You know how this goes…
INT. RESTAURANT – NIGHT
It’s packed in here. I’m in a corner chatting with a FRIEND over cocktails. We’re having, what looks like, fun.
Friend: I don’t know what to do. He’s cute and has a great job. Plus, his you-know-what is HUGE.
Too much information.
Me: Yeah, but if he isn’t romantic and you need romance, what are you going to do?
Friend: Well, maybe he can change. Maybe if I tell him enough he will get it and start doing really super hot and sexy romantic things like give me flowers. I’m too cute and young not to be wooed.
I take a nice, long sip of my glass of wine. She’s making me want to get very, very drunk.
Me: You won’t change him and he’ll end up feeling very resentful. People should feel accepted and good around the person they are with. If he doesn’t, he’ll eventually feel really bad about himself and give up. I’ve been there, regretfully.
Friend: Like, you’ve been the one to try to change someone or vice versa?
Me: Both. And even when I was trying to change the other person I knew it was wrong, but I thought it would create a different effect over time.
Friend: Whatever, you’re a lesbian. It’s different.
Me: Uh, no, it’s really not.
She pounds the rest of her drink. That’s number four. Her eyes start to spin a little, but she regains her composure.
Friend: Okay, I’m going to be f*cking honest with your right now. Don’t judge me.
Ha, like that’s going to happen.
Me: Okay. Shoot.
Friend: Besides his big you-know-what, I don’t want to let him go because he has a nice job. He comes from a family that has money plus he’s career driven so I know he’ll always be able to take care of me.
Me: Makes sense. But didn’t you say he doesn’t like to take you on trips…and that he rarely plans a date?
Friend: He’s Jewish, that’s different.
Everything’s different tonight.
Friend: I’m over dating guys who are broke, don’t have their shit together, or live paycheck to paycheck. Stability is hot. I like the fact that he is so focused on his goals. But, I totally want flowers, which I keep telling him. Ugh, but he gets the cheap ones. Ew.
Me: Let’s focus on what you’re saying is a need of yours. You need romance. If you don’t feel special with him, money doesn’t matter as much right?
Friend: I don’t know. I may need another drink to figure it out.
Me: Look at the pattern. You get resentful, tell him he’s not taking you out enough, he promises to do better, doesn’t live up to your expectations, and then you blow up and dump him. After a day or two you go back. This has happened, what, four times in three months?
She starts to look off in the distance.
Friend: He’s just so good in bed. Sorry, but that’s hard to just let go of combined with his money. He’s going to be rich one day. I know it.
Me: Wow, you don’t sound superficial at all. That’s sarcasm, by the way. Look, everyone has a currency. Like, if I’m dating someone who is broke but always cooks, makes an effort to do special things, and is affectionate in private and in public, then I’m cool. Currency is different for everyone.
Friend: Then what you’re saying is the currency I need is money?
Me: And romance, girl, which means your guy doesn’t have what you’re looking for unless you accept him for who he is and know that he may never be as romantic as you’d like.
Me: I know. But think of the time and hurt you’ll save by figuring this out now. You like him--we know this. Do you love him?
Me: Can you see a life without him?
Friend: OMG, stop asking me these questions. Just tell me how I can make him give me cute flowers and take me to Big Bear.
I sigh and order another round of drinks, now throwing in the towel. This conversation keeps going in circles. At least I can get to the point where maybe I’m spinning, too.
Everyone has deal breakers. For some, maybe it is the fact that a person is broke, or maybe that there is no intellectual stimulation.
Whatever it is for you, that’s cool. But, trying to change someone to fit into your expectations won’t get you the results you desire. That’s the real, on the real, for real.
Perhaps a better question is, Can You Deal with Their Currency? My Friend was so busy focusing on her guy’s lack of romance instead of what he brings to the table, which is shocking because he has checks in 9 out of the 10 boxes on her What-I-Need-in-A-Guy List.
I dated someone who didn’t communicate well. However, in person it was great. I got her undivided attention and she was very sweet. But when I wasn’t face-to-face with her, there was little to no contact. Texts weren’t responded to in a timely manner, she didn’t pick up her phone sometimes, etc. Instead of trying to change this about her, I just asked myself: is this a deal breaker for me? Do her other currencies outweigh this one incompatibility? Turns out, I couldn’t deal with it. So, I took a step back. I didn’t try to change her or complain about it, just let it go. What ended up happening was she improved communication on her own.
Sometimes you have to let people, or a situation, go in order to see what you really have—if anything at all.
What's your currency?