Thursday, June 7, 2012

Excuses, excuses

“He is a man made up entirely of your excuses.  And the minute you stop making excuses for him, he will completely disappear from your life.”

That quote is from the ubiquitous book, "He's Just Not That Into You".  In the interest of full disclosure, I've not read that particular tome, though I have read "It's Called a Break Up Because It's Broken", which is by the same pair of authors.  I recently read the above quote in another post of a blogger I follow.  I copied it because it resonated, and thusly earned itself a blog post of its own here.

I know these books are full of cliches.  Generalizations.  Common sense.  In some cases, ridiculousness.  But I will reluctantly admit that I really appreciated much of the content of the latter book, recommended by a friend.  Sure, it's common sense. But in the wake of a breakup, sometimes common sense evades you, and you *need* to be reminded of the basics.  Reading it in the form of a book instead of hearing it from individual friends at a time makes you remember what a universal experience you're going through.  Millions have done it before you, millions are doing it alongside you, millions will do it in the future.  Everyone goes through breakups. 

Sometimes the most logical truths, the clearest bottom lines, the easiest answers evade you when you're coming out of a relationship.  The fog of an unhealthy relationship in particular is forceful and misleading, and it can take awhile to emerge from the confusion and begin to see how things really were.  This is what happens when you stop rationalizing, stop making excuses, and start opening your eyes.

I am a smart individual.  I am intelligent, I am successful in my career, I am often insightful about the lives and experiences of others.  I commiserate, I communicate, I support, I lead, I grow.  And yet.  I look back at the years of relationships I've had and I am floored by the amount of excuses that have been a) shuttled my way and b) manufactured and held out like a justification for shady, unacceptable, pathetic behavior by me for those I've been involved with.

Sometimes, when you take away all the excuses, there simply isn't anything left.  In acknowledgement of my past missteps and as a reminder for my future choices, please enjoy some of the excuses that have laid claim to my dignity over the years, as well as my response to them now.

The excuses I've been given:

You deserve better. (Damn straight I do.)
I can't give you what you want. (I see that now.)
I've been really hurt in the past. (Who hasn't?)
I just have so much going on right now. (That's life, baby.)
You want to do too much. (And you want to do nothing. FUN.)
I can't live up to the expectations you have of me. (I expect you to love me in a healthy way.  That's all.)
I need some time to figure out what I want. (Time is expensive.)
I'm taking a step away from you because I don't want to hurt you. (Can't I decide if I need to step away to protect myself?)
I think that if you move out, our relationship will get better. (BULLSHIT.)
You just want too much from me. (Yes, that's called a relationship.)

The excuses I've made:
He just needs someone to really love him and support him, and then he will be okay. (Probably not.)
His anger isn't about me, it's about something else. (Either way, anger.  Lots of it.)
He loves me, but is too broken inside to know how to handle it. (We're all a little broken.  Deal.)
He wants to be with me, but is afraid. (Bullshit.)
I hurt him before, so he is just being extra cautious with his heart. (That only gets you so far.)
If I give him enough time, he will let me in. (Sure.)
If I love him in the right way, for the right amount of time, he will love me back the same way. (I can't make anyone love me the way I love them.  Sometimes, it just won't happen.)
When his job/family situation/friend situation/life situation gets better, we'll be okay again.  (There will always be a new stressor.)
He's attracted to me, it's just his own insecurities that he's projecting on me. (It is not my job to be punished for his issues.)
He will be ready to marry me if/when/after/before this that or another. (He won't.)
He says the nicest things to me. (But he doesn't do anything nice to back it up.)
He does the nicest things for me. (But he can't express himself any other way, ever.)
He's a good person, he cares about me, even if he doesn't know how to show it, even if he says asinine/awful things or tells me I need to lose weight to be more attractive, or blows me off or teases me in a way that verges on insulting. (Actually, he's probably not.  In the very least, he's not a good person for me.)

Excuses are dead weight.  They're heavy loads to carry, they don't change anything and they just mask the truth of a situation.  If someone wants to be with you, they will. If someone wants to take care of you, support you, see you, love you, marry you, or just let you into their hearts, lives or families, they will.  Sometimes the simplest answer is the right one.  Sometimes the rest of it is just superfluous nonsense, giving artificial life to something that's already dead.

“He is a man made up entirely of your excuses.  And the minute you stop making excuses for him, he will completely disappear from your life.”

Poof.  There go so many of the men in my life, and really, so many of the failed relationships in general, disappearing in a whispery trail of excuses.  When the dust settles, I am still here. I will always be here.


  1. :) I really want to take a look at the book you mentioned. I may try and run over to Barnes and Noble and read it for free. I think reminders are GREAT especially when you're down and out. For some reason, HJNTIY didn't resonate with me - even though it contained MANY good reminders.

    I've made a lot of the same excuses for bfs in the past and once I realized it, once I told the last bf I realized it, it was like they had been caught red-handed and the relationship ended (thank god). I was done making excuses. I am done making excuses for people. I really hope you find someone soon who doesn't waste your time with this kind of dead weight - and that's EXACTLY what it is. Dead weight.

  2. I feel like rereading "It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken" again, even though I've not been through a breakup in over a year, LOL. I secretly enjoyed it!

    Dead weight, indeed....