I read a blog today that made me think about relationships ending. I didn’t really feel comfortable commenting a whole lot on the blog, but it started me thinking about relationships I’ve had that ended and the lessons I learned.
The only relationships I’m going to talk about are my own, and my own theories regarding love and relationships and how they work (or don’t). This is purely for venting my own thoughts, so if you agree, disagree, whatever…shove it. HA! Just kidding. You can comment if you like, but this is my blog and I’ll say what I want. 😉
I, personally, single-handedly, on-my-own, without any assistance, have fucked up more relationships than I care to count. I’ve left relationships that are unhealthy, I’ve had unhealthy relationships leave me, I’ve left healthy relationships, and I’ve had relationships that were much better than I deserved at the time. I like to think, that with each one, I come a little bit closer to actually figuring out what I really want. I hope I do, anyway. The last two were kind of like watching back-to-back Seinfeld episodes…essentially the same story, endearing in their own ways, but pretty much a show about nothing. They lasted about as long as a Seinfeld eposiode, too. Which sucked. But I digress.
In reading this blog I was struck by how many people were advising her to go, make herself happy, basically leave the relationship, etc etc etc. There were a lot of comments I agreed with too, don’t get me wrong, but it seemed to be focused so much on “if you’re not happy, it’s time to part ways”.
Part ways? Part WAYS? This is not a traffic light we’re talking about, or a freeway where you can take an exit and I’ll just keep driving on my merry way! This is a marriage, with kids, and emotions, and feelings, and commitment and investment. This is a partner, a support-system, a teammate, a sounding board. At least, it should be. I’m not saying that people don’t make bad choices and need to rectify them, I’m just saying that thinking a little before making the choice, being clear on what I want, and not settling for less than I need is how I’m trying to operate.
It’s never as simple as just “parting ways”.
So. I have come up with my own pieces of advice/epiphanies for myself. These are rules that I am trying my best to live by when it comes to being in relationships. Keep in mind that these are just my feelings on the subject. I’ve broken more than one of the following in my lifetime, and I am certainly not judging anyone else who has, either. There are reasons for everything, and everything happens for a reason, and in reality, I’m not God so I don’t judge.
- Don’t cheat. This is Number One, Il Supreme Commandment, Numero Uno. If I am living in the same house with someone, it’s cheating. If we’re “on a break” (witness Ross Geller’s fuck up), it’s cheating. If I am sleeping with/talking to (in any kind of sexual-chemistry, flirtation-type way), someone other than my boyfriend/spouse, it’s cheating. Unless I have a fucking piece of paper with both our signatures on it that says “I hereby give my permission for my SO to sleep with, provide/receive oral sex, flirt with, or engage in any sort of sexual activity with person(s) other than myself” it is cheating. I’ve cheated, and I’ve been cheated on. Neither is fun, neither is possible to get over, and neither will ever happen again. At least, on my end. And on his end too, if he likes his balls attached where they are.
- There is no such thing as the perfect relationship. Period. Relationships are just multiple encounters with the same, imperfect, lovable-but-irritating, sometimes-freaky, always-screwing-up-but-still-worth-forgiveness person. These encounters are entirely what I will make them. There will be ups and downs. There will be days when I just want to punch him in the mouth. There will be days when I might be so hurt that I feel like my insides are being squeezed in a red-hot vise then shredded like grated cheese all over my kitchen floor. There will be times that a chance, off-the-cuff comment that I make will ruin his day, and vice versa. But in return, there will be days that, when I get home from work, tired, dejected, sad, discouraged…that he will give me just what I need: a hug, a kiss, and then some good, hot, sexy lovin’ to take the sting out. There will be days where he sticks up for me to his friends and makes me fall in love with him all over again. There will be days when I catch him looking at me in such a way, the way that makes me realize, as if for the first time, that this imperfect man has one thing perfect going for him…us.
- Think long term, but get out early. Decide right away if this man is the right person for me. There’s no point dragging things out. If, in the beginning, there are warning signs, things I can’t get over, big things that are deal breakers, I will get out. I don’t waste time with that shit. If I’m not getting it now, there’s no chance in hell some day he’ll wake up and realize that he should be giving me more than what I’m getting. So get out, move on to the next. I have a couple friends that are really good at this. They know exactly what they want, and they are able to winnow out those guys that just won’t give it to them. I just admire that about them a lot.
- Don’t rebound. There is no reason in the world that I can’t allow myself a little time to get over the last dude before jumping in with someone else. A relationship just died, for shit’s sake. It’s okay, it’s normal, it’s natural to grieve a little. And want them back, or make a few drunk dials, but I have made the worst decisions in my life when I am in the throes of a bad breakup. I’m not saying that a little sumpin’ sumpin’ can’t get you over someone quicker’n grease on a hot griddle, but I definitely need to not jump into the next relationship for a while after ending one.
- Don’t be a victim. Shit never just happens to me. I have contributed in some way to creating every situation that I have ever been in. Granted, accidents can and do happen, guys go crazy and beat the shit out of their wives, people bring shotguns in to work and blow away half the postal service…but in every single situation I have ever experienced, even “accidents”, there are choices I made that led to me being in that position, at that time, in that place. This is my personal fave, when women stay in abusive relationships. I know that they are scared, and I know that they can feel trapped, or worried for their kids, or whatever…but the ones I truly admire are the ones that recognize the difficulty, acknowledge the danger, and leave anyway. I refuse to remain in a situation, of my own volition, where I get hit. Or have doors opened with my face. Or choked, or battered, or beat up, or any of the above. Been there, done that, and that little experiment is damn well good and over.
And for the record. Dudes (or women, for that matter) that beat up on their significant others? Turn in your (wo)man cards. This second. Because if you have so little self control that you have to hit someone, or throw something, or punch something in order to make a point, then number one you shouldn’t be allowed outside unsupervised, and two, someday someone bigger and stronger and smarter than you is going to kick your ass. And know that it was your choices that led you there.
- And last but not least…. I will end my list with my favorite quote regarding forgiveness. It’s from the Mexican, and it’s just about the only fragment of that movie that I have retained in my sieve that I refer to as a brain. It’s when Julia Roberts and that guy from the Sopranos are talking, and one of them says, “When do you know when enough is enough? That you’ve forgiven them too many times?” (or something along those lines) and the guy says, “Never.” If I love someone, and they are not physically or mentally hurting me, then they are always worth forgiveness. This is not to say that everyone will love me the way I want or need to be loved. But, I can forgive them and still have to “part ways” if that’s what it comes down to. This last rule may seem like it contradicts the rest, and I do have to say that there are some people that were in my life (that are not anymore), that I could cheerfully see get run over by a truck, but the reality is that life is too short to waste on hating people, or holding grudges, or recalling every single comment, fuck-up, or error that person made every time I get in an argument. Life. Is. Too. Fucking. Short. The End.
So now that’s over. Obviously the rules haven’t quite jelled for me yet, seeing as I’m still single with no prospects currently, but I do have hope. And I just have to say that I am so glad I have been learning these things. Because the person I was four years ago didn’t have a fucking clue about any of this. Life is about learning, I guess, and I’m just really glad that I have the friends that I have, because they’ve helped me get through the worst of the shit and have really given me the perspective I needed to get these things figured out. So, thanks to them.