Thoughts by Richard Bleil
A friend of mine posted a photo on my social media feed taken of her significant other as they appear to have been driving across a bridge. Clearly the photo was taken from the driver’s seat, so that’s naughty. But, as they were crossing, he was peering out of the window making it appear that they were arguing, although I knew they were not. None the less, I had to make a comment to that effect, meant to be tongue-in-cheek along the lines of “oh, so we’re not talking?” or some such nonsense.
It seems as if she knew that it was meant to be a snarky comment as her reply included a “LOL”, but she assured me that he was doing what, honestly, I would probably do, looking at the water. I replied to her comment saying that I take it to mean that I still don’t have a proverbial chance. Again, meant to be tongue-in-cheek.
I believe that these two are like several of my friends, not formally married to their significant other. When I say “formally”, I mean that they’ve never formally (I don’t believe) “walked down the aisle”. Despite the lack of formality, they’re still, as far as I can tell, as committed to one another as any married couple that I know, just as dedicated to each other and married in their hearts. Frankly, I would never want a chance with P because, for that to happen, that means they would be apart, and they seem like such a great couple. I wouldn’t want to put her through that.
I’m waiting for her to respond to my most recent comment so I can reply that I’m more than happy to admit defeat when I’m clearly outclassed. This is the inspiration for this post, the concept of being “outclassed”. The reality is that if I am truly outclassed or not depends on the scale, or the criteria on which we are being compared. Is it education? Ability to fix things? Sports knowledge? Muscles? Past career success? Current career success? Home ownership? Money in the bank? Frankly, I would rock some of these areas, and fail miserably in others, so whether or not I’m outclassed depends on who is deciding the criteria, but frankly, none of them really matter.
The only scale that really matters is P’s, and she doesn’t have one. In her relationship, she has a history, she had an intimate knowledge of him that she cannot have with me unless we were together for a comparable time. Her feelings of intimacy, security and trust with him is something that cannot be quantified, something with which I could not possibly compete even if I wanted to, and frankly I’m glad. I want this kind of stability for her. Every relationship has its ups and downs, it’s joyous and troubled times, but I could never be the kind of jerk that would take advantage of the down times to hurt a relationship that clearly works.
The funny thing is that it doesn’t matter how I “compare” to other guys. It’s just not relevant. What matters is how their partners make them feel, not how I might make them feel. How can I compete with that? Why would I want to? That is the kind of relationship I’ve always wanted, the kind of relationship I’ve never known.
Don’t get me wrong; I have friends in relationships where the significant other is failing. That is the kind of relationship I have known and is one of the most heartbreaking things I can think of. I could never take advantage of these situations as long as the relationship is still active. No matter how bad it is, there’s still a chance it can rebound, and they deserve that when it’s possible, but even in these relationships I should have no chance. Even as the relationship is on the rocks, the history remains. If the couple wants to save the relationship, it should be easy to draw on that common history and work so outside men like me don’t really have a chance. I can be the greatest guy in the world, but against a common history I cannot compete, nor should I be able to.
The reality is that I’ve never had what one would call a great relationship. I’ve come to accept that the fault lies with me, although I’m not sure why, and that it’s probably too late at this time. It’s a funny thing, really; on paper, I think I’m a good boyfriend in theory, but clearly my execution is lacking. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out, but probably not. In the meantime, I’m just going to celebrate the relationships that make my friends happy and enjoy their successes.