17 Oct

You’ve reached an especially new low when your ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend comes to you for advice on how to get back together with him … just two months after your break-up, just days after he e-mails you begging to be taken back.

Or maybe the new low is pumping her for the information you’re too proud to ask him yourself — how’s he holding up? How’s his mother, how’s work? Who’s he fucking?

Or … maybe … the new low is hoping they get back together – since she’s so obviouslybeneath you, since over pillowtalk you’ve heard about all her gory faults and flaws such that you think they deserve each other; crazy is, after all, as crazy does. Maybe it’s because you think they deserve each other because you know he wasn’t good enough for you; for feeling better over what he has settled for; for being a complete and utter post-break-up passive-aggressive bitch about the whole thing.

Do we have to nit-pick, really, over where exactly we’ve hit a new low? Because if we’re playing that game, we can talk about how you broke up with him 10 days into being apart, 10 days after promising to give it a shot to make it work, even though you knew, leaving for the airport, that it was not going to work out. We can talk about unabashedly befriending … flirting with! … the many boys who would be sure to make him angry. Talk about being too chicken to break up with him to his face … talk about how you baited him into snapping, so that you’d feel just a little bit less guilty about the break-up. Fuck it, I guess — while we’re here, let’s do it. Get it all out there. Back up, at least, to what I meant to talk about initially…

How they deserve each other. Do I really believe that? I don’t know. I don’t know her well enough to make that call. I suppose I don’t even know him well enough, in that context, to make that call, either. Yes, we dated for a year. Does that mean I know him? I certainly don’t know who he used to be; these stories she’s told me, in her quest to get him back, are not about the same man that I dated for a year.

I am not so arrogant to believe that I changed him. I am also under no disillusion that our relationship was on equal footing — that’s an unfortunate fact. As sweet as he was, as much as I honestly cared about him, I did not love him. I could not love him. We had very little in common, and, inevitably, while I helped show the best in him, he in no way did the same. I did not grow in the same ways that he did — I was, therefore, not invested in our relationship as he was. I was not dependent on it. I did not need it. And, from the vast (cultural? .. bookish? .. fantastical?) background I’ve been so lucky to accumulate in my education, I knew better than to be content with static relationships. I am not content with a love I am not challenged by.

Is it fair to take away the love he was so challenged by?

When I was in college, as part of my orientation program, my fearless boss and mentor used to say, Some people we accept onto the orientation staff for the good of the freshman — because they’ll be a bubbly, enthusiastic leader, a great facilitator, and a natural choice for the face of this university. Other people, we choose, to help them grow. We give some OLs the opportunity to arise to the challenge, to grow into themselves. To branch out, to make a friend basis.

Sometimes, in a relationship, you’re the one growing. sometimes you’re the one being leaned on. What obligations do you have to those you care about?  To allow them to keep growing? What obligations, then, to yourself do you have to find someone you can mutually grow with?


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