A few months ago I had a friend who was terrified to start a new relationship. He had been through some tough times of women taking advantage of him, women playing with his emotions and women being downright bitches to him. He was seeing a very sweet, genuine girl, and yet, his fear of repeating a past relationship was seriously holding him back.
I just wanted to shake him. Here he is, with an actual good girl in front of him and he’s about to blow it because he’s had a rough past. No matter what I said, I just couldn’t get through to him. I told him she was sweet. Yeah but… I told him that she was the real deal. Yeah but… I told him that he’d probably regret it if he blew this. Yeah but… Ugh! I was frustrated. He had a million excuses to what “might” happen and why it “might” not work out. He had already built up in his head some elaborate story of heartbreak and betrayal and they hadn’t even been out on their second date. I knew I wouldn’t get through to him with my normal psychobabble about having to trust and let go, so I finally just asked him:
Do you like apples?
I asked, do you like apples?
Ok, how do you get them?
Ummmm, I go to the store and get them.
What do you mean how? I go to the store and –
How do you pick out your apples?
I pick them up, make sure they’re ok, and then put them into my basket.
No I’m not. So you go and pick up the apples, even though they might be bruised or spoiled, you still pick them up and check.
Would you ever go to the store and not get apples because you’re afraid they might be bruised?
THEN WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU NOT GO OUT WITH A GIRL BECAUSE YOU’RE AFRAID SHE MIGHT NOT WORK OUT?????
But – I – ok.
Girls are like apples. Yeah, sure, some of us might be rotten. Some of us might be bruised. But you have to pick through the bad ones to get to the good ones. Why? Um, because the good ones are worth it. And delicious.
So here comes the hard part…knowing what you want. Sure, it’s easy to pick a Golden Delicious or Granny Smith (I’m quite partial to Fuji). Why is it easy? Because you know what you want. You know what you like. It’s funny, because for some reason, we can hammer down exactly what we want in our fruits but when it comes to relationships, we really can’t figure out what the hell we want. That’s why we end up in bad relationships. Because we don’t tell ourselves what we want (or what we don’t want for that matter) and therefore try adjusting our wants and needs once we get into a relationship rather than realizing them before we get into a relationship. Yes, we need to approach the produce. Yes, we need to pick it up, look for the bruises, and then, we need to put down the bad apples and move on to the good ones!
My friend was in some bad relationships. But half of his fear wasn’t just finding a bad relationship, but getting stuck in it. He knew what it was like to get stuck with a bad apple for years. So here’s my exercise for you. I’ve seen this exercise before, but now, I want my nerds to dive right in. Write down what you want in a relationship. Then, write down what you don’t want in a relationship. Be real with yourself. And don’t just write down a bunch of physical stuff. Say, you couldn’t be with a girl who wasn’t cool with the amount of video games you play. Write it down. And then dump the snob that scoffs at the amount of gaming you do (even if she is a hot blonde). Once you get it all down, hide that piece of paper somewhere where you won’t lose it. Easy enough, huh?
THEN, go out, look for some apples, and when you think you’ve found one worthy, go back to your relationship check list. Does she have what you want? What you don’t want? Are you settling because she’s pretty and said yes to a few dates? Or does she really have what you truly want? I promise you, when you go into a relationship already knowing exactly what you want, you’re 100 times more likely to get exactly what you need.