The Fragile, Fickle Nature of Relationships Part I
Watching a relationship fall apart – any kind of relationship, not just the romantic kind – is a little like watching the threads of a tapestry unravel. It might start in the corner and erode just a small section that isn’t critical to the greater piece. If attention isn’t given to that corner, however, the threads will continue pulling, until another section is gone, and then another, until finally, the whole scene is nothing more than a memory.
I’ve watched many relationships untie, if you will, a number of times during my life. And each one, no matter how hard I’ve tried, has left its mark on me. I wasn’t aware of this until the day when my mom said to me, “Do you love anyone? I ask this because if I were you, I wouldn’t have the capacity to tolerate people, much less love them.”
I thought about what she’d said and looked back on the many tattered relationships I’ve experienced and left behind. This path started when I was in high school, and my best friend of many years became pregnant. She quit school, and we quit being friends. This was in the middle of our senior year, and I didn’t take the time or trouble to build another friendship like that until I was in college.
There, I met a girl named Randi who quickly became my very best friend. We remained that way for five years, despite my living in Michigan and her living in New York (she was in her last year at the University of Michigan when we met). But together we endured bad boyfriends, bad jobs, and her hellish stint through law school.
Sadly, because of my poor choice in men, our friendship came to an abrupt end. In 2001, she visited my boyfriend and me in Michigan, something she’d done several times before, but the two of them had never been fond of one another. Their worlds were as different as night and day. He was rough and rowdy with nothing more than a high school diploma and the t-shirt on his back. She, on the other hand, was a privileged child (her dad was the senior executive of a large corporation in New York City), had graduated from U of M, and attended George Washington Law School in the hopes of becoming an entertainment lawyer.
Anyway, they got into an argument during her visit, and I quickly sided with him (stupid, I know). She caught an early flight back to New York, and I never spoke to her again. This was 12 years ago, and I still think about her sometimes. That relationship unraveled swiftly but painfully; I never forgot its sting.
A year later, my boyfriend and I broke up. We, too, were as different as two humans could be. Although I had tried to be a part of his world of fast cars, fast women, booze and cigarettes, I failed miserably. It took four-and-a-half years for our relationship to disintegrate, a long and excruciating process that took me years, literally, to get over. My heart was broken, and not in the overused and figurative way, but in the sense that I cried and seriously struggled to find myself for a long time.
*Check back on Wednesday for Part II of this mini-series.*