Walking the tightrope (Part II) – Stand

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As stated previously… this week has not been one of my best.

Despite all intentions to show sympathy and support, I let down a valued and trusted friend. It leaves me ready to bend over backwards to do whatever I can to make their life that little bit easier.

On the flip side, another friend, one who I share a briefer but more intimate history with, has decided for the second time that we are not meant to be friends… and this time, I couldn’t agree more.

The first time, she treated me like a piece of prison ass, taking our friendship for granted, abusing my honest and open nature. It wasn’t until later when karma unleashed the same on her that she realised her mistake, and apologised to me. I’m all for redemption and second chances, after all, if I’m to be afforded any opportunity to make up for my own mistakes, I have to be prepared to do the same for others. This time, however, she crossed a line… one she ought to have known better than to cross.

Some time ago she went online and did the ‘internet dating’ routine… which seems to be like catalogue shopping for some people. Flip through the pages, find the ones that you like the look of, try them out, toss the ones you don’t like and like so many other things that come with convenience, fail to appreciate what you have whilst you have it. The Gen Y crowd are pretty well defined by the ‘bigger, better, brighter, more, NOW!’ mantra, and she is certainly no exception to that.

And to be honest, how often have you bought from a catalogue and upon receiving your desired item, realised that all is not as advertised? I’m sure there’s more than a few of us with cupboards full of ab-buster machines, books on overnight investment wealth, Tupperware or Amway. (Actually, to be fair, I have more than a few Tupperware containers in my kitchen cupboard, and I can only think of one that I don’t use).

But more to the point, online dating panders to a modern need for convenience and instant gratification.

And more power to you if that’s what makes you happy. Personally, I prefer a little more depth and substance in my life… and to get that, you need to invest time and effort into your relationship… but that’s just my opinion.

Anyway, with this last run of dating, she’s had… well… considerable interest, and thus, multiple candidates to choose from, including one married man screwing around on the side.

When she told me of this, I wasn’t terribly surprised. Go around the dating game long enough, and eventually you’ll cross someone who’s in it to have their cake and eat it too. And to her credit, she sent this dude packing, saying that she’d never be responsible for the breakup of a marriage. He continued to pursue her, and last she mentioned him, she’d said that her position was they could only ever be friends.

So, earlier this week, I get a blunt and graphic text message from her about a ‘liaison’ she’d had the previous day. I’m keeping this pg-rated, after all, but it doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner to join the dots on that one.

Despite not really wanting to hear about it, I indulged her, figuring that it must have been the latest guy that she’d told me about, one that actually sounded like a good catch.

Alas…no.

She reveals that Mr Married has in record time separated from his wife, filed for divorce, and is now fair game. In the space of a few short weeks she has done a complete turnaround. Admittedly, I don’t know the details, but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…

To say I thought she was better than that is an EPIC understatement, but, I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong. In a few short text messages she placed a 12-gauge shotgun between the eyes of her credibility… and pulled the trigger. Whatever values and principles she has stated are now meaningless in the face of actions that completely and utterly contradict.

And for me, infidelity is an especially sensitive area of discussion… especially when coupled with unwillingness or inability to recognise the truth or accept honesty from someone. It’s on record here that my own ex-wife accused me of cheating when I didn’t, and refused to believe any and all protestations on my part regarding my having remained true to our committment. The institution of marriage still means something to me, despite having failed miserably in my own forays into it.  

So, I said the only thing I could; I couldn’t be a supportive friend on this one. I think she’s making a mistake and compromising herself for what she describes as “someone she’s only sleeping with, nothing more”.

Whilst I may not agree with her choice, it’s her choice to make and hers to deal with the consequences rendered. As I said to her, I can’t tell her how to live her life.

I may not condemn the choice, but I’m not going to endorse it either… and because I’m holding to my own principles and standing clear of this one, she’s decided that she can’t be friends with me.

And, because this has all happened via text message and email, we again see how the written word twists and warps the situation, maligning the outcome, all because it lacks the subtlety and nuance of verbal communication. All one would have to do is look at how she’s inferred far more from my messages/emails than the truth of the situation.

Now, I’ll readily admit, there’s a grand mix of emotions for me happening in all this… confusion, disappointment, even a little jealousy (I’m not afraid to admit)… but it’s nothing compared to the indignity I felt when she started launching an attack on me based on her own interpretation of my current state of mind.

An interpretation that shares no common ground with reality.

I could try and address it all, show logically and dispassionately how her decision is based on flawed assumptions… but honestly, I can’t be bothered. I try not to compare people, but my ex-wife, for example, was worth the effort to try and correct the error, to try and save what we had. She had something incredible, special… possibly once in a lifetime. At the end of it all, she was worth fighting for, even if it was her I had to fight.

This former friend… is none of those things, and could never hope to be. To put it in business terms, the cost-benefit ratio doesn’t make fighting for this friendship worth the effort.

Ironically, in writing that, I can see as well from my own perspective, that in reducing it to those terms, I no longer see the friendship as worthy of my time, effort and investment.

So, I take the lesson for what it’s worth: that my principles and integrity are not commodities to be bought and sold, traded on whim of the market to determine their value…

And that whilst they come at a price this time, it’s one I gladly pay.

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