I think we take it for granted with our friends. We abuse them, they abuse us. Losing friends and gaining others is natural and, sometimes, when we are in a relationship we forget to maintain our other friendships.
People fall out of our lives, and it can be sad, but it is worse when they remove themselves.
A number of years ago a friend told me a huge secret, huge, one that would have endangered his relationship with his gf, but one that Dan Savage wold have told him to end anyway. After all, you can’t endanger your girl by having sex with dudes…bareback. Short story, he never told her, and they got engaged. Everyone of us knew. All of us. The boob-making pills, the sex and blow jobs with men, the dressing as a woman and soliciting shoes from guys…and everyone was paralyzed. A friend said something to him, and he shut her out. Former professors, PROFESSORS knew and they came to me and another friend and begged us to say something. I said hell no. Several times. Finally I relented. I knew the backlash would be bad, but what kept weighing on my mind was the possibility for STDs. He had admitted to me that he and his gf rarely had sex, that they weren’t that interested, but he had unprotected sex with other people. Maybe it wasn’t my business, but I felt I could not let him just marry her when it was highly possible he had a communicable disease. One that may prevent her from having an otherwise healthy life. Now, he had told these many details to…7 or so women, but everyone suspected and eventually everyone knew. He had posted photos online, sent photos to us…it was like he was begging to get caught.
We told his fiance, but she ignored us. Now, however, she is on the warpath (about something entirely different…so…that’s weird). She won’t hurt me, although she tries. She is being vindictive and that serves no one. What saddens me most is that we did used to be friends, but I discovered, in this process, that he told people whom he later would ditch. He told his expendable friends. Never mind the week we traveled through the UK or the times we went snorkeling. He told people whose friendship he calculated he could lose. Slightly pathological, right?
Anyway, all this is to say, our lives change and we lose and gain friends. We rediscover friends as well. This ex-friend has never really matured much, and for that I am sad for him. I also know he can’t really live the life he wants to, and for that I am sad for him as well.
You must actively maintain your relationships, and you must make sure to know when some are headed down the tubes and then you must be willing to let go. I do think, however, it is important to not let friends fall by the wayside when you find your future partner. Understand when to cut your ties and understand when to fight for your friends.
I am terrible at doing this, luckily, so are most of my close friends. A good friend called last night, and last time I heard from him was months ago. But I love him and his wife and, although we don’t talk often, I know he is there. We both suck at email, he is never on Facebook…but the love is there. We DO try to keep in touch, even if it is phone tag. I will fight for my friendships if I feel they are falling by the wayside for no good reason (as I recently told another firned: I will protect this friendship with the Vorpal Sword). I can’t do it by myself, the other person has to be invested as well. I find that I will suddenly realize that something has not been maintained and then try, but when the other person doesn’t want to, I can’t make it happen.
Everything is a relationship and those take work. Not as much as the man/woman you are living with, but they do take work. Every once in a while, you may need to go see those people, leave the comfort of your home and lover, and go see old friends. Do it. Those friends are a goldmine.
This was a little all over the map today, wasn’t it?