Saturday, May 30, 2009

To Stay or Not to Stay

What do you think?
On the topic of dating relationships:

One friend said that she stayed with her boyfriend even though she knew he was not right for her. They argued and she did not feel the energy was right but she decided to stay anyway-- until something better.

A guy I dated awhile back admitted to the same thing. He stayed with a woman that he had no intention of building a future with. She was unaware of this and was hopeful that they would one day get married. He was a bit of a loner so he knew it would be awhile before he would meet someone else so he decided to stay-- enjoying the benefits of companionship. The attitude that, "Something is better than nothing" was prevalent there.

A college buddy of mine, when I complimented him on his girlfriend's cuteness said, "She's OK'" either downplaying his affection for her or truly expressing the opposite of attraction- neither being complimentary.

I suppose there are many reasons we stay when we shouldn't. Sometimes we stay for commitment sake (which may be a good thing), or we stay because we are weak- afraid to be alone, want to be held or need a friend. Other times, we stay because we are lazy or get distracted by every day life. Sometimes we stay because we are hoping for something -- even though the other party is clear that they are not really with you. And sometimes, it may be as simple as recognizing that change is a hard thing to cope with at times--so we stay to keep status quo.

I guess my take on things is that if there is no real hope for a future, lack of commitment and/or an unwillingness to work on things, there is no need to tarry there.

I would not want to have someone settle for me. I wonder what the counterparts in my examples above would do if they knew their mates were just biding time with them?

I am a romantic and have hopes that my mate would be there because he chooses to be. I sincerely believe that if you are in a relationship you should either be in it for the long haul and actively choose your partner or get out. I suppose it is different if both parties are aware that they are settling for the time and decide together that they will pass time with one another. But, it seems that it is more likely that one party would express a desire to look around while keeping the security blanket while the other secretly hoped the other would come to their senses. Limbo is no fun- at least in that scenerio.

The other reality is that by staying this type of pseudo relationship it often blocks energy toward building another relationship. And if it doesn't, you may have to carry the eventual baggage that you betrayed someone while carrying a torch for another. Believe me, that is some heavy baggage.

Relationships are messy. There are times when I have been in a relationship where I had doubts of a future. And, it takes time to figure things out-still different though that I was willing to find out if the relationship was worth striving for. But, I would have to say that if you are not willing to fight for the relationship or invest in a solution to the problems blocking possibility, it probably means it is time to let go.

People who know me, know that I believe in working on relationships and giving things a real try. The main thing is being honest with yourself and the other person about where you stand, so they can make a decision for themselves. If you choose to stay on knowing that the person is not able to be faithful, it is probably on you.

Life is too short to settle, too short to live in agony, too short to feel less than or to compromise values.

Things don't always happen in the time frame we hope for and wisdom is not always present as we face these situations. But, I believe that when you have a knowing in your heart then a responsibility comes with that knowing. It takes bravery and resolve to take the right steps, but ultimately, I think you will be better for it.

On another note, here is one of the most disturbingly funny videos I have seen that pertains (albeit peripherally) to the subject at hand.

Letting Go:


Mars Girl said...

How about being hopelessly in limbo because you know you really like the guy--you have all the same interests as far as activites go--but you cant stand his political/religious beliefs. As long as you dont think about them or bring them up, you're okay... And maybe you're the one causing all the problems because he could be happy with you the way you are, you just cant accept him the way you are? But maybe you're stuck because you have the memory of a great relationship where the both of you agreed on politics and religion, so this is your standard of what a good relationship should be, and you cant let that go? But in all other respects, the guy is great--he would take care of you, he is loving and willing to be there for you through rough times, you like to do the same things. He waits for you halfway down a slope while skiing, like your former relationship did; you stay together while cycling, never outdoing the other person and dropping them because you're doing it to do it together, NOT because you just want someone to ride with. Ugh. Or you feel you love him in those moments that you forget he is against the very things that you hold dear?

Nothing is cut and dry as far as romance goes. I hate it. Some days, I'd just like to run away and start over and not get involved with any man. Or just surround myself in like-thinking individuals so that I dont have to get myself into these hopeless situations.

I'm a romantic like you. My first marriage swept me off my feet in the most romantic of manners. It's only natural that any other relationship would pale in comparison. I hate my late husband for spoiling me in this way. I wish I had had a dull relationship like everyone else so that anything respectful would sweep me off my feet. My standards are higher now and it's torture.

Erin said...

Ah MarsGirl,
You have been in my thoughts the past few days. I feel for you and your situation.

I do have some thoughts about politics and religion though. I think your putting energy in what feels right is a good thing- not focusing on the differences.

And, realizing that 1. You are never going to have total alignment in values with your lover and 2. Each relationship will have it's pros and cons.

The question is: are these deal breakers? If he is willing to respect you on your spiritual and political journey can you put your differences aside?

My dad is a die hard republican almost to a fault and my step mom is a democrat. They have heated discussions and even make fun of differences, shake heads at one another and may even have some eye rolling --but in the end, they love one another and find their diversity interesting. Ultimately, they agree to disagree.

I am not sure if any of this is making sense, but I sense that you really like this guy, he likes you and you hold some things dear together as well as apart. It seems like it could be worse.

But, I also hear discontentment in your voice and I respect your feelings there. Sometimes, even though we love somebody, they are not right for us and we need to say good bye to reach for true contentment. I know that is what I am holding out for-- fortunately, I have discerned that my last relationship had a deal breaker and I am working to move forward knowing that.

Why do relationships have to be so hard?

Mars Girl said...

Thanks, Erin... You've restated the questions I ask myself over and over, but you said them in a beautiful simple way that makes even more sense, somehow giving me a little more clarity (though not an answer, but you can't give me that answer).

I agree. Why are relationships so hard? I guess that's what makes them worth it in the end. The only things in life worth having are the things we struggle, suffer, or work hard for... But there's a beautiful spirituality in that. Even though it's frustrating. God hands nothing out freely.

Anonymous said...

"just settling" may ultimately be what we all do... as people continue to grow and change, if they were "the one" at the beginning, do they continue to be? If they were not, can they grow to be?


Mars Girl said...

Wow, Anon. That's a pessimistic outlook. I'm sure that if my husband had lived, I would never have considered a moment of our marriage as just settling. It's now that I think I'm settling because I've not yet encuontered a relationship in which I've connected to another human being in the same way as I did my late husband. I keep fumbling around trying to find that same sort of connection and in the meantime, I might leave other good matches in the dust. Or maybe I should hold out to find another connection like the one I had with my husband. But sometimes I wonder if that just rarely happens and I was lucky.

And, Erin, I was thinking... I think the right relationship isnt so hard. I mean, I'm not saying that a relationship isnt hard to maintain. But as I look back at the relationship with my husband, everything kind of just happened and slipped into place so easily. We werent tortured by thoughts about if it would work or wouldnt... we didnt do anything or think anything, we just KNEW. I dont know. Yeah, the relationship part was hard (I wont pretend we never fought or got angry with each other). But. Decision to stay or leave was never an option at any point. It wasnt hard. We met, we fell in love, and the next minute we were picking out engagement rings. I've dated men for a lot longer (my current relationship for example) and never would have shopped for rings so soon. What does that? When Mike asked me to marry him, there was no question at all. Anyone else I've been with, it would have been a double take.

So I think it's easy when it's right. But figuring out if it's right is sometimes the hard part.

Anonymous said...

hey Mars Girl,

sorry if I sounded pessimistic---I guess I just don't know if I will ever know if it is "right" or maybe it was in the past and I missed it
I still believe in "never say never" but...

Mars Girl said...

Love is out there. All I know is that when I first met my husband, worlds collided. It's hard for any man after that to ever meet up. I keep expecting that world-shattering love again. I dont know how many of those a person gets--some people get none--but I keep hoping.

Erin said...

I like to believe that there is a soul mate out there. I do also believe that relationships require compromises and often that means dealing with the fact that no one is perfect and no relationship is happy at all times, ultimately settling in some areas.

However, I have been getting clearer on what I am looking for in a relationship and I am resolved with the idea that in some very important areas, I will not accept less than. I don't think settling for someone in that way, compromising one's values, is very empowering for either person.

So I maintain high hopes/expectations and optimism.

Mars Girl said...

You keep believing that, Erin. I know I had a soul mate. I dont know if I have any more, but I definitely had one once. He wasnt religious and even he described our relationship that way... And we didnt need Dr Neil Warren and his 25 dimensions of capatability to find each other either!

Erin said...

I have decided, after all things considered, you don't stay-- you move on and hope for better.