Today, I remembered a conversation I had with a friend of mine. It was several years ago. He had just broken up with his girlfriend of 2 years and I believe he was still mad. We all know the first stage of post breakup mental state is anger coupled with nastiness. It is a reality.
The young man was in his mid-twenties as was his then ex-girlfriend. They had a tumultuous relationship mainly because they were both young, immature, fiery and slightly stupid. Love will do that to anyone. We talked, he vented, and I listened. I got to know the man a bit better.
Fast forward 2 years later, I meet him again and we get to talking. He tells me his ex is in a new happy and loving relationship and she is a whole new person; she is calm, mature, considerate, patient, basically she had become almost everything she wasn’t while she was with him. I was smiling the whole time and it annoyed him. I couldn’t quite comprehend why he was SO mad and then he said what I believed he was thinking: “Can you imagine this shit? The new boyfriend is getting everything I didn’t get” and I couldn’t help but ask for a little clarification and I said: “What do you mean?”
“He is enjoying the new and improved her. I busted my ass to help get better, but she wouldn’t! And now he is getting the best version of her.”
I had to ask him: “What if she couldn’t be better?”
“What do you mean”, he asked me.
“Have you considered she wasn’t ready to become this whole new person you wanted her to be? Maybe she got to be this new person with time and experience. Maybe she wasn’t ready at that time.”
I surprised myself when I said that and frankly, it made us both shut up and think. We kept talking for another hour. We spent a sizable portion of that time thinking about how he felt. He then said “If I had waited a bit, if I had been more patient, maybe today, I would be the one with her. I would be enjoying the new and improved version of her”. Needless to say his sentence puzzled me and it made me think for a moment.
I admit thinking about that conversation sometimes. Now, before we get into the whole control and patriarchy bullshit, which are easy cop outs when it comes to relationships, let me say the man isn’t controlling at all, nor did he do anything to sabotage the new relationship. He was just sad. He was single and he was still grieving over this relationship that had taken a lot out of him. I heard the young girl had gotten through a rough patch herself. It happens, that is what happens when people break up! This is about relationships that don’t involve mischief, lying, psychological and physical harm. Boy meets girl and they break up. It has been happening since the dawn of time!
I believed then and still believe today that his pain and sorrow were unfortunately taking him into the wrong direction. Relationships sometimes don’t work, no matter what one does. He could have been the best boyfriend (which he wasn’t! I know that! He was just as immature and fiery then, but he has mellowed out considerably since, time and experience have humbled him) and things would have probably ended up the same way. SHE WASN’T READY. I am not stealing this sentence from Kevin Hart, but she just wasn’t ready. It isn’t a diss on her, it is just a fact. By the way, he wasn’t ready either, even if he swears he was. I know he wasn’t and he admit he wasn’t, a year later. A little introspection can go a long way…
I am not going to talk about destiny and fate because I don’t believe in either of them. I don’t believe people are destined to be with each other. I believe people get together by pure luck and then THEY WORK HARD AS FUCK TO STAY TOGETHER. Whoever says being in a relationship is easy, clearly hasn’t been in a relationship! Or maybe they are lucky and they have found a partner who is as easygoing as they are. It is either one of those two things. The rest of the time, it is constant, daily work to get along, to forgive, to make compromises, to respect and love each other, to not fight as often as people do, to take care of the kids if there are any, to help each other, to care for each other, etc. It is a long process and it is hard…
I have been in a few relationships myself and allow me to let you in on a little secret that everybody already knows: RELATIONSHIPS ARE INCREDIBLY HARD. We are talking about two adults with different personalities, values, flaws, qualities, sometimes culture, race and religion who get together and try absurdly hard TO STAY TOGETHER! The concept of a relationship is comical at best, impossible at worst. We all know it is immensely hard to live with someone who has different habits, different ways of thinking, and so on. It is simply hard.
Sometimes, you get with someone and they are not ready for a relationship or they are not ready for a relationship with you! I know, it hurts to hear but sometimes, it’s just the truth. He was mad and it is understandable. I believe there is nothing he could have done to make her the way he wanted her to be. Again, this isn’t about control! We all want our partner to be better ! That is not how relationships work. A person doesn’t change or get better because you want or need them to. They become better or they change BECAUSE IT IS TIME FOR THEM TO CHANGE. It is that simple.
You cannot force change onto someone. She wasn’t ready and they broke up. She changed as she lived and grew. She met another guy and today they are together. Even if he were to be with her today, something tells me their relationship wouldn’t work because she has changed and he has changed but, the crucial part is, THEY DIDN’T CHANGE TOGETHER. By that I mean, they have been living separately, each getting through life without with other, without talking to each other, relying on each other, fighting together to get through life. Something tells me they would probably be a little less incompatible today yet, still incompatible.
Relationships are like that. You cannot force them. Well, you shouldn’t force anything in life, and especially not relationships. This isn’t the middle ages; people get together on their own free will and that same free will gives them the absolute right to leave whenever things aren’t working out. Some would say people today give up on relationships too easily and there is merit to that thought. Nevertheless, that is how relationships work; you don’t force anything. If you are lucky, you will find someone you connect with and hopefully, you will have the fortitude, courage and will to make it work!
One last thing: thinking about what could have been is frankly and sincerely a waste of time. Granted, if you have just broken up, that is all you think about, and it is normal. However, as time goes by, that thought is “supposed” to leave your mind so you can move on.
Look at it this way: it didn’t happen so why think about it? In the end, it only hurts and stops your growth and moving on in life. My friend was mad, and he got over it, so he tells me. I really hope he did. She wasn’t ready and he wasn’t ready, which means, it wasn’t meant to be. Like Black Jack Foley said in the TV series Billions, “whatever is meant to happen, always does”. It didn’t happen so, that’s that.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day.