Timing and the “Spirit of Girlfriend”

I know I said my next post would be about online dating but there will be PLENTY of time for that and some other issues started stirring in me…

A wise male friend of mine from grad school, who has been married for some time, commented on one of the previous posts that most guys are essentially idiots (my phrasing not his) until a good woman comes along and changes them and/or gives them the motivation to change. My initial reaction to that was pretty indignant because my interpretation was that women should date idiots hoping and believing one day they will change for the better. No thank you. I already see WAY to much of that.

But as I have talked to more people and heard their stories, there may be something to it. Not that women should date losers hoping to change them, but that it seems you kind of have to catch men at the right “time” in their lives – when they already have some self-awareness that they want to grow, when hooking up or endless casual coffee dates is no longer their thing, when they are already starting to want more, but they haven’t exactly figured out what that looks like or zeroed in on a specific person yet. That’s when you (the right female) hopefully appear and give them some motivation (and maybe even guidance?), that in a lot of cases I’ve heard of, ends up leading to a relationship.

Wasted time: In my own life, I spent A LOT of time acting like a good girlfriend/wife for guys who didn’t appreciate it, couldn’t reciprocate it, or were still in their “idiot” phase precisely because I thought I could influence them. I thought if they could just see how good/smart/nice/pretty/etc. I was, they would love me, want me, and commit. That hasn’t worked, but maybe that’s because when I knew them it wasn’t the right “time” for them?

Even now, I think it’s a struggle for women to find the balance. You want to show good qualities about yourself so men are attracted, but you don’t want to do too much so that you are “giving it away for free” as they say, or end up being the pursuer. It’s really difficult and I think a lot of females end up wondering what’s going wrong. In an effort to make a relationship work then, some women can err on the side of doing too much. They become possessed with the “spirit of girlfriend.”

A couple of months ago I started thinking about this, and in talking to other females it led to a term I call the “spirit of girlfriend.” Basically it’s when women accept being a girlfriend, even when they want to be a wife, because it’s what is offered, and being in a relationship seems better to them than being without one. It’s essentially performing all aspects of full commitment without the commitment. God must have wanted me to think about that further because I coincidentally came across some talks by Kris Vallotton from Bethel church around the same time that were addressing almost the EXACT same thing. He calls it a “Judas spirit” though, because in the Bible Judas wanted the perks that intimacy with Jesus brought without actually being committed to Jesus or His cause. The Judas spirit is “intimacy without commitment.”

The spirit of girlfriend/Judas spirit is rampant in our culture and affects both males and females. We all have had it or know someone who has it right now. It makes us act in ways that are dishonoring and disrespectful at best, and abusive and cruel at worst. A friend of mine recently said that men act poorly because women accept “crumbs.” I replied sometimes “crumbs” seem better than starving. We were made for relationships and they feel good, so it is no surprise we will sometimes accept less than the best in them for the sake of having them. However, one thing I can honestly say that I love about still being single in my 30’s is that I am able to make the conscious decision that a little fasting (not starving) is good, and infinitely better than eating dirty crumbs that could poison me with the spirit of girlfriend.

Related Questions: If men are not being prepared for relationships by other men, society, mentors, or parents, is it up to women to do it? Is the issue of “timing” in relationships really as simple as if you meet men too soon they aren’t ready, and if you meet them too late they are already in a relationship?

There’s something about Cali…

This week’s post is coming from the great state of Texas. I’m here visiting one of my best friends, whom after years of going through her own “What about him God?” situations, is now happily married with two boys. Her husband said before meeting her, he made up his mind he was seeking a Christian woman. He found her on MySpace. They met and “that was it.” Easy. He let her know she was what he wanted, and he was what she wanted. 

The trip here reminded me of an interesting phenomenon I’ve observed. Whenever I travel, whether it be within the US or abroad, it seems like men ask me out quickly and easily- sometimes while I’m still in the airport. I’m not saying they’re all actually worth dating, but it’s interesting that I can be asked out within a day outside of California, but can go months or years without it happening inside of California.

I love being born and raised in Cali, but is there something about geography that makes men less likely to ask one out there? Are men more picky because of Hollywood? Is the high standard of beauty making them have more options because so many women are so beautiful? Is the laid-back culture making them less likely to be pursuers?

One of my early psych classes talked about the “Exotic becomes Erotic” theory. Basically it says when it comes to interpersonal attraction, people were more likely to desire those who seem different from them- like “opposites attract.” Could there be something that gives the signal ‘she’s not from here’ that is noticeable in a quick and positive way when outside of California that men are attracted to? Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon?

Reversing it, it does seem that Californians enjoy outsiders when it comes to dating. I’ve heard a lot of “I like him because he’s from the Midwest and has Midwest values” or “She’s so European.” With such comments it seems like people are trying to say the “outsider” doesn’t bring the same drama and BS that we all get used to within our normal circles. Maybe our brains tell us an “outsider” will be different and better, even though we all know the grass isn’t necessarily greener?

We’ll see how it goes this weekend. Going to a rodeo tomorrow! Ye-haw!