Sometimes, no matter how strong we think we are, we all have someone who has an uncanny ability to make us lose our sensibilities. We have that one person who’s managed to get under our skin so much that we don’t see that he could be wrong, or that if we do, we make excuses for him that put him back in the right.
Katherine Hepburn, one of Hollywood’s strongest female figures, was steadfast in her demand for respect. However, when it came to Spencer Tracy, she was a big softy. She adored him from minute one of meeting him, and she stayed wrapped around his finger despite his abusive nature, his unwillingness to leave his wife, his alcoholism, and his tendency to stay tight-lipped about his feelings for her. For 27 years, she was all his, but his devotion was questionable. Hepburn once said about his feelings for her, “I can only say if he hadn’t liked me, he wouldn’t have hung around. As simple as that. He didn’t talk about it, and I didn’t talk about it. We just passed 27 years together in what was to me absolute bliss.”
I remember so many times when I’d be so frustrated with a friend for something like this. Her boyfriend would cheat on her, he’d stand her up, he’d say awful things to her, he’d put her in danger, and so on. When she’d come to me for advice, I thought it was so obvious that she should leave him. She deserved better, and was definitely capable of finding a good guy. She couldn’t stay away though. They had history, and he had a hold on her.
While I was busy being disappointed in Katherine Hepburn and frustrated with my friend for staying with (what seemed to me) less-than-worthy men, I failed to acknowledge that I was doing the same thing with my own bad for me boy. He strung me along for so long, and I couldn’t see it. When friends told me that he was a jerk or sketchy or that he was just using me or keeping me in his pocket, I’d think to myself, ‘I must have told that story wrong…’ To me he was this big sweetheart inadvertently hurting me with signs he didn’t mean to send and situationally prevented from fulfilling his desire to be with me.
Finally, I saw it for myself. I saw him in an incident that made me say out loud, “He’s such a jerk!” Suddenly it all came together. He could do wrong, he wasn’t all I built him up to be. There was no scenario he could come out winning. I no longer wanted to hold out hope for him.
Now that he’s not hanging over my head, I feel so much better. I feel free from his charms and clever for not falling for them anymore. I don’t know if I’d have gotten over him if he hadn’t been so outright mean, but now that I have, I thank the Lord I saw his character before I wasted any more time. Deep down we all know what’s right for us, and we recognize trouble when we see it. We just have to let ourselves see it.
If he looks like a jerk, acts like a jerk, talks like a jerk, then he’s a jerk. EVEN if he has some nice redeeming qualities. It’s hard to see it when you’re in it, but I think you’ll get it if you can distance yourself enough to stop making excuses for a man or imagining his motivations. The bottom line is not who he is deep down inside, it’s who he is to you. If he makes you feel badly than he doesn’t deserve the leeway you give him.