A couple of years ago I counselled a good friend through a breakup. Athough her boyfriend was a great guy, she had some very good reasons for wanting to end things. She felt awful about it though, and it took a couple of months to accept what needed to be done. Then she called me in. We talked, we made sure she was doing it for the right reasons, we made sure she was sure. And we got to work.
We determined the ideal date, time, and location for the breakup to occur. We wrote a script well I wrote it but whatevs and practiced it. She had a tagline. We plotted an exit strategy and a fall-out plan. We were ready.
B-day came. She went in and completed her mission like a soldier. In the face of shock, tears, and anger she remained resolute. She did it quick and dirty and got out, just like I coached her. Then she felt like shit so I took her out and got her hammered. The next day she felt great.
The thing is though, for the rest of that week her ex-man contacted her daily. Sometimes he would call for a quick chat, sometimes he sent her angry text messages, sometimes he called her crying. But like a good ex, she kept the conversations short and reminded him that a clean break was better for everyone. She felt like an asshole, but she knew it was the right thing to do.
Then ol’ boy stepped up his game. Now instead of calling to chat he was calling to tell her he would always love her. Instead of angry emails, she was getting “I can’t live without you” letters. He was still calling her crying but then he brought in the dirtiest tactic of all – full on begging. Suddenly every conversation was filled with a whole lot of “please” and “I’ll do anything” and “Please take me back because I can’t live without you and I promise I’ll change and I love you and please please please give me another chance.”
It was pathetic. But apparently I was the only one who thought so because two weeks later they were back together, happier than pigs in shit with all their old issues unresolved and firmly in place.
I was disgusted. Deeeeeeesgusted. I couldn’t believe that all those hours I spent strategizing with her (over the phone I might add and you know how much I effing hate the phone!) went out the window so quickly.
“Why?” I asked her. “What has changed?”
“Nothing,” she admitted. “but I felt really bad.”
And now she doesn’t. Now she feels good because all the begging gave her an ego boost and nothing impairs our judgement like a big dutty swollen head. As for him, all I can think every time I look at him is “don’t you have any pride??”.
See if there’s one thing I learned from my mother, it’s pride. What I remember most from my childhood is her saying things like “Don’t beg a man for anything” and “If that man doesn’t want there’s always another one out there who is stupid enough to want you ” (nice one Mum) and “Never ever let a man think you need him more than he needs you”. And so while there have definitely been times in my life where I’ve wanted to beg someone not to leave or plead with someone to come back after he’d left, I literally cannot. I am too proud to beg.
But am I right to be this way? Not according to Sade
and the Book of Proverbs
. And you know at times I’m inclined to agree. Beyond stopping me from begging someone to be with me, pride is also part of what stops me from making the first move on a man, and I do sometimes wonder if my pride is standing in the way of my one true love? Just think – if I’d asked my first crush on a date or begged my first love to come back after one of our breakups, would I have the house with the white picket fence and 2.5 children right now? Or would I have an unruly man who knows he can do what he wants because I can’t live without him?
I think you guys know what I think…what do you think? Have you begged someone to take you back? Would you? Has begging ever worked on you?