By Herb Goldberg
By Herb Goldberg
I’m really tired of people (guys especially) assuming that attraction equals relationship responsibility. Here’s the story:
I work with this guy who I had a small crush on for a little while over the summer. It turns out that he’s also had a crush on me – though I’m not sure for how long. Well, we went to a work-function where everyone was encouraged to drink and ‘get to know each other better.’ It didn’t go badly, but he really expressed his interest then and I expressed my ‘I don’t have time for a relationship right now’ position. To be honest, he had me considering a date anyway, until he let slip that he still lived with his then current girlfriend.
Now, I’m no saint by any stretch of the imagination, but I do not EVER cheat. That’s the coward’s way of doing things. If you no longer want to be in a relationship with someone, you break it off with them BEFORE finding a new lover. As soon as he told me this, I was like a robot whose on-off switch had just been pushed into the off position – I was done with him.
Given that I’d already expressed my lack of interest in a relationship, however, I didn’t tell him I was no longer interested because I felt we’d already had that conversation. He did not take it to heart, though. This guy continued to email me every day, sometimes anywhere from one to two dozen times a day, and would come and flirt at me while I was working in the office. I just responded coolly, thinking that if he didn’t listen the first time I said it then he wasn’t going to hear me if I repeated myself about not having time for this kind of crap.
Then, he broke up with his girlfriend, and starting that day and every day since until this afternoon he put the responsibility for his own happiness into my hands. I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness! I tried that already with my last long-term relationship, it doesn’t fucking work! You are responsible for your own happiness, and the minute – the very instance – in which you place that responsibility into someone else’s hands you have lost your chances of being happy with that person. It does NOT work. Build a relationship, a life, a home, a family, etc. with that special someone, but do NOT expect them to be responsible for your happiness. It’s a trap, and it will ensnare anyone involved, cutting and tearing at everything that you’ve built together.
He’s very depressed now (says a co-worker of mine, who then added that I should try to reach out to him). Well, not to be cold but I did warn him from the beginning that this wasn’t going to happen between us. He is not my responsibility. I have brothers, parents, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, uncles who come WAY before him. I have friends who have a right to depend on me, who’ve been there for me and who I’ve been there for during years and years and difficult times in our lives. Those people are allowed to depend on me when they’re having a rough time. New friends who need help can reach out to me. Strangers on the internet who need a helping hand can reach out to me. Someone who is trying to make me do or be something I don’t want to, however, that person does not have the right or the privilege to do the same. No. No no no. I will say it again: I am not responsible for your happiness. Just because you’ve decided that we would make a good couple, does not mean that we’re ever going to be a couple.
Now, I wouldn’t be so angry (or ranty) about this, except that he sent me a poem, and I overheard him talking earlier whilst drinking. The poem was all about this ‘anonymous woman,’ and in it he talked about someone being too busy for his love. He implored this woman to slow down, and if she did he would show her how amazing it was to be with him. He went on and on about how life’s too short to chase after things that may never be, but he was a sure thing. And on and on and on like this it went. Excuse me? I’m chasing my dreams. I’m busy living my life, and pursuing goals that were not possible before I moved from New Mexico to California. …and I’m supposed to set those things aside, these fleeting things that I have put so much effort and blood and sweat and hope into, because YOU have some new interest in me? Fuck.off. I am not a possession to gain, and lock away in some room for your viewing/playing pleasure. I am a human being with dreams and goals and a life of my own.
The drunk conversation, of course, was all about how I’d led him on, turned him down, started ignoring him, and how he shouldn’t share his ‘real self’ with anyone ever again. Now, I was straight with him from the get-go… didn’t even let him know I was interested at one point because it could not happen. Fair enough on the second two points, I guess, because I kind of did… in a way. The third point, however, is why you don’t place the responsibility for your own happiness into someone else’s hands. Be down and in the dumps if you like, but blaming me for it…? No, that’s your own damn fault. You should never have assumed anything based on a ‘smile’ or a ‘hello’ or even a shared interest or two.
Anyway, I had to get that out before it ate me up inside, or I outright told him off for it. I’m not responsible for anyone’s happiness except my own, no, but I don’t need to tear someone up when they’re already down. So I rant here, instead. Thanks for reading my October Rant, and have a lovely evening/weekend! ^-^