There is no such thing as a lover’s oath.
I’ve written a bit about my dating patterns in past relationships:
I limited my sights to those who approached me, no matter how underwhelmed I was by their character, their accomplishments, their insights. I based my level of interest on their level of interest and once in a relationship would work desperately to foster reciprocal emotions. I found the fact that I was “out of their league” an added bonus. After all, I reasoned, it would make them less likely to leave me. I tried to stack the deck against my lovers’ exits by lavishing attention upon them, sexual favors, gifts, kind words (I write a mean love poem). But time and time again, I’d end up so unhappy, ensconced in relationships so unfulfilling and toxic, that I’d be the one to leave.
It’s finally dawned on me. So what if they leave? It’s not like I’d want someone to stay with me if they didn’t want to be there. That hardly sounds like my idea of fun, being tied to someone who resents my presence, views me as a burden they have to cart along.
My chief relationship trouble hasn’t been being abandoned, left behind, discarded. It’s been feeling like I can’t leave, even when I’m unhappy, that leaving is the worst thing you can do to a person.
But is that really so true? And are we entitled to someone else’s future if it is making that person miserable because of promises made in a different emotional reality?