I’m not the type to cut people off. Yes, relationships grow apart. Sacred contracts end. But I don’t ditch you if you piss me off or hurt my feelings. I initiate open communication. I tell you I’m hurt. But I don’t build the Great Wall of China between us or block your phone calls.
I’m not suggesting that every relationship should be mended. Some are probably better left torn apart. But if you – like me – feel saddened by someone who has cut you out of their life, then you’ll get where I’m coming from. This letter is for anyone who disagrees with how I live my life enough to cut me out. (You know who you are.) And it’s for anyone else who doesn’t like how you live your life too. Feel free to pass it on. . .
I don’t expect you to agree with how I live my life. I know I live out loud. I say 4-letter words on the internet. I talk openly about my sex life in my book. I share my views on everything from abortion to my grab bag religion to Osama Bin Laden to orgasms, and everything in between. Maybe you wish I spoke my mind less. Maybe you wish I was more modest. Maybe you’d prefer I donned an apron and knew my place. I won’t venture to guess exactly what I’ve done that made you decide you’ve had enough and you’re better off without me.
But I do have a few things I want to say, even if you’re not listening.
I may not expect you to agree with me. I honor your right to have different thoughts on faith, sexuality, politics, or the terrorism in Norway. I respect your right to live a more private life than I do or to express yourself in a different way. I don’t mind if you think I’m being too narcissistic or too selfish or too “out there” or too whatever. You have a right to your opinion, just like I have a right to mine.
What I am upset about is that you won’t talk to me about how you’re feeling. You’ve completely eliminated all contact, without any explanation. You’ve left me second guessing myself, wondering which one thing pushed you over the edge and made you decide you’ve hit your wall. Not that I’d do anything differently, because honestly, I’m just doing the best I can, and I can’t recall anything I’ve done that might have hurt you. And if I did do something, love, it was unintentional, without intended malice. Usually, the ways in which I hurt people are errors of omission, accidental oversights, which can happen because I can be clueless sometimes without meaning to be.
This relationship is important to me. I’d be willing to see a counselor with you in order to mediate whatever has happened. I don’t give up on those I love easily, and I hope you won’t either. Let’s talk about this in a mutually respectful way. I will honor your feelings and validate your right to your opinion without getting defensive, as long as you refrain from lashing out, being unnecessarily belligerent, or treating me with blatant disrespect. I have my boundaries, and I don’t deserve to be treated that way (neither do you). So if you can’t honor that request, I will ask you nicely to stop, and if you can’t, I will walk out/hang up/press delete/not listen. Because I respect myself too much to let you try to squash me like a bug. I may long for reconciliation, but not at any cost. If I have to choose between a toxic relationship with you and no relationship, I choose nothing. I love you and I value our history, but life’s simply too short for toxic relationships.
Here’s what I have to offer you. I will love and respect you and all your differing values, beliefs, and life choices. I will communicate with you, open my heart to you, and give you permission to break my heart, because that’s the only way two people can truly love each other. I will cherish the process of getting to know all the nooks and crannies of your heart and soul, even the things you might be afraid to show me for fear of rejection. It will be these very things that will draw us closer.
Around me, you can also brag about what’s awesome in your life. You can call me when something fabulous happens. I will revel with you in your triumphs and lift you up when you’re flying high.
I will also lift you up when you feel like you’re falling. You can tell me your dark secrets. You can show me how you’ve been hurt. You can reveal what made you the way you are today. I will hold what you share sacred. I will never use these things against you. You can trust me to protect your heart.
But I can’t do these things if you cut me out. We have to be able to talk when things get tough. You have to trust that I can hear you out without having a hissy fit. I won’t. Not as long as you deliver your truth with love and respect. If you insist upon spewing vicious poison at me – and you can’t trust yourself not to do so – then yes, you’re probably right. We’re probably better off with only our memories.
I trust your heart. Only you know what’s right for you. But I believe in your capacity to expand your heart big enough to fit both of us in it – if you want to.
I also trust the process. I know that all relationships are sacred contracts, and some sacred contracts end. Perhaps we’ve reached the end of ours, and that’s okay. I will release you with love and wish you well, but I wanted to make one more attempt to repair what is broken between us.
If you’d like to talk, I’m here for you. If you’d prefer to write, take your time. If having a counselor to help us mediate a live conversation would be best, I’ll pick up the tab. You can even pick the therapist. Or I will. I’m open to whatever works best.
But the ball is in your court.
I’m here. I love you. If I’ve done anything to hurt you, I’m sincerely sorry. Let’s make contact. Let’s remember why we’re in a relationship to begin with. Let’s forgive each other and fill our hearts with compassion and tenderness. Let’s prioritize peace and reconciliation. Life is short – and unpredictable. Something could happen to one of us tomorrow. Let’s live knowing that, if one of us died tomorrow, we would have no regrets.