Thursday, April 08, 2010

Does He Have True Feelings For Her?

Dear Terry,

I have benefited much from reading your insights and advice on your blog, and now I have a question to ask you.

Would a man who has true feelings for a woman put his feelings before hers? I mean, would he take steps to try to protect his feelings from being hurt regardless of the emotional consequences that it may have on the woman?

You see, I ask this because I am trying to make sense of the feelings this man had towards me. I need to be able to classify them so that I can be able to get over it, and I don't think I will be fully able to unless I do. It's a bit complicated, but we were never in a relationship because I knew from the get go that our ideological/religious/cultural differences would never make this work. However, we've developed strong feelings towards each other (or so I think).

Anyhow, I ask this particular question because I've noticed that even though I would make particular requests (or tell him that certain things may bother me), he would not do them because if he would his feelings would be put on the line. He wouldn't sacrifice being hurt just to see me happy even for a moment.

That being said, I truly believe that his feelings were genuine to a certain extent because I've felt that they were. I just don't know if that is the extent a man's feelings go, or am I getting the short end of the stick? I just want to be able to find closure and to know if his feelings towards me were genuine or not.

Your input is much appreciated.

-Aching soul

Dear Soul:

Thanks for the kind words. Now bear with me while I paint you a picture:

You and this man somehow manage to overcome your ideological/religious/cultural differences. You marry him.

At first, you're estatic. Your suspicions that his feelings are genuine are confirmed.

But days into the marriage, his selfish side re-emerges. At first, you tell yourself he's struggling under the weight of a lifelong commitment. He's vulnerable. He's scared. And he's acting out.

You're walking around hurt more often than happy, but you tell yourself it's okay. You need to help him with his feelings. It becomes your mission. Meanwhile, he becomes increasingly inconsiderate. Sometimes he's downright obnoxious.

After a while, you decide to have a baby. Maybe having a child will set him right, encourage him to be more loving and generous toward other humans. It could make him a better person.

So, you have the baby, but you quickly find out that caring for him or her is your responsibility. You're running around, taking care of your husband's needs and this baby's needs.

And who's taking care of your needs? Nobody.

You're sad all the time. Maybe you turn to food for comfort. Maybe you turn to alcohol. Substance abuse makes you feel better for a couple of hours, but then you hate yourself.

You catch sight of yourself in the mirror (because you don't actually have time to really look in the mirror). You look ten years older than you are. You look like one of those women who has just given up.

And you start to resent your husband. You go through the motions, but you're sad all the time. You're sorry you sold yourself short.

You long for the days when you had choices. You long for the days when you were captain of your own ship.

In other words, you long for this very day when you had the ability to walk away free and clear from a man who consistently puts his needs in front of yours, who wouldn't risk "being hurt to see [you] happy even for a moment."

Seize this day.

Raise your standards. Stop wondering what this man's feelings are toward you. I mean, who really cares? He doesn't make you happy. You don't have a relationship. He's not worth another second of your time.

Hold out for a man who will make your happiness a priority, a real man whose actions match his words and who never lets you wonder for a minute whether he loves you.

You deserve a good deal more than what you're putting up with now, and you'd be better off on your own.

You can get over this man. You will get over him. Tell yourself, "I refuse to let a person of such low quality ever have power over me ever again."