Tag Archives: runner

The Runner’s High

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 My mom called me up one day to tell me she bought a book for me from the thrift store. She knows that I read tons of book about singleness and relationships and psychology. Sometimes I read them simply because I think I may write about them on here. Other times I read them because they truly fascinate me. She thought this one might pique my interest.

I glanced over the front cover: The Commitment Cure: What to Do When You Fall for an Ambivalent Man. What does ambivalent mean? I flipped the book over and was relieved to discover that I must not be the only person unfamiliar with that term. On the back, in dictionary format, I read the definition of “ambivalence” followed by the definition of “ambivalent man”.

How does the author, Rhonda Findling, define ambivalence? Ambivalence is “the existence of mixed feelings toward someone or something. Difficulty in reaching a decision.” As for the “ambivalent man”, he is the “one who exhibits or feels ambivalence toward women; one who plays games. He wants a relationship; he wants to break up. He’s confused, mixed up, inconsistent, and unpredictable. Yet he’s irresistable and easy to fall in love with . . . and almost sure to cause a broken heart.”

Good to know. I opened the book. To give some background, I already mentioned that I did not pick this book up by myself. It was given to me. With that in mind, I quickly realized that I am not the typical reader that this book would be directed toward. Findling’s target audience would be women who are unhappy in relationships that seem to lack commitment or a stable future. She calls to women who want the men they love to quit messing with them and marry them! As a cat lady, I don’t exactly fall into that target audience. I don’t want anyone I’m dating to take our relationship more seriously. That would be difficult, since I’m not dating anyone… I don’t yearn for a man to commit to me in marriage. I’m pretty happy while single. I’m really just reading this book for the sake of curiosity. Nothing more, nothing less.

Findling describes a handful of categories that ambivalent men fall into. Just like a criminal is more specifically labeled by his crime, she labels these ambivalent men more particularly by their behaviors. In Chapter 1, she describes the first kind of ambivalent man; The Runner.

As I sail through the first few pages, I’m dumbfounded by Findling’s description of “The Runner”. I feel slightly uncomfortable. Is it just my imagination, or does this Runner sound a lot like myself?

Although it is packed with information, and loaded with psychological observations (Findling is a psychotherapist), I found this book to be a quick read. As she describes and labels these men who avoid commitment, run from relationship, use women, manipulate others’ feelings, and criticize marriage, I picture several men I know and place them in the most appropriate categories. I’m amazed by how many I know who may be described as ambivalent. In fact, most of the men that I’ve found myself infatuated with could be described as ambivalent. Why is that?

Towards the end of the book, the author begins to address the reasons women are drawn toward ambivalent men. As she rattles off ideas, I find myself wondering why she doesn’t mention the ambivalent woman. After so closely identifying with the runner, I quickly realized that I find a noncommittal attitude attractive in men because I am also noncommittal. I am comfortable with his lack of stability because long-term relationships still terrify me. And yet, chapter after chapter, Findling neglects to mention the ambivalent woman. There are 18 chapters altogether. Finally, in Chapter 16, she directs her attention to girls like me.

There is a 10 question test in this chapter to help a woman determine whether or not she may be ambivalent. The author says that any woman who answers “yes” to at least three questions is very likely ambivalent. My score? Yes to 8. Kind of to 1. I could only give a straight-forward “no” to one question out of the ten. At least I’m self-aware and pegged myself in the first chapter…

I am quite comfortable running. It’s easy. It’s natural. Habitual, even. I run before I even get the chance to worry. Selfish, perhaps. And hurtful to others. The book made that clear. But comfortable. Unfortunately, I came to the decision earlier this year that I no longer want to run from relationship due to fear. Remember? Singleness is okay, as long as I remain single for healthy reasons… Fear, however, is not a healthy reason…

The problem is that running is ingrained. I’m not sure if I know how to stop. I sabotage the relationship before I even begin the relationship. I’ve tried to get past my tendency to sabotage a few times now, in the past few months. Ultimately, it never worked and I walked away feeling tremendously relieved. How do I quit running when running feels SO good? I find myself approaching another potential relationship right now – and I already want to run. I am trying to be positive. I am trying not to be cynical. And yet, I can’t say that I have high hopes. I don’t really feel like putting forth the effort necessary to date this guy. I’ve already contemplated the kindest way to let him down easy. I’m not sure if I know how to not run. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m capable. Perhaps I am addicted to the Runner’s High?

Just Do It.

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Just Do It.

My life is like a sneakers commercial. I kid you not. I am dumbfounded by the number of people repeating this phrase to me – “Just do it”. I understand that I have a tendency to overthink things… Particularly relationships. But in my defense, this blog is about singleness. If I were to stop this overthinking completely, my blog would fade into nothingness.

Before I accepted Matt’s challenge to start dating, I had mentioned that others gave me similar advice. Quit analyzing and gain experience. Those same people are still reminding me of this concept. And now a few others have jumped on the bandwagon as well. Everywhere I go, regarding every male I bring up, I hear these words: “Just do it.”

Now, aside from the fact that most of my prospects are dreary (see previous posts), I’m still having trouble adjusting to this “just do it” mentality. This past weekend I unexpectedly ran into a guy that I was slightly interested in. (On the bright side, the men in Nike commercials are always athletic and terribly good-looking. My life commercial is no different.) We had only met once before, but I actually know his parents quite well. In our time apart, my friends made my interest in him abundantly clear to his parents. Abundantly clear.

After spending some time together Saturday, he made an effort to keep in touch with me and my best friend. I did not think he would be too interested in us. But I could not really figure out why he would try to keep in touch (we live several hours away from him) if he were not at all interested in either one of us. With that dilemma in mind, I pondered the possibility of a relationship.

Although he has several great qualities, I am a cat lady. In other words, I excel in the field of “why relationships will not work out well”. Ordinarily, I would gush a little bit and enjoy my newfound crush, but remain secure in the idea that nothing would actually become of my crush. Likely, he would not pursue. But if he did, I already saw at least five possible reasons things would not work out between us. I had plenty of logical rejection material.

Unfortunately, my rejection material directly quarreled with my promise to stop thinking and start dating. He doesn’t have any of the major flaws my other options had (drug addiction, bad hygiene, etc.). He fit the major criteria. Crap. To be true to my word, if he pursued me, I would have to follow through and date this guy. “Just do it.” I was already dreading it. [Those five possible reasons I had accumulated were very convincing… Only a legitimate cat lady dreads pursuit from a guy she actually likes.]

Perhaps this is because I am a pessimist. Perhaps this is due to my cowardice. Perhaps this is pure wisdom that I have acquired from watching others’ failed relationships. No matter the reason, I was beginning to panic over the potential dating situation. I had already determined that he and I could become good friends, but probably should not become anything more.

Then my best friend told me that this man was not interested. During one of their conversations, he clarified his lack of romantic intentions for either one of us. I’m betting my sigh of relief was audible. In fact, I feel so relieved, I could hug him. Ironic, right? Maybe next time I see him, I will just do it.