Environmental Fear

I have a friend who is in a kinda similar situation to mine. Meaning she is seeing a man that there are “complications”surrounding just being with. She and I talk from time to time about our respective situations, pretty freely because she is one of few people who understands where I’m coming from and doesn’t judge me for the way I feel, the things I’ve done. Over the last few days however, things have fallen apart for her and this man she loves. I’ve watched while, in front of my eyes, she has slowly fallen apart, slowly broken down on the inside while trying to remain strong. It’s broken my heart.

After so many conversations with her about their relationship, with it so closely paralleling my own situation, I have hated watching him do this to her. Over the past couple days so many irrational thoughts of floated through my mind, manic thoughts of ways to get him back for hurting this girl I’ve come to care for so deeply. So many times, I’ve wanted to say the right things, do the right things to fix it for her because I hate to see her suffer. I hate to see the thoughts she won’t give breath to living behind her eyes, the questions she wants to ask, but won’t dare for fear of the answer. I’ve watched her all weekend, as her eyes wander off into space and I know what she must be thinking. I know what thoughts run through her head in those moments before she finally finds the mercy of sleep.
I know.

Mostly, it’s given way to what I call environmental fear. Fear born of other terrible things that happen to people you care for. I am afraid. For what is gonna happen to her, to her peace of mind, to her heart in future relationships. And also, as selfish as it may seem, I am afraid for me. For awhile it seemed that things with the both of our relationships were as great as they could be. And now that this thing has happened to tear them apart, am I too far behind? Can I do this again? Can I deal with the fallout? I know what my friend is going through because I’ve been there; am I brave enough to do it again? Brave enough to throw my hands up for this, to let the cards fall where they may, courageous enough to risk it not working out the way I want? I’m not sure.

How dare he hurt her this way. How dare he pursue her, promise her, only to discard her when she loved him so much, done so much for him, only pursued the shared dreams they had that he initiated. How dare he treat her this way for his cowardice.

And is this the norm? A man going back to what is familiar because it is easier, simpler, less work for him? Is this what I can expect?

I’m afraid. I will admit that. I don’t think I can risk going back here.

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