Saturday, November 03, 2007


This is something I have been thinking about for a few years, but haven't quite hashed out in any kind of detail. I just watched the latest Tell Me You Love Me (On Demand) and the whole thing hit me again.

When you breakup with someone, there is a ripple effect for your friends and family, and the same is true when someone in your inner circle of friends or family splits up a long term relationship. In the last year of our marriage, when things were shaky and thin, but neither of us acknowledged it, we somehow ended up reconnecting with D&K. They were old friends from the espresso cart-deli days, although they were never close friends. I never trusted D, although I admired certain characteristics of his, but I did like K. She seemed to be the kind of woman that could handle a guy like D, who had a long history of cheating (including on his former fiancee), as she would often publicly put him in his place. That was both refreshing and awkward.

D&K had one of their first dates at our wedding, and a year or so later, we went to theirs. I can't say that I had high hopes for their union, but over the years, they proved me wrong. They had a little girl, weathered some serious highs and lows professionally, and stuck it out. We lost touch with them as our lives went in different directions, but when D found himself needing something from B, we reconnected. The relationship was much as I had remembered, in that I still didn't trust D and still kind of liked K, but it was our shared history that was the glue of our renewed friendship. We had been young and dumb and poor, but were (then) older, smarter, and slightly more financially secure -- and our respective relationships were (then) intact. We had weathered the prior decade and survived.

A few months after we reconnected, their shit hit the fan. D, true to form, had been cheating on K with multiple women, and he was forced to tell her after contracting herpes. K threw him out and the separation process began. I was kind of disgusted that B had anything to do with D, and the one time he invited D to dinner with us, I actually got up and left. It seemed disrespectful to K to continue a friendship with D, who, it should be said, was pretty contrite about his transgressions and shortcomings. B and I had a few low level arguments about his ongoing friendship with D, but looking back, I realize that their breakup kind of facilitated ours.*

At the same time, another, closer (friends) couple split up on account of cheating. This was my dentist, A, and his sweet but vapid GF T. They had been together longer than B and I, albeit not married (A has endured a painful divorce), but we hadn't known them as long as D&K. Still, we socialized with them all the time, so their breakup had an effect on us. **

Before D&K broke up, we didn't have any divorced friends. Divorce, as popular as it is, just wasn't part of our vocabulary. It wasn't an option. But when D&K separated, it seeped into both our subconsciousness. If they could break up and divorce, even with all that history together, why couldn't we? The impossible became possible, and to this day, I still think, and perhaps credit, that their breakup precipitated ours. I certainly don't blame their breakup for our divorce, but I do believe that their breakup enabled ours.

I read or heard once that you should never use the word divorce in your arguments, and we never did (aside from one time, my first year of law school, when we actually went to the courthouse to fill out the paperwork, then hugged it out). Even after that, we never threatened it or even again mentioned divorce. Hell, even after we separated, it took two years before I introduced the idea of filing for divorce. To this day, B recoils when I mention our divorce and, as I recently learned, in certain circles, he still refers to me as his wife. This is probably why he stubbornly refuses to sign our property settlement agreement, despite living with another woman. A once said that B would wake up in a few years and realize he got divorced. Truer words have not been spoken.

I guess what I was trying to parse was that other people's breakups are often the catalyst for examining the cracks in your own relationship. When someone else takes the drastic action of ending a relationship, you are kind of forced to consider whether you (1) should or (2) could. It is both a blessing and a curse, but absolutely a reality.

Shortly before we separated, I watched a movie on HBO (a network that is probably breaking up marriages nationwide) called Dinner With Friends. It starred the nearly unwatchable Andie McDowell and the barely likable Toni Collette, but was redeemed by good writing, Greg Kinnear and Dennis Quaid. It pretty much nailed the whole issue of what happens when your good friends breakup. It does make you examine those things to which you can be willfully blind and can really disrupt your sense of stability, and, in my case, my shaky marriage.

Hardly earth-shattering revelations, but just something that has been stirring in my head.

* D&K briefly reconciled after his confession. That lasted a few months - or maybe a year. During that time, while B was secretly squiring his now live in GF, D&K were the only couple that were privy to the whole thing. Apparently, K didn't share my sense of loyalty. In any event, D was later revealed to be still cheating, and they went through an acrimonious divorce. K is about to move in with a pathological liar, whom I described in a prior post about crazy internet people. This is why I am not dating. Bad judgment.

** A&T got back together. It remains one of the more curiouser relationships I have ever known, but I am out of the business of judging other peoples' relationships.

1 comment:

Norm said...


(days left in 2007, silly -- your plan, such as it was, to not date in 2007, is apparently a good one :D )