Men Are Like Dogs….

Okay, really…I did not say that.  Those are not my words.  Honestly…I am not kidding.  Those words, whatever emotions they might evoke for you, those words are not mine.  They were written by a man.  Now, before you go railing this individual as a traitor to the male gender, you have to read his comment in its entirety.  He commented on my post about Cowardice, written last summer. You can read his comment here. But for those of you who are lazy or just don’t want to open another window, I’ll paraphrase the comment.  My friend, said this:  Men are like getting a new dog…you never know what you’re going to get until you get him home”.  (my paraphrase)

This is first, a humorous comment.  It is also a frightening comment.  I think it is frightening simply because it is so true.  The implications here are significant for those wanting to consider romance, dating, shacking up, maybe even the idea of making it legal. And….hear this one…my dear male friends…it goes both ways.  By that I mean, you could say the same thing about those beautiful Venus bombshells you cannot live without or that you don’t want to live without supposedly.

You simply never can get the real picture about someone until you live up close and personal with them. 

And, if you are in the 35+ category for age, have children, a thinking mind and goals that resemble something more than I want to be rich and famous and will marry anyone to do it, then you must realize that what I’m saying here is of significance to you. 

Especially if you have children. 

You must be ultra careful about who and what you allow into your home. 

Disclaimer:  While the title of my post implies that men are the gender we are talking about, I think I’ve made it sufficiently clear that what I’m saying here applies to both genders.  My opinions definitely side with the “both genders are guilty” approach.  I just used that title because it was really cool and thought it might be a great way to entice more of you to my blog or to that article or to read Jeff’s great comment.  In any event…I am now not just picking on the guys.  I recognize that we women can be just as vile in our own ways. 

You must, must be careful about who and what you allow into your home.

I learned this lesson the hard way. 

In general all my growing up years I was the textbook firstborn eager-to-please driven kid.  I was a good little girl.  Well, so most people would have told you, but on the inside only I knew how rotten I could be at points.  But I played the “good little girl” role for so long and I did it so well for so long.  The problem was I was not dealing with and being authentically me.  So, as you might guess, this all spun out of control about 16 years into my first marriage.

I’d like to say that’s when I started making the bad choices, but the reality is, the bad choices I made started probably when I was 16.  The choice, have a boyfriend. Use him as your ticket out of the house.  Well, this thinking self-destructed down the road and after ending my first marriage…I jumped into a second one which was an absolute living nightmare. 

But it wasn’t a total loss.  It was during this marriage that I learned you must be very careful about the influences you allow into your home.  I was not careful.  I paid for it dearly during the marriage.  My children paid for it and are paying for it now.  I will not make those mistakes again…at least…I hope I won’t.

But here is the question that a statement like this raises:

I you can’t really tell what the “dog” is like till you bring him/her home, how can you be sure that he/she is the dog for you before you bring him/her home?

Because I guarantee you this…once you bring him/her home if she/he’s the wrong dog, it’s already too late and there will be damage done.  And who wants to bring a dog home with the idea that it’s okay to get rid of it if he/she “doesn’t work out”?  I mean, in spite of two failed marriages, that is sooooo not what I’m about. 

I still believe in long term commitment. I still believe in the institution of marriage.  I still believe that a good quality relationship is possible and that this deep, meaningful connection can last “till death do us part” (and not because one or the other of us hires a hit man either).

So, I’m going to ask it again and I do hope you’ll take time out of your busy schedule (I know it must be) to help me clarify my thoughts on this and to help any other lurking readers out there who might not know, but who would like to.  Here’s my question again:

I you can’t really tell what the “dog” is like till you bring him/her home, how can you be sure that he/she is the dog for you before you bring him/her home?

Inquiring Wild Minds want to know.

10 thoughts on “Men Are Like Dogs….

  1. lovely lady,
    I’m glad you stopped in and commented. Your comment, while possibly witty, did not address the question in my post, which was my real point and not the defamation of any particular gender which is really pointless…and not where I wanted to go with this.

    I’ll ask it again in another way: How can you be sure someone is the right person for you before you bring him or her home (when it is then too late to do anything about it if you find out the real them is not at all what you hoped or thought or expected)?

    I’m asking because I really hope to gain some insight into how others avoid this error.

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  2. I’m glad you stated for both genders! You really don’t know the other person until you have put in some real time with them. But you really don’t know that person until you live with them!! You make your decision on that person through time spent together, and trusting your gut feelings.

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  3. I was joking when i said that, but at the same time i wasn’t joking….it’s kinda funny but sadly true.
    I’ll tell you whats even funnier…while i was reading this i saw something under the heading – a possible related post that read “looking for a dog” lmbo! now that’s funny!

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  4. WOOF! WOOF! Great Question! I’m asking myself the same one as the romance bloom of a 10 month relationship is calming and some of the issues are blooming… After a very long and frustrating Marriage I left and jumped into a hellish, yet passionate 3 year relationship. As in all changes I see where it was good and where it was damaging. I feel huge remorse at the pain inflicted on my children. Now I’m in a new relationship, But there is a much slower pace. And My kids are not involved very much. We don’t live together and don’t see a lot of each other when I have the kids. Interestingly I do see that almost on schedule a few of the patterns that I faced in my last relationship (mostly mine) are surfacing. It is me or is it her? But I guess what I’m try to say is I am glad to see that I’m seeing stuff that is intimate, intense, needs work, don’t like,scares the shit outa me, humbles me,gives me joy, a lot of the stuff a relationship can bring to one’s life without inflicting on my kids. So maybe you don’t have to be living with the dog to see the nasty habits. Maybe time plus attention and demanding integrity in those you hang with will give you the insight you need before THE NEXT STEP….

    Love your random musings. Just discovered blogs etc. Not much of a writer,but may become one..

    Tangentially yours
    Rob

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  5. Cat,
    I would like to address the question about how do you know if it’s the right person or not…hope you don’t mind. I’m really not trying to hijack your thread :)…promise.
    There is only one way to know, and most people will not like the answer…..the answer is TIME. Time and patience is the only way, and the reason i say that is because everyone is on their best behavior in the beginning of a relationship. It takes about six months for the honeymoon (for lack of a better term ) to wear off. The first six months is reffered to as limerance.
    Limerance during the first six to eight months is normal, but if it continues for to long it can be seen as obsessive and unhealthy.Actually limerance, love and depression go hand in hand, here is a piece on limerance, love and deppression that i found – it’s very interesting and is a better explanation than what you can normally find on the internet.
    I hope anyone reading this can walk away with something positive. –

    Love is as critical for your mind and body as oxygen. It’s not negotiable. The more connected you are, the healthier you will be both physically and emotionally. The less connected you are, the more you are at risk.
    It is also true that the less love you have, the more depression you are likely to experience in your life. Love is probably the best antidepressant there is because one of the most common sources of depression is feeling unloved. Most depressed people don’t love themselves and they do not feel loved by others. They also are very self-focused, making them less attractive to others and depriving them of opportunities to learn the skills of love.
    There is a mythology in our culture that love just happens. As a result, the depressed often sit around passively waiting for someone to love them. But love doesn’t work that way. To get love and keep love you have to go out and be active and learn a variety of specific skills.
    Most of us get our ideas of love from popular culture. We come to believe that love is something that sweeps us off our feet. But the pop-culture ideal of love consists of unrealistic images created for entertainment, which is one reason so many of us are set up to be depressed. It’s part of our national vulnerability, like eating junk food, constantly stimulated by images of instant gratification. We think it is love when it’s simply distraction and infatuation.
    One consequence is that when we hit real love we become upset and disappointed because there are many things that do not fit the cultural ideal. Some of us get demanding and controlling, wanting someone else to do what we think our ideal of romance should be, without realizing our ideal is misplaced.
    It is not only possible but necessary to change one’s approach to love to ward off depression. Follow these action strategies to get more of what you want out of life—to love and be loved.
    • Recognize the difference between limerance and love. Limerance is the psychological state of deep infatuation. It feels good but rarely lasts. Limerance is that first stage of mad attraction whereby all the hormones are flowing and things feel so right. Limerance lasts, on average, six months. It can progress to love. Love mostly starts out as limerance, but limerance doesn’t always evolve into love.
    • Know that love is a learned skill, not something that comes from hormones or emotion particularly. Erich Fromm called it “an act of will.” If you don’t learn the skills of love you virtually guarantee that you will be depressed, not only because you will not be connected enough but because you will have many failure experiences.
    • Learn good communication skills. They are a means by which you develop trust and intensify connection. The more you can communicate the less depressed you will be because you will feel known and understood.
    There are always core differences between two people, no matter how good or close you are, and if the relationship is going right those differences surface. The issue then is to identify the differences and negotiate them so that they don’t distance you or kill the relationship.
    You do that by understanding where the other person is coming from, who that person is, and by being able to represent yourself. When the differences are known you must be able to negotiate and compromise on them until you find a common ground that works for both
    • Focus on the other person. Rather than focus on what you are getting and how you are being treated, read your partner’s need. What does this person really need for his/her own well-being? This is a very tough skill for people to learn in our narcissistic culture. Of course, you don’t lose yourself in the process; you make sure you’re also doing enough self-care.
    • Help someone else. Depression keeps people so focused on themselves they don’t get outside themselves enough to be able to learn to love. The more you can focus on others and learn to respond and meet their needs, the better you are going to do in love.
    • Develop the ability to accommodate simultaneous reality. The loved one’s reality is as important as your own, and you need to be as aware of it as of your own. What are they really saying, what are they really needing? Depressed people think the only reality is their own depressed reality.
    • Actively dispute your internal messages of inadequacy. Sensitivity to rejection is a cardinal feature of depression. As a consequence of low self-esteem, every relationship blip is interpreted far too personally as evidence of inadequacy. Quick to feel rejected by a partner, you then believe it is the treatment you fundamentally deserve. But the rejection really originates in you, and the feelings of inadequacy are the depression speaking.

    Recognize that the internal voice is strong but it’s not real. Talk back to it. “I’m not really being rejected, this isn’t really evidence of inadequacy. I made a mistake.” Or “this isn’t about me, this is something I just didn’t know how to do and now I’ll learn.” When you reframe the situation to something more adequate, you can act again in an effective way and you can find and keep the love that you need

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  6. How do you know before you get them home? Listen. Listen to them. Watch them. See how they act in their own environment. Be around them with their family and friends as much as possible. Be cautious but aware. And listen to your gut. Or your intuition, whatever you call it. If something isn’t synching up, you are probably right. Slow down, pause, and try to figure out what it is. There’s no hurry to bring them home. The hope is that if you are right and they are the right one, you’ll have many, many years of bliss with them at home. But patience, restraint, and awareness really help. That’s been my recent experience of bringing someone home too soon and feeling used, violated, and totally grossed out once I realized what a manipulator, liar, sex addict, and alcholic the guy really was. There’s a period where they say anything to impress you, but when what they say to or about their friends or family doesn’t sync with what they say to you, something is off.

    I don’t know if that answers your question or not.

    BTW – as an aside and completely off topic – I seem to have issues subscribing to your blog by using the RSS link in IE. Have you had anyone else tell you the same thing? Just curious.

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  7. Our friend cat makes the point that you never really know (if someone is right) until you are deep into a relationship and potential damage is done.

    One solution might be to do counselling together early on, fairly intensely and often, so “issues” will boil up early, retreats – with somewhat intense group sessions, before kids and family are involved. I doubt the “dogs” out there would undergo that kind of intense scrutiny.

    Another option is shared cell phone bills, a few hundred for a private investigator, a personality inventory (similar price), a psychological evaluation (couple grand), or trust.

    Another option is to do fun and creative things together, and invest enough time to know if it is for real and for ever. There is no way to do this without risk.

    The alternative of never trusting and never really sharing and hiding from life, is not really an alternative, but death itself. I hid for seven months after my divorce, but that was necessary to start healing. I am not afraid to get hurt now, I expect it. Life is like mountain bike riding. If you want a good ride, you have to expect to get a little bloody. A completely “safe” ride is just no fun!

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  8. WOW, I had no idea how deep of a thinker you were! I’m stunned! I mean I knew you were intelligent, but that stream can be shallow. You are someone to be taken in nibbles and digested slowly, with a cocktail, sipped slowly!

    I’m really impressed!!

    Talk to you later,
    Carter

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