When the s**t hit the fan with the ex, I immediately called three people — two close girl friends and my mom. For a long time, they were the only people I told and certainly the only people I leaned on for support. And they were amazing, in so many ways. But as more people in my life started to find out, I was utterly stupified by how hugely compassionate and kind all of them were, but especially my male friends. (Yes, including the three that have driven me to go on a six-month sex sabbatical..)For starters, having my fiance get so freaked out that he needed to have “space” for awhile, definitely made me question the existence of male emotional availability. But when word started to get around that my relationship was stalled or over (depending on how I was looking at it), so many of my friends offered their support. I expected as much from my female friends — you can always count on the ladies to help you numb the pain of a breakup with wine and a little smacktalk — but I didn’t expect my guy friends to be equally as empathetic. Here’s a bit of an email I got from a guy friend after he found out about my breakup:
I know everyone tells you in the long run it’s for the best and maybe in your heart you even know that. But none of that really helps in the short term. I’m just sorry this stuff happens to good people. Wish I could tell you what to do; wish I knew someone cool in New York to hook you up with; wish I could wave a wand and make the hurt go away. What I can tell you is that of all the women I met in almost two years in New York City is that you were the coolest one of all, and the only one I’ve bothered to stay in touch with. I say that only by way of providing some evidence for my knowledge that you will not be alone and/or unhappy for long. But I am sorry to hear the news.
Amazingly open-hearted and sensitive, huh? Reading emails like that, from men, made me realize that emotional disconnection is not an inherent trait in all men. Another guy friend send me an IM the other day, which said:
I can honestly say that you’re too great of a woman to not find someone who appreciates you and makes you happy. I always thought that you made a great girlfriend. Besides the stuff that made you a cool person, you clearly doted on and took care of [redacted], but made your own space for yourself and for him. You were one of the few girls I’ve met who understood that being a couple didn’t mean being one person.
And those were two I haven’t tried to bone, can you believe? Let’s continue with more boy friend love. As I should have known, the Guys On My IM could be counted on for more than just hilariously honest answers to my prying sex questions. The Experienced Guy wrote out of the blue:
I wanted to say I’m sorry. I hope you’re taking good care of yourself. And I’m sure you’re getting many offers like this from people better suited to it than me, but if you ever wanna chat — I’m, of course, a Guy with a lot of Experience — I’m of course always around.
When I changed my relationship status on Facebook to single, so many people I haven’t talked to in a while came out of the woodwork, including a male friend I only see once a year, at most. He wrote:
If you feel like grabbing a tea and talking about it I am good for those kind of things…or if you just want me to punch the dude in the face.
Since when are men “good” for talking to about relationship problems and emotions and all that other girly nonsense? Well, going by the dudes in my life, they are good for that now.