Monday, October 29, 2007

It Does Not Matter That He Loves You

To the lady who wrote this letter, and to every other lady out there whose husband/significant other/lover regularly sleeps with other women, makes passes at your sister, declares that he Cannot Be Monogamous, will not address his drinking problem, his anger problem, his money problem, his misanthropy, or his habit of saying creatively and unwontedly cruel things to you in a casual tone of voice:

It does not matter that he loves you. Pretty Lady is certain that he does, in fact, love you, to the best of his limited ability. It does not matter. Do you hear? It does not matter.

Pretty Lady is certain that you love this man. She is certain that you are kind, and patient, and understanding, and forgiving. She is certain that you are doing the best that you can. She is certain that you are committed, and Not Being Selfish, and that you are thinking of the children, and that you were happy once upon a time. She is certain that you would do whatever it takes to help your partner heal.

She asks you to consider this: that when your partner makes a pass at your sister, does not come home, wastes your hard-earned money on a random binge, totals the car, tells you that he's not sure that he's attracted to you, screams at you for stupid reasons, neglects to do a small thing that would cost him nothing and make you happy--he's fine with that.

It does not matter that he loves you. He is fine, I say, with hurting you. Seeing your tears is an eminently endurable exercise for him. It hurts you more than it hurts him. You are committed to his healing; he is committed to your pain. He regards your misery as a necessary, if regrettable, price to pay for living. It does not matter that he loves you.

Possibly he cares that he is hurting you; he does not care enough. He has no motivation to change. It does not matter that he loves you.

Do you understand what I am saying?

There is a place where love is not misery; where you do not have to hold your breath and flinch away from the next words coming. Where you do not have to wonder--where is he? What is he doing now? When will he betray me next? How strong do I have to be?

There is a place where you can breathe, where you do not close your eyes against the awful morning, where love is all laughter and trust and silly snuggles. There is a time when the other shoe never drops. There is a world where you can look around you in joy, without watching your back.

There is a place you will be safe.

That place is not with him. It will never be with him. It does not matter that he loves you.


Chris Rywalt said...

Change comes from within, and yet you persist in giving advice.

Pretty Lady said...

The advice welled up from Within.

Chris Rywalt said...

So...change comes from within, but not necessarily the within of the one being changed?

Pretty Lady said...

Chris, tell me, where in this post is there any specific advice? Is it not merely Oracular Truth? Can Oracular Truth be interpreted as advice, anyway?

Chris Rywalt said...

Oh, I wasn't aware of your Delphic capacity.

You do ask her "to consider this." That's the way people who don't give advice give advice.

Pretty Lady said...

If one never asked another person to consider anything, Chris, there would be no point in writing at all. I may point out that your entire blog is a presentation of ideas for consideration.

Chris Rywalt said...

Ah, but I do not say "I ask you to consider this." That's a code phrase for "I am about to explain to you how wrong your views of the world have been. Take notes."

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,
consider this...... whether PL meant it as advice or not.....
"consider this" could be simply interpreted as ....consider this.
Didn't Aristotle or one of those guys present the stuff that way as well?

the street version would be...hey man, look at that cool car! gee, mom, what a nice flower...etc.

And to PL.....please.... consider this as well...... that while I feel your presentation is well grounded, the 50% that was left out would have the female doing her parallel schtick to the suffering tune of the male.
Hey....we are all stuck in this stuff. And if one is free of this is still forever stuck in it because one's peers are and that is still part of one's life.

Happy horrors of life to all of us.

Desert Cat said...

And what, praytell, is wrong with advice?

At least as a cathartic exercise when the world and/or the individuals therein seem hellbent for destruction. And as long as the advice-giver realizes the intended recipient is likely to reject the advice anyway, and is okay with that.

Pretty Lady is a giver of advice. It's as much a part of her persona as grumbly mopeyness is a part of Chris'.

Anonymous said...

consider this: chris has too much time on his hands.

Chris Rywalt said...

Chris certainly has too much time on his hands because Chris' employer has not seen fit to give Chris a whole lot to do. However, Chris' employer's checks don't bounce, and Chris supposes that's the important thing.

BoysMom said...

Yeah, what DC said.

Sometimes, it helps to see there are other options. Though, in my experience, seeing people living other options is much more helpful than just being told about them. You cannot see much of a person's life on a blog; you can only be told about it, but I suspect Pretty Lady has lived this particular advice out. It has that learned-the-hard-way ring about it.

There is, after all, a reason why my husband and I do not scream at each other when we disagree like both our respective sets of parents do, and it is not that he and I are saints. (He may be, though he disputes it, but no one would suggest that I am!) No, it's that we saw other adults handle marital difficulties in a different way, and decided that we prefered that over screaming. (Independently, before meeting.)

How did you get on your own ad list, anyway, Pretty Lady?

Pretty Lady said...

It has that learned-the-hard-way ring about it.

Yes, indeed. And these are precisely the words I would use to point out to my former self, exactly where she was going wrong.

That, and when you have been hitting your head repeatedly against a wall for years, IT FEELS SO GOOD WHEN YOU STOP.

How did you get on your own ad list, anyway, Pretty Lady?

I signed up for a small, scrappy, visionary ad service, instead of a bloated, complacent and totalitarian one. We'll see how long it lasts.

Bob McInnis said...

"Change comes from within" is code for inaction and another great myth of the 90's self-help farce. Cgange comes from options, change comes from courage, change comes from leadership, change comes from other people carin and change comes from advice. Neutrality is always complicit with the aggressor and the status quo. Continue to 'take a stand" Pl it is appreciated.

Chris Rywalt said...

"Change comes from within" just happened to be a direct quote from an e-mail message Pretty Lady had sent me shortly before I saw this post. It's not so much something I believe in as it's something she professes, which is why I was poking at her.

single/certain said...

change comes from within, but sometimes the poke that helps the change comes from without. my roommate is a in semi-abusive relationship. i know that she has to decide to leave him. i don't know when that will happen. but in the meantime, i'm helping her see that her situation is not how life was meant to be. that it's not normal. that she isn't expected by anyone to put up with what she puts up with. and the more we talk, and the more connected she becomes to other women (and guys, too), the more perspective she gets, and the stronger she gets. and i think that one day soon, she just might be able to drop this guy.

Chris Rywalt said...

If change comes from within, it can't be started from the outside. Because that's change from without, not within. If some poke from the outside helps the change, then the change is not from within. By definition.