Love can mend your life but love can break your heart

I’m sending out an S.O.S. to the world.
–The Police
I can’t quite go into the detail that I would like to go into. I don’t feel like I’m being true to myself because I’ve always been completely open on this site, writing without regard to much of anything other than what I feel like writing.

Well, for the past 7 months that’s been different, since I’ve had a close personal relationship with a girl. I don’t want to air our dirty laundry in public. She’s never expressed any interest in my writing, but I know some people close to her sometimes read here. I’ve mentioned her a few times, I don’t think ever by name, and never with much explicit detail.

On Monday, she was ready to break up with me. On Tuesday, I had my mind made up that I was going to break up with her. Then at the 11th hour, after praying about it, I had an epiphany that made me change my mind and want to give things one last chance.

For most of Tuesday night, I was happy that there was a glimmer of hope for us. But during our two-hour conversation, she admitted to something I’ve long suspected. She implied–I don’t think she said it outright–that it was a one-time event. Right now I’m thinking more about that than about the good things, so the pendulum has swung to the other side. It does that a lot lately.

But I love that girl. I love her more than anything else in this world, and I don’t give a rat’s red behind what anyone else thinks about that. I do care who knows it. I want everyone to know it. And it hurts when I think that those feelings might not be mutual anymore. Well, I know from that thing that she admitted to that those feelings aren’t mutual all the time.

There was a time when she told me she’d never met another guy like me. A little over a month ago, she gave me a card that said she wondered what she’d ever done to deserve someone as wonderful as me.

I’ve made myself out to be a martyr here. That’s wrong. I’ve screwed up too. But I will say this and I’ll take it to my grave: Everything I did was out of motivation to fix what I already knew was broken, and out of desperation of knowing nothing else would work. But, like some War of the Roses general whose name I can’t recall once said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I wept bitterly when I got home from work Tuesday night. I’ve cried a lot the past three days or so. I can go a couple of years without shedding a tear. But one of my mentors once told me my biggest problem is that I’m not willing to grieve. So when I need to grieve, grieve. So I have been. Not every time I cried was about her. I miss my dad. I’d love to hear his thoughts on a lot of the stuff that’s going on right now. I wouldn’t let him make any decisions for me, but there are times when Dad’s advice is what you want more than anything else in the world. I have to live without. He died in 1994, aged 51. I was 19. We only talked about women five or six times, so I don’t even have the benefit of playing through old tapes in my head to try to mine for his wisdom and experience in this case. And that hurts.

She doesn’t like it when I cry. Men look pathetic when they cry, she says. I think she’s full of crap. Norman Schwarzkopf cried on national TV when Barbara Walters interviewed him. She told him real men don’t cry. He said yes they do. I think Gen. Schwarzkopf qualifies as a real man.

I’m not going to bottle things up inside so they can eat me up just because she’s decided that real men cry twice in their lives and I’ve more than used up my quota over the course of a week. Like I said, I can go years without crying. If she doesn’t like it that I have strong feelings and emotions about her, well, that’s her problem. There are plenty of girls who would love to have a guy cry about them just once in their lives.

Actually, I hear there are plenty of girls who would love to have a guy who prefers church to bars, who treat them like royalty, who set out to make their dreams come true when they’re willing to share them, who misses them when away, and who more often than not picks up the phone on the second ring when they call and is almost always excited to talk to them, even though it doesn’t quite always show.

I’ve always had a hard time finding those girls, but supposedly there are 169 singles in my church. One of those is me. Experience tells me the majority of the rest are women. I felt guilty on Sunday when I started looking. There was one in the row right behind me, about five or six seats to my left. And there was one sitting front row center. All I did was look. I shouldn’t feel guilty. But I do.

I don’t want just any girl. Even if I met her in the perfect place, which, as far as I’m concerned, is church. I’ve been praying for a faithful Christian wife off and on since I got interested in girls. So I guess that would mean since about 1987. The girl I really want is the one I’ve already got.

An hour ago I woke up, glad that I’d put her picture away sometime on Tuesday, because I didn’t want to look at her. Not even a likeness of her.

But now that I’ve thought about the things we’ve been through, and how much I’ve invested in her, not just emotionally but monetarily, I know I don’t want to give up on her just yet.

But if she gives up on me, that girl who was sitting front-row center will be there next Sunday. She’s there more Sundays out of the year than our pastor is. I actually got up the nerve to talk to her a couple of times. The last time was a year ago. I think most guys are intimidated by her. She is, after all, everything you’re supposed to look for and then some.

But I can make a case that so is the girl I’ve been seeing.

We’ll see how I’m feeling at a reasonable hour.

17 thoughts on “Love can mend your life but love can break your heart

  • May 21, 2003 at 8:30 am
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    Hi Dave,

    Believe me, I do understand your pain, having gone through it in my single life before I met my wife. I did not meet her until I was 32, I had given up…

    I recommend that you consider outlining your dilemma (as you have done on your web site), to the very insightful woman behind http://www.AliceAnswers.com.

    She can give you excellent advice. Not that I am biased or anything (she is my wife)! 🙂

    Wishing you the best.

    Sincerely,

    Bruce

  • May 21, 2003 at 11:10 am
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    I was going to say something long and rambling in agreement, but you’ve said all that needs saying. I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there, and for what it’s worth I think you’re feeling, doing and thinking all the right things.

    It’s a tough situation. Good luck.

  • May 21, 2003 at 11:33 am
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    Do nothing final yet! Just let things simmer for a while, until your emotions are no longer in danger of boiling over.

    If it isn’t going to work now, just say “Thank you, Lord, for showing me how good it could be with the right woman; and thank you for showing me in time that she isn’t the one”.

    If it CAN work, realise that you’ve been shown that it will take a lot of work on both sides to establish and maintain the relationship, and the trust on which it must be based. If she won’t put in that work, then you ARE better off moving along now that you’ve learnt the lessons this situation has to teach you.

    It’s a trite saying, but as you implied there’s lots more fish in the ocean. YOU are the bait to attract the best of them, but it may take a while. Is that one really the best for you? Only you and God can judge, and you’re not in the best shape to do it now.

    Problem is, at the moment, you are likely to be in the situation of a problem gambler. You’ve had some wins, but now you’ve got so much invested that you feel it’s a good idea to throw good money after bad, chasing your losses. Without further assurance, it’s not.

    And believe me, marrying a wrong woman is NOT a good idea, whatever the reasons are. BELIEVE IT!

  • May 21, 2003 at 11:35 am
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    Short of losing your own child, the pain you are going through is likely the worst there is in terms of relationships. I have been there myself, as has most of your readers, at one time or another. There will always be a gap in your life, and you will always be sad about the events that have happened. There is no getting over your feelings, but the pain will fade over time. but the time it takes is as variable as the people who experience this kind of break-up pain. The trick is to get through the pain without hurting yourself. From what I have read of your writings you seem to be a sensitive and intelligent soul, and unlikely to do something foolish. But it really does help to talk about this–to a therapist, clergy, or some friend you can trust. Remember that as hackneyed as this phrase is “there are other fish in the sea”. You will get through this–after some time has passed it won’t hurt as badly, and you will be able to go on. It’s just that it isn’t right now, which is what I wanted.
    For what it’s worth you have many friends (or readers) who are pulling for you to be happy again, and this is one reader who knows from experience that you will be happy again, and you will find someone who can never replace who you have lost, but will help you forget.
    Thank you for your web site from someone who wishes he had just a fraction of your computer skills.

  • May 21, 2003 at 1:34 pm
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    Hey Dave, my best advice is to realize where you may be in the relationship. Besides socializing, dating is ideally for seeking out a mate. Eventually as a couple, you’ll come to a crossroads. If different directions are decided, many times one may hope it’s just a detour when your paths aren’t going in the direction you wish. Perhaps a true detour has occurred, but hopefully past this block there is a way to merge your paths.

    From my experience, if it doesn’t happen soon for you both, then it’s a great indicator. You are finding out that nearly everyone has experienced this. When it’s the right person, these things don’t really happen. If they do so too often and you continue on, then you are both likely to have a miserable life. Maybe your paths will cross again. That’s something I’ve heard many say, but haven’t seen too often.

    Looking back at some of my old relationships, I am happy that they didn’t develop into marriage. If it was meant to be things would have fallen into place. I realized that in my relationship with my wife. I’d rather be happy than miserable.

    Perhaps this is just a short detour. If not, at least you won’t feel miserable forever. Remember there are 6 billion people out there on planet Earth–3 billion are women!

  • May 21, 2003 at 2:00 pm
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    I cried in front of a woman once, but only because I put my fist through a wall. It was my ex-wife and she was leaving me for some A-hole. I still feel some pain when I type, but not for her. Time does heal all wounds. Real men do cry, but they also move on. I agree with Don A. staying with a person who doesn’t want you is a very BAD idea (I learned that mistake).

  • May 21, 2003 at 5:03 pm
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    your not listening to yourself-the signs are clear,shes is unreliable, dump her and find one who is.

    remember the Seinfeld scene,George cries,she “caves” usually the Hysteric women use tears as a weapon of control

  • May 21, 2003 at 9:14 pm
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    Dave –
    I said what you wrote at least a half-dozen times while in college. Been there, done that.

    One piece of advice, if I might, from someone who hasn’t had to “date” date in fifteen years – stop looking for a “faithful Christian wife”. Look for a friend who is Christian. Eventually, given the law of averages, you’ll probably have at least half of them who are female, and a few might even be single.

    The right girl is out there, and she’s looking just as hard as you are. That’s the problem. You’re both looking for spouses, not friends. And if you go that route, you’ll get a spouse.

    If, however, you’re lucky, you just might find a soulmate – a best friend who just happens to be the person you wake up next to every morning.

    I pray that you do… — jd.

  • May 21, 2003 at 9:27 pm
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    It’s never ever an investment but it should usually be a choice – if it’s not for fun and for free likely don’t do it [just to forestall yes buts Birkenhead Drills are in a category usually reflecting past choices]

    A useful question is “Am I willing to be the kind of person this relationship requires?” a useless question is “how can I change somebody else?”

  • May 22, 2003 at 12:27 pm
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    Well, Dave, I sure hain’t no hexpert. Although, come to think of it, I did enough things so wrong that I might come close to qualifying. Anyway, hit seems to me that this girl is doing things – the same things, whatever they are – for one of two reasons. Now, whatever she’s doing, and whether it is her doing it subconsciously or her conscious will controlling her, she is either:

    1) doing things which WILL drive you away – because either her conscious will or her subconscious wants you out of the picture.

    2) presenting you with situations (yes, multiple – piled higher and deeper – one upon another upon all the foregoing – which you have to surmount if you are going to PROVE to her that you really love her. And more tomorrow. And even more the next day. Forever.

    If 1), then either she can’t stand the thought any longer of having you in her life; or else she really thinks she doesn’t deserve you, and she doesn’t deserve the happiness of having you in her life, and wants to punish herself, or at least ensure she doesn’t get any happiness she supposdly doesn’t deserve, by driving you away. Doesn’t, in fact, know how to deal with happiness, and is terrified of the prospect of having to deal with undeserved, unreserved happiness.

    If 2) (which could be a variation on 1b), then I doubt you would ever be able to provide inconvertible truth that she really deserves you, deserves to be happy, deserves to accept without objection the rewards of true love and true happiness.

    Whatever, under the circumstances I think that if things are going to proceed between her and you then you need to talk things through, and reach firm understandings. You’re not stupid – you must realise that the odds aren’t good. You can’t afford to sacrifice yourself, no matter how much you would like this to work out. Doing so would not only sentence you to a lifetime of misery, but her too – you would both end up hating or despising each other, chained to each other, enslaved by your ultimate hatred of each other.

    I’m still not saying it couldn’t work, because I don’t know the situation. I’m just saying things on the balance of probabilities as I see them. However …..

    And, oh yes – if it isn’t going to work, then realise that it wasn’t anyone’s fault – just the way things were. Don’t wallow in guilt, and allow yourself to spiral down – instead wallow in acceptance, and allow yourself to spiral/spin/whirligig your way onwards and upwards. Whee! Perhaps towards that front pew, but as others said – don’t go looking for a mate – go looking for many friends, One or more than one is likely to be a good match/mate for you, if they are friends first.

    In all honesty, God is unlikely to give you the best possible person for you (small town in far North-Western Australa, publican’s third illegitimate daughter by a Japanese pearl diver). However, it is very likely that he will make a selection of great matches available, all of whom are so good that if you settled with any one of them you’d never think of looking elsewhere. And all of whom would appreciate how fortunate they were to be loved by a selfless, Christian man who was willing to live his life (and here I emphasise HIS LIFE) for them).

  • May 22, 2003 at 6:12 pm
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    Dear Dave,

    Women are like buses:

    – there’s always another one coming along.
    and
    – don’t stand in the way of a run-away bus.

    Love,

    Tim.

  • May 23, 2003 at 2:01 am
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    comment
    Dave,
    Steve M has some good thoughts. Willard Harley is worth a read, especially his “His Needs, Her Needs” book which I have used with couples for about 10 years now in my pastoral ministry. Wish I had BOTH his people smarts and your computer skills. Mind you, I’m pretty happy having the gifts God gave me.

    One of those gifts is a beautiful woman with whom I share a growing love. I married her – had to – no choice really. I can relate to some of your thoughts on your woman.

    You obviously share some deep things with this woman. Harley says that we all need to discover what it is that our partners need from us and give ourselves to them in those ways as well as the other ways that WE want to give ourselves.

    I’m sorry that your lady isn’t interested in your writing. Maybe she doesn’t need to be because she has you in person. Maybe you don’t need her to be interested. Do you?

    This sounds too much like I’m trying to counsel you and I’m not. No two people experience life in the same way but I’ve been somewhere close to where you are at the moment and I’m praying for you. I can remember the guy who eventually was my best man coming over and basically living with me for three days once when I was hurting real bad once.

    Yeah, real men cry. Jesus did. Norman did. You do and I do thank God… didn’t used to be able to… my wife healed me of that.

    Blessings for your journey.
    Love reading your page.

  • May 23, 2003 at 9:12 pm
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    Like the other responders — been there, done that.

    You got a ton of stuff in these responses, will certainly take a while to sift through it all and come to grips with where you really are now, and where you go from here.

    I like the advice about just having several friends, half are likely to be women. Or maybe it’s a group of friends that does things as a group. Above all give things time to shake out — no sudden moves. (from my own misexperience — always got too serious too fast)

    So I’m old enough to be your dad. But I don’t have any real sage advice. My dad is still alive, we may have talked about women five or six times in fifty years. What I get from those conversations is he still doesn’t have the answers either. We just do what we can, but that held me for thirty years (so far) with one wife.

    So I’m into music, jazz/blues and praise/worship. Not country, except for the titles I just can’t pass up “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”

    peace
    karl

  • May 25, 2003 at 6:49 pm
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    You’ve expressed your feelings, and I think the one thing you haven’t covered is the one thing you need to find out:

    “How does she feel about you?”

    If you don’t know, maybe it’s because she doesn’t know.

  • May 27, 2003 at 8:03 am
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    Taran’s comment above seems very appropo. My thoughts and prayers are with you Dave.

  • May 27, 2003 at 1:09 pm
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    Lots of good reading material here. I’ve started reading Dr. Harley’s site, and so far everything he says makes sense and seems worthwhile. It’ll take some time to plow through all of it.

    How does she feel? Excellent question. She said when she tried for two days to forget about me she only ended up thinking about me more than before.

    We’ve seen each other a few times over the course of the past week and things are better, though a little bit different.

    I definitely appreciate all the help everyone has been.

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