love out loud: what if it doesn’t work out?
My best friend is in love with an American. Not one of those convenient ones with an Australian working holiday visa or permanent residency; one of the difficult ones that threatens to take her far away from me.
Miranda met Steve while he was living in Australia. Naturally, she met him just before he left Australia, but they had a few days’ dalliance that has resulted in sexy skyping and affectionate texting in the year or two since then. Being her best friend, I have of course known for some time that she is in love with him, but it was only after she recently visited him in the US of A that she finally admitted it. You know that scene in Sex and the City where Miranda rocks up to Carrie’s apartment and says ‘I’m in love with Steve’ and Carrie responds, ‘Oh I knew, I just can’t believe you admitted it’? That’s pretty much exactly how it happened, except that there was no baby in the room, and I’m not blonde (Miranda is, however, a redhead which is why the pseudonym is so apt).
As she was sitting on my couch, recounting their tantalising tales and plans for the future, she mentioned that people had been relentlessly saying to her ‘what if it doesn’t work out?’ whenever she says that she is going to move to the States after she finishes uni. Pragmatic? Sure. Bit of a downer? Totally.
It seems that whenever Miranda shares her plans to reside in the same country as the man she loves, she is met with skepticism and an apparent need to let her know that her relationship might end. People rarely say ‘what if it doesn’t work out?’ to couples just after they get engaged or announce they’re having a baby, but anyone who’s thinking of moving to be with their partner is bombarded with rather uninspiring questions and comments. Because never mind marriage and children, it’s moving that is obviously the commitment you can’t get out of.
This aside, I’m constantly flabbergasted at the fact that people seem to think that any relationship is ever certain to work out. People get divorced after decades of marriage and after raising a stack of descendents together, so how sure can you ever be?
There are no guarantees in life, and certainly not in relationships where the continuation is contingent on two people growing together and continuing to want the same things (or at least continuing to want each other). If we only ever plan for circumstances that we are certain of, we’ll never plan for anything.
I feel like I’ve changed my trajectory in order to align more closely with that of Julio, and I’m really happy with where I now am, both with him and in life more generally. But I didn’t do anything because I’m 100% confident we’ll be together forever, but rather because I’d like us to be and making plans that include him makes that more likely to happen than only committing to things that I’m certain will work out exactly how I want them to (and this applies to any kind of investment, not just in relationships).
I have trouble being fully supportive of Miranda’s plans to move to the US because I find it hard enough having her live in Melbourne while I’m in Adelaide, but I am fully supportive of her and her relationship. Right now, it is working, so trying to be on the same side of the equator as Steve makes sense. And if it stops working, she’ll do whatever makes sense then. But staying in Australia at risk of the relationship not working out will pretty much ensure that it doesn’t. Of that, we can be sure.
(Image credit: 1.)