Over the past week or so I have had the chance to talk with several friends about life, love and relationships. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I truly do not know how much longer I may have on this big blue/green marble (none of us really do), but a major change in health will give you new perspective on most things. One of the several things that I have learned, not just in the past couple of years, but over a life time is that relationships are complicated things. And unfortunately, they don’t necessarily get easier or less complicated the older we get.
I have a friend who has an 18-year-old daughter. The girl has been in a “serious” relationship with a guy for the past year. The problem is that the two of them do not trust each other as far as they can see. If they are not with each other they are on the phone to each other, literally non-stop. If either talks to a member of the opposite sex, then all hell breaks loose. I have heard her call the “boyfriend” names on the phone that I, personally, would never tolerate from anyone, let alone someone who supposedly cares about me. The calls get so loud and hostile, that you can hear them outside. This is not what a relationship is.
I am not naïve enough to think that all relationships are going to be honey sweet and calm. I have had some doozie arguments with ex-wives and girlfriends over the years, but not like this. I tried talking to this young woman about her relationship, but her comment was that she “loves” him and wants to marry this guy. I don’t know who to pity more, him or her. But then I am old, so perhaps I don’t understand what this new “young love” is all about.
I have another friend who is grown, late 30’s is grown, correct? His girlfriend has been out of the States for over a year now, and due to immigration problems is having difficulty getting back. So he is stuck with the kids, and trying to figure out what to do. He even went so far as to move to be nearer the border, so she can come to visit and does not have to travel far, or he can travel across the border to visit her. He doesn’t want to move to another country, but he is now thinking that it maybe his only choice.
Here is the conundrum for me. You have been with this person for several years, have children with this person, and yet you do not want to get married. You are willing to give up living in the US to live in a foreign country, but not willing to commit to being married? The obvious answer, to me, is to get married, and then bring her to the States as your wife. Granted, there will be hoops to jump through, and reams of papers to fill out, but at least you will have some hope of making a future together versus having an international border separating you.
Perhaps the biggest complaint I have with the second situation is that the reason she cannot come back into the US is due to her violating immigration law. Don’t rage against the government or other people simply because someone you love violated the law. That is like a family complaining that the mother is going to jail for embezzlement. If she hadn’t broken the law to begin with, she would not be in the situation she is in now. You make the best of the situation that you are given. If you do not like the system, then work to change the system. No law is perfect, and many are very flawed, but they are there for a reason, and to flagrantly violate them and expect forgiveness is nonsensical. Do the right thing to begin with, and then you don’t have to worry about consequences (normally).
I am really not one to give advise about relationships, I have a horrid track record as far as marriage and relationships. But I do know when the cost of a relationship is more than the benefits you are gaining, then there are serious problems. As in the case of the 18-year-old, the conflict and lack of trust tells me that you do not and should not be with that person. If you can’t trust the other person while they are out of sight or contact, then you need to leave, same if they can’t/won’t trust you. There is no reason to be dating someone if you have to micro-manage their life or they are micro-managing yours.
As far as those of us who are older, and supposedly wiser. I don’t know. Just because you get older does not mean wiser in many cases. If you are so committed to another person that you are willing to give up everything you have and move to another country, wouldn’t it make more sense to simply get married? Especially if your intended wants to be in the US? Or is there some other underlying reason that you don’t want to take that leap? Is it perhaps a fear that this person really isn’t who or what you think, and if you are married, you may have to go through all the headaches of divorce?
But then what do I know. I’ve been divorced three times, so I’m no expert on relationships, other than how to wreck them.