I spoke with a very close friend of mine this afternoon who always seems to know what to say when I call. She is wise and calm in the face of many things and I return the favor for her as often as I can. The thing about this friend is that she is never wrong. We were in the same PhD program together and, being females in a highly male-dominated field, we had the same “no fear”, “screw ’em we’re awesome” attitudes.
My friend told me that she’d been through some wicked crazy stuff over the past 6 weeks and wasn’t really able to talk freely for whatever reason. She was, however, able to tell me that the outcome of her “stuff” was that she has refused to compromise regarding what she wants out of life and that it’s taken some of the people in her life a while to come to terms with that. Regardless, she said she is holding strong to that position as she realizes she can no longer pretend that any sort of compromise will work for her life.
My friend was able listen and give me feedback on my situation with Greg. At one point she said to me “You are thinking that you’ll fall back on reserves to give it one more good try aren’t you?” I responded affirmatively. She got very serious and said “Wrong. You have no more reserves. If you do this and continue along the same path of repeating patterns that have gotten you here you will not survive it. You’ll be in this pattern for at least a decade or more, if you survive that long.”
She wasn’t talking about survival from a metaphorical standpoint. She was talking about literal death.
This freaking scared the shit out of me from a place that hadn’t been seen before. This wasn’t Greg yelling at me or pulling the same icy-cold manipulation and anger-dumping; this was truth.
I felt better after talking with her because she never tells me what I want to hear. I would do the same for her and she knows it. This was someone who knows me really, really well who was going beyond concern to calling out my reality whether I wanted to hear it or not.
The non-survival thing that my friend talked about was non-specific, of course. However, I told her that I have come as close to non-existing while still existing as I can possibly manage. She already knew this.
The thing is, [and dammit aren’t you sick of hearing this yet?] I’m afraid to have this conversation with Greg. We must separate. I am willing to call it a controlled separation (vs. a trial separation, which goes nowhere) so we can work on things but there is so much between us that we have to work on as individuals. I truly don’t know if it can work and maybe that’s ok. Maybe I need to satisfy my guilt and keep an understanding that the affair was a symptom of a relationship that was ill from the beginning but mesmerized by the good stuff.
I’m having one hell of a time accepting that. Yoo hoo, serenity prayer…[derp]