Today’s post comes from Crystalbay
It’s said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. My friendship with Greg is the most enduring and unusual of any I’ve ever experienced. It began precipitously in 1974, when a girlfriend and I picked him up at a bar during my too-short window between marriages. He was strikingly handsome, gregarious, and lonely. He’d recently moved from Texas and had no friends.
He also, as it turned out, disco danced better than John Travolta! It didn’t take long before I had a schoolgirl crush on the guy. We dated briefly before he told me, “I just want to be friends”. In other words, he wasn’t attracted to me “that way”. This was more than just a little disappointing for me. A few months later, I met the man who would be my second husband. He was no where near as attractive to me as Greg was, but he filled a big hole in my life at that time.
Greg and I drifted away from each other, but I wondered for years whatever happened to him. There was no way I could find him because he’d legally changed his name to “Sean”. Thirty years later, we found each other. On Match.com
no less. Our faces had changed, but I looked familiar to him. He messaged, “Are you Nancy with the laughing face?”. He remembered my fondness for that old Sinatra song!
We’d both been divorced for two years. He came to the cottage the next night and we sat in my double rocker in front of a glowing fire, sipping wine. I’d also put on some romantic music. We talked for many hours about the 30 years apart and all that life had brought us. I, of course, was flooded with thoughts of “This was meant to be!! Fate brought us back together!!” As he was about to leave, we shared a kiss. This nailed it for me. “This was meant to be!!!!”
A few days later on the phone, I alluded to my romantic interest in him – and he said, “I just want to be friends, Nance”.
Once again, I was crushed. This is where the story gets interesting. If I couldn’t have a full relationship with the guy, I wanted nothing to do with him, but he kept calling and calling and calling. It took about a year for me to move past my strong desire for him and begin to accept that he really meant what he’d said about being friends.
That was ten years ago, and to this day he phones me almost daily. For ten years. We’ve engaged in lively conversations over 3,000 times since we reconnected, some of them highly stimulating, some of them just checking in, and some of them boring. Our primary subject has been relationships and the gaping difference between men and women. At this point, he’s probably gotten half a million dollars worth of free therapy as I stayed by his side through years of gripping depression. What he’s given to me is one person in my life who’s genuinely interested and caring about the day to day I refer to this rare kind of friendship as “tracking”. He’s my only tracker, wanting to know every detail of my life’s unfolding story. Having this consistent dialogue allows for everything to be held in a context. Most friendships require “catching up” because time passes between contact. With Greg and me, only one day passes.
Throughout the years, we’ve learned about the struggle between men and women from each other. I get the male side from him; he’s gets the female side from me. I’ve named him the“King of Match.com
” because a good looking guy his age is a very rare commodity. There were times when he’d meet a new woman five times a week. I don’t think he’s ever gone more than a few days without some romantic involvement. He’s had a few long term girlfriends (meaning a year). I inquire about every one of his romantic escapades and give unsolicited feedback. He’s a master at listening and loving to hear women’s stories even if there’s little attraction. Unfortunately for him, and even though I’ve helped him fully understand the psychology of his wounding, his childhood history continues to manifest by being attracted only to the very women emotionally unavailable for a long term commitment.
Never once in all of these years have we angry or disappointed in one another. That alone is pretty rare, I think. He’s told me that I know more about him than any other human being in his life. This goes both ways. In fact, he’s never wanted me to meet one of his girlfriends out of fear that something will come out of my mouth that could jeopardize his new relationship. Given that I can be somewhat unfiltered at times, he’s wise to not introduce us. Over the years, several of his cast-offs have recognized me where I dance and, because every woman he’s dated knows all about me, they approach, asking, “Do you know Sean? Are you Nancy?”. I have to remind myself that I’m the only person in his life who stubbornly still calls him “Greg”. If any of these women knew how much he’s told me about them, they’d be more than a little distraught.
He continues his determined search for a woman with whom he can go the full distance, while I’ve discontinued dating five years ago. And, we continue our daily chats. I’ve helped teach him how to feel; he’s helped teach me how to stay rational. In the season, reason, or lifetime frame, this poor man is definitely a lifer.
What is the story of your BFF?