I am wondering if you can help me. I once lived with a man who, unfortunately, liked to play Fantasy Football more than hangout with me. Although the relationship ended more than a year ago, I keep having the nagging feeling I somehow didn't give enough of myself to keep him. Maybe it would have worked out if I didn't always put stipulations on him or if I would have just rolled with the punches. I don't mean literal punches, the relationship was never abusive. Some days, I wonder if I was pushing him away. I don't want to get back together with him, but I do think about him and wonder if it might have been different if I was.
Unsure And Doubting
Topping: Hmmm... it sounds like you're unsure about things.
Charlotte: Very observant, Mr. Her Name Is Unsure.
Topping: No, I really meant it. She seems... straddled.
Topping: Yeah, straddled. Like one leg in wanting to be something else for someone else and one leg in wanting to have it the way she wants it. And not knowing which way she should go.
Charlotte: Oh, yeah, that's good. I was going to go another way with this e-mail, but I like where you're going with it. Say more.
Topping: Well, Unsure, you should really ask yourself a couple of questions. Or maybe just one question: Why isn't being what your boyfriend wants and being what you want the same thing?
Charlotte: Whoa, Topping. Way to be direct. Maybe even a little “ouch!” Unsure, it is an important question. Sorry if we're a little abrupt here.
Topping: Oh, was that abrupt? Sorry, it was just such an obvious question to me. I apologize if it came out a little... uh, abruptly. What way were you going to go with this?
Charlotte: I noticed that there actually wasn't a question in her question. Unsure simply made statements and comments about her situation. I don't know what it is she is looking for except she wonders if it would have been different if she had been different.
Topping: Oh, yeah, didn't even notice there wasn't a question. Good one, Char. What would your answer be?
Charlotte: Of course things would have been different if you had been different. But would your relationship have lasted longer if you were different? Better yet, what if he was different, too? What if you were both different people at a different time, let's say the 1970's. And what if you lived in a different country. Maybe he has a unibrow and you are missing a leg, unless, of course if he already has a unibrow and you are missing a leg.
Topping: Yeah, and what if he was a she and she was a motorcycle?
Charlotte: Oh, Topping, don't be ridiculous.
Topping: Yeah, but I like where you are going with this. It's much more fun than my direction. Mine was a little direct and, well, maybe abrupt.
Charlotte: Unsure, you are where you are because you are you. Might as well face it: if your not happy with where you are in life, perhaps you're not happy with yourself.
Topping: “Ouch!” What did we do, roll out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?
Charlotte: Now that I read that again, it does seem a little harsh. Sorry, Unsure, I just meant that you can't change who you are. You have to accept where you are and move forward. You said your boyfriend liked playing Fantasy Football more than being with you. Even if you were different, would he? You are where you are right now because that is who you are. If you want your life to be different you have to be different.
Topping: Yeah, its like direct drive on a motorcycle.
Topping: You turn the throttle and it immediately turns the rear wheel, there's no going through gears and shafts, etc. That's life: direct drive. If you want life to be a certain way, then act. Wishing or regretting doesn't do anything.
Charlotte: Yeah well, Unsure, I think you get where we are coming from. If we were a little abrupt and maybe a little harsh, we apologize. But...
we hope this helps.