This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Relationship's rocky road

The one commonality every single person has is that we are all in a relationship. Relationships are the building blocks of humanity. Without relationships, mankind wouldn’t exist.

You’d think with all the centuries of practice we’ve had at building relationships, we’d all be experts by now. And yet, it is the one thing we are far from perfect at. In fact, I‘d almost say we’re regressing.

This column idea came to me after watching an interaction between a customer and clerk at a store. It was a heated interaction as the customer was angry about a return policy the store had, which the clerk was defending. 

For the brief moment that customer and clerk conversed, they were in a relationship. What amazed me was how two people who didn’t know each other prior to this meeting, were talking to one another — it wasn’t in a nice way.

And I remember thinking how we, as a society, seem to be failing at building relationships, however brief, to the point that we’ve lost basic respect for one another at times.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen a couple of relationships end this summer as well. My daughter and her best friend had a big fight, and now they are no longer friends.

In typical teen fashion, my daughter started choosing to hang out with her boyfriend over her best friend.

This understandably led to feelings of being left out and sadness by my daughter’s friend. My daughter of course, protected her allegiance with her boyfriend and the result was the end of their friendship.

What makes me sad about this ending is that I did this exact same thing to my best friend 25 years ago … and I learned my lesson.

I tried desperately to get my child to learn from my experience, but at 17, her choice is to learn it her way. Will they be friends again? I’m hopeful because this is their grad year and they need each other. But the adult side of me also knows this may well be it for them.

I have a lot of friends and some of them are acquaintances for the most part as we rarely see or speak to each other. But when we do get together, it's like we were never apart.

We follow each other on social media and make appropriate comments and likes on each others’ posts. And for us, that’s enough to keep the friendship going till we meet again; peppered with the occasional inappropriate text.

It’s our way of staying in touch, without staying in touch.

But then there’s those relationships that just come to a quiet end. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “people come into your life for a reason, a season, a change.”

Well sometimes that season lasts for years, and other times, it’s a few months – literally a season.

One of my friends is struggling with that “season” right now. Her marriage has ended and she and her spouse are establishing their own, new, single households. With that, came a change of friends.

They had a number of “couple” friends – the friends you meet and have when you’re part of a couple.

What my friend is struggling with is how their mutual friends have “picked sides.” And its been pretty predictable for the most part. Any of the friends that were his first, picked his side and vice versa.

She’s struggling though with losing some of her relationships as a result of that. Over the years of her marriage, she became close to some of the women on her husband’s “side.”

Now, she says it’s just awkward when they get together because these people still have strong relationships with her ex. Although she’s OK with it, she says she gets a sense they feel they’re betraying her ex by hanging out with her. So now these relationships are fizzling.

It occurs to me as I’m writing this, I’ll likely not see her ex again unless I run into him somewhere even though I think he is a good guy I always got along with. I was her friend before being his friend, so my relationship with her will stand.

It’s weird how that works. Without even realizing it, I subconsciously chose her side. She asked me what I thought she should do about the others, and I really had no clue.

When my marriage ended, both my ex and I lost relationships to the other side. But we also both kept some too – mostly family ones, but they are relationships that were and are still important to each of us.

I’d even go so far as to say I don’t think either of us harbour resentment at the other for still having these relationships with someone from “our side.”

Relationships are tough, and they require tons of work; whether the relationship is friend-based, spouse-based or temporary as in the grocery store clerk and yourself. Our need to connect and form bonds is primitive and deep-rooted.

As I end this, I hope my daughter and her bestie will make up and re-establish a new relationship with some new wisdom and acceptance on both sides.

And for my friend to understand the value of fostering the relationships that are there for her right now, and maybe letting go of the ones where the season has ended.

Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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