Looking Forward, Looking Back

Dear Reader,

Men and women sometimes seem like completely different creatures. Perhaps, this is why heterosexual relationships can be so complicated sometimes. In my very small circle of acquaintances, I have noticed a striking pattern when it comes to romantic relationships. My female acquaintances, on average, tend to look forward, while my male acquaintances, on average, tend to look back. First, before I explain what I mean, I want to begin with the (ginormous) caveat that every person is unique, and generalizations not backed up by scientific research are over-simplifications at best and damaging at worst…. But, with all that in mind, I still want to share a personal observation from my life.

As I grow older, most of my relationships with others are one-on-one affairs rather than large cliques or social groups. In this way, many of my conversations with friends and relatives are deeply personal. Over the course of several months, I have noticed something interesting about those I am close to, specifically, that they can be divided into two groups — those that tend to dwell on past relationships and those that are concerned about the future of the relationship. In a previous post, I wrote about how the happiest place to exist is in the present (more here), however, for me and others, this perfect medium is elusive.

In conversation with more than one male friend, they have disclosed to me the following information:

  • He thinks about “what could have been” when considering a relationship that did not quite take off
  • He compares his romantic partners to “the one that got away”
  • He admits that his ex will “always hold a special place” in his heart
  • He still holds onto hope that his ex will one day come to her senses
  • He feels that the best relationship is behind him

In conversation with more than one female friend, they have disclosed to me the following information:

  • She is nervous that he will never change
  • She is not sure whether she should trust him again
  • She is not sure if he is ready/ serious for something more
  • She believes that the best of the relationship is yet to come
  • She is concerned that the relationship will not grow

Again, these responses are from my very small sample size and only represent college-educated Millennials who range from mildly conservative to flaming liberal.

The correlation I draw between thoughts on romantic relationships and gender is simply a personal example.

I admit my brain is squarely stuck in the future — which is not always to my benefit.

To all of you that have good perspective and enjoy life in the present, I just have one question — what’s it like??



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