Start With The End In Mind

by Annie Kaszina on January 21, 2007

A young woman I know fell in love about 10 days ago. ‘Falling in love’
may be a slight overstatement or it may not be. She saw him quite a lot
for a few days and she was certainly very taken. He’s tall, dark, very
good-looking, dresses well, he’s courteous, affectionate, he rushes to
open doors for a woman and does a nice line in gazing deeply into her
eyes and making her feel special.

They made a great couple. Everybody said so; all her friends and the cast of thousands that young people have around them.

The romance was as beautiful as it was brief. The first evening she
couldn’t spend with him she asked: “What are you doing this
evening?” He replied:

“I’ll get stoned.”

Now drug taking doesn’t sit well with her, so she asked him: “Do you often get stoned?” (She genuinely hadn’t known.) He replied: “You don’t want to know.” In that he was absolutely right. She didn’t want to know. She wanted to keep her romance alive. But still she asked the question again. Because she needed to know.

He told her he had got stoned every day for the past 3 years. Then she asked about other drugs. He admitted to doing hard drugs also. But ‘only a few times’.

Still, he too wanted to hold onto the dream. So he said to her that since he had been with her he had halved his drug consumption. She asked him whether he had thought about giving up. He replied that plenty of other people had thought about him giving up, but drugs are part of who he is. He doesn’t want to give up. He thinks he probably could if he wanted to, but he doesn’t.

At that point the romance died for her. It died for two reasons: first, they don’t share the same values; second, he may well have an addictive personality.

In the longer term they could never have the kind of relationship she wants. Happily, this young woman has a clear idea in mind of the kind of relationship she wants for herself. Not just today, or tomorrow, or next week, but months and years down the line.

That vision has given her the courage to walk away from something that almost looked so promising. She isn’t going to try to change him, or make excuses for him – and, yes, he has had major difficulties to deal with in his not too distant past.

Because she has the end in mind – the end being a loving, healthy relationship – she can see how far this brief relationship falls short and she can let it go. It wasn’t easy for her, it took courage, but still she was able to let it go.

Unlike so many of us, who at some point have settled for 75% – or maybe rather less – of what we want, she was not prepared to compromise on her core values. It makes me think of the old Meatloaf lyrics:

“I want you
I need you
But — there aint no way Im ever gonna love you
Now dont be sad
cause two out of three aint bad”

Not for Meatloaf maybe. But the truth is that for many of us compromising on the partner we truly want and need has been all but soul-destroying.

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