Since separating I have read blogs from others in my situation and others who are further along the road than Stu and I are. In all these blogs there is one consistent theme…… where do your friends go when you separate? I think we all naively thought that we would end our relationships, each of us taking the same friends we had when we entered it. Naturally this is not the case, I guess just as life ebbs and flows, so do friendships.
As our marriage was ending Stu was lobbing stuff he thought would be hurtful at me and one of these was saying that I fall out with everyone and reeled off the names of some friends who I hadn’t spoken to for a while. The friends he named were ones who he didn’t particularly like or who didn’t like him. After we separated I didn’t really tell anyone about the separation who didn’t already know. Nothing was announced on Facebook and I didn’t reach out to anyone who wasn’t in my inner circle to tell them what was going on. Within weeks, one by one all these friends who Stu had named started to get in touch. I guess when things happen or you need support there is something that goes out into the ether and friends pick up on that.
Things were good. I wasn’t living under the oppressive presence of Stu’s criticism and demands, we were getting on ok when communicating about the boys etc and my friendships grew stronger.
I guess what I didn’t expect was a friendship that had lasted over 30 years to abruptly end. Knowing that this friend was close to Stu I had deliberately not contacted him during all this as I wanted Stu to have someone he could go to and talk to about the separation and didn’t want my friend to be caught in the middle. It would be ok I thought, we had all the time in the world to pick up where we left off. Until one day I picked up my iPad, which Stu had been using, and saw threads and threads of messages of Stu and this friend slagging me off. Ok, I guess these things happen and can put it behind me. I know that people get drawn into these kinds of conversations and it’s not always meant in the way that people take it. I still didn’t contact the friend and he didn’t contact me. I found it weird as we had grown up together and with him having a blow by blow account of what was going on in my house, marriage and life, I guess I thought at some point he’d get in touch.
After the separation I knew that the boys were seeing this friend when they went to visit Stu at weekends and yet we still didn’t speak. The kids often ask me about seeing him and I’m genuinely lost for words. I feel as though I can’t reconnect with him, too much water under the bridge, his live in girlfriend read one of my blog posts, tried to make it all about her and then said she couldn’t possibly remain my friend as the complications of my life meant that she wouldn’t be centre stage and she couldn’t cope with that. I guess when looked at in that context, it’s no great loss but I do feel sad that a friendship that spans over 30 years is over, just like that.
I guess you have to let go of the old in order to let in the new and whilst this period of my life hasn’t exactly brought new friends, it has certainly added extra layers to the friendships I already had. A friend I used to only speak to around once a month, I now speak to almost daily. Another, who I hadn’t seen since she left our school aged 16 (we’re now close to 36), I see weekly, I have started to see some friends from church, outside church and the layers of support and love and care from my friends really does light up my heart and my soul. None more than my best-friend, Kate, whom I always feels gets the brunt of our friendship as this text from last night shows:
I know I truly have the most awesome people around me and as for those who have chosen to jump ship, this Dr Seuss quote comes to mind ‘Don’t cry that it’s over. Smile because it happened’.