Special Thanks to Joseph Enge and Tim Chiswell
Based on real events
A good American acquaintance of mine, Joe told me a story once that shifted my mindset to a different level, one which I could not have foreseen.
Joe, a bright and handsome student at a college in the US came to meet, long ago, a beautiful blonde girl called Tanya, who was of Norwegian descent. Not only was she beautiful – she was an astounding and stunning girl, and she found Joe an interesting person so she went out with him on a date one day. Joe thought the evening was great, but Tanya herself, however, came across to him as a little shallow and not so smart, although she certainly stood out when they entered the nice restaurant they went to. The next day, Joe was in the library studying with his friend John, who was of Greek descent, when he suddenly saw Tanya, who came up to him to say ”Thank you for the wonderful evening yesterday!” Joe parted ways in a nice manner by extending a friendly smile to her and waving goodbye. Now, as Greeks are stereotypically crazy about blonde girls, John of course asked Joe if he would be going out with her again – to which Joe replied that he didn’t really fancy doing so, however good she looked. His friend was in awe. ”How? Why not? May I ask her out instead then?” Joe said that he was completely fine with that.
To put it in a nutshell, one thing led to another and John eventually married Tanya. They had a daughter and moved to live in a very fancy suburb of San Francisco. John majored in business studies and ended up working for big international corporations, often in Nigeria or other such foreign places. Such great distance made John feel very uncomfortable, unhappy about being so far away from Tanya and their little baby. On top of that he disliked the corporate atmosphere he was working in, but nevertheless he was paid very well -at least it was more than enough to support both his beloved wife and their child. Sad to say, Tanya could not stand the distance any more than John could, but for her this manifested in her cheating on John. It came to him as a huge shock when she filed for a divorce, seemingly out of the blue. Later he found that his Tanya had betrayed him. Of course, when she finally moved out she took half of his hard-earned assets and his daughter with her, and then moved back to live with her parents, far away in Minnesota. He was left having to pay tremendous monthly amounts for child support despite the fact that he could only see his daughter every once in a blue moon, since Tanya made it very difficult for him to see their baby, on top of living so far away.
As I listened to Joe attentively, he continued his story by saying ”The last I heard he was still having a very difficult time, and was also stabbed in the back by his business partners years later, after the divorce. I hope and pray he is doing well again now, but I have my doubts…” after reflectively taking another deep puff on his Mallboro cigarette, he continued ”…and so it turns out that I dodged the bullet, walking away from her after that date, and I am happy I did it immediately, not after a decade or two. I am happy”.
I simply stared at Joe, as my jaw dropped wide. You see, I was raised in the environment where it was always thought that the ending of a relationship was a failure, that the ultimate goal for everyone was to find a relationship, and that the goal of every relationship was permanence. It came to me as a shocking wave of pity, because I felt so bad for John at that moment, that life had struck at him so unfairly. But then again, Joe had a good point and that made a thought jump up into awareness from the basement of my brain: Why should I actually feel bitter or be sad about breaking up with my girlfriend? Why would anyone feel the same way if they break up with their partner? On the contrary, they could feel blessed – they may have dodged a bullet at the right moment, and not wasted any more of their time!
As my friend put it ”…do not think of the ending of a relationship as a failure. If the relationship has served its purpose then it is done, and it succeeded in what was required of it. You can compare it to your career. If you work happily somewhere for a few years before finding a better job elsewhere, your work in the previous place is not considered a ‘failure’ but rather as valuable experience that has moved you on towards your ultimate goal or the next stage of your journey. The failure would be to not move on, to keep clinging on after you see that no more progress can be made”.
Think of this journey as an exciting but potentially dangerous one. Sometimes life points a gun at you and shoots that little bastard bullet, aimed at your heart with only one intention – to break you down and make you crawl, afraid to stand up again. Joe’s story, and my friend’s viewpoint on life, taught me that no matter what shatters the core of your world or brings you down, you have to move on. You have to pull yourself together and keep walking. So if you have recently broken up with your loved one, whether you were together for one date or many years, just think of it as a step forward – and if it did not end well between the two of you, just think to yourself: ”I have dodged a bullet, and I’m moving forward! I am a bullet dodger!”