I spoke with a good friend last night, someone about whom I care very deeply. I left the conversation feeling, well, upset.
I don’t mind if she sees what I think about it, because apparently I haven’t been able to present my thoughts coherently in person, but in order to protect her privacy and the privacy of other parties, I won’t use her name. (This secrecy stuff is really annoying…)
My friend’s best friend, her closest companion, is a guy who broke her heart. For months she pined for him. She still says he is the epitome of attraction, a great guy, that she is so similar to him and that she can understand him so well, that he has taught her so much about herself and how to love herself…so that even while she’s joking that he’s trying to find her a boyfriend, you get that sense of unresolved feelings. She will deny this; she says they are best friends. Back when she made her decision to stop wanting him as a lover, she insisted that she was not going to stop seeing him or being friends with him, because he was too important to her, too big a part of her life.
So, in other words, she consciously chose not to move on at all. She chose to stay in limbo, to pound her feelings down, to relegate herself to second place in order to be near the guy who won’t have her. It’s like saying, “I’d rather have him this way than not at all.”
And subconsciously, it’s like saying, “Maybe someday he’ll see what I’m worth and change his mind.”
I won’t pretend to understand his side of all this. He dated her, he broke up with her, he continued to have sex with her after the fact because it was convenient and fun. And from what I hear, he does care about her. She seems to think that I think he is evil, but I don’t. I’ve said numerous times that I think he is human.
The reason I don’t think she should spend time with him is not because I think he is a bad person. I have no data on whether or not he is a bad person. And, frankly, I don’t care whether or not he is a bad person. What I know is that it is horribly emotionally damaging to cling to someone the way she’s doing, to absolve him of all guilt (which she does, even though she claims not to, simply by allowing him the pleasure of her company), to pretend that her strong, overwhelming feelings of a few months ago have suddenly turned off like a light switch.
She’s subconsciously leading herself on. She may have even subconsciously decided that as long as she can be with him this way, she doesn’t need more from him–and that she doesn’t need any romantic relationship.
She is letting him abuse her by staying near him. It doesn’t matter whether he means to abuse her or not. That is the end result. She loves him, she wants him, he won’t have her, she lets him have her friendship anyway even after all that happened. He will never know from this the depths of her feelings. He will probably assume that she is fine, that they are friends, and everything is hunky-dory. So he will treat her the way he’s always treated her, the way that made her love him in the first place.
They’re together, and yet not, by his choice. Every day is a torture chamber for my friend…one that she jumps into eagerly, because he’s there. It may be beautiful outside, a wonderful world where she can grow and learn and find love, but that doesn’t matter because he is down in the torture chamber. She’ll stunt her own growth–and she is stunting her own growth–simply in order to keep him near.
It’s not like no one has told her this, either. But she denies it, vehemently.
Last night she said she felt bad because he felt out of place during a recent get-together with “the group”. I was extraordinarily annoyed by this, though I held myself in check. I calmly explained that anyone who isn’t part of a group will feel left out. But it seems to me that she wants him to become part of the group, or something. I’ve already told her that if he’s there spending time with us regularly, then I will have to opt out of those meetings. I refuse to watch her destroy herself. She can do that on her own time.
What right does she have to expect us to accept him? I don’t care what kind of person he is, or if I would have liked him in another circumstance, or whether or not he chose to hurt my friend the way he did. What happened happened. To me, he isn’t a person. He is a part of my friend’s life that she needs to walk away from. He will never be a person to me. He will certainly never be my friend.