Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On being supportive - updated

When I was 21, I fell in love with a boy.  I fell hard.  So hard that I dropped out of school in Logan, Utah, and moved into my parent's basement so that I could be close to him while he was in school in Provo.  He told me he wanted to marry me.  I had a ring picked out.

We broke up about 4 months into our relationship.  I lost at least 10 pounds due to the depression; I had to pull over when driving because of the crying.  It has been almost 10 years since we dated, but I still have a heavy heart when I think about the pain during our breakup.  I had some amazing friends who really loved me during that time and I am still so grateful for the support they showed me.

The truly unfortunate part about this entire relationship was that I was(am) really close friends with his sister.  I was a bridesmaid in her wedding.  I love(d) her entire family and was fairly close with them.  At the time, his sister told me that she thought her brother was an idiot and that she still wanted me in her life.  I told her that I still wanted her in mine but that she should never bring up her brother in conversation unless I asked.  We have had this agreement for years and it works like a charm.  And yes, sometimes I ask.

For Christmas, she and her husband and children were in Utah staying with my family.  One night I took her to Rachael's house so that I could drop off my Christmas gift and say hello.  One thing lead to another in our conversation and Rachael said something to the effect of: "yeah, it's too bad about your brother not marrying Steph".  My friend's response was "Well, I knew that it was never going to work out."

Ouch.  I cried later.

Now let me say something to preface what else I am going to say, but I know that her comment was never intended to hurt my feelings.  She is a very loving person and I love her very much.  

And on to my rant.

First off, I have determined in the past few days that for a girl, being broken up with by someone that you are in love with is the equivalent of a married woman having a miscarriage.  Those are harsh words, but I mean it.  There are real emotions and growing love for this thing - this relationship - and then for whatever reason, it is gone.  Nothing can be done to salvage it and it just hurts and is horrible.  And if this is the case, I have experienced 4 major breakups in the past 10 years with several minor ones along the way.  It hurts.  It hurts a lot.  And people say really stupid things about something that hurts so much.

Secondly, you may be around a couple quite a bit during the course of their relationship, but unless you are actually one of the two parties in the relationship, you don't know everything that goes on behind closed doors.  You just don't, so please don't act like you do.

Lately this has been a major topic of conversation for me.  As friends, we need to be supportive of each other.  Being critical of someone's choices or life is never helpful.  I can't really think of any exceptions to this rule.  If you are my friend, just be supportive.  We are all insecure - me especially - and I am also a smart girl who just needs support and love.  Comments such as "He is leading you on" or "Don't assume that you are in a relationship unless he is kissing you" or "you will find someone better" are not helpful.  

I recently read Mindy Kaling's book and one of the chapters is rules of being her best friend.  This got me thinking about rules for being my friend, which are:

1. We are honest with each other.  I do not tolerate lying on any level.  If you need to say something rude, please preface it with "Bless your heart."  I grew up in the South.  I can take it.
2. You must make me laugh.  If I cannot do my part to make you laugh, I can always direct you to some good youtube videos.  Outsourcing is one of my strengths.
3. We support each other, even if you think I am crazy.  For example, when I fly across an ocean to see a boy that I've met once, you tell me how awesome this is and call me as soon as I get home to see how it went.  When we break up, we lay on the couch and eat candy for at least a month.  When you decide to participate in an Ironman, I will be at the finish line with a poster.
4. You must have a passport so that we can flee the country together if necessary.
5. I have high expectations of you.  I will love you if you let me down and I will do my best to keep my expectations in check.
6. If I come visit you, I will be using your face wash, shampoo, blowdryer, and toothpaste.  Plan on it.
For best friends:
7. We do not date each other's ex's.
8. If you hate someone, I hate them too.  If you love someone, I love them.
9. If you have a crush on someone, I will beat up any girl that gives them any tiny bit of attention and you will do the same for me.
10. If we are sleeping in the same house, you'd better believe that we are sleeping in the same bed.

I got back to New York last night and I am happy to be back in a world where 19 year old girls are not engaged and people don't think that there is something wrong with me because I am not married.  For the record, I am very happy.  I have been so blessed by good friends and family and by this amazing life that I have.  I am under no illusion (or delusion) that marriage makes one happy and although I would love to be married, am happy serving and doing what I can with what I've been given.  I know from experience that idiots get married every day.  Fat people, skinny people, dumb people, smart people - they all get married.  

I mean - either I get married in the next 10 years or I'm moving to Martha's Vineyard to work in an ice cream shop.  And that doesn't sound so bad, does it.


Bethany said...

I will never forget when my 18 year old newly engaged roommate (I was 18, as well) told me, "I hope you find someone soon because I want you to be happy like me." Riiiiiight. It hadn't even crossed my mind that I should be anything but happy at that point, or any point there after.

I appreciate and your honesty. And your happiness. You have done some incredible things with your life so far. Here's to your next 30, huh?

heidikins said...

#3, #4, and #6 are my favorites here. (I feel #1 goes without saying.)

Love you, my dear. Hope 2012 is fantastic in every way.


Becca said...

Thank you Steph because I know some of the thing you are going through with still being single. I am a friend of your that is still. I am happy too. If I get married in the next 10 years or in the next life. I always try to stay focused on what makes me happy.

I glad we got the chance to be roomies in Logan and became good friends!! Stay strong!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steph said...

Anonymous- thank you for proving my point.

Uzi said...

basically, isn't that what girlfriends are for? To be there with you when you do stupid things, to be ready to pick you up when you fall hard, and no matter what, to support you when you change your name to something rediculious and you both move to Martha's Vineyard?

I think so. Love you and your rules. I can't wait for us to do #4!

Anonymous said...
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Jessica said...

Amen to all of that sister!!

chibiwow said...

Would really love to read that book. So much insights for this post, friends are truly a gem when they argue with you but still stands with you on your lowest moments.
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cropfoto said...

i don't have anything clever to say about this post other than i loved it and i wanted you to know that i loved it. so there it is. x's & o's

Ganbat Family said...

For what it's worth I think you have a good head on your shoulders and you're one of the people I figure can run her own life pretty well. That's high praise coming from me, right? I'm glad you are focused on the important things but not wasting your life away waiting for them. Good luck and love you. Come see my in Dallas sometime. Or my four kids and I can come sleep in your bed in NYC. Just kidding--I will not bring four children to NYC by myself for any amount of money.