Saturday, February 2, 2008

Reflections of a Breakup, Part V: The Friends

Within a week of the breakup, the phone stopped ringing. At first, I hadn't really noticed, but eventually the silence of the telephone became louder and louder to the point of being deafening. One day, all of a sudden, it hit me. People had become afraid to call the house.

I can certainly understand the reasons people have hesitated dialing our number. I've come to realize that an unexpected consequence of our breakup has been the effect it's had on our friends and family.

During a relationship, especially a long one, the circle of people who've come to view you as part of a couple grows and grows with time. Longtime friends of one partner forge relationships with the other. Each becomes a welcome and loved member of the other's family. Along the way, new friendships are forged with people you've met together and all of these people become an important facet in the lives of both individuals.

The dissolution of a relationship is a loss, much like the passing away of a loved one. Friends and family members need time to adjust and grieve the loss of these individuals as a couple. Friends who hold no loyalty to either individual probably have it the hardest. Although they end up gaining two 'new' friends, there's no question that the loss of the couple is lamentable especially to them. We've got two such special people in our lives.

Probably the one friend who's kept his head through all of this is our friend 'Dit'. Dit was a friend of a friend of mine from before our relationship, but we had never met until during the early days of my relationship. My friend Blanche used to bring Dit around for nights out at local gay clubs. Eventually club nights turned into dinners, plays, and other excursions for the four of us. Over the years, each of us has gotten closer to Dit, and when we broke up he was surely one of those friends neither of us wanted to lose from our lives.

For me, Dit has been a shoulder to cry on, an empathetic ear, and a source of endless laughs to make me forget my problems. He's made it clear through his actions that he has no intention of losing either one of us as a friend, which is admirable. Unlike family members and past friends, Dita is the non-partisan of non-partisans, making an honest and true effort not to break the link he's made with each of us.

He makes time for both of us and that's the way it should be. As a matter of fact, he's one of the first people to call the house phone since the breakup. I know both my ex and I are glad he'll still be around in both our lives. He's a true friend!

Ms. T and Miss Margaret are two ladies we met when we bought our home. They are a very cool mother/daughter duo. They lived across the street from us and soon after we moved in they rolled the venerable welcome wagon to our doorstep. They had both recently taken an interest in gay people and wanted to make some new friends. They had met another gay couple from the neighborhood and invited us all to a barbecue. From the start, the two of them gave us nothing but love and kindness and the four of us have been like family ever since.

Like everybody else, our breakup has been saddening for these two, especially Ms. T, who still lives across the street. Like Dit, Ms. T has maintained a steady line of communication with both of us. She's made it clear from the beginning that she has no intentions of losing either one of us from her life. And that's the way we'd both like it to be. She's always been a dear and caring friend, often sending over some extra food she'd been cooking up, inviting us over for a drink or a chat. The only thing that's changed since the breakup is that now the visits are with us separately.

A breakup is difficult for everyone involved. The grieving process is not only for the separated individuals, but for those who knew and loved them together. Mutual friends have the most complicated of dilemmas, and we've been lucky enough to have two friends like Dit and Ms. T who work to maintain their relationships with both of us. So, to them I say bravo and thank you.

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