I’ve got this friend who’s really smart.  She’s sharp.  She’s keen.  She’s on the ball.  She’s on top of things.  She’s not one to make stupid decisions or shy away from hard choices.  Her name is… er… Jane.  Yeah *cough* Jane.

Jane is motivated, self-starting, has goals, is well-groomed, has connections, is witty, is sensible and sensitive and caring and all that.  She’s the kind of girl you’d want to introduce to your parents.  She’s every supervisor’s wet dream.  And she’s got good taste too.  But above all she is a person of very sound mind and judgement.

Except when it comes to her girlfriend.

You see, Jane has what I like to call “Mammal Syndrome”.  You know how a person is perfect in every way except when it comes to the love of their life?  When matters of the heart (and of the loins) overrule the mind?  I think you know what I’m talking about.

Now Jane’s girlfriend… er… Nikki.  Yeah Nikki.  Ahem.  Nikki treats her like shit.  Nikki takes advantage of Jane’s financial position and superior social standing sometimes.  But not quite enough to be called a “user.”  Nikki and Jane often have fights.  Nikki likes to blame her own irresponsible, immature, petty actions on Jane.  And Jane puts up with it.  Naturally, Nikki continues to be irresponsible, immature, petty and sometimes even downright mean.

And Jane puts up with it.  And she suffers so.  And she sometimes comes crying to me for advice on what to do.

But you see, she knows what to do about the whole situation.  If it were someone else’s problem she would know exactly the kind of advice to give, straight and to the point.  I pointed this out to her.  She nodded miserably, admitting that she did know the right thing to do “but… but… but I just love her so much!”

“What do you love about her?”, I counter.  “What is it about Nikki that makes you want to cling to her when you could have any girl you want?”

“I don’t know”, she says tearfully, “I just do!”  Basta, mahal ko siya.

Oh dear.

Why is it so difficult for us to do the right thing when it comes to love? What is it about love that short-circuits the brain?  Or is it really lust that’s doing it?  (Somehow I doubt that it’s lust, in Jane’s case. Trust me on this one.)  When we make the decision that another person is more important than you, is that still love?  I seem to recall reading somewhere that you can’t really learn to love someone until you learn to love yourself first.  Could that be Jane’s problem?  But no, it can’t be that.  By all accounts, Jane really does love herself.  In fact I can almost guarantee that she has a very healthy sense of self-love and self-respect.

Then again she’s got Nikki for a girlfriend.  Hmm.

Perhaps Jane really knows that she’s made a mistake by keeping Nikki.  Perhaps, just perhaps, she simply doesn’t want to let go.  I believe it was Dale Carnegie who said that people own their mistakes.  It’s supremely difficult to persuade a person to stop making a mistake when you tell them and tell them and tell them that they are making a mistake.  It’s not that they don’t believe you.  It’s just that we own our mistakes.  We own them as much as we own our names.  And screw anyone who tries to make us give up what is tangibly, intimately ours.  Perhaps we are simply unwilling to let go of what is rightfully ours, even if what is ours is a total lemon.  Some people are funny that way, I guess.

In the end, it’s Jane’s decision to put up with Nikki and not someone else’s.  She has to live with that.  You know it.  I know it.  Jane certainly knows it.  Maybe Nikki has some really good qualities that no one else knows about.  Qualities that go above and beyond redeeming her of her reprehensible traits.  Maybe underneath it all Nikki is an unimaginably sublime angel.

Or maybe Nikki is just a really really really good lay.  Hell, one never knows with mammals.

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