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The Ones That Got Away

A lot of you know about Sven. He was the subject of my second novel, a pathetic comedy.

You may not know so much about Arch. I've known him for 25 years, and over those 25 years, I've seen the whole gamut of Arch behaviors played out over and over and over again, with the same result. It's like watching the same bad movie over and over and wishing every time that the ending would change.

The behavior that plays out is this: he meets a girl, he attaches himself to the girl, lamprey-like. He has always gone for women who are in some kind of hard situation, seeing himself as their rescuer. The problem is that it's not the kind of relationship he can sustain. He's a partier - he likes to be where the action is. Every time, one of two scenarios plays out - either the damsel gets over her distress and she gets sick and tired of having been left on her own once her distress is overwith, or she demands constant attention, constant rescuing, and he starts to regard her as something he picked up on the bottom of his shoe.

Last year, his girlfriend of four years dumped him. I wasn't surprised. The things he'd been telling me - about sleeping around on her, about being on the road for work and with his band 20 days a month, about criticizing the way she ran her life, when it was obvious to me that she was making the best choices she could given her circumstances. His girlfriend was a woman he worked with, so his grief over the end of the relationship was compounded by the fact that he saw her every day. He ended up going after another of his co-workers, telling me how sweet and wonderful she was, and that she had told him that he was the only one who understood her while she was going through a difficult and painful divorce....

That woman dumped him before things ever got very serious. And now he's dating again. He's seen this particular woman exactly twice. She's just broken up with someone, she's having some financial difficulties, and she makes him feel like he's powerful and masculine. The loop is starting up again, and he's saying all the same things - he's going to be happy, his life is going to change, he's got a reason to live again.

disastrid just asked me why we're still friends. Part of it is my sense of obligation. Since we were kids together, I've felt sort of responsible for him. He keeps coming to me looking for a friend, and I feel that if I can't forgive him and believe that he can be a better person, I have no compassion.

I hate this roller coaster ride.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 5th, 2005 08:47 pm (UTC)
you've done your time. just because they can't learn, doesn't mean we are obligated to continue to try and teach.
Oct. 5th, 2005 09:53 pm (UTC)
there is nothing in the world worse than someone clearly not wanting to save themselves, and bitching when the pattern they've been stuck in for fuck knows how long loops back to the beginning.

my brother and meand are great examples of this. the terrible truth is that if you point out what you and the rest of the world know is true, they flip the fuck out and accuse you of all kinds of shit, namely jealousy, no matter how fucking retarded that sounds or how blatantly untrue it is.

it constantly amazes me the lengths people will go to in order to maintain their own delusions.
Oct. 5th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC)
Weren't you the one who told me that part of compassion is the willingness to tell people when they're caught in this kind of stupid cycle? I mean, I'm assuming that you have, since you don't keep this kind of thing to yourself, but then again I could be wrong.

Personally, I don't think you have to forgive him -- after all, it's not you he's doing wrong -- nor do you have to believe that he can be a better person, since he clearly can't. Maybe what he needs is someone around to keep telling him that what he's doing doesn't work, until it sinks in.
Oct. 6th, 2005 06:17 am (UTC)
I tell him until I'm blue in the face. And "forgiveness" means "let him keep calling me and bitching about his love life." In a way, it is me he's doing wrong. Quite a few people know of my predilection for stopping the flow at its source. But everyone gets to come back.
Oct. 6th, 2005 06:19 am (UTC)
The above comment was an unlogged-in me. Sorry.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )