Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Emotional Distance

Sometimes it surprises me how emotional distance can develop.
To be honest, I am not really even sure how it starts.  Irritation, perhaps, or perhaps even a smoldering anger  just below the surface that makes things difficult to discuss.  Or perhaps things happen less dramatically.  Less shared interests with anyone lead to less shared time and less shared conversations about those things.

And then all of a sudden, you find you are emotionally different.

It happens across all relationships.  It happens with family.  It happens with those who are friends, sometimes even with those that have been friends for long periods of time.  And certainly it happens within the closest of relationships.

It is odd, if you sit and look at it clinically.  At one time you find you were the closest of people:  you spent part of every day together, shared interests and weekends, dreamed dreams and made plans.  This person or persons were an integral part of not just your life, but your everyday existence.  You could simply just not imagine life without them

But then you wake up weeks or months later and suddenly realize you have not spoken or thought of them in a very long time.

I understand that people change and perhaps we underestimate the impact of that upon relationships.  if the relationship does not grow as the people in it grow and almost natural chasm seems to develop.  If conscious effort is not made to bridge that chasm, it drifts farther and farther apart until you almost seem like strangers that never met.

It makes me melancholy, this ending of things.  Perhaps it is simply a part of living.  

But every time it happens, a little of the magic of life seems to disappear.


Rev. Paul said...

Sometimes it is the absence of daily contact, in the case of distant friends. Those from whom we can be separated for months or years, but upon reacquaintance, it's like no time has passed at all.

Others? Well, it's like Tim Allen's neighbor "Wilson" once explained: "Have you been best friends for 20 years? Or were you best friends, 20 years ago?"

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

A very good point, Reverend Paul. My corollary (Wilson's quote is great) is sometimes when I get together with people I have not seen in a while, we easily pick up in where we are as people now. For others, interactions quickly regress to the last time we were in close contact. There seems to be an inability or a lack of recognition in those cases that people change - our result is to revert to that which we know instead of the unknown.

Rev. Paul said...

You're right about the "where we are as people now"; I should have said it that way. The guy who was my first new friend after leaving the Navy in '77, and my best man in '80, is still like a brother. We don't see each other often, and exchange an occasional e-mail, but we're still instantly close. In fact, I'll be having breakfast with him & his wife later this month, when I travel to the Midwest. Haven't seen him in 4 years, but that doesn't matter to us.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I know the feeling. Two of the three of my best men are still my best friends. Even though we physically see each other every 2-3 years it is like no time has passed at all. Yet oddly enough, these are the only two left from almost 45 years of friendship.