It is very difficult for a lot of people to reconcile what they have done to maintain relationships on the other side of those relationships. Meaning that people often look back on their failed relationships and build up a certain amount of resentment for what they may have been living through to make those relationships work. What started out as compromise when you are in the midst of a love fest turns into a “I can’t believe that I put up with that shit” sort of attitude when you are wallowing in your own misery. For some of us this is a general sort of progression that we go through that helps people to justify moving on. For others, the idea that you may have been putting up with too much is a fair assessment and something that they should be aware of moving forward. But for others the knee jerk reactions and feelings of regret are steered by something else. Something more heartfelt. Something more deeply rooted in a feeling that both men and women know all to well. Disappointment.
I have seen a lot of people put up with way too much in relationships. Putting up with things for a man is often justified in our minds as compromise. And in reality that is the way that I think it should be. No guy goes into a relationship fully thinking that he is going to get along with a woman perfectly like he does with his boys and not have to endure some of the unique particulars that make women “special”. The sorts of things that make our skin crawl but are certainly important to women. So we learn to compromise. But most people get caught up pulling the compromise card too often. Compromise can be a good thing. But it can also be considered an unhealthy euphemism when we use that word to cover up the things that are detrimental to our spirit. Things that we are putting up with that are hurting us or not helping to create a balance in our lives or presenting us with a some measure of growth. Compromising is learning to accept that you as an individual are not in charge all the time. That not doing exactly what you want to do in every aspect of your life is not going to be a bad thing. Compromise is understanding that I need to be mindful of how this decision is going to affect someone else. On the other hand Putting Up with Shit is when you have a person who says less than respectful things to you. People who normalize behavior that makes you feel badly. Dealing with someone who does not respect the things that you value and make it a point to tell you each and everything that you do that they are disgusted with. There is a difference between a man telling a woman that he is not really into the ballet, and telling her that it is a stupid art form that only corny and stupid people enjoy. One statement professes a sense of honesty that can be communicated with respect while the other is a just and asshole talking who cannot see beyond his personal druthers. For many of us we just have a hard time discerning between the two.
Love always seems to creep in before the onslaught of stuff that we can, on the back-end of relationships, call Red Flags. We are always so caught up into the emotions of things well before we realize that someone has bad habits. And I don’t mean habits like not making a bed or not calling before you come over. I mean habits like unreliability. Emotional withdrawal or abusive behavior. Professional irresponsibility or even the dreaded trust issues. And when they hit…..we freeze up. We don’t pull the same “kick-rocks” trigger that we would have pulled a month ago. And this is the point where we go from calling our differences a part of Compromise instead of Shit I am Putting Up with. We have that moment where we start to say things like, It’s not that big of a deal. I can change him/her. I am not perfect. Pretty common stuff. But when you start saying this sort of stuff it can start a snowball effect that can either lead you to green pastures or a desolate wasteland of hurt feelings and regrets. But who exactly knows which path to go down when you see that fork in the road?
For me, I think that I always go through that period after break-ups where I go through the mental gymnastics of what I was doing. What I was enduring and moments when I should have been doing this and what I should have said or done when she said this or did this and the whole I should tell her about this and I know she lied to me about this or I remember when she kept this from me and so forth and so on………… But for me I always have that STFU moment when my conscience tells me to be honest about that stuff not being what is really bothering me. I have learned that for myself, that dealing with certain things in failed relationships for me is not about reflecting on all of the things that I Put Up With. It is about dealing with the emotion that I mentioned earlier that we all know to well. It is the Disappointment. The disappointment that takes us through all of these replays of bad moments. The disappointment in knowing that you gave of yourself in ways that you do not want to do again. The disappointment in knowing that for all of your best efforts that you did not get what you ultimately wanted out of a situation. So resentment on some levels is a very natural thing. But for me, the things that I put up with are not Put Up With sort of issues at all. For me they are compromise. And I am better for it. I aspire to be a man who finds it in himself to compromise on stances and positions that can work on that sliding scale of Making her Happy/maintain what is most important to me. Give and take. I am happy to give in some areas as a way to build up my equity for things that I am more inflexible on. And anything that I have endured with a woman that I have dated has never been something that my arm was twisted to get me to do. It was part of that balance game that all mature people must play. Every single person hears the phrase all the time…… No one is perfect. And that is true. You/Me included. And as long as you can discern between a relationship that forces you to compromise and maintain your dignity, and a relationship where you are putting up with shit that is borderline killing your spirit, then you will be alright. But just know that when it ends, that disappointment is going to be there. And know that instead of making it about all that you endured or sacrificed or put up with, know that it is more about the disappointment of not getting your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Whatever that pot of gold is for you……..