I was watching a re-run of Sex In the City the other day, titled “The Awful Truth”. In it, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is asked by her friend Susan if she should leave her husband – this after the friend trash talks hubby to the nth degree.
The scene made me cry. Why? Well, admittedly hormones come into play when I cry during SATC but this time — this time it was because I fell into the trap of giving your opinion on someone else’s relationship, and I lost the friend.
One of my best friends, in fact. She’s married, and like all couples, the union isn’t perfect. It’s had issues. While there is the really good passion, there’s the bad passion and, as a result, have separated three times.
The first time was before I met her, when he immigrated to Canada and the culture shock was overwhelming for them both. She sent him home. Absence made the heart grow fonder and he returned ready to commit to being better to one-another.
Since knowing her, she told me how they fight about the same issues, mostly him wanting to move back, his unrealistic view of what life should be like here, his constant reminder that she made him move here (this is my main bone of contention) On top of all of this, there’s a 10 year age difference, she’s older and has a child from a previous marriage. It’s a constant struggle for her to deal with his behaviour and so, she vents to me, and like Carrie, I sit and listen.
They separated last year — but again — missed each other and reconciled. When they separated for the 3rd time this past spring, it seemed final and her venting went into greater detail. She had compiled a list of his “bad traits”, of the chronic issues and when she read it to me it – honestly – made me cry.
It was shocking. Maddening and sad to hear how he’d treated her.
And so I said IT. “This isn’t healthy for you and I think you can do SO much better than him”
Flash forward to this past summer and well, they are back together and now our friendship is different. It’s changed. There’s an awkwardness. I’m afraid it will never be the same. I love my friend, and support her decision, but I don’t want to hear about “how he’s changed” and how “it’s different this time”.
I don’t believe it – I just don’t. I can’t seem to forget “the list”.
Again, this is one of my best friends – so – what the hell am I to do? Regret having told her my perspective? Should I have kept my mouth shut? Is it my duty to “drop it” and buy in, let her enjoy this happy time they’ve rediscovered?
Am I bad friend if I don’t speak up?
Can anyone really know the dynamics of a marriage based on just one side of the story?
Of course not.
It’s tough, however, to ignore what I know, what she’s told me: The good, the bad and the ugly.
Doesn’t letting go, giving in and ignoring “the ugly” make you a bad friend? SHE who wrote the list, SHE read it to me. Should I have just listened and kept my advice to myself?
I believe in good, strong, friendships where you say the truth to each other, even if it is tough to stomach.
Because right now, I feel like I’ve lost a friend over saying what I thought.