Sorry About All the Drama


Photo: Katherine Streeter

Now she’s mad at me. She said she was tired of the drama. I was only trying to help. All they did was fight all the time, anyway. You’d think she would be grateful to me for helping her out of a bad situation. Whatever, I have other friends.

After all these years of being immersed in other women’s problems, you’d think I could spot a phony cry for help, but even a semiprofessional can be fooled.

It all started a few months ago when Betsy was sitting at her workstation, staring off into space with that forlorn look that only comes from dyke drama. I didn’t even need to ask. Betsy and her lover fought all the time.

As I approached her, I remembered all the shoulders I had cried on over the years. Let she who is without drama cast the first stone, right? So, I asked her what was wrong, and she told me all about the argument they’d had the night before. It was over macaroni and cheese. It had started at about midnight with a discussion about whose turn it was to make a late-night snack and ended at about 3 a.m. when Betsy’s lover told her to get out. Betsy had wisely kept her own apartment for just such an occasion. Not that she ever got much sleep there, but at least it kept her from having to blubber on the streets all night.

She said she had called, but her girlfriend wasn’t picking up the phone. I suggested a text, but Betsy’s texts had already gone unanswered.
That was when Betsy uttered the words that started this whole mess. “I am just so sick of fighting. I want it to stop for good,” she said. Most of us who know Betsy would have been OK with a murder-for-hire scheme. We were tired of their relationship, too. But apparently she had something a little less fatal in mind.

I asked her if she was truly serious about ending all the drama, and she said that it was all she wanted in life. I told her to apologize to her woman. Betsy hated the idea.

She wasn’t wrong, she insisted, and she hadn’t done anything that required an apology. I reminded her of her last three breakups with this woman and all the lost productivity they’d resulted in. An apology would do the trick, I assured her. Besides, she didn’t have to say what she was sorry about. She might mean that she was sorry they’d had a fight at all, not that she was sorry for whatever the argument was about. The beauty of the apology is that it doesn’t really matter what you are sorry for, as long as you say you are sorry. Betsy started to see the light. I told her that I would watch her desk while she snuck off to make the call.

A few minutes later, she returned with a less than triumphant look on her face. She had left the apology on her lover’s voicemail. She just knew it wasn’t going to work. I just knew that it was, and I said so as I went back to my own tasks.
At quitting time, Betsy was all smiles. It had worked. Her woman had called her to say that she had accepted her apology and couldn’t wait to see her!

Another happy ending…but it was just the beginning—of the end.

I suppose I could lie and say that I didn’t see it coming, but how could I when I was steering the bus? Allow me to remind you again, dear readers, Betsy said she wanted to put a stop to this endless cycle of grinding drama.

The next time Betsy came to work with a long face, I gave her the same advice. She didn’t really want to hear it this time. There was no way her lover was going to let her off the hook again with just an apology, Betsy insisted. And besides, why did she always have to be the one to give in? It isn’t giving in, I told her. It is moving on.

It was no surprise to me that it worked again.

Nothing kills drama like an apology. Couples who live to fight are locked in a power struggle. The drama is a product of nobody wanting to give in or lose the emotional tug-o-war.

For any girl who is truly tired of her dramalock relationship, all she needs to do is say she is sorry and thereby let go of the rope.
But then what happens?

Well, sometimes couples find a new, better way of relating to each other and live blissfully ever after. Or, they break up.
Enter Betsy again, just a few weeks after her second successful mea culpa. I encouraged her to keep it up and apologize early and often. I urged her not to wait until she was shown the door to say she was sorry. At the first hint of disharmony she should let ’er rip.

She took my advice and sprinted with it. She was a changed woman—all smiles and all business. You would never know that she had been a woman possessed by dyke drama.

I was her savior and she couldn’t thank me enough…until she got dumped.

It happened quite suddenly. Betsy dropped by her lover’s place with some flowers and her girlfriend told her that it was over, as she calmly arranged the stems. She told Betsy that the passion was gone and that their relationship was stagnant. She was bored and she needed to be stimulated and engaged.

“But fighting isn’t stimulating or engaging,” I told Betsy, attempting to help her understand. Sometimes there is more drama than there is relationship. Once the drama is gone, there is just a big empty space where the relationship is supposed to go, or once was or should have been. In any case, many couples find that filling the space with anything positive or productive is just too much work. Now, I told her, she was free to find a loving and respectful situation.

But Betsy didn’t want to hear it. All she knew was that she used to have a girlfriend, and now she didn’t. She was more depressed than ever, and my previously supportive 
co-workers elected me jerk of the month.
In the end, all I could do was apologize. “Save it for your girlfriend,” Betsy growled.

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