“I’ve been dating this guy for 6 months. He tells me loves me, but also tells his parents we’re not together, ignores me in front of his friends, and doesn’t want me to know where he lives. Why would he do that?”
I read some version of this question on a weekly basis on Matt’s Twitter account or GettheGuy Facebook page, or even in the comments of this blog.
I’ve always found myself puzzled at what exactly the questioner in these moments is trying to discover. On the one hand, they may be innocently searching for an answer to the question “What’s going on in his head?”
Yet, I can’t help but want to respond: Does it really matter why he would treat you this badly? Isn’t the really important matter at hand why you should stand around for a second longer and put up with someone who is violating every standard of decent human behaviour?
Some readers I suppose are asking precisely in order to get a reality check on whether this sort of thing is normal guy behaviour (it’s not), or they ask the question in order to hear an answer they already know in their heart to be true: this isn’t acceptable from a man or woman and you need to seriously reevaluate whether you would allow anyone else in your life to get away with this kind of behaviour if you didn’t also happen to be romantically attracted to them.
There’s a saying which I’ve recently grown fond of: Follow your heart but take your brain with you. Or to be more accurate, listen to your emotions but bring your reason with you.
If it smells like mistreatment, if it looks secretive and shady, or if you suspect you’re allowing a a guy to get away with behaviour you would never tolerate from even your most unreliable, flakey, not-really-but-sort-of-friend: listen to your rational brain and act on it.
We spend so long figuring out the enigma of other people’s behaviour and not nearly enough time on deciding our reaction to their behaviour.
Sometimes the reasons really don’t matter.
We don’t have to understand every facet of the human mind. If I’m with a nasty, mean, duplicitous, manipulative person, I don’t need to understand all the reasons why someone would engage in that kind of behaviour. I’ll leave the analysis to the therapists. My job is just to decide why I would allow myself to give my time and energy to that kind of person for so long.
The reasons only matter if you’re already in a relationship who is already proven to be reasonable, respectful, and loving in other kinds of ways.
– You feel that your man, although kind and honest, is over-critical of your ideas sometimes.
– You feel that your man, although loving, gets jealous on occasion whenever you go out without him.
– You feel that he cares deeply for you, but he finds hard to express intimacy and you want him to be more open.
These are all worthy times to figure out the reasons behind this behaviour and attempt to address it with your guy. I’m all for understanding in a healthy relationship. In fact, Matt and I wrote our How To Talk To Men product precisely because we were obsessed with how to create better understanding between two people when those conflicts in loving partnerships arise.
But ultimately, when you’re dealing with a guy who has been lying or violated your standards from the beginning, you really don’t need to analyze the behaviour all that much. You can spend your life trying to understand shitty people, or choose to act so that you can make immediate room for the better relationship you deserve.
I know which one makes me happier.
Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.
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32 Replies to “It Doesn’t Matter Why He’s An Asshole – Why Are You Putting Up With It?”
Good article, Stephen. Important points.
I would give this to a friend in college, if I could go back in time.
Hope people share with whoever needs to hear!
Just went through this. This article is a lifesaver.
Beautifully put. Thanks, Stephen!
Stephen you’re amazing, thank you for the article, this one in particular I can relate to. I went through something like this and it’s not a situation that I want to be in, ever again.
I’m a big relationship over thinker reformed :) and I’m doing things to help me get over it sooner. One of Matt’s programs, I think it was Attract Any Man, helped me know that it is an attempt to control my life which I had never thought of it that way before. I’ve had to deal with really bad behavior that only surfaced years into my relationship or it seems that way. It’s like trying to figure out why the 9/11 terrorist did what they did in order to protect and save the future attacks. I’ve wasted so much time in fear trying to figure out bad behavior. In the hopes of somehow I could influence better behavior. I can’t change a person’s character but only influence a portion of behavior at best. Great blog today, I’m free and not afraid anymore and thanks to Matt’s retreat program and GTG team for connecting the dots. My thoughts are better used on on other productive things.
How did you reform your relationship over-thinking?! Is it about walking away more or just about worrying less? I’d love to know as this is definitely a key issue of mine!
I agree. The irony is that we can see the red alarm light in our minds, but we try to vindicate the guy for the matter of our blind” true love”. After years it sounds unbelievable and funny. Now I try to help my friends that are in the same mind captivity.
Great post Stephen. Thanks for confirming what literally took me years to figure out by myself (how i wish I’d had access to the collective wisdom of the Hussey brothers back then ;-)). I wasted so much time trying to figure out why my partner was how he was and what I was doing wrong.So stupid. I was trying to get answers to all the wrong questions and when the penny finally dropped I was so emotionally drained and exhausted it took me ages to actually walk away. Even after it was over I continued to voluntarily torture myself by spending a few more years trying to analyse why he didn’t treat me the way previous ‘nice’ boyfriends did. With the benefit of hindsight I see what a complete waste of energy and of precious time it all was (I actually now call it the lost decade). Happily my doormat days are now long gone and thanks to discovering Matthew and gtg last year things are about a million percent better and still getting better
I so feel you girl. You basically wrote my story from the last ten years.
Met a guy. Fell in love. I was 40. Four months in and an incident occurred that made a red flag go off somewhere deep inside my head that said walk away. Instead I stayed.
Spending the next 5 years trying to ‘understand’ his tortured soul and figure out why he treated me so badly. Then even reacting by treating him badly myself.
Followed by another 5 years replaying and agonising over every fall out and beating myself up about ‘not being good enough or worthy’ because that could be the only reason he would only be kind (in the end) when I was already completely beaten down and at my most vulnerable.
I turned 50 in December. I often wonder why I wasted so many of my best years on a man who just didn’t care enough.
So thanks for sharing. I follow the Hussey boys too and can only it’s not too late for me to learn and grow from my mistakes in that relationship. If nothing else they do help to realise not all men have one singular mindset. They can be cute and smart too! Blessings x
50 is kind of a cool age, and 5 is a very lucky number. I imagine when I’m 50, I will be focused on my health and really enjoying the world.
I’m in my late 20s but I regret some things probably with just as much intensity. It’s useless when today is so beautiful. Always focus on today. Which is Saturday and awesome. Every minute can be potentially awesome. It’s all in the thoughts you choose to think.
This blog post makes a very important point for people to grasp on as many levels as possible. When a person in my life was behaving badly the ”why” aspect was always interesting to me. I was curious to discover what was at the root of all of these ongoing bastardly actions. But, I eventually learned that, like you said, it absolutely doesn’t matter why! In the past I’ve been guilty of playing therapist to boyfriends and friends and trying to ”help” them work through their deep seated issues usually much to no avail. I had pure intentions but I simply wasn’t qualified for the job lol and ended up emotionally exhausting myself. Not to mention the consequences were unintentionally lowering my self esteem and making me paranoid that maybe everyone is secretly mean and crazy based on a few people I encountered. I saw potential in them, plus I wanted so badly to connect with someone that I allowed myself to be too nice for too long at my own expense. What I learned was if people have a continuous pattern of mistreating you it’s unlikely to change no matter what. I’ve concluded that if things are wonderful at certain times with someone but a walk through living hell and back at other times then the relationship is not worth it to me. Great article Stephen!- really resonated with me.
My boyfriend is somewhere in the middle he will not committ to luving together and we are both 58 yes old I don’t want to live alien when I get older then this.. My son still lives with me but will not a few years from now … ??? What now
Thanks for the article Stephen. I have a tendency to analyse things so I can relate to this article. Your last sentence sums it up!
Great article Stephen one should not put up with shitty people whether it be a friendship or relationship. If the person isn’t treating you the way you should be treated then get the hell out its not worth it!!
This post is probably both what I do and don’t want to hear right now. I’m very early days (3mo) into a relationship with a bloke. Mostly, it’s great. We’re similar, can talk non-stop and laugh all the time. However, we also seem to argue a lot (something I don’t normally do with people at all), and a number of other red flags have been going off. My friends and family also say I’ve become more snappy and different.
I keep flipping back and forth between this being something I should walk away from or that perhaps I’m creating the issues and making them worse (because I was previously abused and am almost so scared of it happening again that I over-react to tiny things).
I can’t seem to work out what I should do.
Stephen, I cannot tell you how hard this post hit me like a block in the head. Of course I can’t figure out why someone would act that way toward me, the problem is I stuck around 3-4 dates longer than I should have! This is forever imbedded in my Facebook messenger and I read it daily. Thank you, thank you!
I can’t believe that I am reading this right now. Two days ago I left a 8 month relationship and I had remorse that I should have gave him a second chance. He was my firts relationship ever, I am 27. But I realised that I gave him so many chances over and over again. He was mistreating me often, when he was drunk he was insulting me… I told him not to do those things and he continued…and a week ago I have read a post on Facebook, saying that :leaving is not a weakness, that we don’t leave to prove our value to others but because we finally understood our own value…I was finding excuses …He had a difficult past, he was cheated on…etc etc and I was so fighting for the person that he once were on the begining- caring, treating me like a princess, gentle and kind…and after a few months he was mistreating me, sober and drunk…too often drunk And I realised that this can’t be my life, that I deserve better. Of course he is still writing me that he regrets everything, that he will not drink anymore that he will change everything because I am the love of his life, that he wants to start over, that he will never again hurt me because he finally understood the value of our relationship. But I realise that he will not change…For o month maybe but then all of this will return. I realise that I deserve someone that will understand the value of our relationship from the begining…not after leaving him. I deserve someone who will treat me well even if he is in a bad mood. Because there is NO reason no explenation…even if he was raped as a child – it is not the reason to treat me badly. I think that we should treat people how we want to be treated and also try to not do things that we have to apologise for.
Great article, Stephen! This was a behaviour I have made a great deal of effort to stop doing. When I think about how much time, energy and emotion I wasted on trying to figure things out, as opposed to acknowledging it as behaviour he or she does … Well let’s just say I would be proficient in several languages, activities etc.
What a wonderful blog…It really pertains to my own life…I divorced my husband 7 years ago…He became verbally abusive after 23 years of marriage…(He was an alcoholic & started hanging out with his drinking friends)He worked on the road for 23 years…and finally he got a job in the city. I thought our life would be much better with him being at home…Instead, it was the opposite..He could hardly wait to get out to the acreage lot that his friend owned…His working background; he was a heavy-duty mechanic. But, he was in management finally…but wanted to keep his hands in fixing pieces of machinery his friend picked up at the local auctions…So he would be running out to his friend’s place every Saturday…I didn’t mind the fixing…I only objected to the drinking afterwards. He was driving home intoxicated. I told him he was going to kill himself..or worse..kill an innocent person on the road…I’m such a nag..aren’t I…(I’m being sarcastic..) Anyways..I soon tired of this..& like I said, he started becoming more & more verbally abusive, just like his dear old Dad. Which was shocking to me…just because he never wanted to become like his Dad. To make a long story short…He is now an EX. And I am so happy I made the decision to leave him…It was so incredibly hard, because I truly believe in the institution of marriage, and really believed in the vows I made in church when I married him. But, I didn’t want to be with someone who didn’t want to be with me. Plus, I was tired of the verbal abuse. He had a very good teacher. (His Dad). I am very happy now..& glad I did NOT stay with him. I would be living the life his parents live. Not for me. I AM NOT HIS MOM! And I am not repeating that horrible cycle. ;) I deserve better. I am so glad I bought Matthew’s book…& am reading these blogs…I am also glad to be attending a RETREAT very soon. Thanks for everything Stephen & Matthew. I am looking forward to my future…The future’s so bright..I gotta wear shades… ;) A quote from a song…. ;)
I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!!! After spending endless hours of analyzing mans bad behavior I discovered that it was worthless . It took me 10 years to realize that as soon as I see the first red flags I should go away!!! I was stupidly patient with people that didn’t deserve it!!!
Great reminder to not just live up to our own standards but check our surroundings as well.
This post and Matthew Hussey’s video on “How to stop attracting the wrong guys” complement each other very well.
I might apply your advice for other circumstances than my love life as well though, which for me just shows how good your material is:)
I can look up those posts when in doubt of not trusting my instincts, or not valuing myself enough.
For even after having been on your lovely Retreat, those inner beliefs don’t die fast, it’s important to keep working on it.
There’s a phrase I grew fond of from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography (thanks for the tip).
In a journal entry he made while traveling on sea, describes a scene where he’s prone to jump to a (positive) conclusion without any real evidence, and reflecting on it he wrote something that stuck with me:
“We are apt to believe whatever we wish to be true.”
It reminds me of not believing in any signs/promises when there hasn’t been proof, and not to fall for wishful thinking thus ignoring red flags.
Whenever I DON’T want to ask myself “What would the Hussey brothers say about this (insert situation/person)?”, or I avoid looking up those posts of advice, it’s probably because I’m somehow ashamed of the truth that I might not be valuing myself enough in the given circumstance, or am telling myself ‘but this is different’.. which is a form of self-deception, a fear of looking at it, and avoidance of asking the right questions.
As I’ve built some hints and warning signs for myself, this is a good one to remind myself that instead of avoiding, I might rather investigate further what’s going on and make healthier decisions for myself.
You both give very supportive and constructive content, highly appreciate it.
Thanks for being such useful warning signs!
Couldn’t agree more !!!
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