Wednesday, April 7, 2010

If You Love Me At All, Don't Call

What's the moral of the story behind the movie 500 Days of Summer? I think one possibility goes something like this - people have no problems with committing when it's the right relationship. Summer was fickle and non-committal because she just wasn't all the way there with him. She wasn't really fair to him, yes, but he should also have been able to recognize her cues. When it comes to boys and girls and relationships, "friendships," there is a responsibility on the part of both parties to protect themselves and also a little bit of protecting the other party from him- or herself. Just a few other things...

I have a friend that laments her "commitment problems," but really all I see from her is that her problems have a lot more to do with the guys that she's trying to get herself to fall for. I don't know all of her dating history, but the last few that I have been around for are guys that I never would have thought would be good for her anyway. None of them seem like a fit (at least from my standpoint), but she chides her inability to like like them as stemming from her inability to commit. Her inability to commit to any of these guys has less to do with these guys and more to do with her finding the right type of relationship for her. Methinks, at least.

Here's something that I think is worth remembering - just because someone is willing to pick up your bill and be nice to you doesn't mean that it's a match made in heaven. I know that's contrary to what some church leaders and maybe even some parents would postulate, but I think holding out for someone that is kind and you love and admire is worth holding out for and is worth it, right? Why does it seem like that can be too much to ask for sometimes? It seems like the older we all get as young single adults, the more people want to retract that sentiment.

For all of you married people out there, would you ever admit that you weren't picky about your decision either? I can think of a lot of cases where people wish that they were more picky than they ended up being. And just because I turn 30 in less than two weeks doesn't mean that these are things that I think are worth eschewing either. (I know also that love is something that you work at and builds over time, so don't bother me with those kind of comments, this is just a simplification of some of what I've been seeing and hearing around me lately.)

I think what really makes for a great relationship is when both people in the relationship feel like they kind of lucked out to get the other one. There is definitely a need for getting just a little more than you bargained for, in the positive sense, obviously. But after everything is said and done, when both parties feel like they are the lucky ones, that's a hugely important thing, isn't it?

Transitioning to another dating vein, Orson Scott Card wrote this article a few months and I've been meaning to post it for the longest time. In his piece, he takes the stance that guys do this to girls all the time, but I know several current cases of this going in the other direction. These days it seems like girls are just as prone as guys to make the same mistakes. The piece is about the book He's Just Not That Into You. These are my favorite parts from the article:

Here's a partial list of these crimes of the heart:

Not calling when you said you would.

Making excuses for why you haven't been attentive, instead of telling the truth, that you're not really interested in her.

Exploiting her for companionship, while tying her up so that she doesn't feel free to pursue a man who might actually want to marry her.

Breaking up with her and yet still hanging around, giving her hope that you will get back together when in fact you are merely lonely and using her till you find somebody better.

...Here's the message of the book (He's Just Not That Into You), and it's a good one:

Tell the truth. Do it kindly, but do it. "I don't see this turning into any kind of long-term relationship, and I'm not going to waste your time or mine, when we ought to be finding someone else."

You might preface it with something decent and polite: "You're attractive and admirable. You're exactly the kind of woman I want to want to marry. But I'm not actually interested in marrying you, for reasons I don't understand and won't try to explain."

After you realize it yourself, the sooner you say it the better. And then get out of her life. Don't hang out with her. Even if you think she's "over you," she's not. There you are, a constant reminder that you didn't want her.

Don't send her little presents. Don't call her up and chat. Don't ask her for favors. Because that's what a guy who's courting a woman would do, and you're not that guy. Stay broken up. Go away.

O ye single men of Zion, if you read this book, you will have a good set of guidelines for interpreting your own feelings and behavior.

If you find that you don't think of her at all for days on end, you're just not that into her.

If you only think of her when you need something, instead of thinking of how to make her happy all the time, you are so not in love.

What it comes down to is this: Be honest and fair. Don't take, when you don't intend to give more than you receive. Don't use up a woman's youth when you don't plan to be there for her old age.

I know one poor shmuck going through this right now with a girl and for all of his friends coaxing and cajoling, he won't remove himself from her. Is it her fault or his? A little of both, probably. Just being friends when serious feelings were or are still involved just doesn't work. It takes some time to detach, and even when that has happened sometimes it still doesn't work. Emotions are a tricky thing.

Jimmy knows what I'm talking about:

4 comments:

eL said...

Amen!

Laurence said...
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sylvia keith said...
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maya anderson said...
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