By Richard Bleil
A young (as in 9 year old) friend of mine confided in me that she was afraid. In a matter of weeks, she will be leaving the only home she has ever known, and moving to a foreign country. A nine year old girl is not going to give you a lot of time to talk even if you are trying to help her out, but I told her that she won’t like it at first. Nobody likes change; that’s just human nature, but, I asked her to give it time because, once she has gotten used to it, she is in for a fabulous adventure, meeting new people and seeing new things that I can only dream of.
Several year ago, my (somewhat older) favorite then-brother-in-law was facing a new adventure, as he prepared to leave for basic training in the air force. He had been accepted to go into electronics, so I gave him my excessively outdated electronics training manuals circa 1960. I knew they wouldn’t help him with how to fix modern equipment, but learning them did accomplish what I had hoped in making him more self-confident. At one point I told him the fear is a good thing. It reminds us that there is something new, and we need to be alert. The only time that fear is bad is when we allow it to stop us from doing that which we really want to do.
Humans fear the unknown, and change is unknown. This is why incumbents have dramatic advantages over opponents in elections. At the time of the 2004 election, incumbent George W. Bush had about a 50% disapproval rating. With such abysmal approval ratings, he won the popular vote by 3.3 million votes. It would be reasonable to ask how this could be, and I believe the answer is found in the old colloquialism, “Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don’t”.
I’ve lost a lot of elections in my day. No, I’m not a politician, and I don’t mean school votes like class president or prom king (in high school I was voted “Most Likely To Who Is This Kid???”). The elections I have lost are far more personal, far more painful, and still occurring today.
I’m the guy that women like to come to when they are having trouble with their “significant other”, whether or not they know that I would like to be with them. I would like to say that I’m the “nice guy”, but sadly, too many jerks have ruined this by using the “nice guy” guise as a means to dupe women into doing what they want, usually sex or leaving their boyfriends, then going off in an angry rant about how he’s a nice guy and never gets laid and blah blah blah shut up.
Here’s the reality; if you are a “nice guy” because you are trying to accomplish some personal goal, then you’re not a nice guy. If you’re a “nice guy” who complains and threatens a woman who stays with her boyfriend or chooses not to sleep with you, then you’re not a nice guy.
Let me tell you who I am. I am the guy that listens to women, and then respects their decision. I’m the guy that sees women in abusive relationships, points it out, and accepts her decision to stay in that relationship because it’s her decision, not mine. I’m the guy that supports relationships, even bad ones, and does what I am asked to support that relationship regardless of how painful it is to me. Even when I see the harm it is causing her. And I’m the guy who will try to help pick up the pieces, if and when she is ready, knowing full well that this means we will likely never be together because she will associate that pain with the man who is there to help her.
It would be unnatural if I failed to ask the question of why this keeps happening, over and over again. I know several women even today who have chosen to stay in a harmful relationship, and shunned me in doing so. And I’m still their friend. I’ve backed up to the boundary they have asked of me, but I am still as much of a friend to them as I can be. So why do they choose these men over me?
Well, frankly, it’s the same reason, I suspect, that politicians keep getting re-elected. One of my female friends was raised with an abusive family, so I expect that her abusive partner provides a comfortable feeling for her. I hope I’m wrong about him. I realize that I am hearing only half of the story, and I truly hope she finds the happiness she deserves with him. But if I’m right, well, I’ll be here for her.