Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Separation

Forward, to the side, together

My life has revolved around my friendships for a very long time.  As I've gotten older, my life has started to evolve around them evolving--I have seemingly stood still in comparison to many, although in my heart of hearts I know that is not true. I have grown too, and whatever changes have occurred in my relationships have been both in my control and partly of my doing.

It is hard, being 32, and watching your friends not just have weddings and babies -- but be in marriages that have gone on for years, with children in school. (It's just as hard watching your sisters do this, too). Some of them would maybe argue that it is hard being 32, and watching me live a life entirely of my own making, direction and having no demands other than those I make for me.

My two best friends from high school and I are used to this. I was in one of their weddings this summer, and met the other's new baby also this summer, and I haven't really spoken to either one since. We keep in touch online and the occasional phone call but that's it. There is an ease there that I think only the very lucky have - we don't have to be in each other's day to day lives to stay close simply because we've learned that dynamic to be the norm for so many years. Though lately, I've been feeling those absences more than I have in the past.

For my more recently acquired friends in my adult life, that's not the case. We don't have years and years of background together to know without a doubt that if we don't talk for months, no big deal.

My best friend is one I've referenced many times on this blog through the years, even at times when it wasn't obvious I was referring to her. She was a major part of my life when I was in Lexington--which, as crazy as it sounds, was almost five years ago. We've stayed as close as we probably could after I moved and she stayed behind in Kentucky.

I'm still reluctant to talk about her and what caused us to break all those years ago and we've tried to mend throughout this time. I still have a paranoia that people in my "real/offline" life secretly read this blog (which is pretty ridiculous) and I don't want to drag her name through the mud. In a nutshell -- when I met her, she was on her second marriage and she had 3 kids and her mom living with her. 2 dogs and a vibrant household. Things were deteriorating with the marriage and 2 of the kids were difficult teenagers and, and, and. I was (am) ten years younger than her, so this put me at 25. 25 and still very scarred from my volatile home life and family, and I started sinking into their dynamic.

She met another man, and I went along for that ride. I watched the family break and I watched her break from me as she pursued this relationship. I had very mixed feelings about everything and I even voiced to her that all of this was over my pay grade, to use a work term. I was too young. I was too naive in the ways of relationships -- I didn't know what in the hell I was talking about when I was engaged in these spirals down. I had never been married; I had barely had a boyfriend I halfway liked.

I moved away; her relationship with this man evolved. They are now engaged. When she told me of her engagement, I told her I was happy for her and smiled although I felt like I was sinking deep. My hands were shaking and I cried when I got in my car and drove away. I knew I was losing her in some way, but it went way deeper than that for me on a lot of levels. I was so SO bitter. In a "Well, didn't everything work out great for YOU" way when it felt (feels) like I spin my wheels relationship-wise and I am so frustrated at how easily this come for other people. I also don't like this man at all for a variety of reasons that are not blog-worthy.

Also -and this is something I still struggle with- I have no perspective on how to have a marriage and still maintain very close friendships. In this way, I am as worldly and knowledgeable as a 15 year old trying to figure out how to have a crush on a boy. I just simply don't know because I've never experienced this from the other side. I've been the one waving behind the car with Just Married on it. I'm the one left behind.

We've stayed fairly close through the years, as close as we could for being two very busy people living in different states. She travels here a few times for work a year, and we text/talk. We've kept a connection that has ebbed and flowed. We've been as close as we can considering we're one half of a pair that deeply dislikes the man who the other plans to marry, and one half very likely resentful that her best friend hates the man she's going to marry.

We haven't spoken since the fall. I was in Kentucky and I didn't call. I am willfully placing an arm between us until I can get the same emotional space as I have the physical. I need to learn how to let things go, how to let my own issues untangle from hers. I need to grow up, in some ways. I need to learn how to love with detachment. This has come naturally through mutual transitions with my older friends--and in this case, I'm the one watching and waiting for time to heal the wound. The wound that, if I am honest, I gave myself.

At the end of the day, I really miss my friend. There are soo many things that make me want to pick up the phone, but I always hesitate. And to be fair, she's not exactly reaching to me either right now. I'm not sure where this ends. Or continues.

Forward, to the side -- together?

I don't know.


Ms. Moon said...

I have left behind many friends. Or been left behind. Relationships grow, change, become different. That is all there is to it. And things arise which cannot be patched over and made whole again. Just as when a beautiful bowl is broken and glued back together- from ten feet away it may look fine but if one gets closer, one sees the damage and the bowl can not be used as it was before.
And it's hard. And it's sad. I still sometimes dream of those to whom I was once so very close and a part of me wants to try and re-mend and re-glue and make it all like it was before but the honest truth is- not possible.
This is one of the hardest truths in life. But it does not negate what once was. And these people will always be a part of us, no matter what. And that fact can be cherished forever.
These words aren't going to help you, darling woman. I'm sorry. But I write them to let you know that I understand and that I also know it's part of the human experience. And your emotions are valid and real and there is grief involved and maybe, in the future, you CAN renew that bond but perhaps in a different, more grown-up way.
I love you.

Mel said...

Ms. Moon is right. Relationships and friendships are so hard, especially when it's a friend dating a guy you can not stand. Your friend may need to believe he is a good guy and the relationship will work, regardless of evidence to the contrary. I've seen this dynamic before. It always ends badly for someone.
I know from experience how hard it is to keep old friendships alive across long distances and times, and how hard and lonely it is trying to build new friendships in new towns.
I've struggled with the ebb and flow of friendships based on circumstances (schools, clubs, neighborhoods) and sometimes I wonder if it's me that's unable to really connect, or if I'm too picky or if we're all too busy or, or, or...
I count my blessings that I have one true forever friend nearby, and one true forever friend far away, and my sister, also far away that I can call and cry or laugh with anytime. This place, Blogger, has given me as many if not more caring friends I've never met, who I can share my life with and not feel so alone.
The friends I've let slip away, or they me, I wonder sometimes how that could have happened, but it does. And it is hard, real hard to transitions from friends to couples and friends. It is a changing dynamic, and some friendships survive, some don't.
But if you do miss your friend, maybe you should reach out to her in a small way, facebook, text or email just to say you miss her.
Not to babble on, but my best friend's former boyfriend made a pass at me and I told her because up to that point I thought he was a nice guy, he denied it, and she was newly divorced and needed to be needed, so I just told her I love you and don't let him hurt you, and I would prefer to not see him anymore, and we just did girls nights after that until she found out with certainty that he was a creep. She's moved on to a much nicer guy, happyish ending.
My long winded point being maybe next time you're home you can reach out to her, if you want to, and do a just girls thing. And if this friendship can't survive, I wish you many more new ones to fill your big beautiful heart.

liv said...

Those two women above, Mary and Mel, are incredibly wise. What lovely comments they made.

Friendships elude me sometimes. They are confusing and yet beautiful. I love the diagram of the waltz, as that's how I think of them sometimes too. Up - down - back, up - down - back. I've had some wonderful ones and some terrible ones, but I've never had one where I didn't actually love the other person. It sounds like you are like that too, a whole heart giver. That means, big rewards and big hurts. And really, that's the best way to do it. The only way I think.

That "growing up" that you speak of, it's a lifetime process, you know. You will always be figuring it out, always questioning, wondering and striving to get it right. That's what makes you such a good friend - don't doubt that. I don't.

SJ said...

Thanks to all of you, you three wise women. I'm glad to have all 3 of you commenting and hanging in with me all these years.

I am so so lucky that I make friends quickly and easily, and have so many. I've had several ebb and flow out of my life through natural circumstances--although Facebook makes this harder and easier at the same time. But a few are soulmates, and this parting is a soulmate leaving. It is hard, but necessary I think. For now, anyway. You know I'll be writing about it along the way.