And so, my fellow Americans:
ask not what your partner can do for you--ask what you can do for your partner.
Karl Ericson 1/5/03
A friend of mind told me the story of a heartbroken friend of his whose relationship ended because his girlfriend did not follow the above advice and although his ex-girlfriend is unlikely to learn from what she did wrong there are valuable lessons in the story for the rest of us. I tell the story below but I've changed the names and locations.
Sam, fell in love with Susan, a college girl in Kentucky. Sam and Susan were very happy and in love until Sam's mother was stricken with incurable cancer. Sam left Susan to be with his mother who lived in Massachusetts and to support his family who were under a lot of emotional distress. Susan felt very lonely without Sam and asked him to come back to her. He felt that he couldn't leave his mother or his family in the situation that they were in. Susan felt angry and rejected and that Sam didn't love her enough. Her resentment and anger grew.
Sam's mother eventually died and Susan finished college. Sam invited Susan to live with him in Massachusetts. She accepted and he drove all the way down to Kentucky to pick her up and move her to his apartment in Massachusetts. They lived together but Susan had already killed her love for him with her anger and resentment. She told him that she didn't love him anymore. When he asked her why she agreed to move in with him she said it was because she didn't know what else to do. He tried to rekindle their love but nothing worked. He tried to talk things over but she was adament. She may have been trying to hurt him back for all the hurt she felt he had done to her by not moving back to Kentucky with her. In the end he left her with the apartment because it became torture to live with someone he loved who had become totally cold to him.
It never occurred to Susan that she should have left college and been with Sam while he was with his mother. Instead of asking what she could do for Sam she was angry at what Sam was not doing for her, even though, he was doing the right thing by being with his dying mother and his grief stricken family. My friend says he has only known Sam for a short time but that he can see that Sam was very much in love with Susan and that he is a very nice guy. My friend says that Susan lost something very precious because instead of asking what she could do for Sam she asked what Sam could do for her. She probably will find someone new, or she may already have which may be one of the reasons she was so cold to him, but I still think she lost something. For one thing she lost years of happiness she could have had if she had moved to Massachusetts to be with him and that instead were spent being angry and resentful. I also think bad affairs leave scars that affect future relationships in an adverse way. Finally, according to my friend, she lost a great boyfriend.
c o p y r i g h t ( c ) 1 9 9 9 - 2004 Karl Ericson Enterprises. All rights reserved
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