The End of the Friendship

I told Ted that I ended my friendship with Frank. He said he was sorry and petted my head. I had to turn away because it made me cry. I told him this wasn't like all the other times.

"You didn't send him a email declaring the big end, did you? That's just like begging him to be your friend. Like trying to make him be sorry for being such a bastard... "

I didn't say anything. I sat there and thought miserably about my email declaring the big end. I had my face turned to the TV so he couldn't see the tears slowly running down my cheeks.

"You should just remove him or block him from your IM, or whatever. That's what I'd do."

I took a second Oxycodone to feel better. I felt like taking another one. God, why do I want this guy so badly? How does one make such a shitty choice? How can it be that after three years there is no reciprocal love at all?

I should tell you about the letter, about the End of the Friendship Declaration.

When Frank told me he was seeing someone, he said: "We can't continue... unless I get tired of her and can't get out."

I took that to mean that either he felt that I was OK to tie him over in case of emergencies, or that he was making a dig at me and my situation: married and sleeping with him. I thought both notions sucked and that he was an ass.

Earlier the same week we had had a meaningless argument which none-the-less had left me sore and disillusioned.

I am not going to say I was thrilled he was seeing someone, but I am married, I have no right to expect anything from him in that sense. I had always expected that our sexual relationship would end when he started seeing someone. I did expect him to be more open and honest about it though, not just drop it on me.

It added up. Too much pain.

I told him over IM it was the end of our friendship. A clean break for me and a fresh start for him. I told him it felt like I was married to one jerk and in love with another. Of course. "jerkiness" being a perception based on needs not being met. I wished him luck. I thought I held it together pretty well.

He sent me a response via email. A vaguely mocking, extremely defensive, email. He gets pretty witty in the end: "You're quick to point that jerk finger around. I'll admit, I'm a jerk often enough to deserve it. But there's got to be a point at which you realize that if for no other reason, if you're surrounded by jerks, you might be one too; at the very least, you're probably doing something wrong. It's not all bad being a jerk (or being called one). Not realizing it and subsequently not changing it is the bad part."

I was hurt by his email. I spent many hours agonizing over whether to open it at all and when I did this was what I read. Hurtful, stupid things. I wrote back a much longer email than his, in which I spelled out why we can't be friends. I told him that the things he pride himself on, being a good friend, a good listener, an empathic person, that he is none of these things. He isn't. If he really thinks so he is delusional. It never mattered though, I liked him anyway. It's the disrespect that got me, the repeated need to hurt, to humiliate.

I tried to be good to him. I wanted to give him good things. Shit. I still do.

Later, I wished that I had sent him this:

"You say I called you a jerk. I never did. Read it again. I'll wait.

I said I thought of you as a jerk, but that perceived "jerkiness" was a reaction to needs not being met.

I tried to be gentle, because I was hurting and wanted to lash out. For someone so smart you always seem to miss the important things. You stick to appearances rather than truth and intent. You may be smart, but that makes you stupid; it makes you inflexible and impossible to reason with.

I had it pretty easy when I grew up, I was pretty smart. I thought things should continue to be easy and when they weren't I lost interest. Being smart made me lazy. I think you are lazy too. You think you can just call it as you see it, but things are not simple any more. Memorizing came easy for you, but people are hard.

You said if I am surrounded by jerks that probably means I'm a jerk too - birds of a feather flock together - but that doesn't follow. Why should people gather together to treat each other badly?
No, it would seem I surround myself with people who do not "feel privileged" to be a part of my life (as a friend pointedly said). That doesn't make me a jerk, exactly.

So, what's the final verdict, are you a jerk or not? Do you feel like one? Have you behaved badly? I think you have, but I am putting an end to that now.

We all have our broken-hearted stories. You told me some of yours. It's always the same: you invest in someone and by the end of it, all you are left with is a lump in your throat. I invested in you."

But, I'm never that witty when it really counts.

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