For Us “Almost Lovers” It’s Lose-Lose

So the other day I’m doing the morning crossword puzzle and I had VH1 on in the background, which was playing a video from a new band called A Fine Frenzy.  I couldn’t help but notice the lyrics to the song playing in the background.  And then it hit me:  she was singing about me!

 

For clarification, regardless how big my ego seems at times, this wasn’t a case of narcissism gone amuck.  The fairly hot redhead in the band wasn’t singing about ME per say, but about guys like me – or should I say guys women THINK are like me.  It’s a sad state of affairs.

 

The name of the song is “Almost Lover” and if you read the lyrics you’ll notice it’s about a girl who gets heartbroken by a guy.  I know — another one of those, right?  Well the difference with this one is she’s heartbroken not because of something the dude did, but because of her foolish assumptions.  You see, she thought the relationship was more serious than it was because of the great way he treated her, even though in his eyes it was just a casual thing – hence him being dubbed an “almost lover.”  And here, as they say, lies the rub.

 

If I had a dime for every time this happened to me I’d be able to call Bill Gates a broke chump.  For “almost lovers” like myself it’s lose-lose.  You see, I make a point to treat every girl I date special regardless of the status of the relationship.  If it’s a serious thing or just casual, I don’t discriminate; they all get the same quality treatment.  Nice right?  Wrong.  Like the redheaded hottie in A Fine Frenzy, women often misinterpret the special treatment as a sign of me wanting things to be way more serious than it is.

 

The big stink of it all is if the relationship is casual I make it known right away in the beginning.  So when it all goes south later on and I wonder where the hell the drama came from, I remind her that I was very clear from Jump Street that it was just a casual thing.  They usually respond with, “I know you did, but I figured you changed your mind based on your actions.”  That’s the Catch-22.  If I treat them bad from the beginning then I’m a big jerk, but if I treat them great and they misinterpret it as me wanting to take the relationship up a notch only to find out later that I don’t then I’m still the big jerk.  It’s like a Greek tragedy.

 

So that’s what gives birth to us “almost lovers.”  We’re guys who treat women special as if we’re in serious relationship with them, but really aren’t.  More importantly, we don’t pretend to be.  We’re open and upfront about things being just casual.  It’s an error on her part, not ours. 

 

I suppose the only two solutions to this “almost lover” debacle is either One, treat women a lot worse so they don’t think you have stronger feelings for her, or Two, ladies make sure you don’t read into his actions.  If the great way he treats you conflicts with his announcement of relationship casualness it doesn’t necessarily mean he had a change of heart.  Just ask him.  Assume nothing.  For the sanity of everyone involved, and the reduction of my hate mail, I suggest option number Two.

 

You can find out more about Jon at www.jonibrahim.com and make sure to check out his podcasts “The Fireman & the Shrink” and all the other cool sex stuff on NBC’s Better Sex page at www.nbc5.com/bettersex.  You can email Jon at sex911@nbc5.com

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4 Responses to For Us “Almost Lovers” It’s Lose-Lose

  1. JennyD says:

    This is great…..I think it’s a really great lesson for women everywhere. In fact, I think its often something that’s not even considered when women first start dating a man. Most women forget to immediately assess the man’s “emotional potential” – how mature and ready he is to enter a healthy relationship. In a healthy relationship (including friendship), commitment is driven by the inevitable growth of affection and genuine caring for the other person. The relationship develops because it’s supportive of both people. Commitment is a natural evolution of the relationship. A man who is perpetually a “casual dater” is purposely impeding the natural evolution of any relationship…and many women make it their mission to understand why these men feel trapped in relationships and always need a way out. Does it really matter? Fear is usually the main reason why someone wouldn’t follow through or finish something they’ve started..we’ve all experienced it in one aspect of our lives at some point.

    The problem with this whole scenario is when women mistakenly believe that they can somehow be the exception that will make this type of man see the beauty of a relationship. If a man does you the favor of telling you up front that he’s only interested in casually dating, then hear him and move on. It doesn’t matter if he’s treating you like some heroine from a romance novel or not – he’s made it clear that his intention is not to sweep you off your feet and ride off into the sunset. There was some article I read in Cosmo or something recently that said that over 80% of men and women do actually prefer a monogamous relationship – so if that’s something you want, then what are you wasting your time on the other 20% for?

  2. Jon Ibrahim says:

    Jenny,

    WOW a chick that gets it!!! You’d think that most women (and men) would heed your cautions about venturing in a dating scenario with someone who makes it clear they want nothing serious at that point, but alas, so many don’t. The only difference with what you describe is sometimes daters are cool with the upfront notice that it’s only casual, but later on some switch flips and they suddenly become not cool with it. For the many reasons this could happen, I merely wanted to point out one–don’t let your flip be because you incorrectly thought that he had a change of heart because he treats you like one of those romance novel heroines. Do people still read those, by the way, and if so is Fabio still on the cover of them? Hmm….

    Thanks for the comment!!!

  3. JennyD says:

    Yes, sometimes people change their minds about what they’re comfortable with. When you’re dealing with emotions, its not always so black and white. Add to the mix someone who is treating you well, maybe even romancing you a bit, and you’ve now got a situation where it becomes difficult to hold up the emotional barrier indefinitely. Its like putting candy in front of a child and then asking them not to eat it – sure they may be able to wait patiently for a bit, but at some point its just too tempting! This goes back to what I said about the casual dater impeding the natural flow of a relationship by putting up the block. Most of us are socialized through our friendships and past relationships to follow the signals of someone who is showing a genuine interest – we recognize those and trust our intuitions about where those signals will likely lead us. A casual dater messes up the natural flow because he sends out all the signals of interest but leads you no where. Like it or not, the casual dater is creating confusion and needs to take responsibility for that and not be surprised, offended, or frustrated when it happens. Its inevitable that some women, if not many, will misinterpret the signals. HOWEVER, if the casual dater has said from the very beginning that he’s not interested in a serious relationship, then a smart woman will turn on her heels before any confusion sets in.

  4. Lily says:

    As much as I would want to be the cool girl that gets it, I’m sorry I don’t. I think it all leads to confusion and why not recognize that this actually can cause emotional pain in another person. I’m married and still get guys that send me these signals. Why, what is the point to it all, I just don’t get it. Is it ego gratification? I just prefer to stay away from most guys unless they are normal. But I must say this website does give some insight so thanks for that.

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