I’ve spent some time looking back over my failed relationships and realized that mostly these involved people who simply could not take “no” for an answer. I’ve researched and read many articles about this subject, some of which I’ve shared on this blog. What has been enlightening to me is the consistency in my tolerance of doing what the other person wants in my relationships without a second thought. Therefore, I’ve gone years having a relationship that I believed was a good one. The relationship only begins to unravel when, for whatever reason, I say “no” to something the other person wants. Even during these relationships I failed to notice the significance of the pattern. Most often the other person convinced me I was wrong or talked me into doing the thing I did not want to do. Other times I just decide the relationship was worth more to me than getting my way. Again, more years would go by until another occasion arose in which I said “no”. Inevitably, there would be a situation in which I stuck to my “no”. Then, the relationship implodes. BANG! It’s gone. Just like that. Years of “relationship” ends when one person does not get their way. The hurtful part is the recognition of the retaliation that usually follows and, believe me, people who “love” you punish the cruelest but often in the subtlest of ways. It never ceases to hurt. My challenge is to not become a complete cynic by thinking ALL relationships are one-sided and abusive. Surely there must be people out there who would not enjoy something knowing they’ve basically forced it on another. I can’t imagine enjoying a meal, a trip, an outing, or anything that I’ve insisted on knowing the other person did not want to do it. I believe the food would sicken me if I’d known the other person only went to please me or because I harassed them into it. Of course, in MY life and MY mind, I am hardly ever wrong. There are two sides to every story and in the other person’s version I’m the one in the wrong. Regardless, I don’t believe my sole reason for existing is to be, do, say, think, feel whatever makes another person happy. At some point I am responsible for my own life and my own happiness. I cannot imagine that God decides that some people are born to be the takers while others are born to be the givers. It’s a growth process for me and I’m still pondering it. Until I completely master this pattern, I will continue eating deep pan pizza even though I prefer thin or original crust because the person I care about prefers deep pan crusted pizza. Ah, the things we do for love!