When my husband and I started having difficulties in our marriage, it affected every area of our lives. He rarely called during working hours anymore. He works long hours and is often not home at night so phone calls are our main means of communication. Home time was spent with him in front of the TV or computer or other electronic device, I rushed around keeping the kids in line, using the opportunity to grocery shop without an entourage, or relax with a book in my bedroom. Socially we started doing things separately from each other. It was never a spoken agreement rather sort of a mutual consensus that he had his interests and I mine. Without realizing it, friends became pawns.
This was glaringly obvious when I attempted to join him one weekend in a visit with one of our friends. I had thought that this would be a nice way to reconnect. We were leaving the kids at home and it was just the two of us going to visit with a couple who are easy to be around. I was surprised, hurt, and more than a little angry when my husband tried to discourage me from coming with him. This was his downtime and I was most definitely not invited. I went anyway. It was not one of my greater ideas. It only emphasized the gap widening between us.
We often vacillated between friends and strangers, sometimes in as little as several hours. Naturally with so much emotional intensity, each of us sought an outlet for our angst. I turned to my mother for encouragement, sympathy, and the occasional scolding. He talked with close personal friends. Never once did I think about the aftershock that was sure to follow. It came as a complete shock one afternoon when a dear friend would not speak to me. Mystified, I was describing his odd behaviour to my husband during one of our amiable times. A guilty look crossed his face and he confessed to confiding in great detail to this friend the extent of our marital discord. Never before had I considered that we would lose our mutual companions. I myself try to be impartial and recognize that there are always two sides to a story whenever I hear a disagreement. I naively thought everyone did this.
This started a new chapter for me. I became more conscious about who I talked to and how much I shared. I focused more on my children and their friends. I cultivated anonymous online friendships that required no personal information or input from me. In short, I became shallow, only concerned with myself and my own feelings. Deeply hurt by betrayal, I still struggle to fully trust my friends. After all a friend is someone who makes life bearable and helps us over the bumps in the roads. Friends are there to laugh with, empathize with. They are a connection in this world of empty faces, the strings that tie each one of us to the other one. They are that elusive feeling of belonging that each of us strives for it. Can a broken person be a good friend?