Love is a battlefield – the (men’s) rules of engagement

16 May

I sat across the table from a young man who had brought up an interesting question. The boy could have been no older than 21 and had started his first “real” relationship two years ago. However he had recently met somebody else and was now seeking the advice of the rest of the table as to how he should make his mind up about which one to keep. A few heads on the table had turned to me when the question was brought up. Those heads belonged to friends of mine, both male and female, who knew I had created my own little set of principles which govern what to do in this particularly dangerous front in the battle of the sexes. They also knew that I relished opportunities like this one to educate the little ones.

An attention seeking clearing of the throat from further along the table drew our attention to a young Nigerian lady who had been giving me evils all night because of my views on the equality of the sexes (namely that any man who is physically able but decides to be a “house husband” is an aberration of nature and a disgrace. Somebody should probably inform his mother that it is high time she stopped breast feeding him). When she was sure she’d secured our attention with the third *ahem* she proceeded. This is what I heard; “Before Sam starts pumping his crap into your ears, let me tell you what you should do from the perspective of a decent human being. Firstly you should blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”. No doubt the latter end sounded better in English, but since she decided to speak gibberish, I had a hard time understanding her. I believe she basically advised him to remain with his girl and not hurt her feelings and most likely his own too.

The conversation obviously caused a lot of comments and commotion in the female camp who all rallied magnificently to the side of their fellow woman in her attempt to remove this poor boy’s testicles and replace it with a vagina. There were some men around the table who even agreed. They probably thought they’d get sexy points for it. When they were all done I asked if I could interject and add some much needed reality to the situation. The only way to look at relationships after a particular point is to strip away all the layers of emotion and look at things objectively; – just the facts. The facts were that there was something about the other girl that he liked more than his current. The real question was what that thing was, and how significant is it? Is it small enough to be overlooked, or too big to surmount? That was a decision for him to make on his own. I refused to advise on that. I then proceeded to give him some advice from my own turbulent and colourful previous love lives and the trail of destruction this out of control locomotive which carried little emotion had left behind.

Do not cheat…

Like my mother used to say, “It doesn’t worth it!” I am not talking about casual sex with a stranger. I am talking about playing two or more girls at the same time. Now, I am not approaching this from any sort of emotional or religious perspective. I have not been shining my halo. The problem with cheating (when you actually care about both girls) is that it takes a lot out of even the most ardent players. You have to remember the lies you told and keep them up on two fronts. You also have to actually start listening to them intently and remember things they both say – especially about their friends. You do not ever want to be invited by one of the girls to en event where you will run into the other one’s friends. That’s game over! We men find it hard enough to remember the one birthday, now you have to remember two. Woe betide you should you ever get their birthdays / addresses mixed up and you send the flowers to the wrong office / house. The double life gets rather stressful, but it is not the emotional strain that’s most repugnant to me, but the financial burden. You have to now spend money on two fronts. One girl is expensive enough. When we care about a girl, it’s a man’s pride to buy her things that make her happy and smile. I know what some of you ladies are thinking, “if you care about her so much, why are you cheating?” Because we can be stupid at times. But forget the presents and gifts. Fuel is expensive these days. £1.22 per litre and rising! Absolutely nonsensically stupendously crazy. It’s enough to make you break up with a girl if she lives too far away.

…But if you must – choose wisely

This is a given. In any battle time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted. It is worthwhile to note EVERY name they each mention and cross reference them. The world is a big place but London is small and if Facebook has shown us anything it’s that almost everybody is a friend of a friend. So be careful.

Also, think about ethnicity. While these days we have friends from all over the world and from all sorts of backgrounds, most communities will stick together in private. So, if you date two Nigerian / Ghanaian girls, odds are they’ll be somehow connected or even be friends. Not a good look. Also, if mutual friends catch you out, they probably will not say anything to you, but you’re likely to come home and find your other chick sitting with her eyes glowing red in the darkness. So cheat with girls from different ethnic backgrounds for better results. An African and Chinese girl for example are unlikely to socialise too much anywhere outside of work.

This leads to the most important rule of them all. Do not EVER cheat with somebody who has less to lose than you do. This assumes that only one of the girls is in the dark, the other knew you were with somebody when she got with you. Make sure the other girl also has a man she doesn’t want to lose. If you work in the same office, make sure she is more senior than yourself and with a better reputation. Just make sure that you mitigate against anything that will allow the woman to hold you to ransom. If you go down, you go down together! She’ll think twice about being stupid / vindictive if it goes wrong.

Do not remain longer than necessary

This is a BIG one for me. Too many people stay with others for a plethora of reasons that do not include love. Sometimes it’s out of a sense of duty. Other times it is because they are afraid to be alone. At times it is because they are afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings. If you are married, then tough, those are all good reasons to stay. Don’t cry about it, you married her and loved her when you did. Lost the love? Go bloody find it! Be a husband to your wife and a father to your children. But if you are not married…you can still get out – and get out fast! We are all big boys and big girls. We all have to learn to deal with pain. The longer you stay with a girl who you know you no longer want around in that romantic capacity, the more of that hurt you build up for her to eventually deal with.

Beware becoming “friends” with girls you find more attractive than yours

Pretty self explanatory this one…but you’d be surprised how many men fall into this trap. They follow their warped self propagating sense of evolutionary superiority which tells them that their heads are in charge and forget that there are billions of men who came before them whose fate would suggest that the thinking machine is quite further south, made of pure muscle but is still not that strong, and a lot less complex than the squishy thing behind the skull. When you have a girl you care about and you meet that girl in the bar / supermarket queue (and you didn’t even finish your shopping, you only started queuing because you saw her there), church etc, who makes your eyes (and other things) bulge, run! Do it fast. Once you make the mistake of becoming friends with the siren, whatever happens next, you relationship is in trouble. If the two of you get on like a monkey and banana your relationship is on loves edge.

Always analyse each relationship  for lessons to apply next time

There are always lessons to be learnt from every relationship. Love is a battlefield and after every battle, so long as you survive, you must take stock of what went wrong so that you do not repeat them. You check what went right and try to replicate them. However remember that war is an art not a science. The enemy is an insidious one with a very fluid nature. “One size fits all” policies rarely work on women.

After telling him all this I expected the boy to prostrate and thank me for the divine wisdom which poured forth from this fountain of knowledge. He should have thanked me earnestly for having run the course before him and remembering where the minefields are so that he would not be maimed when his turn came. Instead he looked at me with the look of a man who had just been kicked in the nuts and is not quite sure yet when the pain is going to settle in. That look worked for me.

The girls jumped on my case and we argued the night away. Whether they agreed with everything I said or not is not the point. They all agreed that there was a huge element of truth in every point.

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3 Responses to “Love is a battlefield – the (men’s) rules of engagement”

  1. Atticus May 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    Sentinel, an interesting (yet polarising) discourse on the relationship conundrum.

    The perplexed look on the boy’s face at the end may be because he was inadvertently presented with a crib sheet to run the full course than to sensibly annul his ‘dual’ excursion.

    It appears he was already halfway in the minefield, there was no turning back, and your affirmative bias may have been an invitation to simply navigate the course. Most guys think alike, so if one guy is confused then will not all be confused together?

    My counsel would be seek the input of an ‘objective’ female party. The answer will be less melodramatic and probably much more pragmatic. Less of a thrill, even a bitter pill but in the long run it’ll preserve your goodwill (though it’s never that black and white).

    They say, “experience is a harsh teacher, first comes the test, second comes the lesson.” Why sit the test when you can learn the lesson of others – Tiger Woods, Ashley Cole, Usher etc. It’s a game of musical chairs and we all know what happens when the music stops. Choose wisely.

  2. faith May 20, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    i must say this is quite an article. might be a lil hard to swallow especially when in the position the current girlfriend but i sincerely say the advice given to the boy is sooooo true.

    love is really a battle field and we do learn from d battles lost so as to win the u said, what is it abt the new girl he finds so significant? guess he better answer that cus really i think no lil detail should be overlooked when it comes to building a gud relationship.
    He has to get his acts straight,own a guy dat he is and let the current girlfriend go so she could move on n find d right guy for her…ofcourse the girl is definitely gonna be hurt with d whole drama probably hate d guy for a while but she will get over it and move on eventually.

    she is gonna be hurt one way or the other, so Mr man spare her the trauma in the long run and take care of business while you guys have`nt gone far n they aint married yet so thers still a way out…..Its normal “WE WIN SOME AND LOOSE SOME”

    ladies i luv u all n we are so much better than settling for less just cus we are afraid of being alone for one reason or the

    • Sentinel May 20, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

      I must say, Faith, it’s good to get an unbiased female opinion of this issue. Like you said, it is a little hard to swallow for some women because they automatically place themselves in the position of the woman and rally magnificently to her side. I’m glad you can look at it objectively.

      Pls ask other female friends to check it out, I’d be interested in their opinions too.


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