Posted by: lolalately | October 15, 2012

The fine lines of friendship

A recent email from a woman I consider to be my best female friend has me thinking about the fine lines of friendship … and what happens when those lines are crossed.

As women frequently do, I’ve vented to my bff about my issues with my marriage. I’ve shared with her my concerns and suspicions about my husband cheating, and my concerns about remaining married to him. I confided in her because we share a similar past of childhood sexual abuse, we’re both married to men in the same industry, and because we have husband’s who’ve been unwilling or unable to remain faithful to us. Although her husband seems to have had some epiphany that’s lead him to the straight and narrow path, mine has not, and I’ve continued to share my worries and frustrations.  

In addition to my angst over my husband’s infidelities, I’ve also engaged in general bitching and complaining – as we women do – over things ranging from the relatively minor offense of leaving mail and magazines all over the dining room table to his selfishness in the bedroom. Of course she bitches as well; about her husband being married to his little airplane, about his mother, about his siblings, about wanting a new house (I’m right there with her on this one). If I haven’t painted a clear enough picture of the situation; I call us “sisters-in-bitching” we’re so seemingly alike.

Where we’re not alike is in how we respond to each others’ bitching. I tend to listen and say; “oh no”, “really, he said THAT?”, “I’m so sorry you’re going through that”, and the ever popular; “THAT SUCKS!”  Her responses however are generally along these lines; “you need to kick that piece of smoking shit to the curb” and “your marriage is over … O.V.E.R. and you need to see that” . And more and more I find myself so ruffled by her comments, that I’ve either refrained from venting at all – or I’ve whitewashed things to appear we’re just hunky-dorry. All of which has left me feeling like a piece of smoking shit myself. Until two days ago that is.

Two days ago my bff emailed me in response to an email I’d sent her. My email was the result of ongoing litigation between my husband and his ex-wife over issues related to their child. In my email, my bff read where the judge whacked said ex-wife, handing my husband a profound victory. Only my bff didn’t see it as much of a victory since it will in fact result in more on my plate (increased visitation) and the ex most likely continuing her campaign of hate towards husband and me. Be that as it may, I was simply informing my friend of the outcome of the court battle. It wasn’t even venting. I expected my husband to win, and he did. Period. But my friend apparently saw red as she read that email and she absolutely unloaded and unleashed all her anger and disgust towards my husband. In writing. And she didn’t hold anything back.

While it’s been clear to me for quite some time that my best female friend has absolutely zero affection for my husband, I guess I didn’t really realize how deep her hatred of him is. She’s now made that abundantly clear. And I feel responsible for that. If I hadn’t vented to her, if I hadn’t shared my hurt, disappointment, anger and fears with her, would she feel as she does? No, of course not. But if you can’t vent to your best girlfriend without fear of her wanting to chuck a spear into your man’s heart, what’s the world of friendship come to?

My friend knows I’ve toyed with the idea of divorce. She also knows why I’m still in this marriage, though I’ve often sensed her disapproval of my reasons. But it wasn’t long ago that she casually commented that I might decide to remain married “after all” and would learn to live with the status quo. Does she mean her friendship not withstanding?

Her recent email really made me wonder, so yesterday I finally confronted the issue head on. I acknowledged my role in the whole episode saying that clearly I had caused her to feel such animosity towards my husband by sharing all that I have. But I also said that I’m now concerned that our friendhsip hinges on whether or not I remain married to this man she so dislikes. I’d like to have her friendship, but I cannot and will not allow the friendship of one person to determine how I live my life. I can see that I need to choose what I share with her more wisely, but the damage of what I have already shared has been done. I needed to know if she could (would) get past it, and not allow it to continue to color our friendship as I believe it has.

And believe it or not … she apologised. She said she had no idea how I’d been feeling, and was sorry she’d made me feel badly. I love this woman like a sister, and I would be devastated to lose her friendship. Now more than ever. This entire episode has really made me understand and appreciate female friendships so much more. There are fine lines in frienships, and we should be able to cross them without losing either our friends or ourselves. It just takes talking and time and truth. Oh if marriages were only so easy to “fix”!

 

 

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Responses

  1. Oh my gosh you could be telling my story! I have a girlfriend I’ve confided in about my relationship of 6 years (we’re not married). Even though I know she means well her harsh comments hurt. I guess I just need to follow your lead and tell her how I feel. Thanks for such a relevant post. I’ll be following your blog. And good luck with your friendship.

  2. That’s the problem with sharing your story with friends, they always want to give unsolicited advice. I’ve learned to keep my problems to myself and just tough it out. Sorry you had to learn the hard way.


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