Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Best Laid Plans Question

As many divorced people can probably tell you, divorces often occur to one's life rather than one's marriage. You aren't simply saying goodbye to your spouse, you're also - at least if your experience is similar to mine - having to say goodbye to some friends as well. If you're with your partner for any length of time, your social life (for the most part) melds into one huge unified body. In fact, one of the signifiers for me that my marriage was in trouble, was realizing just how much time my spouse was spending with people I wasn't very friendly with. But once the dissolution process of our union began, and some ugly revelations came to the fore, I realized that there were certain relationships that I couldn't handle anymore. My heartbreak extended beyond my spouse when I realized that some of my friends either couldn't or wouldn't meet the expectations I hadn't even been aware I had of them. The breaking up of a marriage isn't easy for the couple or the community of people affected. Nobody comes out unscathed and that was certainly true in my situation. In the end, I needed to break up with a lot of people. For me, being in the presence of some of the people who I'd felt let down by was too difficult. I couldn't let those feelings go, so, I divorced myself from them.

Here's the kicker though...

Just because I divorced myself from some people, doesn't mean that I don't still have to see them. It's a small world out there and often friendships are created through other friends and you become a part of a whole circle of connectivity. And along with that, exists a constant reminder of learning how to forgive. How do you do this? How do you let go of the pain of being let down by people you believed cared about you? I keep reminding myself of all of the mistakes I've made with friends - all of my errors in judgement or selfish things I've done. I look at my mistakes now and recall how badly I wanted to be forgiven by the people I loved. We're all human. We all want to be forgiven. People make mistakes after all and the peaks of friendship must all come with valleys, right?

So how can I do this? How can I open myself up to let that ball of hurt in the pit of my stomach roll right out of me, so that when I have to see these people I can offer them a genuine smile and extend a genuine offer of, if not friendship, peace.

Any ideas?

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