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As you read this you will probably think of at least one girlfriend or relative who fits the description:  She’s been in a long-term “relationship” with a guy who has mastered the art of being selfish, is pathologically unfaithful and lies to her as if he’s getting reward points for it.  Yet, she continuously clings to the faith that he really is a good person deep down because she’s seen occasional evidence of the stand-up guy he really can be, like that one time he brought her flowers or canceled his plans so that he could babysit…his own kids.

Why do women do this to themselves?  Why do we invest so much time and emotion into men who obviously have no sincere intention in doing the same?  It’s because many of us are convinced that all our tears, pain and struggle through the dark times will eventually lead us to a proverbial light at the end of a tunnel.  We believe that we have the power of epiphany to make a jerk realize that what he’s been waiting for has been standing in front of him all along and thus he will act accordingly to keep it from slipping away.  The fault in this logic is that you have to make sure he’s actually waiting for anything he wants to keep in the first place.

Here’s where most women mess up:  They don’t take what a man says at face value.   If a man tells you he does not want a relationship that is exactly what he means.  Don’t manipulate yourself into hearing, “I don’t want a relationship right now.”  Your time is just as precious as your love, so don’t believe that winning a waiting game will gain you the prize of a good man because he could possibly mean, “I don’t want a relationship with you.”  He’s not playing hard to get and although he very well may have commitment issues that still doesn’t change that he does not want to be with you that way.  The best sex in the world, followed by the most delicious sandwich in the universe is not going to change that.

It’s not a rule that only applies to men.  People change on their own terms and they usually change gradually through time and experience.  You can be influenced to be a better or different person based on the people who come into your life, but ultimately it is each individual’s decision to change in their own time.  I once had a male friend try to convince me that I could change a man and make him stop being promiscuous if I was patient enough.  He insisted that he had met a girl and went from being an obnoxious man-Slore to a born-again considerate boyfriend all because of her.  Six years later and he’s still obnoxious, bored with this girl, but still buying her flowers along with the ones he’s buying for another love interest.  It’s not that I believe that people don’t change, they just change when and how they want to. This means if he’s a romantic at heart, he can try to play the tough role all he wants, eventually the sweet nothings and calls just to hear your voice are going to come shining through. Unfortunately, if mushy mix tapes and flowers “just because” just aren’t his thing, they very well may not ever be.  As much as he may try to compromise, you can’t change who he naturally is as a person.  What you can do is accept who he is, accept the situation for what it is or just move on.

If you don’t already have a strong relationship, complicating the situation with a baby or by moving in together is only going to make the situation worse.  You can’t build a relationship with a man whose happy being a bachelor. If he’s out partying while you’re painting the nursery, chances are he’ll be doing the same when you’re rocking the cradle.  If you’re honest with yourself, there are plenty of men out here looking for someone to settle down with.  Why waste your time chasing someone who doesn’t share your same want for commitment?

I could never understand how women spend years in a relationship that is doing nothing but making them unhappy.  I’ve heard excuses like, “Yeah my man is a jerk, but are there really any good men out there?” “We argue everyday, but the make-up sex is off the chain.”  These remarks are usually made by women who never really understood what a healthy relationship is in the first place.  A healthy relationship isn’t all drama, followed by flowers and great sex.  The truth is the healthiest long term relationships I’ve seen, don’t have a lot of drama at all; they’re actually filled with a lot of movie nights spent on the couch and inside jokes that no one else gets.  Extreme highs and lows wear and tear on a relationship making it fragile, so that when actual tough times do occur the relationship isn’t strong enough to prevail.  Although you may not know if the next relationship you enter into will be successful, you do know if the one you’re in right now makes you unhappy.  Stop holding onto hope, and let it go.

Seriously folks, when a relationship doesn’t work, no matter how hard you try, it’s life’s way of telling you you’re about to screw up your future.  Relationships are work, but not all work.  You shouldn’t have to scheme or manipulate to be successful in a relationship.  It’s important to take an honest look at the person you’re contemplating entering the relationship with and really decide whether you can accept them completely, flaws and all.  When you find the one that’s right for you, you won’t feel the need to change anything but your relationship status.

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