My therapist says…

Girlfriends on a Carousel

Too much attention has been paid to the heteronormative idea of love, on this blog and elsewhere. As a society, we idealise the image of romantic love between a woman and a man and the Disney-esque happily ever after. The most overlooked romance though involves the people who are actually by our side through thick and thin, the ones that stood and stand by us no matter what… friends!

From an early age, my friends have been my chosen family. A mixture of intent, fate, and necessity brought me together with some of the most amazing females and a handful of truly great men (but this is not about them). And while I am not sexually attracted to any of them, there is a certain romantic aspect in those friendships.

Waking up to a text message, just because someone has been thinking of you, shared Instagram nonsense, because they get you and know this will make you laugh, the ability to pick up the phone and rant when it feels like life’s against you, and the possibility that you’ll be called out on your bullshit all add to the extraordinary, incredible love story that is friendship.

Friendships don’t get the credit they deserve, they are a love story in their own right. Losing one can feel like losing a limb. Hence, when a friendship changes drastically, or even comes to an end, the heartache is just as real.

Sometimes change is brought on by one person going through a phase of closely examining relationships in their life (thank you, Conscious Uncoupling…). But more often, more drastic change is brought on by the introduction of what my therapist calls a “Three Legged Friend”.

I love my girlfriends. All of them. But please, someone tell me why as soon as there’s a dick in their life, some seem to lose most of their common sense and said dick becomes the centre of their universe? Yes, I get the longing for romantic love and a movie-worthy happy ending. However, if you are a woman, you are close to the 40 year mark, you have been married with kids and now divorced, haven’t you learned your lesson? Are you really putting a guy first again, before friendships, your own career, your children, and most importantly, yourself?

Did we not learn and understand that we have to love ourselves first? That we have to save ourselves?

Of course, part of my frustration is grief, because the retreat of a very important person from your life can create a void that’s hard to fill. Not only that, I am acutely aware that I am good enough to hang around when the going gets tough, to call at night when you feel lonely, but I feel somewhat parked on the sunnier days.

Another part of the equation is the pain that comes from watching what’s going on from the sidelines, especially if it is already clear how this one ends. How can you do the same thing all over again and expect a different outcome? It’s not the same! He’s not the same! they proclaim indignantly. Sure. But you are.

They are just not ready yet. They need another round on the carousel.

Silvia, Therapist

It’s hard to stand by and watch, and even harder to resist the very strong urge to call them out on their bullshit. But I guess I have to wait for them to get off the carousel.

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