Sometimes it’s hard to know if what you are feeling is truly real. I think it’s because everything that is said and done around us throughout the day goes through our mind continuously. Most of the time, it does so unconsciously. So the question is how one avoids being influenced by their friends, family members, fellow workers, favorite television show, or movie. How do I know what I feel is 100%...well, me?
Some people will quickly submit that they know themselves unequivocally, and therefore know how they feel about any given matter. I humbly suggest that for
most of us that is rarely the case, if ever. About a year and a half ago, I went through a break up with a woman I had been dating for nearly four years. She
took the breakup well, and things seemed fairly amicable. We both seemed to have lost the “spark” that had ignited our relationship in the beginning. It’s been a while now, and I’ve had time to think about whether or not that was truly what we (or, at least I) truly felt, or if we were being influenced by what was going on around us. Let me explain.
Friends are a funny bunch. They want you to be happy, they really do,
but they want you to be happy when they are ready for it. How many of you have
had a girlfriend push you to go date a guy because you haven’t gone out with a
man in months, and they want you to be happy?
Well, think about that same girlfriend and how she acts when you do go out, meet a man, and have a wonderful relationship. She’s happy for you. That is, she’s happy for you if she is in a solid relationship, because if she’s not…
Listen, I’ve seen it from both sides. Past girlfriends of mine always (and man do I
mean always) have at least one girlfriend who is so happy to meet me, and to see our relationship blossom; until, we have our first argument. Then
that same friend, who was your cheerleader, becomes your arch nemesis, and
cannot wait to pick apart everything you’ve done. Suddenly, the flowers you brought your girlfriend to work, becomes you just wanting to check up on her.
The phone call in the morning that your girlfriend’s friend previously thought was adorable has now made you the stalker, checking to be sure your lady didn’t have anyone spend the night. Everything you’ve ever done is turned around
to fit the idea, “My friend can be happy, but she’d best not be happy before I find a man!” I hear you screaming for more examples.
The “first” break up with my ex, which lasted roughly three months, began when my ex went to her sister’s bridal party. My ex (let’s just call her Shum) spent the day with close to forty women, many of whom had just gone through a break up, were divorced, or were somehow otherwise jaded. So right off the bat, I should have known there’d be trouble, but at the time we were fine with no arguments going into the party, so I didn’t worry. How wrong I was.
Apparently, Shum shared a table with women all in their late twenties/early thirties, and none of them had any boyfriends or were married. She told me
almost a year later the things that were discussed that day amongst the women
at the table. How much they loved me, and how I was a nice guy, but was I truly the one for her? Was I willing to follow her to N.Y., as she had wanted to move there after college? Would I be able to take care of her financially? Would I sacrifice my dreams in support of her dreams? These and many more were the
questions Shum heard for hours on end. But you know what they didn’t ask?
No one asked if I told her everyday how beautiful she was to me. I did. No one asked if I loved her before all else. I did. No one asked if I had made her feel at home when she was in my arms. No one that is, except for me. In the end, I think I cared too much, gave too much, and expected too little. And when I finally realized that she had become so used to me making all of the effort, which resulted in her giving less and less of herself, I had to pull the plug. I know, without a doubt in my mind, that she loved me. I know that I loved her. I know that I made her feel safe, cherished, and adored because she was. But the last
thing I know is that I let others influence her about our relationship, and
instead of confronting her (or better yet, them), I let that influence slowly
tear us apart. And that’s the hardest thing to know…that I watched it happen and let it.
I should have said or done something. At the time, however, I felt that I had fought for the relationship as much as anybody could. I thought, ‘How much does a person give before he expects a little reciprocation?’
Now I know better.
Real love doesn’t give up. It doesn’t expect some kind of return. Real love gives
unconditionally. Real love secures one to the other. Real love puts pride
aside. Real love does exactly what I didn’t do. I’m positive she wasn’t “the
one,” because if she was I would have done more. She would have done more; and it would have come about organically. She wouldn’t have let others put doubt in her mind. And that’s the thing about “friends.”
Some of them really do have our best interest in mind, but there are quite a bit that really want you to be just happy enough. They want you to have a good life, and a good relationship; but not great. Great is reserved for them. You had better not be great if they aren’t great. It’s almost as if they believe that your greatness comes only at the sacrifice of their own greatness. So if you are great, they can never be great. They can only be good at best. And do you want to know why? Some of it is clearly derived from the typical Hollywood movie.
That’s right, I said it. Hollywood makes dozen of romantic movies every year, most of which finds the heroine finding her love at the end of the movie with the help of the loveless friend. Well, who wants to be the loveless friend? No woman I know, that’s for sure. So maybe it’s subliminally communicated to women that if they are not the heroine, they are the loveless, quirky friend who brings coffee to the heroine whilst living vicariously through her love. BORING. Until women realize that they are the heroine of their own lives, I think many are destined to listen to the subterfuge espoused by their friends who want them to be just as happy (but not more) as they are.
But hey, maybe I’m wrong; although I just overheard two women at a coffee shop talking while writing this, totally scheming on how to get their friend to break up with her boyfriend who they don’t like. So…