And this is a massive rant! I work on a very part time basis with teenagers who are having a tough time. Also work on a very part time basis with dogs who are having a tough time.
In both cases, the individuals are challenging and often very antisocial in their behavior. Often very stressed, miserable and not optimistic about their futures too. What seems to cause much of the problems is being brought up in families that just didn't have time, energy or the inclination to help them feel safe and give them outlets for the things they want to do.
Not having time, inclination or energy to learn about dogs and kids isn't at all a problem to me - I have no intention of having kids because I have 0 interest in the life that doing so would present me. What is a problem is having a kid or getting a dog in the hope that they will enhance a boring life and with having no or little intention of learning about them and their needs. And having no intention or ability to make the changes necessary to help them be happy, secure, loving individuals.
And so often when I read these boards I read the same sorts of stories as I hear about with kids and dogs. We're married and our life is boring and we want to start having new relationships. Or I'm not good at making friends but here's a list of things I want from my relationships. Or - my husband/wife feels like they want more people and I'm trying to understand but they already don't have time for me. Or - I felt more jealous than I thought I would so my husband split up with his girlfriend. Or - it's just not what I thought so I've dumped my partner and am hoping my wife will do the same so that we can go back to being monogamous.
To me these are all part of the same problem. And can have the same consequences. People can be damaged - sometimes irreparably by a bad experience in a romantic relationship.
I think that just as with kids and with dogs, before starting a romantic relationship, everybody should be thinking about what it is they can do. How many changes are you willing to make for the ones you love? How can you be sure if somebody close to you is ill or your work is stressful that you will not neglect your romantic relationships? What plans are in place? What from your past experiences make you think you can cope when things aren't going well?
If you aren't reasonably sure, leave people, kids and dogs alone. Don't become an important part of another individual's life and then stop just because your life isn't the way you wanted it to be.
These actions have consequences for the one that's cast aside. To me it just isn't good enough to put the onus on those people to fix themselves and to see what's happened as part of a 'learning experience.'
Anyway - rant over. C and I are setting off for a walk in the snow and I'm sure that will help.