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In the 2007 film, 3:10 to Yuma, Christian Bale’s character loses his foot while fighting in the Civil War. As compensation, the government gives him a sum of money, with which he attempts to forge a new life. Ultimately, though, he realizes that the government didn’t give him the money so he could walk away. They gave him the money so they could walk away. The token sum wasn’t so much to help him out as it was a settlement of any obligation the government had to him.

It’s a cynical perspective. But sadly, it seems to hold some universal truth, even within the realm of dating and relationships. Sometimes, we may believe we’re acting out of compassion and sympathy, but upon further scrutiny, we’re actually pandering to our own interests. Take the true story of Steven and Joanne:

Steven met Joanne through a mutual friend and was immediately intrigued by her. At first, Joanne wasn’t sure if she was interested. But he was persistent, so she decided to give him a chance. As they spent more and more time together, she realized that she was developing strong feelings for him. Unfortunately, the opposite was true for Steven. He found that his intrigue was slowly fading into disinterest.

After dating for five months, Steven called off the relationship, badly hurting Joanne in the process. In an effort to be the nice guy, Steven would occasionally call Joanne to “check up” and to see how she was doing. He wanted to show her that he still cared. As a compassionate person, he told himself, he was doing the right thing.

Now, is Steven a great guy or what? Talk about being the perfect model of a compassionate citizen, right?

Or is he?

Read the rest of the article on YourTango


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1 comment

  • Comment Link movingon18 Thursday, 20 June 2013 09:22 posted by movingon18

    The being nice thing only truly works when the parting terms were fair on both parties. The problem is that in most long term marriages, where one has been a stay at home mother, the two people in a relationship are rarely on an equal footing. There is always one person who earns more money than the other and the other person whose quality of life will greatly depend on the divorce settlement. This is what leads to men playing God in what happens to the future of their ex wives. Such men believe, they have a right to call the shots, about how much of "their money" should go to this woman who is no longer going to be their problem. It seems to be a case of, no longer being married to him, cancels out everything that the wife did for him and the family they had together. The outcome for ex wives like me, is many years of financial uncertainty as we struggle to rebuild, whilst the ex husband gloats over our reduced circumstances. How in heaven's name, am I not supposed to be offended, when my ex husband eventually tries to be friendly, knowing all the while he set me up to fail and has no intention of doing right by me? So in answer to the above question - the answer is yes it is selfish and deeply offensive to play nice after a divorce - depending on the level of cruelty inflicted at the end of the relationship.