I was talking to a friend of mine earlier about her current dating situation, the subject of challenges we all face in life, and how a significant other will handle them. She is in the very early stages of seeing someone, but those stages are still there to teach you about a person.
A lot of us have either been in a relationship with somebody, or know someone else who has, that seemed to care just a little bit (or a lot) less than we did. We may have been let down by a variety of reasons – either they just didn’t feel the same way, they ‘friend zoned’ you, or they gave you the ever popular: “It’s not you, it’s me.” Either way, the feeling of rejection is the same. While we all handle it differently, it is a safe bet to assume there were a few periods of time where you were left wondering what you could have done differently or why you were not what they wanted.
Think of this emptiness, but picture actually being in a relationship with someone when you feel it. Perhaps you are having a bad week, have just lost a loved one, or are having challenges at work. Perhaps you are depressed or get sick – and all you really want is the person you’re with to be there and support you. But they’re not.
They seem to pull away a little bit, maybe be less communicative, text you less, call you less, see you less. They distance themselves from you, seemingly waiting for the storm to pass.
Or maybe they just walk away.
Now the way you feel has gotten even worse because the one person you thought you could count on to support you when life got rough is not there. You feel disappointment, hurt, heartbreak, loneliness…all because of the person who was supposed to shield you from it. They were great when everything was great, but now that the rays of sunshine have disappeared behind the clouds, so has he or she.
You might find this out a month into the relationship, or a year into the relationship, but regardless of when you do – it teaches you a valuable lesson: They weren’t the person you thought they were. These are the times when you see someone’s true colors.
You may cling to the thought of who they were in the beginning. The smiling, laughing, carefree amazing person who you were falling for. You may long for those days to come back. You may long for that person to come back because you loved them and you thought they loved you, too.
But the truth is, you don’t walk away from someone you love. You don’t leave them in their time of need. You don’t sit out the storms. You run outside into the rain next to them and you hold that damn umbrella over their head for however long it takes.
There is a reason the term “fairweather fan” is a negative one. People who only cheer on a team when they are winning are never taken seriously by those who are there for the ups and the downs. They stand behind those they support whether they are winning or losing. That is what support means.
That is what love means.
When a person like this reveals themselves to you, perspective is important. You can feel bad for yourself and fill your tears with the ideas of the person you think you lost. Or you can thank the person for the good times they gave you and for a more important gift: The freedom to go find someone who will actually treat you as you deserve to be treated.
Anyone can stand by your side during the good times – their true character will only be revealed during the bad times. It doesn’t matter how good looking they are or what they do for a living or how often they make you laugh. Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Someday, you are going to find yourself in a storm, and you need to have someone there who will weather it with you.
There is no such thing as a part time relationship. You’re either in, or you’re out.
If you owned a business and had an employee who only showed up when they felt like it or when they knew business was going to be good, but always called out sick when there was going to be a challenge to face, would you keep them around?
I didn’t think so.
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