Monday, June 23, 2008

Gentle Drifting Deaths

Sometimes friendships just die. There doesn't have to be a fight, or even a major change in circumstances. Sometimes you find that you have just drifted away from a person. You still like them, or at least, you don't dislike them. You just feel an utter lack of connection.

It's always a little sad when this happens. The worst thing is when one friend tries to hang on to the friendship, not because they still feel a connection but because they can't deal with the end of the friendship. I honestly feel that some people want to be friends with everyone, forever.

When I was married and lived in Out-of-Town, I became very close to a woman who volunteered with me, Devorah. We really didn't have that much in common except that we were both married, frum, very involved with the community and somewhat smart. We definitely shared a sense of humor. This was interesting: we disliked the same people and we had many of the same friends. I think a great deal of our relationship was based on that. We still had a lot to say to one another, but much of it was gossiping about people we jointly found irritating. We were also there for each other. When Devorah needed surgery, I took her kids, picked her up from the hospital, etc. So it wasn't a friendship based on nothing.

She was the first person I called when The Ex and I decided to go public about our separation. I tearfully told her I was leaving Out-of-Town and divorcing The Ex, and asked her to daven for me. She was warm and supportive.

I've been divorced for a year and a half now. I've spoken to Devorah on the phone, maybe three times. I've been back to Out-of-Town twice. She's never had me over for a Shabbos or Yom Tov meal. We had coffee together once and it was just like old times...talking and laughing. But there was no "followup." We just drifted apart.

I confided in a mutual friend, Rickie, that I was sad about losing Devorah as a friend. I felt that I tried to maintain the friendship more than she had, but that I still liked her very much and didn't bear her any ill will. I told Rickie that I recognized that sometimes friendships just die, just like that. I have no proof of this at all, but I'm sure that Rickie went running to Devorah and told her what I said, because I got a phone call a little while after that from Devorah, making excuses about not getting together with me when I was in Out-of-Town, blah blah blah. I was very warm to her, but I just let it go. I didn't call her again. Now, we have nothing in common, not marital status, not community, nothing really. She was having a little bit of a hard time recognizing that we weren't going to pretend that we were still friends.

But sometimes friendships just die...gentle, drifting deaths. And I think that's really okay.

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