4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Respect Yourself

Practically all the relationships I know are based on a foundation of lies and mutually accepted delusion.

-- Samantha Jones

(as played by Kim Cattrall on Sex and the City )

I take a sip of my coffee in the silent moment between subjects. We'd already gotten the tedious topics out of the way, the ones that play out like a skipping CD every time we meet -- work is not satisfying and family is frustrating. There's only one thing left to talk about (before we move on to the entertaining finale of gossip) -- his boyfriend. "So," I tread first, as is the duty of the inquisitor. "How's Paul?"

"He's fine, he's doing great. He loves his job, he gets a lot of respect there." His eyes roll and then settle to meet mine. I smile and nod, waiting for the inevitable. "He just really made me angry last night." Here it is. The complaining has begun. It will be another hour before it ends, an hour filled with his questions and my reassurances, his observations and my skepticisms, and the same advice I always give but that he never takes -- dump his sorry ass.

"Why do you put up with it?" I ask, though I already know the answer.

"Because I love him, I guess."

"Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Do you feel like you're getting everything you want out of life and more?"

He looks at me over his cup filled with coffee that must now be cold. "I don't know. I mean, I love him. Maybe we can get counseling."

"You mean, maybe he'll change, right? That's a rare thing, but for your sake, I hope he does."

I want my friends to be happy. I want to see them enjoy their lives and engage in wonderfully fulfilling relationships. I also want them to feel comfortable being honest with me and to know that I don't judge them for their feelings. But after countless conversations during which I have sympathetically listened to a friend's litany of his beau's personal shortcomings and character flaws, why does he act surprised when I give the cause of his misery the cold shoulder?

I've seen my friends through many relationships, helping them out of the bad ones by consoling them or supporting them in their decision by putting the offender at the top of my shit list. The problem is, each time I have done this, each time , the so-called "offender" comes running back to open arms -- arms belonging to someone who had worked hard to convince me they would never embrace bullshit again.

And, like clockwork, once my friend is complacent again in his relationship, the guilt he feels for having complained so much in the first place compels him to make up for it by filling my ears and e-mail inbox with praise for the "former" schmuck. And though he might be willing to forgive and move on, I can't forget how he cried, how he screamed, and the pain his boyfriend caused him. A good friend's role is to be honest with you, even when you are deluding yourself. And putting up with a partner who lies, cheats, or consistently behaves like a child for reasons like, "I love him," is the worst kind of delusion. My advice? Love yourself first.

I find it baffling how many people feel unable to remove themselves from damaging situations and relationships. When I say "damaging," I don't mean the little things -- laundry left on the floor, grotesque belching at inappropriate moments, leaving the cap off the toothpaste -- all those things that can be easily addressed with good communication. Rather, I am talking about deeply rooted personality traits -- those aspects of one's character that define who they are.

Every time I ask my friend Jeff how things are going with his girlfriend of three months, I get the same answer -- "Not good." Jeff has gotten himself involved with a woman who invents issues as she goes along, the most prominent of which are her obsession with image and her fear of aging, even though she's a model in her 20s.

"Listen, man," I say, hoping he grasps my sincerity, "get out now . Before you find yourself further enmeshed with someone who doesn't love herself, and therefore will never allow anyone else, including you, to love her."

"Yeah, I know," he responds, as though he's told himself the same thing a dozen times already. "I just want to find someone else first." But people are not jobs. And it's not fair to either party if one is simply biding time until something better comes along.

I have been with David for three years. My friends would be hard-pressed to unearth complaints I have made about him. However, I would hope that if I started telling tales of how he'd wronged me in some way, that my friends would step up and remind me that I deserve better. My friends are thoughtful, caring, and respectful, which is why it upsets me when they are not treated in kind.

The question we must ask ourselves is, "What would I advise my friend to do in a situation like this?" Chances are you wouldn't say, "Wow, he called you a slut and then went out with his ex-girlfriend for the evening? What you need to do is cook him a nice meal and then give him a massage with a happy ending and things will be right as rain."

I was with one man for four months when I realized my complaints about him outweighed my compliments. I brought this epiphany directly to him in the form of a question -- are these things going to change? When the answer was a passive "No," I bid him a friendly goodbye.

Sometimes it's not that simple. I dated another guy for three months before I realized I was compromising my hopes and dreams for the convenience of having someone around. In that instance, at 22, I took the coward's approach and slowly distanced myself without a forthright explanation, something I had assumed he wasn't mature enough to handle. "Picture everyone walking around with a bag," says my Uncle Jimmy. "In each bag is a pile of shit. You have one, I have one, we all have one with us wherever we go. When you get to know someone, you look in their bag and they look in yours. Before you begin a relationship, you both have to decide -- is this shit I can live with? If the answer is yes, you're good to go. If the answer is no, you must move on to the next person and their bag. And that's how relationships work."

I ask of you what I have always asked of myself: Think of your partner. If this thought does not delight you, excite you, and fill you with pride, ask yourself, what are you getting out of this relationship? Security? Companionship? Someone is better than no one? Pressure from the family to get married? The loud ticking of your biological clock is inducing panic? Are you afraid of being alone? That no one else will be interested in you? My basic philosophy is that happiness is within our reach. It's never too late to look for someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated -- with love, respect, and admiration. But this search must begin within you.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The Conservation Game: The real Tiger King

Should have the same detrimental impact on celebrity animal handlers that The Cove and Blackfish did on SeaWorld
Next Article

Remember the West Coast IPA?

Hazy beers may be everywhere now, but these IPAs are clear winners

Practically all the relationships I know are based on a foundation of lies and mutually accepted delusion.

-- Samantha Jones

(as played by Kim Cattrall on Sex and the City )

I take a sip of my coffee in the silent moment between subjects. We'd already gotten the tedious topics out of the way, the ones that play out like a skipping CD every time we meet -- work is not satisfying and family is frustrating. There's only one thing left to talk about (before we move on to the entertaining finale of gossip) -- his boyfriend. "So," I tread first, as is the duty of the inquisitor. "How's Paul?"

"He's fine, he's doing great. He loves his job, he gets a lot of respect there." His eyes roll and then settle to meet mine. I smile and nod, waiting for the inevitable. "He just really made me angry last night." Here it is. The complaining has begun. It will be another hour before it ends, an hour filled with his questions and my reassurances, his observations and my skepticisms, and the same advice I always give but that he never takes -- dump his sorry ass.

"Why do you put up with it?" I ask, though I already know the answer.

"Because I love him, I guess."

"Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Do you feel like you're getting everything you want out of life and more?"

He looks at me over his cup filled with coffee that must now be cold. "I don't know. I mean, I love him. Maybe we can get counseling."

"You mean, maybe he'll change, right? That's a rare thing, but for your sake, I hope he does."

I want my friends to be happy. I want to see them enjoy their lives and engage in wonderfully fulfilling relationships. I also want them to feel comfortable being honest with me and to know that I don't judge them for their feelings. But after countless conversations during which I have sympathetically listened to a friend's litany of his beau's personal shortcomings and character flaws, why does he act surprised when I give the cause of his misery the cold shoulder?

I've seen my friends through many relationships, helping them out of the bad ones by consoling them or supporting them in their decision by putting the offender at the top of my shit list. The problem is, each time I have done this, each time , the so-called "offender" comes running back to open arms -- arms belonging to someone who had worked hard to convince me they would never embrace bullshit again.

And, like clockwork, once my friend is complacent again in his relationship, the guilt he feels for having complained so much in the first place compels him to make up for it by filling my ears and e-mail inbox with praise for the "former" schmuck. And though he might be willing to forgive and move on, I can't forget how he cried, how he screamed, and the pain his boyfriend caused him. A good friend's role is to be honest with you, even when you are deluding yourself. And putting up with a partner who lies, cheats, or consistently behaves like a child for reasons like, "I love him," is the worst kind of delusion. My advice? Love yourself first.

I find it baffling how many people feel unable to remove themselves from damaging situations and relationships. When I say "damaging," I don't mean the little things -- laundry left on the floor, grotesque belching at inappropriate moments, leaving the cap off the toothpaste -- all those things that can be easily addressed with good communication. Rather, I am talking about deeply rooted personality traits -- those aspects of one's character that define who they are.

Every time I ask my friend Jeff how things are going with his girlfriend of three months, I get the same answer -- "Not good." Jeff has gotten himself involved with a woman who invents issues as she goes along, the most prominent of which are her obsession with image and her fear of aging, even though she's a model in her 20s.

"Listen, man," I say, hoping he grasps my sincerity, "get out now . Before you find yourself further enmeshed with someone who doesn't love herself, and therefore will never allow anyone else, including you, to love her."

"Yeah, I know," he responds, as though he's told himself the same thing a dozen times already. "I just want to find someone else first." But people are not jobs. And it's not fair to either party if one is simply biding time until something better comes along.

I have been with David for three years. My friends would be hard-pressed to unearth complaints I have made about him. However, I would hope that if I started telling tales of how he'd wronged me in some way, that my friends would step up and remind me that I deserve better. My friends are thoughtful, caring, and respectful, which is why it upsets me when they are not treated in kind.

The question we must ask ourselves is, "What would I advise my friend to do in a situation like this?" Chances are you wouldn't say, "Wow, he called you a slut and then went out with his ex-girlfriend for the evening? What you need to do is cook him a nice meal and then give him a massage with a happy ending and things will be right as rain."

I was with one man for four months when I realized my complaints about him outweighed my compliments. I brought this epiphany directly to him in the form of a question -- are these things going to change? When the answer was a passive "No," I bid him a friendly goodbye.

Sometimes it's not that simple. I dated another guy for three months before I realized I was compromising my hopes and dreams for the convenience of having someone around. In that instance, at 22, I took the coward's approach and slowly distanced myself without a forthright explanation, something I had assumed he wasn't mature enough to handle. "Picture everyone walking around with a bag," says my Uncle Jimmy. "In each bag is a pile of shit. You have one, I have one, we all have one with us wherever we go. When you get to know someone, you look in their bag and they look in yours. Before you begin a relationship, you both have to decide -- is this shit I can live with? If the answer is yes, you're good to go. If the answer is no, you must move on to the next person and their bag. And that's how relationships work."

I ask of you what I have always asked of myself: Think of your partner. If this thought does not delight you, excite you, and fill you with pride, ask yourself, what are you getting out of this relationship? Security? Companionship? Someone is better than no one? Pressure from the family to get married? The loud ticking of your biological clock is inducing panic? Are you afraid of being alone? That no one else will be interested in you? My basic philosophy is that happiness is within our reach. It's never too late to look for someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated -- with love, respect, and admiration. But this search must begin within you.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The Field, with a view

Gaslamp is more fun with the street shut down
Next Article

Early geniuses Mozart, Elgar, Mendelssohn show iup in San Diego

An adolescent transfigured by Italy
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close