I have been thinking about a friend of mine (let’s call him “Alfie”) who is going through a tough time because he is breaking up with his girlfriend after five years of dating (and for the past year maintaining a long distance relationship). And of course, it is his decision, so she is having an even harder time. I have been working very hard to have compassion for them both, but I suppose, I am just at an age where these matters do not seem as important as they once did when I was younger. Here are my feelings on the matter:
They are young and will definitely get over it! In life, we must be selfish. It is our life to live, not someone else’s, and therefore we need to always think what is best for us. At the same time, we must also understand that what is even more selfish than thinking only about ourselves is making someone wait for us to come around when we are done growing up. In this sense, Alfie is doing the right thing by focusing on his own personal growth and, at the same time, not making his girlfriend wait around for him while she plays second fiddle.
The problem is that Alfie feels tremendous guilt because she is “suffering”. I told him to get over himself. No one is that important! That is simply too vain. Not only will she be fine, but she will eventually be much happier in the future with someone else. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with realizing that you are no longer dedicated to a relationship at his age. Falling out of love is as natural as falling in love. What we must realize is just as normal to fall in love as it is to have a broken heart — if we are mature enough not to become addicted to the broken heart.
Were he a true Fonero, I’d recommend that explain how he now shares broadband via WiFi and can no longer dedicate his entire bandwidth to just one user. But that would be only half the story. My advice to Alfie is that it is natural to feel sadness at leaving someone even when you still care about them. That shows that you are a good hearted person, and also demonstrates that making tough decisions in life is not easy. I think I explain it best in my unpublished short story, “Time After Time:
[She] would be crying because she would have finally decided to leave [him] and would never return even if she did still love him. Maybe she’d cry because it hurts to leave someone even when you are no longer in love. Sometimes you leave someone even when you still love them. Sometimes you want something else. At what moment would he accept that her tears told him that she had given up?
Alfie’s girlfriend should appreciate him, and if she knows him well, she should accept the departure and the legacy of their friendship. It isn’t personal, it is the natural course of life. In the meantime, it is okay for her to ask us to simply “walk on by” during the next few weeks. So, let’s all be bit more selfish, but also learn to get over ourselves. We are all unique and special, but no one is THAT essential.