Today I’ve been thinking about how my friends have changed through the years. I’m always saying there is a reason we are where we are, and how all events have shaped us and brought us here. The same holds true for our friendships.
If you know me, or have read my blog for a while, you know that I was divorced about a year and a half ago. It wasn’t the first time, but I feel like it was one of the most eye opening things that happened in that relationship. How it ended, solidified my feelings about what I was willing to do for that marriage, and where I already knew I was, but just needed one event/item to teeter me toward working on it or bailing. Yes, it was at that point. I’m not going to delve into that marriage and how it ran downhill, because I don’t feel it’s something worth talking about. There were events that are pertinent to what I’m about to blog about, and I’ll state those throughout the post, so that’s the reason I mentioned it. As a side note – I don’t care to devote anymore of my life to that person, nine years (three married) was way too long to deal with that relationship. That relationship did more than teach me how not to live with BS, it taught me who my true friends and family are. So, that’s where we’ll start today – the week I left.
I can count CLOSE friends on one hand. I’ve never been a real social creature, and even when I did like to party, I had lots of “peeps” and a handful of CLOSE friends. At the close of business to my last marriage they were, my sister, one BFF (I’m using that instead of writing it out, but I’m not 12) of 17 years, another of 11, a sister-in-law, and 2-3 great friends that I’ve never met in person. Each story of where our relationship now is different, and deserves it’s own post, since this is my blog I’ll just type and we’ll see how long this gets.
My sister, has always been my best friend. She taught me, whether directly or indirectly what to do, and what not to do, or what I didn’t want to do in life. We are completely different, even though we sound alike on the phone. We are also alike in very creepy ways. For instance, I can walk into her house to visit (when I lived 4 hours away and hadn’t seen her in a year) and walking into her bathroom I could find every product I had in mine. Same brand, same scents, same type. We don’t talk about those types of things. We also will both tell you that we are totally different (especially when it comes to raising our kids), but my kids have said that I say the same things she does, and hers have told me the same thing. I trust her with my kids and she does the same with me. Our children have always known that we love them as if they were ours. We have disciplined them interchangeably and loved them interchangeably. That has created an amazing bond for all of them. I love getting calls about new jobs, boyfriends, texts about shoes, and the 3 am phone calls from my Lu telling me something she just has to laugh about or just chatting when she can’t sleep. I deeply love my sister and her family. With that said, she is easily the one person who can piss me off the most, because she knows me…but that’s what sisters do.
My best friend of 17 years met me through C’s (my son) dad. We met while I was 16 and about 6 months pregnant. She always told everyone that she knew C when he was in my belly and making me type in typing class with my arm straight out because I couldn’t pull up to the table. She was, by far, my best friend throughout the majority of my early adult life. We had been through birth, death, boyfriends, husbands (mine), moving, friends coming and going, and just life in general. When I moved to Atlanta, we lost touch, but each time we talked it flowed, like time was never lost. My kids called her their aunt, and until C was 15 he had no clue she was not related to him…didn’t matter that she was Korean and he was Mexican.
My other best friend met me by default…we had joint friends and had met, and then when I moved to Atlanta, she and my sister-in-law to be were the only people I “knew.” We quickly became BFF’s because of how much we were alike. There was no where that we would go that the other didn’t want to. Our idea of fun was exactly the same. I could look at her and say “I want to do” and she would say “_____” – it would be what I was going to say. If she wanted to leave somewhere she’d say “I’m done here” and I would have been thinking the same thing. We had some crazy times, and she knows more about me than anyone on the earth. We don’t live near each other and haven’t physically seen each other in about 5 years…however we talk regularly (not as much as I like) and we just pick right up. I love her – she is my sister.
My sister-in-law (now ex) and I were introduced before I moved up to Atlanta in 2001. When we met, we hit it off immediately. Throughout the 6 year dating relationship of her brother and I, we remained friends at times that he and I were not together, we just carried on as friends normally do. We have endured many things, her divorce, my marriage to her brother, her lowest points and recovery, the death of my mother, and everything in between. My children love her dearly, and were very close to her. Our relationship is one of the most important I’ve had.
These 4 women have been my staples throughout life and now. I’d include my mom, but she was not a best friend, she was my mother. She holds the most special place in my heart and life, even in her passing. I was lucky enough to have my (ex) mother-in-law at the time my mom passed, and as hard as that was, she became just like my own mother and I felt the same way about her. She was a huge influence and kept me going most days and through many tough times.
The day I left, rather, the week I left my home (and ex) I learned how much friendships and family can hang in the balance of one decision. I’ve said before that, in fact, there is a line of how much crap I will put up with. I’m all for hanging in there, but when you are the only one hanging and the someone else thinks they can just act like they don’t care, what’s the point? We had been through a rough year of marriage, from work, to money, to the final straw and me deciding I wasn’t up for seeing how far he was going to take a “friendship.” I can deal with many things…and yes, I have been guilty of many things, however, I won’t sit by and have something flaunted in front of me and act like it’s ok, and I don’t know about it. It’s not. So, with that, I found the proof – right in front of me in real time, and decided that I was out, done. I didn’t want to act to quickly, and I made it through one night. One night of no sleep, pounding heart, wanting to stuff a pillow over his face while he slept like a baby, me smoking like a chimney and sneaking outside at 4 am to call my BFF of 17 years. She sounded surprised, but with the history between he and I, I don’t think she realized how NOT OK I was. She told me to calm down, think it through, and confront him. I didn’t do that. I kept quiet while I figured out what I wanted. It was apparent that he was not thinking of “us,” so why would I “talk” through it with him and believe that he was going to have an epiphany and suddenly care? The rapid downfall of the marriage signified to me that I was not willing – so I found the opportunity to change things since they weren’t changing on their own. The day I left, was probably the last time I really talked to my mother-in-law. I talked to my sister-in-law once or twice later that week and soon after we were cut off. She was in recovery, and my best guess was that his family had a lot to deal with and it was probably best for her that she not have to choose sides and deal with the stress so soon. I never felt mad about losing touch with her, I felt it was best for her to not feel the wrath of her family because she was still talking to me like we had always done when he and I were not together. This time, it wasn’t that simple. It was over, and apparently, depending on how you look at it, family does not mean the same thing to all people.
Throughout the marriage, it was apparent that HIS family and HIS friends were superior to mine. Aside from a month that my mom lived with us in Atlanta while she was seeing doctors, it was always a fight to have time with my family or friends. He never wanted to go to my sisters house, even though his family’s house was the same distance. He hardly knew about family functions, as his mom called me, or I called them to set up when we were to meet, or what we were doing. He simply showed up when I dragged him out of the house. He used his family for hunting and when he needed them. I was the one to initiate contact and it was out of my desire to have closeness that we actually had friends and family to be with. Since he didn’t want to see my family, I made him take me to his.
Back to my one friend of 17 years and how that relationship ended. We only went to functions of his friends, I had to drag him to my BFF’s wedding. Subsequently he made great friends with her husband, and for the time we lived near them, they became close to him also. He hired her husband to work for him, and ultimately, sides were chosen again when we separated. He had built up a force of people that were “HIS” and I was left as the one who gave up and abandoned him, leaving him a hot mess. Live and learn, but had I not left, I would have been the hot mess with no support system via those I thought were closest to me. When I left and headed 45 minutes away to stay with my sister, my best friend and her husband became his sitters. The realization that we were done, took a huge toll on him, I will probably never know how much, because I didn’t care to find out…he made his bed. I quickly realized that once I left the realm of that relationship, I left all that I knew. I didn’t hear from her for days, when prior we had seen each other at least 3-4 times a week, shopping, hanging out, visiting, movies/dinner at home. When I did talk to her she was busy, or just didn’t answer, and told me once that “we had to take him to the hospital, he had no one.” Well, gee, I wonder why he has no one? Could it be that he was attempting to meet another woman while he was married? Maybe she can come take care of him? My initial thought was that my friend was torn, and didn’t want to choose sides, when in fact, it came out months later in her own words “what am I supposed to do, he’s my husband’s boss?” So, there is where that 17 year friendship ended. I had become concerned about information reaching my ex, via what else? Facebook. So I sent her a message and asked if I had anything to worry about since her husband and he worked together. She acted appalled that I would suggest it. I had been in the office with both of them, and know for a fact that the FB of one, was not off limits to the other. Since he was her husband (and my husband has full access to my FB), I knew that if he had her password, then my ex could easily get info. I was completely justified asking her because on 2 occasions I had him show his ass by sending me a message and commenting on things. I had narrowed our “joint” friends on FB down to 3 people. I am still friends with 2 of them and I simply needed to hear that she was not going to allow that type of behavior. The message I got instead was one of disbelief and support for him. She unfriended me and to this day, we haven’t spoken. Needless to say, since that day over 6 months ago, I haven’t heard from him once.
The divorce and weeks leading up to it turned his entire family, against me. While he was calling my family to try to aid him in reconciling, and my friends were consoling him…his family was cutting ties. I again thought it was that they had to support him, no matter what, in our 9 year relationship, I had that pounded into my head by his mom. We are a family, we stick together…she really meant that, I should have listened. Apparently, even wrong, blood is thicker than love. I had said it many times to friends that had it not been for his mom, I would have bailed on the relationship long before we even got married. She was an amazing woman, and as I said earlier, when my mom passed, she immediately stepped in and took that role in my life. I will always be thankful for what she did for me. I am still shocked and sad that not only did her son ruin a marriage, but he took away the family that I was forced to embrace.
I recently started talking to my sister-in-law (ex), who I guess is now just a friend…I used to say to her, “I need to talk to you as a friend, not my sister.” Funny how that works out. She and I talked for a few weeks via email and just recently chatted on FB and I smiled and enjoyed the whole conversation. Aside from catching up on each others lives, it was normal, it flowed, it was not at all tense. It was refreshing to know that to true friends time lost doesn’t mean you lose anything. I look forward to becoming as we once were, which was laughing, jokes, love, advice and more. I am more than thankful to have her back in my life in whatever capacity.
In just under 2 years I’ve lost a (bad) marriage, a sister, a mother, and a close friend. I don’t fight for things that don’t want to be fought for. There is no use. As with anything, if you’re the only one fighting to keep it…you’re going to be the only one holding it there. My sister can tell you, I have no issue “cutting” things out that are unhealthy (just ask her about my aunt), or that I don’t agree with. Didn’t say I was right to do it, but I have no second thoughts about it. I learned early that life is short and I don’t have time for BS, toxic people are just that. If you want to deal with it, then go for it, I won’t be. It’s also very freeing to let someone know that the train has stopped, and I don’t have to stay on it. I’ll continue to live like this, because for me, it has proven to be effective and eliminate a ton of stress and drama.
So, we are current on friendships, or the main ones I have. I haven’t even mentioned my friends that I look to in daily life. Ones that I knew when I was younger and have reconnected with, some that I hold certain hobbies or interests with, and those that I know through other people. It is a blessing to have such a diverse pool to choose from now that I am not limited to someone else’s friends.
Let’s talk about my best friend now, it’s not any of the people I spoke about earlier. It is my “newest” friend, yet the one who knows as much as all the others combined. It would be no problem for them to speak to any of my lifelong friends, sisters or family about me and know what they were talking about. He has learned more, asked more, heard more, and listened to more than any of them. He’s not trying to one up anyone, but he truly has become the closest person to me. In most friendships, you give some and get some…you’re there to enjoy the good times and balance out the bad. I always thought that best friends were for outside of marriage, you know, to talk about the marriage with…I have never been in a relationship with someone that was my best friend. Good, bad, right, wrong, he knows it all, yet still loves me and lives every day to get to know me more and for us to be support for each other. I have again been blessed with an amazing family (through D) and have again gained a mother figure. No one can replace my mom, but a girl/woman always needs a strong, loving woman to talk to, and I am blessed to have been given that twice now, aside from my own mother. D’s mom has taken me on just as my ex’s did and if you didn’t know we’d been married for just over a year, you’d never guess it by how she and I talk. She is truly a blessing.
Those that are in our lives, whether it’s for a day, or for years are definitely there for a reason. Some are to teach us what love is, some are to teach us about ourselves and some are to bring us to others we haven’t even met yet. Those we lose, whether to death or the death of a friendship are to be thanked for all it is they brought to our lives after they are no longer in it.