As I hung out with my girlfriends at a cookie party, there were two recurring subjects. One was super weird things guys do. That can be the subject of another post. The other was my friend Charlotte (fictional name) and her current breakup. Let me start by giving you some of Charlotte’s history.
Charlotte has been dating Earl (fictional name) for many years. Charlotte is crazy in love with Earl and wants nothing more than to get married, have kids, and live happily ever after. Most of us have probably had a similar dream at one time or another (only not with Earl), so I thought a lot of people could relate to their story.
Earl does not want to get married and have kids, and he’s fine just dating forever. As someone who doesn’t think marriage is all it’s knocked up to be, I can kind of understand Earl’s thinking. As someone who has always wanted a family and happily ever after, I can also understand Charlotte’s thinking.
About once a year Charlotte and Earl get in a huge fight as Charlotte’s biological clock ticks louder and louder, and about once a year they break up. During this breakup, Charlotte sits at home missing Earl and waiting for him to call, which he occasionally does. I’m sure he doesn’t want to burn his bridge. During their breakups, Earl gets into dating relationships with other women that sometimes go on for months and months.
When Earl’s dating relationships end, he immediately calls Charlotte, who immediately takes him back, no questions asked. They then spend a year or some amount of time smoothing things out, and then the pattern begins again. Year after year after year after… You get my point.
The other night Charlotte told us they were again broken up, and Earl was dating someone else. We had to watch her check her phone all night. It breaks my heart to see Charlotte go through this but, as I think about it and listen to my friends talk about it, I realize there are several different viewpoints.
First, Stephanie (fictional name) said that Charlotte should just hang on and be there for him, and he’ll eventually see that she’s the one. Celia (fictional name) is so disgusted that Charlotte keeps taking him back after he sleeps with other women that she had to step away from our group to eat more cookies. When I spoke with one of my not-so-sensitive guy friends about it, he said, “What kind of (not-nice word) sits there waiting for him and keeps taking him back?” As I said, not so sensitive.
I can understand that Charlotte is totally in love with this guy and will do anything for him, but isn’t love a two-way street? Shouldn’t he, likewise, be willing to do anything for her? If he really loves her, she’s the one, and he plans to be there forever anyway, shouldn’t he just suck it up, buy her a ring, and have a kid with her? It’s not like he has to squeeze the baby out; he has the easy part of the job.
The part I don’t understand and don’t have the heart to ask Charlotte is how can she just let him move back into her apartment and her life at the drop of a hat and walk around town with him with her head held high? How is she not totally humiliated when everyone knows that last week he was sleeping with someone else, and now he’s back with her?
They say it’s best to forgive and forget, and maybe this works in Charlotte’s favor because she’s apparently very good at it. Maybe when he comes back this time he’ll stay. Maybe he’ll finally realize that she’s the one. Or maybe Charlotte’s life will pass her by, she’ll never achieve her dreams of children and a family, and she’ll die old and alone. It seems like she’s taking a gamble that isn’t a good bet, but maybe some of us give up on our dreams too easily.
Personally, Charlotte’s dreams and recurring problems pale in the light of the two tables of cookies at a cookie party. Let’s all give up drinking parties in exchange for cookie parties! Woo-hoo!