When love becomes lethal

September 8, 2017 12:24 PM Aditi Sharma

Once a cheat always a cheat they say. That’s a character flaw that can’t be changed. But some women it seems have fairytale glasses on. 

Once upon a time, I had a friend. No, she’s still alive and kicking but I don’t think I can call her my friend anymore. Not unless it’s normal to not talk to your friend for six months or more or see her on the streets and look the other way. She doesn’t talk to me anymore.

She hasn’t for almost two years now when I said maybe she shouldn’t date the guy she had just started seeing back then.

I had heard a lot of things from the grapevine about this boy she was seeing. I was actually friends with one of his former girlfriends and she had confided in me that he was a cheat. She had called it quits after she caught him cozying up with another girl at the movies. After he started dating my once upon a time friend, he told her he had ended his previous relationship because the girl was immature and insecure. I had also heard things from other people who knew him and they weren’t really nice things. 

I thought I was doing my friend a favor when I informed her that this boy she was ‘in love’ with was a cheat and she would do better without him. I broke a friend’s trust to ensure the other didn’t have to suffer another heartbreak. And while she had been convinced and had made up her mind to end the relationship that very day, he must have really worked his charms because she cut off all ties with me instead. 

Last I heard their relationship is now going through a rough patch because she keeps finding him ‘harmlessly’ flirting with other women. I also heard that she is the one who keeps forgiving him and staying in the relationship despite the fact that the guy clearly wants to move on. I also know another person who is in a similar situation, and I often find myself wondering why someone would stay in a relationship despite it clearly being a one-sided affair. Love? Obviously not, say psychologists. 

If you are in a relationship with someone who used to make you happy and no longer does, what keeps you there is not love, it’s fear. You are afraid that if you leave you may never find someone else. You are afraid of being single again. You are afraid that what you really want may never happen, so instead of taking a chance and moving on, you decide to settle. Unfortunately, you just don’t see it that way.

According to Dr Wendy Walsh, who wrote Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Why Good People Stay in Bad Relationships, “When one  is afraid to be single, she imagines that being in a bad relationship feels okay. And she also distorts the future by really thinking that single life will be far worse than it actually turns out to be.”

So you learn to walk on eggshells, fearing the slightest goof up on your part might infuriate your partner. You learn to forgive mistakes that shouldn’t be forgiven. And you learn to live with how things are despite it slowly sucking the life out of you. And of course, there’s the fact that nothing you do is every right or good enough to change things in your relationship for the better. Well, the news is it’s not in your hands because you aren’t the one who is causing all the problems in the first place. 

Once a cheat always a cheat they say. That’s a character flaw that can’t be changed. But some women it seems have fairytale glasses on. They think they will be able to change the circumstances or even the person. They think every turmoil will eventually end up in a happy ending. And then there’s the fact that women get just too attached. Often by the second date, they are already thinking of baby names in their head. I don’t know if it’s hormonal or just the natural nurturing instinct of a woman but, if you think of it, our gender is really up for trouble, pain, and heartache. 

A survivor of a five-year abusive relationship once told me that the freedom of ending a toxic relationship is exhilarating, but it takes a really long time to get there, till you feel strong enough to leave. You get so used to seeing and having the other person around that you can’t imagine a life where that’s not there. And so you stay. It’s only natural to fear change and when change comes with loss that makes it even harder to deal with.

Also, in our society, women are raised to believe that a woman’s role is to take care of the home and support her partner unconditionally. In exchange, you are told, men are the breadwinners and protectors. Women put their romantic partners and their families before themselves while men call the shots. And while many women might scoff at this concept now, it’s surprising how many have internalized these ideas.

Then there are women who love too much. I have a relative whose boyfriend always belittles her. His work is far more important than hers. His concerns are valid while hers are frivolous. He needs her car and can’t drop her to office either, can’t she take the bus? He is full of these gems that sometimes make me want to slap/shake him. But whenever I berate him and try to mock him for being rude to my cousin, it’s she who jumps to his defense. Another cousin bought a car for her husband (with her savings) while she rides a scooter or takes the microbus when it breaks down. And he is always too busy to take her grocery shopping in the car she bought for him. 

Women who love too much are always giving but what they don’t realize is that they aren’t bottomless pits of love (and wealth) and when either run out, they will be left with nothing. For these men, the women are just a means to an end. It’s just too bad the women don’t see that and get stuck in a cycle of giving more and receiving less till it becomes a habit that’s not only hard to break but one that ultimately breaks you in the end. 


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