In the past three weeks I've had more than a few conversations with women currently dating difficult men (note: I'm trying to use "women" and "men" vs. "girls" and "guys" because most of the people I refer to are almost 30...). They don't text back. They don't keep plans. They treat them differently in private than they do in public. It's the typical list of grievances against lack-luster dudes.
I always meet these complaints with the same response, "so then why are you still dating him?"
To which I tend to get one of the following reactions:
- We have this amazing, amazing sex. Like I've never, ever had before. That must mean something, right?
- Because when he's good, we're really good. He gets me, and that's hard to find.
- All guys have issues, right? It's not like I'm going to find some perfect man out there. My situation isn't any worse than any of my friends.
- If you're in a relationship exclusively for the sex then you're getting what you deserve.
- Does he really "get you" if he frustrates you at every turn?
- Not all guys have those issues, and you obviously need some new friends.
Which is how I got to the question in the title of this post: If you had a daughter, would you want her to date your boyfriend?
We often get the, "how would your mother feel about this guy?" or, "is this guy someone you'd be willing to introduce to your Mom?" But I understand that some people have challenged relationships with their parents, plus some people's parents aren't exactly the best role model for relationships.
This exercise isn't about your mother; it's about you as a mother.
Someday you may have a daughter, and I promise (as a childless person, but still) that you will love that little girl like you have never loved any human prior. And you will want the absolute best for her, in every area of her life, but especially in her relationships. You'll want someone to respect her. You'll want someone to be honest with her. You'll want someone to make life better for her in every way.
Imagine if that future daughter of yours came home for a visit. She sat down with you on the couch for a Pinot Grigio and microwave popcorn session (just my house?), and in that session she shared all the awful, confusing, miserable things her boyfriend had done in the past few weeks. What would you say to her?
Sometimes we don't care about ourselves as much as we should, but I guarantee we'll never have that problem with our future children. Let's start practicing that kind of love now by applying it to ourselves, okay?