IE Grapevine Updates

True Story: You usually hurt the one you love

I don’t presume to know anything about women, but I was raised by women and I’ve known many women and I have observed this simple truth about every relationship: If treated with perpetual neglect, a woman will seek out what she needs.

Photo Credit: Nik Gonzales

Photo Credit: Nik Gonzales

Recently, there have been a rash of relationship troubles within my circle of friends. It all started with Betsy, my roommate.

In a short time, she’ll be a 22-year-old divorcee. When she was 14 she met a guy, and four years later they got hitched. But her groom was still living at home with Mom and Dad (he was 22 at the time they got married).

I can’t even begin to fathom living that way.  As any sane person would do, Betsy asked her husband constantly if they could move out and get their own place. He would always brush it off saying things like “But baby, we got it so good here!”

He was afraid to leave the nest, and rightly so. Neither one of them really made a decent wage so it’s very conceivable that they could have gotten in over their heads. Plenty of young couples do.

But Betsy didn’t want excuses, and she most definitely did not want to see her husband stay a little boy for the rest of his life. She wanted to see him stand up for himself like a real man. She didn’t care about failing as long as they failed together.

But asking to move out was the only way she knew how to say all that without hurting her man’s feelings. That went on for years until one day she decided that she needed to escape, even if it meant escaping alone.

When one reaches this point, thoughts like “I love you” and “I still want you in my life” melt away and your moral compass goes out to lunch. Because now you have decided that this relationship cannot survive, and that the mature method of ending it is futile.

So we do the kid thing: we take a step back in our heads and say “Now I have to make you hate me. You could have made this easy, but instead I have to do something unforgivable”. And we do. We go out and we get our reprehensible on. Which is what Betsy did.

She began an affair with a guy from work, and never looked back.

Joy was in a similar situation.

She and Dean had recently celebrated their 5 year anniversary, and Dean couldn’t imagine a future without her in it. Because like any true delusional, Dean refused to see the truth. And the truth is this: that he allows his family to walk all over him and run his life, that he all but ignores the woman he claims to love, and that every so often when Joy can’t take it anymore she goes out and sleeps with some random moron.

And Dean would always forgive her.

Partially because he’s a stand up guy, but mostly because his self-worth has reached a point that he thinks “This is the best it will ever be. This is what I deserve.” That’s an ethos that has ironically been pounded into him his entire life by the family who he loves so much.

Joy could always justify her indiscretions to herself. As someone who has been cheated on I have observed this simple truth: it is astonishingly easy for the philanderer to forgive themselves.

They can simply chalk it up to the heat of the moment, they weren’t thinking straight. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. A cheater will generally say something along the lines of “I’ll never do it again”. Joy certainly did. And Dean believed her every time despite my warnings that once is too much.

Then she executed another classic move: she started talking to an old boyfriend. I know what’s coming, Joy knows what’s coming. Dean seems to be the only one in the dark, or rather he doesn’t want to believe it could happen to him.

I try enlighten him. Tell him why she’s doing the things she’s doing and, if he really loves her, what he can do to fix it.

She wants to see him better himself, turn potential energy into kinetic energy. But he refuses to listen because what do I know? So she dumps him of course, which baffles him. And over the next couple of weeks it is all he talks about, literally asking all the same questions and making all the same promises to himself and to a disinterested Joy.

Halloween rolls around and we all go a party hosted by a friend of a friend. In Dean’s mind, this is the perfect chance to win his woman back, even though he knows Joy has invited her new fella along. I tell him not to get psycho, which is pointless because I know he’s out of his mind. Within an hour he is drunk on hard lemonade, he’s gotten handsy with Joy, he’s had a stern talking-to from her boyfriend, and he has threatened to take a swing at me.

On the drive home, he mutters several times that he’s drunk and muses “I think when I’m a better person, it’ll be better when we get back together.”

At this point, I’m pretty much done with the whole sordid affair. And without a shred of emotion, I left him with this: “I think when you’re a better person, you’ll realize that you don’t need her.”

He wasn’t listening of course, but he’ll either figure it out for himself or have a nervous breakdown. At least I know that I tried.

Only you can allow someone to keep hurting you long after they’re gone; don’t let the memories or the woulda-coulda-shoulda eat you up inside.

Dean always asks me, “What if I never find another girl like her?”I tell him time and again that it’s mathematically impossible. There’s around 8 billion people on this planet, and if you’ve ever been outside you’ve seen how many of them look and dress and act alike.

But I pose this question: knowing what you know and feeling how awful you feel right this moment, would it really be so bad if you never met another girl like HER?

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