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Sure, no one would be able to cry at chick flicks or sense when something’s wrong when you come home from work, but who cares? And after each bad relationship, I find myself retrospectively scratching my head, wondering how I could have been so blind.
The day you emulate your laptop will be the final day you look across the dinner table at your boyfriend and ask yourself, “What the hell am I doing with this guy? Ever ask your friends, “Now that we broke up, what did you really think about him? Upon which you learned that everyone unanimously felt he was a jerk since Day 1.
If you were to be an impartial third-party judge of your own life, you might act differently.
But it’s a lot harder to leave your own neglectful boyfriend than it is to tell your girlfriend to dump hers.
It’s simple to put labels on a guy to justify why he should be dumped– he’s neglectful, he’s abusive, he’s selfish, he’s gay, blahblahblah.
What’s far more interesting is when you find yourself wholly invested in someone who defies any of these “bad” descriptions.
You couldn’t have seen his downside when you first got together.
But since he lost his job, you’ve discovered he has a really short temper.
Instead of acting on things like “feelings” and “emotions,” we’d work off facts and empirical evidence, so that we’d never be fooled by the same racket twice.
You’ve learned that picking at the scab of an old argument has never, ever, in the history of your relationships, made anything better.
You’ve learned that nobody interesting is attracted to you when you act helpless. Or you can listen to your own judgment and your own experience, and you can admit that you have, in whatever painful way, probably learned a lot.
One of the things people asked me when they found out I was working on our book was an obvious, but intriguingly weird, question: Why would anybody listen to a single person’s thoughts about relationships? You are asking yourself to enter your next relationship assuming you don’t know anything.
This was a question particularly directed to me by a couple of smug married people I met casually, who wouldn’t read a book like The thesis behind this question is that a single person, by definition, knows nothing about relationships, because if she did, she wouldn’t be single. But think about it this way: if success is defined as the ability to have a long-term relationship that doesn’t end for one reason or another, then every person starts every new relationship batting 0-for-whatever. In my experience, it’s not the things you genuinely don’t know that mess you up; it’s the things you won’t admit you know.
What are friends for, if not to lie to you by lending unconditional support?