Wednesday, February 9, 2011
During a discussion of relationships with a friend, we discussed some of the disappointing individuals we are semi-embarrassed to admit (even to ourselves) that we dated. This may sound callous and mean (as these men have told us when we broke up with them) but it reaches a point where you want to grab them by their shoulders, shake the hell out of them and yell "Oh come now man! Where are your balls? I am NOT the center of yours or anybody's universe, it goes against the laws of physics! Will you ignore even physics?"
To illustrate my point, I have excerpts from their email exchanges (with my friend's permission). I thought they would be amusing to those of us who are secure and competent people, and at the very least an education to those who, without any practical basis, have decided that their happiness is contingent on you and you alone.
Excerpt from my friend:
"Your very personal status updates are strange and inappropriate. If they are for public consumption, they are an invasion of my privacy, make me uncomfortable and make you pitiable. If you are banking on the fact that nobody else will give them a second thought, then they are directed towards me and are intended to make me feel guilty. It is very unbecoming that you would adopt this route particularly since I have not asked you to stop speaking to me and it was you who did the vanishing act, after, what appeared to me, as an attempt to begin a conversation. If I am responsible for "disgusting" and "contemptible" behaviour - falling out of love with you, and struggling to find an appropriate time and place to make the confession - you reacted with rage and name-calling unsuitable for your age, experience and education and without apology. Although, I empathize with you, you did behave as if you had a right to be with me, gave no concern for my feelings, and were actually, to my shock, worried about what other people would think of the matter. At this point, I don't know what you want from me. I am sorry but I feel relieved to be free of the commitment. I continue to extend my hand in friendship."
Excerpt from pathetic man. Note how he accuses my friend of ruining his life because she decided that the relationship had to end:
"I am just despairing, because shit sucks. I don't know where you got 'disgusting or contemptible' from or why you are saying that. My life with you brought me great pleasure and purpose. Now I can't even get out of bed. I told you any anger I showed you was nothing compared to the endless pain that would follow that I would have to face, alone. It has only begun. Speaking to you hurts me too much, I don't want to be your friend. your foolish delusion that we could just switch to friend mode is just that. it's 'nice' that you made the effort, but it's an ultimately empty gesture. I counted on you, I trusted you, i relied on you, i depended on you, and for that trust i gave you every ounce of attention and compassion and care and devotion I could muster. YOUR feelings? Your feelings are indifference, contempt, disinterest - YOUR feelings, what about MY feelings, my desire to be with you, and my desire to have trust in a female. Had I had any choice, or say, or warning, then perhaps I could faulted for not considering your feelings. But given that you callously disposed of me, left me in the lurch, alone and vulnerable, and that you are not 'happy and fine' and free of the committment to your benefit - all to my detriment. I go out, i have seen a couple of girls, i have seen some people, and everything is a pale shadow of you. it hurts me to try and recoup through bitter pain, effort, and constant humiliation what I thought i could count on when i had you. your prescence brought me such joy, and the gaping hole of your abscence, attempting to be filled by an imposter, just salts the wound. My age, being disposed of, when i thought i could finally have a rest, only to be jolted at the worst possible time, from my vacation from loneliness ... back into lethargic, unsatisfying, neglected solitude. you have no idea. fuck, your selfish reaction that this was about you, it's not. it's about how shitty my life is, your departure being the central fixture of that shittyness, any of these circumstances transplanted to our time together could have been overcome, i could have had something to rely upon, someone to comfort me. now i am once again nothing, with nothing. try to walk a mile in the life of a rejected, solitary, 30 something unemployed, male in complete limbo about his future with NO money. you have only known comfort and indulgence. when you can look past your own 'privacy' perhaps you can fathom how hard things are for me now, and how much our time together meant to me."
This line of argument ("you ruined my life by leaving me alone") might make sense if this relationship spanned a significant period of time (a decade maybe) or if financial dependence on one or the other, or if kids were involved. But no- this was a short one-year-ish relationship, no kids, no shared residence, no financial ties. So... Why is she such a contingent part of his happiness? If he's intelligent enough to articulate his woes in this fashion then he's smart enough to articulate his communication skills for a job. And friends. And whatever he wants to find happiness outside of her.
Anyways, here is her reply (which I have awarded a million points for hilarity and succinct cruelty):
"I apologize for what I did and that I gave you no warning, kept you in the dark. But it is what it is. Shit happens. My only other alternative was to stay with you when I didn’t really love you. I can’t exactly force myself to feel a certain way nor do I run a charity organization to alleviate the loneliness of men around the word. The life you describe as filled with despair, anguish, sorrow, lack of purpose, pain, loneliness, vulnerability, humiliation, lethargic, unsatisfying, neglected solitude, having nothing, are poor or have no money and in limbo is a life that many people in this world would crave for. You are both physically fit and intellectually capable. If you have no money, you can make money by getting a job. If you are lonely, you can make friends. You live in a semi-socialist state, you’ve got most of the luxuries of the world. What comforts and indulgences do I have that you do not? Neither of us are crippled peasants in the third world. So let us not go there. Everybody has their measure of problems. I can’t be held responsible for things that were wrong with your life even before I met you. Is it specifically my fault that you are 30 something, unattached, unemployed, with no money? Should I feel guilty about it or was this letter just a means to despair? Since you are blaming me, I think the former is the case. What if I told you I have always been unsure of my sexuality and I think I may be a lesbian? In other words, are you writing to me this way because of what my leaving you meant for you or because you feel I was wrong to leave you? It is, essentially, the same thing, to you, at least, telling you I am not into you and telling you I am not into men. I am sorry you cannot get out of bed but it is a problem you have to deal with. I don’t see how personal facebook status updates with my name help you do that. But if there is no chance of us being friends, I don’t think we should be facebook friends."
I can't think of a bigger eye-opener than this reply she wrote. If there's one thing I consider a pet-peeve, it's people who claim that 1) They cannot help themselves, and 2) it is YOUR duty to support and love them, and YOU'RE responsible for their happiness. There is a name for a group who genuinely can't help themselves and you're responsible towards them: they're called babies. If you're 18 and above, you're not a baby, and nobody's responsible for your happiness. Grow a set and grow up.
(Author's note: I think some of you would be surprised that despite this post I'm actually a romantic, hah. I do enjoy some drama though, as long as it's not my own. If drama occurs I deftly quash it under my romantic iron fist).