Monday, July 24, 2006

Surprisingly Bad Advice

I'm going to share a story of an exchange that I had with one of my older relatives that should never have taken place. File this under "Thanks for the vote of confidence."

After the really unhealthy relationship that I had during college, I started dating an attorney. He was a generally nice guy and I dated him for over a year. He treated me pretty well, but during that year, I found myself bored with him and annoyed with parts of his personality. He wasn't as secure of a person as I was hoping to find. He was rude to my guy friends, mostly because he felt threatened by them. He would show up uninvited to my apartment -- sometimes I got the feeling that he just wanted to make sure nobody else was there. Even worse, I had suspected during that whole time that he was putting on a front for me. He was on his best behavior most of the time, but I would walk into rooms while he was talking to a buddy and he would be saying horrible things about people. He was kind of like an insecure school girl. The boredom was the worst of it though.

I was explaining all of this to my relation one day as I was planning my exit from the relationship. You'd expect your older relatives to be supportive and to tell you that you deserve only the best, right? Especially the ones that supposedly think the world of you. The exchange went more like the following:

"Bored? You think he's boring?"

"Yes. I don't love him. I think he's a nice guy but I'm bored with him."

"Sweetheart, it's ok for him to be boring."

<Shock> "Huh?"

"He's a nice guy and he treats you nicely. Sometimes boring is good. He doesn't cause trouble. He loves you."

"I don't really care if he loves me. I am bored with him and I don't want to spend the rest of my life in a boring relationship."

"Look at MY husband, he's boring. We've been married a long time. Boring's fine."

At that point, I had to cut it off. I didn't want to get into it about her relationship. But boring is not fine and that was some of the all time worst advice that anyone has ever given me. That exchange happened a long time ago and yet I remember it very clearly still because it was so shocking. Here's a person who supposedly cares about me telling me that I should settle for a nice person that treats me well even though I am bored out of my mind by him. Luckily by then I thought better of myself and knew that she was definitely wrong. That day I learned that you definitely have to take the opinions of others with a grain of salt when it comes to matters of the heart. Only you know how someone makes you feel and if it isn't great, it isn't great. Obviously, what's great for some is definitely not for others. Boring would have killed me.

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