Emerging from Neverland

I am of the opinion that there is a time in every young boy’s life where he must grow up and stop viewing any woman as a means of biding his time between relationships. I have witnessed many of my friends fall victim to these middling men who will say things just to string them along while they need them only to turn around and retract any statement of interest the second they feel claustrophobic. And it’s not as though these circumstances occur only on one occasion; it’s a pattern they repeat for as long as the hapless victim allows.

This may happen to men as well as women, but I’ve only seen it happen to my female friends so I sought out perspective from a few male friends to gauge if my standards were characteristically high in this situation as they apparently are in others.

According to my reliable sources, it seems this behavior should, in theory, be a childish stage that is left behind after the collegiate years. It should never be acceptable to treat any individual in such a disrespectful manner, but it seems even more unacceptable to do so in the state of adulthood when such actions can no longer be attributed to youthful indiscretion. Admittedly, the victims are partially responsible for these situations. If these immature individuals are allowed to behave like this without consequence they will undoubtedly repeat the actions.

As a woman who has consistently stayed in unhealthy relationships because she is too naïve, stupid or codependent to get out, I’m the last to cast stones at the women who allow themselves to be mistreated. However, as their friend, I struggle with watching them put themselves in the same positions over and over again because this time may be different and maybe Peter Pan has overcome that lingering immaturity to realize he wants a real adult relationship. I want to be excited and hopeful for my friends, but I also want to smack them over the head with the obvious stick and tell them that it’s unlikely this man-child has suddenly decided to grow up and that you are the one he wants. It’s more likely that when he does move beyond this stage, it will be with someone brand new, not the eager girl who has patiently waited in the wings.

It’s an easy trap to get into. Thinking we can change the men we want. Thinking we can be such an amazing partner that we will convince them that we are the one they have been waiting for and if they would just open their infantile eyes they would see the one they want in us. It’s so easy to tell yourself, “If I just wait long enough for him to emerge from this stage, I will be the one he chooses.” Unfortunately, even if you do get your major movie moment when he realizes the faithful lady in waiting is what he has wanted all this time, you will undoubtedly endure a number of emotionally straining circumstances that will take a toll on your emotional wellbeing as you wait for him to come to this grand realization.

Though some of the onus partially lies on the woman, it seems that if these men are unwilling to grow out of this stage where they want to play childish games, they shouldn’t be permitted to drag women into their Neverland with carefully polished manipulation. The worst part of it is that because these guys have been at it so long, they’ve nearly perfected the art. They understand women and what they want to hear as one would expect of a normal adult male, but they still prey on them the way one would expect of an idiot college boy. It’s a dangerous combination and I understand how a woman may fall victim.

Unfortunately, this is the way the dating and the world at large works. Some people are manipulative and immature and it is on us to decipher their tactics and find the sincerity of the right one. So use your natural judgment, more often than not your past experience will lend all the guidance you need. Best of luck ladies (and men if you have ever experienced the same issue).