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(Editor's Note, this letter was written before Doc's death in August, 2020 but still relevant as Doc's principles are timeless).
I’ve been dating Kelly for close to six months now and our relationship overall has been really good. Kelly is a decent-looking girl and she is a perfect 10 in personality and she’s a fun, attentive, loving girlfriend. I have dated many, many girls and this one has been by far the nicest. She listens to everything I say and if I have a problem, she tries to help me with it. I couldn’t begin to tell you all the small and big things she does for me.
Anyway, on to my ridiculous problem. Though Kelly is a great girlfriend and on paper our relationship is flawless, I find myself often looking at other women and even flirting with old girlfriends. I haven’t cheated on her, but I do feel bad about my constant thoughts of messing around with other girls. Kelly is most definitely marriage material. I’ve always said to myself that once I find the right girl I’m going to settle down. Now here I am 24 years old, I meet the right girl and all of my theories and beliefs go out the window! Sometimes I find that I want to break up with Kelly because I feel that I haven’t dated around enough. Ironically, I always thought it was dumb of guys to want to fool around constantly. I liked having just one girl and wanted to be faithful until the end. Now I feel like I haven’t been around enough, if you will.
I’m at a loss for what my next step should be. I don’t know if I need to just grow up and stay with Kelly, or break up with her and go on my way. Breaking up with her would destroy her, because this girl absolutely adores me. I’ve never seen anyone love someone like she loves me. Please give me some coaching and thank you for your time.
Ulmar - who doesn’t want to blow a good thing
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It’s a real sign of your maturity that you recognize that while you have a girl who is not textbook beautiful, you’re attracted to her anyway. And it’s also a tribute to you that you’re smart enough to realize that it’s what is on the inside that lasts. Because when you’ve been with a woman for a long time what’s on the outside – her looks – will go. And it’s great that you’re smart enough to realize that Kelly really has IT -- the IT that really matters. Congratulations to you, pal.
Something else in your letter struck me. You use the word “nice” to describe Kelly. How many guys can describe their girlfriends or wives as being nice? Think about it, my friend. To boot, she listens to whatever you have to say. Now think about all of the high maintenance you’ll need to do with those “10s” out there if you do decide to get rid of Kelly. Some women who looks like Megan Fox couldn’t care less about what you say. It’s all about HER, HER, HER. And it always will be.
To you Psych majors, you’re always going to walk down the street, or watch a movie, or open a magazine and see stunningly gorgeous women. But you’re only making yourself feel miserable, Ulmar, if you torture yourself over them because you’re playing what I call the “comparison game.” In other words, from your perception they’re 10s and your girlfriend isn’t. And if you keep playing it and you eventually succumb to your own misgivings, you’ll end up blowing it with this good girl.
Yes, you’re always going to notice a better-looking girl than you have like you’ll always notice fancier cars than yours on the highway. But you have no idea what’s going on between that Beautiful Girl’s ears. You know nothing about the scars and baggage she’s dragging around. And here’s another thing. What makes you think you’ll be satisfied with a 10? Then think about the fact that you have a girl you say is flawless, and how valuable that is.
It’s okay if all your theories and beliefs have gone out the window. “Know thyself,” goes the old adage, and that’s the most important thing. At least you know that you have a good girl even if you are attracted to others. So this is what you have to ask yourself: if you were 28 or 30 or 32, would you still have these thoughts? Maybe you did meet Kelly when you were too young. Maybe you’re right about yourself, and you haven’t gotten around enough. Maybe you’re not really ready to settle down. But at least you’re looking inside yourself, you’re thinking deeply about this, and you haven’t cheated on Kelly. Like the great Doctor Freud once said, “You might have committed the sin of infidelity in your mind, but at least you didn’t go out and do anything about it.”
And you have to also ask yourself this: what are the odds that when you finally decide that you want to be a man and not a boy anymore and settle down, that you will find another great girl? The truth is that if you get rid of Kelly, you might not find anyone nearly as good as her. Then you’ll be comparing all the beauties you’re going out with to Kelly, and guess what? They’re never going to match her.
So here you’ve got a girl with an “A” personality, an “A” Interest Level, an “A” attitude, and you want to get rid of her. Before you do anything, my son, you’d better deeply search your soul.
Remember, guys: you’re always going to see women who are hotter than the one you have.
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