In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and of relationships, and because I was recently reminded of this note I posted to facebook last year, I am sharing it again.
originally posted to facebook on May 4, 2013
As a single woman turning 40 this month, and a female who has, since I was a kid, felt a strong and much easier connection with male friends, I have found it challenging, and often times impossible to maintain some of my most important friendships with the men in my life. The trouble starts when these heterosexual men enter into a relationship or get married. Sometimes I meet the wives and girlfriends and become friends with them too, which is nice, and yet my primary relationship is not going to change. It will remain with that male friend.
I am still single, by choice. I am stubbornly independent and have always known that there were some things I needed to do before entering into that sort of commitment. And I clearly haven’t found that “special someone” yet. But why should this define whether or not I remain friends with someone? While I am not unsympathetic, why do I have to live my life to make someone else more comfortable? And what of the women in my life who could also have become so much more than friends? Why is my friendship with them more acceptable?
The men I have dated often become good friends, and some have always been just friends, but it rarely lasts. Now, after losing contact or being cut off from many of these wonderful friendships, and after 20+ years of friendship with someone I thought I would always have in my life but am now finally ‘relinquishing’ to another woman, I am coming to terms with the fact that I have to let it go.
I love what Jada Pinkett-Smith says about LOVE and TRUST. “Do we believe loving someone means owning them? Do we believe that ownership is the reason someone should “behave”? Do we believe that all the expectations, conditions, and underlying threats of “you better act right or else” keep one honest and true? Do we believe that we can have meaningful relationships with people who have not defined nor live by the integrity of his or her higher self? What of unconditional love? Or does love look like, feel like, and operate as enslavement? Do we believe that the more control we put on someone the safer we are? What of TRUST and LOVE?”
I am tired of catering to the insecurities of other people and also to my own. If the relationship is strong or “grown”, as Jada puts it, there need be no concern over my friendship with their male or female partner and vice versa. They have chosen each other. I have chosen to walk my own path. Why does this dictate that I can no longer spend time with my old friend, just the two of us, meeting for the very occasional coffee or lunch or a long walk and good conversation? Why can’t we let go of the past and build on the present situation with trust and respect for one another?
Perhaps I’ll feel differently when I do find that “special someone” but I hope not. I hope that when I finally do enter into a loving and committed partnership it will be one where we can accept that, after 40+ years, we will have undoubtedly built strong connections with other people, male and female, and that these do not pose a threat to our relationship.
In fact, it is these friendships that have allowed us to experience the beauty of what it means to be in a special relationship, that provide us with important insights into our current circumstances, and that have helped us to grow into the person our partners fell in love with in the first place.
Now there’s something we can all be grateful for.
We understand, we relate so well
Yet something’s in the way
We’re different people
With similar dreams
But somehow, that’s ok
Are we hopeless romantics, or fools in love?
Does one ever really know?
One thing is certain
The people we meet
Will help us each to grow
And if one day, we meet again
Our stories we will share
Of who we are
And how we’ve changed
But that we’ll always care
About the times that we once spent
And how we learned to fly
By letting go
But holding on
To thoughts of you and I.
a poem by pippa, 2001