Michael and Paige have been dating for about two years. A year into their relationship, they began to have issues. At first, minor things said here and there. As college students, most of these problems were about personal space and time management. However, a pattern began to emerge. Paige constantly belittled Michael in front of her friends. She began to measure Michael’s love for her by what he bought her and how much he “sacrificed” for her.
Soon their relationship ended and it was difficult for both of them. Instead of expressing herself clearly to Michael, she wanted to deceive him and force him back into a relationship. At a social gathering thereafter, Paige spoke to me and a couple of other friends about how she would get him back. “Maybe I’ll tell him I’m pregnant” she said. We all objected but it was clear she was desperate and willing to do just about anything to get him back.
After a small break, the two got back together only to be faced by the same issues. Paige often made Michael chose between his school work and her. She became upset whenever he chose to be with his friends one day during the weekend instead of her. Because he was a man who rarely showed his emotions, she often did not realize how much her words hurt him. She told him all the things about him that made her unhappy. She constantly nagged him about why he never gave her flowers or candy. Of course he was never the type to express his love in that way from the beginning.
All the negativity began to take a toll on him. He mentioned that he felt guilty smiling to his female friends in case Paige saw him looking happier around other people. He worked in the financial district in addition to school, so he was constantly stressed. All of this amounted to minor health problems. His relationship with Paige became the tipping point. Was he to choose their relationship over his health?
Both Michael and Paige spoke to me about their relationship. From my perspective as an outsider, I can only say this. Sometimes, I think women subconsciously begin to buy into the fairy tales Hollywood writes for us. We are under the assumption that our partners should know our thoughts, buy us things and that as women, it’s in our role to storm out and expect our men to follow us. Some will. Paige openly admitted that she expected Michael to chase after her “if he really loves her.” But how many times?
A friend once mentioned to Paige that she was pushing away Michael and she became infuriated. One of the hardest things to understand when dating is that your partner does not solely belong to you. They have work, family friends and other responsibility they must tend to. As young adults, they must also make sure that they secure a future for themselves. If I could go back in time, I would remind Paige that her role, like his, is to love and support. Her fear of losing his love is eventually what drove him away. She must come to her own and allow him the same within their relationship as well as outside it.
*Names change for privacy