I was a bad boy and a lone wolf well into my forties, and while I was never a threat to Brad Pitt in the handsome department, I always had more women than time to date them. In truth, I was such a screwed-up guy that I admit I still don’t fully understand why my dance card was so full. Any positive character traits associated with my condition were accidental. Bad boys and lone wolves are often the same guy because both are dysfunctional men who share similar characteristics, and both enjoy their anti-social reputations. And, most important, men choose the lone wolf path because they have trust issues with other men. Any lone wolf who denies this is simply in denial.
I think that some of my appeal to women was that I was dangerous. I had no connection with anything or anybody. I was a true free spirit. I went where I wanted to go and did what I wanted to do. I never tolerated anyone telling me what to do, and if they tried, I lashed out in defiance. I was a successful entrepreneur, which meant that I had money to travel and money to spend on my passion, which, fittingly, was motorcycling, a traditional bad boy activity. I always had a couple of fast bikes in my garage, and I rode as if I owned the road. I considered speeding tickets my rights of passage into adult bad boyhood. I laughed at the police as they drove away, and immediately rode like my hair was on fire again. I was an angry, defiant, social misfit.
Outwardly I appeared happy and full of life, and in some ways I was, but I always felt inferior around other men, particularly men who enjoyed friendships with other men. Women loved that I was an independent guy, especially at the beginning of our relationships, but in time, my independence worked against them. I was inconsiderate, selfish, and needed women, but not in ways that necessarily worked for them too. I was totally immersed in being cool and distant. I modeled my cool behavior on Hollywood bad boy, lone wolves. When I did stop to think about the women who liked me, I couldn’t help but notice that many of them were loners too.
Our relationship social life was predictable, particularly considering we were pariahs who eschewed societal norms. That meant we spent far too much time together and rarely with other couples. We always realized quickly that while sex and some of the time we spent together was terrific, we were a dysfunctional couple by anyone’s definition. I shied away from women who had lots of friends, but in retrospect, I think that was mostly because I didn’t feel comfortable with people who seemed socially normal.
Since becoming a lone wolf has everything to do with a lack of trust for other men, it wasn’t hard for me to trace the roots of my behavior. My boyhood with my father had been abysmal. He was an angry, violent guy who seemed to always be fighting with someone in the community. He had failed to provide for his family and I think it was our constant lack of money that drove him over the edge towards anger and violence. I was just a convenient target. I never trusted him, and he never ceased giving me reasons why I shouldn’t. I avoided him and while I tried not to afford him opportunities to betray me, he was older and smarter, and often succeeded in spite of my efforts.
I grew into a man who didn’t trust other men, so becoming a lone wolf was just a natural progression. I had been a juvenile delinquent as a result of my turbulent home life, so carrying that bad boy attitude into manhood was easy. By twenty-five, I was already the quintessential bad boy, lone wolf, and since I had more dates than I could handle, I thought it was all working really well for me. Part of my self-assuredness was because I never talked with other men, and therefore never received any feedback about my behavior.
By forty, it wasn’t working any longer. I felt empty inside and my isolation had become suffocating. Lone wolves live in an emotional vacuum, and my bubble had just enough oxygen to allow me to survive, but not enough to flourish. I had let my lack of trust and fear of men to dictate the quality of my life far too long. While I didn’t trust men enough to venture into the friendship arena, I doubted other men viewed me as particularly good, friend material. I was desperate to join the pack, and I was weary from constantly burnishing my bad boy credentials, which by forty felt forced since I was an entrepreneur who made money legally.
I desperately wanted to find a woman who wasn’t interested in me for all the wrong reasons, but that proved far more elusive than I imagined. I was going to have to change first. I’ll explain that metamorphosis in my next article.
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