Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Making Peace With Our Choices

First, I should probably warn you up-front that this will likely be one of my fuzzy brained posts. Not because I don’t know what I mean, but because I can’t grab onto the right words.

The other night I was at a dinner party and listening to friends give another friend dating .  She, the friend getting the , was on the defensive as she was being told (perhaps, rightly so) that she needed to lay down the law. Play to win. And all I could think of is, the guy she’s with probably isn’t going to treat her any better. Ever. She can follow the . Withhold affection. Not be there when he wants her. But he doesn’t sound the type to fall in line. He sounds the lazy type who will move on to the next woman who will put up with his crap.

And (maybe) good riddance. Who am I or anyone but the woman/friend in question to say?

Our friend absolutely deserves better.  She should have someone in her life who treats her well, all of the time.  Always.  But if she’s getting what she wants out of the relationship, and she’s willing to make her peace with his laziness and mixed messages, then that’s her business. And if she wants to vent about it, I’m here to listen. No matter what.

We are all tragically flawed creatures. All of us. We are selfish, insecure, needy, vain, high-strung, myopic, neurotic, shallow and cruel. And I’m just getting started.

We humans really do suck. As a species.

And yet we’re drawn towards each other. Not just for , but for love and companionship, too.  I, btw, think of those as 3 very separate needs (, love and companionship) and believe it’s rare and magical to find a single person who can fulfill all 3.

The fact that people form romantic relationships, for the short term or the long term, I think that’s pretty amazing.  Yes, we are social creatures and this is how we’ve developed as a species.  But maintaining these relationships takes compromise and patience and work.

None of it is easy.

And yet somehow, we’re in this weird place where admitting confusion, sadness or frustration about the very real difficulties of making relationships work is usually met with fairly simplistic advice. From everyone. Girlfriends, gay best friends, dating bloggers, relatives. Everyone has an easy answer to your latest romantic issue. And the answers are always given in the forms of to-dos.  Be aloof.  Play the game.  Dump him.

In my extremely humble opinion (and here is why I am not, usually, among the advice givers) the  real “answer” is rarely simple and doesn’t come with a simple to-do.   Each of us has to decide what we want, really want, each and every day of our lives. We each have to decide what will make us happy. Or as happy as we can be. This is a we have to make for ourselves, over and over.

It’s not one choice, but a collection of choices. Every decision we make, every second we are alive, we are making this choice, repeatedly. Sorry, I know, fuzzy-brained.

And then, whatever choices we’ve made, we have to make peace with them.

So one day, the lazy, mixed-message boy who’s good in bed might be enough for my friend. She might choose to be with him because he meets her needs.  For that day.  And then the next day, or the next year, she might decide something else.  Or not. As far as I see it, her only to-do is to make a choice and make peace with her choice.

I’m not sure if any of that will make sense to anyone but me, but at least I know I tried…

Have I mentioned how little sleep I’ve had recently?  Peace isn’t easy for me.

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16 to “Making Peace With Our Choices”

  1. Christian S. says:

    “Lay down the law” … “Withhold affection” … “Play the game”
    That’s all bullshit in my book.

    Well there’s all sorts of relationships and people and philosophies – and good if it works for you.

    No way it would work for me.
    At the same time I know that there aren’t a lot of girls around really looking for an emancipatory relationship as I’d call the desirable way.

    Still – all you need to do to come to a conclusion is to uphold what is important to you – see the other person for who he/she really is and then decide whether or not it works.

    I know that it can sometimes be really hard especially with a clouded judgement and that there are dozens of reasons why you want it to work or why you are settling for less. It’s still a choice not to be honest to yourself.

    On the other hand: “you deserve it all”!

    When reading that statement I always think … going through your shopping list ticking off the desired qualities … WHAT DO YOU GIVE IN RETURN?

    /felt like ranting 😉

  2. Snowflakes! We are all snowflakes. We may have many similarities but none of us are like another. So goes our emotions. No two people react to a situation the same way. I know I am not saying anything new here – basically just rehashing same crap many others have said.

    But here is the thing. When it comes to relationships – no one really knows every nuance of one another’s relationships. Unless there is blatant abuse – who are we to tell someone else what they should do. Many times friends ask for advice – and we as good friends try to share our thoughts as best we can. Ultimately though, all the advice in the world means little if the person seeking the advice isn’t ready to hear/accept it.

    Talk about fuzzy-brained, huh? Sweetie – welcome to my world. I don’t take pit-stops here . . . I’ve bee grounded here permanently! I like fuzzy . . . bunny tails, slippers, cotton candy . . . I can go on and on!

    Get some rest!

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’d agree, no one can ever really no the true nuances of another person’s situation. People are complicated. relationships are complicated. I don’t think that’s a bad thing – AT ALL.

  3. Deedee says:

    Dating can be so hard, more so when the other person sends those damned mixed signals. But yes, if she can deal with it then she will, until she won’t. It would be so simple if people were genuine and authentic, but that presupposes that people know themselves well and know what they want in life and relationships. And when they don’t they can waste time and cause heartache. Sigh…

  4. You make some excellent points.. every one is very quick to say, leave him, play aloof, play the game etc.. you are absolutely right that it isn’t as easy as it sounds.. its quite complicated and most of us try very hard to make relationships work or to “land” one worth working hard for..

  5. I think it was a beautiful and heart-felt post! I also think making a choice and making peace with it can be two very different things!

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thank you. And yes, 2 very different things. It can sometimes take me years to truly make peace with a decision I’ve made. That’s not a bad thing. It just is.

  6. Kelly says:

    Great post! I totally agree about having a choice when it comes to our behavior, thoughts, happiness, etc. I think there is no one person, situation, etc. who can make us happy…it’s always up to us how we choose to experience life (sorry got off track). But you’re right…there is no one answer for everyone. We all come with our own challenges, make our own choices, and we definitely don’t fit into neat little boxes. Thanks for pointing this out.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thank you. I wasn’t trying to lecture folk, just trying to point out that oversimplifying dating/relationships doesn’t really help anyone out.

  7. Black Iris says:

    I’m feeling a little fuzzy brained myself, but I’m going to try.

    “Laying down the law” and “withholding affection” is terrible advice for a relationship. The only thing it could lead to is a break-up. If you somehow managed to bring a guy into line this way, you’d have a relationship built on a foundation with a great big crack down the middle. Eventually, it would lead to a break-up.

    I don’t know how badly the guy was treating her. It seems to me, though, that either she should assume she has some flaws too and try to work out their problems head on, or she should just break up with him and save some time.

    I don’t think it’s good for a relationship to be evaluated every day in terms of whether or not it makes you happy, either. It’s not that I think people should stay miserable for years. However, I think focusing on is he making me happy is a good way to make yourself dissatisfied. Sometimes you won’t be happy. Sometimes the fault will be yours or at least both of yours.

    I have come to believe that ultimately part of what keeps people together is commitment. It’s a decision that you’re going to stay together even though you aren’t always happy. Again, not that you’re going to sit around being miserable. You have to work our your problems.

    Couples stay together because they decide to stay together not because it makes them happy all the time sounds terrible, but in my experience, it leads to more happiness in the long run.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I appreciate your input. And I’d agree that what keeps people together is commitment – that mutual decision to come together, stay together and make it work. When I mentioned, in that post, that we make choices based on what will make us happy, I was actually referring to commitment. In my (fairly warped and somewhat clueless) mind commitment is a series of decision made every day to stay together and work on the tough stuff. The “what will make me happy” in this context is the relationship that I’ve chosen to commit to.

      Not sure if that makes sense.

      • Black iris says:

        Yes, that makes sense, I think. Too often people seem to think that every day you should make a list of the pros and cons of your relationship and see if it’s still worth it. Commitment is something you have to do everyday, but it’s probably not a good idea to ask yourself every day if you still want to be committed. Commitments don’t always last forever, but at some point I think it’s best to assume it is going to last and generally act like it is. Then if too many awful things happen, you reevaluate it. I hope that makes sense.

  8. I think when it comes to relationships or just human emotions, the times when we are at our “fuzziest” is when the deep crevices of our logics are working. It’s fuzzy only because you can’t see through it all too clearly, but it’s always there. Hope that girl makes the right choice if not today someday and realize that she is worth everything.

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