Don’t Let Temporary Discomforts Hold You Back From Making Tough Decisions

The key lesson of this post is that if you’re going to live a you need to embrace short-term discomforts when they occur in pursuit of long-term benefit. One of the major predictors of life success is the ability to defer gratification, and in an inversion of that paradigm, someone who seeks to avoid short-term discomfort is often setting himself up for bigger problems down the road that could have been solved earlier. “A stitch in time saves nine.”

Early in my blogging career, I penned two long posts concerning the breakup of my two-year LTR:

Here’s one
And the other

These were obviously deeply heartfelt pieces, following a long and painful process of discernment that resulted in my conviction that I had to get out and then my executing on that conviction.

With the benefit of a year-plus of hindsight, I can say with even greater certainty that it was the right decision, and in fact would have been better made earlier. Why wasn’t it? Well, a large part of it was wanting to avoid the significant discomfort of breaking up – the waterworks, the redelivery of personal property left at each other’s places, the breaking out of couplehood habits, finding your own dinner plan each night, finding new people to talk to about work and life. Some of the very freedoms I looked forward to in singleness were scary and awkward too. I don’t like to cause people pain, and knowing that she’d be deeply hurt caused me to kick the can down the road repeatedly, until things had gotten so bad that she couldn’t fault me for taking action (she faulted me anyway, another sign that a man can’t put too much stock in a woman’s emotional state when it comes to making decisions).

I realize, later on, that my inability to make the tough call was a harbinger of weakness, a lack of self-efficacy that was out of character for me.

I don’t celebrate the woman’s pain any more than my own (which is to say, I don’t celebrate it at all). I took it as a collateral cost of doing what was, in the long run, best for me and for her. (I did get criticism from one of my personal advisors who accused me of “breaking her heart;” my response was to wonder what the alternative was? Staying in a dying relationship, taking more of her time that she could be using finding someone better fit to her?)

WHEN YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW

It was about a year before the breakup when I got the intuitive sense that we were living on borrowed time (whether I realized that’s what the feeling was at the time, I guess I’ll never know), and about three months after that when we had a major dealbreaker incident that should have formed the backbone of a resolute breakup discussion, the dignified end to an arrangement that had run its course.

Obviously I didn’t, and it was the latest life incident in a series that continues to teach me that when something has to get done, you have to step up and do it or you’re just digging a deeper hole.

I’ve learned that once you get that real sense of finality, every day you don’t act on it a couple of bad things happen.

First, you get deeper into a situation that is highly suboptimal. And it takes more time to dig back out. I estimate that I ended things six to nine months later than I reasonably could/should have. And I had to pay that back – it took about six months of singleness to get my mind right to game with confidence and really connect with women again. Some “relationship hangover” is normal, but it would have been a lot shorter had I not gone down that path of heavy dysfunction in the final months.

Secondly, when you allow yourself to stay in a bad situation, you subconsciously accept the idea of mediocrity – you lower your standards for yourself. That also makes it harder to go get what you want when you are finally free to do so.

EFFICACY IS PART OF MANHOOD 

Acting in your best interest when you know you need to do so is a mark of self-actualization. It’s part of being a man in the epic sense of the word – if you have knowledge that would better your life and you fail to act on it, you are backing away from your own self-duty, from your male imperative to act in the world. You’re really abdicating your position as captain of your own life. And men are not judged well for being non-actors. I’m not just talking about all the Man-Up Shaming we’re seeing in the press via the agitations of lonely spinsters. I’m talking about the intra-male community, where men really keep watch over the grooming of other men into their order. Go into a football team and ask them what they think of a guy who won’t step up into the hole to take on the opposition’s best blocker, or a hockey squad and ask about the player who backs away from a fight. Men don’t respect men who won’t compete, who won’t fight for themselves and who back away from the chance to change their world. Neither do women.

Hell, most of a man’s sexual market value is a direct distillation of his ability to affect and influence the world (via physical strength, leadership ability or unique cognitive talents that accumulate influence and prestige).

I noted in the posts above that a man can’t properly show his talents to the world if he’s with the wrong partner, because he will be spending all of his time negotiating a mismatched (or worse) relationship instead of contributing to the world in a positive way. Don’t accept mediocrity. Don’t shy away from some incidental discomfort to play the long game. When something needs to be done, do it and don’t waste a second.

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Don’t Let Temporary Discomforts Hold You Back From Making Tough Decisions

  1. Esquire

    Strong words

  2. thanks for this, Badger

  3. M3

    Wow Badge.. this shoulda come with a *trigger warning* lol.

    Seriously i flashbacked to the moment i made my choice. Live in my home with a woman who i called wife, who ‘loved me but was not in love with me’, no love, no sex, just living a lie. It was the hardest yet greatest decision of my life, to walk out the door and put into motion everything required to perform a clean break. It was like digging uphill out of a hole, but it needed to be done.

    By comparison, the last girl was easy to walk away from. She made the choice to end things romantically. I just helped kill the corpse by ending it platonically as well. Going back to orbiting would have been accepting the idea of mediocrity and keeping me from moving forward with a clear head and vision of what I want.

    Acting in your own best interest. Very hard for noble beta’s to do when all their lives they’ve tried to be that steady, noble, valor driven knight (white even?) to fall on their sword for others. You only need to do it once to realize the freedom it grants your life where you can now choose when to fight for the noble cause of others, and when you should fight for yourself!

    Good post!

  4. deti

    Thanks. I needed that.

  5. I’m taking this in a different direction. I have ten acres of rural land – electricity, a workshop, and a FEMA trailer, but no water or plumbing – and the possibility of a year without children (eldest already on his own, middle child about to move out, youngest spending the next year with her mom). It would be uncomfortable, to say the least, but I really want to live there because I am confident it will make me a better man in ways that I can only dimly see now. The alternative is more comfortable, but less challenging and with little opportunity for growth. So I will take the harder road and see what happens.

  6. just visiting

    @ Badger
    Yes.

    @ Southern Man
    Danny from 504 has a post up about something similar to what you are thinking of doing. And a book suggestion.

  7. Mike C

    Acting in your best interest when you know you need to do so is a mark of self-actualization. It’s part of being a man in the epic sense of the word – if you have knowledge that would better your life and you fail to act on it, you are backing away from your own self-duty, from your male imperative to act in the world. You’re really abdicating your position as captain of your own life.

    Pure gold right here.

  8. Sarah

    …secondly, when you allow yourself to stay in a bad situation, you subconsciously accept the idea of mediocrity – you lower your standards for yourself. When something needs to be done, do it and don’t waste a second.

    Should a woman embrace this line of thinking? My spouse pasted away several years ago and I recently met someone that I felt was my match and I was falling for him. We saw each other regularly and finally all the time. He showered me with affection, passion, availability, kind words. Then one day we were out and he acted like he didn’t even know me when speaking with another female (he literally told her he didn’t know me). I was dumbfounded that he found no problem dismissing and disrespecting me in public and so I ended it. Afterwards I thought, why was I falling so hard? Had I lowered my standards and accepted things about him I normally wouldn’t? I know I did. Thanks for listening. I really enjoy reading your blog Badger.

  9. koevoet

    Badger, great post. I started reading the one about the breakup but couldn’t finish. I didn’t need to. Judging from the date stamp on the article I was in the exact same situation a few weeks after yours.

  10. greenlander

    Great post, Badger…. and entirely apropos for something that is happening with my relationship with my girlfriend right now…

  11. Excellent post. Lord knows I’ve stayed in relationships way too long too many times. It’s easy to deceive myself into thinking I’m not attached when it’s not exclusive, but those emotional bonds still build.

    In many ways people’s inability to leave bad or mediocre situations is a bigger problem than not being able to get into new relationships. We settle for comfort, avoid confrontation, and try to make those around us happy instead of making ourselves happy.

    Eric

  12. Senior Beta

    Good post. But the two linked posts, which I had not read before, are epic. On my two sons’ forced red pill reading list.

  13. R.

    Sorry for hijacking the post, but I must ask it:
    I have once found an article in the manosphere that was a letter from a father to his son and another to his daughter. Do anyone have the link to that article? I really need it!

  14. I agree wholeheartedly. I too stuck in a relationship that I should have terminated, and the longe you stay in the relationship the longer it takes to truly recover from it. If you were in a bad relationship for years, then realistically it will take years to fully wash away the ill effects. Great piece Badger.

  15. lifeuniverse42

    @R what you are probably looking for is here : http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com/detinennui32s-advice/
    Danny have also other stuff that can be of interest.

  16. Pingback: Linkage Is Good For You – 7-15-12 | Society of Amateur Gentlemen

  17. just visiting

    @ R
    Deti Nation has them as well as Danny from 504 in his header.

  18. R.

    Hi all! It was the right one in the links! Thanks a lot! ;)

  19. Pingback: The Ultimatum Always Sucks | Married Man Sex Life

  20. Pingback: Some Posts on Alpha Males | 3rdmilleniummen

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