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Should I be over this?
I'm 61, married for 40 years and have four adult children, all of whom I adore. Through our local church I became reacquainted with a woman I first met when I was about 22. We were all friends in a youth group at that time. We met again more recently when she appeared at our church with her two young teenage daughters. They were on struggle street and because I had this pre-existing friendship with her I decided that I would do what I could to help their family. My wife had been encouraging them but wasn't actively involved in helping.
I started out just helping with lawn mowing and gardening jobs and any other old thing that needed doing. Out of these simple kindnesses we became really good friends and we genuinely appreciated each other's company. There was no physical relationship. We had set ground-rules early on and we understood what was right and wrong.
Sometimes if they were going to a movie I would be asked along just as a way of being thanked and it was nice to spend some social time with them. At their combined 50th, 21st and 18th birthday party I was invited along as one of the people who was significant in their lives. It was a very proud moment for me. My wife had never been involved with assisting them and didn't share my excitement and over the years had become more and more negative and antagonistic towards my involvement with them calling them 'my other family' or 'he's off to see his girlfriends again'. This was very hurtful but I pressed on as it seemed to me to be the right thing to do.
Finally my wife put her foot down on day and told me to either choose them or choose us. I felt totally crushed inside. Because I deeply respect my wife and family and the importance of our marriage I contacted my friends and told them that I couldn't see them or be in contact with them any more. I tried to explain why but it was terrible. They were badly hurt and I felt like a total traitor to these lovely people who meant so much to me.
After some years apart now they are still on my mind every day. I am struggling to reconcile what I did to them with what I thought my faith taught me about loving and caring for others in need. I betrayed their trust and friendship and have had feelings of regret and remorse ever since. I have since been told by the woman that they have forgiven me but it hasn't really helped much. I still feel awful!
What is wrong with me? Am I obsessing over them? Why can't I just let it go and get on with living normally?
Welcome to the bb forums. If you have a bit of time you might be kind enough to let me know what "living normally" is actually like on a day to day basis. I mean this in a genuine way as feeling "normal" is something that I have devoted a lot of energy to in my life but it has generally eluded me.
It sounds to me from what you have written here that these friends filled a void in your life and it seems somewhat unfair that your wife wanted you to give them up completely. If you were spending all your time with them and not doing the things you usually shared with your wife I could understand why she might be jealous. But it seems like you may have been able to strike a new balance without ending the friendship completely. However you cannot go back in time and change things.
I would suggest that you might like to think of something else you could do for yourself to bring a bit more joy into your life. From my experience there are not many friends that you have all through life although for some the paths seem to cross at different times. You accepted and cared for your friend and her family at a time when they were in need and you were blessed with their friendship. I think you can feel pleased with yourself for that.
Thanks Pixie, very nice of you to reply and I'll try to answer you as honestly as I can.
I suppose everyone has their own kind of 'normal' so we can't judge each other on that basis! That makes everyone their own special kind of eccentric I suppose?
I wasn't spending all my time with them but because they were only a few streets away it was easy to drop in to do a job or just to say hi. The thing that always took time was their lawns. They had a huge back yard and the grass grew to a monstrous length in no time! Lawn mowing almost always ended in an invitation to come in for a drink and a chat. I just loved their warmth and hospitality. It's one thing to have the love of your family as that's almost a given, but to discover people that love and trust you because they just choose to is pretty special I think.
I would love to be able to wind back the clock and maybe do things differently but that's not going to happen. My wife was pretty concerned that M would make the same mistake with me that she'd made before. M was single and her daughters were from different fathers. One of M's girls had been so burned by her experiences of her biological father that building a rapore and friendship with her was just so precious to me. In my heart I believe I had kind of adopted both girls as my own. To leave them the way I had to was just heart-breaking!
I don't know about your experience Pixie but I don't have many close friendships so it's amazing when you come across people who just click with you. Similar music tastes and senses of humour. It was like that with M and her girls. I think it's things like that that I miss the most. The cruel part is that the things that you enjoyed now just remind you of what is missing. Particular bands or songs just bring a special kind of longing and sadness. I could never go to a Bon Jovi concert, for example, as it was the night of their concert in Melbourne that I wrote to them saying we could have no further contact. They had gone to that concert and had offered my wife and I cheap tickets which I had to refuse.
I still enjoy doing other things and I have other friends who I love, and my family is great too. We even have a new grand-daughter which is fantastic! But I often wake up at night thinking of these things and their names are always close to my heart. I feel like I've lost members of my own family.
Thanks for listening Pixie. I appreciate it.