To my friends, going through divorce.
Yes, both of you.
I've wanted to write this for a while now.
I haven't because, well it's all just so very awkward isn't it.
Let's start with sorry.
I'm sorry you're going through this.
I'm sorry your kids are going through this.
I'm sorry I don't really ever have the right thing to say.
But I'm mostly sorry because the feelings surrounding your marriage's demise are mostly selfish.
It's difficult not to think of me in your moment.
Not to feel depressed in your depressing situation.
It's all just so very confusing and sad and awkward, and sad and I cried. Yes. I did.
I cried not for your marriage.
I cried for our friendship.
And by ours I don't specifically mean yours and mine or your soon-to-be ex's and mine.
I mean OURS.
The one that's imprinted beautiful memories into my heart.
The friendship that grew on wine-fueled hours laughing around a fire. Couples nights out. Serious conversations about life-goals, work, holidays, our children.
The memories of your beautiful wedding. How the alter shone upon you as your vows exuded eternal love.
And now it's gone.
I tell you it's for the best, that your happiness is what's most important.
But secretly I'm breaking inside. I'm mourning. Because yes we may still have each of your friendships, but OUR friendship?
That friendship died the very day you decided to separate. And I'll secretly never give up hope that the universe might find a way to reunite you.
We're 'not expected' to pick sides but it's inevitable we do.
It may seem like I've been avoiding you.
Again, I'm sorry.
It's difficult to know what to say or what to talk about.
A lot of our conversations revolved around marriage and now I feel guilty that my own marriage is flourishing.
You see nothing in my life has changed. I feel boring.
And it's difficult to nourish a friendship which was built on couple stuff when that integral part of it's growth has been removed and replaced with what's often scorn, hate and insults.
It's always been easy to join your rage-fueled rants about someone being a jerk.
But this time, that someone, that jerk.. is quite simply my friend.
I want to hate him/her because I see your hurt.
I want to tell you to take him/her to the cleaners.
I want to tell you you're right, to plan revenge.
But I just can't do it. I'm sorry.
And I'm sad.
And I'm ashamed to feel sad because it's totally not about me.
I'm filled with so very many mixed emotions.
Mostly confusion. Questioning my loyalty. Playing out scenarios of 'if you have to pick'.
Constantly on guard, bringing small-town rumours to an abrupt end.
Learning a lot about your other friends and their loyalty vs their shallow participation in scandal.
Trying to filter out what needs to get back to you and what should dissipate into hearsay.
But, my divorcee friend.
I'm also so very proud that you've put your happiness first, because it takes a lot to do that.
I admire you.
You and your brave face and outward armour that seemingly manufactured itself to your soul over night.
I'm scared for you too, dear friend.
I know your journey as a singleton will bring wrong decisions and more heartache.
It'll bring new people that I'm supposed to embrace and like.
How do I like these new ones when I so yearn for the person I've always known you to love? I guess it's a case of me still loving the very person you fell out of love with.
But I want you to know: whilst I plod a long trying to figure out my own feelings and console myself as I mourn the loss of OUR friendship, I am always here.
I may not say what you want me to say. I may not share your sentiments. But I'm quietly here, here to listen. Here to nod and say mmmmmm. To dry your tears.
All I ask is that whilst that armour shields you from the outside, please try not suffocate the you I know on the inside.
It's ok to be vulnerable, it's ok to keep that tenderness we all find so endearing.
Don't lose yourself in the battle. We've already lost one friendship, please promise to stay. Promise to keep this one alive.
First published at www.survivingtherunnerguy.co.za