The ‘Man Behind the Door’

Many years ago, I had a girlfriend come to me to discuss her distress with her current relationship. The couple had been together for five years, lived together, and had begun to build a story together. They had begun there relationship at a time where the future wasn’t truly thought about because she was still perusing her education, so the pressures of “future” had not been an issue. Her partner was kind, hardworking, supportive and loyal. There were no “obvious” complaints that would have made it easy to break away. Things were good, and yet as the reality of settling down and committing to life with this man in the long term began to fester, she couldn’t seem to ignore the whisper from within that told her maybe there was something more.

Its a dangerous feeling, knowing you have it good, but admitting to yourself that you aren’t quite fulfilled. Battling the voices in your head that tell you to be grateful for what you have, and then the feelings of your heart that tell you to not be afraid to look for what you truly desire. It’s almost like a game of “Deal or No Deal”. When do you decide to stop and be happy with the briefcase you have opened, regardless of what the next box may offer?Its all individual, and relative to you.

She was anxious and she babbled on and on trying to convince me (herself) of all the reasons she should stay in her current relationship and continue to disregard the whisper in her ear: more.

I decided to pose a question to her, and this question has stuck with me now for a long time. I asked her to imagine I was a genie and my power was that behind the door in front of her I could offer her a man with all of the qualities she loved about her partner, plus all of the qualities she was still longing for. The Man Behind The Door would be her ideal mate, but she’d have to open it now and be willing to release her current partner. Would she take the door? She looked at me like I was crazy and said: “Of course I’d take the door! Who wouldn’t?” I said nothing and allowed her to continue to babble her anxieties out about why she should stay.

A few months later we found ourselves sitting down for another meeting. This time she broke the news to me that she had broken it off with her boyfriend. She told me that she had asked my question to a friend of hers who had been in her relationship for a long time. It was one that my friend respected and admired. When it was her friend’s turn to choose the door, she paused and thought about it. “It would be tempting to take the door, obviously there are many things that drive me crazy about my partner, but honestly I couldn’t take it. Maybe I’d gain a lot of amazing traits, but I couldn’t imagine not going through life with my partner. I couldn’t risk losing what I have to take the door.” This was my friends ah-ha moment. She deserved someone that would make her want to stop opening boxes, someone who made her want to keep the door closed. Not only that, but her partner deserved someone who wouldn’t want to open the door either.

A year later she found someone who felt right to her, who had all the qualities she longed for in The Man Behind The Door the ones she knew she had been longing for but was afraid to believe she could get. Over time they began to the life of her dreams together, including building a home with their names written into the fall. Soon after that, she tragically passed away. Really. It’s sad, but imagine how much sadder it would have been if she hadn’t have taken the risk to go looking for what she truly wanted?

I understand that it is hard to leave a relationship, especially one you have shared a home with, or a social circle. Not only will you lose that person, but your place in your world as you know it. But what’s worse? Conforming and moving farther towards marriage with this person, or breaking ties and going after what you really want? I guess the real question to ask yourself is, if you had the chance would you be swayed by The Man Behind the Door?

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