Give and Take

March 21, 2012

Dear friend,

Hi! First of all, I’d like to thank you for talking to me. I mean, I know we’re friends and I don’t consider it a favor that you talk to me, but it’s just been a while since you last did, and it was… just really nice hearing from you again. Thanks for telling me about how your life has been lately. Thanks for filling me in on what’s going on inside of you. I really do appreciate it. Thanks for still trusting me enough to share your feelings with me, even though we haven’t hung out for quite some time. I still care about you, and I’m just glad that you let me know what’s happening with your life, even though it was all poured out in a hurried walk down Taft Avenue.

Well, now I know that you’re not fine, at least in that one aspect of life which has been the topic of so many of our conversations. They say all is fair in love and war, but we all know that isn’t true. I’m sorry that your partner isn’t holding up her side of the bargain when it comes to the relationship. I could do nothing but agree with you on every single thing you pointed out in our conversation… or rather, your rant.

“When you find the right person, making sacrifices for that person should be easy. It’s easy for me, but I don’t know if she can do the same,” you said. “I want to know if she’s ready to meet me half way. I don’t want us to be a couple that just stays together because we have nothing else to do. No, I want us to grow as a couple, but the problem is that she never seems to listen.”

“If only we had some semblance of an honest and open way of communicating with each other, but the thing is we don’t have any.”

It seems to me that she isn’t ready for a relationship yet. True, she has to compromise. It can’t always be you who’s giving and giving and giving. I’m sure she gives, too, but maybe in a way that isn’t so obvious to you. She says she’s having a hard time as well, but maybe her level of difficulty in this relationship is different from yours. I agree that you have to meet in the middle, and I know that you’re more than willing to make this thing work, but what I’m really hoping for is that she’d have an open mind to discuss everything that needs to be discussed – boundaries, responsibilities and compromise – so that she doesn’t… or so that you guys don’t end up fighting over ever little thing.

I understand that you both have been in a relationship before, but you were in a longer relationship compared to her, so you’re already used to the fact that it takes two to tango and you already  know the ropes. However, she’s not as experienced as you are, and maybe her outlook on this predicament isn’t as mature as yours. I’m sure she wants to make it work, too, because I  do believe she loves you, but it really all boils down to her and her decision to change herself. You need her to make that conscious decision and you need her to work on it. It’s not something you can force down her throat either. It has to come from her.

Now, I know you’re in doubt at whether this thing between you two would last, because I understand, you’re getting exhausted. Anyone in the same situation as you would feel the same, and maybe you feel like giving up, but please…

–insert: Wow, this whole thing feels so familiar. How many times have I said this before? I only remember saying these same words to my so-called best friend when he was together with my ex-best friend. Anyway, I think I’ve said it to countless more friends. Maybe it’s my role in this world to say these things, even if the problem repeats itself time and time again, just to different couples, all instances mutually exclusive to the other.–

… breathe. Remember what it was like before you hit this rut. Remember why you wanted to be with her in the first place. Remember that the beauty of relationships is that you and your partner are two different people, and you try to make it work despite your differences. Keep trying, because sacrificing for the right person should come easy… right?

I’m not saying that you should keep trying forever though. I don’t want to put you in an endless cycle of pain by forcing the issue even if it really won’t work. For now though, just give it a bit of time. Fine, give yourself a deadline? Give her a deadline? Maybe in two months, if things still haven’t changed and she just refuses to budge for you for whatever reason, then maybe the timing wasn’t right, and you guys just weren’t meant to be, at least for now.

You two will figure this out, and maybe in the process you’ll discover if being in a committed relationship is really the right step to take at this point in your lives. Maybe you two need to reassess your priorities and take a step back, just to look at the bigger picture and to see what matters most for both of you. Look at it rationally, please?

I love you both because you’re both my friends, and all I really want is for you two to be happy. If you need to vent, always remember I’m just here and I’ll always listen and offer you help or advice or whatever it is you need. I just want you to be happy. Always, always, always remember that, okay?

Yours truly,

Ellie

 

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