Early last year, some friends of ours broke up. They were a long term couple – they’d been together almost as long as me and Jared, not that it’s a competition or anything – and it came as a huge shock to everyone, including the female partner. As it turned out, the guy had fallen for someone else (a mutual friend of the couple) but him and his new partner tried to keep it under wraps and, in fact, have only recently ‘come out’ as being together. But I’m not writing about cheating today or even how to handle a break up. What I’ve been thinking about is how one person can be totally happy while the other is plotting their exit. How can two people in the same relationship be in such different places?
As someone that’s in a long term relationship (and is very happy most of the time), I find this idea terrifying. She had no idea he wasn’t happy. They were still having sex (and lots of it apparently). She’d been talking about marriage and children. Granted, all I can go on is what she told me and she may not have been totally honest (with me or herself, I’m not sure if she came to see more signs in hindsight) plus there’s always his side but still – there’s no denying that him breaking up with her was a total shock. It crushed her.
How do you come back from that? How do you ever trust anyone again? How do you trust yourself and your instincts again? You’d be on tenter hooks in any subsequent relationship, waiting for them to leave, even when things seem perfect (perhaps especially then). I know of course that it comes down to the level of communication and honesty you have in your relationship. But then again, you don’t know what someone won’t share with you. If you have a partner that’s deceitful or extremely averse to confrontation, they might not have any intention of telling you what’s wrong until its too late. Or worse, they might be happy to carry on lying to you until they’ve made up their mind to leave you. That’s some terrible shit right there.
I think we all like to believe that whoever we’re with is a good person. That they love us and care for us and have our best interests at heart. Or at the very least that they don’t want to hurt us. But what do we know really? Everything we believe in based on trust, that the other person is being honest when they tell us they love us. Where does it stop if you can’t feel safe in your relationship, that place where you should feel safest of all?
Lately Jared has been very distracted with work and the stress surrounding opening two bars at the same time. We hadn’t had sex in over a week and when I tried to initiate it, he didn’t respond in the way I’d hoped (because he was stressed and his mind was elsewhere). Of course, my wonderful imagination conjured up all the worst case scenarios you can think of and soon I was in tears and worked up into quite a state. Jared calmed me down and assured me he was just stressed and it had nothing to do with me but, when something so dire and drastic can happen to someone you know, you have to at least consider that it could happen to you. It would be the height of complacency (and arrogance) to assume you’re immune to such calamities.
Not that I would consider Jared capable of doing something like that. But I know she wouldn’t have thought her partner capable of it either… until he was. Trust, huh? It’s a bastard of a thing. I don’t have any cause to distrust Jared but neither did she. Maybe distrust is contagious. Or maybe I always had trust issues and seeing what can go wrong just confirms all the things I’d previously thought about love and commitment.
God. How bleak it all sounds. And I don’t even have a hangover or comedown to blame this train of thought on (haven’t gotten high or blacked out in 24 days, motherfuckers!).