Love That Adds Up To Nothing In The End

Goose eggI recently heard a story about a couple and it was so harshly real, it’s taken me a couple months to decide to write about it.  This couple was in their mid-late 20’s.  You could look at this in terms of a generation but I think it goes deeper than that.

What happened was the couple was in grad school. They had been together through most of college, close to six years and then they both graduated. He got a job out of state and wham!  He left her.  He did not stay with her, marry her, invite her to come with him or any other damned thing. He broke off the relationship and left to go live his life.

I am not sure if she knew she was in a relationship of convenience but I doubt it.  I’m also not the least bit surprised at this. An old lady like me could have told her this was going to happen. Matter of fact, this is likely to happen to the majority of people in a similar circumstance.

A minority will avoid this, because they have an old lady like me in their life (or the equivalent) and they happen to listen to her.  Outside of that I think this trend will continue for some time.

It will turn around on its own at some point though.  I think this will be inevitable as things when things become degraded enough that people have no choice but to start to think differently.

I realize this is an old story. He becomes a doctor and dumps the woman who put him through school but in this case, she’s a doctor too and he still doesn’t want her.

You’ve got to stop and ask yourself why this is. The answer is there but probably not obvious  if you’re twenty-six. I really don’t know.  I am afraid to say things because they piss people off.

If you wonder what that picture is, it’s a goose egg because that is what this woman got for investing in this man for six years.

Have you ever seen love add up to nothing?  What do you make of it?

Goose Eggs” by Chiot’s Run is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

99 thoughts on “Love That Adds Up To Nothing In The End”

  1. In a completely mutual love relationship,without question, she would have been packing her bags and HE would have been putting them in the trunk to start thier new adventure together. Im sure there is alot we dont know. She was naive to say the least and comfortable for the moment. The signs were there. She was an enabler. Not a waste of time..just another lesson learned. In one way or another alot of us have been there and done that and learned.

  2. ” Really, how is this story any different than two people who marry, make babies, then call it quits within 7 years?”

    I agree. I don’t think this has to do with being 20-something and made a point to say so. It’s just the story I had with which to start this conversation. 🙂

  3. Stephanie, i’m so sorry. It seems the world is this way, or at least North America. People are disposable it seems. And maybe that’s normal in today’s world. I dunno. Just makes me sad. And especially when there are kids involved. Think I shoulda been born in the 1800’s or something. 🙂 Although, I loved having my independence and career and not HAVING to marry anyone. So there is an upside of sorts. lol

    This kind of thing is happening with people in their senior years too. Weird. Really glad I stayed single. My heart wasn’t built to handle this stuff. Better to keep to myself. I admire those strong enough to keep trying.

    Dolce, oh I hear you. Was your guy “deep” only about his own stuff too?? lol That’s what gets me. So often they’re so lacking in self-awareness but claim they’re sooooo deep. Please. Ask them how their friends feel about stuff, they have no clue. But they can recite a thesis on their own “needs” and “wants” and “artistic integrity” “boundaries” etc. blah. They’re just too much work and never worth it.

  4. Exactly! I’d also go so far as to say that people who focus on this girl somehow being either duped or culpable through her behavior also miss the point. For all we know, she also rode the convenience train.
    The bigger picture here is that ALL of us are losing touch with a concept of love that entails sacrifice and steadfast loyalty in order to achieve true security. If love entails personal hardship, we’d rather leave it for what makes us feel happy.
    Okay, enough preaching from Cappy Moon.

  5. Avatar
    Blessed Place

    It’s very hard to generalise without knowing the people. I think people do give up very easily these days on their main relationship even if they have children. It’s a trend I deplore – it’s self-indulgent

    On the other hand there are couples who stay together long after the relationship is dead in the water, because one or the other can’t face life on their own (usually the woman) so they make do and float along the surface, pretending all is well

  6. Avatar
    Valerie Plame

    I’ve been with my bf for about 3 years. Honestly, I think about getting out all the time because I’m still in love with someone that will never love me back. But the real relationship I’m in is comfortable and I know he won’t leave me. (We dated in high school like 12 years ago and he’s never been with anyone else) It’s not like we live together or anything like that, so its easy to disconnect occasionally.
    But I think about this stuff a bit lately. Like if the man I wanted actually wanted to be with me, would I up and leave my bf? I would feel awful and I’d tell him I’m probably making the biggest mistake of my life but I won’t see it until it’s too late and I wouldn’t expect him to take me back.

    I cheated on him with someone before we got “serious” and I wouldn’t do it again just because I’d feel like an asshole and I would probably lose respect for him if he let me get away with it.

    The last couple weeks I’ve been making steps toward going back to school. I’m interested in the pharmacy tech program at the community college. The first term is $3300. I filled out financial aid info last week and found out I qualify for ~$4800 in Pell grant. However, the pharmacy tech program is non-credit and I cannot use federal financial aid to pay for it.
    I’m on unemployment and they won’t pay for it as job training, either.
    I’ve never had a credit card or a loan or anything beyond hospital debt that was written off as charity(I’m actually hoping they’ll write off my most recent stay, as I’m below the poverty line, and I’m mailing my financial statement today). I don’t want to take out a student loan unless its my last viable option. I’m thinking about selling my panties on the internets to pay for school!

    Anyway, my bf said he would loan me the money, which I never asked him for, but I need to be super serious about doing it.

    It would be easy to take the money, but I don’t want to take his money. It’s not even about having to pay it back, which could take me a couple years. Its because I don’t want the money to be an obligation to stay in the relationship, or that I feel I have to do certain things because he’s paying for my school.

    If I decide to jump ship, I don’t want to feel like I took advantage of him.

    I haven’t decided if that makes me a good person, a bad person or just a person that wants to cover their ass.

  7. Avatar
    Valerie Plame

    BTW, I have Venus ~2* Capricorn/6th and I still feel assaulted from Pluto’s conjunction.


  8. @CLD – yep and he was always happy to tell me how NOT deep I was in comparison to his amazing-ness. It was so annoying. I can laugh at it now, thank goodness. But it took a while to get to that point!

  9. Sigh, well. You could say that every time you’re in a relationship you learn more about being in a relationship. And quite honestly love, in the material sense, really almost always adds up to nothing because even if you stay together for 50 years one day one person is going to die and leave the other at the very least.

    You have to be tremendously mature and balanced to be in a longterm committed relationship. If you’re not, it’s going to add up to nothing. If you are, it’s going to end one way or another anyway.

    Every time I hear a story like this I think people should look at their relationships in terms of how they enriched their lives. Just because it ended doesn’t mean it wasn
    t valuable throughout the time it was going on. In committed relationships, you get shared expenses, mutual enrichment, resource matching, job sharing, car pooling, validation and the reasurance that you exist for as long as that person is in your life. It’s like having a job you didn’t stay at. You might be depressed it’s not there anymore, but you can’t say they didn’t pay you.

  10. I’m 27 and was in a doomed relationship for 6 years, break-up-to-make-up kinda thing. I realize in hindsight that for every 10 things I compromised to be with this man, there was ONE thing he gave me that blew all that out of the water. What I’m trying to say is that, bottom line, it was convenient, otherwise we wouldn’t have lasted so long.

    At the end of it I grew up enough to see a fork in the road. Either I’m going to approach my relationships blindly, and suffer the consequences, or approach them with an intention. After him, I had a one-year thing with a different man. From the start, we were clear about boundaries and what we wanted. It was wonderful, we got along great. Knowing it couldn’t last long-term, we ended things amicably. No hard feelings, no temptation to hold on in desperation.

    Relationships have always been something that ripped my heart to pieces by the end. So this is a big step for me that I can leave one, with a man who was so wonderful and perfect, and be grateful for the experience, as opposed to being upset by the loss.

  11. Um, yeah, classic…

    My question is, how are you supposed to get over something like this and ever trust in love again?

    If, haha, I were Lady Doc, I’d take up the stance that I can provide for myself. If someone comes along who is wonderful, great, but be extremely suspicious of everyone, because they were a liability. Heart break is a huge waste of time and, hence, a huge liability. And to someone who could go either way on having kids…

    How do you trust and love after something like this?

  12. Well, after six years of being together, did they not discuss future plans? Why would you date someone long term who isn’t talking long term commitment. Did she think that he would change his mind? It is bad enough when someone lies or deceives you, but don’t lie to yourself. Hell yeah, I have seen this and it is always seems to be the woman who is lying to herself.

  13. I dont know of anyone like this that is close to me. But I habe noticed that people who are or have been in these convenience relationships stick together, like they befriend each other. I think this is a personality trait more than an issue of maturity, for both parties. I doubt either of them will regret not marrying the other. They probably were not looking for longevity within a relationship in the first place.. Like josi said this probably wasn’t love..

  14. I think CP and Raven win this thread for awesome comments.

    Bretagne, I’m very sorry to hear what happened with your relationship.

    On the generational front: I see this attitude happening a lot with myself and my peers, that we refuse to get emotionally involved/invested because we saw our parents’ marriages end so often in acrimony and divorce.

    I would like to change this for myself. I don’t know how but I’ve been trying to listen to Saturn’s lessons. My ex-fiance wants to come back into my life now that he has conquered some personal battles of survival and I’m considering it. I am surprised to find that I am now only interested in something that will last, and this is how I am basing my analysis. Saturn is due to hit my Mars/Moon in Libra in a few months and I think I’m feeling it early. No more goose eggs, thank you!

  15. Krustallos – I think most do after time passes. But I was one who did exactly what you wrote. Put my faith in myself and pretty much gave up. It wasn’t until recently that I really checked my chart and realized why it was harder for me to trust again. It’s in my chart – this sort of situation – so that sealed it. I’m done forever with trust/love in that sense. It’s just never ever going to work for me. Kind of a relief to know.

  16. I don’t think gestures of Love can be wasted; my metaphysics rejects the idea that actions are without consequence, so any action that is truly loving would be “good karma”, so to speak. Love in this definition isn’t a feeling as much as an action that yields well-being for self or other.

    So – as I have been “abandoned” – does it mean I received a goose egg? Not in my estimation. My ex provided me with frequent opportunities to love, and he in turn often loved me back. My actions were no more wasted than his, even if our times together have ceased for now.

    I find myself sad, hurt, disappointed, and angry at times. But I never doubt the worth of my love or his.

  17. Loved this post and comments. I can’t think of anything else to add. Daisynymph’s comments on personal responsibility probably fits most with my view.

    All sorts of layers to consider in this scenario. We need to know each person’s true intent, and only they know. And sometimes, they aren’t aware themselves. Life moves along quickly and if we aren’t taking the time to truly know ourselves and our intent, we may find ourselves in unintended circumstances. Yet, we are still responsible for what we’ve created. Sometimes trapped.

    Someone mentioned “serial relationships”. I don’t think they used that wording…something more like “disposable relationships”. Sad commentary on our culture. Very sad. I remember this concept being taught in Anthropology Class a couple decades ago.

  18. What struck me as I carried this topic and the rich and varied discussion that’s ensued through my day…

    The story itself is as old as time, I think. But in my lifetime, what seems to have crept into the forefront that worries and saddens me is the increasing acceptance of discarding a committed relationship without much consequence or stigma.

    As I was thinking I recalled that more and more I have been hearing a term, “starter marriage” used in an offhand, casual manner. I don’t mind saying that it creeped my crawlies as I pondered the implications that, in some circles its now taken as a matter of course that something as sacrosanct as a marriage vow has come to signify nothing more than ‘practice’ for some future, real thing.

  19. I think in this situation, the woman isn’t always the victim. It goes both ways. Perhaps the woman did everything for him in order to gain some kind of power. After all if you are always “nice”, you can use that as a powerful guilt trip. Maybe the man simply found a good time to get out before it kept going down in a spiral. Who knows the inner dynamics though.

    My two friends dated for 6 years and broke up. They are back together now. They were each others first boyfriend/girlfriend. They are living together. Often, I find that people live together without getting married out of convenience. People might say that marriage is a piece of paper, but it takes a lot more commitment to get that than to live together. I think that most of the time these days, relationships end up at dead ends. There is nothing to work for, nowhere to go. You can do everything together now as a couple without having the balls to step up and mutually sacrifice for anything.

    Just my opinion. I’m a little traditional. 🙂

  20. Milestones are where some people break up. You see a couple break up after the last kid is out of school. People break up after their own graduation. Divorced dads promising to marry after the lst kd graduates, then breaks up instead.

    It was never a good time to breakup, but you can bet the decision was made much eariiler, baring some radical announcement, like after graduation, I want to live quite differently than I led you to believe. Maybe the milestone acts as a deadline. The person is unsure whether they have been in a. Temporary valley with a person. But there is a difference in hanging in there until a deadline to try, and secretly planning an exit for a long time during a period of sacrifice.

    Some people have never separated from home, and couples who meet young, in college or high school, run the risk of having one or both being crutch people. People that just fill a void, but just because you can’t live alone or it it just too darn hard to date, and besides, he or she has great furniture and a good place. Its too expensive to move….integrity is less important to these people and or they are fearful…and possibly lazy if they are intentionally leading someone on. I call chickenshit on that myself.

  21. Delooped wrote:
    @Glenn I wonder if the lesbian culture works like that as well, I find people do get very emotionally involved even as casuals. I dunno.

    The lesbian community is no different than any other. I never thought I as a lesbian would *have to* dodge a bullet myself, as I’m fairly selective about my partner. There are actresses out there and I got quite involved in a play it seems. One of the first questions asked was, “You probably have a lot of money.” Luckily, I moved on after 3-4 months. Much more to the story… Suffice to say, I’m *very* leery of New Agers. Wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  22. is it bad that i’m not even surprised by this? i don’t mean that about the particular people involved, but the situation. i think grad school sort of feels like an extension of college to some. oh i’m in SCHOOL, then i’ll grow up. alternatively maybe he’s always put his career first and wasn’t willing to make any sort of sacrifice for her. i agree with the previous points except that there had to be signs. maybe he was one person in grad school and flipped a switch.

  23. really interesting comments – i’m just getting a chance to read them more carefully now.

    the thing i find really interesting is this phenomenon of dumping a ltr at one of life’s milestones. i think a milestone does galvanize. or as others have said, the relationship loses the convenience factor. but that just means they were trundling along unfulfilled for a while beforehand. sometimes that’s harder to notice than we’d think. ugh, depressing!

  24. Avatar

    Our daughter dropped her boyfriend for another man. It wasn’t quite as bad as the example above, but it was still sudden and somewhat of a shock. We had the former botfriend over for dinner four days earlier. So perhaps this kind of thing is also interesting in terms of the other people that are often affected.

    Sorry, I meant to refer to eve’s writing above, but could not edit.

  25. @stephanie – this type of situation can have many reasons behind it I think. It could be one party is being deceived, deceiving themselves, or it could be a mutual convenience – as you pointed out. I agree with you in that this is a common trend and many times it is spawned from an inability to work through changing life phases WITH a partner, instead of leaving them behind.

  26. I agree with Blessed Place. Also I think many people are rather unimaginative. They have this set little formula in their brain of the way life is and they get all weirded out if they think they haven’t done XYZ. Maintaining relationships takes work and leaving one that you know is dead in the water takes integrity.

    I was left after 8 years by someone who I helped through a VERY bad time. However many years before, he had left another woman he’d been together with for years after another tragedy in his life (his brother died). He had a Stellium in Scorpio and had that ‘scorched earth’ approach

    I don’t ming though. I’m with someone far more suitable for me who is more present of mind and willing to work through challenges.

  27. That’s what I’m talking about – “willing to work through challenges”. Few do that anymore, or want to try at least. Whole thing is just sad.

  28. Kashmiri– that happened with a couple celebrities I followed. Do you ever watch “Dexter”? Right after the main actor recovered from non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma, he left his wife (who played his sister) for another woman he met on the show. After that, I could never watch it after that.

  29. Solaire’s opening prose says it all. Yes, I have loved in many ways on many levels, each unique, yet I have paid a very heavy price of loss. The couple in this story had not began to self-actualise when they fell into step; still carrying the past influences of parents and schooling into the relationship; these formed the basis for that common ground.

    On graduating, a whole new world of opportunity and possibility opens and the one partner, quiet rightly, accepted the invitation to experience a new facet of life; new location, job, contacts. It’s both understandable and necessary. The woman had the same opportunity if she wanted to explore it. Maybe after the break up, she did.

    On why he didn’t include her in any of his future adventures is exactly that: adventure. You can’t have an adventure into unkown territory bringing the weight of the past with you; kind of cramps the style and slows the progress. By being offered a job in a different state, we could see this as a signal to break with the past if it happened to us. We don’t know the dynamics, the characters or anything about these two people or whether they were ever compatable. Many people are content with their relationships simply because the partner is there, there is a routine, there is security in them being there routinely. As most couples will spend precious free time watching movies together instead of living together, little is explored or known beyong the first thrusts of attraction.

    This woman was at the beginning of adult life, how then, to compare with the more devastating experience of the 50-60 something woman who has raised children, housekept, entertained, contributed a salary, looked after his family members, taken on board all manner of family issues and comforted he and his family through maybe 30 years of marriage?

    What does he do? He’s maybe reaching retirement with the rest of his life to consider, it’s a serious business. He loves and appreciates his wife but oh, all those georgeous women out there!Including the ones he’s been involved with over the years whilst wifey’s been busy turning a blind eye.

    Some woman (usually younger) he’s involved with or becomes involved with gets her hooks in deep; she’s hooked on the man and can’t help it. Rationale goes out the window; the should’s and shouldn’ts, rights and wrongs ….. the girlfriend has the power to destroy his marriage anyway by telling the wife and he doesn’t want to hurt his wife.

    After many dramas, the wife wakes up to the gruesome reality of loss. She was working so hard for that rainbow at the end of a long hard uphill climb. Retirement for him would have meant retirement for her, too. They had planned to travel, build or buy a home in ‘paradise’ maybe open a small business together ………

    Gone. Divorce. Eventual ‘settlement’. The pain of rejection at the point where her body’s gone well and truly to pot figurewise, her face bears the ravages of time and stress, her hair’s gone grey with age and worry and she realises, she has no friends because of her investment in her man and children left no time or energy.

    For such women, they are left with the prospect that even their children, will, in time, accept the new partner in their father’s life and their children will become the grandchildren of this stranger; maybe she’ll have children of her own with the man. Her own children, tired of her venom and pain may actually prefer the new woman in their father’s life; everyone deserves happiness, don’t they?

    It is these women who I have always felt so sorry for; a lifetime of love, hard labour and sacrifice for absolutely no returns except grief, pain, isolation and often, destitution.

    For the woman experiencing this, it is like a young cuckoo has snuck into the nest, thrown out all the couple’s nest eggs and made home. No effort or investment to reap such rich rewards at another’s inevitable expense. Don’t get me wrong, for the new woman, it may have been hell for her as well and you know the kind of advice given to her will be ‘he has to make the choice; you or his wife’. Men aren’t good at that sort of thing; he loves his wife and knows the betrayal of their future, is aware of her heavy investments in supporting his career …. but, oh, this other woman is vibrant, alive, sexy, passionate and totally in love with him …. his future could be exciting and he would never forgive himself if he let the opportunity pass … forever. He does not want to live with that kind of regret. Are we any different, really?

    How does an abandoned wife/mother/grandmother get through this shock? She’s left with tainted memories instead of dreams.

    The scenario isn’t exclusively man leaving wife as women are known to play the reverse reality.

    Back in the days when we had family unity within an extended family community, these scenarios would not be possible and when they did occur (for love is blind of customs) the justice of the community would prevail and at the very least, the wife would not feel abandoned.

    The fact is that we do not function well in this system of separation and materialism. We are not taught right relationship or shown through examples within our families or communities. The state of our ‘affairs’ reflects an isolation and insecurity for which we are not designed to function at our best. We hardly know ourselves,let alone, another.

  30. Shaina, I haven’t watched but I think I understand the phenomena (having lived it, yes, but also inherently understanding it).

    In the case of my ex, his Neptune opposed my Chiron/IC. I’ve never actually thought of that before posting on this thread but it does make a lot of sense, when I think of the synastry. He considered me an integral part of his healing, as did I but he is the kind of person to burn it down and start again, elsewhere.

    Also I just realized his Aquarius Chiron/8th squared mine in synastry. Interesting.

  31. I should say, too, I don’t begrudge him for his scorched earth way, AT ALL. Some might, but I’m just not built like that. It’s hard to explain.

  32. DaftAida, I’m in total agreement on your analysis of the situ. Avoiding becoming that middle aged abandoned wife is one of the reasons I never gave up my career for my husband. There were times when it probably woud have been more convenient if I did, but I took the hard path and kept it going. Divorce is a bitch financially, but I am in no worse of a position than my ex. Moreover, we didn’t have kids, although that’s plus/minus, since I also don’t get child support. But single motherhood is hard for everyone I know in that position. I must admit that part of the reason I never had kids was that I never felt 100% secure my ex could fully participate in parenting. He’s mentally ill and actually has been getting worse with age… In a lot of ways I’m better off being free of him, so I can pursue my own “happiness,” much like the man in the scenario you describe.
    In any case, I don’t understand any woman who lets herself become entirely dependent on a man in this day and age, when the culture as a whole has decided that personal happiness is the highest calling of an individual. All relationship ties are precarious in such a climate. The only responsible thing to do is take care of yourself first.

  33. Oh, and a note on the astrology: I’m super Marsy and Saturn, and thus I think well positioned to play the man’s game in this society. Yet as I age and begin to understand and appreciate other women’s more traditionally feminine choices in their life path, I am becoming increasingly outraged by how those choices are devalued in our culture. It’s remarkably short-sited in terms of the future of our civilization, much less our species.

  34. @DAFTAIDA, you are such a great writer and a great example of explaining examples further. You really need to write a book. I would love to read all your writing materials. I’m a type of person who needs to go deeper in what someone is sharing. I appreciate your thought process. Thank you!

  35. Yes, I shared the same grim determination that whatever would happen in my life, it wouldn’t be that! Yes, me too regards a more empathic understanding of the necessary contribtion to live women make for all of us by birthing and raising children. Share the ‘outrage’ of how all procreative life and nurturance has been demeaned and (more often in animals) brutalised.

  36. Dear Siddiyas, thank you for your timely compliments as I have resolved that there is only one sane way to achieve closures in my life’s experiences is to write them out. To that end, I’m exploring the possibility of self-publishing so your kind encouragement acts as a prompt! Saturn’s grumbling around my natal moon, so I’m a bit sleepy with the practicles. Blessings.

  37. DaftAida, I completely agree with what you are saying. I’ve spent decades trying to get this acknowledged, and people always avoided discussing it. So I determined either I was missing something important and didn’t understand the issue, or people were just selfish jerks.

    I am thankful for your post and even more for it’s positive reception. Bravo to Stephanie and siddiyas for recognizing DaftAida’s legitimate argument!

  38. Great thread Elsa. @Shaina:Thanks

    “Maintaining relationships takes work, and leaving one that you know is dead in the water takes integrity.” Spot on Kashmiri . The trick is knowing the difference.

    Maybe there are always insecure or unconscious people who just use people…for the variety of reasons many have posted.

    I also believe we are in the transition from the old ways of tradition and societal rules and group pressure etc (lower chakras:survival) and the freedom brought by individuation and maturity … (higher level functioning) only we aren’t quite grown up yet (well most of us aren’t)

    So the old is gone or going…and the new is not quite here yet.

    We cant or don’t want to just follow old unconscious rules/patterns/paradigms anymore… yet we aren’t always mature enough to make clear choices.

    So we have to make it up as we go….and the result is often chaos. Maybe the people in the story are caught in the middle. Maybe we all are.

  39. uhm, this may seem old fashioned and kind of reactionary, but i think it’s dumb to move in with someone you aren’t married to.
    even living within a minute of a boyfriend can make things horrendous if it breaks down.

    i always thought my habit of keeping my independence and separation from boyfriends, and the fast breakups when it didn’t feel right, were a function of the uranus/venus aspect. and that’s probably part of it. but i have saturn venus, too. i think i realized that if i wasn’t going to feel comfortable bonded with someone, i wasn’t going to stay.

    but, back to the topic. moving in. entwines one’s lives in weird ways, and without some kind of firm commitment leaves people very very vulnerable to the other. and their insecurities and immaturity. and allows people the liesure to avoid growing up themselves and developing a sense of independence, so i often see them staying with their partner because they feel they “need” them. convenience.

    and so, things like this happen. i can’t blame the guy without knowing the full story. perhaps he needed to learn to fly. it seems pretty likely that she does too.

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