We’ve all got a few of them. The exes that we kept on the roster as friends. Okay, so maybe not all of us – some people are simply incapable of having an amicable breakup. I, on the other hand, seem to have ended up with this hodgepodge of male friends – a handful of whom I’ve dated at one point or another. These are guys who have had my back through thick and thin, who have outlasted the guys who have thrown a fit because I’m still friends with guys I used to date; these are the men in my life, who, at one point or another, have brought out the best and worst of me, and who have taught me something about myself.
Recently (recently meaning within the past couple of weeks), I’ve come to realize that maybe one or two of these guys I’ve deemed as my friends aren’t friends. I’ve had what some might call an epiphany, others a moment of clarity. I’m a friend to them – listening when they need to vent, shooting the shit, hanging out, giving advice, supporting their various endeavors – but they aren’t a friend to me. They’ve been keeping me on the bench, in reserve, just in case their current significant other turns out to be a bust. They are there for me JUST ENOUGH to make it seem like they give a shit, but when it boils down to it and shit gets rough, they are conveniently absent. What none of them seem to realize is that they should probably get over themselves… because even if their current significant other were to strike out, they have zero chance of calling me in to take their place. I will never understand the male mentality that just because a woman was willing to date you in the past that it means they will always be willing to date you.
While this epiphany was the result of an awful, dragged out case of harassment (read a few posts prior for the details on that) and a particularly lengthy conversation with one of these guys, it was much needed. The conversation essentially ended with the termination of the “friendship.” He claims it has “run its course,” and I claim he’s pissed that I realized he’s been stringing me along, keeping me just close enough to still care about his well-being, but completely undependable when I actually need him and that I refuse to stand for it any longer. Friends don’t do friends dirty like that.
In getting some distance from that phone call and that person, I’m becoming acutely aware of just how much bullshit I’ve put up with from him over the years. Frankly, it’s kind of sickening. Sickening that I would put up with it for the sake of maintaining a friendship that, really, shouldn’t have continued in the first place, and sickening because he so easily manipulated me without remorse. Looking back, I’m pretty sure he’s a sociopath. No, not the serial-killing, will wear your skin as a suit kind of sociopath… more your run-of-the-mill narcissistic, pathologically lying, charismatic type of sociopath who sees no wrong-doing in treating other people like pieces in the chess game he or she calls their life with the added side bonus of being able to completely shut off all emotions on a whim. I can say, however, through it all… I still don’t wish him any ill will. I hope, for his sake, he’s as happy as he pretends.
So here’s the part that no one likes to talk about. The moving on. The walking away. The deleting the person you thought was actually a stand-up individual who turned out to be a snake in the grass from your phone, your email address book, your social networking sites, etc. I’ve got to say, completely purging my life of anything snake-in-the-grass related has been fairly liberating. I can honestly say that gaining perspective on this whole situation will be a cautionary tale – and it’s a mistake I won’t be making again. I can say that hearing “I didn’t want to say anything, but I really never liked that guy” from my friends ad nauseum is growing old quickly (seriously, guys – I get it – leave it be). Some people bring out the worst in each other, and it’s become clear that he and I do that.
Moral of the story? Exes are exes for a reason. They’re in your past for a reason. Perhaps it’s best to let them stay there.
PS – I just realized I used an unprecedented number of sports references in this post. Weird.