I’m taking care of this one early today because like I said yesterday I get more down towards the evening and besides I’m feeling somewhat good this afternoon. Both yesterday and today I got to spend some time talking with two people who I consider to be good friends. Friends come in all different flavors and these two couldn’t be more different from one another. My friendship with each of them takes on different forms, but each serves a need in my life in their own right. They’re both fabulous in their own ways.
Towards the end of the day yesterday I got a text from my first friend, a fellow teacher who’s in the same boat as me. Right now she’s enduring the aftermath of a breakup, too, and like me, she’s not feeling so chipper these days. She and I took a short walk into town for a cup of coffee and we shared our personal experiences over the past few days since we’d spoken last. As they say misery loves company and it was nice to be able to speak openly and honestly with someone else who was going through the same things as me, someone who understands. At that moment, I think I needed that.
Today, I ran into another friend of mine who keeps tabs on me through my writing and our occasional chats. Though she can be admittedly quirky at times, she’s a very intelligent woman and I often value her opinions. It is her that I credit for my current upbeatedness, however long it may last. Today was the first time I had the chance to talk with her directly since my relationship ended.
“So, tell me… What the heck is going on? You sound like you want to kill yourself or something!” (She’d been reading this blog.)
I kept her up to date by going back to how it happened, throwing in dribs and drabs of the relationship prior. She listened with a keen ear and finally had her say.
“Now you need to stop this nonsense and think of yourself first. It sounds like this guy’s a little narcissistic. It’s all been about him.” She went on: “Now I know you. You’re so good at what you do because you’re so compassionate. All you ever want to do is help others and …”
I knew what she meant. Yes it’s true. I’ve always been the kind of person who puts others before myself. It’s something I’ve learned from my mom, and I know it can be a fatal flaw sometimes. In this relationship, and throughout the two weeks since the breakup, I’ve been thinking more of how he feels and what I can do to make it better. I really haven’t given it too much thought from my perspective. I haven’t defended myself enough, either to him or to myself.
Yes, there are wonderful things about this person and I still believe he could have been a really special, long-term person in my life, but…I have taken a back seat all along to his life, always troubled by what troubled him. Whenever he’d say “thank you for being there” or “I’m sorry for putting you through all of this,” I’d always respond with “don’t worry about it” or “hey, that’s what I’m here for.” It’s no wonder he ended it the way he did, via an email on Christmas Eve. I never made myself the center of our discussions when it came to us, and so he never thought of me or my life with the compassion I did for his, and it’s my own fault. I created this monster and hopefully I’ll learn from this.
I should be really angry with him for doing this to me. After all the hours spent on the phone, all the wonderful times spent together, all of the other interactions we’d had, he just cut me out like that, leaving me very little room for response. All of my responses to him have had to come via text message or email, and on more than one occasion his answer was that he was too mentally exhausted to respond. Maybe it’s his age. He’s still learning how to live, but one of the things I liked about him was that he was wise and mature beyond his years, and somehow I should have expected more compassion from him in ending our relationship. I may never know or understand the answer.
I’m not saying that I will no longer be compassionate towards a lover. Of course I will! But, from now on, I need to demand it back. I know that if our timing had been different, he would have been someone capable of giving it to me, too. I believed he was special, and I believed he could give me the love I deserve, but in the end he no longer believed it. So yes, I’m still sad, but I have a new perspective on this that will hopefully help me out in future relationships, though that won’t happen for a long, long time.
I believe that friends are the family you choose, and I’m happy for the ones I’ve chosen, no matter in what capacity they are in my life. Thanks Reet and thanks Em…I’m glad you’re in my life in some way!