Shit gets heavy real real quick…
(Title is from a quote by Walter Scott)
What is it about some of us that makes it so easy to discount the basic human tendency to look out for one another??? I’ll just add the disclaimer that I have not, repeat, have not lost faith in humanity. You may have noticed I’ve been gone for a minute; I’m exploring. What follows are some observations I’m sorting out.
I’m not even talking about when we pretend we don’t see the homeless person asking for change or when we cut someone off because we just have to get where we’re going one second earlier. I’m talking about how easy it is for us to switch off our humanity (Vampire Diaries anyone?) and completely ignore or not care about how our behaviour will affect someone we care about – I guess that’s open to interpretation. Or at the very least someone we know cares about us and would rather throw themselves on a sword before seeing us get hurt.
What makes us cheat?
Is it lust? Boredom? Loneliness? Is it our inability to control ourselves, to keep our desires under wraps? I’ve been cheated on before. Or I should say I’ve been cheated on and found out about it before in a blaze of anger, ferocity and inexplicable pain while on day two of a ten-day vacation with my partner. I can tell you that the most unbearable part for me was the feeling stupid part. Because no one makes JJ feel stupid. Because she isn’t stupid, not in the least and all I wanted to do was burn everything to the ground.
I’ve also been in a relationship that I knew was over. Stayed far past the time I should in a situation that lacked passion and sex among other things. I’m a very sexual person, so to be without carnal intimacy essentially had me not myself. As hard as that was, I didn’t cheat. Why? Well why would I? What is wrong with you to make you actually ask me that question? It wasn’t a fear of getting caught. I wouldn’t do it even if I knew I would never get caught. That’s not the point. I have an innate desire to not hurt people. Don’t you??? But seriously, I want to know, if you believe in your heart (or your lower regions) that cheating is okay, tell me why.
I’ve also, on more than one occasion (far too often really), unknowingly been made an accessory to a cheater. Now this is some fucked up shit. I’m wondering if the fact that I don’t want to be in a relationship automatically brands me as side chick… Naw man. I want to be free; but that means you should be too. Polyamory is one thing – however I assume in this case all parties are aware of the stakes. What’s the most fucked up is not even making me an unknowing participant to the affair. I can accept the bigger picture here; I’m nothing but a blip on this timeline. What’s really fucked up is how one is able to do this to their partner. Regardless of if the relationship is going well or not, there are expectations. However unique the nuances of those expectations, I’m certain fidelity is a hard limit. If you’re not into it, GET. THE. FUCK. OUT.
I don’t even need to get into karma.
We know all about it and clearly some of us do not accept its existence. I’m really curious as to what is wrong with us as people. Not in a why-don’t-we-do-more-about-those-starving-on-the-other-side-of-the-world kind of way. I’m talking about how we can so easily ignore what our behaviour does to the person sharing our bed, lives and by all outward appearances, our future?
Should it always be good vibes only though…
I had one of those moments this week. You know the one. Where everything seems like it’s crashing down around you and there’s no end in site. Where everything else is forging forward and you’re left behind.
No attainable goal in sight, or there is, it’s just so far away in your eyes that it may as well not be there at all.
I was tempted to push these negative feelings away. To pretend this wasn’t happening, to convince myself this wasn’t really what I was feeling right now. To say, ‘calm the fuck down J; let this shit go’. This is what I usually do because maybe if I pretend it’s not happening, then its not real.
And then I checked myself. Nawwww. Let’s feel this. Let’s feel all the anxiety, pressure, frustration that is this moment. Let’s fucking soak in it (but not drown) and feel every last sorry, uncomfortable, impossible, unbearable second of it. Absorb it all until there’s nothing left
And use it. As fuel.
Of course it does! Any kind of rejection, professional or personal hurts. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Sure the degree to which it hurts will vary, but you know it still hurts.
Whether it’s that dude who matched you and never sent a message or never responded to your message. The one who matched and then quickly unmatched you or the one who just disappears after one, a few dates or even weeks/months of dating; it hurts. While at times our behaviour can lead to the unwanted ending of a courtship it’s important to remember that there is a whole other person involved in this equation. Another person with a different experience and self-evolution that brings with it an endless supply of independent variables beyond your control. For my tips on how to stay cool despite the possibility of rejection see Tinder/Bumble Survival Tips. You may not have much control over whether or not you are rejected (especially when you’ve only just connected), but…
You most certainly have control over how you respond to rejection.
If you’ve taken the relationship (however loosely you can definite it at this point) for what it is and met him where he was in terms of his behaviour towards you, it certainly makes it easier to accept your current situation. So when I’ve been rejected, thinking about the below is how I get it handled:
- I used to say this to my BFF all the time when another woman crossed her (I don’t anymore because she already knows the drill, and owns it): Does she feed you? Put a roof over your head? Keep you safe and warm? Help you to achieve what you want in your life? No. Then you don’t need her, or in this case him. You not only survived but thrived before him (believe me you were definitely thriving if he was attracted to you) and you will certainly thrive after him.
- It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to accept and feel pain. I find it far easier to move on when I embrace the negative feelings rather than trying to pretend they don’t exist. The important thing is to set a limit on how long this pain will affect you (and also accept that the line is movable, sometimes we backslide). How long this will take depends on you and the investment put into the courtship but acceptance with a set expiry works for me.
- Learn from the experience. If you matched with someone and they just never said anything, there may not be much to learn from that situation – except maybe that just matching someone isn’t the biggest indicator of interest or that this person would make a good whatever it is that you are looking for. However in a situation where more investment was made, and without over analyzing the situation:
Thinking about it for even a few minutes can improve self-awareness.
For example as difficult as it can be to ‘be yourself’ when in the high-anxiety situation of getting to know someone new, perhaps you were being someone completely unlike yourself. Maybe you tried to be someone you thought this person would like but was not authentically you. The thing about trying to be someone else is that you can only keep the charade up for so long; eventually the truth comes out. So perhaps what you learn from this situation is that you could benefit from working on authenticity and keeping consistent with your personal values when you meet new people.
4. Remember the bad times. Of course we want to remain positive but also realistic. I can’t remember where I first heard this concept but when a relationship ends we have a tendency to romanticize the good times and completely ignore all of the bad ones. Sure there were some great memories made during the course of this relationship, but save those for later because right now you need to get back on point. In your lowest moments you will remember some amazing time you had or some sweet thing that he said and trick yourself into thinking the entire experience was all sunshine and roses. When you catch yourself doing this force yourself to remember the negative experiences, the disappointments, the things that made you two incompatible. I’m not proposing you do this long-term; it’s a tool to put your current situation and emotions into perspective.
5. Remember there are other positive things in your life. This person was not and is not the determinant of your happiness. You definitely have other things in your life to be happy about, otherwise this person would not have been attracted to you. You have friends and family who love you, you have a career, you have aspirations and all that you need to achieve them. These are the things that will continue to prove themselves far more valuable than this person who’s decided to bounce from your life.