“I don’t take responsibility for what’s going on in your head.”
That’s what Gordon wishes he had said when his girlfriend completely misinterpreted him . . . again.
It all started when she called to tell him how bored and miserable she was at work. According to the work schedule, she had the day off, but they needed the money. Bills were starting to pile up because Gordon had been sick for several days and was forced to take time off from work, so he’d been borrowing money from her to handle his half of the bills.
After getting free of the bug, he returned to work and started earning an income once again. But it would take a while before they were completely out of the woods.
Gordon was feeling nothing but respect and gratitude for his girlfriend’s generosity and work ethic.
After the call, he quickly rearranged his schedule so he could surprise her at work and help alleviate her boredom. As he drove to her restaurant, he felt immense tenderness toward her and was looking forward to brightening her day.
He walked in. She looked up and saw him smiling. Her face got very serious. “You need money, don’t you!” she said gruffly.
He froze . . . stunned. She had completely misread his intentions. Though deeply hurt, he managed to stammer out a few words in defense of himself: “No . . . why would you think that? Nothing like that. You told me how slow things were and that you were bored, so I came!”
As usual, nothing he said made any difference. She didn’t budge from the distorted picture she had of him.
The whole event had a sobering effect on Gordon. “I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “She automatically assumed that just because I was visiting her at work—where she makes tips—that I came with my hand out, wanting some of her hard-earned cash.” He thought she might jump into his arms, or smile gratefully, or even just grin a little. The more he thought about it, the more it hurt.
“What kind of guy does she think I am?” he said. “I don’t even come close to the type of person she imagines me to be. Only a cold-hearted jerk would respond to someone’s call for help by showing up with the intent of asking for money. She doesn’t know me at all! And the person she thinks I am isn’t even someone I’d want to be associated with.”
Once Gordon’s eyes were opened, he realized that this scenario had defined their relationship for the entire three years they were together. He also saw just how much unhappiness he had swallowed during that time.
This latest event was a reality check. He came to realize that he could no longer stay in a relationship that was so costly to his well-being.
“Without knowing it, she gave me an incredible gift.”
Names are changed to honor client confidentiality
(c) Salee Reese 2018