Love Letters: Obligated to Stay

Man, you guys certainly aren’t making my job easy. The questions keep getting tougher and tougher. But you know I love a challenge.

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Here’s today’s question:

Should you stay with someone out of obligation? I have a friend who is currently recovering from breast cancer. She and her boyfriend were together for two years prior to her diagnosis. Now that she is in remission (praise the Lord) she says that she feels the relationship has run its course. She is also beginning to feel an attraction to an old high school boyfriend who is now available. I have told her that her cancer should have showed her that life is short and that she needs to be happy. I don’t feel like she should stay if she’s not happy because it is going to come out eventually and it’s not fair to him. She says that she owes him to stick it out with him because he stuck it out with her through her illness. But she’s growing unhappier every day.

A Friend In Need, k.j.

Congrats to your friend for conquering breast cancer. And I’m glad to hear that her man stuck by her side through those trying times.

However, I’m used to being Georgia Mae’s resident villain so I’ll cut to the chase: I must admit agree with you – your friend is not at all obligated to stay with this guy.

I applaud the guy for caring for your friend when many other dudes in his position would have hit the door. But staying in a loveless relationship doesn’t do anyone any favors. Prolonging a doomed relationship causes nothing but headaches down the road. In her case, she should expect a nasty backlash from her beau (I know I definitely would be pissed if I was dumped by the woman I nursed back to health) but there is no need to prolong the agony.

But before your friend changes her Facebook relationship status, she should strongly consider this – does she think things are truly over with her current guy, or is she just distracted by her old high school boyfriend? Clearly her current man cares for her and I’m sure on some level she cares for him as well (even if those feelings are now simply platonic). But if run-ins with her old high school man have her reminscing about the love she had (word to Mary J. Blige), she’d better sort out her feelings. Nostalgia has a nasty habit of clouding our judgment.

If the love truly is gone in her current relationship, she has every right to bounce. But if she just wants to chase a long-lost love, she’d better think twice before leaving the man who stood by her in her darkest hours.


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