Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Today (as I’m writing this about a week before it posts), a friend of mine reposted a meme, the effects of which were that the woman in the meme has a boyfriend who won’t stop talking with his old friends. My friend wrote on the post that she should dump him. This kind of hit me close to home, as my wife made me give up most of my former friends, was jealous of everyone including actresses that she believed I found attractive, and distrustful any time I would get a call or message. In the end, she was the one who cheated on me.
The road goes both ways. Trying to control who somebody is friends with is a form of narcissism and emotional abuse. Going into a relationship requires some trust, and the more attractive your partner, the more you have to trust them. You cannot trust the people around them, but if you don’t trust your partner, then you don’t really have a relationship. If something makes you uncomfortable, you certainly can confide that in your partner in a true relationship, and maybe s/he will modify their behaviors as a result. If it’s not really a good friend, they may cut the ties. Or maybe they’ll let their partner actually look at the text messages to put their mind at rest, but it’s out of bounds to simply “forbid” a friend.
My wife distrusted me so much that when I got a late-night text from someone asking for my picture she simply exploded. I didn’t know this person, or if I did, s/he didn’t identify who they were. I ignored it, but my wife insisted on seeing my phone. She sent a rather lengthy reply, then deleted it, and blocked the number. I don’t mind blocking the number, I certainly would have if she wanted me to since I didn’t know who it was, but then she refused to even let me see the message that she herself sent. That is not trust. That’s narcissism.
Don’t get me wrong. You can go too far the other way, especially when it comes to actually cheating with a former (or new) lover. What I don’t understand is why the two extremes are so strong. How can anybody be in a relationship (mine obviously failed when we divorced) with somebody who inherently distrusts everything that you say and do? On the other hand, how can so many people be so forgiving once their partner does have an affair, and then believe him/her when s/he says they’re sorry and it won’t happen a seventh time.
Here’s the reality. In a healthy relationship, you have to trust your partner. It doesn’t really matter what anybody else thinks of them, or wants from them, because you don’t have to trust those people. You have to trust your partner, and if you can’t trust your partner to do the right thing, then s/he’s not the right partner in the first place. And if you’re in a relationship, you cannot expect to keep your partner in a box. Everybody needs their friends and time away from their partner periodically. That has to be okay, and if you have a problem with it, then your trust in your partner isn’t good to begin with.
Of course, take this advice with a grain of salt. I’ve trusted my partners, and today my only partner is a life-like sex doll, and I’m even thinking about breaking up with her. Her personality is so bland, the conversations are so dull because she never has anything to say to me.
In a healthy relationship, your partner won’t be afraid to admit the status or to introduce or be seen with you. If s/he is, there’s something wrong. And don’t be surprised if your partner cuts ties (or simply drifts away) from others who they see as potential partners. This is natural and as it should be, but it’s far too manipulative to insist that they give up their friends, including the ones who were former lovers. Some of my best friends are former lovers, but there is no chance of us getting together again. They, and I, are all fully aware of this. Heck, I recently drove about seven hundred miles just to give one my of my former lovers a hug, but that was it. Just a hug. I would love to have something more from her, but I know she is happily married, and to be honest, although I’ve only met him once, I adore her husband because I know that he takes good care of her and makes her happy. If she’s my friend (she is), and if I really do care for her (I do), why would I want to harm that relationship through any of my actions?
Maybe that’s the point to this post. I guess it’s as good as any other point that I can glean from it. In a healthy relationship, be it partner, friends or other, you should want to protect that other person from harm. I have so many friends that I’m so very attracted to (chatting to one as I write this), but I would never want to do anything to harm their relationship to their spouse. That is why they can trust me, and maybe, just maybe, it’s why they do.