Monday, February 3

What do you do when there's no happily ever after?

I’m blessed with the friends I have. Old ones, new ones, writing ones, work ones, church ones. I’m blessed with family, too. My other half, our kids and kids-in-law and grands. Siblings and siblings-in-law and my most beloved mother-in-law. And on and on. You have them, too.
          Then there are friends—and a few family members, too—that I’m not blessed with anymore. For whatever reason, be it my fault, theirs, or both, the relationships no longer exist. This is hard for me. I want to fix it. I want to undo the things I must have done wrong, unhurt the feelings I must have trampled, unsay whatever the wrong things were.
          The other part of it is that I want people to apologize to me, too. I want them to tell me how we went from BFFs to not speaking.
          But I am learning, as I meander through my 60s, that I can’t fix things like that. That it’s time to master the art of letting go. I think every few days that I can do that, but then I’m once again moaning about someone who stopped talking to me five years ago.
          Oh, good grief, Liz, get over it!
          See what I mean? So now this is “out there.” I will let go of unhappy endings because I’ve been blessed with so many happy ones. And I will remember the gains and gifts and joys I got from those relationships back in the day. I hope they got something from them, too.

          But I’d like to know if other people are this way, too. Is it a writer thing? A girl thing? How do you let go of an unhappily ever after?

23 comments:

  1. I have some unhappily ever afters that I have had trouble letting go of as well. Maybe there's an unwritten 12-step program and admitting that it won't be fixed is the first step? lol About a year ago, my brother was telling me that he read a book that said friendships are not necessarily supposed to be "forever" as we sometimes believe. He said someone comes into your life for a time, then goes, and that is as it should be. That philosophy has helped me some, except the going part has been messy and painful, at times. I don't think Facebook postings are always helpful in these times, with people all smiles and moved on. ha With the internet, we never have to lose track of someone, when maybe complete absence would be best. What has been your experience, Liz?

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    1. I think you have a point there, Cathy--Facebook seems to really put italics and bold print on when someone is speaking to everyone else but not to you! I hadn't read the book your brother mentioned, but maybe there's something to it and, like you, I haven't mastered the going part. However, we both WILL, right?

      Thanks for coming by. See you in Chicago, right?

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  2. I wish I knew. In some cases physical distance, I think, is the worst culprit...at least in my moving-across-the-country-several-times world. But there are a few relationships I've lost and I still don't know why and I want to fix them but I can't fix them. I don't think about it all the time but when I do, sadness comes around. In those moments I focus on the happy endings I have - and that usually outweighs the sadness.

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    1. That's what I'm doing, too, Kristi. And as whimpy as it sounds, I think I just needed to know I'm not the only one. I wish you no more sadness!

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  3. I agree with Cathy's brother, some friendships aren't supposed to be forever, no matter how close they feel while we're in them. That's been a tough concept for me too, but the older I get, the more I understand it. Maybe there is some purpose you were serving in another's life for just a short time and you've served it. Maybe they were serving you and they're done. Perhaps it's best to remember that person fondly, bask for a moment in a great memory or two and then, let it go. I'm fairly sure that the folks I stew about haven't thought twice about me. That thought should make me feel worse than it does...shouldn't it?

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    1. In theory, that sounds right. Really. I just don't seem to have it down...quite yet. And how do we KNOW when it's not a BFF situation? We'll discuss this later, right, much longer than it calls for. :-)

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    2. Yeah, we probably will, hopefully with wine and chocolate...

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  4. I have a hard time with unhappy endings. They haunt me even years later. It's not that I stew over them but sometimes something will remind me of an old friend and regret takes hold. But I guess there can't be happy endings if we didn't have unhappy endings.

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    1. That's kind of how I do, Sharon. And I always wonder what I could have done differently. Sigh. Thanks for coming by!

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  5. I've been mulling the nature of friendships lately, so for me this is a timely post. Thanks! One method that's helped me is to sit quietly and picture the person in my mind. Sometimes we'll hold a "conversation" about our shared past, but more often I send them unconditional heart-felt thanks for having been in my life. No recriminations to them or myself. I believe they feel my love, but more importantly, I forgive me. No blame to either party, just gratitude and love. May sound odd, but I'm more at peace with my past relationships now. Hope this helps you!

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    1. I think whatever works is good. I'm trying to get that peace by letting go. Thanks, Ashantay!

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  6. Most of the friendships I've lost stem from moving from one state to another, as well as one job to another. I still keep in touch via Christmas cards--once you're on my list, you never get taken off unless you die or I get your card back with no forwarding address. There have been other friendships I've lost by moving on to someone else, which is entirely my fault. Sad, but true. Not sure how I deal with that, because I tend to stew about things a lot. Maybe I simply forget it. Eventually.

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    1. It would be nice if all your friends were one big happy family, but even the family doesn't accomplish that. I think I forget the friendships I have ended much more quickly than when I'm the one who's been dumped. I'm not proud to say that, but I'm sure it's true. Thanks for coming by, Cheryl!

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  7. I'm kind of sorry you do, D--it would be so nice if we "all just got along," wouldn't it?

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  8. Yes, Liz, I will see you in Chicago! It's a shame we can't seem to get together in Indiana, but I'm all for meeting out-of-state if we must. LOL Here's to Happily Ever After. (raises glass of water--pesky new year's "eating plan.")

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  9. It's the non-closure thing that bothers me. I had a friend from grade school who was supposed to be one of my bridesmaids and she was going to Pepperdine down in Malibu. When I called her with the details of the dress, she told me she couldn't be in the wedding because she had finals the following week or something.

    Of course I was disappointed, but I thought I handled it well. But, SHE never spoke to me again. I tried to reach her when she came home on breaks and I wrote to her, sent her birthday cards. 30 years later and I still remember her birthday.

    I've always wondered why it went wrong. And please, we were in our twenties. As my brother-in-law once said, "I hate to be judged by the mistakes I made in my teens, so I won't hold things against someone from that time." I'd substitute "youth" for teens. Because, no matter how mature we thought we were in our twenties, we were babies.

    Anyway, I totally get what you're saying. Maybe people who aren't writers, don't constantly wonder "What if?" and just go along with their lives without wanting to resolve the story....maybe?

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    1. Oh, Margie, I am so sorry. What a painful thing to happen. And what a smart thing your brother-in-law said--I hope I can remember that.

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    2. I don't quote my brother-in-law often but that one has always stayed with me.

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  10. This is brilliant, Liz, and is me to a T. I had to let go to some family members...toxic, like cutting out a tumor. The door has never slammed completely shut, but I reached peace and forgiveness. Have a blessed 2014.

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    1. I'm glad for you, Tanya. Peace and forgiveness are valuable things, and necessary for the heart. Thanks so much for coming by.

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  11. Liz, I so understand your feelings. I have had relationships where it seems they are all one sided (from my side) or we just lose contact. As I entered my 50's and now my 60's I have been able to let those relationships go. I want to surround myself with all the people who I love and who love me back. I have been realizing as I get older that life has a balance to it and I want to have that balance in my life and relationships.

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    1. I'm with you, Carolyn. I just expected it to happen w/o me working at it. Yeah, right. :-)

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