Friendships – Myth 2

Friendship from the past predicts friendship in the future

Taken from From One Widow to Another, ©2009 by Miriam Neff. Used with permission of Moody Publishers.

We know that marriage creates a strange and paradoxical entity. Two become one. What a mystery. Couple friendships are usually based on who you were with your husband – in my case, Team Neff, Bob and Miriam. Our topics of conversation, our travels, our humor, the music we listened to, and much more were Team Neff. And now 50% of Team Neff is gone. 50% of me is gone as well. Silly me. It was immature thinking on my part to believe that our past friendships would remain. My universe has changed. So must all in it.

I have often stated I was a better woman because of Bob. A man of gracious speech, patient listening, ‘other oriented’ person, he made me better than I am. Who am I without that? The package here has changed and I have come to peace with the fact that some friendships of the past are no longer in the ‘good match’ category. Rediscovering my love of galloping, loosening the reins, leaning forward and watching my horse’s hoofs gobble up the beach is not everyone’s cup of tea. Sailing alone on a catamaran, sail, rudder, and only the wind at my back on the ocean is not the Miriam they knew before. (I did not know that Miriam either!)

My children say I am more blunt and I rather believe they are correct. I remember during my husband’s intense and long battle with ALS, I spoke often with our support group social worker about all the ‘stuff’ in my life: the endless necessity of me pursuing relentlessly insurance claims, disability disputes, and much more. I felt I had to become a battle ax to secure the appropriate necessities, treatment, and the best care for Bob. “Will I return to ‘nice’ again after this is all over?” I asked Laurie.

“No,” was her soft, but true answer. “When you discover what you have about companies, people, life, and death, you are never the same.”

I appreciated her candor. Wishing to be the exception did not make it true. The friends from the past would discover a new person if they stayed in the friendship.

Why are we frustrated admitting that this myth is not true? Because before, we got to choose our friendships. We felt changes coming and intentionally moved away from, or closer to others. We chose. Becoming a widow was not our choice. The exodus simply happens. We are left puzzling if we said or did something wrong. No, my dear friend. The team is gone.

But the new you has some good people and new opportunities as well.

Myth # 3: Friends have your best interests at heart

Couple friendships are usually based on who you were with your husband