Friday, January 16, 2015
I'm Sorry (v.2)
There is a school of thought that believes when a relationship fails, it's almost never about you. It's about the other guy. This always seemed like self-serving psycho-babble to me. How could the failure of a relationship between two people be about anything other than, well, you know, both people?
After this week, I might be warming up to the notion.
I met Ally long before I met my wife. We worked together for two years, strictly as friends. The more we got to know each other, the more other elements of a boy-girl relationship were introduced. Pretty soon we both came to recognize the undeniable chemistry and eventually one thing led to another.
She was easily in my top 5 of coolest people I'd ever met, but we were both kind of 60's Flower Children at heart, and a marriage founded in a belief of freedom, love, and free spiritedness would never last and we both knew it. But we remained friends even through both of our marriages. We rarely talked or saw each other, but when we did it was understood that there will still a residue of chemistry remaining.
I gave Ally a call after the divorce, we met, and picked up where we left off, but strictly as friends. She quickly because my spiritual shaman, providing all sorts of relevant insights into love, life, and relationships, not to mention advice on how to navigate the nuances of divorce and custody arrangements.
Then something odd happened.
We had a weird conversation. Very weird.
One of my colleagues died today. I just saw her a week ago. I visited her with two co-workers, one of whom moonlights as a minister. Betty was about 67, and had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Because we had grown to be friends, she told our HR director that she wanted to see me before she left this world. Profoundly moved, I went to see her. At the end of our visit, the minister said a prayer, and we joined in. A few days later Betty died.
Why are you telling me this?
Because it was a moving experience.
This is something you tell your wife, not your friend.
And that was that. Oh there was a brief follow-up where Ally explained that she doesn't talk about death and dying with her friends, and that such talk brings her down. I thought to myself, wow, I missed that part of her the first time around, and just kind of disconnected with her.
Until I ran into her at the health club. This week. We had a nice conversation, and afterwards I texted her telling her that.
"Me too," she wrote. "Sorry I was so harsh the last time we spoke. I was angry, and lashed out at anyone who got in my way."
This explains a lot.
What it tells me is that really much of what I write about in terms of these bad dates has nothing to do with me. The problems often, perhaps mostly, lie with the other person. You have know idea where they've been, where they're coming from, or what kind of baggage their packing. Even my good friend Ally, once a glass half-full, happy-go-lucky type, had apparently suffered from enough BS in her to impact her disposition and outlook.
The rest of us newly single people need to keep this in mind as we bounce from date to date with no end of bad dates in sight. It's really not about us. It's about keeping our chins straight and our eyes forward. We can't let the messed up world of dating get to us.