This past weekend I was able to see a friend from Turkey for the first time since 2008. I must admit I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. Since coming out and leaving my husband, I haven’t really seen very many people from that past life. It scares me some. I know I disappointed people. I hate that! It has been easier to avoid them and just think back on that time in my life with fond memories than to actually face people who were part of that life.
This particular friend came to Turkey as a single guy right out of college. He quickly became an uncle to my kids and a little brother to me. He spent countless days and nights hanging out at our house sharing life with us. He was my go to guy for any Apple computer question, and he spent hours playing video games with my ex and boys. At first it seemed like every time he came over we were having pancakes for dinner so it became a running joke that if we were having pancakes, we had to make sure to invite him. He became family. When he and his wife were long distance dating and planning their wedding, we were part of it. When they got married, I helped her get ready. When my ex and I went out of the country for a week, he stayed with my boys. He made sure they got to school and were fed and clothed. Family.
After I left my husband, I got an email from his wife that wasn’t particularly nice. She expressed her anger and frustration over the whole situation. And while I knew her, I didn’t have the relationship with her that I did with her husband. He had been around a lot longer. I was somewhat surprised that she had been bold enough to send me an email about it. I never did respond, because at that point, it made more sense to just let people get over it.
Over the last 7 years, my ex has seen our friend and his wife and kids a few times. All of those times have been in other places…not here at home. When I heard they were coming for a visit, I just assumed I’d stay away. I assumed they wouldn’t want to see me.
On Saturday, my youngest asked me to pick her up from work. She needed to stop by her dad’s to get a few things before coming to my place. She said I needed to go by to say hi to our friend as well. I told her I didn’t think he would be interested in seeing me, and she said he was. That when he thought I might be picking her up the night before, he mentioned that he’d like to see me. I was a little surprised to say the least. I worried about what his wife might say to me. The last communication we’d had was a pretty scathing email from her.
I pulled up to my ex’s house and told my daughter I’d wait in the car. I figured if my friends wanted to see me, they would come outside. As soon as the door to the house opened, I heard my ex’s wife ask where I was. She has always been a positive influence on people’s ideas about and responses to me. I am so thankful for her! She came out and invited me in. My old friend’s wife also came out and gave me a big hug. His two girls ran over to me like they’d known me their whole lives. And my friend gave me a huge hug as well. It all felt great. Natural. There was no anger over the divorce anymore. I was relieved. We stood in my ex’s living room and chatted about various things for a bit before I excused myself and headed home. I’ve thought about our encounter a lot over the last few days. I know their positive response had a lot to do with my ex’s new wife. Seeing my ex happy and loved makes people happy for him. Seeing her accepting of me helps others be more accepting.
I don’t know who this story is about. My old friend from Turkey or my ex-husband’s new wife. I guess it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I was able to face my fears…the fear of disappointing someone and the fear of rejection. I know that even if I had experienced rejection or disappointment from them, I would be ok. But I currently feel so much better than ok.