Why is it so difficult for women (and men) to cut themselves off from something that is so unmistakably the antithesis of healthy?
As the culmination of lust and bad decisions led into the emergency room where his wife was suffering the loss of a tooth – and a marriage – Carrie decided enough was enough. She walked away from Big and in a moment of clarity, resolvingly added “We’re so over, we need a new word for over.” Granted it took a whole lot of tears, worry and the image of herself as a home wrecker to arrive at that conclusion, but was the cost of that nugget of truth worth the self-ruin?
If even one of you has spent X amount of years in an obstinate pursuit of turning your tainted and venomous relationship into a relationship euphoria I have news for you ladies, that’s X amount of years too many. And I’m the main infractor – correction, WAS. Not only did I act as my judge and jury, but I was also known to take on roles as my prosecutor and defense lawyer when convenient. Spoiler alert -convenience is always the victor.
If you have rationalized a bad relationship away by telling yourself any of the following, chances are it’s time to find that new word:
1) “Yeah, he cheated – but he agreed to change his phone number and delete his Facebook and gave me all of his passwords, he must love me enough to never do it again.”
Ladies, if you have to live each moment requiring entry into that day’s phone bill or email only to make yourself sick over a number you don’t recognize, not only will you drive yourself crazy you’ll most likely drive him back into the arms of a not so paranoid woman.
2) “Sure he wants me to get a boob job, lots of tattoos, dress differently and change my hair color, but who doesn’t want to be proud of their bf/gf?”
It’s one thing to want your SO to keep up their appearance (IMO it’s common courtesy to stay healthy and paint the barn every now and then), but when the suggested changes are to knock down the barn and redesign it until it in fact looks nothing like a barn, it’s probably time to find someone who actually likes your base structure and design.
3) “So we only have sex every 6-8 weeks even though I constantly tell him I’d like it to be more regularly, every couple has their slumps.”
Sure, if that slump lasts a few months and you are actively seeking ways to get out of the rut together, but not when it’s gone on for years and he/she refuses to do anything about it. Odds are this is a symptom of rationale number 1. We deserve to have someone who is actually turned on by our sexuality, someone who makes the effort and time to physically show you they love you. Not someone who couldn’t care less about whether your sexual needs are being met.
4) “He may not be financially stable, but he’s only 32.” I’m not advocating gold-digging here ladies, but a man in his 30’s that can’t even open a checking account because of his financial irresponsibility is not exactly someone you should be banking your hope on to build a future with.
5) “He may have broken up with me three or four times before, but he always finds his way back to me. What we have must be real.”
Yeah, real stupid. Translation – he realized he could break up with you when he felt like being single, nail a few conquests and then get back together (and spend less money getting laid) with you when it lost its thrill. And you were always there to welcome him with open arms. It’s like a legitimate loophole for cheaters.
6) “So what if he doesn’t like the way I whistle, or sing, or drive, or breathe, or type, or dance, or laugh, or talk, or walk, or cuddle, or use the remote, or come up for air during oral sex, or (insert something ridiculous here) everyone has a few things about them that can be annoying.”
Agreed – but not when the list of complaints becomes so long that it touches on characteristics that are inherent and cannot be changed. Not every thought merits a voice which is why Facebook bugs me so much, but that’s a blog for a different day.
It’s shameful to admit, but most of us who are or were in a relationship similar to the one described above knew it was wrong from the get go. And for whatever reason, lust, comfort, fear of being alone, etc… we chose to stay and try to make it work. We could not bring ourselves to say those scary words “it’s over” because they have such finality to them. Or is it because we’ve said the dreaded words so often the phrase simply became semantic satiation to the ears they were falling on? We knowingly held the veil over our eyes in an attempt to not have to do the uncomfortable break-up dance which can be made even more shameful when your partner has told you many times that you, in fact, have no rhythm.
Sometimes it’s the friendships you develop with their friends and family that can make it very difficult to walk away; more so than it is to walk away from the one that’s tying you together. But don’t let your need for amiability or any other desperate attempt to not be alone cost you more than you’d be willing to pay. If those friendships are real, they’ll survive outside the realm of ex-dom. You may say “well there’s always a price to pay for good quality,” but we’re talking about our physical and emotional health here, not a pair of Manolo’s. It took me seven years and a final bout of “just because I lied to you about going home and then disappeared until 5am doesn’t mean I was with anyone” to find my self-respect, my limits and my proverbial balls to find my new word for over – beginning. Sure, it might literally mean the opposite of over, but what I need more than anything is the antonymous life of the one described above.
Cutting ties with someone is never easy. There are good sides to everyone and that’s probably what we’re busy focusing on when ignoring the red flags. I’m not suggesting you ignore the good qualities, I’m simply proposing not to ignore the seriously destructive ones.