Eazyman asks: I am a 20-year-old guy, in love with my cousin. When she was 17, she asked my number from her father and started chatting with me, telling me she loved me. I thought it was right to tell her the truth, that I had a crush on her, since she seemed to be on the same page with me. We were living in different towns by then, so we used to send each other photos (she has always said I was handsome). She used to beg me to pay her a visit, telling me she wanted me closer to her, but now that we are finally living in the same city she seems to be rejecting me. She treats me like a ordinary guy and not like a lover. I tried to talk to her about it, but she took it as some kind of joke. I am now feeling terrible. I can’t forgive myself for telling her I was in love with her, I feel like a fool. Please help me forgive myself.
Hi Eazyman –
Humans are so funny. Here you tell us this painful story, where you opened your heart to this girl who you trusted and believed in. And she gave you every reason to trust and believe in her. But that then, when you were able to live in the same area, she got distant and broke your heart. And you’re asking me to help you forgive… yourself!
You see, to my doggy mind, you did nothing wrong. You lived your life, you acted based on your heart, and you gave nothing but love. So what’s to forgive? That’s the best way to live!
So I think there are, instead, three things you need to do, to get past all this rotten embarrassment, and move on in your life.
The first is to look over everything that’s happened, and see if there’s anything you can learn from it. Maybe she gave some signs earlier that could have told you that it wasn’t going to work out. There’s nothing wrong with you not having read them correctly before, but it’d be great if you could when someone else shows them in the future. For example, when I was a puppy, I would joyously run up to big dogs who were showing me their fangs. Not a good idea! I’ve learned that lesson well, and get chewed up a lot less today! Or maybe you did something that you can now say wasn’t a great idea. Like, when I was a puppy, I would try to get people to play with me by running up and biting them. Over a while I realized that that didn’t get the reaction I wanted. Now I run up to them with a ball or a pull-toy, and they understand what I’m after, and don’t run away from me anymore!
If you can learn that sort of lesson from this, it will make you better able to handle future relationships in a much better way.
Second, once you’ve figured out the things you could do better in the future, I want you to take a very serious look at who you were when you first told your cousin you loved her. And to acknowledge that you weren’t knowledgeable enough then to handle them as well as you will in the future. And to then realize that there’s nothing to forgive yourself for! Would you feel a need to forgive your neighbor’s dog for a pipe bursting in your kitchen? Of course not – it had no way of causing or preventing the burst. Similarly, you need to give yourself a break for not having known enough to do the best possible job with your cousin.
Which brings me to Number Three. Her. I’m not going to tell you that you exactly have to forgive her, but you do need to move on from her, at least for a while. Maybe that will come from you forgiving her, maybe it’ll come from you deciding she’s awful, maybe you’ll decide she’s nice but crazy… any of them are okay. But you need to decide how you feel about her, in a way that you can step forward. You can change your mind later. But right now, it looks like she acted in a very odd way that didn’t respect your heart at all. And you don’t need to know exactly why (though some day it’d be great to find out), but you need to decide how you feel about it, and how that makes you want to treat her.
And, Eazyman, I believe that, if you do these things, you will repair your bad feelings about yourself. Which are the real problem here.
Again, I’ll say, you did nothing wrong at all. All that matters is your future. Which, if you can get through this, is completely bright!