A half a bottle of wine can go a long way in releasing one's tongue. I didn't say the things I really wanted to say or the things I should have said, but I did say many things that allowed the ice that has frozen between us to crack.
Neal was in town for the weekend and he, Matt and I had dinner on Friday night at Whym. I don't remember the last time I saw Matt so I was a little nervous. There's no reason that I should be nervous when it comes to anything Matt. He's been my best friend, along with Neal, for 19 years. Nineteen years! That's a long time and a lot of shared history. When you put that into perspective, the fact that I was nervous is ridiculous.
Matt and I have had a distant relationship as of late. I don't think it's exactly strained; it's just not what it used to be. You see I've been single for 13 years - partly by choice and partly by fear of commitment. I became dependent on Matt. He and I were roommates in the City for several years and even though he is straight and always in a committed relationship, I gave him the grand occupancy in my heart that should have gone to someone else, i.e., a boyfriend.
Patterns. It's just something that happened. I didn't really know it had happened until I started distancing myself from him in order to be less dependent. It was then that I realized he was the first person I call with news both good and bad. The difference is this: I'm not the first person he calls. Matt isn't scared to be in a relationship. Matt wants to be in a relationship; he thrives on it. I'm the one who's scared. He never gave me the high pedestal of love that I gave him. Yes, he loves me, but I never felt as needed as when he needed me. That's a problem and a pattern. When I realized that, I got upset - with me and with him. He wasn't at fault, but in my sadness, anger and disappointment, I slowly began to cut myself off from him. Can you imagine? I cut myself off from one of the two people who have been with me through every major event in my life from early twenties to now. I couldn't figure out how to be less dependent on him without breaking my pattern of using him for everything. That created distance. Now we barely talk anymore. That's not exactly what I wanted either.
I was afraid. I wanted to be strong enough to not need him. In my mind he didn't need me nearly as much as I needed him. I think I felt weak for the need.
When I saw him Friday night nothing mattered but how much I've missed my friend. Oh how much!
Neal made the comment in conversation that the three of us do not have the same friendship as we had all those years ago; we have changed and grown. If we had tried to hold onto it the way it was it would have died and we probably would have lost touch.
He's right. We are different people. Matt's been married twice and is now engaged again. Neal fought the marriage equality fight in Massachusetts and is happily married to the wonderful Stephen. They put up with my perpetually single self and the miserable home life I lived with for 13 years (thank you Zanzibar) and watched me joyously come out on the other side and in another borough.
Friends support each other. They love each other. I think that my desire to distance myself from a dependency has been selfish and irresponsible. There has to be a balance. Balance will not come without work though.
We three need each other. We are family. Neal and Matt are my brothers. Families fight, they make up, they get over it, they hug, they laugh again, they forgive...they love each other. As much as I feel weak for needing anyone, I need those two men in my life. I'm weaker for trying not to need them. I'm stronger for admitting that I do.