I recently heard a statement that struck me very deeply; so much so, that I have to share.
Have you seen the show “Billions” on Showtime?
It’s my favorite show. While watching an episode from a couple months back, one of the characters started talking about how strongly he feels about choosing ‘sides’ because he believes in loyalty.
This really got me thinking, so I began to apply this fictional character’s theory to my own life’s situations.
He made this simple statement: “Choosing a side is an act of LOYALTY.”
Now, while it can feel crappy when we are the ones on the chopping block, loyalty is an important component in all relationships, and sometimes choosing to remain neutral isn’t always applicable.
We can’t always be Switzerland.
In our lives, we form so many relationships and friendships. And, let’s be honest, all relationships do have their ‘moments’ when disagreements or hurt feelings may arise.
If and when a relationship’s connection breaks, though, how does this affect everyone else associated with the two people? Think about it. How does the end of a relationship between two people impact their mutual circle of friends?
Many times they become collateral damage — you know, casualties of a war they didn’t even fight in.
I recall a situation after a break-up years ago that has never left me and, truth be told, to this day has left me with a bitter taste.
So I had been dating this guy and had become very close friends with the wife of one of his good friends. We spoke all the time, we made our own plans, we hung out. New besties by association who had created what I believed was a lasting and meaningful friendship. Right?
When my relationship with the man ended, I texted ‘my friend’ shortly after, and her response was immediate and swift: “I’m sorry, but as much as I like you Karin, I want to wish you good luck in your life—but we can no longer be friends”.
Huh? Are you kidding me?
No subtle withdrawal or easing into it. This woman just shot a bullet right between my eyes. I sat there dumbfounded for what must have been about 15 minutes, just staring at my phone feeling like the wind had been knocked out of me. When my relationship had ended it had never occurred to me that my friendships would also change.
I mean seriously, even a downed deer gets finished off with a quick shot to the base of its ear. But between the eyes??? UGH.
It’s been many years since this happened, but I will never forget how it felt. And as hurt, as I was during that time, she was just being loyal. I see that now. I mean, could her response to me have been less abrupt, or kinder or even more subtle?
But the end, the result would have been the same. She was ‘his friend’, not mine.
I’ve also lived the opposite situation where close friends (originally mine) chose an “ex” over me. While this stings initially… this is life.
And like my beloved father always said, “You see a person’s true colors when you are no longer beneficial to their life”.
In divorces and break ups, this type of behavior tends to be routine. When you get divorced; assets are divided, paperwork is signed and then comes the freeze out. Unfortunate, but real—with the final stroke of your signature, in-laws become out-laws and everyone scatters.
Think iceberg right ahead…
Quickly sides become clear—and so do people’s allegiance. It all just seems to happen so suddenly.
This is where life becomes messy and unclear.
But what happens when you form connections and deep feelings for people who you are not supposed to be part of your life anymore? You know, when relationships and bonds transcend the break-up or divorce. Can you still show your loyalty to the original while remaining connected to the “ex” side?
Yes, if you do it the right way.
If you set boundaries, remain respectful, communicate honestly to both sides and know when to step back.
Honesty is key in order to navigate these waters safely.
There are definite lines that are created post break up/divorce by those around us. Some side with us, some don’t and undoubtedly there’s always a few surprises.
But in the end; water always finds its own level and those that can’t swim in the deep end, truthfully don’t belong in your pool anyway.
Until next time,