Why can't we overcome this wall? Well, maybe it's just because I didn't know you at all
Emotional infidelity is the cruelest sort of infidelity. Being emotionally tied to someone who is not your someone is just flat out wrong. Really, I just can’t see any sort of caveat here. People who are involved in emotionally inappropriate relationships tend to gloss over them because it is not physical. They like to claim “we’re friends”. It crosses every possible line of intimacy except actual touching and so it is deemed “ok.” It is not ok. It hurts. People who do this know it’s not ok, that’s why they hide it. For heaven’s sake, you know it’s wrong, you’re using that weak three legged dog of an excuse “we’re just friends” and it’s gonna tumble like a . . . a three legged dog!
As with most of my stories this one comes with experience . . . on both sides. Oh yes, I admit it, I’ve done it. I’ve been emotionally tied to one person while dating another and tried to believe there was nothing wrong with it. I knew there was, but I wouldn’t even admit it to myself. I imagined the two men in my life becoming great friends and all of us bonding into one big happy friendship. I see how disrespectful, selfish, uncaring, and just plain ridiculous that is now. I was wrong and I hurt someone. I knew then it was wrong and I was hurting someone, now I know firsthand just how badly it hurts and I feel beyond awful. I treated someone who should have been first in my life, at least for a time, as a runner up. Now I have also been treated as that runner up . . . no crown, no gold medal, no top pedestal, just second best. Who cares about second? It may as well be 52nd. If it’s not first I don’t want it.
When I think back on my own days of being an emotional philanderer I remember the secrets. Not telling lies mind you, and that was how I rationalized it. I wasn’t completely up front about everywhere I went and certainly not with whom. I never told him that someone I claimed as one of my “best” friends was, in fact, an ex in my life who I could not, would not forget. When I went to movies or dinner with the ex who was now “best” friend I did not tell the man I was dating. I knew it was wrong. I just didn’t call him on those days and avoided his calls to me, therefore not having to explain myself. I didn’t commit fully to him because I didn’t want my friendships and my perceived freedoms curbed. Those very words have also been spoken to me and I know what it means. Back then I still had hope for someone who could not have been more gone, and I have, in turn, been sacrificed in someone else’s life for someone who could not be more gone.
As always time marches on, wisdom and experience replace moronic, childish, self indulgent behavior. My ex is no longer my “best” friend. Did I really have hope, or was it just fear of letting go? Did I really even want him or could I just not face moving on? I finally know the true freedom of being released from a paralyzing friendship of false hopes. I know that freedom comes from being completely dedicated to yourself in order to help you weed out those who are not. Freedom comes from being completely open, honest, and not wasting your precious time on people who are not fully open and honest with you. I am not second best, and neither are any of you. Do not allow this in your lives. The man whom I treated as second eventually left, the ex as best friend is gone, and the man who treated me as second is gone. In times past, in weaker times of my life, I would have said “Woe is me, I am completely alone”. Now I know that I am free to find the one who values me, who will give me the crown, the highest pedestal, and a sash that says “Number One”. Free of half assed and half hearted relationships, feeding on the bits that are being doled out and hoping for “more porridge please” like a half starved orphan of old.
I need to point out that emotional infidels do not always fall back on ex’s for their inappropriate and dysfunctional “friendships”. Sometimes it’s just being too close with a person who is not yours to be quite so close with. If you have a co-worker that you have lunch with just a bit too frequently, or someone in class or at the gym with whom you share a few too many furtive smiles and flirtatious laughs then you are on a slippery slope my friend. If you aren’t being entirely up front with your significant other about this person, you’re an emotional cheat. You’re sending your energy out to the wrong person. Sure they look great, you’re not really with them. You don’t see them when they’re sick with their head hanging over the toilet, you don’t see them get angry, you don’t see them lying around the house wearing sweat pants and the cleanest dirty shirt they could find lying on the floor. You only see the polished, finished, “outside of the house” product and that is NOT REAL.
What hurts about this kind of relationship is the deception. I know for me, when I discovered my former significant other had this type of friendship I was crushed to know that he would be so dishonest with me. I waited a couple of weeks before saying anything about it because I hoped he would come clean with me and I could at least pretend he wasn’t being sneaky. But he was . . . and then I didn’t know him at all. I had no idea who this person was because now, how could I trust anything? Everything could have been a lie for all I knew. In the end he treated me with less respect, dignity, and integrity than I deserved. And that, my friends, is not enough for me . . . or for you.
Shine your light so those who are made for you can find you and when they do, love them fully, you both deserve it. Do not accept less.