Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The strains a relationships can take on friendships

I have this very dear friend of mine, Ms. K, who was basically my best friend when I went to university in Austria. She knew me really well and we shared many secrets, things we didn't tell anyone else. But, when I moved, things with my girlfriend started happening that were private. And these things made my friendship with her harder. I want to tell her about the things that worry me, and why I'm not as happy as everybody else thought. I want to tell her about the difficulties I have being in a relationship with someone who needs more love and attention due to mental health issues. I want to talk to her without holding back, without weighing my words and trying to figure out what I can and what I can't talk about.

But with her, it's harder than with other friends. She knows me better and deeper, even though we only lived near each other for two years. It's harder for me to only tell her half-truths, so I withdrew myself from our friendship. I know that it wasn't fair towards her, because she didn't know what was going on, but it was the only thing I knew to do. She sent me a message asking what was wrong, whether I was okay and why I hadn't been in touch with her for so long. I told her a few basic things, things I felt I could tell her without neglecting my girlfriend's privacy. There are so many horrible things in my girlfriend's past I'm trying to deal with. The difficulties I have with processing what my girlfriend has told me show me how hard it must be for her to have lived it. But I'm processing all these emotions on my own and I can't really talk to the people I would have talked had it been my past or any other subject.

Luckily, Ms. K wasn't too hurt or mad at me and understood where I was coming from. She told me to tell her what I feel comfortable with and she wasn't going to ask any further. I know from experience that she is the kind of person who will listen, but also understand if you can't talk about something. Now I have to take the plunge and actually call her and hear her voice again for the first time in months. I fear that I'll start to cry because I did miss her friendship quite a bit, even if all the other things that were going on moved those feelings to the back of my mind. I have a best friend who happens to be my girlfriend now, but I think having two best friends is going to work out just fine. I just have to try harder to make it work.


GasStation Cappuccino said...

If Ms. K is HALF the friend you think she is, she'll welcome you back with open arms. And don't wait too long to call, the longer you wait the harder it is.

Have you talked to your girlfriend about this? She may be more understanding than you expect... It's been my experience that people with "rough" pasts who are trying to work through the trauma value honesty, especially with the issues they're facing.

And since you're still with your sweetie, despite the past, I think it says a lot for your dedication to her.

And--totally unrelated-- how cool is it that you studied in Austria?!?


Nelfy said...

We have talked about it once or twice. My friends don't know her in person, since I'm from Austria and only moved to the US last year. She doesn't want them to know about her past because she doesn't want to be treated differently by them, which I understand. And I understand that her past is her story to tell, not mine. No matter how much it affects me/us.

I think it's really cool that I get to study in the US!! Since I grew up in Austria, it's kinda boring to me ;-)