I lost my best friend last night. She was my best friend, lover, compatriot, and partner-in-crime. We were together for almost 6 years and the hole she leaves in my heart and my life is overwhelming.
But it had to be done.
I loved her with all my heart. Coming out of a 24 year relationship with my ex-wife I needed someone who was going to be fun, positive and help me get back to being my old self. It is funny how we tend to turn off parts of who we are to please our partners. I’m a very touchy-feely person and my ex was not. I love all things sensual and erotic and after several decades that part of our relationship was broken beyond repair. K (I’ll just call her that for now) was extremely open-minded, loved anything that involved touch and made all kinds of entertaining noises when I touched her. Most of the time she enthusiastically touched me back.
In addition, we shared the same birthday, along with my oldest daughter and twin sister! We were soul mates. We finished each other’s thoughts. She thought much like a guy, so I was always free to point out pretty women when we were together if she didn’t beat me to it first.
For the first time in my life I was comfortable being me 100% of the time and it was fabulous. I encouraged her to learn how to ride a motorcycle and we had great fun buying and selling bikes which paid for vacations, motorcycle stuff (she called my motorcycle parts catalogs ‘motorcycle porn’) etc. We tried all kinds of things as a couple and continued the stuff we liked, and dropped the stuff we didn’t. And our lives were pretty amazing for a long time. She got along with my ex, loved my kids like her own and let me be ME.
At least for a while. And then things started to unravel. She was from a really large city where no one trusted anyone. She was paranoid that everyone was going to hurt her, take advantage of her or worse. She became pessimistic and negative to a point where I didn’t want to be around her much anymore.
In all relationships (even family), there comes a time when you’re better off ending it instead of allowing something negative to continue. But cutting those ties can be some of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever have to make.
What it really comes down to is whether the overall effect of the relationship in your life is positive or negative. And the hardest relationships to end are the ones where BOTH are present. I believe this is why abuse in relationships is so hard to eradicate. You weigh the good and the bad and you rationalize away the bad behavior because there ARE some good times, some good points, some positive things.
And major change is very difficult for most people to accept. They’d rather stay in an abusive relationship than be alone. I think this is especially true for women, who tend to have children to protect and raise. The unknown is so daunting, so scary that they will put up with almost anything instead of taking the risk that THEY will end up hurting their family by not being able to provide for them. As long as the abuse isn’t focused on the kids, it is deemed an acceptable price to pay for a home, a roof over their heads, food on the table. You make excuses for their bad behavior. “Oh, I’ll be fine. He gets like this sometimes.” “Sorry, she’s only like this when she drinks.” “He just had a bad day at work.”
Someone who is truly evil is easy to cut from your life. But what if that isn’t the case? What if the issues are more complex than that? Sometimes two people just see the world from such entirely different positions that the incompatibility is insurmountable. I think this is part of the issue with interracial marriages. It isn’t the race part that is tough, although it can be a factor. My daughter who is white dated a black boy for a little while and I’m proud of her for being colorblind. But we had a long talk about how she would be perceived, dating a black boy in the heart of the Bible Belt. Now this young man was a great kid, with parents with whom we had a lot in common and we welcomed him into our home because we knew what sort of individual he was. But that isn’t what society saw. All the community saw was race and it put them in the spotlight in a very small, tightly knit town. The relationship didn’t work out for reasons that had nothing to do with color but I have to say I on some levels I was relieved when it happened not because I didn’t like him or was afraid of some stigma for her, but because of all the difficulties that all young relationships encounter, this would just naturally compound them.
I dated a wonderful woman from Beijing China for a while, and while a white man and an Asian woman isn’t seen in a negative light, our upbringings, traditions and expectations were so vastly different that there were times when it really impacted the relationship in spite of our both trying really hard to bridge the gap.
So when do you say ‘enough is enough’? How do you decide when the balance of the relationship has tilted far enough to warrant getting out? And how do you do it? This is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. Hurting someone you love will always be a terrible thing. If the abuse is ongoing, mutual or severe it’s not hard to pull the trigger (we’re talking figuratively here!) and protect yourself and your family. But if the relationship just slowly devolves deciding what that last straw in the camel’s pack is can be extraordinarily tough to pick. And invariably the injured party will focus on that, and then blame you for ending the relationship over something seemingly minor instead of looking at the big picture and seeing years or decades of negative patterns. And this is a completely normal act of self-preservation. You always tend to vilify the other person so you don’t have to look in the mirror and take accountability for your own mistakes in the relationship. Remember, there are always two sides to the story. So to prevent repeating the same mistakes try to learn from what happened, identify what you could have done differently and promise yourself not to repeat them.
All you can do is to be sure of your resolve, try not to beat yourself up, admit your mistakes and promise to move onward and upward. And hopefully you’ll be able to leave wishing the other party health, healing, prosperity and happiness.
Hell, I wish that for me too.