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  #1  
Old 04-05-2008, 05:45 PM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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"You deserve better than me."

Is this ever a real excuse, outside of cheesy romance novels? Can you really, really love someone yet push them away because you sincerely feel that they deserve better than you?
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2008, 05:47 PM
Gala Matrix Fire Gala Matrix Fire is offline
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I've only ever been on the receiving end of that line, and my advice after long experience is: Don't ever argue with them. Just say your goodbyes and move on.
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2008, 05:54 PM
Telperien Telperien is offline
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In my experience, and that of other people I know, it really means, "This is what I'm telling you because I don't want to make the effort not to be a dick."
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  #4  
Old 04-05-2008, 05:58 PM
Audrey Levins Audrey Levins is offline
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I can't imagine a real scenario wherein people reject something that's better than they deserve. Seems to me that's called luck. And you run with it.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2008, 06:15 PM
lobotomyboy63 lobotomyboy63 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee
Is this ever a real excuse, outside of cheesy romance novels? Can you really, really love someone yet push them away because you sincerely feel that they deserve better than you?
It's a test. The other person wants you to reassure them that they're worthy. That's a bottomless pit and the person hearing it should move on. It may not be objectively true that the other person isn't worthy, but if that's the person's belief then they will act accordingly. If they don't believe it but are just fishing for a reaction, then they need to grow up.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2008, 06:31 PM
Jayn_Newell Jayn_Newell is offline
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I've certainly heard (and said) this line, but it was never in a 'go find something better' scenario. I think for both of us, it prompted us to become better people for the sake of each other. I didn't want to push him away because he deserved better--I wanted to become what he deserved.
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2008, 06:56 PM
Terrifel Terrifel is offline
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I think it can be a real excuse. If you love someone, you want them to be happy. If you hurt everything you touch, what is the right thing to do?

This sounds like a depressing topic for a cheesy romance novel. Don't they usually involve passionate liaisons between people named Bryce and Chastity; torrid encounters in elevators, stables, the boat house, etc.?

I presume that when someone says "You deserve better than me" in a cheesy romance novel, it's a given that the other person eventually proves them wrong. I therefore suspect that cheesy romance novels may be a poor guide for how this situation plays out in real life.
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2008, 07:01 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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I said that to someone once, long ago. What was really going on was that I liked her way too much and felt like I was losing her, so I just ended it.
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  #9  
Old 04-05-2008, 09:08 PM
eleanorigby eleanorigby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee
Is this ever a real excuse, outside of cheesy romance novels? Can you really, really love someone yet push them away because you sincerely feel that they deserve better than you?

I don't know from romance novels, and I'm married, not dating, but it (the statement, not the supposed motivation--I don't agree that that is the sole motivation for saying this statement) makes sense to me.

I have said those exact words to my husband--it doesn't stem (for me) from some noble impulse to sacrifice A Great Love; it comes from a realization that several, if not many, essential incompatibilities exist. We both deserve better than what we have. When it comes to non-marital relations.... It sounds like a kiss off line.


(I guess I'm cheesy: cheddar or jarlsberg?)
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  #10  
Old 04-05-2008, 09:10 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audrey Levins
I can't imagine a real scenario wherein people reject something that's better than they deserve.
But you said something, not someone. And you turned around the deserving in the OP: you went from "You deserve better" to "This is better than what I deserve." What if it isn't all about me? I can certainly imagine real scenarios wherein people give something up that they want in the interest of furthering someone else's happiness or well-being.

"You deserve better than me" can mean "I have self-esteem issues and can't think of myself as worthy." Or it can mean "This is the nicest way I can think of to tell you to get lost." Or it can truly and sincerely mean exactly what it says.
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  #11  
Old 04-05-2008, 09:15 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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This is like telling your boss he pays you too much. You'd have to have the conscience of a Ned Flanders.

Somebody who says "you deserve better than me" might have, I think, an inferiority complex.
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2008, 09:50 PM
gravitycrash gravitycrash is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audrey Levins
I can't imagine a real scenario wherein people reject something that's better than they deserve. Seems to me that's called luck. And you run with it.
I completely agree with this. Men seem to do this more than women. It is such bullshit.
And yes, if I am dating someone way out of my league I stay with her as long as possible.
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  #13  
Old 04-05-2008, 09:56 PM
tremorviolet tremorviolet is offline
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I don't know. I have huge issues about dating. I seem fairly normal at first but there's got to be a reason I've hit 40 unattached, right? I feel like if someone's looking for a normal relationship, they're not going to be happy with me. and maybe they should look somewhere else. And if I like them, I want them to be happy. I've never actually said the line but it's kinda one of my sub conscious operating principles.
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  #14  
Old 04-05-2008, 11:12 PM
Harriet the Spry Harriet the Spry is offline
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I interpret it to mean "I am not ready to get my act together and start treating you any better than I've treated you so far." With a 90% chance of "even if you don't know about it yet, I've already been cheating on you."
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  #15  
Old 04-06-2008, 06:08 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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I think Harriet the Spry summed it up pretty well. Although I might peg the chance of cheating higher.
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  #16  
Old 04-06-2008, 12:28 PM
Linty Fresh Linty Fresh is offline
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Even if I honestly thought she deserved better than the way I'd been acting, if I liked her and she liked me, I would take that as a sign to work hard, get my life in order and become the guy she deserves, not to break up with her over it.

Even if I did decide to end the relationship over something like this, I wouldn't tell her that. I would just say something general like "I'm sorry, but I don't think this is working out. We're just not a match."

Like the others said, he's either testing you, trying to weasel, or actually suffering from very low self-esteem. Whatever it is, you're better off without him.

Last edited by Linty Fresh; 04-06-2008 at 12:28 PM..
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  #17  
Old 04-06-2008, 12:44 PM
DianaG DianaG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linty Fresh
Even if I honestly thought she deserved better than the way I'd been acting, if I liked her and she liked me, I would take that as a sign to work hard, get my life in order and become the guy she deserves, not to break up with her over it.
Bingo. If you really love someone, you want to be better for them.

"You deserve better than me" really means "You deserve better than I'm willing to give you" which really means "I don't love you enough to make the effort". And in my opinon, why that is the case doesn't really matter.

If someone says it to you, take him at his word and walk away.
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  #18  
Old 04-06-2008, 12:53 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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I'd like to offer a dissenting view. But first a story.

On Valentine's Day 1994, my high school girlfriend and baby-mama left me. Left quite embittered by this break-up, I made a deliberate, evil choice that, since being a nice guy had gotten me mostly walked over, I would be a complete and utter asshole to the next woman I got involved with, whoever she might be. And so I was. I went into relationships with the express aim of doing as much psychic damage to the woman as possible, of causing her as much long-term pain as possible, because I felt betrayed and wanted to spread the misery. So I'd lie, and cheat, and manipulate; I'd do anything that wasn't outright criminal (because I didn't want to go to jail), and I sought out women who were needy and self-loathing enough to put up with that crap. I was good at finding them.

Anyway, this went on for a while. Then I met Lynn, who came from an extremely conservative background and was trying very hard not to be a lesbian. We got involved and eventually moved into together. As you might guess, it was a festival of emotional and verbal abuse that involved her doing a lot of things she didn't want to because she was terrified I would leave her.

Something strange happened in the course of this. Because, while Lynn was in many ways unwell, she was GOOD in many ways: compassionate, funny, multi-skilled, beautiful. I became more and more aware of what a great person she was when we lived together, and I stopped seeing her as pinata. I fell in love with her, which involved hating myself (or, more accurately, realizing that I hated myself) because of the cruel things I was doing to her. When she eventually got healthy enough to decide to leave me, I was relieved.

Fast forward a few years to a bad winter in Lynn's life. Her mother got extremely ill and died in a very brief span of time, and that death was torturous. At the same time she had some financial troubles, and was being criticized by her family for being a lesbian--because of course it was better that she be with a serially unfaithful, blatantly manipulative, emotionally abuse guy than any woman. This pressure drove off her girlfriend. I saw her during this time, because we had, improbably enough, maintained a friendship through all my crap, because she never stopped believing that there was a good guy underneath my crap. One night, in despair, she asked me if maybe we should get back together, even if just for one night.

I was enough of a non-asshole to see that this would lead us both back down dark paths: her into putting up with endless shit in the name of love, me of dispensing endless shit because I got my rocks off when she was crying. So I managed to say, "No. You deserve way better than me."

So, in conclusion: 99.999% of the time, the line is just an excuse. But once a century it's the truth.
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  #19  
Old 04-06-2008, 12:56 PM
tremorviolet tremorviolet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaG
Bingo. If you really love someone, you want to be better for them.

"You deserve better than me" really means "You deserve better than I'm willing to give you" which really means "I don't love you enough to make the effort". And in my opinon, why that is the case doesn't really matter.

If someone says it to you, take him at his word and walk away.
I think it's more "You deserve better than I am able to give you". This is part of the whole selfish/unselfish relationship issues I don't totally get. If you're looking for someone to fit you, why should you have to change who you are for the other person?

Although I don't disagree about the walking away part.
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  #20  
Old 04-06-2008, 01:19 PM
DianaG DianaG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tremorviolet
I think it's more "You deserve better than I am able to give you". This is part of the whole selfish/unselfish relationship issues I don't totally get. If you're looking for someone to fit you, why should you have to change who you are for the other person?

Although I don't disagree about the walking away part.
I think that "able" often serves as a euphemism for "willing". When it comes to a relationship, I'm able to do anything I choose, except for love someone I don't love. And if I don't love you enough, the fact that I'm able to offer a commitment, doesn't change the fact that I'm not willing to.

You shouldn't have to change for someone. But to make any relationship work, you have to be honest with each other and agreed on the terms. If you can't agree on the terms, that doesn't make either of you a bad person, so the correct analysis is not "you deserve better than me", it's "you want, and as such deserve, different than me".

That's how mature, honest adults handle this stuff. Someone who says "You deserve better than me" and continues to stand there is putting the decision to end it on you. If you let them, they'll stick around long enough to prove it to you.
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  #21  
Old 04-06-2008, 01:22 PM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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Thanks for the opinions, everyone. Particularly to Skald for sharing his story.

I don't want to go into too much detail here, but to sum it up: I have to leave the country for a year, and for the past year I've been involved in a tempestuous and exhausting non-relationship that will most likely end when I leave. Probably for the best. But the guy in question has had a rough life and is currently going through a difficult time (rejected from grad schools, unstable part-time jobs) and he told me he thinks I'm better off without him because he feels like his life is doomed to failure while I have a shining future ahead of me. (I don't feel like that at all, but that's another story.) We come from somewhat different backgrounds, although he tends to exaggerate the difference like some kind of princess-beggar fairytale. I'm just frustrated because he's letting something I consider superficial become an excuse for us to not try any harder to actually make anything of what we have. Although it's probably a moot point since I'm going to be away for an entire year anyway, and there's very little chance we'll even live in the same area once I move back.
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  #22  
Old 04-06-2008, 01:55 PM
Linty Fresh Linty Fresh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee
Thanks for the opinions, everyone. Particularly to Skald for sharing his story.

I don't want to go into too much detail here, but to sum it up: I have to leave the country for a year, and for the past year I've been involved in a tempestuous and exhausting non-relationship that will most likely end when I leave. Probably for the best. But the guy in question has had a rough life and is currently going through a difficult time (rejected from grad schools, unstable part-time jobs) and he told me he thinks I'm better off without him because he feels like his life is doomed to failure while I have a shining future ahead of me. (I don't feel like that at all, but that's another story.) We come from somewhat different backgrounds, although he tends to exaggerate the difference like some kind of princess-beggar fairytale. I'm just frustrated because he's letting something I consider superficial become an excuse for us to not try any harder to actually make anything of what we have. Although it's probably a moot point since I'm going to be away for an entire year anyway, and there's very little chance we'll even live in the same area once I move back.
Heh, I used to be that guy, right down to the unstable part-time jobs and feelings of failure. I remember my year after graduating college well, and I still refer to that time as exile-lite. I wound up joining the army which stabilized my life and brought me into contact with the woman who would eventually become my wife.

FWIW, unless he's got psychological or drug problems, chances are he'll get through this period just fine. That said, he's right about the relationship (and I was wrong for assuming the worst about him in my last post, although I still would have phrased it differently). The last thing he needs during this period is a serious relationship. He has to get through the tempest first and think about long-term relationships after he's reached calmer seas and gotten both his financial affairs and immediate future somewhat under control. That could take years.

I had two relationships during my exile-lite, and they both ended badly, and both times it was my fault. The best thing you can do is be his friend and offer a kind word and a shoulder to cry on. He's got to get through the storm on his own and unattached though.

Last edited by Linty Fresh; 04-06-2008 at 01:58 PM..
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  #23  
Old 04-06-2008, 02:06 PM
Icarus Icarus is offline
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I'm going to offer that this line can be used as shorthand for, "We are looking for very different things (I'm divorced and not looking for marriage), and I know I can't provide you with what you are looking for (I'm infertile and can't provide children)." In that context, I don't see it as a bullshit line.
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  #24  
Old 04-06-2008, 02:11 PM
Sticks and Scones Sticks and Scones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harriet the Spry
I interpret it to mean "I am not ready to get my act together and start treating you any better than I've treated you so far." With a 90% chance of "even if you don't know about it yet, I've already been cheating on you."

Haze... This pretty much sums up That Guy to me.
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  #25  
Old 04-06-2008, 02:40 PM
E. Thorp E. Thorp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee
I've been involved in a tempestuous and exhausting non-relationship
In my single days I was in a few of these, and finally figured out that it was the tempestuousness itself, the oscillation between hope and despair, that was the stimulating part. Exciting times, but in hindsight I should have taken (or given) no for an answer much sooner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee
that will most likely end when I leave. Probably for the best.
Not knowing the principals, I'll still wager there's no "probably" about it. Good luck.
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  #26  
Old 04-06-2008, 02:53 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture
Somebody who says "you deserve better than me" might have, I think, an inferiority complex.
Many people have inferiority complexes.

I can easily imagine someone in financial trouble who is exerting maximum effort just to keep himself together enough to hold down a job while going to counselling, and simply can't spare any more to maintain a relationship. I can imagine it, because I was that person seven years ago. Now, if I'd been approached by an interested woman, I probably would have ended up saying 'you deserve better than I can give you at this time'.
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  #27  
Old 04-06-2008, 05:42 PM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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Originally Posted by Always Brings Pie
Haze... This pretty much sums up That Guy to me.
Heh. I suppose the part about him not being ready to get his shit together is all too true. If a year isn't enough time I dunno what is.

It just seems impossible to meet someone you really click with, and it depresses me that I've met that person and life is making it difficult for anything to work out between us.

I see many cats in my future.
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  #28  
Old 04-06-2008, 05:56 PM
Linty Fresh Linty Fresh is offline
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Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee
It just seems impossible to meet someone you really click with, and it depresses me that I've met that person and life is making it difficult for anything to work out between us.

I see many cats in my future.
Oh come on, it's not that bad. You're what, in your mid-20's? Just out of college, or are you still in? I seem to remember a recent post from you about school. I also seem to remember you posting a picture of yourself in a Halloween costume. You're hardly spinster cat lady material yet, and I would lay odds against you becoming that, unless you decide you want to, of course.

There are plenty of guys out there to click with, and if you keep an open and adventurous attitude toward life, you're going to run into quite a few of them. Too many people--both men and women--wind up in bad relationships out of unrealistic fears of living the rest of their lives alone, or boredom, or being too nice to cut the knot.

Have a little faith in yourself and the future.

Last edited by Linty Fresh; 04-06-2008 at 05:58 PM..
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  #29  
Old 04-06-2008, 09:27 PM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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Originally Posted by Linty Fresh
Have a little faith in yourself and the future.
Thanks. Yes, I'm turning 26 this year, and I'll be going back to school next year, hopefully.

26 may be too young to resign myself to cat lady-dom, but I've met quite a few men in the past few years, and this is the first time I've shared such a strong connection with anyone. I suppose I'm afraid that I'll wake up ten, twenty years from now, never having experienced this kind of thing again. Then again, maybe then I'll have decided this "thing" I'm so hellbent on keeping was vastly overrated.

I've been through enough in my (admittedly still rather short) life to know that things that seem like the end of the world can become trivial in retrospect, but that knowledge doesn't help me now, unfortunately.

Okay, I'll stop whining now. I suppose the best way to deal with it is just to continue having mindblowing sex for the next two months and enjoy it while it lasts.
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  #30  
Old 04-06-2008, 10:15 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harriet the Spry
I interpret it to mean "I am not ready to get my act together and start treating you any better than I've treated you so far." With a 90% chance of "even if you don't know about it yet, I've already been cheating on you."
The one time I said this to someone, that was pretty much the case: I'd met somebody else I wanted to be with and while we hadn't even kissed yet, I knew it was headed that direction. FWIW, I really meant it: I knew I couldn't give the first girl what she wanted relationship-wise and I knew that the way I had let things develop with the second girl before I closed out the first relationship made me something of a heel, so I really believed that she needed to find someone better.
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  #31  
Old 04-06-2008, 10:38 PM
ShermanAter ShermanAter is offline
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HazelNutCoffee,

You are a rare treasure.

Don't sell yourself short.
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