From an intro voice-over on Being Human, US, emphasis mine
I keep finding myself coming back to the same old questions. How do we know when it's time to give up? Where is the line between sticking to your guns and just being stubborn? How long can you ignore the advice of people you do think are wise, wiser than you? How do you figure out if your wound just needs time to heal or if that wound is just festering and will never heal?
Last week, my favorite afternoon dj's had a discussion about staying friends with ex's. (It's the third section down, with the offensive Asian caricature. The first streaming audio is their overall opinion. The rest are discussions with callers, the final caller being the most interesting to me.) Lazlo, the older, more experienced man, who I usually, begrudgingly, agree with, asserts that no one can be friends with their ex because that ex will always have some control over you and your emotions (or vice versa), your current friendship will interfere with one or both of you's current romantic relationships and one of you is always more emotionally involved, (unconsciously) only does it because you still LOVES that person. This is why Lazlo says that an ex is dead to him. Slimfast, the younger, more idealistic of the two, wants people to call in and prove Lazlo wrong. Lazlo makes some exceptions for people in open relationships and people who have children with ex's and keep a cordial relationship with that co-parent. Of course, Lazlo rips all the callers excuses to pieces. The first two callers were men who still hung out with their female ex's and the ex's new boyfriend/husband, men who couldn't say what positives they got from their friendships with their ex's. Lazlo declared that these men were the ones who still cared and that they needed to cut the cord and move on. The last caller was on the opposite end. He was the only close friend that his ex-girlfriend had. She had not had a serious romantic relationship with another man since they'd broke up, though he'd had other girlfriends and even been engaged for a bit of time. The caller was on his way to have an after-work drink with this woman and Lazlo asserted that the best thing the caller could do for this woman was to not show up to it, to, figuratively, kill himself, so she would be forced to move on. "She's not a friend. She's a hostage," was Lazlo's closing salvo.
And I'll be damned if that didn't ring true. One of those harsh truths that you want to deny, deny, deny, but the words get under your skin, play on a loop in your head.
My friends and relatives don't get why I'm still friends with you. They think being friends with you is so hard that it might not be meant to be. They see that we have very very different values systems, goals, and outlooks on life. And for everyone of your friends or relatives who thinks I'm a crazy unstable jealous bitch, I have a friend or relative who thinks you're a moralistic asshole who needs to take the stick out of his ass and live a little. And I'm pretty sure there are times we agree with that assessment. We also have complaints with how the friendship currently is. Ok, well, I know I do and I'm pretty sure you do, though I couldn't say what yours are at this point. You're great in a crisis, but you kinda disappear for the everyday, though you keep saying that isn't how you want to be. In your own words, "A man shows how he feels in his actions." Though I'm trying to get over it, I know that I'm the ex who stayed on, at least in part, because I thought we'd get back together. And I know I'm the person who feels more wounds more acutely, because it's in my nature to do so.
She's not a friend. She's a hostage.
Now I don't feel that with my other bff who's an ex. But our romantic relationship was far from traditional and we both kept our distances, for a variety of reasons. And while neither of us have plans on being in a romantic relationship with the other, we still relate to each other in much the same way as we did when we were involved. I guess neither of us has felt rejection from the other just because we aren't pursuing a romantic relationship with the other. Maybe my parting with him was not as brutal as my parting was from you.
I thought it would be easier than this, you know? But few things are easy, at least not with me. I had lots of reasons for accepting you back. I have lots of reasons for keeping you in my life. But probably none so strong as sheer stubbornness, the idea that this is one thing that I can make work through the sheer force of my will, that the things we do have are stronger than all the obstacles that lay in our way, that I want to see who you'll be and I want you to see who I become.
So I'll find antibiotics for the deep festering wounds. Call it Stockholm syndrome. I'll be your hostage, at least for now. Gods know you've been mine before. And you can be the symbol of my rebellion, even if you never have one of your own.