I have been struggling for a while with wanting a relationship with someone who probably does not want a relationship with me, or at the very least, has a different understanding of the meaning of relationship than I do. “Relationship” and “someone” being vague, I suppose I ought to define my terms better, but I used those terms on purpose. Someone who has acted as a mentor in my life, who has seen things about me before I have seen them, and believed in me when it seemed no one else did. I don’t want a friendship in a shallow sense of smiling when we see each other. And she is more to me than a vague acquaintance or co-worker.
The conundrum is caring in a deep way for someone who seems to only care for you in a superficial manner. And because you care deeply, you can’t seem to help but long for reciprocation – for the other to understand you, value you, respect you, maybe even be proud of you. Yet, again, because you care deeply, you can also see the other truths: a home life that was always manipulative, and continues to be; lies to placate being the way to restore peace; co-dependent relationships giving a sense of stability because someone needs you and that makes you feel safe; a desperate need for predictability and control; and someone who’s values and ethics are completely different from yours — with a far lower value on honesty, and a far higher value on entertainment.
Fourteen hundred miniature rejections every day. If she hadn’t been so meaningful and pivotal in my life, it wouldn’t matter so much. I keep waiting for it to stop hurting so much, but it never does. I keep praying for her to understand the true meaning of love, and instead I see her “helping” me, but with her only true motivation being hurting someone else she has deemed even lower on the totem pole, and in need of being punished. It’s grievous in the truest sense of the word.
What I want is to be as meaningful in her life as she has been in mine. What I am getting is that I am not entertaining enough to be valid in her life. I get put-up with at best. The blatant favoritism she shows toward others smarts terribly, because they visibly treat her badly. But she knows they need her. So it is a safe relationship, where she won’t ever really be rejected.
It is frustrating for me to be able to see so many different layers of broken, and yet still be hurt. And yet still hope that, maybe today, she will value my presence. Of course she doesn’t. I am only valued in that I am useful, and I am only useful right now as a tool for her to flog someone else with, a role I don’t want. It is an exhausting situation for me, and I keep waiting for it to “resolve,” like a partial-chord with so much hanging tension.
But it doesn’t, and then I get angry with God. Somehow I have decided that it’s His job to make everything resolve while I watch, and His shortcomings on that account clearly show His lack of interest in me and my life, and point clearly toward nothing. ever. changing.
I keep praying He will show her what real love is. Because I want to be proven wrong. But also I am angry at myself for still wanting her approval today, even though I didn’t have it yesterday, and likely will never have it. I feel like I should be able to let it go and move on, but instead, there is that smarting again. And again. And again. Right when I am least ready for it, another slap in the face.
Reluctantly, I recall Jesus being betrayed by Judas, by His friend who ate with Him, traveled with Him, said he valued Jesus more than anything but didn’t mean it. I recall the Israelites turning again and again from the One who wanted a meaningful relationship with them. I remember, even, Adam and Eve, hiding in the garden, because they decided they didn’t value their relationship with God as much as other stuff. It’s not like I can really throw a convincing fit that God doesn’t understand what it’s like to be rejected every day, while the object of our meaningful affection instead courts the superficial and unhealthy relationships that give them more of a fleeting thrill, sense of control and false honor.
Still, I struggle with the sense of feeling like it’s pretty dumb to set up situations where you get to care about a person who won’t reciprocate to the same level. The temptation is not to try to learn from it (learn what? besides what being unrequited feels like?), but rather to want to leave: fine, then. Be that way. Be twisted and messed up, and not value me. I can leave, and then you can have your pretty little twisted up life to yourself. On an independent, humanistic level, this makes sense. Only, that’s not what God does at all. And if we are supposed to be little Christ followers, it makes sense only that we must imitate God. And that would seem to indicate continuing to show up in this woman’s life, only to continue to be rejected, possibly endlessly.
So then I want to demand the why. Why do I have to put up with this nonsense? What’s the pay-off? When will she finally come to her senses? Ad nauseam. Having very little understanding of the ‘why,’ I mostly feel endlessly trapped. I find myself looking for a way to force resolution myself: me stop caring. Get her to care. Get her to stop pretending to care, when obviously she doesn’t really. Of no surprise to anyone, I’m entirely unsuccessful in any of those endeavors. And I am left to mope that I’m seeing very little of either my power or God’s.
Why God has put me here, I really don’t know. But my deepest hope’s desire, and so my continued prayer, is that He would be pleased to demonstrate His power, by teaching her what real love is. Through me or just in front of my eyes. But please hurry. This is a heavy burden to have pressed on my shoulders and it makes it hard to breathe.