Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Theory & Essay

The Past Is The Best Predictor of The Future. No Pluto.

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine who is struggling in her relationship. She was telling me that whole “potential” yada yada yada yada that so many women run when thinking about the men in their lives.

“If he’d just do better then we’d be good. But he flat out refuses to do the little things I ask him to do…I don’t know what to do. I love him and only want to be with him…but it’s just frustrating….MEN SUCK…”

After assuring her that men do not (all) indeed suck, I hit her with a bit of reality and a bit of indirect advice regarding her relationship and her man that I think is pretty doggone poignant:

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. You have to take folks as they are and be proud of them for making changes in the positive direction. Or roll out.

Now of course, she agreed with me in principle but didn’t get why it had to be so difficult. This man she’s been dating has been doing the same stuff for the entire seven months that they’d been dating and she’s still waiting on him to have one of those light-bulb moments where he realizes that if he doesn’t change he’ll lose her.

Except he has no incentive. Nothing that he’s doing or has done has indicated to her that anything would be any different. She just wants it to be and thinks that for her, he should make those changes. Put a pin in that, we’ll come back to that.

But the same goes for him. Nothing that has happened has indicated to him that she’s going to leave him or make him suffer any consequences. So they’re both relying on past behaviors to predict the future. For her, she just refuses to accept that he is who he is, and for him, he doesn’t believe that who he is will cause him any longterm suffering.

Impasse.

I do realize at this point that many women, and men for that matter, may think, why won’t he just “do right”? “Do right” is such a nebulous phrase and largely only involves actions men should be making in order to grow as people (?) and keep our women happy. I’ve got a whole theory and blog post about the concept of “do right” differences between men and women and the stakes involved. It’s coming.

I’m always amazed at how many women tell me that they can’t believe a man won’t just do better so that he doesn’t lose her. This isn’t intended to sound too trivializing, but I truly think that a lot of women overstate their own value to the men in their lives that the point these realizations arise. This man spent his entire life being who he is until she showed up and he’s supposed to see this particular woman and make every change she wants him to make? Come on. That’s unrealistic AND assumes that the changes she wants him to make are for him and not just to make her happy. Real change is personal, not just to keep a woman. I realize that, in general, women do a lot more compromising than men do. It’s true. Oh yeah, it’s true. However, you rarely hear women talking about needing to change. Just something to think about.

(Though the self-help industry is being kept afloat by somebody so I’m guessing maybe women are constantly going through “improvement”? That’s a question by the way.)

Anyway, once you realize that what somebody has always done is likely to be what they will always do short of some life-altering realizations, you learn that the ball is in your own court. Which is what I told my friend. He is who he is, either shut up about it or vote with your feet and leave him. I have no idea what she’s going to do, but she did walk away from that convo with some sort of resolve.

Of course, she could just resolve to continue to be upset. Her prerogative, but at least she realized the ball was in her court.

Bobby Brown.

Granted, as grown ups we all learn that compromise is the name of the game and some of us take longer to get to that point than others do – and I’m mostly talking about men – but compromise is an outcome, I do think that you have to take folks as they are if you chose to enter into cahoots with them. Of course, that’s not for the large scale problems like infidelity or pathological lying, but if you stay with folks at that point, then while it isn’t your fault if they cheat, it is your fault for staying with them knowing that they might.

Chuuch.

-VSB P aka PJANGO JACKSON aka MR. I DONT KNOW WHAT HE’S SAYING EITHER aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

(A version of this post appeared on Guyspeak.com on January 5, 2013)

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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • I Am Your People

    I continue to be confused by women who complain how their man ain’t sh*t but they won’t leave him. I don’t even bother asking anymore. I just sit there and pretend to listen to them complain as the sound of chomping on nachos drowns them out. I can’t be Iyanla; I can’t fix this…

    • Iceprincess2

      Mmmm, are those chicken nachos? *Scoots closer to IAYP & helps self to a chip*

    • Tristan

      never do anything like Carmelo outside a team bus

      • Shamira

        *passes honey nut Cheerios*

        • Medium Meech

          *Tastes a spoonfull*

    • Yonnie

      Agreed. Two examples I’ve been seeing in reality television (*hangs head in shame*): The Game and his fiance’. She seems to hate everything about their relationship and the way he operates in it, but is steady planning a wedding talking about, “If we’re getting married, this has to change.” What? Also, Kenya on RHOA. Now, we all know that she’s not in a real relationship with Moesha’s daddy, but in any case, in the last episode, she said, “You treat me like sh!t. You act like you don’t like me.” Ummm… but you’re pressuring him to propose to you? Like… why? But what do I know. I’ve been single since before we had a Black president.

    • H.H.H.

      *eats croutons*

      *watches C-Span by hisself*

  • Angel Baby

    “Real change is personal, not just to keep a…”

    This is all that needed to be said. Goodnight VSB! eemmmuuuaahhhhh

  • naturalista88

    So much win in this post.

  • nillalatte

    U right PJ; the spots on a leopard don’t change. Men are creatures of habit- sometimes mostly bad/annoying/delusional. Agreed. Accept them as is, no warranty. When dat shyt wears out, trade it for a new model. :) lol

    • Tentpole

      Correction Nilla! People are creatures of habbit. As long as I am getting what I need from you why should I change. If you don’t like it LEAVE. Wanting me to be a certain way because you couldn’t find the one you wanted and you accepted me think you could change me to see things your way is your stupidity.Disclaimer!! this response is not directed to you Nilla I was on my soapbox.

      • Wild Cougar

        Life would be easy if it were that simple. But the fact remains, many men do make changes in their behavior without being threatened with a break up. They do it because they realize they realize they are hurting her and they sincerely don’t want that to occur. I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it, we all have seen it plenty. But that’s not as satisfying as a simplistic viewpoint that allows you to call women stupid.

      • nillalatte

        “Wanting me to be a certain way because you couldn’t find the one you wanted and you accepted me”

        Oh, good lord. Me and my guy just had this ‘fight’ the other day. It was all about older women ‘settling’ for older sickly men, men on the prowl for younger women, and cougars and cubs.

        What sets me off about most male aka dude logic is this… a lot of you all think, and are quite sure about this, as he is, that a woman will do just about anything to keep a man. The only thing about this line of thinking is… you’re wrong.

        Maybe SOME women will and there are varying situations granted. But, take for example, me. I’m an older woman, been married, been divorced, have kids, got the paper on my own. All I’m really looking for is a companion and sometimes emotional support with one who will treat me with respect and dignity while we enjoy each others company, and ‘benefits’ if we want. Other than that, some women ain’t trying to ‘keep’ a dude. Women in my situation will ‘accept’ you, to a certain point, but I’ll be damn if we ‘settle’ for/with you.

        See, some women don’t HAVE to settle. Then the guy comes in and says, “Then you’ll be alone when your old.” You know what, considering the alternative, I’m good with that. Why can’t men be good with knowing that some women enjoy their freedom AND times of companionship, but can and want to keep them separate?

        Okay, off my soapbox now. Thanks for playing. :)

        • MissRae

          ” All I’m really looking for is a companion and sometimes emotional support with one who will treat me with respect and dignity while we enjoy each others company, and ‘benefits’ if we want.”

          Yes to all of this.

        • misstlb

          OMG u said it nillalatte!! I feel the same way! no need to settle. not the end of the world if u don’t have a man. sometimes i just want to go to a movie or a concert. doesnt mean i want to house ur ass up and make u my forever!

        • Negro Libre

          I agree.

          Though I disagree that there is anything such as dude logic.

          The fact is men attempt to be logical first and romantic second, whereas women try to be romantic first, and logical second. Men have to get women, women simply have to receive men. Thus a guy could have all the romantic ideas in his head, but if he doesn’t understand the logic of getting women, he’s not going to get them. Women don’t have that problem, they don’t need to understand how men operate to get them, all they need to do is accept. Due to this, women can be romantic; they don’t have to submit to the limitations of reality in coming up with ideas of what they want or desire from men. Where a lot of women end up having problems though, is when the romance passes away (it always does) and they don’t know how to apply logic to keep the relationship going.

          • esa

            mm i am with alla that except the part about stayinn on afta tha romance is gone. me too.

    • lurkeyturkey

      but….b-but…WHAT ABOUT ALL THAT POTENTIAL?! T_T its hard to see all that raw material go to waste.

  • Fivegirl

    This is so true and applies to more than romantic relationships too. Women (read: my mother) do the same thing with their children (read: my brother) and refuse to see that at some point a person is who he or she is and probably won’t do some major overhaul of their personality. I guess this is why they say love is blind because the same crap you would NEVER take from a coworker or friend etc., women will accept endlessly from those they love just waiting for the day it changes.

    • Latonya

      That is true and then get mad when you tell them that the guy is making a fool out them! I never understood those types of women are you that desperate to be with a man.

      • Tristan

        It’s funny given the frequency of failed relationships, women are so reluctant to accept they whiffed. If I spent 3 months with a woman and she turned out to suck, I’m not going to anymore time trying to recoup losses, charge it to the game.

      • Royale W. Cheese

        Part of it is gender standards. Body count is seen as a stain on a woman’s “purity,” so every time she leaves a man that she has had chex with, she leaves with -1 point on her perceived worth. We are under greater pressure to get it right the first time. Men aren’t subject to the same pressure (unless it’s artificially imposed by divorce legislation).

        • Obsidian

          Men are like Uzis; Women are like sniper rifles.

          O.

        • esa

          for me, purity is a state of mind, and nothinnn else ~*~

  • That Ugly Kid

    One time, a woman I VERY briefly “dated” told me she wish I would change a little because I was too nice and I kept putting other people’s feelings before my own. Aw forreal, b*tch? Okay. So during sex, I stopped faking it….wish granted….

    • msdebbs

      Ouch!

    • Todd

      And it’s comments like that which makes people in the government ban high capacity magazines. Shots motherf*cking FIRED! LOL

    • LSQ

      Holmes-style shots fired !

      ( too soon?)

    • namia

      TUK…gd one!

    • SweetSass

      You react in anger to advice that is meant to help you become more assertive? Smh.

      • Juiciest Mango

        SweetSass,

        there was no anger there, at all. Pure honesty.

        • SweetSass

          Calling someone a ‘bitch’ is an angry and defensive response.

          • That Ugly Kid

            I call everyone a b*tch. Casually. No anger behind it.

            • SweetSass

              You do not call everyone a b*tch.

              • That Ugly Kid

                In my personal life? Yes, I do. I (jokingly) call every one of my friends a bitch. Mostly male friends. I don’t call many of my female friends b*tches unless I’m close with them and we have that level of comfort. Don’t tell me what I don’t do like you know me. Girl bye….

        • That Ugly Kid

          Thank you. But this is Sweet Sass, so I’m not surprised that she didn’t get it.

          • Juiciest Mango

            You’re welcome my crater inducing lover!!

    • The Guy Formerly Know As Hmmmm

      I like that one.

  • Never

    I don’t know.

    Prior meeting M, I was focused on attempting to juggle as many women as possible. My best friend and me (Chris Hefley, RIP) had a little “basketball” team concept where we plugged women into our “starting lineups.”

    Yes, the hotheaded enthusiasm/misdirection of youth.

    In my case, two things; I later realized that I was neither ready for actual “love” nor certain of precisely what I wanted in a woman.

    M changed *all* of that, and only when she pointed that 1. that manner in which I was treating her was indicative of a lack of seriousness about the two of us, and 2. she felt that she had no other option but to move on, if that was indeed the case.

    You know that…pit you get in your stomach? When Martin finally realized Gina wasn’t playing about leaving and he did the little kid “I gotta pee REAL bad” dance in response to that realization? It all hit me. This woman has quite a bit of what I was looking for, and dammit, I backslid – kicking and screaming – into “love.”

    Complete 180. I loved this woman. Was in love with her. Was scared as you know what, but…here I was.

    Is that an exception to the general rule? Quite likely. And I think that WE (men and women are both guilty) tend to find someone who we are physically attracted to, and then project our ideal vision of them onto said individuals. And we wait. And we hope that one day they will step into and seamlessly fit that astral mold that we’ve created for them.

    Many of us know precisely what we want…and allow that to cloud our vision, preventing us to more quickly ascertain…what we *need*.

    • Royale W. Cheese

      “M changed *all* of that, and only when she pointed that 1. that manner in which I was treating her was indicative of a lack of seriousness about the two of us, and 2. she felt that she had no other option but to move on, if that was indeed the case.
      You know that…pit you get in your stomach? When Martin finally realized Gina wasn’t playing about leaving and he did the little kid “I gotta pee REAL bad” dance in response to that realization? It all hit me.”

      — This is what I call falling back and giving a guy space to sort himself out. Minimizes stress experienced by the woman. It’s too much trouble trying to push a guy to do anything.

      • Todd

        But I thought women wanted to save men. You know, like Superwoman by Li’l Mo. Then again, Superwoman by Karyn White in the 80s contradicts that, encouraging that behavior. Ah well. :)

        • Kema

          I want to save men…and women I’ll stop. lol!

          • Malik

            Kema with the new avi.

          • Juiciest Mango

            I see you with that freekum dress on girlfriend. Curves galore.

          • WIP

            But they don’t want to be saved.

            • Obsidian

              Indeed! This is the 21st century – all that “me Tarzan, you Jane” crap is oldhat. Besides, I’m having way too much fun being me, thank you very much…

              ;)

              O.

      • MicTheMessenger

        Hell yeah Royale. I feel you on this. I think that the world would be a better place if people were allowed to change on their own. Cuz when your significant other walks out that door the fear of loss sets in like a mug, and it tends to provoke genuine change. Then that person realizes actual consequences of their actions. Also, the relationship is proven because if the person really wants what they lost, they’ll do what they need to keep it.

    • WIP

      awwwww!

    • Monstadon

      Well said.

      100.

  • Never

    Ooh. Apologies for unintentional wall of text. Cannot edit. o_O

  • chameleonic

    smh. im someone who assumes upon meeting someone theres a time limit on our interaction with one another and during this time, you will not have my best interest at heart or consider whats best for me, you will not value the role i have in your life, and mine will be inevitably worse for having met you. ive always been that way, though, some were flattering and straight forward enough to secure me for a time.

    im still that way and i dont necessarily fault men for the way they are. i think. to be what you want in this life and to be dominant and confident in doing so you have to be ‘me’ centric. i also think men carry more weight then they let on. any person who is logic based is solution oriented which means you see problems and aspire to fix them.

    you look out for yourself. as you should. but i never learned that vital lesson so i dont want to be the silly girl fawning over you when theres more important things out there to deal with than my feelings. i look at a man for who he is when our lives intersect and i take him for that and that alone. it benefits me to assume who he is at that moment is who hell always be and even though with all my heart i want him to care everything im experiencing sucks for me and im practically whimpering for him to fix it, id much rather just have access to what i need to take care of myself. and that is a bout of conflict. men dont provide first aid.

    im not even so sure im capable of relationships with depth, is mutual, and it either hurts really bad or it potentially blows a fuse in my mind for how good it feels and pleasure comes with a suspension of reality and weaker will. i dont bother looking at you before we met because im pretty sure the conclusion would be hes not so bad and i should probably give him a chance but im pretty sure every woman youve ever abandonded told herself the same thing. forgive me if i wanna turn a blind eye to your history but i do agree its good to look at a man for what hes grown into.

    personally, my past is…dead weight and id rather let it go. and i wish someone would be selfless enough to focus on what i need to recover, but. its weird. and it hurts. and im tired. and im emotional. truth be told its probably in my best interest to accept someone as they are for who they are. even if i dont matter to him in the end euphoria is probably a natural remedy…

  • Nutty Jay

    *rolling my eyes*