Monday, October 29, 2007

Survivor's Guilt

This is a difficult post to write. Lately, it seems that several of my friends are splitting up with their spouses. One of Bob's bandmates is getting divorced, another has a rocky marriage that I anticipate won't last (although I hope they can work it out, optimist that I am). Several of my friends have split up or are splitting up. Infidelity has been an issue on several break-ups. 'Nuff said there. But in some of the others, it seems to be just plain old incompatibility, or one of the couple is just plain.. well... an asshole. And it really irritates me to see my friends being treated like crap. Although, I must admit, I do have one friend at work that was the asshole, and I told him so, thus ruining a several-years long friendship. Apparently, he wanted my undying and unswerving loyalty. But I call a spade a spade (or an asshole an asshole). Doesn't mean I didn't like him otherwise, but frankly, he was treating his wife like crap, and I told him so.

Anyway. Point being, that I still have a really damn happy marriage. I've been with the Man to Die For for 22 years. We're about to celebrate another dating anniversary this weekend (yes, we celebrate that as much as we celebrate our wedding anniversary). And we still love and respect and are devoted to each other as much as, if not more than, we were all those years ago.

But I feel survivor's guilt. And that pisses me off. Some of my friends avoid me. Some of them don't look me in the eye anymore. Some of them feel we don't have as much in common. As if all the things that we gossiped and laughed about, and enjoyed together (which frankly, hardly ever included hubbies anyway) somehow aren't relevant anymore. Some of them won't return my calls. This gives me survivor's guilt.

I've been incredibly blessed with an amazing life partner. I'm the first to admit it. But I'm also not a coldhearted bitch. I'm not going to rub someone's nose in my happiness while their life is not so happy. But, at the same time, should I feel like I can't express my happiness in my life to my friends? Because friendship does go both ways, doesn't it? My survivor's guilt is turning into survivor's anger. Will I pass through all of Kübler-Ross' stages before I'm through?

Bottom line is, I miss my friends. I miss joking around; I miss emailing back and forth, and IMing. I miss going out to lunch (on the rare occasions when I actually take a lunch). I miss hanging out. But most of all, I miss that feeling of acceptance, and I feel like I've been tried, judged and convicted all without my knowledge. Convicted of a happy marriage and being unable to sympathize? Empathize? Relate? True, I can't understand everything my friends are going through, but I certainly can lend support in their hard times. I can lend an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a nod of agreement when they just want to bitch out the asshole. Cause that's what friends are for.

12 People Gabbed:

Dev said...

See, I have just the opposite problem. I'm the only singleton in a group of happily married couples. I'm happy for them and and it doesn't take away from my enjoyment of being with them, but it sure makes me feel just a bit more lonely when I go home. I'd love to have my happily ever after also.

Hope your friends get it together and realize you're their friend regardless. Friends are friends, period.

Wendy said...

Hmmm, maybe your friends are struggling with *who* THEY are? Now that their marriage/relationship is over, they don't quite know where they fit in? The big "Will my friends still want to be around ME now that whatshisface and I are no longer a couple?" dilemma.

Any of that make sense? LOL

Lori said...

It does make sense, Wendy. And I'm not trying to make it all about me, ya know? But still, I feel hurt and sad.

Sarah McCarty said...

I lost a lot of what I thought were good friends when I remarried. Like you, I'm thrilled with my hubby. We've been married for fifteen years. He can still turn me on with just a look and I can spend endless hours in his company an just be awed by the person he is. This doesn't mean I can't sympathize with a failing marriage. Been there done that, but there seems I think a marriage going on the rocks brings out so many personal feelings, not the least of which is a personal sense of failure that it can get awkward.

*sigh* {{Lorie}}

Anne said...

FIRST (((((LORI)))))

Well, the reason I haven't returned your call is because I'm sick and it actually pains me to talk. PFFT. I go to the doctor and what does he say? Viral. Bastard.

Just because I don't have the perfect marriage and it's on the verge of disintegrating doesn't mean I'm not your friend. What the hell kind of friend would I be if I didn't want to share in YOUR happiness!?? ACK.

If in any way this related to me, I apologize profusely. I NEVER, EVER would hurt you and mean for you to feel this way cause you're an awesome friend and I wuvs ya, chick! HUGS!!!

PS We can chat via IM if you want. At least I can talk that way. Sigh.

KateS said...

Hey girlie (((hugs))). I know we've already talked about this, but hugs anyway. While I don't know how you feel exactly, I understand the feeling.

Be happy in your life and your blissful marriage, and hopefully the friends will come around. :-)

Lori said...

Actually, what brought this post on was running into a friend at the market last night. They live up the street and our kids have grown up together. They have 3 beautiful daughters. This is a beautiful woman. She caught her hubby in bed with 2, count them two women. Needless to say they are getting divorced. I won't even get into my thoughts on the asshole and what he is giving up.

I'm absolutely sure that she has issues now with "what's wrong with me" and all of that, lord knows I would. But she has pretty much stopped returning the calls of her married friends. We've been good friends for 14 years. It's just difficult. All the way around. All I can do is let her know I'll be there when she's ready, but dammit I miss my friend.

Lori said...

Oh, and Anne, love you, too. And I'm there for you, too hon. Whenever you're ready to talk. So hang in there babe :)

Karen Scott said...

I wouldn't take it too personally Lori, I'd be more inclined to believe it was more about their feelings of inadequacy, than anything else. When your life falls apart like that, the world probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a while.

Wendy said...

See, Karen said it better than I did. That's what I really wanted to say :D Some people just identify so strongly with "being a couple" that once they are no longer a part of said couple they flounder.....

Rosie said...

Lori, I'm going with the consensus here. I think that maybe it just takes time. Your friend(s) probably haven't had time to adjust to the new normal. Hopefully you'll find your way back to each other.

Jenster said...

Lori - I totally get it. But I have to agree. It's probably painful for them to be around you. Maybe they're afraid that just by talking to you they'll be reminded of what they don't have and what they wish they did have.

You and I are at that place now where marriages start falling apart. I don't understand it because it seems to me that after 20 years it would be too much trouble to start over. And the amount of infidelity that you speak of boggles my mind. WHY?? It makes no sense to me. And yet I know plenty of people who are going through that same thing.

I'm sure eventually your friends will realize they need you regardless of how happily married you are. Doesn't that sound wierd?