Watching You Move On

7 Jan

by Stacie Smack

My (mostly) eternal Bachelorette status means that I’ve had the chance to experience dozens upon dozens of break-ups among my friends. I’ve also seem them begin relationships, and exist during them. The more I observe, the more confused I become. Let me give you an example:

I have this friend, Jenna. She falls in a category on the opposite end of the spectrum as singledom. In the six years that I have known her, she has spent very few days single. Anyways, she was dating this guy Mark in college; he was a year younger, she was a senior, and it was as most college relationships were (at least in small liberal arts schools). They spent most of their time together, basically alternating which dorm room to sleep in each night of the week. She went out less. She started hanging out with his friends more than her friends. The usual.

After graduation, they stayed together. He was still in school and she was here in DC. I always thought he liked her more than she liked him. But then, at some point around the holidays, Mark broke up with her. She had debated quitting her job to move to where he was. And then, he broke up with her. She was truly devastated, and two weeks later she was dating some guy named Daniel (they lasted about six months).

Jenna (who’s now on her third relationship since we moved out here about a year and a half ago) jokes about it all the time. She is proud of the fact that she moves on quickly. And I don’t blame her! I can only imagine what it feels like to end a relationship, and I am sure that I would want to stop feeling those feelings AS QUICKLY as possible.

The thing is, Jenna is FAR from the exception. I’d say most of my friends exhibit this behavioral pattern. And I don’t ask questions because I am a friend and it would be rude, but… where do I start?

1. Why invest so much time and effort for something that can be over so quickly?

I’ve never been in a relationship. In great part, this is by construction. I don’t understand how to “share myself” or whatever with some other person, when at any second either of us could cheat, or move, or just get bored and want out. They must see/feel something that makes it worth it and I would love to know what that is.

2. How do you “give yourself” with such facility?

I mean, honestly, these girls are already referring to guys as their boyfriends just WEEKS into the relationships, which also generally start just days after a breakup. I suppose that I find it interesting that despite experiencing so many hurt feelings and such sadness, they are still willing to throw themselves into commitment over and over again. I mean, Jenna is talking about moving to wherever her current boyfriend ends up next summer.

3. What makes you think he’s different?

This is not sarcastic. This is a legitimate question. Do you even ask yourself that question? I mean you must see something different and better in this new guy you are calling your boyfriend right? I literally have become so diluted that I fail to see that any guy can be a “good guy” anymore. Teach me how to believe that not every man is a walking penis with only one goal in mind. Teach me how to believe that THIS TIME, it will last.

4. Is it just him?

I mean, we (or really you) cycle through guys hoping that the next one will stick around forever. However, I am convinced personally that a lot of my failures are a combination of meeting total dickwads but also because I am still not emotionally ready for a long-term relationship. Do you ever wonder if maybe you should also look at yourself after a relationship is over? I’m not trying to gaslight anyone here. I just am very, very aware that it takes two to tango. And as many flaws as he may have had and as much as he needs some relationship coaching, you probably need to get some self-awareness too.

5. How do you put all that time behind you?

Whether it was a six month relationship, or a three year one. Maybe I should think about it in Economics terms, that time has passed and it’s a sunk cost. But is that really how you think of it? In a few days, you can let go of time so easily. I know that often times, an individual begins the process of ending a relationship before the actual break up, which helps with making everything easier. But even so. I’m amazed at your ability to let go of a year of your life that you had dedicated to one man only, letting other people fall of by the waist side – you no longer talk about things that happened during that year.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

This comes off as a rant more than an attempt to ask legitimate questions. But my intention was for it to be the latter. Most of these questions began when after thirty years of marriage, my dad called it quits. A year later my mom met a man, and they have been dating for the last three and a half years. I have never experienced such devastation; seeing her after he left is something that I would hope no else I love ever experiences. But while I still try to move on and accept the fact that my mom and dad are no longer, she’s been able to fall in love all over again. The woman I saw crying on the bathroom floor and the woman I see now when I go home would not recognize each other.

How did she do it? How did you do it?

Gratuitous BC gif that makes everything better

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One Response to “Watching You Move On”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Watch What Happens. | STOP REQUESTED - February 25, 2014

    […] talked about Jenna before (love you, gurl…). So it should come as no surprise that the first thing she did was tell […]

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