I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014


We’re constantly told that a man should be independent: he should have his own car, his own place, and his own job. He should be self-sufficient and stand on his own two feet with no help from anyone else. We are told that we should live our lives and to hell with what anyone else thinks. We are encouraged to put ourselves first because if we don’t, who will?

In relationships we are told to value our boyfriends. We are told that our boyfriends should be an important part of our lives. We are told that we should share and bring to the table equally. So, on the one hand we should be selfish and on the other we should be considerate partners. This contradiction in perspectives begs the question: can you be selfishly in love?

I met my friend, Hank*, for lunch recently. He had been hot and heavy with a reformed fuck buddy with whom he had decided to build a relationship. When I asked how things were going, he nonchalantly told me that he had ended the two-month affair. I asked him why and he said there was a lot of miscommunication that had led to them breaking up.

“He took me out of my comfort zone to the point that I thought I would go insane,” he said.

He proceeded to rant about the guy having issues that he needed to work through and he concluded by saying, “I had to be selfish — it was him or me.”

After leaving lunch and hopping on the metro, I thought about our conversation. Something about what Hank had said unsettled me. I played his words over in my head the whole ride home. I was exiting the subway station when I realized what was bothering me: Hank hadn’t been in a relationship with that guy, he’d been in a battle with his ego.

Hank is the kind of guy that denies any need for external validation but consistently seeks it. He has an Instagram full of gym shots and tasteful nudes, but he denies that he desires for people to admire his body. He will aggressively assert his opinions but he is often unsure of his feelings. Hank wants to be monogamous and married with children but he has cheated in almost every relationship that he has ever been in and is hesitant when it comes to commitment. Hank, like most of us, carries a disparity between the person that he wants to be and the person that he is. This is not unusual nor is it his biggest problem. His biggest problem is that when the opportunity comes for him to take the evolutionary leap towards being a different him, he punks out. This is what really happened in his affair with his former fuck buddy. When Hank said, “It was him or me,” he was describing a moment when the relationship had challenged him to grow beyond the person that he is and become someone different (hopefully better) and because that moment threatened his ego’s current method of defense, he had attacked the relationship.  He had an opportunity to reconcile himself unto himself and he refused.

The yearning to love and be loved is a natural drive people have but when we have been indoctrinated by a culture that constantly tells us to insist on ourselves, it contradicts our natural loving instincts to care for someone as much as we care for ourselves. It confuses the ego and sends a person into a cycle where they always almost find love and then it all seems to fall apart. This happens when a person has not achieved self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is really about reconciling the gap between who we are and who we want to be. People that do not reconcile this difference develop fragile egos that are constantly on the defense. Their every decision is about protecting their ego and shrouding the parts of themselves that they cannot accept and will not change in defense mechanisms.

Hank spent months after the breakup trying to convince himself that he’d made the right decision. As I heard him retell the breakup story over and over again, the fuck buddy got more damaged and unbearable in description. To the end that people began to congratulate Hank for having the sense to leave the guy alone. It’s a perverted scene watching the brokenhearted commiserate, but they declare their it’s all about me right now mantras and rush proudly on in lovelessness.

I submit to you that relationships affect the very core of your being. They exist to challenge our egos and everything we think we know. They chip away at our emotional defenses and give us the opportunity to deal with ourselves and evolve beyond the limits of our wounded egos. They help us take off the masks that we fear we cannot live without but know we cannot live within. For I believe that no person can be selfish in love. Love isn’t about the individual, it’s about the connection between individuals. When we realize that, our relationship experiences will seem less like battles and more like romances.



  1. I agree with you that we sometimes put our egos first in a relationship. An relationship can either change us for the good or bad. I think learning a balance between ego and loving someone is the best route. Because giving into someone completely is as dangerous as not letting anyone in.

    1. so true, when that ego shows up because it will try your best to tame it