It has been many years since I have participated in a romantic relationship or have even dated. So when two people I considered friends broke up a few months ago, I made the mistake of trying to stay friendly with both, and ended up, for a very brief time, being sucked into the middle of their emotional upheavals. From that experience, I learned that the best place to be when two people decide to part ways is on the outside, and from a safe distance.
Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
No matter what you do or say, when two people are trying to come to terms with no longer being a couple, you’re just never going to get it right. Emotions are too high, and they are not even in the same universe as rational.
A breakup of any kind is rather like a death and, in my opinion, the people involved have to go through the stages of grief, as if there was an actual death of a loved one. The difference is that emotions are exaggerated because someone is hurt, someone is angry and someone is going to feel betrayed. If the breakup was a long time coming, there could be even more heightened emotions involved.
As an empath, I’m even more susceptible to getting sucked into these conflicts because I feel at least some of the emotions the people are experiencing. In order to protect myself and to ensure that I can maintain my own positive outlook, I’ve had to take a really hard line with people and take about fifty steps back from their situation until they’ve at least gotten past the point where they feel angry, hurt and betrayed and begin to understand all of the factors which led up to the end of a relationship which at least one of them thought was going along just splendidly.
Not my monkeys. Not my circus.
Here it is again. I really have to decline any invitations to drama, especially when the people involved are friends, but not the kind I’d call at 3 AM to help me through a crisis. It’s not that I don’t care that they are hurting. I truly do. But there’s really nothing I can do for them. They have to go through the process and asking people to intercede or take sides does no good for anyone.
Leave your drama and your gun at the door. We’re a friendly kinda place.
This is especially true when people gather at a particular place on a regular basis. If it’s a place where you go to relax, have a good time, maybe a drink or two, and de-stress, asking people to pick one half of a couple or another to comfort and support is like sucking out half of their energy, then asking them to go do all of the things they normally do.
We love you both, individually or together.
My feelings for people don’t change just because they change their “couple status”. What changes my feelings is if they behave badly. I appreciate the fact that, for awhile, they might be sad, confused, angry, and a whole slew of other emotions, but to be honest, we all go through those emotions at some point in our lives. The purpose of a place where we gather socially is to leave that crap outside and just have a good time doing something we love with like-minded people. It may be that the recently estranged couple has to, for a little while, make a civilized arrangement to take turns showing up until they can function reasonably normally while in the same place. Maybe they take different sides of the place for awhile, and pretend they’re strangers until the pain subsides.
Again, I don’t really know the protocol because my last experience was years ago, and as the other party lived in another state, a lot of these were non-issues. If there is some socially prescribed manner in which we’re supposed to behave, I must have missed the class.
The only thing I know for sure is that, until things are worked out between those involved, I must remain firmly on the outside with my back turned. I don’t want to see what you have to go through to get your lives back to normal because feeling your pain isn’t going to help you in any way. In fact, if I’m feeling your pain, I’m ineffective at doing things which might take your mind off of it for a minute or two. Know that I only close doors when I am left with no other option.
Breakups and meltdowns seem to go in cycles. Two or three couples will part ways in a given period of time. It’s the cycle of life and love. I have a lot of respect for those who give of themselves, get hurt, and pick themselves up to give again. The fact that I have been alone for so many years is the direct result of my own fears and insecurities. Jumping right back into the dating pool has never been something I do easily. And since, for the most part, I’m pretty happy in my own company, I’m less inclined to put forth the effort, when there is always the possibility of getting hurt again.
And yet, as I watch some of my girlfriends, my daughter, and other women with whom I might cross paths; who have found someone who cherishes them and who they also cherish, I know that those real, lasting connections are out there. I’m just confused as to how they come about.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the unpleasant things which make me think about how well I’ve learned my lessons, and to question whether I’ve learned or just established a work around.
2. I am grateful for the beautiful examples I have around me of relationships which work well.
3. I am grateful for how far I have come in relaxing my fears. I’m not where I need to be yet, but I’m getting there.
4. I am grateful for dance nights and dance people and the connections I have.
5. I am grateful for my solitude as it gives me time to watch and ponder what I want to do next.
Love and light