I have a friend with whom I still keep in touch. He’s an ex-boyfriend. You all know him. You all have one like him. Whether you’re a male or a female, you all have someone who you were sure was going to end up being more and it never happened. How much more? You’ll never know. But luckily for you, you ended on good terms. Sort of.
When it abruptly ended your heart was shattered. Imagine a beautiful, crystal wine glass. That was your relationship. You were so happy. You might have even been in love. At the time, I was pretty sure I was. I don’t think we ever expressed that much to each other, but I think we knew it was getting to that point. Looking back, I must have been to feel this strongly years later. My heart still warms when I think of him and me together. When he was around, I was truly happy. Even now, with my current husband, who makes me happy, it’s a different kind of happy.
Not to confuse anyone or downplay the happiness that my husband provides, but *Tom (*name changed to protect the ex-bf) and I developed a friendship before we dated and rolled so easily into a dating relationship that we genuinely had a strong relationship. My husband and I jumped right into dating. It’s difficult to explain. Tom was there for me during a tough divorce as a friend and then one day we went to a movie that turned out to be a date. I knew I was going to be moving out of town in several months because I was in the military, so the relationship was probably not going to last, but we were going to make the most of it. Carpe diem. For a couple of months we did and they were some of the happiest times of my life.
Then came one of the worst days. He came to my house and told me it was over. He couldn’t do the “in between” that our relationship was anymore, the grey that was between the Black and white of being friends and being completely in a relationship, knowing we’d be together as long as we could. I could see where he was coming from, because it was painful, knowing that I was leaving in another two months but why he chose to end it sooner than expected was a shock. He took that fragile wine glass and shattered it against the wall. There were minute pieces everywhere and I was unable to pick them up. I HAD fallen for him, I had expected to spend two more months with him, and he took that away from me, from us.
I walked around for the next two months a broken shell of a person and I just looked forward to leaving at that point. Worse yet, I still had to see him around work from time to time. When I did, I got a sickening feeling in the empty pit in my chest and I just wanted to cry. I could barely speak. That’s pretty hard when you’re in the military and you’re in uniform and have to maintain your discipline at all times. I had to turn away from him most of the time. I’m pretty sure he didn’t know at the time how badly I felt. My other friends did and tried to do what they could to cheer me up. I heard that he started dating someone new not too long after we broke up and that hurt even more. I had a going away dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and I invited him, hoping that among my other friends, I could see him the last night I would be in town. He came, and sat next to me. Spending time with him that night was worth all the heartbreak that I had been through the last two months. We laughed, flirted, smiled, and it was just like it had been before we broke up, at least to me. Just for that night. It was taboo, but we were a couple again, just for that night. I wish he could have spent the night with me but he had to work. I out-processed the next morning at 10:00 and left the city and have never seen him again. That was in Aug 2006. He went back to his girlfriend and months later, he proposed to her. They’re now married, with two blonde, blue-eyed little girls. Just like him.
In January of 2007 I met my current husband. He is my soul mate. We have more in common than I thought I’d ever have with anyone. We finish each other’s sentences and we know what each other is thinking most of the time. He is the dad to my daughter when her own father isn’t and has been since she was nearly two. He’s the only dad she’s ever known and he’s in the process of adopting her. We have been through more than I care to say here but to our defense, every couple goes through a lot in the beginning of their marriage. We’re much stronger now and doing well. The only reason we usually argue is because of my step-daughters.
So back to my friend, Tom. We remained in touch after I moved and throughout our engagements and marriages. He moved away from the middle of the country with his bride and growing family and at some point was reassigned to the East Coast and the West Coast. Now we both live on the East Coast about an hour to an hour and a half away from each other and we still don’t see each other. I’d love to, but his wife doesn’t like the idea that he’s friends with an ex-girlfriend. I can see her reasons, but at this point, I only want his friendship.
The song, “Good in Goodbye,” by Carrie Underwood explains a lot of my feelings in the situation. No, I didn’t hear his laughter the other day, but I can “hear” it often in his texts and e-mails. I can “see” his smiles in the words that he writes. They fill me with the same warmth that they used to, but now it is the warmth of friendship, because I know I have a friend for life in him. I see that he has a beautiful family and he’s happy. When I ask how what he did that day and he tells me he played with his daughters, I don’t get jealous that he is with another woman. I’m pleased that he has someone who can love him and who has given him those wonderful little girls.
I hope that whoever reads this, few though you may be, that you find peace with my words. If you are hurting because you are in a situation similar to mine but have not yet found someone to take the place of your special someone and they’ve found someone new…please know you will. You’ll soon look back and realize that it was for a reason. Though you may NEVER figure out that reason, there is one.
You have to look for the good in goodbye.