Dear you,

Simple human decency – that’s really all I insist on in relationships.

I am a low-maintenance kind of partner.  I do not expect text messages at every possible work break, gifts, constant reassurances of love and my own self-worth.  My sense of self-worth does not reside in anyone else’s opinion of me.  I don’t freak out if you’ve been talking to your ex, I don’t fly off the handle with jealous fits, I don’t resent time spent with other people who aren’t me, friendships, family obligations, hobbies or interests I don’t care about.  I don’t care if you are dating somebody else if you are being honest about it, not when we’re not living in the same state and aren’t going to be anytime soon especially.  I don’t ask if these jeans make my ass look fat, and even if I did, I wouldn’t then punish you if the answer wasn’t what I wanted to hear.  I don’t need anybody to pay my bills, bail me out, or prop me up.  I understand work and life obligations.  I don’t have unrealistic expectations that a partner is going to “complete me,” nor that a long-distance relationship is going to magically not have any challenges, up to and including the dreaded “I’ve met somebody else.”  I’m not needy, I’m not passive-aggressive, I don’t expect people to read my mind and punish them for not doing so, and I strive to be a clear communicator.  Furthermore, I’m not all that bad looking for my age, I’m of higher than average intelligence, I have a sense of humor, and I’m reasonably skilled, responsive, and attentive in bed.

In sum, I’m not some histrionic psycho who needs to be handled with kid gloves, I’m not some piece of trash you picked up on the side of the road, and I’m not some idiot who begs to be lied to.  I am – or thought I was – your friend, and I expected that friendship to mean something even if the more-than-friends part of it were to end.  All I ask is simple human decency, and to be accorded the same respect and honesty that you would accord to any friend of twenty years, whether or not that person had also been your lover.

How, then, in your eyes, do I deserve the treatment I’ve received at your hands?  How do I deserve to be lied to? How do I fail to rate a heads-up that our relationship is over (and given that your new partner has issues with me on account of our having been together in some romantic and sexual capacity for several years, therefore our 20 year friendship is over too)?  How do I fail to rate even a phone call before you publicly announce your new relationship status, and the fact that you are about to have a child with this person you’ve known for a few months, to your facebook?  How does that math come out, exactly?  I can’t figure out if you’re incredibly heartless and inconsiderate, or just incredibly stupid.  I can’t figure out if you think I’m some dangerous psycho who needs to given bad news at arms length, or if you simply think that two decades of friendship and several years of more than friendship are just worth that little.  I can’t figure out if this is a reflection of your real feelings towards me, which you did an excellent job of actively deceiving me about for some unknown and unwarranted reason, or if you are just that big of a selfish, cowardly asshole and it’s nothing personal.

If your behavior is a reflection of your feelings for and respect for me as a lover, then obviously I’m better off without you.  If your behavior is a measure of what you consider appropriate in a friendship, I’m obviously better off without you.  If your behavior is a reflection of your inability to face up to and communicate about situations that get away from you and leave you somewhere you didn’t expect to end up, faced with choices you’d never planned on having to make, then I’m still better off without you, and I’m grateful that my teenage daughter already has a higher emotional intelligence quotient, greater capacity for empathy, and more respect for other human beings than you do at the end of your 30s.

It does make me feel cheated, though.  Not even so much because you put our relationship on a very public bonfire, and because you pissed on the ashes of a very long-standing friendship, but because of all the times I arranged plans around you, or chose to spend time with you over someone else when a choice had to be made, or took care to make sure you didn’t feel neglected or left out of the conversation when we ran into people I had a closer or older or different friendship with than you did.  Had I known what I was worth in your eyes, I would have spent my time where and with whom it would be appreciated. And there are several occasions where I acted and chose otherwise than I would have preferred, left with you when someone I rarely got to see had just arrived, stayed the night with you even when I’d just found out an even older friend was in town for one night only — because in my book, you don’t make plans with somebody and then ditch them at the last minute when somebody else walks into the room, not without a pressing reason.

But my consideration now leaves some bitterness behind.  I guess I’m feeling my age enough to no longer take opportunities for granted; I have seen far too many times now how things you really think will be forever disappear, how people die, how a few months can close some doors forever, how setting a foot on one path can foreclose another.  I’m feeling older, and I’m feeling mortality keenly these days.  One effect of this is my increased anger and frustration at wasting my time when it’s better spent elsewhere.  Another is watching just how many opportunities have slipped away over the past eight years because I believed your lies, chose consideration for your feelings and our relationship, such as it was, over all kinds of other things. My consideration cost me time that I can’t get back, and worst of all, it cost me time with other people, people who care about me and regard our friendship as worth something.

In any case, congratulations on the birth of your third child and good luck raising it with someone you dated for a few months prior to impregnating.  I hope, for the sake of them both, that you find the courage of your convictions, some semblance of a moral and ethical center, and the plain old guts to own up to your own actions, so that you have something to impart to this child besides your DNA.  I hope, for the sake of them both, that if you ever come to the same place with them that you came to with me, that you will at least extend them the consideration of letting them know that you’re about to walk out of their lives – at least a few minutes before you inform the rest of your mutual friends and acquaintances by posting to that effect on a social networking site.

So I hope you enjoyed the years you got me from me.  You could have gotten rid of me with one phone call.  You could have been honest instead of spending all those years trying to convince me that you loved me.  And then I could have done it for whatever it was worth but not let it cost me things it shouldn’t have cost me.  You could have ended it with an email and still salvaged our friendship.  I hope you don’t ever expect me to forgive you.  Because I never will.

***

She Wants Revenge – Red Flags and Long Nights

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