For me, campfires are social places, and I can’t put my finger on why that is. I suppose that it’s simple: I’ve eaten around them with others, grabbed firewood for others, built fires for others, chatted over them with others, and so on. Maybe that’s the whole reason that I feel lonely right now.
I built this for myself. I stoked it myself. I’m sitting at it alone. I keep thinking of people I could invite over, but it’s not practical today. So I’m quietly enjoying my own fire.
Or maybe I would be enjoying it if I weren’t lonely. I’m somewhere between content and ready to cry, so it’s hard to read.
Last week, I had to make a difficult phone call to a friend of several years. I had been dreading our weekly phone calls for more than a month, and I’d simply endured them in relative silence. She started a relationship a few months ago, and some of the things she’s told me about him make me nervous for her safety. Some of the things I know about her past make me unsure about why she’s in the relationship and whether or not it’s an unhealthy coping mechanism.
So I called her. And we talked about my concerns. And she patiently explained to me that I was wrong and that if I lived closer and got to see them interact with one another, I wouldn’t think what I think.
On top of that, she’s been unreliable since they started dating. We had been watching a K drama together and chatting about the characters and plot- just hanging out like we used to when we lived close to one another. For a while now, every week, she’s told me that she didn’t have time to watch the next one, but that she definitely would get to it before a set date that week, and I believed her, and then we repeated it the next week. I understand that she’s got a lot going on, but I wish she would just tell me that she didn’t have time for it instead of… essentially lying to me every week. I know it’s not intentional, but either way, I still have to choose between believing her at face value and getting hurt every week or not believing her at all and being left with a wistful desire that we could be more honest with each other.
After 4-6 weeks of this, I’ve picked the second option because I can’t afford any more pain over something like this.
I don’t wish her harm, and I’m not angry. She’s an adult and she can do what she wants. Right now, I just have to accept that we’re growing apart. I cried a lot last Saturday and then some on Sunday, but the rest of this week has been peaceful, and I almost feel guilty.
Part of me thinks that I shouldn’t be able to let go of her or that there should be a path forward.
- We disagree on some key issues, so neither of us is open to the other’s input on significant topics any more.
- We aren’t able to interact on a casual level because she doesn’t have time for our shared interests any more.
- This is her first relationship and she’s still in the emotional tidal wave stage, so it’s all she wants to talk about. My thoughts on her relationship aside, we don’t talk about her upcoming grad school program, her job, her friends, or her mental health any more.
- I miss her complexity and depth. I don’t want to hear that the only thing in her life is some guy. It’s hard to accept that she’s withdrawing from things she’s used to love.
I can’t find a path forward.
It’s hard to lose the vulnerability and depth that we had. It hurts like losing an arm.
But if there’s nothing left, what can I do? Just carry on one day at a time and open up to more people. Who knows what blessings the future holds?