I was having lunch with a friend the other day and the chit chat quickly turned to her favorite topic – her boyfriend and all the many things their relationship is lacking. Those of you who have been with me awhile know that I caution against constant bf-bashing. A caution that comes from personal experience I might add. I often wondered in my younger days why my friends hated my boyfriend so much when really all they had to go on was what I told them of how he treated me and I never shared the good things only the bad. Because when you are happy you don’t have a cause to call your girlfriends at all hours to share and dissect every meaning. You just are happy. But when things go wrong… Break out the speed dial.
For this particular friend, however much I would normally discourage this sort of conversation, I really feel for her and the situation she is in. She loves this man, he is for all intents and purposes, a good man. He isn’t mean, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t gawk at other women… He’s what I would call “a nice guy”. But she isn’t happy. He doesn’t support her the way she wishes he would, he isn’t affectionate, rarely says I love you. They are the best of friends and very close but there is something missing.
She has spent countless hours agonizing over this. He’s a good man, she loves him, he treats her well, but… There is always a but isn’t there? I honestly don’t know what the best course of action is for her, I would never presume to interfere in someone’s relationship. I did that once in college and it backfired. Big time. But that’s a story for another day. All I could do was listen and support her, tell her all the things she already knows.
But on my way back to the office from lunch I found myself still thinking about her and her situation, about how sad and discouraged she looked talking about it to me. I kept wishing I had the cahones to tell her that she should never feel ashamed of what she needs, if she needs affection she should be able to get it and not feel guilty about it. I wish I could tell her that she shouldn’t settle for what she’s being given just because it isn’t terrible and because she thinks it should be enough. The truth is that, for her, it isn’t enough. She shouldn’t be afraid to be who she is, to ask for what she wants, and to share what she is feeling wholeheartedly with her boyfriend and not feel like she is being judged for it. To be told that she’s just “being a girl” and overreacting. Don’t even get me started on how much I hate that particular little misogynistic saying.
And yet, in her situation, would I stand up for myself? Or would I take the easy path? It’s an interesting dynamic… And I can’t stop wondering…