For An Old Friend
I dated someone five months last year. By the time we'd dated long enough for the "relationship talk" to come up, he had an important audition on the horizon. Questions of commitment were put on hold pending the outcome.
Neither of us imagined he would get the job because, well, it's kind of the holy grail to people in his line of work. Many, many try for it and very, very few succeed.
But—he did get it. In the space of a couple of weeks he was yanked out of my life, moved away and on top of the world at his new insanely high-profile, fairy-tale job. He has fan pages now, a huge paycheck, and people coming out of the woodwork by the hundreds to pat him on the back.
We're still "friends." We go to lunch whenever he's in town but in between we don't talk or email much; he was never much of a phone or email communicator even when we were together.
He never said so much as a "thank you" for anything—the shoulder rubs, the messages wishing him luck, the time spent fielding a billion phone calls from a billion people so he could concentrate on acing his audition.
His lack of response to my efforts hurts. Trying to talk to him like a normal person doesn't help; he'll respond with humor to the details of my conversation, but completely ignore anything with the slightest emotional context.
Staying together after he got the job was always mutually understood to not be an option. In short, he was not there for me. This isn't new or surprising; his distant, unsupportive behavior appeared as a potential relationship red flag while we were dating.
We worked together, and I still work here, so I have to listen to people talk about him constantly. My public attitude has never been anything but supportive, but the truth is I'm heartbroken, angry and unbelievably hurt.
It could all be over for him in a few years, and then again, it may not. Then I'll be seeing his Photoshopped face plastered on the side of buses and buildings.
I've got projects for which I'm getting positive feedback, and I'm happy with my life. That he accepts my loyalty and friendship without attempting to return it hurts. I don't know what I can do to feel any resolution.
Laura, Edmund Morris, Ronald Reagan's authorized biographer, tells a revealing story about the former president. During his 1980 campaign, Reagan headquartered on a Virginia estate.
At dawn of his first day there, people awoke to the sound of an ax. Outside, Ronald Reagan was chopping down a stately tree. Beyond the tree lay fields, woods and mountains.
Reagan didn't own this property, and he didn't own the tree. He didn't have permission to cut the tree down. Nonetheless, that's what he did. Asked to explain himself, he replied simply, "Because it spoils the view."
Little acts reveal character. While dating you noticed this man's distant manner, though you loved his star persona. But how much of the real man did you acknowledge?
Though personable on the outside, he is cold and callous. You never had the power to make him a sensitive, thankful human being. Ask yourself why you loved someone who treated you so poorly.
We have one suggestion. If the success of any one of your projects could be advanced by a letter or good word from him, ask. Get compensation; get something in return. Receiving something can take the sting out of the hurt.
A man like him understands this sort of request. It won't bring you emotionally closer, but it could advance your career. Despite what you think, not asking will make him think less of you.
It was never an issue that you would relocate with him. Like Reagan's tree, you spoiled his view.
Wayne & Tamara
Email Wayne & Tamara: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com