Did you dump your boyfriend/girlfriend so you could "find yourself?"

by phil on Monday Nov 1, 2004 5:37 PM

Are people leaving relationships so that they can "find themselves." I've never heard of a particular case, but I've noticed this in three pop-culture references.

In the movie Garden State, the protagonist dumps Natalie Portman's character at the end because he wants to "find himself." In Rilo Kiley's song "Go Ahead" she says, "If you want to find yourself by travelling out West, or if you want to find somebody else that's better, Go Ahead." Thirdly, in Train's popular song "Drops of Jupiter" we hear, "And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?"

Something must be amiss among the Americans. Maybe even middle-aged people do this too, usually coinciding with their mid-life crises. And maybe this is not just an American thing. Other countries do have the economic luxuries and free societies that would give birth to the desire to "find oneself."

What surprises me, is how despite all these cultural warnings, people still fall into the same cycles. This doesn't happen to me! For example, having seen the film American Beauty at a young age, I'm acutely aware of my potential for a mid-life crisis. So I try to pre-empt this crisis by pursuing my passions early on.

Perhaps people don't heed these warnings, or they don't have the opportunity to discover them, or I'm different in that I have an "anti-cliche" heuristic in life. The "anti-cliche" heuristic being: "if this is a predicted cliched outcome, don't do it." That at least saves me from experiencing some of the wasteful drama I see in film or TV. But, despite my best efforts, sometimes I am just another iteration of the same trite story lines. Oh well.


B said on November 1, 2004 11:12 PM:

Always, all the time, of all ages and not in the TV drama sort of way.

Philip Dhingra said on November 1, 2004 11:17 PM:

Really? I don't have the proper historical perspective. However.

However, my assumption is that "finding onself" is rooted in a culture of abundance and individualism. Plus, the "too many choices" nature of our times may contribute: people now have so many selves that they can pursue. Finding the ONE becomes more important nowadays.

B said on November 3, 2004 4:53 AM:

I would assume it's not a cultural thing... Just a human thing. And I'm totally agreed on the "too many choices" statement. I am, we all are, forever changing because of environmental changes and personal situations and when it gets confusing to a person, it often helps to take control of those changes... hence dumping a significant other. I find it helpful to just find your fundamentals... something solid, if it's possible, and let everything change while using that as kind of a reference point... First word in the crossword.

babieegrl7 said on December 25, 2004 10:20 AM:

i dont know how to dump my boyfriend and still be friends i want to befriends though what should i do

babieegrl7 said on December 25, 2004 10:20 AM:

i dont know how to dump my boyfriend and still be friends i want to befriends though what should i do

isabelle callahan said on December 29, 2004 5:54 AM:

i need help cuz my bf is only going out with me for sex and if i dump him hell kill hem self a belevie me he would what should i do ??? i need help big time and i love him i just want a guy to love me for me

jo said on January 4, 2005 5:58 AM:

My girlfriend took a brake cause she has a problum that when she is in a relationship she wants to be single and does not know what to do.

What should I do to keep her in my life. thanks everyone

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