Love & Codependency
As I am writing this, I am watching the 2009 movie, He's Just Not That Into You. It reminds me of something I've heard often over the years: when you first meet someone they usually tell you who they are. A lot of times we choose to ignore it. Especially women. We assume that people want to be their best self and so, of course, whatever undesirable quality they have is just temporary. If someone says they aren't interested in commitment but then they contact you regularly and act as if they are falling for you, which do you believe: their words or their actions? Generally, actions speak louder than words but I think when people tell us who they are, we need to listen.
Watching this movie gives me the same feeling I have when a friend is telling me about a difficult relationship and I want to scream, "he's just not that into you!" or "let him go" but I think back to all of the times I didn't heed this advice. I so badly wanted my love to be reciprocated and was willing to do anything to make that happen. To hang on to the hope that his feelings or behaviors would change. One time this guy would be upfront and tell me we were just friends but confuse me with relationship-like actions. Only after he moved did he refer to me as his girlfriend. Another time a significant other told me he loved me but I didn't see any action on his end to make the relationship work. It probably started with my first love who broke up with me at least a half-dozen times in the span of 10 months. Obviously I didn't understand the adage, "fool me once."
If only we had that kind of power: to make someone love us. Justin Long's character, Alex, in the movie says, "Why do women do this? Why do they build up this stuff in their minds to take each little thing a guy does and twist it into something else? It's insane!".
Like Jennifer Connolly's character, I'm a codependent who will always take the blame for any problems in the relationship. I may not tell him that but in my mind I will excuse poor behaviors with a kind of empathy. I excuse them by empathizing with what he may have been feeling at the time or hardships he has faced in his life. What I fail to tell myself is that feelings don't give anyone an excuse to treat someone else poorly. I've slowly learned this over the years and hope to get better about setting boundaries in any type of relationship, not just love. Often times we allow people at work to overstep boundaries that we would never put up with in our personal life, or vice versa.
Meanwhile, and this is a SPOILER ALERT, Jennifer Aniston's character learns to let go of trying to change her boyfriend only to get what she always wanted from him all along. Basically, the entire movie is a PSA for codependency and how you can't find, or keep, true love with codependent behaviors or thinking. We can't control or change the other person no matter how much we love them. It's one of those hard life lessons.
Of course the moral of the movie was to never give up hope on finding love. You'll find it within yourself first. Then, hopefully, you'll know when it's right and you'll know when he is just that into you.