Twins Karen and Kristy Ambrose, also known as The Ambrose Girls, give us the big differences of dating a boy versus dating a man. And trust us, they're noticeable.
"I hate boys . . . " I distinctly remember forming this opinion and saying this exact phrase as I walked around my brand-new college dorm my freshman year with a strong beer buzz. After being screwed over by my high school boyfriend and then the next one after him at the ripe young age of 18, I decided that hatred was all that I had left to feel for boys in general.
It was an opinion based on some solid facts and some hard-core emotions. I hated how they acted tough and didn't seem to care at all when they did something to hurt me, I hated how I could never understand their motivations or thought processes, and I hated how not getting their approval or praise made me feel like I was the most worthless girl on the planet.
Back in those days, as much as I told myself I hated them, I was simultaneously drawn into "the game." I hated and loved boys all at the same time, and as anyone with an obsession like mine would do, I observed and learned in order to figure them out. I learned to play their game and I thrived on it. I too acted like I didn't care, I too did some really sh*tty things and thought nothing of it, and I too behaved like an immature assh*le because that was the same treatment I expected to be given.
Almost a decade later, the novelty of the game has worn off and I'm forced to sit and think about how many times in the last 10 years I have uttered the phrase "I hate boys" with zero question in my mind that I really believed it to my core. Throughout those 10 years I have let countless other boys into my heart only to be disappointed over and over again and left to utter that same damn phrase yet again swearing off the entire gender until the next one comes around.
After all this hatred and these bad experiences, why not throw in the towel completely? Thankfully, the aforementioned decade has given me plenty of time to learn from all of these heartbreaks and disappointments, and I've learned the most valuable lesson of them all. That lesson is that there is a huge difference between boys and men. I still hate boys, so now I am ready to move on to a man. Unfortunately, you can't tell the difference offhand in the mid-20s to mid-30s age range. But trust me on this one, there are plenty of "boys" who are 25-plus and even 30-plus.
What is the difference, you ask, between dating a man and dating a boy?
A man is confident, a boy is insecure. Sure, there are PLENTY of cocky dudes running around acting like they have all the confidence in the world, but there is a real difference between the guy who gets his validation from his latest selfie and the guy who is confident because he knows who he is and what he wants. A confident man never needs to play the game with a woman to gain the upper hand, he knows what he brings to the table and that speaks for itself.
A man tells you how he feels, what he thinks, and what he sees for your future together. A boy keeps you guessing, dances around any conversations about the longevity of your relationship, and shuts down when you talk about feelings or emotions. A man is OK having serious conversations, because he knows who he is, which is beyond sexy.
A man knows when he is wrong and apologizes rather than the guys who break your heart and act like it's no skin off their back. A man knows that no one is perfect, including himself, and knows that he won't lose any of his "manhood" by admitting he was wrong.
Long-Term vs. Short-Term
As fun as game playing with boys can be, you know all along that for the long haul, you will be with a MAN. You can date a boy with all the swag in the world, but in the back of your head you know that this "swag" will not endure forever. Boys want to get you drunk; men take you out for coffee and get to know who you really are. The short-term novelty of getting blackout with a boy wears off quickly, and you become ready for nice dinner reservations and intelligent conversation before you even realize.
A man is always respectful to his lady. This includes respecting her feelings, overcommunicating when necessary, respecting her family and friends, respecting what she stands for, and respecting who she is as a person. This is not to say he agrees with and loves everything about her, but he respects her enough to appreciate her differences. He doesn't try to change her or manipulate her to what he wants her to be. A man like this deserves mutual respect.
A man is easy to trust because he is open and honest. His girlfriend, fiancée, or whoever she may be will not have to worry he might go rogue and ditch her for a blond bimbo on a whim. He isn't putting his phone on "do not disturb" in the presence of his significant other or checking out for hours on end with no real explanation. A trustworthy man doesn't risk losing a good girl by being shady.
Of all the things a man has to offer in opposition to a boy, stability might be one of the greatest. It incorporates trust, confidence, respect, and communication. A man is consistently all of those things. Which makes him and your relationship a stable thing that provides value to your life rather than anxiety.
Ladies, let's all move on from the boys and find some men. We deserve it! If you find yourself missing the boys even for a night, just remember they will be exactly where you left them . . . posted up at your local dive bar drinking pitchers of beer and buying shots for the girls they easily let take your place. That image enough to deter you? I certainly hope so!