Nagging Whispers


This week, staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald discusses the situation of the wrong relationship and the nagging whispers we hear even when we might choose to ignore them.

 

About ten years ago, a punk-rock band called SR-71 released a song called “Right Now.”  While the song itself is unremarkable (cookie-cutter pop-punk riding the coattails of Blink 182’s success), the refrain contains a lyric that could be used to sum up the way I felt during at least a few of my past relationships.  The line goes, “I know she may not be Miss Right, but she’ll do right now.”

 

Everyone knows how it feels to be in a relationship that just isn’t going to last.  Sometimes this realization sneaks up on you slowly and quietly, like a nagging whisper; other times, the realization comes screaming out at you all at once.

 

One time, I was on my third or fourth date with a woman, let’s call her “L”, and we went out for drinks at a small neighborhood tavern.  “L” was loquacious to begin with, but with each finished drink, she talked more and more; faster and faster, until eventually I had to excuse myself to go the bathroom.

While I was in the bathroom, I made the decision to bail out the back door instead of returning to the bar to tell “L” that I was leaving.  The back door led to an outdoor patio that was fenced in, but there was a tree with low-hanging branches inviting me to climb over the fence.  I used the branch to pull myself up and over the fence, and I was six blocks away before she texted me and asked me where I went.  In hindsight, this was a classless move on my part, but I, like Jamie Foxx, blame it on the alcohol.

In this particular instance, the realization that my relationship with “L” wouldn’t last literally came screaming out at me, and despite my drunken lack of common decency in the way I removed myself from the situation, it was an easy decision.

 

It is more difficult to deal with the nagging whispers.  When I was a junior in college, I fell in love with a girl; let’s call her “E.”  We dated all that school year, and through the summer, but when senior year came around, I started hearing the nagging whispers.   She wanted to be a 1st grade teacher, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  We had no future in common, but we both loved and cared about each other.

She must have been hearing the whispers as well because she broke up with me in December of that year.  The break up was hard on both of us.  Sometimes the weight of the future bears down on the present and can slowly dissolve even the strongest of bonds between two people.

 

The break up was by no means final.  We tried different arrangements in the ensuing months:  a pseudo-relationship (pretty much the same as a regular relationship except with the implicit understanding that there is no future for the two of you as a pair), a friends-with-benefits relationship (I messed that up by getting drunk at a bar and making out with another girl in front of her), and finally, a sleep-together-once-in-awhile-but-don’t-talk-or-see-each-other relationship (basically a futile attempt to stave off the inevitable while also satisfying each other’s sexual needs because, hey, the sex was pretty good).

As with most indefinite break-ups of this sort, there was no final good-bye, just a series of encounters in which we slowly drifted further and further apart until sex and communication just sort of stopped.  On one of these final encounters, “E” gave me a CD that she had made.  I guess it was a sort of parting gift.

On the CD, there was a song from the musical Wicked called “As Long As You’re Mine” (Sung by Idina Menzel and Norbert Leo Butz).   One of the lines from the song goes, “Say there’s no future / For us as a pair/ And though I may know / I don’t care.”

Listening to this song put my relationship with “E” in perspective, and I only wished that she had given it to me earlier.  It’s sometimes difficult to end things when you start hearing those nagging whispers telling you that there’s no future for your relationship, but it is not the ending that is important.  It is how you handle the moments that you have left.

During the dying days of my relationship with “E,” I found myself wondering where we had gone wrong and how we might salvage our relationship instead of allowing myself to enjoy the moments that we still had left.  Even relationships that last sixty-five or seventy years are built on a series of moments, so even if your current partner is not Miss or Mr. Right, enjoy the moments you share.

 

Of course, if those moments prove totally intolerable, then by all means excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, sneak out the back door and climb a tree over the patio fence, figuratively, of course.

Avoiding The Inevitable-Part 2: Guilt

This week, staff writer Stephany Salinas continues her “Avoiding The Inevitable” series with: guilt. Most of us have tried to avoid an inevitable break-up because we didn’t want to be the bad guy. But did we feel guilty because we didn’t want to cause our significant other heartache or because we didn’t want to be the target of an emotional hell storm?

 

Last week, I wrote about the familiarity aspect of a relationship that holds you back from doing the unfortunate task of breaking up with someone. This week, I’ll share with you yet another reason why people find it hard to break-up; Guilt.

At one time or another, most of us have been in a relationship where we just didn’t reciprocate the feelings of our significant other. They may have been crazy in love, head over heels for you, but the it wasn’t mutual. Yet, we continue staying in relationships like this because they make us feel better about ourselves. Who wouldn’t want a relationship that’s based around them, right? Wrong. It gets old, quick. When you become someone else’s world, you soon realize that the pedestal you’re on is pretty lonely, and boring.

It starts off great. You meet someone, and they’re so sweet, it’s unbelievable. In reality, it IS hard to find someone who is genuinely doing things out of kindness of their hearts and/or because they care about you. Let’s face it, the dating generation of today can be quite selfish, clueless, and careless. That being said, when you DO find someone who is willing to cater to your every need, you’re drawn to it. It starts off small and normal, with surprise lunches, cute texts saying how much they miss you, and all that adorable fun stuff that everyone shamelessly likes in the beginning of a new relationship. You see them constantly, because being without them sucks. You still get those funny feelings when you’re around them, because everything is new and exciting. You’re still learning about this person, and it’s fun. This is typically known as the “Honeymoon” stage. The stage every couple goes through.

Then, of course, the honeymoon stage is over. At this point, you ask yourself if you really like this person, or if it was just the thrill of meeting someone new that was exciting. Unfortunately, this is where things USUALLY get messy. Who knows, maybe you both decided, “Meh, it was fun, see ya later!” In a perfect world, all break-ups would be like that. Alas, we all know this world is far from perfect.

At this point, you’re still wondering if this is something you want to continue. Because you’re unsure, you’d rather stay in the relationship than potentially lose something you actually wanted to keep. As you continue through the relationship, for however long, you start to notice certain things that are suddenly annoying or unappealing. Whether it be physical traits or characteristics, you find yourself wanting to spend less time with this person. If you make it clear that you’re bored or unattracted to them, they try even harder to get your attention. That’s when you realize that you’re just not into them.

This actualization, like the realization of familiarity, may be sudden or gradual. For me, it was gradual, and a complete accident. Not only was I falling for someone else (a friend at the time), but I started realizing that I didn’t care about him anymore. I didn’t want to see him everyday, and I didn’t want him to accompany me when I went out with friends. His quirky literary imagination suddenly became annoying, and his obsession with wanting to be with me every chance he got went from being romantic to creepy. What’s worse, is every time I wanted to say something, I thought about all these romance novels and movies, and how what this guy was giving me was what every girl wanted. So why didn’t I want it? Why was I so different?

I wasn’t. I wasn’t different at all. I just wasn’t in love. At this point I realized that this guy was nuts about me, and I didn’t even remotely feel the same way. Now, I find myself to be a pretty nice person, and I try my best to never hurt anyone’s feelings, so I found myself stuck in a position where I was just clueless. How do you go about bringing up a conversation that you know is going to break someone’s heart? And this isn’t just a “maybe”, no, it’s a sure thing. His heart was going to be broken, he was going to be in pain, and it was going to be my fault.

So I did the worst thing possible; I waited. I waited and pushed it off as long as I possibly could, because for a moment, hanging out with him for a couple hours a day was bearable, compared to the heart break that I was eventually going to have to put him through. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the other guy I had started to get feelings for was still around, but we never did anything behind future-heartbroken boyfriends back. Cheating is for cowards.) So, I spent my days trying to avoid hanging out with my own boyfriend. I would make up excuses and say I was busy or had a lot of work/cleaning to do. After a few weeks, I realized what I was doing was even worse than breaking his heart. I was letting this guy think that everything was okay, and that I still loved him. I was leading him on, and that’s one of the worst things you can do in any relationship.

After I grasped this concept, I knew what I had to do. However, I was still struggling with how to bring about such a painful conversation, until our very last argument (as a couple).

I remember the exact moment it happened. I was outside tanning, and had been trying to make plans with my family. When I tried discussing these plans (that didn’t involve him) with him, he got upset. He was catching on. He asked why I had been MIA lately. I was concerned about leading him on and him thinking everything was okay, when, in reality, he was confused. That part of the relationship where you don’t know if everything is okay and you feel hurt and confused, that’s what I was putting him through.

At that moment, I knew I HAD to do it. I didn’t care about breaking his heart anymore, because what I was doing by procrastinating was even worse. So I called him and did what I had to do. Over the phone, it’s not too bad. It’s when I saw him in person a couple of hours later that was difficult. Looking into watery, heartbroken eyes is not an easy task, but one that you may have to endure during a break up. So we talked for about 45 minutes, which mainly consisted of him asking “why?”

Why? How do you tell someone you don’t love them? It’s tough. It’s extremely tough. Honesty can be extremely painful, but it’s a huge weight off of your shoulder, and a soon-to-be open door to happiness…with someone else.

So after a couple hours of dealing with the questions and anger from him, I finally felt free. I was happy. And honestly, that’s what matters most.

Never let guilt prevent you from ending a pointless relationship. The only way a relationship will be successful is if YOU are happy. If you’re not, realize that it needs to end, and that prolonging the break-up process because you feel sorry for the other person actually makes you pretty thoughtless.