“Defriending” is a messy business sometimes. What was once just a website started by a couple of college guys is now a major part of our global social fabric. What happens in the online universe now often has real-world consequences, as in the recent case of the Marine discharged for comments made about Obama on his Facebook page. Earlier this year in February there was a double murder sparked by a defriending. Couples’ relationships even begin, evolve and end on Facebook.
Yesterday I happened on an event that a friend of mine commented on that I wasn’t invited to (for reasons that were pretty obvious to me). Late last month I helped some friends move out of a house they were live in and taking care of while a friend of theirs was on deployment. Soon they’ll be moving into a new house and have enlisted more friends to help them. I’ve known them for many years. We went to the same church for years, practically grew up together and were involved together in the young adult ministry, and for a long time I thought that we were fairly close. These are the friends that started the GLBT-friendly church.
Now they’re moving into a house with Seth.
I had a chat with my housemate this morning on the way to work about it because I have conflicting feelings about this. On the one hand I see the positive aspects of it for them. My housemate pointed out that it won’t be as easy for him to be a total slut living under the same roof as my friends, but for them there’s also the part of being a Christian community together. And I get that.
And frankly, just because Seth and I had a major falling out (understatement of the decade right there) doesn’t mean that anyone else should pattern their lives around that. To an extent I’ve been expecting my mutual friends to do that, which isn’t very fair. They have to do what’s right for them, which I can respect. That doesn’t mean, however, that I have to be okay with it—which I’m not.
Ultimately, I have to do what’s right for me. They’ve essentially made a decision about the future of our relationship, and by living with Seth they’re sending the message (and I know them well enough to know that it’s not intentional or personal) that they’ve taken his side against me. I know that they care about me to an extent and they don’t want it to be this way, and I don’t expect them to like it, but at some point you have to draw the line where personal integrity is concerned. They can’t have it both ways, and it’s not fair of them to expect me to go on as if nothing happened.
So I decided to sleep on it, to see if I was still upset enough in the morning about this, and I was. So my two friends have been defriended, both in the digital and in the real-world sense. It’s unfortunate, but I have to respect myself enough to not be a doormat. As much as they say they care and love me, moving into a house with the ex-lover who ultimately treated me like shit is hardly a sign that they want to continue to have me in their lives. So I just have to move on.
In physics there exists a hypothetical particle known as a strangelet that is so unstable that any matter they come into contact with is also destabilized and converted into something called “strange matter.” Without a working knowledge of physics and how quarks work, that’s about the best I can do to explain it; but that’s essentially what Seth has been for me. A strangelet. He wandered into my life like one of those rogue particles and because of his cosmological mass rearranged everything.
Like a passing star, he dislodged me from the solar system I’d been orbiting comfortably in for some time, and now I’m off into interstellar space, with ever-growing distance between the people that I used to know. As a consequence of knowing him (not that it’s his fault—I was headed in that direction before we met) I became an atheist, which affected my relationship with my family, friends and everything.
My housemate and one guy on Facebook made the comment that leaving Minnesota won’t necessarily solve everything. And it’s true. That’s wishful, magical thinking to believe that changing geography will alter the situation. But I do need to physically distance myself from this place and from the people who are involved.
I am developing a new secular community of friends right now, people with whom I share values, so it’s not like I’m just sitting around being lonely and sad. If I have to be single for now, I may as well be as busy as possible, if only as a distraction from the fact that I desperately want to be in a relationship.
But I’m through being there for people who aren’t there for me.