There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends
I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all
The Beatles, In my Life
In my life, there are a few people that are so important to me that there is nothing they can do to make me turn them away. I talked about one of those people the other day. Today, I’ll talk about another. She is my soul-sister, and just as family will always be family, no matter how you feel about their behavior, so it is with her.
A decade ago, give or take, she got married. At the time, my honey and I were already together so I was not spending as much time with her as I might’ve otherwise, and her husband was a bit hard to get to know. That seemed kind of weird at the time, simply because she and my honey were good friends and had been for years. For her to marry someone I hardly knew was hard on me. I always assumed it was hard on her as well, because it meant that we spent less time together and the time we did spend was a little move awkward than it should have ever been.
Over the years, we tried to fix that. To get to know him more, and let him know us more. But schedule conflicts and distance seemed to always get in the way. Then just as we finally found a way to make it a more regular occurrence, they up and moved even further away. (I now recognize that he really didn’t want to get to know us and that was the biggest part of the problem.)
A couple years ago, the whole situation took a dramatic turn for the worse. Somehow, and I am not even sure how or why this came about, they got involved in an online discussion at a site that I was wont to frequent. It turned ugly. In several ways: not only was it an all out flame war between them and the sites’ administrator, but I found that they had been posting things critical of me to yet other sites. Somehow, this ended up all turned around to the point that the husband has never forgiven me for my betrayal of them. It led to other discussions between us on morality and responsibility, and apparently I failed that exam as well. So I have become ‘the enemy’ in his mind.
WTF? Yeah, that sequence is just as convoluted as you think it is.
I learned to deal with it. I talk to her via email at work, we go to lunch now and again, and we get together when other old friends come to town. But I no longer babysit their kids nor am I invited to their house as a matter of course.
So last week, I read on her blog that they have had a row. Something involving an emotional betrayal, followed by a lie to cover it up and then admittance of the action and the lie. (All on her part.) I reach out to her, offering emotional support and a shoulder should she need it.
And I get no reply.
So I email again. Have I done something to offend?
Finally she responds. She tells me that it is ‘worth her marriage’ to talk to me. She tells me things are really much worse than the blog let on. That he accuses her of having an affair, and refuses to forgive her for her betrayal or the lie. That she doesn’t know if she can save the marriage.
Once more, WTF? Of course, I know how unforgiving he is. And I have come to understand that he is an insecure, dominating, co-dependent personality with delusions of perfection. And I recognize in her the insecurity to allow him those delusions.
So today I will reply to her email. I won’t tell her what an ass he is. I won’t tell her to leave him now and be done with it. I won’t list the ways I have seen him manipulate her. Because none of these things will help. What I will do is remind her that she is a fundamentally good person, that no one should ever be held to impossible standards, that marriage requires two people working to make it work, and that whatever else may happen, I will always be here for her.
Hopefully, she can read my email without ‘adding to the betrayal.’
(Originally Posted September 7, 2006)