He's just not that into you

I remember watching Greg Behrendt on Oprah and then the movie version of his book “He’s Just Not That Into You” with great interest. As a woman, the message resonated with me. I’ve made many if not most if not all the mistakes Behrendt points out that most women tend to make in search of “the one”. I’ve read way too much into any little thing to convince myself I was on the verge of something really beautiful from Boyfriend #2 through Husband #1, when truth be told, they were simply not that into me. I was not the exception to the rule that unnecessarily complicated and ill-defined relationships never turn into something beautiful. I was the rule. Luckily, thankfully, without the help of the book or movie, I managed to figure some things out and found my real really beautiful thing—enter Husband #2, but as a nephrologist I see the same misguided attitude in my encounters with patients.

All too often, my conversations with patients with very advanced kidney disease who should be preparing for the inevitable, impending need to start dialysis, end with their rejecting the notion out-of-hand. Most often, the rationale for doing so is a firm belief that [insert Higher Power’s name here] will prove me wrong. They find meaning in imagined things—my legs seem less swollen today so maybe that is a sign my kidneys will get better—like a woman trying to twist his wrongs into right—he only lied because he wants to be with me so much. They downplay the symptoms they are having—I’m not that nauseous—like a woman making excuses for his bad behavior—maybe he really is working late.

They hope and pray He will not allow them to be just like every other patient in their exact same situation I’ve seen before. That they are somehow different from the rest. That He has a plan for them that will make them the exception.

So I find myself wanting to say the unfortunate truth: He’s just not that into you. You are the rule.