I am not my past. I am not my mistakes. I am not the one-dimensional view you have of me, nor the one I have of myself. I am more than my fears, am less than perfect and am finally ready to give myself permission to test my wings.
This week staff writer Stephany Salinas discusses “letting go” in relationships. Do you agree, disagree? What’s your story?
The other day, I read in a men’s book that I have a “Mother Goose” personality type. I am a natural nurturer and am always doing things to please others. The type of men I typically go for are “project” men, or bad boys. There was a lot more to it, and reading the entire section was brutal. It wasn’t disturbing in the sense that it was right, it was more so disturbing how it made me sound as a person. While reading, I consciously agreed with nearly every sentence. After I was done, I noticed how weak and conforming it made me sound. So I thought about it, and how right it was, and decided that this week’s entry was going to be about letting go.
Deciding whether or not to stay with someone can be one of the hardest things to do in life. It’s very easy to get caught up in a relationship, or whatever it is you’re in, and blind yourself to the unfair way you are being treated. The decision to let go of someone boils down to two things: Change (or lack thereof) and uncertainty.
One of the most common problems in relationships is one person trying to change the other. I’ve had men try to change me, and I’ve also been guilty of trying to change a man. You can’t. Not only can’t you, you shouldn’t. If someone wants to change, it’s something they must do on their own. You can’t pressure them into it. You can’t help speed up the process. It’s something they must do on their own time, at their own pace. You mustn’t give them an ultimatum, because that will only confuse them even more. If they think you’re worth the change, it’ll happen, but never assume that they’re going to.
Change is a tricky thing, and something that we all go through. It’s nothing to be upset about. That’s life. However, walking away or taking a step back from someone who is going through change doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It simply means you are strong enough and willing to put your wants and desires aside, and let them figure out what they need to do. It’s one of the hardest, most selfless things you can do.
Having the courage to let go of something you cannot change is something few women are strong enough to do.
This is the part where you decide what it is you want in a significant other/relationship. Once you decide on that, you need to find out if the person you are with can give you that. And if more isn’t what this person can give you at the moment, you need to make a tough, executive decision. You can stick it out and hope for the best, risking heartbreak and potential disappointment. Or, you can walk away. And when I say walk away, I don’t mean drop them out of your lives completely (although, in some cases it may be healthier). Sometimes, these people are genuinely lost and just need someone to be there. Not in a sense of a significant other, but a companion nonetheless. If you still care, make sure to offer your words, advice, and a shoulder to cry on, for one day it might be you who is going through change.
And if you want to stick around…
There is no shame in that. Sometimes these things just feel right. Sometimes, you need to make the mistake before you learn. Be careful. Like Gotye says, “You can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness.”
Letting go is never easy.
It’s easy is falling into the routine of being the caretaker. It comes with compassion and empathy, which can be blessings and curses.
Don’t get taken advantage of, because at the end of the day, you need to take care of yourself.
This week’s post by staff writer Frank Friedlander discusses the topic of sometimes focusing too much on “mistakes” in our significant others.
Whenever I make the mistake of feigning interest in the dating exploits of my friends, I end up with an earful of nonsensical and irrelevant anecdotes as to why the encounter went south. “When he showed up, he was wearing this shirt or those jeans.” They usually proceed with assorted drivel such as “We went to this restaurant and he did this and did that and a bunch of other things that you don’t care about but I’m going to carry on about all the same.”
I simply can’t stress enough that when looking for a life mate, or at least a long-term relationship, such frivolities are of minor relevance and can easily be remedied if they must be at all.
When on a date, if you’re looking hard enough for flaws, you’re going to find some. Everyone has his or her share. This being said, a good deal of them can be fixed somewhere down the line, or else you learn to get used to them. Evaluating overall compatibility should be the first priority regardless of the venue. Even if he takes you to Chili’s or Denny’s, give it a chance. It doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a lifetime of casual dining at low-level chain restaurants. Even if you are, if there’s a genuine connection, perhaps it’s worth it. Besides, who doesn’t like buffalo wings and potato skins. Vegetarians, but they’re usually weird anyway.
The suitor that takes you to some fancy French restaurant is just as likely to turn out to be a cad as he or she who takes you to Applebee’s. Perhaps more so, as they be compensating for who knows what.
This principal is best explained in the song “Marry the Man Today,” from the classic Broadway musical “Guys and Dolls.” In a nutshell, when you have a potential mate on the hook, one with the overall traits you desire, accept him or her for why they are, warts and all. The flaws can then be fixed at a later date. As Adelaide explains to Sgt. Sarah Brown, “you can’t make alterations on a dress you haven’t bought.”
As is often the case, those flaws often end up being worth the overall package. Other times, you may learnt that they are not flaws at all, and are “quirks,” just part of what makes them who they are. You may decide that they’re part of why you fell for them to begin with.
All I’m saying is that you should always give them a second chance, so long as there’s mutual interest and the overall package outweighs the flaws. Unless of course you learn that he or she is an axe murderer, sex offender, or some other type of felon. In such cases, you’re probably better off nipping it in the bud.