When a text message arrives on my cell phone at 11:30 p.m. it’s usually not good news, since most of my friends (the few who text anyway) are of an age to have long since retired for the night.   So it was with some trepidation that I checked the phone, and while the message at first seemed innocuous, after a moment’s reflection, I could tell the implications were anything but.

“DYK of a cheap 1 bdrm apt I cld rent?” it read.  It was from a young friend of mine whom until that moment had been happily ensconced in a new condo she had purchased with her partner.  “Yes…” I typed.  “R U OK???”

A few seconds later…”No…A. ended our relationship. Devastated.”

Now, apart from the weirdness of sharing and getting this kind of information in abbreviated blurbations, the news itself was unsettling.   This young woman had moved to Michigan because of her boyfriend’s job, leaving behind a family back east  with whom she shared a very close relationship.   She has done well here in terms of career and friends, but this meant she would be feeling lost on several fronts.

We texted back and forth (and I have no idea why one of us didn’t pick up the phone) until I determined that she was alright for the night.  But my sleep was restless and fitful after that.   We had made plans to meet for tea, and as I thought about what I might say to comfort or encourage her,  I realized how fortunate I was never to have experienced this kind of pain.   My first love was lying right beside me, 37 years after our  first date, and he’s never given me a moment’s reason to doubt that he’ll be there until what amounts to forever.   How many women in today’s world get to say that?

In my observation, I think young women today have a hard time with relationships.  The rules have changed so much, and  the expectations on both sides are extremely high.   Plus, it’s simple enough to dissolve a relationship, even one that’s been legally sanctioned, that I wonder if people not only give up on relationships but enter into them too easily, knowing there’s a quick and “painless” way out. 

Quick it might be, but it’s never painless, is it?

Yesterday, I had lunch with a group of friends, all ladies “of a certain age.”  The topic turned to relationships as it so often does among women.

“Men are really all alike,” my friend D. laughed.  “They just wear different pants.”

“It’s true,” she went on.  “I used to think my husband was a huge pain in the ass, and I’d see my friends and think their husbands were perfect, that they had the perfect marriage.  And then they’d tell me things about their husbands, and I realised they were just as much a pain in the ass as mine!”

There definitely is no perfect relationship.  Ask anyone who’s been married a long time, and they’ll tell you.  It takes enormous amounts  of  patience and tongue biting to keep things on an even keel, neither of which necessarily gets easier with time.

Sometimes, it isn’t worth it. 

But sometimes it is.

When I think about my young friend, feeling adrift and alone, I’m grateful to have someone in my life who thought I was worth it.

6 thoughts on “Worthwhile

  1. Relationships are never a breeze, but I’ve learned they don’t have to be terribly hard either. Some days it’s easier to be in love than others.

    I’ve been through the horrible break-ups, and it’s really good to have found the one who’ll stand by me through the end. As I will with him.

    I hope your friend will know, soon, that she’ll be happy again. And that the truly right one will come along.

  2. I’ve been through the same experience as your friend, and here’s the good news. As I thought about it, and remembered all the gruesome details of what happened, I started to laugh. “Gosh”, I thought. “That would make a terrific piece of writing, and would be funny as all get-out.” And it would.

    I’m not going to write about it for public consumption, but the fact that I’m sitting and laughing about it…. We do get over these things, and I hope it happens for her sooner rather than later.

    On that other issue – I’ve never texted in my life, and just can’t imagine texting about such things. It seems so strange to me that you didn’t talk with each other – but as I say, I don’t live in that world 😉

  3. Oh, my! Hope it all works out. Like you, I’ve had the same love my entire adult life, but I went through a divorce with my best friend. Well, I guess she’s the one who actually went through it, but it sure felt like I did, too. Awful stuff! Shoreacres is right. Time puts a new spin on it… lot’s of time.

  4. Wow — that’s wonderful. I suspect the reason Rick and I don’t marry (after 14 years and two blocks apart) is that we’ve both felt that pain of relationship loss. I could have well been in your friend’s position another lifetime ago, when I nearly moved to Colorado all for the love of someone who went to a conference (an astrology conference, no less), met someone else (their stars aligned, I guess) and moved on. It was a terrible time (would have been worse had we been even more connected) and in the end, I got the good part — I got the friends he left behind, wonderful friends whose ongoing presence would have been challenging had we both been in the picture. Maybe it’s like losing your job and finding yourself. Took me awhile.

    What a gift to be with someone for so many years! You have my joy and admiration!

  5. “Sometimes it isn’t worth it. And sometimes it is.” So true. I think the key is knowing the difference. Being strong enough to let what’s not worth it go, and believing that what IS worth it, is worth waiting for. Even if there’s no guarantee you’ll find it.

  6. “I wonder if people not only give up on relationships but enter into them too easily, knowing there’s a quick and “painless” way out”

    so true, I also wonder about that. And yet for some relationships it’s for the better to give up. But it’s never painless

    sigh….fortunately I have not had to deal with this from closeby either

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