Waiting II

A Post in Which I Plan to Write Morosely and at Length About Frank

When I wrote that letter to Frank a week and a half ago, I believed he'd reply and that things would settle back into the old familiar pattern.

We've been at similar impasses before -- perhaps as many as ten times -- and I have declared that things must end and cut off communication. Each time I have eventually given in to the longing and the grief and either apologized profusely or reassumed whatever argument made me end things in the first place. He has withdrawn too, but less declaratively, sometimes for weeks, and then returned as if nothing happened.

Back in March, when I sent him the letter telling him to friend me on Facebook or not talk to me again, I really did think he'd friend me rather than lose me.

Perhaps I had little reason to be optimistic: once after another break up, which stemmed from me needing him to reassure me that I meant something to him, we had a long, drawn out, and vicious fight via email. At first I had rationally argued, then threatened and finally begged him to at least say that he wanted to be my friend. But he wouldn't say those words: I want to be your friend.

Our Relationship has Been Rocky

For me the problem has always been that I don't feel like a part of his life. I just exist on the periphery, not an acknowledged friend, not someone he'd introduce to his friends, not even someone he'd acknowledge if he met out and about. Once he spent a whole concert watching me, but he never came up and said hello. Afterward he helped me recollect what I'd done while drunk off my ass. He told me I must be the life of any party.

I repeatedly invited him to meet my friends, but he never accepted.

On several occasions we argued over the fact that I'd discuss him, and us, with other people – my therapist, for example. He'd be angry. He couldn't understand why I wouldn't exercise more discretion. I didn't get it. Later he got involved with a woman and could justifiably argue that their relationship was at risk, but at this point it was just my marriage at stake.

If the secrecy hadn't been there from the beginning, I'd be tempted to think that I fucked up his trust when I told a mutual friend that Frank and I were sleeping together. I told her because she knew him, and she could empathize and tell me he was a jerk. I can't remember why I told Frank I'd told her, though. Maybe I was just feeling unusually vicious and wanting him to feel exposed. She, btw, had given up on Frank pretty early. One of their co-workers had behaved inappropriately toward her during a company outing, and after much soul searching, she decided to bring it to HR. Rather than support her, Frank told her that she was doing a disservice to minorities and women.

He was my confidante, but I wasn't his. I told him everything that was going on in my life and he told me about his troubled childhood, but he failed to tell me the story of how his father abducted him and his sister. I found out through a mutual friend that he'd bought a house. It was just so messed up. I couldn't figure out if I was just a fool to think we were intimate friends.

I eventually learned about idiosyncrasies; he was either unable or unwilling to be emotionally reciprocal and supportive. I probably fell in love him because he is damaged like I am, because I see myself in him, in his defiance and pride and quick temper, in his struggle to feel respected and respect himself.

When I told him something new I’d done, he’d get weirdly defensive and competitive. Especially if it was something at which he considered himself an expert. For example, when I excitedly told him PK on WoW was much easier than I’d though, he told me my equipment was crap and that I was full of shit. I knew it came from his insecurity, and I could identify with that, but I told him to drop the attitude. He signed off and was gone for two days.

For years I tried to talk things out; I sent endless emails trying to explain what I felt when he said this and that. The results would vary. One unusually un-charming tactic of his was to tell me to "save the drama for [my] mama." Over time I gave up on talking things out. I tried to adapt to his way of just pretending nothing had happened once the dust had settled.

Perhaps I brought it on myself. I used to buy him gifts. I spent hours one Christmas burning Joe Purdy's entire discography, printing labels and putting it all together. He never gave me any gifts. As late as last year I was still at it and bought him a $50 gift card on Amazon.com for Valentine's Day.

I wanted to accept him for who he was. I tried to accept that he didn't like me as much as I liked him, that he wouldn't be there to encourage me, that he'd pledge to donate to my Team in Training effort but not follow through. I tried to accept that the little he gave was all I’d get – I had to take it or leave it. But it was impossible, and there were so many conflicts.

And now we have gotten to the closer to kernel of the poodle: it's very hard for me to accept that after knowing each other for almost six years, after daily, often hours-long conversations over IM, after so many laughs, so many arguments, so much lovely sex, that he'd be indifferent to me. I can't believe that it's been easy for him to be friends with me. I have said just as many horrible, hurtful things to him as he has to me. I have told him repeatedly that I'd be better off without him. I have very earnestly asked him cut me off to save me from the fucking misery of having him in my life. I have quoted many hurtful song lyrics in my IM status let him know what a prick I think he is.

But that friend request has not been forthcoming, nor has he contacted me after I asked if we could be friends again. It's unheard of for him to not eventually accept an offered olive branch, but here I am, finally rejected. Did I overestimated my value or underestimate whatever it is that drives him the keep people in separate spheres? Why doesn't he fight for our friendship? Why is it acceptable to him to treat me like disposable napkin? Why does it have to hurt so much?

How could I be so wrong?

[Edited on 24 June, 2011]

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I know, he sounds like a jerk. And good riddance! But like @IfByYes likes to point out, we're responsible for our own emotional response as well as our actions. It should be clear if you read any of my other posts that the trouble is not just with him.