Dear Me: Cringe Worthy Moments
Posted on October 28, 2012 in Fun by Sandra Bienkowski
“The challenge of life is to be awake in your life and constantly participate in your life.” Susan Sarandon
Most mornings my husband reads Dear Abby as he goes through the morning newspaper. He often says, “Babe, you have to read this one; it’s good.” Usually that means one of two things. 1. Someone has written in with a problem we can’t wrap our heads around. Or 2. Dear Abby doled out a big dish of reality check. (Sometimes both)
There was the letter from a woman who said her husband had an affair with the woman who lives next door. Her husband claimed the affair was over but was insistent that the three of them continue their friendship like nothing happened. The wife had a sneaking suspicion the affair might not be over, and it was making her crazy to play nice and all socialize together.
There was another letter from a wife who was devastated to find out her husband doesn’t want to reverse his vasectomy as promised when they were dating. Desperately wanting kids, she doesn’t know what to do now that her husband has no interest in having a baby post-marriage.
Easily there’s at least one letter a week that makes me cringe. It’s like the answers are screaming at them, but they are oblivious. It bugs me because I can relate.
We all have moments in our lives we look back on and wonder what in the heck we were thinking. I could write my own top 10 cringe list, complete with embarrassing decisions I made in the past from jobs that were a waste of my time and talent, to boyfriends no parent would want you to bring home. But I don’t regret my less than stellar moments, because my missteps shook me awake, and now I am wiser and more decisive as a result.
The goal, as I see it, is to only have cringe worthy moments, not a cringe-filled life. It requires taking a hard look at your mistakes and repeated patterns. It’s about accepting responsibility for the role you play in your own messes, so you can make better decisions going forward.
Unfortunately, it seems like many people live lives half awake, refusing to take a look at their own behavior, or staying stuck on a Merry-go-Round of the same problem. Denial is a tricky thing and it consumes some people in moments, other people entirely. Only when you realize you are the common denominator of your problems, and it’s your job to fix them, does life improve.
If you are writing Dear Abby a letter wondering if you should continue the friendship with the woman who had an affair with your husband, it’s time to get reality back in your line of vision because you aren’t even asking the right questions. Long before asking if you should stay friends with a woman who cheated with your husband, you should ask yourself if you should stay with your husband. Ask what it says about your husband’s character that he cheats, AND wants you to take a front row seat for a painful and demoralizing friendship trio. While you are at it, you might want to ask yourself what it says about you to let people treat you this way. When there’s no respect, a relationship is over.
As for the woman who suddenly finds herself married to a man who doesn’t want kids, I immediately wonder how long they dated prior to marriage. Your partner’s character shouldn’t surprise you post-nuptials. I find marriage works best when you know what you’re getting. If you are in a healthy, committed relationship, the intimacy should be such that you can ask or talk about anything, and not be surprised about an issue as big as having kids once the walking down the aisle part is over.
Before people type these letters to Dear Abby, I think they should first ask themselves one question: Do I already have the answer? Sometimes asking for advice is just a stall tactic to avoid making painful decisions and taking action that isn’t easy. When you are brave enough to say to yourself: “Okay, I already have the answers here, now what should I do?” It’s empowering.
No one knows you better than you know yourself. No offense to Dear Abby, but most people probably don’t need to write that letter. You don’t need anyone to tell you what to do; you just need someone to tell you that you already have the answer … because you do.