It’s a two way street.

Whenever I have cause to examine a dysfunctional couple, no matter what their age or the source of their dysfunction they share this common trait:

They are both at fault.

This might not seem very prescient at first but when you start to delve just a little deeper it can reveal uncomfortable truths. My most popular podcast to date is the episode where I explain how to marry an adult. The key point is that in order to attract an adult one must first possess similar levels of maturity.

There is an extremely high percentage of the general population that have never grown up. They are children in an adult’s body. The key to this is that this immaturity usually only manifests itself in their close personal relationships. In other words, in most other aspects of their lives they seem to be an adult. They manage to function in an adult world, they seem to be able to behave correctly at work or at your local sports club. It is only when you begin an intimate relationship with one of these people that the truth is revealed.

(Another indicator of someone who has not grown up is an inability to handle their personal finances.)

Very few people do the work on themselves that is required if you want to push past these stages of adult immaturity. They delude themselves into thinking that if they perform adult acts or ceremonies then they have done what is required. The typical ones are buying a house, getting married, and having children. The adult-child performs these actions and convinces himself that he has been bestowed with the coveted title of adulthood. In my late teens and early twenties I had several friends do this and a few of them actually announced to me in a proud way that they were now an adult.

At the time I thought that this was simply ridiculous. Even in my own level of deep immaturity I somehow knew that performing these acts did nothing to bestow maturity or adulthood. It might bestow adult responsibilities but it didn’t also provide the maturity required to manage them. (Another common statement is the one from parents when they declare that having kids teaches you so much. This is very true, if indeed you had serious gaps in your own knowledge.)

In a way these people did me a favor. They caused me to take a completely different path. My journey that I detail in my first book was primarily an effort to become an adult but without doing it by proxy. For a very long time I was against the idea of marriage, not because it is a bad institution but because it does nothing to save people from themselves. When I had the good fortune to meet an adult and marry her I was by that stage an adult myself.

Which was the result of a lot of hard work. My post yesterday on the subject of getting your own house in order took something for granted. It assumes that the reader is also an adult or is on the path to becoming an adult. Regular commenter Allan made a prescient point:

I had the exact opposite reaction to the guy talking about his wife and moving the car. He came across as a serious drama queen to me. For pity sake, she makes an unreasonable request, BFD, unless it’s a pattern. It should be handled quickly, and straight up.

This was in response to a comment from Rollo’s blog that I examined in my post. The commenter in this instance is also on a journey to adulthood but he is juggling that while he is also attempting to work out how to properly handle women, in his case one woman in particular. As he said in the comments, baby steps.

Which brings us back to the theme of this post. It’s a two way street, or it takes two to tango. In other words, if you are in a dysfunctional relationship it indicates that on a certain level you are dysfunctional yourself. On the example of the episode in the car, an adult is just not going to put up with the behavior of either party in that example.

I know a man in his forties who is very good looking and successful and who is able to attract tier one adult women on a semi-regular basis, (I say semi-regular because there aren’t that many of them out there). But his relationships always end quickly. What he doesn’t understand is that it’s not them, it’s him. He is a child in an adult’s body and these quality women are just not going to put up with it. I have also known guys who were mature adults at the age of seventeen. Wise beyond their years. There is no formula to this. In my own case it took me until my mid-thirties to finally grow up.

If you are having problems in these areas you need to ruthlessly examine your own behavior and circumstances. Don’t think of this as something negative to be avoided. Think of it as an opportunity to start making some decent progression in life. Remember; short term pain equates to long term gain and the opposite is just as true. This stuff is never static. I am constantly seeking progress through various aspects of my own life. You also never arrive with this stuff. You keep on doing it until you die.

8 thoughts on “It’s a two way street.

  1. @EhIntellect

    It’s like doing a hard dirty job. A good percentage of the job is getting to the point were you tell yourself, I’m going to do this. The rest is follow through. You seem to have the I’m going to do this part so you’re a good ways down the road.

    Speaking of which I’ve been procrastinating on pulling the motor out of the ranch truck to replace a freeze plug. I’m going to do this… It never stops and that’s the joy of it.

    Good luck to you, I’ve got a dirty job that needs doing.

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  2. Another excellent post, and I touch on this in my book. There are indeed plenty of women out there who have never grown up. I’m sure it is true for men too, but I don’t see as many of them. As I commented here just this morning:

    One of the reasons I am angry at this story is I met a young woman earlier this year who obviously had some personality issues: she was 32 but acted like a teenager, and had obviously never emotionally or psychologically moved on from the time when she railed against her parents for being judgemental and unfair. Unsurprisingly she fell in with a bunch of older men who seemed to have fucked her up any more, and by this point somebody ought to have got her some proper help. Instead she fell in with a bunch of screeching American feminists who have filled her head with all the usual shit, and she remains as messed up as she always was only she’s now fast approaching middle age. I think the number of decent blokes she’s had in her life could be counted on her thumbs. These third-wave feminists need to be tackled head-on.

    What is interesting is there is an inverse to this. I know another woman who in many respects is a complete child, and acts as if she is eight years old half the time. She’s batshit insane on most levels. But beneath all this is a seriously wise head that can see through bullshit a mile off and allow her to make pretty pragmatic decisions and remain committed to those things that matter.

    One of the things I intend to write about are women who say of their single friends “Oh, she needs to meet someone.” No. No, she doesn’t. She needs to address the issues that are keeping her single, meeting a million guys isn’t going to help with that. And yes, I know the same is true for men too.

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    1. Yeah, the old ‘you need to meet someone’ is tragically hilarious. What? You need to meet someone so they can shoulder the burden of your many and varied psychological issues? That sounds like a barrel of laughs. Where do we all sign up?

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  3. EhIntellect

    @Allen

    Nice talking to you too. After reading Adam’s post, albeit before reading your comment, I wrote this at TRM, perhaps channeling your man-of-action spirit:

    Friday evening starts well enough. After the first bottle of wine, the missus melts down, blames me for the sundry usual reasons (trust issues, asshole, mean).

    As she’s lamenting me, I start critically questioning my motives in all this. I’m kinda spacing out for 90 seconds or so, channeling the critical contributors here.

    Q: Am I subconsciously enjoying and masochistically perpetuating this unremitting shit test?

    A: No. This isn’t my idea of fun.

    Q: What’s is my best option now to short term finish her rant and long term drive a lasting impression home, and not burn down the house?

    A: (Channeling Forge} I refuse to leave my house thus I’d rather see her leave and I could sleep in my own bed. I proceed telling her I’m more experienced, better understand the ebb and flow of kids’ lives and adult life, and in general, a better parent, and I’m not keeping score per se.

    She goes ballistic, stomps to the sink, dumps the bottle of wine and her glass. (Channeling Anonymous Reader) I tell her if she’s brings that violent shit back to the table I’m calling the cops. I don’t like her that much, she’s becoming an unwelcome presence in our household.

    She’s bawling in my lap soon enough, profusely apologizing.

    Sex tonight, this morning is o.k.

    I really don’t like her that much now, don’t recall when I last did. There are bigger things, better and more worthwhile reasons than my ego at stake.

    Andy Piggott’s post reminded me of the first time the missus slapped me 23 years ago, otherwise the moment I f@#ked it up. During sex I said something, she “Hollywood” slapped me. My hands were busy, so I just pulled and left. Why I let her back in my life was a BP mistake at the time, but I value my kids now; they aren’t mistakes, and a lot of fun.

    And then a day later she says:

    “When I berate you, I’m appealing to my insecurities. We have a great marriage and I’m ruining it…I’ve never tried to get to know you. I don’t even know who you are.”

    Thanks, Allen, for your well-intentioned and timed ear snap. Lord knows this cad could use one. Weeks ago a TRM commenter requested LTR field reports. Since mine’s in transition, the FR’s (good, bad and ugly) are more useful than a postmortem relationship autopsy.

    P.S. I’m overhauling a ’74 Honda CB 360 now. It was in rough shape: rust in tank and subsequent fuel line parts, electricity issues, engine compression issue. It’s a long-term project and requires patience. Patience is something I can work on.

    Nice rapping at ya.

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    1. Just remember the no drama rule. Do not accept any drama and do not achieve this by creating your own drama. To quote the great Roissy:

      Maintain your state control

      You are an oak tree. You will not be manipulated by crying, yelling, lying, head games, sexual withdrawal, jealousy ploys, pity plays, shit tests, hot/cold/hot/cold, disappearing acts, or guilt trips. She will rain and thunder all around you and you will shelter her until her storm passes. She will not drag you into her chaos or uproot you. When you have mastery over yourself, you will have mastery over her.

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  4. Pingback: How to make relationships work. – Adam Piggott

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