Friday, April 17, 2015

Dating Treatment Matrix

One of my friends remarked to me the other day how much his ex-girlfriend had changed. She was happy, glowing, full of life and obviously content.
This made me really sad. Let me explain. 
I am also good friends with his ex-girlfriend. I also hadn't seen her in a while. But when I saw her, I noticed no difference. She was as beautiful as ever. As happy as ever. Funny as ever. Smart as ever. Her personality hadn't changed one iota. The thing that had changed: she was no longer being dragged down by a boyfriend who didn't value her. Of course he noticed a difference. 
She'd moved on from him and she wasn't stressed or sad or hurt while interacting with him. And he saw how amazing she was. Without being too finger-pointy, let me go out on a limb: he saw how amazing she could have been while dating him if he had treated her right. 

So many people don't understand the difference between attracting someone and treating them right. Between being a person worth having and treating someone right. The way you continually choose to treat someone falls under the commitment part of love. While there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to what "treating someone right," means and different things work for different people; there are some solid ideals that will never change. People need to feel valued, secure, respected and loved, for example. Not every second of every day, but for most of the time in a relationship. Otherwise, why would you do it? Why would you commit to someone who drags you down and makes you feel worthless, insecure, disrespected and unloved?

Presenting: The Dating Treatment Matrix!
(For lack of a better name...)

So, if you haven't guessed...the happy happy Quadrant 1 is where we want to be:)  Boys treat girls well, girls respond well. It's good stuff.

Quadrant 2 is where boys treat girls well, but sadly girls don't respond well. This is where divas, heart breakers, and princess syndrome girls live. This is sad. It's really nice guys getting treated badly. They try harder and harder. Sometimes, girls realize they are in Quadrant 2 when they see a boy really cares about them, and they can move to Quadrant 1. Sometimes, these girls have just come from Quadrant 4. They're wounded and trying to protect themselves until a little consistent love shows them they don't have to fear that everyone is going to hurt them. That's why boys in this quadrant don't give up when everyone on the outside is telling them to. But too much time here can lead to being jaded.
One problem is boys can be deceived into thinking they are living in Quadrant 2...when really they are in Quadrant 4.

Quadrant 3 is where boys treat girls crappy, but girls don't let it bother them. The problem is, the only true way to respect yourself when someone is treating you like crap, is to walk away. You can pretend nothing's wrong, but that doesn't foster respect.Or, you can try to address the issue and try to move up to Quadrant 1. Best option.
One problem with this quadrant is that when girls try to address the changes that need to happen, boys think girls are trying to change "them" (their personality, values, etc.) when in reality, girls are trying to protect themselves and encourage things like character and life skills development.

Quadrant 4 is where boys treat girls crappy and girls respond crappy, with tears, hurt, anger, frustration...not a recipe for a good relationship. Blame happens. I would like to note that from what I've seen, people don't start out in Quadrant 4. Quadrant 4 is what happens when communication fails and you get frustrated. If a girl continually rejects good treatment from a boy, he will stop treating her so well and they'll slide down to Quadrant 4. If a boy is treating a girl crappy, it's only a matter of time before she can no longer push to survive in Quadrant 3 and they also move into Quadrant 4. 

But the (for some reason) illusive reality is that if boys treat girls girl's behavior can ever be happy enough to move them both to Quadrant 1 of a healthy relationship. Never. If you don't consistently give security, affection, affirmation, it won't work. Not every second of every day of course, but consistently
If girl's don't respond to boys with kindness and respect, it won't matter how well a boy treats you, you won't find a happy relationship. Because both people have to work to get into that one little happy happy Quadrant. 
Moving from Quadrant 2/3 to 4 can also damage self-esteem. Some people think they are unlovable; when in reality, it's their poor treatment of their significant other that ends relationships. Behavior can be changed.

Here's to seeing more of Quadrant 1 :)