I have one.
Everyone has one.
Or maybe you are one?
I'm talking about one of those friends who is smart, successful and sweet. She/he is not only one the nicest people you know, but brilliant in his/her chosen field of work, unique skill or personal lifestyle. And yet, you sometimes find yourself asking "Why? Why does she/he make make such...dumb...well 'unhealthy' relationship choices?"
She comes to you with the same issue she's asked your advice on many times before (I refer to 'she' - not because men don't have this dilemma - but because women are more likely to talk to someone about these unhealthy choices).
She's having an affair - with a married man. And this is no fly-by-night affair. She, your smart friend, is heavily vested emotionally, physically and psychologically because she's been doing the affair for at least three, maybe more years. And every time she comes to you in a state of high stress or deep depression or extreme confusion, you give her the same caring and compassionate advice; hoping it will be the last time you will have to let her know this is not good for her; it's an unhealthy life choice (and it will never be right for her).
It's like that scene from one of my favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally which made Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal one of the most unforgettable couples in movie history. The scene goes like this:
Three girlfriends meet for brunch. Each are attractive and successful in there own way. Likewise, each have their own particular "stuff" going on with the men in their lives: one is in a long-time stable but stale marriage, the other (Sally) has just been dropped without warning, for a younger model by a man she had been dating for a couple years and the other, Marie (the "one" we all have) has been having an affair with a married man for several years (it's not clear if she's had the guts to tell her friends how many years she really been doing it).
So she’s complaining to her girlfriends that she recently found a receipt in her married lover's pant pocket for a beautiful gift he purchased his wife. That the gift is an expensive nighty compounds the issue for Marie and she just can’t believe he'd actually do such a thing! Because as her friends all know and have heard from her many times before, he doesn't even love his wife and if he could he would leave his wife, but he just can’t leave her right now, she explains for the benefit of herself.
"The point is, he just spent $120 on a new nightgown for his wife. I don't think he's ever gonna leave her," Marie says.
Her friends listen patiently, passing condiments and repositioning food on their plates until she's finished. And then after taking a deep breath instead of saying we've told you this a million times dear, her best friend Sally lovingly reminds her once again:
Marie..."No one thinks he's ever gonna leave her."
And as though she's never come to her friends with this dilemma before and or that they've never said it to her before, Marie reluctantly says:
"You're right, you're right, I know you're right."
I really dig that scene because not only is it clever enough to be funny and sad at the same time; it's a real life look at the lies people can tell themselves to do stuff they have no business doing.
Its what I call a "pivotal point of pain" because its the point one must realize that its time the "unhealthy relationship of unfaithfulness" ends we must make a move toward getting real, getting out and getting on with a better life.
Sometimes it can be done alone; the person wakes up one morning and decides this is the day! She faces the truth - that this is an unhealthy choice - and decides to end it (it's rarely that easy to let go of the insanity). Sometimes friends can help a person like Marie see the light and support her as she makes the move toward a healthier relationship choice. And sometimes - most of the time, it takes grace, the loving energy of Spirit to lead us by the hand (as in meeting a single man you like) or kick us in butt (as in finding out the wife is pregnant).
Either way a friend like this "one" will have to realize sooner, better than later, that "No, he's never going to leave his wife"...as long as he can keep you living a lie.
To be continued...