Almost daily diary!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Through Other People's eyes

At the beginning of the school holidays I went for a walk with Mother of Four. It has been well over a year since I have seen her, may be nearly two, though once we are together it feels like only yesterday. I love having friends like that, ones that know you so well that you can pick up at any point and they know how you feel, ones that you can discuss anything with and who you can sit with for hours putting the world to rights.

She has always lived more of a chaotic life, and certainly doesn't follow many norms, but I can always rely on her to tell the truth.

As we walked along in the summer sun, all children in tow but in various groups based on age and gender dotted along the path behind us, we started to catch up with the last 12 months of family life. It was over 2 years ago now that we spent New Years Eve together, her telling me how awful her marriage was, and me listening to her whilst trudging about in the snow!

"I'm sorry I haven't been in touch" she says after we've caught up with a few months of news.
"That's OK" I reply "We all have such busy lives don't we?"
"Yes" She says " But I deliberately kept away"
"Oh" (I told you I could always rely on her to be honest) I frowned at her enquiringly, seeking an answer.
"You see, I didn't want to know about how you were doing because I was jealous"
I looked at her with incredulity, after all the drama of the last 2 years I really couldn't see what anyone could be jealous of.
"You were brave enough to do it..." She carried on "You left him, and you made a life for you and your children, you saw it through to the end. You had the courage."
"And broke up the family home" I replied "And gave the children 2 single parents to live with in turn, with little financial security, I don't think that's much to be jealous of, do you?!" (I still feel unbearably guilty and sad when I think about how I destroyed the children's family unit.)
"But you're a good example to your daughter" She exclaimed. "You were strong and refused to live a lie. I wanted all you had" She continued "But I wasn't strong enough, even though I tried"
I have to admit, I've never thought of it quite like that.

She explained that it has been only in the last few weeks that she and her husband have reconciled themselves. She feels they might survive now, she is at least speaking to him! And I look at her and wonder if staying power is good or foolish, then realise there is no one answer to any question that's worth asking.

Later on that evening I texted her: "Great day and thanks for your honesty, I really appreciate it" And I did, it helped me explain other peoples reactions. I think I wrote ages ago, how some friends keep in touch less now and how I miss them, and perhaps she has provided an alternative answer to why. So many people were completely shocked when my marriage failed. Several said it made them look to their own; were they secure? Apparently we were, from the outside, the 'perfect' couple. So perhaps that's why one or two have dropped by the wayside, not because they didn't approve of me (as I had thought) but because they didn't trust their own positions. And in a way I'd rather it was that, because disapproval is far more difficult to cope with.


Linda said...

All I know is you certainly find who your friends are in something such as a divorce.
Who is to say if staying in a bad marriage is a good thing, or if leaving is a good thing. Bottom line, it is a very individual thing. I'm one who didn't stay and I don't regret it at all.

gaelikaa said...

A beautiful post. Her honesty is commendable. So is yours.

Steve said...

I don't think any decisions we make for ourselves are necessarily good or bad... it's our commitment to them, our ability to see them through to the end, that determines whether they come good or not.

Furtheron said...

I was at a friends wedding - in your neck of the woods on Sunday actually - just outside Bristol in South Gloustershire. Lovely place...

Anyway - he broke up his marriage, moved 150 miles away, gave his sons another thing to deal with through late adolescence etc...

However seeing him with his new bride showed he had done the right thing.

You (sorry is that I) then stand and question, am I doing the right thing? You wonder if there is a better happier path for you somewhere else. Actually I'm confident I am in the right place at the moment sometimes though people stay away as the reflection in a mirror can hurt.

A final reflection - a really good mutual friend wasnt there. There was a bad rift at the time of the breakup of the marriage... however in the meantime that marriage also falter and the women left that guy... I wonder know how much again that was a "I don't like looking at this as I don't want to face up to my own issues"...

Great post - lots to consider... ta

Akelamalu said...

You know almost the exact same thing has happened to me. A really good friend contacted me yesterday after a notably absence and confessed she hasn't been in touch because she's jealous of my life. :(

cheshire wife said...

We need different sorts of friends for different sorts of circumstances. Thankfully friends come in all shapes and sizes.

BS5 Blogger said...

No need for guilt at all, I'm sure x

Maggie May said...

A friend like that has to be a very GOOD friend to get away with such honesty. You also had to be a very SPECIAL friend to accept that type of candidness.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Rob-bear said...

I'm glad you had that conversation. I'm glad for the honesty. I hope you are both better for your decisions. And I'm glad you're still friends.I think you're the kind of people who will stay good friends. That's good for both of you, I think.
How is school working out this year?

nick said...

There's probably all sorts of reasons why people keep away. Not just jealousy but also the idea that unhappy marriages are contagious and they'll pick up the germ. Also that you'll look down on them for not being as courageous as you in looking for a happier life.

It's good you have friends close enough to be that honest with you and not hide their true feelings.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I think it's great that you were both so honest, it sounds like a real friendship, one you can depend on. I certainly remember that when one friend left her husband, mine didn't want me associating with her in case I caught the divorce bug...but I was already planning to leave at that stage anyway! I know I did the right thing and it seems like you did too: I totally agree with the sentiment that you are setting a good example to your children xx

Anonymous said...

Every now and then, through the grapevine I hear of couples that I knew in the past splitting up. Its happening all over the place. Sometimes they were a couple known to have big fights in public and others 'were solid as a rock.' I think its just life. We grow up and change as we do.

Liz said...

Don't ever fear they disapprove. Most will have nothing but respect and if it's otherwise you're better off without them.x