, I wonder if that’s a real prize. It’s kind of like the show “Let’s Make A Deal” when the contestant chooses Door #3 and it’s a lifetime supply of dog food.
Seriously, how can she trust him going forward when they have that kind of history? He showed a callous lack of respect for her feelings for years. Now, all of the sudden they’re in love? I only wonder about that now, because I think about all of the times I didn’t wait on a guy to come around and I used to wonder if waiting would have done me any good. For longer than I care to admit, I dealt with my share of ambivalent men who refused to be with me and refused to let me go. I would eventually wise up and hightail it out of his life, but later I would wonder What if I would have waited just a little bit longer? Would he have changed his ways? Would I have ever been the last woman standing or would he have continued to add to his roster thus continuously forcing me to share the court?
I know a couple of girls who have been dealing with the same inexcusable mess from a guy for years. Does that end? Does he eventually look around and say, “You know what? Womanizing is fun but Alissa has been with me through all of my whoring, so I think I’m going to leave these other chicks alone, marry her and begin being faithful to her from now on.”? Or would I have waited around for ten years only to have him leave me at the altar?
On this topic, writer Natalie Lue says:
Waiting around for someone to make up their mind about you, to dignify you with contact, a relationship, decency, a change of self or whatever, devalues you. If you’ve been living your life in limbo waiting around, you’re breaking a fundamental personal boundary that will erode at your self-esteem.
I’m inclined to agree with her, but then I wonder about the women who wait and it turns out well for them. They were in love with a guy and he finally came around. In the best cases, he’s done it while she has some good years left. In the worst cases, well, at least she’s still breathing. Are these women onto something? Have they figured out that the best way to get with the guy you want is to wait around until every other woman bows out of the race?
It just seems too risky. There’s a risk that he has lost all respect and will merely use the girl as a placeholder until he decides to wife a random woman whom he respects because she didn’t put up with his trash. There’s a risk that he will never come around and instead will end up being the sixty-year-old man in the club, grossing out 19-year-olds with his immature behavior. There’s the risk that the girl will get a clue in a decade or two and wake up trapped in a loveless marriage (or long-term dating relationship) held together by three kids. There’s also the risk that, if she leaves him early on, she will never meet someone whom she loves more than him.
Benjamin Franklin once said that energy and persistence conquer all things, but can they conquer an unbalanced psuedo-relationship and morph it into lasting love? I’m not convinced, but what do you think?