Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Why Nice Guys Finish Last in Relationships and Marriage, Part 4 of 4, Sacrifice

Now for the most destructive of all “Nice Guy” traits, self-sacrifice…

Brace yourself, because I’m about to either open your eyes or piss you off royally. But a little excitement won’t hurt you either way. And it will take a few paragraphs to get there, but you will see how this relates to relationships with women in stark relief, so don’t be put off by the first few paragraphs sounding like an ethics or philosophy lecture. Hang with me. ;-)

The subject of self-sacrifice is always controversial because most people are very confused about the meaning of the word “sacrifice;” they often refer to choices they have made in “trade” as “sacrifice” without realizing it, and then get angry when somebody says, using the word “sacrifice,” that they did something wrong. Let me give you an example or two to make sure we’re on the same page before we move on.

Let’s say you meet a guy on a street corner, and it’s obvious that he’s homeless, penniless, and a drug addict; he’s wearing short sleeves, has visible needle track marks, and is in obvious withdrawal. You give him money, which he uses not for food, clothing, or shelter, but to buy more drugs and bring himself closer to the grave.

Now take that same situation, except instead of it being obvious that the man is a drug addict, it’s obvious that he’s hit tough times and trying to claw his way back up out of the hole. His clothes may be somewhat tattered, but they’re clean. He asks if you’ve heard of any available work. And he looks you in the eye when he speaks. You give him money, which he uses for food and a payphone to try to find a job.

The former is sacrifice, the latter is trade. In the former scenario, you are trading a marker of value, money, which is in turn a marker for some portion of your life that it took to obtain that money, for absolutely nothing. Nobody benefits, and that value is destroyed. In the latter, you are trading that value for the satisfaction of helping someone get back on his feet. There is something in it for you and the other guy. That is trade.

Now, let’s bring the situation closer to home. Some family member has a substance abuse problem (I use the example only because it’s easy to see the impact, not because I have an axe to grind), and you keep pouring money into rehabilitation clinics and medical bills, and in return they act abusively toward you, do not turn away from their substance abuse, and instead steal from you to buy more drugs from some people they met at the rehab clinic as soon as they get out..

Or, same scenario, but the family member actively works to avoid the temptations to return to abuse, gets a job, builds self-esteem, and thanks you for helping them.

Again, the first scenario is sacrifice, the second is trade.

Now, let’s bring it to your relationship, and this time, instead of substance abuse, we’ll talk about love, or what many think is love, but will find out shortly is anything but. You pour all of your time and energy into catering to the wants, whims, needs, and desires of a woman who won’t give you the time of day. She has no respect for you, demonstrates no love for you, and no matter what you do, she complains that it isn’t enough. She is abusive, accusing, bitchy, and maybe even goes so far as to tell you that she’s going to see other men while you go to your job or watch the kids at home.

Yes, that’s sacrifice. And the more you heap upon her, the less she’ll respect you and appreciate it. (And by the way, women are about as likely to encounter this scenario with a man; there is no gender-bias here. I’m writing primarily to men so I use pronouns appropriate for writing to men, but ladies, this lesson applies equally to you.) There’s absolutely nothing positive in it for you.

But you love her, you say? Sorry, Buddy, but no, you don’t. To love is to value, and you cannot value someone who would treat you this way. True sacrifice has one cause: NEED. Even people who don’t know the difference between need and love will not feel compelled to make sacrifices unless they need the approval or acceptance of the other person. (For more on the relationship emotions of love, attraction, need, and lust, see my free “Break-Up Busting 101” report before you really screw yourself up.)

And we all know what comes when your relationship is based on need instead of love, right? Abuse, disappointment, frustration, and demise, because nobody wants to have a needy wuss suckling on their jugular vein.

As an aside, sacrifice is also seen in relationships where you don’t hear the griping, bitching and abuse, but instead there is always a carrot dangling in front of you. Have you heard any of these?

“I’m stressed over the house and what the neighbors think and I can’t sleep, so I have no libido and I’m tired all the time. If you’ll get that addition we talked about fixed, maybe my libido will come back.”

“I just don’t know what to do about a job. I look and look and look and nothing seems like a good fit. I’m getting so depressed. And I know you have needs but I just can’t think about sex when we’re so tight on money. If you could maybe get a raise or a part-time job it might help our sex life.”

“My biological clock is ticking, and every time you talk about sex I can’t think about anything but having (another) baby. Let’s get pregnant again and then maybe I can think about sex.”

And when the addition was built, or the extra income was secured, or the pregnancy achieved, now there was the stress of decorating the addition, feeling guilty and depressed because you’re working two jobs and they’re not able to find a job yet, or she’s too tired and her hormones are too crazy to even think about having sex. Everything is all civil and even sweet sounding, but you’re making all the effort and she’s making none. Got the picture? (And again, Ladies, you can fall prey to this scam too. If you’re doing all the work and he’s getting all the benefit, you have a parasite or predator on your hands, no matter how nice he might sound.)

You may have heard for all your life that good relationships are based on sacrifice, or compromise, and that’s utter crap. Can you imagine basing a relationship on the behavior described above, and enjoying it while you’re doing all the giving and getting nothing but frustration in return? A relationship based on sacrifice destroys life, plain and simple. A relationship based on compromise puts two people who need to be cooperative partners in the position of score-keeping competitors whose satisfaction comes at the expense of the person who should be their partner. Compromise is how people deal with the shortcoming of a lack of compatibility, not how they express love.

And make no mistake, if you are compromising, or asking another to, you and your values are in conflict with the other’s, and this diminishes, not strengthens, love. If you find yourself at odds, you must resolve it with trade, not compromise, to truly resolve the situation, maintain respect and love, and flourish as a couple in the long term.

Good relationships are based on compatibility, cooperation, genuine love and active attraction. Incompatibility creates points of contention and competition, which makes cooperation difficult to impossible. The absence of love means the absence of friendship, loyalty, trust, and respect, among other things, all of which are required for intimacy of any kind, the condition that determines the depth and staying power of the relationship, and the satisfaction of being in it. And the absence of attraction creates boredom, the primary catalyst in dissolving any good relationship that ever was formed.

This isn’t theory or opinion, and isn’t something you can debate or choose to believe or disbelieve. It’s that kind of self-evident, in-your-face reality that you either use to make your life better or ignore at your own peril. Give your love, life, and energy only to someone who gives theirs to you in return, and if you find that you have joined yourself with a parasite, predator, user, abuser, or loser, realize that there is nothing about them to love, that you are seeking their acceptance or approval, validation, or some other such nonsense, or else you are a codependent in need of psychological help. Also realize that someone else’s approval is meaningless. The only approval in the world that matters at all is your own.

That should be a lot easier, should it not? To approve your own life and self instead of depending one someone else, who isn’t qualified to judge and/or can’t be trusted to be honest and accurate, to approve it for you? You might be shocked at how many people I hear from every day who cannot do it. And the nemesis that thwarts them every single time?


Guilt because they had a good childhood. Guilt because they worked their ass off and got a better job than somebody else who didn’t. Guilt because somebody important to them chose to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk and killed himself in a car crash or chose a military career and didn’t make it out alive. Some of it is guilt over things they’ve done and should have worked their way through and forgiven themselves for years ago, but most of it is guilt for things that not only have they not done and weren’t responsible for, they had no control over at all!

If you’re having issues like these, get over them, as fast as possible and at any expense necessary. Guilt will suck the life out of you like nothing else can, not to mention make you somebody that nobody else wants to be around, especially the woman living in your house (unless she’s a parasite or predator). Feeling guilty will never in your life make anyone else’s life better, will not make up for a mistake anyone, including yourself, has made, and will never result in you feeling like you’ve paid sufficient penance to feel good again. Resolve it, or die with it and be miserable until then. There is no other choice.

And by the way, sacrificing your life to your wife isn’t the only way you can destroy yourself. It’s also quite possible that you have a most wonderful wife, and are sacrificing yourself to your job, or some family member or friend. The effect is quite predictable: your wife loses respect for you because you’re a pushover, resents that someone else is getting the benefit of your marriage instead of the two of you, and eventually gets tired of the excuses and wuss behavior when you don’t straighten up and take back your life and marriage. There is no scenario in which you can sacrifice your life or marriage to another and have it work out well for you.

So there it is. Why “nice guys” finish last in relationships isn’t because they’re nice. It’s because they’re either grossly ignorant of the relationship emotions, grossly ignorant of what women perceive as truly “nice,” or get hung up on being nice to someone or something else to the extent that it damages and eventually kills your marriage. I can help you to stop or avoid these problems and a whole lot more…

Start by going to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and downloading your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and getting the real scoop on everything that you, as a man, need to know about women, which will enable you to quickly learn even the finest points to be learned about the woman you love.

And while you’re at it, grab my
free “Break-Up Busting 101” report and get a fast head start on managing and preventing crisis in case you’re unwittingly making any major mistakes now, or turning crisis around if you’ve already stepped in crap. My free “What Women Really Want” report will do you a world of good, too.

Together, we can get you on the road to happiness, but you have to take that first step alone; I can open the door, but you have to walk through.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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