Tough Love: Remedy or End-All.

So the Bestie and I are on the outs right now…at least I think we are. I’m not entirely sure. Confusing? Yeah, I know…welcome to my world. There was an exchange of texts/messages this weekend and well…yeah.

A little bit of back story here…her and the boyfriend had been on the outs/broken up/done—whatever—several months ago to the point where she was talking of moving out and getting her own place…and then—as per the usual with those two, they conveniently made up and things were going great, or so she said. Then about a month or so ago she got ahold of me to tell me how she’d gone through his phone and discovered that while they were broken up (but still living together and for all intents and purposes still together) he’d hooked up with not one, but THREE other girls. She was livid and hurt and swore up and down that she’d had it. That she was through with all the bullshit and was finally done with him, for good.

She even asked about going back down with me to Nashville when I went back. I even half-entertained the idea for a few days. By that I just mean that as much fun as it sounds like it could be when we talk about it—her going back to Nashville with me—it’s not something I ever see happening. It’s not her, so much as it is me…which probably sounds kind of selfish, but it is what it is. And if I’m being completely honest here—I really do think one of the reasons why I love Nashville so much is because it’s just me there. There’s no drama or distractions to knock me off course, now that I’m finally walking the straight and narrow. Not that I’m saying the Bestie is either of those…but like it or not, she is representative of a past that I worked like hell to overcome and to leave behind when I left New York for Nashville. And maybe I’m overthinking it too much, but I can’t help but worry that having her—or anyone else for that matter—down in Nashville with me will somehow undo all that hard work and the progress I’ve made since January. And there’s the freedom factor, too. I love this newfound independence…the ability to go and do as I please…to be whom I please. I love the fact that my life and the relationships I’ve formed in Nashville are almost entirely separate from the life I had and the relationships I had and those that I still have in New York. I’m not ready to give that up…not just yet, anyhow. I’d like to enjoy it a little bit longer, if I can…for as long as I can. If that’s selfish, well…then so be it. I’m only human after all, and let’s face it—we’re all a little bit selfish sometimes.

Anyhow—so she went from supposedly being done and 100% ready to pick up her life and move 900 miles away a month ago, to having made up yet again and things being “better than ever” between them. All in the span of like two weeks, give or take. I wish—just this once—I could say that I was surprised…but I wasn’t. Not in the least. The only thing that did surprise me was my diminishing patience with the whole situation. I’m usually quite good at reigning in my patience when it comes to the ridiculousness of the situation between her and him, and keeping a lid on my opinion. I usually have no problem keeping my mouth shut, or if need be—telling her what I know she wants to hear. But I’m finding that I’m growing weary of it all, of playing along. This time it’s been a real struggle, but I’ve tried to be a good friend. To sit there and listen to her go on and gush about how great things have been…and talk her out of the temptation to message one of those girls he’d hooked up months back on Facebook. She wanted to call the girl out, trash her over the Internet, and basically rub it in the girl’s face that she and he were together and happy and that the girl had meant nothing to him. I talked her out of it, but it took a lot of persuading—far more than it should have. I pointed out how pointless it would be, how childish it would be… how she was unnecessarily asking for trouble by opening up that kind of can of worms. She actually tried countering back with the whole “easy for you to say because you don’t know what it’s like” response. Boy, did I shut that little misconception down fast. I pointed out that I did too know by reminding her of the infamous Disaster of 2009 of mine. She said I didn’t know what it was like or how it felt…but she was wrong. I do know what it’s like to want like hell to call out and lash out against that “other woman” who resides at the top of your Most Despised list simply because she had/has him, the one you want. Granted, my particular situation was a little reversed and a hell of a lot more complicated, but the root logic remains the same. But unlike her, I didn’t have a caring friend looking out for me who was there to talk me out of making what turned out to be one of the most life-altering mistakes of my life. Rather, I had just the opposite—a jealous, conniving, two-faced, so-called “friend” at my side that had her own little agenda when she went and pressed send that day before I could stop her. Once I got past the panic of the deed having been done and accepting that there was nothing I could do about it, part of me thought that I might actually feel some satisfaction from it. That exposing the truth would make me feel better and set me free. But that was the foolish assumption of a girl that didn’t know any better. Neither of those things happened. If anything, I felt worse…guiltier…more ashamed. And as for freedom—that one mistake set into motion a chain of events that left me trapped in a world of nothing but pain and misery and hopelessness for a long time…TOO DAMN LONG. But considering she was pretty much oblivious to any of that—or even there for it really—I guess I can see why she’d think I wouldn’t know what it’s like.

It’s exactly that which irks the hell out of me…the fact that I’ve been there, I’ve ALWAYS listened…while she hasn’t done either—not really. I get so mad when she acts and talks like I don’t know what she’s going through or like I haven’t walked through certain situations or worse…when she acts as though her problem and/or situation is “way worse” or somehow more important than mine—despite their very close similarity or in some cases, identical composition. That bugs me. Always has. And it still does. Sometimes I wonder why I keep my mouth shut and my opinion to myself when she never once bothered to silence hers when it came to me and what’s-his-name. She had no problem telling me what she thought of him and I and the situation. She’d tell me all the time how dumb and naïve I was being, that I didn’t love him and that I just thought I did, and how—mark her words—doomed the relationship was from the start. When she’d tell me how I was nothing but a hook-up for him and that he was just using me—though she knew I hated and how much it hurt hearing it—she was never the least bit remorseful about it. Rather, she’d just tell me that she was being honest and that I’d see—it was for my own good, whether I realized it or not.

The fact that she turned out to be right about him is irrelevant. It still hurt. Just like it hurts that she’s never really a shown an interest in the relationships I’ve had since him. I can’t help but wonder if she realizes just how one-sided this friendship feels to me some times. In all honestly, I think that’s part of the reason why I’ve been so distant in recent years and why we’ve gone so long in between hang-outs. I mean, there’s only so much sitting there and listening and being there for someone else that a person can take when they themselves have so much going on in their own lives–things that they, too need and would like to vent and talk about but feel like they can’t or that the other person doesn’t really want to hear about or will even care if they were to be told. Maybe I’m unfairly judging what she may or may not be interested in hearing…I don’t know. I just feel like we’ve grown so much from the people we used to be some times, you know? And it’s hard. So I have to take a break some times. To recharge. To deal with the mess in my own head to make room for her problems. Then–because I still consider her a friend and it’s just not in me to turn my back on a friend in need–I’ll be there for her…like always.

But in the years since then, I’ve never responded in kind or given her a taste of her own medicine, so to speak. I’ve never treated her that way. Have I been tempted? You bet I have. And it’s been damn hell hard, by the way. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been tempted to speak my peace and tell her just what I thought of that loser boyfriend of hers and their whole situation. I don’t know why, but I never liked the guy…even from the beginning. Partly because he screwed up her and I moving to NYC, sure…but also because there was just something about him that didn’t sit well with me. For starters, they moved way too quickly…I think it was like a couple of weeks or at most, a month or two, when they started living together. Everything she told me about their relationship seemed rushed and intense and had that whole “too good to be true” vibe about it. Then came the incident they had early-on in the relationship where they got into a fight, he hit or shoved her, and she dislocated her shoulder—or ended up with some kind of injury to it. I knew then and there that he was an asshole. After all, I’d known all too well one of his kind myself when I dated my college BF, the lovely jock that liked to toss me around and knock me out whenever he got the urge. I told her that she should walk away then—but she didn’t listen to me. She made excuses for him. She stayed. Of course she did. After all…they were “in love”.

In the going on 3-ish years they’ve been together, they’ve broken-up and made-up more times than I can count. She’s shared with me the details of countless fights they’ve had and asked for my opinion and advice on the subject. And I’ve always given her the doctored truth—the half-true opinion and answer that I know she wants to hear because I know she doesn’t want to hear what I really have to say…and because I know that no matter how many times I tell her that he’s an asshole was is never going to change—she’s not going to take my word for it.

This weekend was different though in that I didn’t hold back as I normally would. She messaged me and didn’t go into too much detail, but from what I got out of it apparently they had a fight or whatever and it must have been pretty heated because she ended up at a hotel…that was gist of it. I didn’t even bother to ask what happened or press for details this time. I basically flat-out asked when enough was going to be enough and what it was going to take for her to see that the so-called amazing guy she fell in love with is anything but—or at the very least, is gone and not coming back. I was pretty blunt with my response…and I don’t think she was too happy with it because she responded back by basically saying that she knew she had some things to figure out, but that she was a little overwhelmed seeing that she had no real support system to lean on in the mean-time. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve been sick the past week with a nasty bout of bronchitis that I found out after spending a day in the ER earlier in the week has turned into full-blown pneumonia and I’m just moody and exhausted from that or what…but I took offense to her claim of having no support system. Granted, her family really has nothing to do with her and she doesn’t have much to do with anyone outside of the people she works with as far as friends go, but by her discounting having any support system at all when I’ve been here for her the whole time…well, that’s kind of rude, I think. I mean, granted—she and I haven’t actually hung out in person in ages and all—but every time she’s had a problem or needed to vent, I’ve been a phone call or instant message away. Every time. I don’t know if it was her intention, but her saying that made me feel like I should feel guilty or something for being a bad friend because I haven’t been there and because I moved 900 miles away and have a life/job that she’s not really a participant in and friends besides her. And that’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for leaving. I mean, people leave. It’s a fact of life. We’re not kids anymore and this isn’t high school. Things were bound to change and we were bound to grow apart and have lives that didn’t entirely or necessarily revolve around or include one another. It’s called adulthood. I mean, do I feel bad for her? Of course. I think it sucks that she has to go through this and that he’s a jerk. I love the girl to death and I want her to be happy, but at the same time, I feel like I’m not doing her any favors by shutting my mouth and not pointing out that the only one who’s going to be able to initiate any kind of change in her life is going to have to be her. Maybe it’s not my place to say anything…but she wanted my opinion and that’s my opinion. She needs to stop making excuses and stop falling into the same damn vicious circle of breaking up and making up with him and then crying about how messed up things are or how badly things need to change every time that it happens. And I don’t say that to be cruel. I say it out of love. She’s my best friend. I want her to be happy and to be successful and to realize what I know—which is that it doesn’t have to be this way. She doesn’t have to be miserable all the time or go through this roller-coaster of emotions with him. She deserves better. I just wish she could see that for herself. Maybe a little tough-love is the push she needs to get there, I don’t know. But as her friend, there’s only so much that I can do. The rest is up to her. I can’t save her. She’s got to save herself now…



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