One of the many stories I heard about my Dad over the last few weeks involved a scuffle he had with his insurance company. When my step-mom was diagnosed with invasive scleroderma in 1997, there was no treatment for the disease. My parents heard of an experimental trial for the disease and my father got my step-mom into the program. Part of the trial involved having my step-mom fitted for a stint that was inserted into her chest. The doctor who headed up the trial had developed a medicine that would flow through the stint and would soften the tissue that covered the internal organs, namely the heart, so that they could function properly, despite all the scar tissue that had developed. (Invasive scleroderma affects the external as well as internal skin/tissue.)
Initially, this medication was not covered by any insurance. My father found that unacceptable and engaged in a several month to year long dispute with his insurance over this. Now, my Dad can be rather…persuasive. Between his ability to reason and argue to his reach in various communities, he had some influence. He rarely ever used that influence to such a degree. But this was different. Eventually, the insurance company conceded and my step-mom’s medicine was covered under his insurance.
He wasn’t arguing over money. Money wasn’t the issue. My Dad would have taken a job at the corner donut shop to cover what the medicine cost and wouldn’t have blinked an eye. This wasn’t about a few hundred dollars.
He was fighting for my step-mother’s life. That’s how fiercely devoted they were to each other. If there was one place you never wanted to get caught, it was between my step-mother’s cross hairs when it came to my father. Cancer schmancer. She would (and still can) level you. I say that in a reverential, respectful way.
Next time you’re in a quandry about Facebook friending that dude you just met, or all twisted up because some ex is stalking your Facebook page, or in a huff because that guy from Match didn’t mention anything specific to your profile in his message to you, consider this:
If something as insignificant as this can trip you up, what are you going to do when things get real?
We all hear people (mostly women) about how they refuse to settle. (Yawn.) The stories always revolve around what those people refuse to give up, like attraction or stability. Well, derp. Nobody will argue that those things are important. How convenient. And that’s what the “I won’t settle” is: an excuse of convenience. Rarely do you hear these people say, “I want someone I can fight for.” They might say they want someone who will fight for them, of course. Because it’s all about them and what a partner can do for them. I blame fairy tales for that.
We all heard those stories about men fighting wars and crossing mountains to be with their true love. But we never heard the tales of the princess who took on soldiers to release her love from prison or to save his life. It was always the man doing it for the woman. Never the other way around. Through these stories, we were conditioned to believe that that is how it should be.
Somewhere along the way, I think men got tired of fighting for us. They might woo us, spend money on us, etc. But would they fight for us? I don’t know. I think men are fatigued at the thought of that, because nothing ever seems to be enough.
I’m not sure I want to be in a relationship where both people are not willing to do battle for each other. It shouldn’t be that people only fight to salvage a relationship when they are threatened with the loss of it. It should be that there is an ongoing threat of loss. Because, let’s face it, there is. At any given moment you could lose your partner. They could find someone else, or get tired of you. Or die.
Pledging commitment is only the first step. It is not a guarantee. Some people are so eager for commitment. They never seem to think about what comes after that. Which is probably why so many people implode before they ever even get to that point.
The more I read articles that revolve around pedestrian, juvenile “dramas” and “issues”, the more obvious it becomes to me why so many people find dating so “hard.” I happen to believe that people get stuck on such superficial non-problems because, deep down, they know they don’t have what it takes to actually have a relationship. They don’t want to do the work or takes the risks. They certainly don’t have the ability to fight for someone because they’re too busy obsessing over their own “problems.” Me, me, me. Poor, wounded, fragile, under-appreciated me. Show me. Prove yourself to me. Do for me. Feel sorry for me. The self-victimizing, wounded nonsense abounds in the blogsosphere. Get over it already.
The real question you should ask yourself when you’re dating someone and considering commitment is this:
Will they fight for me? Better yet…would I fight for them? Would I give something up to be with them? If you have to think about the answer to that, you’re not as ready as you think you are. I’ll go further and politely ask you to step aside. You’re just slowing down the line. Honestly, if you can’t figure out when to Facebook Friend someone or what to say in a text or are still trying to navigate the oh so tricky world of FWBs, you need to move it along. You’re creating a Dating Bottleneck. You are the three car pile up on the High Way of Love.
Really. It isn’t that difficult. Do or do not. There is no try, as Yoda said. You’re pretending to try, but actually you are doing not. Or naught.