“It’s only right that you should play it the way you feel it, but listen carfully to the sound of your loneliness.”
This topic is one of the first ones I though of when I started thinking about starting a blog. This is one of the topics that really define my thinking and I genuinely feel like every one of my (closer) friends knows this about me: I would never EVER give up something for someone.
Is it selfish? YES. Are we allowed to be selfish? Oh, absolutely.
Let me explain: my boyfriend came home from a festival last weekend and was telling me what happened and who he saw there, the food he ate and conversations he had. One of which was with one of his friends, currently upset as his girlfriend lives in a different city than he is. She has a job there, friends, a life. He lives in a small village surrounded by nature which he loves very much. He has a job there, friends, a life. The girl told him, she can’t do long distance anymore, he doesn’t want that either. They love each other and want to be together – and not having to travel 3-4 hours everytime they want to see one another. But the twist is: she wouldn’t move to the small village, she wouldn’t give up the capital city and everything she worked for. The only possibility would be for him to move to the capital where his girlfriend of 7 years lives. So, should he give up the life he loves or the love of his life?
As my boyfriend was telling the story, I immediately knew what I would answer. But he adviced him the exact opposite I would have: if you love the person, nothing else matters. He told him to move to be with her.
I love you but I love me more.
And with self love, there is putting yourself, your dreams and life (or dreamlife) before the interests and life of others. The same goes for them – they should think of themselves first.
There are exceptions, of course. There will always be exceptions. But regarding fundamental things, we shouldn’t be pushed into situations where it doesn’t really matter what we choose, we don’t end up happy either way.
I thought about this a lot throughout the last decade and I rarely considered changing my mind, goals or even choices because of someone else. It came up whenever I had one of the hundreds of conversations about not wanting kids. It came up when I thought about my mom getting older and being alone. It came up when my mom was in a coma and it looked like I might have to put my dreams aside and take care of her. Would I have done it? Yes, probably. That would be one of the exceptions. But that’s a different story.
If the friend would choose to move to the capital city he doesn’t like, just because his girlfriend lives there, he would probably not be happy. He would be clingy to her as he doesn’t have friends there. She would get annoyed. After some years, they might split up and he would end up moving back to the village he loves, having a job he loves and realizing that he threw away some of his best years because he chose to give someone else their dream instead of living his.
Then again, maybe not…
The funny thing is, my boyfriend and I had the same issue a year ago. He was living in a different city, in a near but still different country. He decided to move to Vienna to live with me as I would’ve never moved back to Slovakia ever again (you may understand why after reading this: The Issue of National Pride). I told him to really think about it and only move, if he really feels like he wants to live here, have a job here and have his life here. I would never want anyone to move just because of me.
What if you’re not happy in the relationship anymore? What if some major issues come up but you can’t break up with your partner who gave up their life somewhere else to be with you, can you? You could, but THAT’S selfishness I would never anticipate.
Compromise is key.
I don’t know what the friend decided to do, but I’m lucky enough to live in a country with better opportunities and a higher quality of life than my boyfriend did, which was appealing to him. Therefore, even though he gave up his life somewhere else, it might be for the best. The same goes for me: if he would to move somewhere that would also be a good change for me, I would move as well. That’s the compromise I’m always looking for. Both people should be happy and be able to live their own lives, pursue their own dreams and not be dependent on the other.
Because how is one supposed to love you if you don’t love yourself?