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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
Learn More: Tobias & Sarah as led by Saint Raphael

On a couple of occasions I've broken up with (or been dumped by) women whose emotional limitations or baggage led friends of mine to attempt consolation by saying things like "you're better off, believe me"...generally followed by a patient enumeration of the lady's faults. This strikes me as a poor though understandable strategy that only prompts me to shake my head and reply, "ah, but you don't know....!". For one thing, when I love someone I find even their flaws endearing (obviously I am not talking about obvious life-wrecking dealbreakers like alcoholism or a propensity for violence). For another, I strongly suspect that I'm drawn to women to whom I feel I can be of some service--helping to mend their broken wings. Of what use could I be, anyway, to those mythical personages who 'have no baggage', who never wake up afraid in the middle of the night, never lose their keys, whose lives are an unbroken succession of personal triumphs? If I met such a woman I'm sure I'd admire her, but not love her, not romantically anyway.
It would be easy to dismiss this quirk of mine as pathological but I'm not convinced that it's entirely a bad thing. It didn't stop me from having a happy 13-year marriage (ended by my wife's death four years ago).
If anyone other than myself finds the topic worthwhile, I'd be interested to hear their views on the preference for a broken wing.
Jan 16th 2014 new
All of us are wounded or broken in life or by life. Our faith is what helps us to slog forward every day. If you truly love and care for a person even when you are aware of their brokenness; and maybe even want to help them heal, I think you are loving as Jesus did.
Jan 16th 2014 new
You get a Gold Star! Exactly ~ we need to live what we preach. Love all parts of them. And we understand them better then anyone. We all have broken wings, some more obvious than others. Some of us are made to be with those with broken wings. With their beautiful souls. To LOVE them. The Holy Spirit will guide and move you. Only you and the other person and God of course, only really know. (three to get married.) And that is okay because that will be enough for your own heart to live. Those people are just so unaware of real life. And don't want to....pray for them. cloud fluffy
Jan 16th 2014 new
A lot of people comfort their friends after a break up by cataloging the faults of the ex. Of course it's usually distorting the truth a lot because you probably would never date someone who had nothing going for them.

I don't think it's pathological to be attracted to someone you feel like you can help. I think it's pretty common actually. I don't have too much to add, but I wouldn't worry about the tendency too much, since you were happily married. ;)
Jan 16th 2014 new
(quote) Celine-1048968 said: If you truly love and care for a person even when you are aware of their brokenness; and maybe even want to help them heal, I think you are loving as Jesus did.
Thank you, Celine, that's a lovely comment (I'm enjoying all the comments) but applied to my own case it's definitely overgenerous! I suspect there's also an element of bargaining (if I put up with HER baggage she'll have to tolerate mine!). The ratio may be something like 49% bargaining, 49% needing to be needed, and 2% Christian love. The actual stats may be even worse than that :)
I will say, though, that when I hear people complain about some trivial habit or other of their spouse's, I really do think "you don't know how much you'll miss that very thing when you lose him/her". Probably they're not as superficial as they sound, perhaps there are complaints about big things masquerading as complaints about small things.
Jan 16th 2014 new
Without any human intervention a bird with a broken wing is likely to die. With help it can completely heal and go about its chirpy life in the wild, heal well enough to function but may encounter problems under stressful situations, or be confined to a cage and utterly dependent on humans for sustenance. A successful outcome is dependent on others, and so it is with people.

I think many of us are drawn to others with flaws not only because of our altruistic natures, but because we want others to accept us in spite of our flaws and to inspire us to be better persons. It's why I don't think I could put up with a man close to my personality type. Out of frustration I'd be likely to criticize his flaws that mirror mine because they are areas that I am not happy with regarding myself. A man whose flaws complemented my strengths would be much easier to deal with as I have the tools, patience, and just plain stubbornness to handle them. I would much rather be motivated to improve myself due to another's shining example than out of resentment toward the other person's foibles that they share with me.
Jan 17th 2014 new
(quote) Paul-1049651 said: Thank you, Celine, that's a lovely comment (I'm enjoying all the comments) but applied to my own case it's definitely overgenerous! I suspect there's also an element of bargaining (if I put up with HER baggage she'll have to tolerate mine!). The ratio may be something like 49% bargaining, 49% needing to be needed, and 2% Christian love. The actual stats may be even worse than that :)
I will say, though, that when I hear people complain about some trivial habit or other of their spouse's, I really do think "you don't know how much you'll miss that very thing when you lose him/her". Probably they're not as superficial as they sound, perhaps there are complaints about big things masquerading as complaints about small things.
Paul,
I used to tell my husband that very thing -- all those quirks of mine that could drive him crazy would be the things he missed the most -- but it is me missing them.

There is for some of us a deep rooted desire to love and nurture others -- in some cases from our own baggage -- not wanting anyone else to feel the sad things we have felt. There are also those who immerse themselves in chaos because they need the chaos...they need to be needed and move from one crisis to the next. Sometimes we might chose the bird with the broken wings because we ourselves don't feel we can chose someone without -- because of our own sense of self worth.

I think the telling question would be: Is my love helping the person move forward and unpack their baggage or am I content to take them as is, baggage and all and really prefer that they keep it? In other words -- are we really helping them or are we keeping them needy?

My husband used to say to me sometimes that I didn't need him and I used to think are you crazy I need you all the time -- need his laugh, his humor, his bravery, his strength, his love and friendship -- but he was talking about other things -- I was very capable at managing our world. When he was killed I was devastated and all I wanted was to be able to let someone take over for me. Something I am not accustomed to nor comfortable with. I had two friends one a woman and the other a man -- who both told me -- you don't need me, all you need is God. That irked me to no end at first because I felt as if I was reaching out for someone's strength and comfort and I was being rejected -- but the fact was -- I didn't need them. I was strong and resilient and managed everything just fine and continued doing what I do best -- caring for and taking care of those around me.

Life can be a brutal playing field and we have to choose between letting it batter us or letting it strengthen us. All of us have encountered traumas and everyone handles them differently. I absolutely believe in loving another completely warts and all, but I continue to learn that my love and care for them may not be healing to them and that is ultimately the goal. If my love is healing then it is a good thing. If my love is not healing but creates a dependency or hinders healing then it is not helpful. it is not always easy to know the difference.
Jan 17th 2014 new
(quote) Lauren-927923 said: Paul,
I used to tell my husband that very thing -- all those quirks of mine that could drive him crazy would be the things he missed the most -- but it is me missing them.

There is for some of us a deep rooted desire to love and nurture others -- in some cases from our own baggage -- not wanting anyone else to feel the sad things we have felt. There are also those who immerse themselves in chaos because they need the chaos...they need to be needed and move from one crisis to the next. Sometimes we might chose the bird with the broken wings because we ourselves don't feel we can chose someone without -- because of our own sense of self worth.

I think the telling question would be: Is my love helping the person move forward and unpack their baggage or am I content to take them as is, baggage and all and really prefer that they keep it? In other words -- are we really helping them or are we keeping them needy?

My husband used to say to me sometimes that I didn't need him and I used to think are you crazy I need you all the time -- need his laugh, his humor, his bravery, his strength, his love and friendship -- but he was talking about other things -- I was very capable at managing our world. When he was killed I was devastated and all I wanted was to be able to let someone take over for me. Something I am not accustomed to nor comfortable with. I had two friends one a woman and the other a man -- who both told me -- you don't need me, all you need is God. That irked me to no end at first because I felt as if I was reaching out for someone's strength and comfort and I was being rejected -- but the fact was -- I didn't need them. I was strong and resilient and managed everything just fine and continued doing what I do best -- caring for and taking care of those around me.

Life can be a brutal playing field and we have to choose between letting it batter us or letting it strengthen us. All of us have encountered traumas and everyone handles them differently. I absolutely believe in loving another completely warts and all, but I continue to learn that my love and care for them may not be healing to them and that is ultimately the goal. If my love is healing then it is a good thing. If my love is not healing but creates a dependency or hinders healing then it is not helpful. it is not always easy to know the difference.
Hi Lauren, great point on " ....keeping ....needy ? " !
Jan 17th 2014 new
(quote) Lauren-927923 said: Paul,
I used to tell my husband that very thing -- all those quirks of mine that could drive him crazy would be the things he missed the most -- but it is me missing them.

There is for some of us a deep rooted desire to love and nurture others -- in some cases from our own baggage -- not wanting anyone else to feel the sad things we have felt. There are also those who immerse themselves in chaos because they need the chaos...they need to be needed and move from one crisis to the next. Sometimes we might chose the bird with the broken wings because we ourselves don't feel we can chose someone without -- because of our own sense of self worth.

I think the telling question would be: Is my love helping the person move forward and unpack their baggage or am I content to take them as is, baggage and all and really prefer that they keep it? In other words -- are we really helping them or are we keeping them needy?

My husband used to say to me sometimes that I didn't need him and I used to think are you crazy I need you all the time -- need his laugh, his humor, his bravery, his strength, his love and friendship -- but he was talking about other things -- I was very capable at managing our world. When he was killed I was devastated and all I wanted was to be able to let someone take over for me. Something I am not accustomed to nor comfortable with. I had two friends one a woman and the other a man -- who both told me -- you don't need me, all you need is God. That irked me to no end at first because I felt as if I was reaching out for someone's strength and comfort and I was being rejected -- but the fact was -- I didn't need them. I was strong and resilient and managed everything just fine and continued doing what I do best -- caring for and taking care of those around me.

Life can be a brutal playing field and we have to choose between letting it batter us or letting it strengthen us. All of us have encountered traumas and everyone handles them differently. I absolutely believe in loving another completely warts and all, but I continue to learn that my love and care for them may not be healing to them and that is ultimately the goal. If my love is healing then it is a good thing. If my love is not healing but creates a dependency or hinders healing then it is not helpful. it is not always easy to know the difference.
Well put, Lauren!

A bird with a broken wing is quite different from simply being imperfect.
Jan 17th 2014 new
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A bird with a broken wing......
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