Years back when I was a first year student in college, one of my friends had a break-up. Well, you cannot exactly call it a break-up in the true sense. She loved the guy. The guy thought it cool that she loved him. But when his parents got to hear about it and sat down good and proper on his head bringing into play their combined weight, he quietly withdrew from the scene with nary a word of explanation to her. Vamoosed would perhaps be a more suitable word. So much for great love stories. Anyways..
The girl, as is common in such cases, moped big time. Not a big one for smiles to begin with, her face lost all traces of cheerfulness. Praying acquired a seriousness all its own, with the look of a martyr dominating proceedings. By the way I have never really understood the connection between piety and the constipated look. But I digress.
One day she told me in a sad whisper that she wished for nothing more than to spend the rest of her life as a maid in *his* house serving him and his family only so that she could be near him and see him for the rest of her life.
I was aghast. True, we were eighteen year-olds and had not really seen much of the world. Still it seemed to me a really dumb thing to say. I mean, why would anyone want to gaze at someone who clearly did not want to look at you? Beats me. What would I do, I wondered.
Some things are pretty simple and clear for me. If someone does not reciprocate your feelings, however much it may break your heart, you let them go and get on with your life. You certainly don’t think of pushing yourself back into their life in whatever capacity, to, of all things, catch a glimpse of that face or whatever. And, as for being a maid and serving them? Ha!
My philosophy: Show them the door, wish them well and see them off with a wave of your hand. By all means mope afterwards if you so feel like it, after all we are humans, but whether you make a public spectacle of yourself doing it or not depends entirely on individual preferences.
Some more years later as a married woman and a mother of two, I happened to overhear a group of ladies talking on the serious question of ‘what would you do if your husband wanted to leave you for another woman?’ Most of those present expressed helplessness (What could I do?!) and were undecided on what to do. One answer that stood out from the rest came from a smart young woman who stated unequivocally, ‘I would catch him by the collar and drag him back, even if he kicked and screamed! Ha, catch me giving him up so easily!’
That made me think too.
Wow, what confidence and purpose. Would I do that, pull someone back when they wanted to leave? Do I want to do that? The answer to both the questions was, no. I realized then that I neither wanted to be the servile doormat, nor the proactive pull-er-back. My way lay somewhere in the middle, of letting the other person make the free choice to be with you or not. No forcing of the hand, ever.
My answer still remains the same and holds good for ALL relationships. You don’t stop those who want to go away. If they prefer to be elsewhere, that is where they’ll have to be.
©Shail Mohan 2015