A friend posted on Facebook that she had seen a headline about the “top three reasons men leave,” but couldn’t bring herself to read the article. A friend of that friend then posted this: 1. He’s selfish. 2. He’s an asshole. 3. He’s immature.

That was intended to clarify the issue, but instead I took issue, asking why any man would want to stay with a woman who calls him a selfish, immature asshole. Or why any woman would want such a jagoff to stay.

I myself wanted to know what those three reasons were. So I turned to Google and came up with not three, but 300 million reasons. I didn’t have time for that many, so I just looked at the top 3 “Top 3.”

The first list was on eHarmony.com, where author Christian Carter says men leave because they can’t handle too much emotion, fear losing their freedom and don’t like someone trying to “fix” them.

Reason 1, Carter says, is a guy problem: “A mature man needs to be a source of support and masculine stability in your relationship. Yet, at times, even a good man can go into ‘emotional overwhelm.’ He can’t handle the emotions coming at him and feels so anxious that he ends up withdrawing.”

He says women can eliminate Reasons 2 and 3 by communicating better with men. He does not suggest women talk louder and slower; he says they should refrain from making demands and referring to their beaus as A-holes.

“If your relationship is healthy, fun, emotionally intimate and positive in the way you treat each other,” Carter says, “a man won’t think twice about continuing to devote his heart and life to you. You’ll be that rare special woman he fell in love with…and who he craves being with.”

Google hit No. 2 was date.info—where it was Carter again, dishing up a different Top 3. The first reason still involves men’s inability to deal with rampaging female emotion—but this time, he blames the femmes who freak out—and not the hommes who love them.

Reason two on Carter’s second list: men bolt when the jolt of attraction is gone. To amp up the voltage, he says, women need to stay “interesting, unpredictable and adventurous.” Carter says one way to do that is to “have a life outside the relationship.” A lack thereof connotes neediness—something everyone can do without.

Top 3 list number three was a Top 5 at Just Barbara’s Blog. Barb’s list comes with two bonus reasons…but raise your hand when this starts feeling old:

5. Men don’t like when women try to “fix” them.
4. Men don’t like neediness.
3. The flame goes out.
2. Men don’t like freakouts and negativity.

So now it looks like the problem is that immature, selfish assholettes are shoving gents out the door. But, Just Barbara hits on something with her reason No. 1, which she calls The Pleasure Principle:

“Men and women want to FEEL GOOD…to have the people around them be a source of pleasure and comfort and support. Yourself included. When you are constantly freaking out on a man, you turn into one of the people that it DOESN’T FEEL GOOD to be around. And this has a huge impact on whether he wants to invest more time, effort and energy in you and your relationship.”

In other words, some men actually are immature, selfish assholes. But so are some women.

“It takes some maturity to accept that other people have their own way of seeing things and want what they want,” Barb says. “Once you learn to accept these things and start to work with them instead of against them, life gets a whole lot easier.”

Life is hard. Isn’t that why we pair up in the first place? The world’s a lot nicer when you’re first on someone’s Top Howevermany list.

Even the most pie in the sky Happily Ever After is going to be a bumpier ride than any romance novel suggests. But, really, if you’re dealing with selfish, immature assholes of any gender, you shouldn’t be too upset if they leave.

Note: It’s been a long time between posts because the Top 3 items on my to-do list for the past several weeks have been 1) edit Malibu Bride, 2) edit Malibu Bride, and 3) make sure the DVR is set to record any old episodes of The Big Bang Theory we haven’t seen yet. Malibu Bride is now with my proofreader…and still on track to be available before June 1.

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