Apparently 2013 and 2014 are the years that I learned a lot about relationships — both romantic and friendly, both other people’s and my own.
I’ve been lucky that my “bullshit meter” (as that guy I married calls it) is so finely tuned that I’m able to identify and completely avoid assholes from the moment I meet them. But sometimes a few slip through. Sometimes they have personality disorders that make them hard to identify. Sometimes people are really good at looking perfect. And sometimes, depending on how long the friendships continue, they just change over the years…
Friendships: Girls are the WORST
In the last few years, I attempted to call myself on my own sexism. I had lived staunchly with the belief that the girls are the WORST friends you could have. Basing this idea off of past interactions where the females of the human species had time-and-again proven themselves untrustworthy and full of so many emotions that I could not understand. In the years since I developed this theory, I had started working with a business comprised of ONLY women, and it has gone surprisingly well. So I decided to stop being a sexist asshole and let more women into my life. The result was that, between the four new close female friendships I endeavored to forge, two out of two survived. With the two that didn’t:
- According to two therapists, one more than likely had borderline personality disorder. There’s FAR too much to re-hash, but in short: She seemed awesome for a lot of years, became both my and Aaron’s closest friend. Then came out as an addict, got angry and severely depressed, almost ruined my marriage, and all the while making her emotional distress our problem. I found out later that she would also use self harm in order to “punish” what she viewed as bad friendship behavior from me. Nope nope nope.
- One just stopped talking to me with no explanation. After several of what looked like cries for help via social media I attempted to reach out her, basically saying, “Hey, it looks like you could use a friend, I’m a friend!” She responded by being all “not so fast there,” and accused me of trying to steal her husband … I haven’t even gone to enough therapy sessions to explain all the emotional reactions I had to THAT one.
Obviously, I severed ties with both of them, worked out what I could in therapy, learned a lot about myself in the process. So there’s that.
Friendships: Guys will fuck your shit up too
So if you’re not friends with girls, who are you friends with? Dudes. Always dudes. And in the 33 years I’ve been alive, I have a pretty wonderful track record just depending on the male of the species for friendship. In fact — once I weeded out which dudes were just in it with the hopes of hooking up with me — I have only ever had ONE close male friendship completely fall apart.
Although, a great track record it may be, losing that one great friend has been THE MOST PAINFUL of all the relationships lost. I’m talking more than breakups, and falling out with family members, the loss of one of my longest friendships has hit me the hardest. By the time he told me that our friendship was over, we had been friends for over HALF our lives: 16+ years. He stuck by my side after one of the darkest times of my life, had saved me from an abusive relationship, and had even remained my friend after we had dated for a year — now that’s a TRUE test of friendship. (Seriously, try it with YOUR best friend, it’s fucking hard.)
So what happened? The one and only thing that has ever ruined my close friendships — he got a girlfriend. What can I say? It’s the same old story of “the opinion of the one who’s having sex with you wins.”
Relationships: That couple who looks perfect? Yeah, they just divorced
This was a big two years for divorce! Couples that inspired me to get married, or follow my dreams, or stick with it through the hard times. All those couples — you know the ones — the guys who post photos of themselves looking GORGEOUS AND HAPPY while on a trip together, or posing with their pets in their gorgeous backyards, who throw each other super-sweet parties, or created Facebook statuses about how “blessed” they are to have their partner #bestmarriageever. All that.
I learned this past year that those relationships are BULLSHIT. The “perfect” relationship on social media a lie. And, from what I can tell, the ones that allow themselves to have flaws, seem to allow themselves to grow together and last longer.
I also became the person who nursed a lot of friends through break-ups and divorces. I’ve started to feel like harbinger of divorce, I had a lot of WTF moments over this new development. Although, I have to say, almost every friend whose relationship I helped “put down” so to speak, is by far happier now.
So what’s with your relationships now?
I’m staying guarded with my friendships with women. Two out of two close girlfriends ain’t bad, but it ain’t great. The chicks that I am close to are fucking AWESOME. I can, and do, trust them with so much of myself. I’m very lucky.
I’m still working on putting the loss of one of my best friend into perspective. I have the rest of my wonderful friends by my side. And, in weeding out the weak, it’ll just leave me with the strongest friendships possible, right? At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
I’m no longer getting jealous about those “perfect marriages” on Facebook and Instagram. I don’t have a perfect marriage, but I have a growing relationship with a good partner, and that shit’s working out for now.
Thanks 2013 & 2014
You’ve been a giant kick in the dick when it came to love and friends, but you taught me a lot about both of those things. Let’s hope Relationship Town gets easier to live in from here on out.