Wednesday, October 15, 2014
RELATIONSHIPS: ARE WE REALLY THIS CONFUSED?
From the looks of things, there seems to be an awful lot of confused women out here. We seek advice from friendsand search the internet for forums that speak to our dilemmas. Everywhere we turn, there is an outlet freely dispensing advice to the baffled and befuddled. And then there are all the relationship experts who promise that if we will just buy a book, they will tell us how men reallythink, teach us how to date like pros, and how to attract the love we want. It appears as if everyone has the answers to our problems but us. Why do we need so much help? And when did we get to be so confused?
Recently, while reading a relationship advice column that is featured in a popular online magazine, I stopped in the middle of perusing the letter of the week and immediatelysent the link to my best friend. For a brief moment, I felt like Jerry Springer. “WHERE DO THEY FIND THESE PEOPLE?” I wrote in the subject line of the e-mail. I just couldn’t understand how a woman past the age of 50 could be so confused about how to proceed in a relationship with a 58-year-old “boyfriend” who still liveswith his mother and refuses to marry her. “Help!” she wrote.
My take on it? She didn’t need to write a letter seeking advice, because she already knew what to do. It seemed that all she really wanted was to vent her frustrations. She talked about his controlling mother and how his sistersconstantly tried to sabotage the relationship; they didn’t have a man, nor had she ever seen them with one, she wrote. Her boyfriend, as she was quick to point out, was agood man, so it couldn’t be about him. And certainly, it had nothing to do with her. No, not her. She was not to blame. She was just a woman in love trying to make it all workwhile fighting against a constant onslaught of negativity. And she was tired. Tired and confused, it seemed.
In relationships, “I’m confused” is often code for “I don’t want to make a decision about this right now”, and in order to avoid making a decision, we sidestep the real issues or seek to ascribe blame to others when the blissfulrelationship we are attempting to cultivate doesn’t quite match the story we have created in our minds. We claimthat perhaps we are making too much of things; being too quick to judge, or not patient enough. We make comparisons and tell ourselves that things could be worse.Or best of all, we feign confusion and act like we don’t know what to do.
Somewhere, somehow, we’ve come to believe that being confused absolves us of taking responsibility for the choices we make and we settle for playing the victim in our very own made for TV dramas; seeking approval and support from others to maintain relationships that we know will ultimately not serve us. But we are grown women. We don’t need anyone’s approval. And if our choice just happens to be a 58-year-old who lives with mommy and refuses to marry us, then so be it. All we need to do is choose, and then take responsibility for all that comesalong with the choices we make. The question is not so much, “What should I do?” as it is, “Is this what I want for myself?” That’s it. And if the answer is “no”, we know that we have some work to do.
Navigating relationships can get a little tricky and sometimes we really do need advice or a good sounding board. But the more we practice taking responsibility forthe choices we make in our relationships, the clearer things will become. We are stronger, wiser, and far more intuitive than we give ourselves credit for. We don’t need to walk around in confusion. We need only to trust in ourselves.