“Well I feel like shit…relationship shit…I’ve been puddling in it for a good bit. I know I need to get out of it, but I wont. I just want to cry.”
That’s the message I got from a friend of mine. This is a woman who is incredibly beautiful, kind, outgoing, funny and smart. She is a wonderful and loving mother and person. So what could possibly make someone with so much going for her feel so down?
*Kelly (name changed as always!) met this guy through work. There was the subtle flirtation in the beginning, the sly maneuver to get the phone number without having to actually ask for it. He initiated the conversations after the first meeting and sent Kelly some very forward text messages, and not in the sexual way. He put himself out there, showed his interest without inhibition and made her stop and think that maybe, for once, she actually met a nice guy; a guy who wants to get to know her. And then, just like that, he “flipped the switch.” Their relationship somehow became strictly sexual. Every time Kelly tries to go back to how things were in the beginning, to text him to talk about their days or something that made her think of him, he somehow brings it back to sex. When he doesn’t hear from Kelly for a while, mostly because she wants and deserves someone who sees her as more than a walking vagina, he asks her if she misses him. But when she tells him she does, he rolls his eyes. It’s as if he isn’t actually interested in her but wants to know that she is still hanging on his every move. Seems to me that someone has a serious need for an ego boost.
Naturally, I had to ask her why she would still make an effort with this person. And, like so many other women, Kelly immediately begins to defend him, pointing out his positive qualities. “He has certain qualities that I have picked up on and admitted to him that I like: considerate of others and their feelings, loyalty to his friends, highly family oriented , very good work ethic and so forth.” This is the curse of women everywhere. At least most of the ones I know. It’s as if there’s something attached to estrogen that makes us focus on the potential in people and not who they actually are. All too often, women are sitting around their lattes or martinis, talking to their friends about how he has the ability to be romantic or how they know he can be so loyal to the people he cares about (despite the fact that the same woman just found out Mr. Loyal was cheating on her.) There is something that makes us focus on these possibilities and ignore the fact that the object of our affection has failed to live up to them, at least not when it comes to us. Instead of just accepting our losses and finding someone worth our time, we try to turn these men into the person we want them to be, the person we know they can be, if only they tried, right? Just look at Kelly; “considerate of others and their feelings”? What about her feelings? It doesn’t seem he’s had much consideration for those in a while now.
Relationship timing can be complicated. Sex is almost always a major factor, whether or not we want to admit it. When we first start dating someone new, we think about the timing of sleeping with them. If we sleep with them too soon, they might lose interest. If we wait too long, they might find someone willing to put out sooner. And it’s become way too common for men to whisper sweet nothings into our ears for a few dates, even a month or two at a time and then the minute they “get it in”, they get the hell out. Suddenly, there is a reason that “we could never work out” or they just stop calling or texting. Or, as in Kelly’s case, every conversation or “date” turns out to just be about sex.
The tragic thing about feelings is, we really have no control over them. Who we fall in love with, or even just in-like with, is really not up to us. Sometimes we fall for someone we know will complicate our lives because they used to date a good friend or because they have children or live far away. Sometimes we fall for someone who comes from an incredibly different background from us or has a sketchy past. And sometimes we just fall for people who aren’t very nice to us. We may try to talk ourselves out of liking the complicated people and, we may be pretty good at fooling ourselves for a while. At the end of the day though, just because we don’t act on our feelings doesn’t mean they don’t still exist. And we may know that the person who treats us badly isn’t worth our time but, when our hearts feel something different, it’s hard to make our heads win that battle.
I’m learning that I haven’t learned much in fifteen or so years of dating but I have learned this: if someone doesn’t appreciate us, doesn’t realize what they have, it isn’t up to us to beat it over their heads until they do get it. It’s one thing to make an effort to make something work, it’s another to be a doormat. And let’s be honest, the more we try to get someone to see what we have to offer, the more they aren’t interested. We just seem pushy or clingy. The bottom line is this: no one should ever settle for being someone’s Plan B. We all deserve to be someone’s first thought in the morning and last call at the end of the day. Maybe some day, they will live up to all of their potential and they will start fighting for us. And maybe some day, Jimmy Choo’s will be handed out for free on every street corner. It’s unlikely but, you never know.
“You’re not sure that you want me But you’re not sure enough to let me go Baby it ain’t fair you know to just Keep me hanging round…You not making up your mind It’s killing me and wasting time I need so much more than that…And it’s all right yea I’ll be fine Don’t worry bout this heart of mine Just take your love and hit the road There’s nothing you can do or say You’re gonna break my heart anyway Just leave the pieces when you go” ~ The Wreckers, Leave the Pieces
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