I believe in the tenant that relationships can be either positive or negative, there’s no neutrality involved.
Let me get something straight, a relationship in my book is one where there’s investment. As such, I don’t have a relationship with the person who makes my cup of chai tea latte at Starbucks. I may know her name, and a bit about her, and I would be sad if some harm befell her, but she’s not a person I have a relationship with outside of a functional duty. I don’t hang with her on Saturday afternoons at the local college football game. We don’t exchange Christmas gifts. And she’s not privy to my innermost workings and dreams. She doesn’t carry my story.
Blame it on the introverted side of me. I can count my friends on 2 hands. These are people who know me inside and out. They get that I’m a wallflower in big social situations but bust loose like a crazy woman in our small group. They understand that small talk drains me but marvel at my ability to pull out personal information from strangers.
I love being an introvert. I’m not shy, just watchful. I’m not rude, just real. I’m not a thrill seeker, I’m a relaaaaaaxxxxxxxer! And when I have something to say, you can’t get me to shut up.
Stretch my introversion into my relationships and I expect my friends to be real with me too. Cry with me, share with me, tell me your fears and your dreams. I’m right there with you, slogging through the muddiness of emotional existence. I am the human equivalent of a German Shepherd. Loyal to the bone and willing to fight for those I love.
I am that dedicated soldier who won’t leave you behind in battle.
Which is why I choose my friends and relationships carefully. With all that intensity, I don’t have room for just anyone in my life. If you’re part of my inner circle, it’s because I see something really, really, REALLY special in you. I don’t exclude others because I’m a snob, I choose not to expend my energy on others because it’s EXHAUSTING.
As the door closes on Husband #2, I gravitate towards UN-caring about him. I have to, it’s too tiring to think about someone so far away who chose to leave. His fears, problems, accomplishments, addictions, aging parents, and issues are not mine to support anymore. My job as therapist pro tem is over. I’m no longer the audience for his soapbox speeches. POOF! My assistance is gone.
As the saying goes, if you don’t let go of the wrong people, you’ll never make room for the right people. When he vacated the spot of Husband, he became the wrong people.
Yes, I made a choice not to spend my time and energy on him. Why would I? Unrequited love? What good would it do me to cut myself off from any future relationships? They don’t give out gold stars for suffering.
I like this passage:
But the commitment of one is not appropriate if one half of the two is fading away, regardless of their reasons. You don’t have to wait nor do you have to walk. Just be. Live your life as you did before you met them. ~ The Relationship Fade: What Do You Do? by Chris Armstrong
Would I expect Husband #2 to cut himself off from love, marriage, the greater world? NO! That would be horrible and a lonely existence I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Hey, just because he wasn’t happy with me doesn’t mean that I don’t want him to be happy at all. Maybe there’s some nice woman out there who wants a 10% husband.
It just wasn’t me.
So I’m choosing to spend my energy elsewhere. For this stretch, between The Last Call and the day we’re divorced, I’m concentrating my time on digging out ME – finding the person I used to be, fixing the things that need fixed, and becoming the person I know is inside.
It’s an ugly, sloppy, muddy process but, as you know, I’m the perfect person to stand next to myself. I am the supportive friend. The soldier who will never leave a downed comrade alone on the battlefield.