I have the worst taste in men.
I wish I could count how many eye-rolls I’ve had when I’ve told my girl friends about my newest crush. I also know there’s a hit list with at least three of their names on it. My friends who don’t know each other bond over their mutual dislike of the guys in my life.
I don’t know what it is…
Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie. I do know what it is. I can see the best in anyone, especially men. So I have a tendency to fall in love with the guys who are incredibly broken but I can see how they can change the world. I want them to see the man I see they can be. I have no desire to fix them, only challenge and encourage them to be the best.
Which makes me a dangerous combo of girl for them to know. On one hand, they love it. They’re drawn to it. We all want a cheerleader and to have a woman so completely believe in you can be addicting for them. On the other hand, it makes them feel like they can’t live up to the person I believe they can be. Maybe I put too much pressure on them. Maybe they think I’m trying to change them. I’m not sure. But what was so enticing about me seems to then push them away.
Then I make excuses for their bad behavior, because inevitably they come back and want that person who believes in them to be on their side. Which leads to the eye-roll. The conversations where the people who love me try to talk me out of it. They see the head-on collision coming except they know the wreckage will be my heart.
I’m getting better. I’m making better choices. I’m finding guys who are a little more mature. A little less likely to play games. But then one will come along who intrigues me in a way no one else does. I become his favorite shiny thing. But that’s the problem with shiny things. If you like shiny things, you can easily be distracted by shinier things. Or as my beautiful friend Allie quotes: “SQUIRREL!”
About a year ago, I was going through the beginning process of my “I picked the wrong guy again” phase when my friend Bryan intervened. Bryan and I worked together at Compassion. His cube was across from mine so he usually became privy to my heartbreaks. The other thing to know about Bryan is that he’s incredibly wise, especially when it comes to relationships and people. I’ve told him several times that he and his wife, Tara, should start a relationship counseling ministry.
Bryan saw me start to get a little distracted by a boy. He mentioned it and I tried to brush it off. I’m notorious for feigning disinterest when I like a boy. I’m so worried about being rejected publicly that it takes alot for me to admit a boy might like me. But that’s another blog post. Bryan was trying to convince that this boy in fact did like me. He could see chemistry and mutual admiration. But then he said this:
“No, Rachel, he does like you. But you’re his favorite shiny thing right now. You might not be his favorite shiny thing tomorrow or even later today.”
That piece of advice has stuck with me more than any book I’ve read or tearful conversation I’ve had. It’s given me a way to guard my heart without locking it away in a tower. It’s also given me new perspective.
Just like I need to believe I’m a first place trophy, I am learning to admit that I want to be someone’s forever favorite shiny thing. And I think that’s okay. I think it’s okay to admit that I’m tired of being a temporary shiny thing. I think it’s okay to finally say that I’m done with guys who I constantly feel the need to keep their attention.
Maybe that’s how I know I’m finally ready to stop looking for the guys who have all of the potential but none of the ambition.