Monday, October 22, 2012

Bad Boys....Whatcha Gonna Do?

I like bad boys.

There was this guy in high school that probably fell under the category of 'bad'. At least compared to me? Where I hadn't touched a drop of alcohol, I'm quite sure that he spent most of this weekends out partying and maintaing a 'man whore' type of status.

We became friends through a class period where we had to work together pretty closely. Our friendship didn't remain in the classroom. It was soon taken into the online world of instant messenger. That's a dangerous place, my friends (if you haven't realized that already).

Before I knew it, I had a pretty serious crush on this fellow. Not because he and I had anything in common, but because, in addition to the laughter and flirting and physical attraction, I felt like I had a way of reaching him that no one else had. There was a part of me that wanted to be let into the inner workings of his heart and his being... a place that no one before had dared go. Once there, I wanted to show him the hope and the change that was possible.

He struggled with wanting to be my friend. Apparently I was someone that facilitated change in his life and he didn't exactly want to change. I asked too many hard questions, I dug too deep... I demanded more out of him. I pressed in further, unwilling to give up. I wanted to see this 'bad boy' transformed. I had hope for him...a hope that he didn't even have for himself. I probably had a 'savior' complex of some sort: wanting to save him, or at least be a part of the saving process.

It didn't work out. One movie date and a terrible first kiss story and our romance fizzled into a shallow friendship. Once I graduated, our correspondence was minimal. I had failed. The 'bad boy' remained a 'bad boy' and I went on to fall for more rough-around-the-edges types of guys.

I don't think this part of me has changed much. I notice it most when I rooting for romances in television shows or movies. I'm usually rooting for the guy that everyone else thinks is a jerk....and he usually is a jerk. I just don't care. I have a hope for redemption, a hope that people can change...and, in the movies, it usually does.

In real life it can, too. I don't ever want to say that it can't. But, I think for many of the girls that can identify with my story...that we're often falling for a guy based more on who he could be vs. who he actually is. Or maybe we're too wrapped up in the idea that we might play a large part of someone else becoming a better person...that they need us to grow in that direction. And, shoot, doesn't that feel good?? That someone else could be better because of you?

Whatever way it ends up playing out, I can see how sketchy of a process this is.
It goes back to remembering that I can't save someone else. I can't be the hope. I can't be the thing that makes them want to be a better person. They have to want that on their own, without me in the picture. I can't fall for someone for who they could be and forget who they currently are. It's very plausible that they might not ever change--especially if they don't want to.

Be careful out there, as you size up available men to consider dating. Be careful as you connect with them and have deeper conversations with them. Remember that it's not your job to save them. You can't. Remember that sometimes the bad boys just want to be the bad boys..and you have to let them. You can't force change on them, you can't be the reason they better themselves.

Please don't continue on in relationships hoping that they'll change. Be ready to admit that they might never want to. Go on rooting for your favorite 'bad boy' fictional characters (like I still do!), but don't let that dictate your actual life decisions. Don't go dating them because you think you're the only one that could ever make a difference in their life.

There are guys who really are good guys...they really do exist. And they'll have their moments where they'll need your unconditional grace, love, and hope (because they're sucky people, just like you are)... but it won't always be the norm.

There are always exceptions...
But I think it's always good for us to remember that we aren't the ones that save. We aren't the ones that redeem. We aren't the ones who are the anchor of hope.

Bad boys, bad boys...
What will you do when they come for you?

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