I sat upright in the bed, feeling alone–though he was mere feet away in the other room. Wasn’t I supposed to be happy today? He’d went out of his way to make sure of it. He’d booked a hotel downtown, rose petals on the bed spelled out a vibrant “I Love U,” and he ended the evening with a romantic dinner cruise aboard the Spirit of Washington. Our relationship had just turned a year old and he’d spared no expense. Since I met Mr. Right-For-Now, I’d been dreaming of this day. So why did it feel so empty? Maybe because I knew that we wouldn’t last too much longer than that year I’d desperately hoped for. A few weeks prior to, Mr. Right-For-Now explained he’d need to get more serious about his CPA (Certified Public Accountant) courses. The conversation turned sour very quickly. For him, that meant backing off of our relationship and taking more time to study. For me, that meant breaking up. How could we possibly fix all the problems we have if he’s going to spend even less time than he already is? I wondered. So I prepared to watch my relationship die. It couldn’t possibly work out. My move back home already placed undue stress on us. And I knew we weren’t ready for more. This was it. I could feel it that tense day at my house. And as we sat celebrating how far we’d come, I felt it again.
When I began blogging, I promised to share my relationship mishaps with you in hopes that you would find yourself in me and maybe even find help in me. So I want to make it more clear than it has been in other blogs that I’ve made a mistake that nearly killed my relationship. The idea behind any silent killer–whether it’s the ultraviolet rays of the sun, arsenic, or Ben & Jerry’s strawberry cheesecake ice cream (aka sex in your mouth)–is that you never see death coming until it’s too late. I knew that I could be very logical bordering on cynical in my approach to relationships. I knew that I had a lot of doubts about Mr. Right-For-Now and men in general. I also knew that sometimes it occurred to me that God might even want me to live the rest of my life with cats. But I never considered that these thoughts had the power to kill us.
In psychology, there is a term called the self-fulfilling prophecy. A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when someone makes a prediction and it indirectly or directly becomes true. This prediction can be about a person or an event. We communicate that prediction with various cues in our body language. People will often respond to those cues and adjust their behavior accordingly. And the prediction becomes true. For example, a teacher meets her students on the first day and notices a girl with dark clothes, dark paint on her finger nails, dark hair, and dark lipstick. The teacher expects this student will exhibit some behavioral problems and won’t achieve. The student feels her teacher doesn’t believe in her or care about her education and consequently fails the course. Outside of psychology, many call this concept the Law of Attraction. The only difference between the self-fulfilling prophecy and the Law of Attraction is that the Law of Attraction involves a little more spirituality. It argues that we throw those cues out to the universe and the universe will respond to us in a way that fulfills that prediction. Whatever you choose to call it, the basic idea remains the same–“what we expect is what we get” (To read more on this idea, check out this article).
I expected that I couldn’t handle the sacrifice it would take for Mr. Right-For-Now to do what he needed to do, therefore I could not handle the sacrifice it took for Mr. Right-For-Now to do what he needed to do. The whole time I called myself “trying to make it work,” I walked around disgruntled, I felt unappreciated, and I cried a lot. I felt wronged. How could he do that to us? Why would he make a decision that forced him to choose between me or his dream? And I began to question everything that year had been about. Did he even really love me? How could he love me if he was so willing to lose me? Doubt attacked every cell in my body and multiplied. Debilitating self-absorption became my cancer of choice. And as my relationship lay sick in the hospital, breathing its last breaths, my heart filled to the brim with an anger I didn’t know I had. I was angry at Mr. Right-For-Now for killing us.
“Are you forgetting that you made the choice to break up?” he asked me, his own anger apparent. Though I didn’t tell him then, he was right. I chose death. I chose to believe every negative thought and feeling I had the day he walked through my doors and said that things were going to change. I believed we would spend less time together but our problems would escalate because of the neglect. I never once considered fighting. I never once considered HOPE. And now we sat in intensive care all because I willed it so–all because I didn’t believe. If something didn’t change, we were going to die.
Love and relationships, like all things in life, have a spiritual aspect to them. And when I say spiritual, I do not necessarily mean Christian if that’s not your thing. I mean they have an essence that’s larger than mankind and can’t be explained by science. I believe Love is a higher power, whether you call that power God, fate, the universe, or the Law of Attraction. It is the one factor that every major religion on Earth has in common. Doctors, teachers, and preachers don’t always have the answers. But Love, true Love, conquers all. When the odds stack up against you and the one you Love, the best thing to do is have HOPE in the power of Love. And the universe will respond accordingly.
“I’m sorry,” I cried, “I was wrong.” I took in sharp breaths as I tried to regain my composure. Even though the next year of barely being in a relationship would be hard, I was willing to hope for the best. Mr. Right-For-Now stood me up and took me in his arms. He squeezed me tighter than he squeezed me in months. He held on to me with everything he had inside of him.
“Thank you,” he whispered as he placed a simple kiss on my forehead. As the two of us decided to choose life, I vowed to always cling to HOPE no matter how small it may be. Because without HOPE, there’s only lack. If you want to fight off the silent killers in you’re own relationships–whether they be distance, communication issues, or actual sickness–invoke HOPE.