Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Where Do You Draw The Line?

In Lindy Chaffin Start's blog post Monday, she detailed conversations that decisively ended relationships. I was impressed. Me? I seem more like our reader Denise, who commented:

Oh, you are so not alone. I always see the good and write the bad off to just a bad moment. I will forgive just about anything.

Here are some examples from the past.

Me: "I am thinking about going to University of Colorado and getting my Ph.D."
Serious Boyfriend: "Go for it. But I can't promise I will be waiting around for you when you are finished."
Stunned silence. Eventually, I give up my dream of getting a Ph.D. and marry the guy.

Me: "So what's this big secret you want to tell me?"
Friend: "I am having an affair with John Doe."
Stunned silence. John Doe is married and all of our mutual friends know it. I don't approve, but I keep her secret, lying for her when friends ask about their relationship. 

Me: "What just happened?"
New Boyfriend: "You're just not as slim and slender as I originally thought."
Stunned silence. I am 5' 2"; at the time, I weighed 105 pounds. My confidence is shattered, but we talk it through and I end up in a four-year relationship with the guy.

Denise went on to say:

I do have a line or two and am drawing more. There's just so much a girl can put up with, right?

I like to think my learning curve is also improving. I am learning to speak up for myself. I divorced the husband. I broke ties with the friend. I ended the four-year relationship. And here are some examples from more recent history.

Me (on a third date): "So tell me more about your situation with your ex."
New Boyfriend: "Well, she isn't exactly my ex. We aren't exactly separated. And she doesn't exactly know I am seeing other people."
Great balls of fire! I don't date married men! Please take me home!

Me: "That's a great idea. I would love to spend Valentine's Day in the mountains with you."
Boyfriend of Six Months: "I'm going to have to cancel our weekend reservation. My mom is expecting me at her house for Sunday night dinner."
I hope your mom will also keep you warm at night! Bye-bye!

I don't know why it's taken me a lifetime to figure this all out. But the good news is that am no longer willing to spend five minutes with a man who diminishes me in anyway or puts me at the bottom of his priority list. Nor am I willing to keep dirty secrets for a friend or put up with any kind of abuse from anyone--whether it's directed at me, at a minority group, or anyone else. At this stage of the game, it's about being true to myself and treating others the way I want to be treated.

If that isn't true love, I don't know what is.

Where do YOU draw the line?

Author: Pam Asberry


Lindy said...

Pam, I love the message that you have fallen in love with yourself. Once you do that, the Universe will open up and send you a man who will love you for exactly who you are. Question though, why does it take us women so darn long to fall in love with us? Hmmmmm. I love you too! Lindy

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, Lindy. I'm not holding my breath, LOL! But I'll always have me. You'll always have me, too! :-)

R.R. said...

Sorry, found a major typo on previous comment ... My usual Epistle follows:

In the past my problem was drawing a line, stepping back and drawing another one, and another one, ad infinitum. We sometimes are so commited to making it work work that we try to overlook some things.

My two noteworthy breakups didn't involve lines. One was a high school girlfriend I had when I went off to college. She was mean, there was zero affection, and I spent too much time whining and crying about her to her girlfriends. I met a kind and beautiful girl at school and quit going home for the weekends. The old GF kept threatening to break up if I didn't come home for the weekends. I simply disappeared out of her life!

The other, I was passed up for another guy, and a night with a cheap bottle of wine and the great white confessional straightened me out. It's amazing what a purge of the spirit will do for you - haha!

Your philosophy now is great - yes, that is true love - love of yourself always comes first before you can love others. You possess every quality a sensible man would ever want, and if you ever have a boyfriend who doesn't realize this, and who doesn't treat you like The Queen, you are with the wrong man!!! RR

S.M. Carrière said...

Go you!

I'm so inexperienced in the relationship department (looooong story), that I'm not quite sure where I'd draw the line. I have, in the past, been trodden all over by 'friends' and have been utterly ruined by it.

My friends are like my family, and the abuse hurts like hell. When I finally broke and put my foot down, the 'friendship' ended.

Now, I'm trying very hard to reserve my loyalty and all the perks that come with it for people who actually deserve it.

Slowly but surely, I've built a stable foundation of absolutely amazing people around me. It's made me realise something incredibly important:

There are good people in the world and I do deserve them as friends.

Hopefully that will put me in good stead for when/if that serious relationship actually happens.

Pam Asberry said...

I don't know how your other breakups went, RR, but it sounds like your two most noteworthy were also your healthiest. I will take your words to heart as I explore future relationships. I am ready to be treated like the goddess that I am, LOL! And I give as good as I get. Thanks for your comments!

Pam Asberry said...

I too have been abused by girlfriends, S.M., and the end of a close friendship can be just as painful, if not more so, than the end of a romantic relationship. But it sounds like you are on the right track, sticking up for yourself and building a posse. Boyfriends come and go, but true friends will always be there for you. Ultimately, though, the most important thing is to be true to ourselves. As I well know, it's a process. Let's just hang in there!

Julee J. Adams said...

We've had this discussion before, but you needed to say it and mean it again.

I went through all the @#$% in my 20s and realized I needed to be on my own and happy with myself before I could share a life with anyone else. I met my husband when I was 28 at my birthday party. The next birthday, while we were living together, he gave me a ring.

Having said how incredibly lucky I was 23 years ago, you need to acknowledge that if you hadn't given up your dream of getting your doctorate, you would not have your children. You would not have your house. You would not have your life. Own it.

Everything, fate and faith, has brought us to where we are now, made us who we are. No regrets, maybe some missed opportunities, but that's okay. Celebrate your friends, because they will be there for you through thick and thin. Create opportunities and be open to meeting new people, but if things don't work out, mourn then get on with your fantabulous life.

Now, will Aunt Julee have to explain it all again later? Probably, but she will, because that's how she rolls. And she loves you, the woman you are now.

WritersLiPP said...

I didn't mean to sound like I have regrets about the past, Julee. I really don't! Like you said, if I had made different decisions, I would have a different life, and I truly love the life I am living now. That said, I don't want to be anyone's doormat, ever again - even if it might all turn out okay in the end. Does that make sense? Moving forward, I intend to keep my eyes wide open and respond quickly when the warning flags start to wave. Thank you for being my friend! :-)