All’s Fair?

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Allow me to pontificate about a few of the paradoxes inherent in relationships. Imagine, if you will, a discussion between a man and his significant other. This is a heated discussion, an argument even. During this exchange, the man utters the words “Fine, leave then. I don’t care.” We can assume this is a false statement, simply because of the fact that, someone who truly doesn’t care about a person wouldn’t waste their time arguing with them. But, the core of what I’m getting at is that, in the eyes of the audience, this guy is a jerk. To use a slightly more archaic term, he’s a complete and utter cad, right? A meanie. How can he say such things? How can he not care about her? The argument slices even deeper, and so he floats another. “I’ll be fine without you.” This statement is a cutting one. This would truly hurt a person. How could he be fine without her? Could his life go on without her? Could she actually be replaced? Impossible to consider, I’m sure. In her eyes, he has just said a terribly cruel thing, he will be fine without her.

Now, fast-forward a few years (or even months) and they have broken up. She is through with him. He sits on the phone with her and pleads with her and cajoles her. He says that he can’t live without her! She listens to this pathetic display of weakness and responds by saying “You’ll be fine, stop being so obsessive. You’ll meet somebody else. You’ll be fine.” Now . . . This doesn’t make any sense! I mean, I know that he’ll be fine, but how can the two conflicting positions be reconciled? It would seem that to be involved in a committed romantic relationship implies that you would not be “fine” without that person. If that person was easily replaceable, if you wouldn’t be lost without them, then the connection wouldn’t be that big of a deal in the first place, now would it? Yet, if a person acts as though they are not “fine” when they are abandoned, then they are obsessive, or weak, or clingy, or at worst, a stalker. The ex becomes an enemy, harassed and annoyed by this loser (whom earlier they would have roasted alive for claiming they would be “fine” without them), and even the loser’s friends and relations tell them to “move on”, to “get over it”, and that to be anything less than “fine” is unhealthy. It seems to me that this is nothing more than cheap opportunism at it’s worst. This fickle display is simply playing both sides of the emotional coin and taking whichever side suits you at the moment. In fact, it’s the complete and total opposite of commitment, loyalty, honesty, and responsibility.

This sort of thing is apparent in relations that are not romantic as well, platonic relationships between so-called friends. For instance, one could be a popular fellow, all the rage with his “bros” or his “buds”. The coolest bro or bud around perhaps, yet if one were to remove oneself from the hectic schedule of socializing for whatever reason, you would be amazed how easily one could be forgotten. Not that your comrades wouldn’t actually remember who you were, but rather you would see that if you didn’t make a serious effort to remain in their circle, you would not be missed. Most people would like to think that this is not a fact but, alas, it most assuredly and sadly is. Of course, there would be a small protest, remarks such as “You don’t hang out anymore. . .”, or “Dude . . . WTF?”, but then, there would be nothing. Silence. This isn’t to say that you don’t remain the cool dude that you fancied yourself to be, it’s just that these people have things to do, right? What, you expect them to screw something up in their life just to appease you? To make you happy? Why would you think that? They have lives of their own, relationships of their own, jobs and responsibilities! What would make you think that they should jeopardize any of those important concerns for you? And if you were to mention something to that effect, you would be looked at with horror. What an immense ego you have, you think that people should come chasing after YOU? But . . . think about it. If I were to meet someone on the street and he were to ask me to sacrifice something from my life for his sake, I would be surprised. I might do it, but I would be surprised that this person “expected” it. After all, he would be a complete stranger. He shouldn’t expect me to risk my job, or my living situation or my relationship for him, should he? If he attempted to run his life that way, he would probably be sorely disappointed; as we all know, the world can be a very harsh place. But alas, therein lies the difference between a stranger and a friend, the difference between hope and trust, the difference between lust and love, and the difference between charity and intimacy. An overly righteous or moral person could claim that we should help all people equally, strangers as well as close friends. But, try to make that claim with a lover! Tell her (or him) that you’re going to share an important secret that you have between you with a beautiful stranger because “all relationships are equal”. Good luck! You have more courage than I, my friend!

The very idea of closeness implies that you would do something for (or with) someone that you’re close to that you wouldn’t do for (or with) anyone else. A true relationship carries with it the payload of “specialness”. Because of this implicit “specialness”, would you be wrong to expect your friends to sacrifice for you? Should they give something up for your happiness? Should they be willing to lose something, even something as tough to lose as pride, to connect to you? In reality, any behavior other than that is essentially that of a stranger. They just happen to be strangers that you know. They could be someone you had great times with, got drunk with, or went on that trip with. They might have hooked you up, man! But, if they wouldn’t lose for you or hurt for you, then all they could ever be are fair-weather friends. Acquaintances. Drinkin’ buddies. Garbage. The whole point of the damn thing is to be connected to people who would never be “fine” if you weren’t there.

It’s sad to think that your friends are not missing you.

Posted by Jon   @   31 March 2010 0 comments
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