Do you want to hear a story about how I became friends with Mike's ex-girlfriend? It's interesting and, yes, awkward, too. But it ends ... well, read on.
When Mike and I first began dating, we did what most new couples do—we stayed up all night for days at a time, discussing parents, friends, dreams, exes. And because I had known Mike (kinda, sorta) through Crystal, some of the stories he shared with me those first few nights I had already heard. I knew who Kristie, his most recent ex-girlfriend, was. I had actually met her, albeit briefly, months before Mike and I began dating, at an engagement party I co-hosted for Crystal. I can't stress enough that Mike and I rarely spoke during the years we were acquaintances. We were never interested in one another until a month before we began officially dating, when he hooked me with free access to his bar tab. It's funny, actually, as there were times throughout the years we knew one another when he was single, and Crystal tried to set him up with a slew of our sorority sisters, but never me. We'd sit at lunch, she and I, talking about her friend Mike, and how he needed a date for this or that party, and I never (seriously, not once) thought of myself as an option.
But once we were together, I obviously took more of an interest in his past, in him. And I knew that Kristie and he were still friends. It didn't bother me, per se, but for nearly two solid years I was curious and inquisitive when she'd call. It wasn't until we moved to DFW—where she also lived—when I mentioned to him I wanted to meet her.
imagine that sounds odd, right, but I couldn't (and wouldn't) bring
myself to ask him to stop being friends with her. They had a history,
and she was important to him. If they hadn't worked out romantically
and wanted to stay friendly, that was OK with me. (One of my very best
friends, to this day, is someone I had strong feelings for; feelings I
only fully got over after meeting Mike. And Mike has never had a
problem with this friendship, and he was as touched as I was when my
friend traveled half-way around the country to be a guest at our
wedding.) But, I knew I could only be OK with Mike's friendship with
Kristie if I met her. I had to know she wanted only what Mike wanted—a friendship.
Mike and I stumbled upon her MySpace profile one day, along with some
other high-school friends of his, and I mentioned to him again that he should set up lunch/dinner/drinks to introduce us.
(I think I should tell you a little about Mike before I go on. I think we all know how much I adore my husband. But, really, all feelings aside, he's an incredible man. He doesn't like to cut people out of his life and I've only seen him do so a handful of times. Each time it was excruciatingly painful for him, but ultimately necessary for his well-being. He is loyal and kind, and I knew in my heart, back then, that he was over this relationship. But it wasn't in him to make some dramatic announcement about ending their friendship. He was OK introducing us, if that's what I wanted/needed and the day he suggested to her that we should all get together I felt very loved by him. I imagine you're scratching your head a little bit, and I would be too if I were you, but trust me, I know my husband. I knew, back then and now, that he loved me and wanted to do what he could to make me feel better about a friendship that was [and is] important to him but was nothing more than a friendship.)
interested in meeting me. It seemed to me, back then, that she wanted
to stay in his life without meeting the person who was sharing his
life. I wasn't OK with that, and Mike knew this.
Then, a few weeks later, I got an e-mail from a friend, telling me about a blog Kristie had written about me. So, I read it. Now, here's where the shit could ultimately have hit the fan. I showed Mike the blog, and we talked about it. I decided—and he supported me—that I was going to send her an e-mail via MySpace. She never seemed to be a bad or malicious person, and I knew this was just a painful situation that we needed to deal with. I wrote her a note and, in short, explained myself, my feelings and my thoughts on the whole messy subject.
Three weeks later we met for dinner. It was weird, yes. It was odd, definitely. But it felt necessary and right.
That was two years ago and since then I co-hosted a baby shower for her, she attended our engagement party, my bachelorette party and wedding shower. We've seen dozens of movies together, had dinners and lunches and, well, she's a frequent commenter on this blog (and vice versa). She's actually one of my BlogHer roommates.
You need a drink, don't you?
I try to avoid "explaining" myself too much in life. My choices are mine, and I make them because they are best for me (well, my choices past the age of 23). Mike and I are deeply in love and I don't doubt his commitment to me. I believe in us, but, yes, his ex-girlfriend is in our circle of friends. It probably wouldn't work if Kristie wasn't who she is, a very kind and gracious person. It probably wouldn't work for you, and that's OK. It works for us. I could have stomped around and thrown ridiculous fits pleading with Mike to make a choice, our relationship or their friendship. And let's be honest, those thoughts absolutely occurred to me. A part of me wanted him to stop talking to her to prove how much he loved me. But that's not the kind of woman I wanted to be. And that's not the kind of man I wanted to love.
sharing this story, ultimately, because it's something I'm rather proud
of. The three of us took a very awkward and painful situation and
turned it into something positive. We were all mature and adult enough
to have handled this the way we did, and I'm proud of that.
In life we're presented with uncomfortable situations and the option to avoid or to face them. Hopefully, if we face them with tact and grace, we become better for them. We become stronger and smarter.
I am better because I know her.
If you aren't reading Kristie's blog, you should be. She's funny and quirky and she has an adorable baby boy. Oh, and if you see us together at BlogHer, well, now you know the story. You can either shake your head at us or buy us a drink. Just in case, I'll take a glass of champagne. She'll have something fruity and frozen.