Move Over, Carrie

July 13, 2013

Today's topic: At what point do you become responsible for another human being? 

This one's been percolating for a bit now. It may go around for a bit, but stick with me...we'll get there. You hear it a lot. "I told you not to expect anything." "It's your choice." "No one made that choice for you." "I don't owe you anything." 

I've heard it said from boys you have flirtatious flings with. They throw it out like a complete catch-all that will cover them should you try to push them for more than one night, surface-level conversation...once they say it--"I told you not to expect anything"--they act like they can get off Scott-free for the rest of your time together. 

But I've also heard it from boys who have made deep and grave promises to me. One boy, in particular. We had a ring, a date, a plan. And then he left me high and dry with no plans. Naturally what followed was a myriad of tearful conversations and screaming matches. And to this day, I will always remember the coldest smack in the face I ever received. After telling him how much he had hurt me and made me feel lost and alone with his action, he very quietly and simply said in the most even of carefree tones: "Why? Who am I?"

Who are you? You're the man I built my future plans with. You're my partner in this thing called love. You're my best friend. And even then, he wouldn't take responsibility for the fact that his actions hurt me. In his mind, the fact that I was unhappy and hurt was my choice and problem to deal with, not his. You made promises, I made choices. You broke those promises and now it' responsibility to pick up the pieces, while you have to deal with nothing?

Another example is from my mom and dad. Growing up, it was impossible not to notice that my father's mood always affected my mom's. How often do you remember making plans with one parent, only to have the other come home in a bad mood and have to cancel them? 

That's the type of responsibility I'm talking about. The ability to look someone in the eye and say: Who am I? I'm someone whose words, opinions and even moods influence the choices you  make. And I own up to that. You didn't make those choices alone. You were affected, by me. And that's a big deal. For both you and me. So I promise to be gentle and take care knowing that what I say carries extra weight. 

Which brings me to the what point do you become responsible for another person and the way your actions affect them? If you move in with your boyfriend and it doesn't work out and you move out, does he in fact have some responsibility for the emotions that follow? Or, was it really "your choice" and therefor your responsibility to deal with the outcome, whatever it may be? 

If you make your choices based on input from other people, 
what responsibility do they hold for the outcome of those choices? 
In a world where no one takes responsibility, 
is true love the best example of a self-sacrificing, pure miracle? 
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Move Over, Carrie is a whenever-I-feel-like-it series providing, hopefully, witty sociological commentary on modern relationship issues. 


  1. While I truly believe you choose how you feel/respond, I've always struggled with others not realizing the part they play in the situation. As a psychology major, I learned that I control how I act, how I feel, and how I respond and yes I believe that. I also believe that we play apart into affecting others and that there is a part of us that does not always have control over our emotions. We can't help when we fall in love-we can limit it and avoid it, but you can't control that feeling that just happens.

  2. I love this! I think at some point when the relationship becomes serious you HAVE to start taking responsibility for the way your actions affect the other person. You have to start making decisions based on what's best for 'both of you' not just YOU. When you move in together or get engaged that's amplified because you're splitting things like finances, household duties, etc. If one person can't accept that that comes with the territory then it's not going to work out.

  3. This is a great post. People don't take enough responsibility for the things they do. Regardless of if you make a's typically based on a certain situation/feelings/etc that another person plays a role in.

  4. Ohhh my gosh I can't tell you how many times I had this arguement with my ex!! He was the type of person who felt like anyone should be able to say anything he thought, even if it was mean. He did it so frequently and when I would tell him he hurt my feelings he completely dismissed it and woudl literally tell me it was MY fault for taking what he said that way! It was ultimately the desmise of the relationship. Words have consequences as well actions, and people do need to take responsiblity for how they come off, if they have a care for your heart at all.

  5. This is powerful, Autumn. For a very long time (and still to to this day), I had a hard time COMBINING my life with someone else. It's a scary concept, especially when that other person really, can just leave at any time. This is a major reason why I've had commitment issues and had trouble opening up in relationships. You really raise some excellent questions about what responsibility we have to another person when we allow them to affect our choices or join their lives with ours.

    You gave me some real food for thought with this one! Carrie Bradshaw would be proud.


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