Is it wrong to reject someone because they’ve had it easy their whole lives?

Railroad Change in TracksI’ve been going over this in my mind because it was a decision I made not too long ago, and while on the surface it might seem petty, I do believe it’s possible that people’s lives can be so vastly different, that the lack of camaraderie and understanding arising from those differences can ultimately doom the relationship.

In my case, I’ve endured a really long laundry list of hardships, difficulties and physical disabilities that very few people can relate to, and those experiences shaped my personality and perspective of the world in a very profound way.

It’s like going into combat.  For those who have never seen combat, mentally you know that it’s full of hardships and can be a terrifying ordeal, but unless you’ve SEEN it up close and personal, you can never really truly understand what combat veterans have had to endure.  It’s the same for drug addiction too, unless you’ve been a drug addict yourself, you have NO idea what it’s like to fight an addiction.  This doesn’t mean people who haven’t experienced these things for themselves can’t sympathize, it just means that their understanding is merely theoretical in nature.

So I meet a girl, and she’s a nice girl.  Grew with a large family, eventually graduated college, got a nice job, bought a house, joined a church.  She’s active in the community and volunteers all the time.  She has a wide circle of friends and family, an active social life, and lives a very healthy lifestyle.  She also enjoys a nice inheritance and owns a large plot of land.

In short, someone who’s had it easy their whole lives.  Their perception of suffering is entirely different from say, one who loses his home and spends a few years of his life as a virtual vagabond.  One who has no inheritance to draw from because it was stolen from him.  One whose nearly entire family disowned and abandoned him when he was a child.  One who has to fight physical disabilities and prejudice that impacts nearly every area of his life.  One who had to claw his way out of debt with no financial help from anyone.  One who had no church or a social network of friends to rely on for encouragement and support.

And try as I might to explain my past to her, she didn’t get it.  She couldn’t get it, because she never lived it.  It wasn’t her fault either, and I would never begrudge anyone whose life has clearly been blessed and privileged.  But that fundamental lack of understanding arising from our hugely different journeys through life was why I ended it.

Does this mean the only girl right for me needs to have lived exactly as I did?  No, but I think it’s important that we share some similarities in that vein.  Camaraderie and shared experiences are powerful factors that can deepen a couple’s bond with each other.  Younger couples have a better chance of developing this bond because they start their lives together, so any hardships they face, they face together.

I just wish my life hadn’t been so unusual that I can’t seem to find ANYONE who could even remotely relate (except for one person, who unsurprisingly has been my best friend for nearly 10 years, though I suspect in part it’s because he’s a glutton for punishment).  I didn’t think my experiences were THAT uncommon but apparently it is.  It’s telling when I have to bury my past and make like I’m any old average Joe, just so I can avoid that deer in the headlights look when I start to tell her my REAL life story.  It’s reaching the point that I just have to resign myself to the reality that the only way I can connect with people is to hide the past 30-odd years of my life in obscurity and mystery.  Just the same old boring American success story y’all, nothing to see here folks, move along now.

Ah well.  It is what it is.

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15 Responses to Is it wrong to reject someone because they’ve had it easy their whole lives?

  1. Judy December 6, 2013 at 6:55 PM #

    I think you are sooooo wrong here. Way off base & if your criteria is to find a woman who had the same path you had growing up ….. Good luck! What makes a great couple is not being so alike that you are twins, but you balance one another. What you described is a what I would think is the girl of your dreams, healthy living, goes to church, accomplished. Me thinks, you are afraid of being vulnerable in a relationship and there is no woman out there that will ever live up to your standard. Think about this for a bit…..relationships require trust and vulnerability. Both hard for you. Please don’t be upset with me ….as I’m saying this lovingly my friend. ((((((Hugs))))))

    • Frank Swift December 6, 2013 at 7:37 PM #

      I wish that’s all relationships required, but It’s unsettling when I tell my story and I can virtually see the light go out in their eyes. Not doing that again any time soon.

  2. an observer December 7, 2013 at 1:48 AM #

    Frank,

    Women have no capacity for empathy. If they have the proper attitude of gratefulness for their blessings, then it might still be able to work. But I have yet to see this. A woman in a generally good position has little capacity or tolerance of unusual circumstances. At best they see you as quirky. At worst creepy.

    Mostly I find women in these circumstances just arrogant. I don’t wish them suffering to gain some insight, because mostly they will not become more compassionate, just victims.

    • Frank Swift December 7, 2013 at 11:06 AM #

      This is why (for me at least) it’s so important to meet a girl who is truly a Christian. A renewed mind in Christ is able to grow in the Spirit and take on those traits only God’s Spirit can truly give us in abundance: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. I believe He sometimes brings these traits out of us by allowing us to endure certain afflictions and sufferings. I don’t think I for example, could empathize as well as I could with those who have to overcome physical disabilities if I wasn’t disabled myself.

    • Jamie December 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM #

      I am befuddled and taken aback by your misogynous comment. This is only the first posting I’ve read on this blog, so do forgive me if the vibe here is usually anti-women’s capabilities.

      Despite my lack of intimate knowledge of yours and the bloggers background, I won’t be so presumptuous to make any assumptions. I will offer my condolences for either your lack of interaction with quality females or for your lack of seeing the quailty in the women you do meet.

      Everybody has a different story and different obstacles but regardless, as adults we choose what kind of people to become. Do some people fill the role of victim? Yes, both MEN and WOMEN. They don’t represent every person who’s faced impossible circumstances. Many of us have. And you wouldn’t know because many of us are not victimized by our experienced but rather, we’re built up – God developes us through them.

      Perhaps the problem isn’t the women, but the women you find.

  3. thehaproject December 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM #

    Judy is on the right track, Frank. The key is, if you can tell this girl your life story, and she responds with appropriate sympathy and care for you, then you have a winner. If it causes the “light to go out” in her eyes, then you know it is not a good match. It’s not necessarily because of her “easy life,” though.

    • Frank Swift December 7, 2013 at 12:25 PM #

      True, but it increases the odds of incompatibility. This isn’t unique to women either, I generally observe this to be the case regardless of gender or background. When you’ve got it easy, you can’t really relate to the downtrodden, and vice versa.

  4. Frank Swift December 7, 2013 at 12:23 PM #

    That question is kind of silly considering all the people I’ve read about who married despite having leukemia or other illnesses that threaten their lives. God bless em all.

  5. an observer December 7, 2013 at 2:41 PM #

    Women lose respect for men with vulnerabilities. Its a feature, not a bug.

    Men’s suffering are as nothing to them, unless it threatens their personal lifestyle. This is why the light goes out, as you describe it. Any woman’s personal fantasy will get trumped by reality, and real life struggles area threat to her OK ongoing fantasy. Women do not cope with negativity or real problems.

    That female astronaut epitomises it. She was doing a critical spacewalk and got handed a vital tool, which she immediately drops. The sound you here was a thousand NASA men doing face palms.

    Doh to infinity.

  6. thehaproject December 7, 2013 at 9:17 PM #

    Yeah, it might increase the odds of incompatibility, but that doesn’t mean just throw out the possibility up front. Just be prepared and press on.

  7. echo December 8, 2013 at 12:14 AM #

    Vulnerability is hard even when you have similar backgrounds. Tough spot to be in.

    • Frank Swift December 8, 2013 at 12:18 PM #

      Yes, especially for those who feel deeply, because they also hurt deeply as well.

  8. Anonymous October 21, 2014 at 4:25 AM #

    These comments are so messed up.It’s not a “women” thing. I am a 28 year old woman who has suffered greatly. My mother had Borderline Personality Disorder, I found her dead when I was 11. My father raised me after that, he is Narcissistic Sociopath attorney who lost all his money and quit working when I was 17. He didn’t apply for any assistance, so I didn’t have enough food. He picked me up fromschool one day, saying we couldn’t go home, we’d been evicted (he didn’t tell anyone, so no time to gather things-all belongings, pictures etc. lost). My family doctor molested me when I was 6/7 and I became very withdrawn, acted out, and no one caught on, just got mad at me. My organs started shutting down at age 19, no doctor believed anything was wrong with me, and my dad and brother told everyone I was faking it. I pushed away skills friends and had to give up my dream of becoming a dancer, drop out of school. I was sick for almost 10 years, rarely getting off the couch for 10 years. Last year, a doctor finally diagnosed me with adrenal failure, no cure or treatment. Until I saw a Chinese Doctor, and now I am on the path to wellness. About 50% better. My only sibling started doing drugs last year because of years of the abuse we suffered. We were best friends, and now we don’t talk after he tried to push me out of the car while driving on the freeway after using drugs. My dad told everyone in our extended family and perfect strangers, that my brother and I abused him, and that we owe him for the years he took care of us as children (?). He claims we owe him money and apologies for this.

    I rarely tell people all or any of this, and I relate to trying to pretend to be. an average Joe, with friends and a good job and parents and taking selfies and volunteering overseas or whatever else people my age do. I do nothing and see no one on holidays and my birthday, no one understands this. I fight everyday to “stay positive and hopeful ” and not kill myself.

    Everyone has different stories but few get what hell is. I get it, and I get you, from reading your post, at least I think I do.

    • Frank Swift October 21, 2014 at 1:20 PM #

      Horrible, I hope your health does continue to improve. It’s sad that so many people have had it easy and can’t relate. As soon as you experience a trauma that derails your life, it automatically places you in a fringe lifestyle that no one can relate to. I hope things get better for you at least.

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