Why You Shouldn’t Give Up On Love –

Love hurts.

Love stinks.

Love sucks.

…No, it doesn’t.

Being betrayed, cheated on, lied to, broken up with, thinking someone is different than they are – those things all suck. Love, does not.

Our generation has a considerably difficult time finding love. As I have discussed before, instant gratification and a culture that is seemingly valuing monogamy less and less is making many of us question if there really are any good people left who want the same things we do. It tends to be that effort put into a relationship ends up being one-sided, and those on the giving end repeatedly seem to associate the disappointment with the emotion of love itself.

Heartache is natural. Failed relationships are natural. And often times, associating the pain of heartbreak with relationships themselves, is also natural. But this is to fall into the trap of just assuming that putting yourself out there will always eventually mean getting hurt. And, sadly, this is very often true.

So then, what is the point? If a relationship is just going to end and cause you pain, why enter into it in the first place? Would it not be smarter to stay closed off and eliminate all risk?

Consider for a moment going to see a movie, hearing a symphony, reading a book, or enjoying a nice dinner. We enter into all of these experiences with the clear knowledge that they have an end – yet we still crave them. Why?

Because they bring beauty to our lives. They open our minds and our hearts and add another layer to us as human beings. To refuse the experience because it will eventually end is to rob yourself of all of the good that it brings.

The same goes for relationships. To build walls around our hearts is to, possibly, keep out pain. But it will also very likely keep out happiness. When we make our best attempts to protect ourselves from people who may hurt us we also fail to let them get far enough to determine if they may actually make us happy.

We need to experience this heartbreak because it opens our eyes to what we do and don’t want in a future partner. We need to allow ourselves to be (somewhat) emotionally vulnerable because that is how we form a bond with someone. A connection that cannot be forged through a wall of armor. It is a risk, but without it, there is no reward.

Love is one of the strongest driving forces for humanity. We pursue it and crave it from family, friends, and significant others. It is what attaches us to other humans on the deepest level. This is not because it hurts. This is because it lifts us up and makes us feel invincible. Like we want to be the best versions of ourselves and bring happiness to the life of another.

Do not confuse love with betrayal or being hurt. That is the end of a temporary infatuation that was masquerading as love.

The ‘dating game’ is akin to playing the lottery. You may have to lose quite a bit before you actually win – but winning itself is impossible if you never play. We may spend years with the wrong people. We may spend months giving someone a chance who ends up walking away. We may spend much of our lives wondering if the person who appreciates us is really out there – but we must realize that no relationship is ever a waste of time. If it did not bring us what we wanted, it helped teach us what we did not want.

When we finally do make it through the forest and into the clearing where the right person is waiting, we will proudly say it was all worthwhile.

Minimize the pain you feel by not giving away too much of yourself emotionally too soon. Love is not an overnight occurrence. It is not a word to be thrown around with people you just met. It is something that builds over time and bonds people together. If we let it.

“It is a risk to love. What if it doesn’t work out? Ah, but what if it does?”

– Peter McWilliams


Originally appeared at JamesMSama.com

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Photo: Flickr/Thomas Leuthard


5 Ways to Avoid Becoming A So-Called ‘Nice Guy’ –

 Jordan Gray offers tips and strategies to help you avoid being a manipulator in your relationships.

Let’s end this whole “nice guys” myth once and for all…

The term “nice guy” has been thrown around in popular culture a lot lately. A quote unquote “nice guy” is actually a first class manipulator.

(I was going to link to an Urban Dictionary definition of a nice guy here, but I found out that they have over TEN pages of definitions submitted by active/recovering nice guys and it was all a bit too depressing)

Women don’t have an aversion away from truly nice guys… they have an aversion to passive, manipulative liars (just like – surprise, surprise – all humans do!).

People respond positively to others that have a strong sense of identity, solid morals, and strong personal boundaries (all things that “nice guys” are lacking in).

The fact that terms like “nice guy” and “friend zone” are still being thrown around at all these days speaks to an underlying culture of female biased sexism, but that’s a topic for another article.

Nice Guys, Jerks, And Strong-Minded Men

One of the nice guys’ favourite fall back arguments is that “Women say that they want a nice guy, but what they actually want is a jerk”.

Oh, my friend, if only it was that simple. Kidding! It’s even simpler than that.

Women (aka people) don’t like being lied to. Plus they’re generally a LOT more socially intelligent than guys are so even if you think you’re being extra sneaky your intentions have been noted before you’ve even fully formed your first thought.

Nice guys = passive, manipulative liars who attempt to trade niceness for intimate relationships/sex. Most men are hopelessly transparent with their intentions with women, but nice guys really take it to the next level.

Jerks = assertive/aggressive suitors that share more character traits with a strong-minded option than nice guys.

Strong-Minded Man = an assertive, strong-willed person who is unapologetically forthcoming with his desire, and is ready and willing to take no for an answer without resorting to manipulation or douche-baggery.

So reading through the three descriptions, doesn’t it become clear that the nice guy option is a dead last?

If you are a man reading this article, imagine all of those descriptions again but picturing a woman. #1, a girl that you are not attracted to in the slightest who keeps trying to convince you to like her by being extra-super-duper nice. #2, a girl that isn’t necessarily your ideal woman, and is a little rough around the edges, but you feel magnetically sexually attracted to her for some reason (even though you probably wouldn’t bring her home to meet your parents). #3, a woman with clear morals and boundaries, has a voracious sexual appetite and has no problem initiating sex with you but will turn it down when she isn’t feeling it, and doesn’t push you to do things that you’re not comfortable with.

Unless you’ve got some intimacy issues, narcissism, or low self-esteem a-brewin’ within the chaos of your mind, you would most likely be attracted to #3, followed by #2, and then by #1 in a distant last place. And guess what? That’s what women respond to, too. Hooray, we’re all humans and there’s no distinguishable differences in our attraction process when it comes to not enjoying being lied to!

Bottom line, you are either attractive to someone or you are not. If you find yourself having a really tough time getting into a relationship, then it’s probably something you should get looked at. Whether it’s an unconscious pattern of driving people away, fearing vulnerability, or just not having your life sorted out, there are many steps you can take to become more attractive as a partner to your gender of choice.

On to the good stuff…

If your inner child (nice guy) still rears its ugly head on occasion (everyone’s does in certain situations) here are five things you can do to make sure that you’re not being a manipulator in your intimate relationships.


1. Sexual Manipulation

According to society, if a woman wants to have sex with someone she can be labelled as a slut.  If she doesn’t want to have sex with someone she can be labelled as a prude or a bitch (often by “nice guys”). In either situation, cultural conditioning is attempting to control a woman’s sexuality.

Blaming her for not wanting to sleep with you (at any stage of the relationship) is manipulative.  If she doesn’t like you and you aren’t a couple, have some self-respect and move on.

2. Holding Back From Expressing Your Desires

Doing nice things for her and then getting frustrated when you don’t get what you felt entitled to (affection, intimacy, sex, etc.) is calculated and deceiving. Don’t.

If you want something, have the courage to ask for it. Otherwise, you might not be mature enough to deserve it yet.

3. Being Unable To Hear No

One side of mature boundary-setting is being able to express your desires and have opinions about things. The other side is being able to hear no from others. Being whiny when she says no to you (for affection, intimacy, sex, etc.) is a child-like behavior.

If you hear no, it means no. Just like jealousy has the opposite effect in a relationship than the partner intends it to have, the same process occurs with trying to convince someone away from their preferences.

4. Pre-Loading

Have you ever done things for her to use as ammunition later on?

In other words, you knew you wanted sex on a certain night and so you did a ton of nice things for her all week to (in your mind) guarantee sex on the night that you wanted it to happen.

While there’s nothing wrong with doing romantic things for your partner, if your intention is a manipulative one, they will pick up on it. I don’t say this hyperbolically… your intentions will clearly show themselves in your actions. The expectant energy in your eye contact… the overly eager angle of your stance as you stand next to her… I could go on. Trust me, she’ll feel it. So don’t do it.

5. Being Avoidant Of Confrontation

Manipulative people avoid telling others when they disagree with them. They do this to keep things as kosher as possible on a surface level. They go to great lengths to avoid rocking the boat.

If there’s nothing that they’ve ever seemingly done wrong, they can never be ‘called’ on anything. They always need to be in the right.

If you disagree with your partner, let them know. Women are not attracted to a man who lets his own values or personal needs slide in order to take care of her.  Occasionally, sure.  But as a way of being?  Yuck.  How can she trust you if you don’t even respect yourself and your own needs?


The Process Of Becoming Comfortable With Mature Masculinity

Nice guys, generally, are not the best judges of other people’s needs (because they don’t fully understand or acknowledge their own).

Do you see any of the above five trends showing up in your relationships?  Do they all make absolute sense to you?  Let’s talk about them in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also love reading:

7 Things All Women Need In A Relationship

10 Questions To Ask To Go Deep In Your Relationship

The One Thing To Remember When You’re Dealing With Any Person, Ever

Originally appeared at JordanGrayConsulting.com


Photo: Flickr/Samuel David Rhinehart