Sunday, October 08, 2006

Don't Confuse Slow Death for Romance

Fifteen years ago, a good friend of mine was driving around with a man she had fallen in love with. Suddenly, the guy swerved to the side of the road and cut the engine. Then, in that most romantic of gestures, he took her face in his hands.

"You will be the mother of my five children," he announced.

My friend swooned. She flushed with excitement: The man she loved loved her, too. Her every romantic fantasy had come true!

Fast forward to the present: She and this guy, who is now her husband, fight all the time. Just last week, he gave her the back of his hand. Before leaving for yet another business trip, he signed up their children (after her repeated protests) for numerous after-school activities, to which she is the sole provider of transportation. She is also up to her eyes helping a 12-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 4-year-old with homework.

While she only has three children, as opposed to the five Mr. Romance hoped she'd produce, she knew she'd had it after just two. She told him as much, but he insisted that she have a third child and took steps (I won't go into detail) to ensure she did.

Well, she's miserable. She's a mess. She has asked him to go to marriage counseling, but he informed her that she's the one with a "chemical imbalance" and refused. My friend is overwhelmed and has confessed she has contemplated suicide (we're doing what we can to prevent that).

The point? Do not confuse a man's controlling behavior for romance! If a guy tells you that you're going to be the mother of his children, you might want to think about the fact that he hasn't even asked you if you want any.

Also, if a guy starts badmouthing your friends, your family, or your co-workers, he could be trying to drive a wedge between you. Beware! Once he's cut off your support system, you'll be completely under his power.

Never confuse possession for love. Never confuse control for love. A man who truly loves you will give you your freedom. He will support your dreams and ideas. He will not be threatened when you take a promotion. He will not show up in the bar when you're out with the girls.

If you're dating a guy, and you get a creepy feeling in your stomach, don't confuse it for butterflies. Don't tell yourself you're getting up in years, and all your friends are getting married, and you don't want to be left on the shelf, and all that other garbage women tell themselves to marry the wrong men.

You have one life to live. Please don't screw it up.