During a recent conversation about a current event, I was brought into close quarters with the threat of ending a relationship - something that has not happened to me in a very long time. It occurred at a discussion of general nature, but somehow turned to a specific event in the current media. The phrase "This answer is really important to our relationship" was used.
My mind froze. I had no answer ready at hand.
I have read of these circumstances occurring and more lately in certain circles, the ending of friendship and relationships over a particular political or religious belief. And I suppose that in all fairness these things have materialized in my own life as well, albeit as a simple drifting apart to maintain the peace. I can honestly say this was the first time in a very long time that it has occurred.
Ultimately, of course, this sort of conversation goes nowhere. Very few people are willing to immediately and right there end a relationship in the midst of a discussion, perhaps a heated one to boot. What will happen - at least what happened to me - was an instinctive and immediate curling of the soul into a ball that in some ways I do not know if I will ever come out of.
Finding another person's boundaries at the wrong moment is always a terrifying thing. In one second the genteel facades we all maintain to stay in communication falls away and we are forced to recognize that there is a limit which we will never be able to go beyond - perhaps more importantly, will never be willing to even test again. The world of that relationship shrinks a bit and from then on, only the safe and non-controversial topics are discussed - until often they, too, fall by the wayside in the general loss of communication.
This has happened once before with someone else, from an angle and a place I did not expect. And sadly - tragically perhaps - nothing was ever the same. In the rush and passion to prove a point, the long term goal of relationship - authentic trust and sharing - is shattered, perhaps never to return fully.