Ignorance is bliss……. So they say. That is the mantra today. It could be something entirely different tomorrow. For me I have gone back and forth with this way of thinking as it relates to knowing something troubling about the person that you are dating. Generally I am on the side of knowing, but for that moment of distress when you find something out you really start to question whether ignorance is the best way to go. For that moment the emotion that follows when you find out that someone has betrayed you, disrespected you or lied to you, all you can do is try to compose yourself through the pain that you would not have felt had you never known. SMH…… This ignorance thing really has its perks.
Pride makes me want to know things. Period. My pride is my defense mechanism that will protect me no matter how much emotion I have invested in a woman. It will save me from destruction and deflation of my self-worth. It kicks me in the ass when the Sucka that exists in every man just wants to do what feels best. So…..How does my pride do this? Well it essentially will not allow me to be made a fool in an extreme way that I cannot get away from. It will not allow me to put my feelings more than a certain amount of distance before my dignity. As an analogy, if I have two selves that are standing on a football field with one representing my feelings and another representing my dignity I am in OK shape as long as the two selves are still able to see each other. If one entity gets too far out of sight of the other, then I have a serious problem. I have no balance. Without dignity, my pure emotions can lead me to do things and make decisions with no filter, rational thought or sense of protection from what could ultimately be bad for me. My dignity is what keeps emotions in check when you want to attack a man who propositions your woman. It is what keeps me from being a consistent doormat for someones bad treatment. It is what allows you to walk away from verbally out-of-pocket people without falling into the very profane/belligerent discourse that some people yearn for. Because in a natural state of just working from our pure emotions we all know that when someone does you wrong, we are usually inclined to just yell about it and maybe cry about it and then jump right back into the “loving” arms of the person who has just mistreated you. And sometimes I cannot say that such an action is not the right thing for people to do. But for me, that rush to reconciliation does not come without a thorough examination of the situation by my dignity.
I have never dated a woman who did not act in some way inappropriate with me. Of course I am pretty certain that a lot of people think that my assessment of appropriate behavior is old-fashioned or over the top. But……it is what it is. I am not so out of touch that I cannot bend on some things. But every woman I have date long-term…… (yes you too!) has done something that I felt a twinge of discomfort with. Going out to dinner with an old boyfriend when they are in town as “just friends”, without telling me that directly. Playing the wing position with a single girlfriend as a double for drinks. Purposely hanging out in the company of men who have made advances towards you in the past and not adamantly cutting that sort of stuff off because it flatters you. Or how about this one…. this one is my favorite. Going out on a date with someone who your mother thinks would be so perfect for you because she wants her daughter to “have options”. I have known about these things because in general no woman I have ever dated is actually as slick as they thought that they were. But in the end……I never brought most of these things up. Because they were things that stung me, but not things that broke me. Didnt’ break my spirit, dignity or my manly pride. I was able to rationalize it as being something that was more about me only considering my own concerns as oppose to thinking about the nature of the person I was dating. I never mentioned that I knew she went out to eat with an old flame. Because I was very comfortable with how she felt about me. And I knew it was not a threat to my relationship. But the sting…..oh boy the sting. It was always tough. It would have been less of a sting if she had been more forthcoming in mentioning it but to not mention it was tough. But….because it’s just how I am wired to maintain my temperament, I didn’t flip out about it. I just read her body language and demeanor when she returned…….And my emotion kicked in and said, let it go. So I did. And to this day I feel like I did the right thing because I never wanted to breed an environment of distrust or suspicion. And most importantly I could feel good about my decision because my emotion and my dignity were not so far stretched that the two selves could not see each other.
Plus I am not without my own mistakes. One of the greatest disappointments that I have ever had for myself in a relationship was allowing some momentary rough patches to allow me to engage in conversations with another woman that were a little bit too open. Just losing my head and saying stuff that was not fair to the woman I was with. But despite having no bad intentions your actions are still hurtful. But you have to ask…..is knowing worth it? Is our desire to be in control of how your life goes worth knowing things that are going to cause you so much harm? Clearly I say yes. But I have had the luxury of not having anything monumental being dropped on my lap. So it begs the question that if a woman who I was with had carried on with another man, would I be ok with not knowing that? Would I be so object to the pain of knowing that I would rather just not know. I don’t know…. I really don’t. Because while I have seen that pain in others I have never felt it for myself. I have only felt the less ego fracturing version. And I am not sure that I can make a fair statement based on that alone.
Is ignorance bliss or is always best to know?