When I was young and naive, and living in Baku, my cousin had a beautiful Saint Bernard puppy, which she then gave away to her brother to look after, once she got pregnant. I was outraged then. I thought she was the most heartless, cruel, meanest person that I met in my life. You loved that dog, it was your baby, I thought, how could you give it away?!
So, years later, remembering that story, when I was pregnant myself, I sat on the floor with my Rottweiler and re-assured him, over and over again, that I would not, in a slightest possible way, feel any different about him once my baby girl arrives. You are my baby; I used to whisper in his floppy ear, and nothing! will ever change that.
And then, the baby arrived. And I suddenly felt different. Just like that. Of course, I did not give the dog away. I still loved it, but now it was not the same. Yes, I felt bad about it. And I did everything I could to maintain the same level of attention and affection towards the dog as before. But, deep inside, I knew I felt differently.
And then, when time came for us to consider having another baby, I kept wondering, looking at my first daughter, how would it ever be possible for me to love another child as much? I was convinced it was impossible. And then, of course, when my second baby was born, I was in for a huge surprise.
What I am trying to say is that the funny thing about feelings, and I mean true feelings, is that they are completely unpredictable. They are impossible to plan for or calculate in advance. It is pointless to justify or explain them, even to yourself, and most importantly, it is totally impossible to make yourself feel a certain way when you don’t.
I had a girlfriend who has always been a bit, you know…funny with me. She would be very friendly, attentive and helpful and always made sure she kept in touch, however more often than not, when I suggested to get together, she would come up with some silly excuse; until I stopped asking. I realized, that she simply did not really like me. I thought about it, and realized that, she probably wanted to like me. I know you think I am talking nonsense now, but what happens, I believe, is that people think they should act and feel a certain way when deep in their hearts they do not. It is like telling yourself you believe in god when you probably don’t, if you are very honest with yourself. So, with this friend, she probably thought I was a good friend for her. Our kids were close, our husbands got along well, we lived nearby, she probably liked certain things about me, maybe found me useful in some way or another. But, somehow, deep in her heart, she just did not feel that close to me. She did not want to see me that often, and hang out like good friends would, and I just had to accept that she just was not a friend, even though she might have tried to be. And whatever I did, however nice or friendly or helpful I would be towards her, it would not help.
And recently, I came across an article on relationships that received a lot of praise and likes from the readers on Facebook. It was one of these girlie articles on the mistakes we, women make in relationships, and how to avoid them. It was full of advice of how not to fall in love with the wrong person, how not to allow yourself feel a certain way. Oh please! I thought. How on earth is that going to be possible, to teach yourself to feel or not to feel a certain way? OK, you can probably stop yourself doing something, but surely, the whole point of feelings is that you should not be able to train yourself in or out of them?
Another friend of mine, recently divorced and trying to date again, often discusses recent developments with me. Recently, she broke up with her partner of over a year, and started going out with a new guy. Suddenly, the old guy was back, asking to get back together. What to do, she asked. What to do? And, as I am reading her struggles of choosing one guy over the other, I can’t help but wonder if she feels anything about either of them? This one is quieter but more reliable, she says, and that one is funnier but a little fickle somehow…Look, I said to her, please don’t get offended but if you had any feelings towards either, this conversation would not be taking place. It should not be a choice. It cannot be a choice. It is that simple. The very fact that you are sitting there calculating the best option means that neither of those guys, sadly, is right for you. You are lonely, and you are middle aged, and you are divorced…It is all pretty miserable; I get it…but please, don’t let all these factors influence your judgement. Of course, like in that article, you could try and convince yourself that you have feelings and you could, I am sure, go quite far in that. People do, I think, have an amazing ability to talk themselves into anything they want to believe is true, when it isn’t. But in the end, the truth will come out and make it all pretty shitty.
So no, I don’t like these articles that teach you how to feel or not, how to make sure you choose the right person, whatever that even means. It is quite depressing, really, that the young single girls out there are reading these self-help articles on social media, learning how to be practical and sensible about their love lives. It is not a fucking job. You don’t need to plan for it, calculate it in advance and break it all down on excel sheet. Make mistakes, go for the wrong person, live life.Allow those butterflies into your stomach, because another funny thing about feelings is they never last. So enjoy them while you can.