I’ve talked about Shelly a couple of times (Shelly’s Leaving). She’s the worker that came in under me at my last firm, I took her under my wing and she became my replacement when I left. I was attracted to her but the circumstances never worked out for us to be anything more than friends and coworkers.
She left the area about six months ago with her fiance to move closer to his home. This was somewhat stressful for her because she didn’t know anyone in the area except for his family. She was nervous about the move but I encouraged her, she was so talented and driven that she wouldn’t have a problem getting a job anywhere. I was right, she applied a couple places and had a good paying job within weeks of moving to a totally new place. Even with the poor economy, it didn’t surprise me that she was already successful. It was a big step outside her comfort zone, but if that’s what her fiance wanted then she wanted to make him happy. They’d been together for about two years, engaged for a while, and planning on getting married later this year.
I never really understood the whole engagement. She’s this bright, driven, ambitious, beautiful young woman and he’s a lazy, underachieving, overweight, heavy-drinking, good-time kind of guy. Now, I can understand why she would date him, he was a fun, funny guy that was always a good time to be around. She’s a little more introverted, a little more straight laced, so I can see why he would be a fun guy for her to date. However, anything more than a fun time seemed extremely unlikely to work out in the long run.
I kind of picture it like this: she’s a thoroughbred race horse, he’s an old lame, lazy horse. Sure, they can have fun together playing around the yard, but sooner or later she’s going to want to go for a run and he’s not going to be able to keep up. She’s either going to get pissed that he’s holding her back or he’s going to be jealous that he can’t keep up with her. Either way, the relationship seemed destined to fail.
Well, I was right, though not in the way I anticipated. A few months ago he left her and she was totally, utterly devastated. He decided that she was too ambitious and not spending enough time with him.
What was surprising was that I was totally convinced that she would tire of him long before he tired of her. For almost a year before the move he was unemployed and lived off of her income. I was positive that she would tire of his laziness far before he tired of living off of her ambitious success. I was wrong. That doesn’t happen as often.
To be even further off the mark, she was totally devastated when he left. She felt like she lost her whole world according to her mopey posts on social media. I suppose I underestimated the power of puppy-dog love that can exist in a strong, intelligent, driven woman. She’s in her late twenties now and the only thing that makes sense is that she didn’t date much earlier in her life. By the way she’s reacting this must be her first big broken heart.
After the break-up I ended up talking with her for a long time, trying to reassure her that the world wasn’t ending. She sounded like she was feeling better by the end of the conversation but days later was still flooded social media with teenage-broken-hearted photos and sayings. A la: “My world has been taken away but I will survive” or quotes from bad country music songs. I mean, I know she’ll get over this and better off for the experience, but the pure puppy-dog-eye moroseness is dizzying.
I guess it goes to show that people can always surprise you.