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I have a very good friend of more than thirty years who is single (divorced). She recently went through an unfortunate break-up with a guy she really cared about and with whom she envisioned a future for herself. It is the classic tale of one partner being faithful, true and authentic while the other is a “player.” In this case, the guy was weaseling his way back to an old flame, unbeknownst to my friend. Only when he deemed that mission successful did he announce to my friend that he was breaking up with her because he had “reconnected” with the other woman.

So my friend is feeling horribly betrayed, hurt, angry and, as we all do when we discover another person’s duplicity in his/her dealings with us, stupid. She keeps asking herself — and those of us who are her friends — why she was duped; why she failed to see earlier that the guy was capable of self-centered cruelty and manipulative behavior.

She keeps asking herself and us what is wrong with her. And I keep telling her, “There’s nothing wrong with you. He is the loser. You are better off without him. Thank God you found out now what he is really like before you invested more time in the relationship or — God forbid — married him!”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Convincing? I believe every word of it because I know that my friend is a decent, honest, loving woman who truly deserves to be treated impeccably by any man with whom she is involved.

So why is it so hard for her to believe and, more importantly, live in accordance with those facts? It’s the age-old conundrum, of course.

Talking with her, I realize that I’ve been married a long, long time — 22 years this November / December.1 And it has been a long, long time since I went through the romance-related angst that she is feeling. After all, I haven’t been on a date since the first time I went out with BigBob in April 1985.2 So I vaguely remember going through what she is experiencing a few times, but it was many years ago when I was really young.

These days? If BigBob meets someone new and decides to go off with her, I will just ask where to forward his mail and wish them well. Seriously. I just wouldn’t have the energy or inclination to go through all of that drama again. And my friend freely admits that she thrives, to some extent, on the drama. In fact, I jokingly told her recently, “I don’t need to watch soap operas. I live vicariously through you. You supply all the drama that is missing in my tired, drab existence.”

I’ve reached a point in my life — perhaps because I’ve been married for so long — where I don’t need other people to make me feel complete or whole. For the most part, I have had the same friends for more than thirty years and I take great comfort in the fact that I don’t have to explain myself to them or tell them about the roads I’ve walked. They know because they walked them with me. I have also reached a point of knowing what matters to me — and what doesn’t — and I really can’t imagine myself pining for a man. Because I know that Sonya Friedman’s classic Men Are Just Desserts (which I read when it was originally published in 1983) holds true. Relationships are just the frosting on the cake. If we are happy and content by ourselves, we are never going to be happy and content in a relationship with another person. We will just bring our issues into that relationship, complicate it and it will, eventually, disintegrate.

Unlike me, my friend was not married for a long time. She has been single for quite a few years and I know that she is lonely and desirous of companionship and closeness. But those things are not worth having at any cost. I’m sorry to say that she is making herself physically ill over this break-up and my words of encouragement and affirmation, along with those of her other friends and family, have not caused her to change course. Yet.

She is going to have to dig deep within herself and decide that she is worthy of a healthy, validating relationship or will be just fine being single and on her own. Only she can determine once and for all that she is not going to settle for anything less, and the guy who did not treat her appropriately is the one who has lost a great treasure.3

Self-worth is a tricky concept that we all struggle with in varying degrees and circumstances throughout our life. But today I light a candle for my friend and all the women like her who are searching for happiness but need to discover that it is within their grasp. All they need to do to find it is look in the mirror and tell the woman they see there, “I am worthy.”

  1. Well, we eloped before the church wedding, so we actually have two anniversaries — November 2 and December 7. []
  2. To put that into context for you, Ronald Reagan had just begun his second term as President and “Dallas” was still the number one show on television. []
  3. His karma will catch up with him whether she is there to witness it or not. []


  1. Poor friend. I vaguely remember those days, and am glad to be past them.

    I liked your footnotes!

  2. Watching Dateline on TV it is always amazing to me how people tend to find always the wrong mate and do not learn from the pas.

  3. I think when you rely on someone else to make you happy, there in lies the problem. I have been there with romantic relationships and family/friend relationships. It sounds cliche, but until I stopped (OK I haven’t stopped completely, i still have a bit of a attention seeking/ external validation seeking streak in me… but I’m working on it) looking for another persons approval and learned to like me for who I am… I continued with bad and sometimes toxic relationships.

    When we love someone so much that we put them on a pedestal… well, it’s kind of hard to see their flaws when they are so high above us. And we feel like we are the flawed ones because we are the ones kneeling before the ones we worship.

    It’s so true, she is going to have to see her own value and not her value attached to another human being.

    I’m with you, I’ve been married for 18 years and though I would be crushed if my husband traded me in for a younger model, I know I would survive.

  4. Loving Annie

    I think it is easier to SAY you could get along without him because you do not HAVE to….
    This comes from a single person’s point of view who can totally identify with the angst your betrayed friend is going through.
    It is very easy to theorize from a place of being wanted, being safe, being secure, being comofrtable.
    Take the other end of the spectrum — years without being in a harmonious, supportive, loving relationship–and the feelings/responses of lower self-esteem are far different.
    The guy is a complete asshole, and yes, you and I can see that she is MUCH better off without such an immoral, selfish, cruel pig.
    But all she sees is that her whole vision of the future is changed, and he preferred someone else rather than her, and what she had to offer that she thought had value. And now he has shown her that in his eyes in has none.
    And no new Prince Charming has immediately stepped up to the plate to repair the damage, which would make her see, feel and know the truth in what you have expressed as a loyal friend.

  5. World Directory

    Nice post. yes i agree, worthiness in something we find inside ourselves and by connecting to our inner source. a lot of people feel this lack of worthiness and try to find proof on it outside themselves only to find that the proof they find there could dissolve at any moment, and so their feelings of unworthiness comes back again. good news though is that each and everyone really is worthy, it’s impossible not to be, it’s like saying that one flower is more worthy than another one. of course they are not. they are simply different. and so are we. thank you, many blessings.

  6. Hieyeglasses

    Self-worth is something people usually put down when going through break ups like this. They shouldn’t.

  7. hot girl galleries

    A lot of guys are self centered and selfish when it comes to being with a woman, be careful, try to recognize an early personality of such men. It’s difficult for us to watch friends go through this kind of betrayal but your right when you tell her it’s not her fault, but only she can come to the realization that it’s time to move on, when she’s ready.


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