Friday, 29 June 2012
Getting divorced doesn't half make you realise who your real friends are. Over the last year many people who I would have thought were friends (and for me that word means something important) have showed that, in reality, they were only ever acquaintances. Jolly, good time, "see you when we see you" pals/mates/chaps and chappesses from the pub.
This was quite a shock to me at the time but I have gradually assimilated this knowledge and got used to it and emerged pretty much unscathed by the "loss" of them on the whole. I suspect it's more hurt pride than anything. At the time I was in the habit of believing D's assertions so half-accepted his oft-repeated sneer that "everyone hates you" "no-one will talk to you" etc etc etc Maybe because I knew that I was technically the wronging party in our relationship I didn't want to go out there and reinforce ties of friendship during the difficult times, thus leaving the field clear for D's version of events to be spread far and wide.
But now, with distance, I can see that the friendships which seemed so important to me during the hell of the later years of my marriage, were just sticking plasters. Despite what I thought, I didn't give much to them other than time and boozing because I didn't have much to give. I was overly concerned with being "popular" and, crucially, I was just trying to survive. Looking back, I existed in a bubble. Yes, I would arrange events and meet-ups but mostly to make sure that I had company, to hide the fact that D and I didn't value spending time alone together, to distract him from hurting me and to insulate me from my misery. I tried to be there for friends in need but I suspect my attempts were haphazard as I was constantly treading on eggshells at home and protecting my own psyche.
I can see this now because, with the true friends I have now, I may not see them all the time but when I do it is with pure pleasure and desire to spend time with them rather than any need to "be in a gang". When I have a friend in need, I am genuinely concerned about him or her and have time and energy to try and help out in whatever way will help him/her. It is much healthier.
That doesn't let my fairweather friends off the hook. I know I would not have ditched one half of a couple just because it was awkward or because she moved down the road. Maybe it was easier to see me as the "baddie" and let me go. Maybe it was too uncomfortable to look beneath the surface and accept that I was terribly unhappy but I hope I would have at least tried.
By the way, I'm not saying I don't/didn't like my former pals or that I have fallen out with them or anything - I did and had lots of wonderful times with them. I would prefer that they were my present pals and that this post was not relevant. But they're not around so I can only look on with that knowledge.
And, on the positive side (as ever), many, many people have been there for me and a few have even come out and said that they understand what was happening to me. One, because it had happened to her too so she knew how isolating and disorienting it was. The true friends I have now seem to be steadfast and fun and we seem to be able to just get on with life, enjoy their company and forget the past. Some of them came over to Bradwell on Wednesday night for the quiz and we had a jolly night - gentle, amusing, lowkey and like old times. They staggered down to the bus stop for the last bus back to Bamford and I walked home in the balmy evening air with a massive smile on my face. I know moving on happened a long time ago but Wednesday night was one of those events where you "see" how far you have come.
So, sorry to harp on about the past. I don't want to be one of those women who is always banging on about her divorce (I don't think I am) but periodically, I have phases where I need to process a new stage in my development and talk here (in my personal place) about what it means to me. It's not something you can just put in a box and say that you're "cured" or "it's over". I need from time to time to examine my wounds to make sure that they are healing right and also to think about the wrongs I have inflicted . To make sure that I don't make the same mistakes again with friends or partner and that I behave better and with more integrity too.