Go read this. Male, female, somewhere in between, go read it. If you’re a straight male, it gives you insight into the real needs buried deep beneath the seemingly never-ending miscommunication. If you’re a straight woman, it’ll help you realize what it is you really want out of somebody, whether or not you’re getting it, and its intrinsic value to you. And if you’re gay, well, I still think it helps you understand certain levels of your personal relationships. I wish I could elaborate further on that one, but being a straight female the depth of my experiential knowledge is admittedly limited.
The last bit was especially relevant for me, and not in a way which the piece articulates: the need for honesty. They approach it from the idea that if you just aren’t into a woman, be honest with her and let her move on. But for me, it boils down to this: once you’re in a committed relationship, there are a lot of choices you make that are selfish, calculated, or just plain dumb. I’m not trying to single out men here either; I’m including myself in this analysis. My last relationship was a wellspring of miscommunication, of all kinds, from both ends. I would say one thing and do another, he would the same. But, because of course I’m a biased party in this repartee, I will provide an example that stuck with me, though it may paint him in an unfavorable light: After dating for about a year(?) or so (it’s hard to calculate because this all started as basically a casual hook-up), I moved away to go back to school. We decided to give long distance a try. Fortunately/Unfortunately, I left many, many friends behind, who unconsciously kept tabs on him. Not deliberately, they would just tell me in passing if and when they ran into him. Now, I thought I had his schedule down pat, in general I knew where he was at any given time of day. So, when I heard a tidbit that contradicted that knowledge, from someone other than him, occasionally it confused me. Well… let’s be honest, it made me wonder. This exacerbated after a serious hiccup in our trust for each other a few months into my departure: he was described as giving a ride home to a drunk girl that we both knew… who… truthfully already complicated our relationship in the beginning… and it was insinuated that he slept with her. When I confronted him with this new found knowledge, he admitted to giving her a ride home, but only because she was too drunk to drive.
Here’s the problem for me, in hindsight: he should have told me right away. Then, when I heard it from someone else, it wouldn’t have been so humiliating. I’m not saying I wanted to control his every movement; far from it, actually. When we lived in the same town, it didn’t matter, practically at all. But once I moved away, the level of trust building tripled… or it should have, but it didn’t. In his mind (or so he told me), he didn’t mention it because it really was no big deal, and he figured that if he did I would overreact and get upset over nothing. Now, that may make sense, I could see how it would…. but think through that again. Your actions may have caused me to overreact? They may have caused a fight? That’s exactly why you should have told me. It made my eventual finding out all. the. more. humiliating. And it made me suspicious of my trust in you, because why didn’t you tell me? So you listed the reasons above… and the argument now may feel a bit circular, but think about it again. Your omission, while intended to avoid a fight, only caused a larger one down the road. It did far more damage than the actual action would have caused, if you had just been honest with me.
Part of being in a committed relationship (and part of what makes it so damn difficult), is that you are obligated to another person, to consider their thoughts, their feelings, their well-being in many (if not most) of the decisions that you make. That takes a lot of patience, compassion and a certain degree of selflessness. And, if that level of consideration is not reciprocated in the other person, it quickly leads to stinking, heaping resentment, the ultimate love-killer. I’ve fallen victim to it so many times. So again I say, READ IT. It’ll provide some much needed reflection, I promise.
Current Jam: “Here’s Looking at You Kid” The Gaslight Anthem.