I’m a woman, totally in love with my hubby. We’ve created a beautiful family together, one that I am very proud of. We’ve been through a lot, especially as a military family. We have moved from place to place to place, and the one constant that I came to realize over the years is this: as much as I love and appreciate my husband, I need a good girlfriend or two.
For me, finding a new girlfriend is almost romantic…I fall in love with the woman: I’m mesmerized by her beauty, intelligence, wit, and talents. I see how she moves and multi-tasks. I’m totally won over by her cooking ability and gracious hospitality. And then, like many romantic relationships, I start to see the imperfections. There are some imperfections that I find endearing…like the friend who drinks old, cold coffee. Maybe that’s not an imperfection so much as a cowboy way to drink coffee. Still, I love her. I also love the friend who breaks down because the cookies burned and she forgot to start her laundry. She’s overwhelmed by the domestic duties she’s not sure she wants to take on. This is the woman/girlfriend that I love…the one I can talk to about life for hours. No topic is off-limits and when we part company, I can tell that part of my soul has been restored.
But some imperfections are not quite so endearing. Back to that in a minute…
We’ve all been there…losing touch with a high school bestie or our college roommate. Sometimes the magic of social media will allow you to reconnect for awhile. Other times, that friendship is lost for good. You don’t see it happening in the moment, but later you realize, “I wonder whatever happened to so-and-such? I miss her. When did we lose touch?” That loss of a friendship feels bittersweet…you can reminisce about the moments you shared and smile. Other friendships are harder to let go and feel more bitter than sweet when it’s all said and done.
Back to the not-quite-so-endearing qualities… I have been blessed with many friendships over the years and the truest blessing of all is that most of these women are still in my life. But there are some I had to let go for various reasons. I would realize at some point that I was changing, that maybe I was beginning to take on an unpleasant way of thinking or attitude. After some reflection, I would figure out that I was allowing a particular friend influence me more than I should have. Sometimes, these influences affected my relationship with my husband or even my children. It was at that point that I would step back and assess what was more important: my friendship with the woman I loved, or my relationship with the man and the children I love?
When I decided the friendship had to end, it would hurt me. How can you love someone and not feel hurt when you end what you had? I never had knock-down-drag-out fights with anyone, but I could feel the friendship cooling. The passion I may have felt for the woman would melt away and our friendship would fade. It would hurt my heart and even today, I still think about some of these women–where are they now? Did they grow? Are they happier?
Sometimes, you just have to let go. When you do, just remember that maybe you were meant to be friends for awhile and although the friendship didn’t endure, you can be okay with that. You can be okay with the time you spent together and the love and laughter you once shared. You can appreciate your shared experience and not look back with resentment and pain. This is how I choose to look at my past loves. To all my friends, past and present, I thank you all for being in my life when you were and I wish you peace and happiness in the decades to come <3 <3 <3
CJ Heath loves having friends. Whether or not those friendships will last forever or only for a short time, she doesn’t know, and she doesn’t really care: she appreciates all of her friends, past and present and continually looks forward to friends she’ll make in the future!