The other day, and without any legitimate reason for doing so (e.g., my girlfriend made me), I watched “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” I wasn’t searching for it, hadn’t had the craving for Julia Roberts therapy, but it was on TV, and with nothing better to watch or do, I slugged through it.
For those who have never seen the movie (sadly, this was not my first time), the plot follows the archetypal structure of most romantic comedies: boy/girl wants boy/girl, problems arise, a fight, problems solved after some form of personal growth, boy/girl gets boy/girl. Ta-da. Movie magic renders the seemingly problematic relationship a tight-fitting match, and with relatively little pain endured in the process. Rarely do these movies end in a wedding, but the implication is that the couples will be happy together. Forever. Able to overcome the toughest of hurdles. Did I mention happy?
A few hours later I received an email from a friend (we’ll call her Kay). We’re not particularly close, but that doesn’t matter. The subject line of the email read “Pain from the other side of the table.” This particular young woman is going through a divorce. With one of my closest guy friends. (We’ll call him Gee.) They’ve been married a couple years and have a baby, just a few months old. Before reading the email, I knew what the message entailed. But reading it, line by painstaking line, made me hate Julia Roberts. Made me angry at the movie. Made me loathe the entire genre.
Of course that’s hyperbole. But it got-me-a-thinkin’: Relationships are emotive entities. You cannot touch them, cannot give them water and food. Yet they need to be nurtured, cared for, which makes their effects all the more palpable – the joy of love, the pain of losing. It’s oftentimes hard to face the reality that something so comfortable, so routine isn’t always the best option. It’s hard throwing the weight of a relationship on your shoulders and charging forward, unfettered by the negatives and told-you-so’s. It’s harder, even, to square up to the facts that the tether of one’s relationship has endured too many abrasions and slowly, meticulously has unraveled itself – fibers frayed and left dangling.
I don’t like to get sappy, which is why I’m calling on you to cue the mid-seventies hit ballad “Love Hurts” in your head.
With breakups and divorces often come the division of friends. I will not be choosing sides, but I know they have both found comfort in some, and neglect in others. And it pains me to see two people, about whom I care deeply, going through something neither of them envisioned the day they stood at the altar.
To Kay, having a child during a divorce undoubtedly adds complexity to an already tumultuous situation. And it might not be much consolation, but if this was bound to happen, I’m glad it was while the child is young and can adapt more easily than children who have grown accustomed to a household with both parents. Also, I’m glad this happened in a relatively short time after they were together, instead of building on something and finding out a decade or two from now. Mostly, though, I’m glad that through this trying time they have found their true friends and continue to make the best decisions for them and their family.
And if either of them is ever in the mood to watch a movie, take their minds off of things, please, by God, don’t choose “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
Look for the Dude’s usual Q&A on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/dudewise. Keep reading, be nice and always stay wise.
Dude Wisdom is a column written by a guy from town. This column aims to flip the traditional love advice column on its head, spin it around a few times, then knock it over with a roundhouse kick. Find The Dude on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DudeWise or email your relationship quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, this Dude abides.
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