If you look across the table at Olive Garden and you're annoyed by all the things that guy is... you may be on someone else's dream date. But it isn't yours. Now, you can complain, nag, and try to mold him into someone else – all the while hating that he doesn't love you “for yourself.” - or you can wake up and realize... You're dating someone else's guy. Your guy is out there looking for you, and you're wasting time with Becky's guy, and wasting Becky's guy's time.
A man isn't something you construct like Build-A-Bear or Mr. Potato Head. Just as you have been encouraged to “be yourself,” by people you love – his people told him the same thing. He won't turn into an animal lover just because you drag home 4 cats and 2 dogs – so if that's a deal breaker for you, be a big girl and break the deal.
Some of us have married someone else's guy. Years of feeling unaccepted and unaccepting, unloved and unloving inside a marriage isn't worth the time you saved by not waiting for YOUR guy and running down the aisle with someone else's guy. I wonder if we think he'll fit better when we break him in... like cute shoes that are made for someone else's feet.
Many marriages are unhappy because the wrong two people are in them, not because there's something wrong with one spouse or the other.
So, how do you not marry someone else's guy?
Don't date him once you realize that at least one of you doesn't really like the other. Sometimes dating feels like a stock market investment. You hate to call it a loss and pull out for fear that the next day incredible riches, or in this case a complete personality change, would fall your way. People don't change into other people. They may learn something, improve some bad habits.. but someone's identity isn't a bad habit.
If you are already whining (even if only in your head) that he is selfish and won't do what you like to do... perhaps he doesn't like doing what you like to do. Sometimes women can be happy as long “as we're together.” I've learned many many MANY men do NOT share that quality. It isn't that you aren't irresistible enough and you aren't going to win this one in time. You will never have more power in being irresistible than while you're dating. In 5 years he will do LESS of what he doesn't want to do, not more.
If you feel as though you're suffocating or more lonely than when you're single – examine your needs for intimacy. If you have commitment issues – see a therapist. If commitment isn't an issue for you – get out. People with vastly different needs for emotional intimacy should not marry one another. The tendency will be for one will feel suffocated and the other intense loneliness.
If you're a Christian and he's an atheist, agnostic or follows another religion, you date at your own peril. Intimate relationships impact the people in them. Winning a man and losing your faith is foolish. It isn't something to play around with. If you think you've been brokenhearted over a man, it's nothing when compared to being brokenhearted over losing who God is to you. I've been there and you truly need to trust me on this.
He stands you up, you stand him up, you text him so often he has to take his phone with him to pee, he gets a little crazy because you didn't take his call and you happened to be “in the stirrups.” Move along. Nothing good is happening here.
So, what if you're already married to someone else's guy. Well, it isn't going to be a Cinderella story, but that doesn't mean you have to abandon your commitment. You will need to grow up and rise to the occasion if you don't want a life of constant bickering and disrespect – unless you'd rather sulk and feel sorry for yourself.
- If you need help coming to terms with this, see a therapist. If you're emotionally unfulfilled, dig deeper into your relationship with God. I mean REALLY deep.
- Develop close relationships with other women. Don't play the martyr and waste away – do the things you like to do and allow him the freedom to do the same with friends of the same sex. Don't play around with platonic relationships with the opposite sex. For your situation, it's unwise.
- Put some effort into finding common interests rather than sulk that he hates the ballet, hates NCIS, and hates folk music.
- Accept him for who he is. Be kind. Be honest about seeking to find common ground and ways for you to find contentment as a couple. I have news for you – he isn't as oblivious as you think. Chances are pretty good you've been blaming him for “being himself” for quite awhile and this new approach could be a breath of fresh air.