Logic or emotion-does it have to be either/or?

A friend of mine is in the throes of a relationship roller coaster.  Up, down, on, off…her days and nights filled with drama and heartache and “Will it work?” “Do I want it to work?” and it is just wearing her down and wearing her out. I feel for her, deeply, but another part of me goes…


Why do this? Why put yourself through it?  If you’ve broken up over and over, if every third week there is upheaval, and that upheaval is enough to cause you to question if you should be in the relationship…you shouldn’t be.  Walk away.

Seems pretty simple to me.

I lived in a relationship like that. My first marriage was a roller coaster. Oh yeah, there were intense highs. But you know what? The crash to the bottom was not worth it. No, I don’t want a relationship with no highs or lows, with no passion or flavor, but it doesn’t have to be like that. When it gets to be like that, I think it’s like that because you are both trying too hard to make something work that just isn’t meant to.  And when the “something” is basic differences in life philosophy, in what you want/need in relationship, well…it’s pretty obvious to me that the relationship, no matter how many good things it has in it, is doomed. Beating yourself into it isn’t going to change that.

Yes, he may be wonderful in all these different ways.  Yes, she may make you sooo happy when things are good. But obviously he isn’t wonderful in other ways, and if those ways are big enough, they may overshadow the ways he is wonderful.  And obviously she is making you sooo sad in other ways. Is the good really worth the bad?

You have to do some cost-benefit analysis here.  Is the good worth the bad?  Are the down days more frequent than the up? When my 2nd marriage was coming to end, after 18 good years together,  I literally did a pro/con list, with weighted values, and started keeping a diary of good/bad days to ascertain if there truly WAS more bad than good.  I needed to know that it wasn’t just emotions that were speaking for me, because those change. I’m happy when things are going well, I am sad when they are not. How could I rely on them to give me a true picture?

My friends thought I was cold-hearted for doing that. Love is an emotion, they said, you can’t logic it!

But you know what? When it’s your life, when it affects your every waking moment and much of your sleeping, a little logic is in order. “Think with your heart!” a friend said. And I do–I love my men passionately, I live passionately, I do not think I feel any less for them for having made sound choices–with my head–about being with them.  But as happy as I am, as happy as they make me and as much as I love them, if every other day was filled with heartache and questioning whether or not it was worth it–my head would tell me it was time to give it up.  Yes, it would hurt, but hearts heal, and they love again.

Maybe I am cold-hearted. I don’t know. But I do know that I am happier, more centered, more secure and stable than I have ever been in my life, because I have made logical decisions about my life.  I have made choices about how I want to live, rather than just letting life–and my emotions–push me one way or another.

I was very happy in my relationship in my second marriage. Our relationship was a good one, our marriage was a healthy one. But I wasn’t happy in my life. I wasn’t being true to me, to who I was.  I had to give up that relationship to do so, and that was terrifying. I didn’t know if I would find someone else with whom I could be happy in a relationship with like I was with him. But I needed happiness in myself, first, before anything…because bottom line was that if I wasn’t, eventually that unhappiness would poison our relationship.  So yes, I made a decision based in logic, not emotion.  And though it hurt, it was the right decision.  Having made a logical decision did not preclude me from loving, from feeling, from experiencing all the emotion that love brings.  I never stopped loving others. Just because I was logical about it didn’t mean I didn’t have emotions. In fact I never stopped loving my ex, and continue to do so to this day. I just knew that being with him wasn’t right for either of us, and though it hurt, breaking up was the right thing to do.

I hope that my friend makes the right decision for herself, no matter what that is. I can’t say for her what that decision should be, although, from the outside looking in, it sure seems obvious. But then again, no one knows what goes on inside a relationship other than those in it, and we only even see the side that others show us.  And too, some people need to live with their hearts, need to follow their emotions, for good or bad. And maybe this will all work itself out because she is willing to stick it out, and in the end, love will prevail.  I don’t know, I can’t say. But it sure makes me sad to see her struggling so.


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