I have never had to tell a woman with whom I was romantically involved, “It’s not you, its me.” I did not have a steady gal until I was 21, married that first girlfriend.
Fast forward 19 years to six years back.
With four children in tow, I and my first girlfriend end up divorced. Makes you wonder whether going steady with more than one woman prior to arrival at a marriage decision possesses any sort of anti divorce property.
But then, I digress.
It’s not you, it’s me can be interpreted to be a cop out statement proffered by a man or woman who has taken advantage of another. Think a gal who dates a rich guy who buys her a condo and a BMW, all in her own name. Then shortly after she says, “I can’t date you anymore, it’s not you, it’s me”.
“It’s not you, it’s me”, can be classic ‘I have gotten what I want, now I need a cop out statement that does not make me look like a gold digger’.
Turns out, however, that “it’s not you, it’s me” can be used nobly, can be an anachronism, save such a person lots of heartache. Turns out, it’s not you, it’s me can be signal that the person adopting the anachronism cares deeply about his or her significant other.
Suppose a romantic relationship between say, Origene and Samantha. Origene does not hurt Samantha, neither does any significant hurt transverse from Samantha towards Origene. While Samantha loves Origene dearly, she arrives at the conclusion Origene does not conform with the ideal she seeks in context of a romantic relationship.
Samantha goes on to tell Origene all of the areas within which he falls short of her ideal. Origene responds he can be the man of Samantha’s dreams, pleads with Samantha a rethink of her decision.
Samantha dawdles over her decision, Origene makes attempts at transforming of himself into Samantha’s ideal, the relationship does not get any better, deteriorates. Two years later (for a total of 4 years in relationship time), sounding as harsh and determined as possible, Samantha calls Origene on the phone saying,
Don’t call me again. I no longer want to be with you.
Two years after the fact, and with lots of additional investments into the relationship, Origene still ends up heartbroken.
Now a retake or alternate ending to “Samantha goes on to tell Origene all of the areas within which he falls short of her ideal.”
Rather than showcasing all of her ideals, and exactly how it is Origene falls short, Samantha informs Origene the relationship is not meeting her needs, tells Origene, “It’s not you, it’s me”. She ends the relationship without any further explanations, without any discussions of Origene’s failings. Walks away.
Compare then the two alternate endings. Within context of the retake, Samantha never has to say, “Don’t call me again.” Origene never gets to know what he needed to become, does not invoke any efforts for attempts at becoming Samantha’s ideal. Origene ends up with less of a broken heart (no harsh ‘get away from me’ words or attitude), arrives at less of a broken heart two years early. Origene has two additional years for arrival at a mended heart, for finding of someone else.
“It’s not you, it’s me”, without any added explanations can be noble, can be an anachronism, can be evidence of love for target of the words.
How then can “it’s not you, it’s me” be construed to be an anachronism, a statement that seemingly does not fit the discussion, that seemingly does not fit the action?
Suppose Samantha was interested in a man who is a book lover — someone who loves to read classic novels. Origene it turns out had no desire for classic novels, did not particularly enjoy leisure reading. Origene would read whatever he needed to read for maintenance of a professional edge, a quality that attracted Samantha. Origene, however, had no love for recreational reading. Over the course of their first two years together, Samantha was unsuccessful at getting Origene to read even one novel. Samantha nobly concludes she made a mistake in her initial assessment of fit between herself and Origene, declares, “It’s not you,it’s me.”
“It’s not you, it’s me” can sound like an anachronism. In reality, however, it can be totally appropriate, be evidence of noble, loving intent and actions.
There perhaps is an even nobler rationale for “It’s not you, it’s me”, which is:
Does Samantha really want an Origene who develops love for recreational reading only so they can remain together, only so he can be her husband? Does she think Origene can maintain motivation for recreational reading post wedding or honeymoon? Does she want to spend the rest of her life under cloud of such possibility?
Suppose, however, Origene already loves to read biographies, but has yet to develop any love for novels. Well then, it would seem there exists room for improving of the romantic relationship, to wit, along with Origene, Samantha reads a biography ever once in a while; along with Samantha, Origene reads a classic novel ever once in a while. In context of such a discussion, compromise, arrangements, and change in behavior, love possesses room for spontaneous, persistent growth. The discussion serves to signal to Origene that compromise, as opposed to a demand for change to essence or character, is necessary for progression of the romantic relationship.
Attempt at inducing a romantic partner to change via pointing out all of their failings can save a romantic relationship, but create a marriage doomed to fail. Prior to formal consummation of a romantic relationship, it really can be much nobler and loving to declare in context of a failed courtship that:
It’s not you, it’s me.
And then to leave it at that.