Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Abandon (Relation)ship ...

Relationships, they ebb and flow. Some stand the test of time, some are all too brief. Some end dramatically, some just fade away.

In the wake of L.A. Dave's passing, I've been taking stock of the relationships in my life – and by relationships, I mean interactions both platonic and romantic, though I have far more of the former than the latter – and have begun to prune those that do not make sense.

Like the Facebook friend who only ever posts about how awful he believes his life to be. Unfriend. I have plenty of negative energy in my life that I am trying to keep at bay. I certainly don't need an extra helping of ennui every day.

I am very much a people pleaser, but there is only so much pleasing I can do before I realize it's futile with some people, as no amount of pleasing will ever be enough.

I do not approach relationships with the expectation of perfect balance. I am not that person who remembers that I bought coffee last time and expects my friend to buy this time. I am not that person who won't call a friend to check in because it's the friend's turn to call me. I'll give more than my share, and do so happily, up to a point. But when a relationship becomes too lopsided and eventually topples over, I let it lie.

And there there's dating.

As the sales adage goes, "Every 'no' brings you closer to the 'yes.' "

I apply that thinking to romantic relationships, too. If, hypothetically, I need to date 10 men before I get to "The One," each relationship that begins and ends moves me closer to him, whomever he may be. And so while each ending is sad in its own way, I remind myself that all that particular ending really means is that the man of the moment wasn't The One.

And even though none of my breakups have been terribly ugly, I have not stayed friends with the men I've dated, with one exception. And the last time I saw him was nearly two years ago. And the time before that? Nine years ago.

I never figured out how to downshift from the heightened emotion and intimacy of a relationship into friendship. Besides, it feels strange to be friends with guys who rejected me as their "girlfriend" or whatever term applied.

I once had a guy end things who then said, "But I still want to keep in touch. I like having you there when I need to vent. And you're smart and funny."

To which I replied, "I am not an a la carte menu. You don't get to keep the parts of me you like and discard the parts of me you don't."

And though I've long ago shunned dating sites and their artificiality, I've surely gotten too swept up in Facebook and Twitter, maintaining electronic relationships of all stripes that don't exist in the flesh.

I have certainly met people online before meeting them in person and I have several virtual friends today who I hope to meet someday soon.

But at this moment in my life, I crave connections that are real, both in terms of physical presence and substance. And so it is in that direction that I will devote my energy.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Ethan said...

But at this moment in my life, I crave connections that are real, both in terms of physical presence and substance. And so it is in that direction that I will devote my energy.

Hear hear.

Spoiler alert: You might feel even more so after the big 4-0.

5:20 PM  

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