Many years ago I was standing at the front counter of a dental office in Lawndale and the woman behind the desk was listening to Dr. Toni Grant, a radio psychologist. Dr. Grant was involved in a conversation with a young woman who was complaining about a relationship that she was in. “What’s wrong with him!” she whined. Dr. Grant was kind but firm:
“The problem is with you. You choose the wrong type of man. You are chasing excitement. Don’t you know that all good men are a little bit boring?”
This has stuck with me all these years because it is true – but I would say it applies to both men and women equally. Bad boys and bad girls. They are exciting, but you wouldn’t want to marry one, because they are relationally unstable. They are usually temporary and most often will hurt you eventually.
What are the indicators of these personality types?
- Their lives are chaotic – financially, relationally, etc.
- They take unnecessary or foolish risks – drugs, alcohol, sex, speeding, spending, gambling, etc.
- They keep parts of their lives obscured and secretive.
- When things go wrong they blame you, or others.
- They advertise but often don’t deliver on their promises.
- They leave a trail of broken relationships.
- They control the relationship. You are always subject to their time schedule, desires and expectations.
- They are selfish and always have an excuse for their behavior. They connect intensely and withdraw intensely.
If you have been, or are in a relationship with one of these people I am sure you can add to my list. It can be difficult to break this addiction to the wrong type. You may think the trade-off is worth it, but I guarantee you it is not. Eventually the buzz wears off and the pain and damage remains.
Is there hope for you or them? Of course. People can change, but it is very difficult. Often the question is “Do they (or you) really want to change?” or “Will they do the work that change requires?”. Going to counseling or recovery programs is not always an indication of either. It is a start, but not a finish.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. (James 1:22 (NLT)
I am not equating the advice of a counselor to the word of God, but I am saying that hearing alone is not sufficient. We have had clients who have stayed for quite a long time, but never grew. They knew what to do, but never followed through. Sadly, they left counseling carrying the same weights they brought with them the first session. Happily, that is not usually the case.
If you find that you are attracted to the wrong type – take a break from dating until you make the necessary shifts. If you are the wrong type, the same advice stands. You have to become the kind of person that you want to attract – spiritually, mentally and physically.
It’s much easier to add some excitement to a relationship than it is to cleanup chaos in one. A little bit boring is healthy.