Friday, October 5, 2012


I'm a really low risk taker.  In every aspect of my life, I go with the guarantee. Right? Maybe.  Wrong? Maybe.  I spend a lot of time worrying about all of the "what ifs" in life and go with the safe route.  I've been taught my entire life "the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward" but I often find myself not willing to take the jump into the bigger risk.  I weigh the option of what I have to lose if the risk I take doesn't pan out.  Usually, I'm not willing to lose it.  So I stick with the safe route and am happy with the smaller, but guaranteed reward.

I do this in my relationships as well.  I'm not willing to make the 100% investment into a relationship for a long period of time.  I do usually begin a new relationship with an "all in" mentality.  The second I lose a hand or two, my investment begins to decrease.  I understand this is not the right way to look at it.  I believe in second chances.  I believe in third chances, and fourth, and fifth.  There comes a time when the relationship has run its course.

Now, please don't think I'm completely incapable of having a healthy relationship.  I have had the same best friend since my freshman year of high school, and many other wonderful friends for several years. I'm not talking about those relationships.  I'm talking about the toxic ones.  The ones that you want so badly to become in the category of "life longers" but no matter how hard you try, they just don't happen.  They fizzle, they run their course, a falling out happens, and they're done.  It always, always hurts.

I always think it is ironic that most of these "courses" end during a life change.  I have a complete agree/disagree conflict with the statement that you find out who your friends are when things get hard.  But you also find out who your friends are when things are incredible.  Jealousy sets in, rears its ugly head, and the gloves come off.

I learned this lesson the first time when I became engaged to Jason.  I had so much wonderful support, people to cry tears of joy with, squeal with, and jump up and down with.  Then there were the others.  The ones that were angry, that didn't speak to me for a few weeks, that said they were happy but their faces said it all.  Those that thought they should be married before me.  Those that didn't know the engagement was coming and upset they hadn't been filled in.  Those that made hateful comments about the ring Jason selected.  And somehow, somehow, a couple of them ended up in my wedding party.  I justified their hateful comments and looked past them because they were so dear to me.

I often felt like I had no one to share my excited experiences with, and spent a lot of time venting via e-mail to some of my other friends. I didn't ask a lot of these girls.  I understood they had a lot going on in their lives, and not all of it was good.  One in particular was really struggling, and I over invested myself to eliminate her struggles.  I couldn't understand why I couldn't just "fix" things for people, instead of just being there.  I was over investing while they were under investing.  Never a good combo.

I asked for my girls to show up, to be happy for me, and to make it a fun day.  I invested a lot of time into making things as easy as possible for them, and in turn made myself miserable.  The night before my wedding, things came to blows.

I had one extremely uncomfortable conversation that eventually lead to a complete shut down of our relationship.  I stopped talking.  I stopped returning calls.  I was always "busy" when plans were made. I withdrew my investment without making a single effort to figure out what happened.  I decided that it was their turn to make the investment for a while.  When they didn't, the relationship was over.

Sometimes though, the same people can create a new relationship.  About two years after my wedding, an old friend and I ran into each other.  I felt my blood boil, remembering old hard feelings.  I didn't speak.  In fact, I rudely turned the other way.  For two days, I thought about it.  I knew I had done wrong.  So I contacted her.  I apologized for my behavior, and she was kind enough to accept it.  We talked about how much we had missed out on the past couple of years by pulling our investments out completely.  Two weeks later, I found out I was expecting Ethan.  She was one of the first I shared it with.  She was incredibly supportive and thoughtful, and our friendship has never been the same as it was before she and I were both married.  Thank goodness for that.  She and I both needed to grow up a little.  We had enough of a bond that the relationship was repairable with the understanding things couldn't and shouldn't ever be the same between us.  I needed to learn how to be there for her without over investing and imposing, and I needed to learn how to explain what I needed from her without getting angry and shutting her out.  It's a rare occurrence in my life that the stars align and these things happen, but they did.  And I am so thankful they did.

I've learned a lot from my relationship with her, namely that I can't tell people "how" to fix their problems.  I'm always willing to listen, rephrase, offer insight, and give my honest opinion.  However, I've learned that is absolutely all I can do.  I can't make anyone else's decisions, and I really don't want to.  I can be invested without being over invested, and investments do not have to be "all or nothing."  Sometimes a minimal investment and loving people from afar is best.  Sometimes it is being a large part of their daily life.

And sometimes it is figuring out where you fit best in someone's life.  That is often the difficult for me, and I usually learn the hard way.  We don't always have to risk it all to have the healthiest relationships, and we don't have to invest our whole selves into another just to solidify our place.  When it comes to my relationships, I'm always happier with the guarantee that someone is always on my side.

Do you over invest or under invest? Has it ever caused an issue with a friend, family member, or spouse?

1 comment:

Jess said...

We are so alike. Of course, I over-invest.

Then, I get hurt and pull back. I'm trying to learn how to find that balance :/