Monday, November 5, 2012

Friends & Break Ups

Breaking up is hard to do.  It's especially bittersweet when you are friends with the couple.  These past couple of days, Travis and I have witnessed 2 couples that we are close to break up.  I get sad every time it happens to our friends.  I feel like I should have been there more or done something to prevent it from happening.  But it is their life, they can make their own adult decisions - and besides, it's really none of my business.  After all, I have no idea what happens between them behind closed doors.

Someone gave me this great advice.  It's ok to vent to family and friends when you need to about your significant other.  It can be a positive thing.  My mother always puts me in my place when I am wrong. I love her for that.  Just remember, whoever you expose these negative things to - make sure they hear about all the good stuff, too.  Otherwise, they may be offering the WRONG advice because they only know what you tell them.

If your friend came up to you and told you about all these awful arguments she is having with her husband, over time you will tell her to leave him.  If it never changes and it hurts her, it could potentially be an abusive relationship or more harming than it would be to be single.  As a friend, you protect her.  But what if that friend exposed to you that they handled their disagreements by talking - or they went out on a date and it made her feel special - wouldn't you be more inclined to give her husband the benefit of the doubt?  There are always two sides to a story.

I watched both couples break up.  One couple handled it in the most mature manner that I have ever seen.  The other, it's just like a dramatic, high school break up.  The mature couple has made this situation much more comfortable - not just for us as friends coming to visit them - but for themselves as well!  We all helped my friend move out of the house - and everyone talked and carried on like we did before the break up.  I almost cried since she is such a good friend and she's moving out of town - but I know I'll see her again.  And both individuals are completely cool with Travis and I hanging out with the other.  There is no animosity or attacking on either person's part.  I have much more respect for the two of them for how they handled the situation.  It shows just how strong and intelligent they each are - and they are able to see the positive from this break up.

Oh Please....  ::eye roll::
The other couple are fighting over items in the apartment.  Mom got involved in the parking lot in front of the apartment.  A friend that doesn't even know one of the individuals got involved.  The two are texting each other mean comments simply just to hurt each other's feelings and belittle the other person.  One is on Facebook posting snarky things or stupid memes saying what defines a real relationship.  Each are playing the blame game.  It's not pretty.  They are even fighting over who gets to have the dog or who gets to have the dishes in the cabinet.  They are equally discrediting each other's feelings.  And in all honesty, one of those individuals we will possibly never speak to again simply because this person is being incredibly immature about us remaining friends with the other.  When do adults tell their friends who they can and cannot be friends with someone outside of their own circle?

It has made me view my own relationship with Travis in a different light.  I'm much more thankful that I have him.  If I vent to anyone about Travis for... I don't know... not doing a load of laundry, then I hope that person can stand up and say, "why can't you do it?" or "Was he busy doing something else?" I want that person I confide in to honestly give me a different perspective when I need it.  I trust their input - otherwise I would have never said anything.  I wouldn't want someone bashing on Travis just because I got frustrated.  I want that person to be honest and level my head so I don't blow up over something that doesn't really matter.

I hope that Travis has a friend to confide in whenever I upset him.  Instead of blowing up into a huge raging fight, I would want Travis to vent to someone who could give him a new perspective.  This friend could help him word things so that he can openly talk to me without saying the wrong thing.

Photo by Zoe
As the old saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child" - sometimes, it takes friends/family to keep a relationship strong.  When a couple gets married, the audience is witnessing two individuals living a lifetime together through all the good and bad, the easy times and the hard times, through sickness and in health.  In many wedding traditions, it is common to hear a line directed at the congregation that is similar to this:  You are the witnesses to these vows now being made.  Will you do all in your power to support and uphold this marriage?  The congregation usually responds with "We Will."  Some ceremonies expand farther with this:

Celebrant:     You all have come here today not just to witness [Bride] & [Groom]'s love and devotion to each other, but to show your own love and support for them.  Our couple has asked that you join them in this wonderful moment in their lives, by taking your own vows.  If you agree, please answer with WE WILL!
Will you support [Bride] & [Groom] in their marriage?  

Guests:     We will.  

Celebrant:    If needed, will you listen and offer counsel in times of hardship?  

Guests:    We will.  

Celebrant:    Will you celebrate with them, encourage them, and remind them of this day?  

Guests:    We will.

There's a reason for this.  There is no shame in sharing with your friends and family the things that are troubling you in your relationship.  By all means, it's not ok to jump on Twitter or Facebook and expose your dirty laundry.  But it is ok to confide in someone, and as a member of that congregation, that someone has promised to offer you counsel and encouragement in your relationship.

I went on a little tangent, I know.  But these break ups have made me question how I represent Travis to others.  It's made me view our relationship differently.  And if things were to turn sour, I pray and hope that we could handle it like the mature couple simply out of respect of our relationship and out of respect for ourselves.

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