News

Section Q

As I start writing this column, my farewell contribution to Section Q, it is snowing. snowing in late April. I wonder: is winter really over? Then I listen this faint internal voice in my mind asking “Marcelo, shouldn’t you be writing your four pending term papers instead of speculating about the weather?” Hum, the answer is ambiguous. Indeed, I really need to finish those papers. At the same time, I owe those of you who kindly and loyally read my articles in Section Q a very deep apology for my prolonged absence from these pages.

I must say this was a long and very harsh winter. Ok, no news on that account if you talk about the climate. But what I am referring to now is the very long and harsh winter I had to experience in my heart: the longest period of conflict, misunderstanding and painful conversations between Marcelo and me in our seven years together. Simply put, he stayed in Mexico since the winter break and I did not have him back until Monday last week. During that time we exchanged very harsh words, those devastating statements that people should never pronounce because they hurt deeper and more painfully than a dagger. Some of you knew this was happening, some others maybe suspected it from Marcelo’s extended absence and my increased seclusion; naturally I tried to keep this to myself from the most of you. Sadly, in such a situation I simply could not write a line. Actually I must say that the sadness of this period affected literally every aspect of my life. If I disappointed some of you at any moment during this interval, I offer you my deepest apologies.

Marcelo has been back for a week now. Last Saturday we celebrated our 7th anniversary together. Certainly it has been the best week for me in the year, the century and the millennium, so far. Is winter over? Are we a happy couple again? Those are very challenging questions but we must face them now or risk our relationship again. Our understanding is that we will face still many stormy days. there are many things to discuss, to adapt, to learn about each other. there is still a lot of work to do. The good news is that we are both very committed to the task of saving our relationship at any rate.

Why do I tell you all these things? Is it just that I am in touchy-feely mode? Is it just the result of experiencing a veritable emotional roller coaster with the seventh anniversary of my relationship, the eight anniversary of the company I founded, and the first anniversary of the death of one of my best friends all packed in the same week? Maybe all of that is “the truth” but not “all the truth.”

There is mainly the desire to share with you this experience so that you can consider it if you once face a difficulty with your partner. It is often tempting in those moments to just drop the ball, to just run away from such a winter searching for better climates, particularly after a long and harsh period of bitter exchanges. My advice here is to look back at the good moments; at all you have accomplished together; to visualize you both at the beginning of the relationship and now and compare. If after all that you see that the relationship has been beneficial for both of you, even if your partner does not see the things in the same way at the time, don’t give up. Follow the advise of the Mexican song that says “. because we make so many mistakes, because we are so many times wrong. once having found it, it shouldn’t be ignored. there is no possible forgiveness for someone who having come across true love, dares to let it escape.”

There is also this urgent need to advice you that if you, now or ever, experience such a winter in your soul, don’t keep it for yourself: ask for help, call your friends, dial 911, do whatever but don’t let it go for long. If you don’t find any of your very close pals available you can always e-mail mguinea@mba2001.hbs.edu. In that address you will always find a friend (hopefully two friends, Marcelo and me) who understand how you feel and who will be very willing to help you.

Good luck and all the blessings. my FRIENDS!

April 17, 2001
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