Thursday, October 12, 2006

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

I am on the verge of a breakup. I thought I was done with this shit. The strategizing, the nervous stomach, the guessing and second guessing.

Its not with a man, but it all comes down to the same thing. Its with a friend, a mommyfriend to be exact. She is a new friend, and we spent the better part of a year seeing each other weekly. We don't have much in common beyond kids of the same age and living in the same neighborhood. She is guarded, a little crunchier than most of my friends, a little older. She is sweet but also unexpectedly acerbic. She has depth but offers little beyond baby-talk and shared husband stories -- all surface. I like to get my hands dirty in my friendships - I freely give and receive details, I trust completely. I like to be up to my elbows in the lives of those I love. But regardless of these differences, I enjoyed her company. And I needed it desperately in those first months when the rest of my life were spending their times at desks and bars and not even pregnant yet.

As is common at the start of any relationship, emails and phone calls were copious and always returned. They were upbeat and funny and spotted with details that showed we remembered and cared - the outcome of that pediatrician appointment, how did your husband like the birthday gift, etc. After a while, my emails started going unreturned. When we spoke and I referenced something I had written, it was clear that she had either not read or not retained it. If this was a boyfriend, I would have updated my Jdate profile at this point, or at least started to plan to.

We began to see each other less, though I continued to reach out. Her behaviors that I used to shrug off seemed to perplex me more. The fact that she never wanted to eat anything. That was a big one. I like to share food as much as I like to share secrets. It was weird that after hours together she would only want to gnaw on an apple. Pass the fries, please. Even if you only take one.

Finally, it also became clear that she was meeting weekly with a group of girls that I had met at the same time as I met her. But she never mentioned these playdates, and never invited me to one. What was she hiding? I love when friends meet friends. And the fact that this went unmentioned after a year of knowing each other -- I felt slightly cheated on, but not exactly. I too have other friends, closer friends, whom I see. But I talk about them incessantly. I invite her to join. Why the concealment?

So now, enough time has passed that I can fade this to black, as we say. Its the only thing that seems to make sense. I should just stop calling, right? I can't imagine that a "talk" is necessary here, or would be anything but painfully awkward and seemingly "lover-like" -- "you hurt my feelings", "why didn't you call me back", etc. And she is SO not my type. ;) Despite the fact that she went into great detail about what kind of lingerie I should buy for a weekend away....

I am not really even bothered. Sure, it feels like an investment that went sour, a waste of time and breath. But I am starting to understand that sometimes friendships are meant to expire. That they serve a purpose in that space and time but are no less important and no more painful because they are not forever.

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