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The Endless Cycle

 

There seems to be a common and unhealthy cycle in relationships. Regardless of whether it begins with a woman or a man, it always pans out the same. For brevity, we’ll start with a man. Let’s call this man, Jack. Jack is a romantic. Not too nerdy to be a dork, not too attractive to be considered a heart throb and not too eloquent with words and persuasion to be considered a ladies man. He’s just Jack, with a really big heart.

 

Seemingly Inevitable Cycle:

Nice girls meet terrible men

Terrible men make the nice girls negative and bitter

Nice girls (slowly getting angrier) finally meet nice guys but treat them like they’re full of crap because they’ve met so many opportunistic liars

The nice guy gets frustrated and treats new nice girls like crap

Rinse and repeat….

 

Jack for the most part, is shy. He has random spurts of bravery, but only when it comes to his friends. These are the same friends who encourage Jack to talk to Jane. Jack has a crush on Jane. (Whether this is in junior high, high school or some corporate complex, it really doesn’t matter) Jane isn’t seeing anyone. Unfortunately she’s also not even noticing Jack. Jack notices her though, like everyday. No, Jack is not a psychotic stalker, just a passionate admirer.

 

So, while Jack is thinking of something memorable and sweet to say to Jane, Jane is approached by other admirers. Joe is one of those admirers. (No, I’m not obsessed with J names; they’re all just common and monosyllabic.) Joe is a jerk. It took Jack only a day or two to figure that out but it will take Jane much, much longer. Joe has something Jack doesn’t, however; the courage to approach Jane, well at this point he also has Jane’s attention, so really he has two things that Jack doesn’t.

 

Jane is no different than anyone else, she likes attention and she doesn’t want to be alone. Fair enough. Joe, having risen to the opportunity finds him self, shortly after, dating Jane. Jane is similar to Jack in that she is very kindhearted and romantic. Joe is not similar to either of them, he’s just handsome, smooth and wants to hurry up and see Jane naked. Jane, for whatever reason, really likes Joe. Joe knows this and will take advantage of it and of course, Jane.

 

It’s now been six months that Joe and Jane have been dating. Joe has caused Jane to cry many times (she can’t keep track anymore, but if you asked Jack he could give you a fairly accurate number). Jane has done everything she knows how to do to make Joe happy. Joe’s ego is just so huge (since he was able to get beautiful and sweet Jane) that nothing can satisfy his desires. Jane stays in the relationship because she believes that Joe will one day be the sweet, caring and sincere person that she believed he would be. Jack is frustrated because he does, in fact, meet these very criteria.

 

So, here we are… Jack is chasing Jane, Jane is chasing a dream and Joe is chasing after his next sexual victory. At this time, Jane is beginning to see the jerk that Joe really is. On a positive note, she’s also beginning to notice how sweet Jack is. They’re friends now, by the way. You see, Jack finally stepped in to help. He tries to dispense some helpful advice and information with slight hints at how he really feels about Jane. Jane’s not getting or at least not using any of it. She just likes to talk about what’s wrong and Jack is kind enough to listen.

 

Booooom!! It happens. Jane is blatantly confronted with how much of an asshole Joe is and how little he ever cared for her. This usually only happens when the girl runs out of excuses for the guy’s behavior or because she sees him naked with some other chick; let’s assume that’s what happened here. Sweet, well not that Joe broke her heart but that Jack has been presented with this opportunity to profess his love and adoration to Jane. Timing and patience; it’s still too soon. He’s waited this long, just gotta wait a little longer.

 

Jack feels the time has come to make Jane fully aware of his feelings for her. She has stopped crying and only mentions Joe once a day (as opposed to the usual 20 to 30). So on one of their random platonic lunches in the middle of one of their platonic conversations, Jack tells Jane, “It hurt me to watch the way he was with you.” “If I had the opportunity to be with you I would never treat you that way.” Wow, there it is. At this point Jane should have some sort of epiphany, leap over the table, kiss Jack once for every day he has waited patiently and then they leave the restaurant and live happily ever after. Not quite.

 

Jane tells Jack that she loves him, which is good. Jane tells Jack how important he is to her, which is also good. Then Jane tells Jack that he is a dear friend that she wouldn’t want to lose and that she sees him more like a brother after all this time they have been together, which is really bad and kind of retarded. Jack thinks that what she said is depressing, frustrating oh, and retarded. She reaches for his hand and asks, “I mean, you understand, don’t you?” Jack, rather than toss his glass of ice cold water in her face and scream, “wake up, you delusional bitch!” just responds with, “yeah, I understand.” It’s at this point that the darkness sets in.

 

You see, Jack has not consumed all this time waiting for Jane. That would kind of make him a stalker. He has pursued other relationships. None of them have turned out to be more than casual dating. After years of failed attempts, Jack’s forehead is covered with stickers labeled “a good friend.” That would be fine, except that rather than lose to more positive and caring candidates, he has lost time and time again to loser jerks. This punishing observation has covered his skies with darkness and the rain that follows will water the seed of envy.

 

“Nice guys are friends of girls and assholes get to ‘be’ with the girls.” This phrase repeats again and again in his restless mind. Jack comes up with an ingenious plan. “Maybe I’ll just pretend to treat girls like crap and see how far that gets me.” The man is so instinctually kind that he has to exert effort to show even the slightest sense of cruelty.  So he compliments less, holds back on conveying interest, communicates less of his feelings and intentions and shows little to no concern for what women say to him. Sure enough, the level of attention he gets from women skyrockets.

 

Because he isn’t so quick to observe and compliment on noticeable features, women want to know what he thinks about them. They don’t know whether or not he likes them on any level, so they do all the work to find out. He’s now a man of few words with an apparent attractive level of mystery as to what his likes and dislikes are.  In addition, because his eyes and attention get scattered, the women try their best to keep it.  To his own surprise, Jack’s plan is working.

 

In the midst of all Jack’s newfound popularity, Jane comes to her senses.  Who knows why or how these things happen. She’s had enough of shallow Joe and wants to have a deeper relationship with Jack. She has been changed for the better by the wisdom of her heartache but unfortunately Jack’s heartache didn’t bring such a healthy outcome. She wants to arrange for a lunch all too reminiscent of the one that initiated this snowball effect. This poses a great challenge to Jack. Jane is a living paradox, she’s a symbol of the man Jack was, the epitome of “true love” in the purest form he was ever capable of. At the same time she is also the catalyst of the man he has become. Snowball effect is quite appropriate, for Jack has grown ever so cold.

 

As a reader, you’re torn at this point. This is a story, so you have to maintain some sense of focus. Who’s the bad guy, who’s the hero and who is suffering at the hands of the villain?  The answer is …everyone and no one. Philosophically maybe one could say that love is losing, bitterness is winning and relationships are in need of saving. In this moment interpretation, perspective and personal experience mesh together to form a lesson.  On top of all this, it becomes an explosion of several “it should end like this!” Anyway, let’s bring this to a close so you (the audience) can start throwing either roses, tomatoes or broken glass bottles. (I know what you’re thinking, who throws tomatoes?)

 

You know how sometimes at the end of a movie the director brings it to a dramatic close like, mid-action? Then it fades to black. Then these little sentences fade in and out to give you an idea of what came after. Well, this isn’t a movie. But let’s pretend this story was made into a long, drawn out film (aren’t they all?) Okay. Maybe you could put your hand over all the following phrases. Then play literary “peek a boo” by sliding your hand down and up one phrase at a time. Okay, here it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

Joe

 

Several years after his break up with Jane, Joe begins to see the error of his ways.  He’s been in a few relationships since and has broken more hearts than he would ever want to take credit for. Ironically, he remembers Jack and other men like him and follows the examples of kindness and love that they provided.  Joe eventually marries. He treats his wife with the accumulative compassion he wishes he had bestowed on all those innocent women from before. His relationship with his wife is his apology.

 

Jane

 

Jane initially entered a downward spiral of guilt after her reunion with Jack. She felt she was solely responsible for Jack’s transformation and resentment. She punished herself for some time by not getting involved with anyone.  She gradually allows herself to open up and pursue dating once again. It came at great difficulty. For Jane assumed every potential candidate would mistreat her the way that Joe and others like him did.  The few men that were able to get past that initial phase were posed with an even greater challenge; surpassing the over-glorified image that Jane had of the man Jack once was.

 

Jack

 

Jack was succumbed by hatred. He hated Joe for making him think that assholes get it all and keep it all.  He hated Jane and all the other girls for not noticing him sooner. Worst of all… he hates himself. For not giving Jane the second chance that she truly deserved. For forgetting that he was just pretending to be mean.  But most of all, for perpetuating the very cycle he came to despise.  As he grew older, he realized that all those girls who took his compassion for granted were actively seeking it out as they matured. He felt he had covered his heart with far too many filthy mistakes for it to ever be presentable to another.  On his way back to the beginning of that path he met a girl who was struggling to find her way as well.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. kat permalink
    January 13, 2011 12:01 AM

    very true sir..
    well the ending was unexpected..

  2. March 10, 2011 3:51 AM

    story of my life man, story of my life

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