Please Follow the Exit Signs, Thank You.

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I have been sitting here at my keyboard writing and erasing for a while now. This is a hard thing for me, because I am not only a physical packrat but an emotional packrat as well. I don’t want this post to come across as whiny or sullen. On the other hand, I don’t want to sound as if I am cold and impersonal either. I am just closing the books on several friendships and acquaintances that I have had in the past. I am not going to name people, because this is more of a mental exercise than a physical one.

That being said – I want to express the gratefulness to my wife for putting up with me, and let her know that I love her very much. You are worth more than a million people!

When I say that I am closing the books, I am settling accounts in my own head. Some of these friendships have lasted longer than my marriage, some only a few short years. I have no contact with any of these people anymore – and not just because of COVID. They have fallen away and I need to clean them out, so I can move on.

My big problem is that nobody is a stranger – or a stranger for long. This makes me seem like I am very personable, but when they don’t come around anymore, stop talking to me, or they have just moved on. I feel a complete loss.

I will admit that some of these friendships have caused my wife to be more than a little jealous, even if I have never had any notion of a romantic interlude with any of them. She still feels like I do, and to be quite frank, that is why I have ceased to remain friends with some of these people. My wife is my best friend – someone whom I enjoy my life with and I don’t want to lose her as well; so the reason that some of these friends are no longer in my life is to make my wife feel more comfortable. 

The other night I was making up stories of how I was friends with all of these celebrities, and my youngest  daughter commented that my wife was my only friend. As it turns out, she is correct. I know people – such as my neighbors – and I would help them out anyway I can, but frankly – they are just acquaintances.  

If we look at the definition of a friend:

A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Oxford online dictionary, friend, 12\01\2020

I have only had a few people land in that category. It is harder to let those people just fade into the background. 

This begs the question: Can a married man have friendships outside of his marriage? If so, how can he keep from letting those relationships overcloud his primary relationship with his wife? How does he know when the relationship has gone too far?

I never had a bevy of friends, I had few friends but the ones I had were close friends. So maybe my inability to have many friends as a child has led me to take friendships too far when I am an adult. Is what I missed as a child, what I try to overcompensate for as an adult? I don’t have the answers to that question.

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I am very grateful for my wife, and for the life we have carved out these last 34 years, but I will say that I miss those to whom I was friends with.

So as I settle my accounts, close the books and look back fondly at my friends, I must boldly go into the future – will I make new friends? Undoubtedly – will they leave? Regretfully.

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