The Fragile, Fickle Nature of Relationships Part III
Continued from Part II.
It took 3.5 years for my second marriage to unravel. During that time, we heaped unspeakable pain upon each other. We were both already fragile by the time we got married. I was 29 and he was 38, and we’d each traveled down long and dark paths before we'd met.
For his part, he didn’t tell the truth very often, and the few stories he would reveal about his past were usually disjointed. But, from what he used to tell me, and comparing that information with his behavior, I have to believe he suffered deeply as a child. His mother was only 17 when she had him, so that may have had something to do with it. His older sister was loved and coddled, a fact he attested and his mother's behavior supported. She always called her daughter “My Collette” instead of just Collette, talked openly about what a wonderful daughter she was, and frequently said Collette was the “good child.”
My ex-husband, on the other hand, didn’t receive the same type of treatment. He wasn't close with his mother, a situation that seemed to have arisen during his childhood. Maybe she had wanted another daughter instead of a son, or maybe she hadn’t wanted another child period. But my ex would say he felt like he was neglected as a child, which shows that even the relationship he had with his own mother was fragile.
He cheated several times during our marriage, and I think that it was a cry for help. He didn’t know how to build a lasting foundation with a woman, so he wrapped himself in lies that sounded good to the ear in order to attract feminine attention, which is what he desperately craved. Marriage served no purpose for him, other than to provide a safety net and ensure that someone would always be there waiting. What he really needs is to stay single and date multiple women on very casual bases. That way, nobody would get hurt under the false pretenses of a real relationship (humans can be so messy when it comes to affairs of the heart).
For me, going through a second divorce showed me that I needed some friends that were mine alone, not those I attached to because of my significant other. And, since then, I’ve tried to do just that. I don’t want any more fragile relationships that suffice for the moment; I want long-term friendships (and romance) that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I had a very close friend – at least, I thought we were close – whom I had met while waitressing during my first marriage. We were the same age with similar interests. When she had an affair, however, her husband blamed me (I hadn’t even known about it, much less condoned her activities) and basically demanded that she stop speaking to me. Over time, that’s exactly what she did. This hurt because we'd been through a lot together. She would literally cry on my shoulder when she was having problems with her marriage, I helped her get her current job, we even traveled together. I never thought our friendship was fragile, but when I learned it was, I realized I had made a mistake. Real friends don’t walk away from you when their own lives get a little ugly. Instead, they wait it out and come back when the time is right.
Today, I know I can count on my best friend Laurie no matter what. We’ve been through thick and thin, and she accepts me just the way I am – scatterbrained but kind. It’s nice to know this tapestry is one that’s tightly woven, with no tears or tatters that can lead to further damage. I really hope to create more friendships like this - the kind that give you the confidence to get through each and every day with at least a small smile on your face.