A goodbye is usually one of the hardest things to come to terms with. Whether it is the death of a loved one, or the demise of a relationship, saying goodbye can be incredibly painful. While a death is something that is forced upon us, facing a situation where you choose to say goodbye can be even more gut-wrenching. Unfortunately, as painful as it can be, sometimes it is necessary to maintain your self-respect and dignity. I faced this dilemma just this week. I made the choice to say a very difficult goodbye.
A couple of months ago, I wrote about my amazing best friend and how much that relationship meant to me. As of yesterday, that friendship has come to an end. It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. So, what could lead to such a drastic change in just a couple of months?
The Beginning of the Goodbye
The evening of September 30th, I picked up a dog that I thought was going to be mine. A family that I tutored for was looking to re-home a dog that I thought was going to be a great fit. I bought all the necessary supplies and everything. My friend was super excited for me. However, from the moment I picked up the dog, I knew that this was not the dog for me. If you remember the story I wrote recently, I had been incredibly meticulous about finding the right dog for me. When I found out about this dog and the very unfortunate situation he was in, all that went out the window. Clearly, that was my first mistake. I wanted to get him a better situation and that is all I thought about.
By the next morning, I realized that I needed to find an alternative. I called several rescue organizations, including one that a friend of mine runs over an hour and a half away from my house. I took the dog to her. Instantly, as soon as she met him, one of the first things she said was that he was NOT a dog for a first time dog owner (me). He needed an experienced dog owner to work with him and get him ready for a home. She has twelve personal dogs, horses, and goats on her own personal farm. Her husband is a vet and she runs her rescue out of his clinic. As I said goodbye to him, I knew the dog couldn’t be in a better place and I completely trust her judgment. Unfortunately, my friend disagreed. He thought I overreacted and should have tried harder.
“Betrayed My Greatest Passion”
After a week of text message silence and a couple of polite “are you okay” messages during the Hurricane Matthew may-lay, he send me a text asking me if I would dog sit his dogs on a Friday night so he could go to a concert. I thought, “Great!” That had to mean he had forgiven me, right? I went to bed that night thinking just that. Unfortunately, the next day, he blew me off for an event we had been planning for MONTHS. We have always had our own language, so to speak, and by him doing that, I knew things were NOT right between us.
So, I finally asked him outright. He told me he was angry because I had “betrayed his greatest passion” (rescuing dogs). So, what it came down to was this: I was okay to spend my Friday night watching his dogs, but not to hang out with anymore. That didn’t sit right with me.The next day, he sent a text asking if we could forget the day before because it had been “a BAD day.” Our conversation ended up with:
Me: “To be honest, I know you. You judge and hang on to things. I feel like I am now on your list and things won’t be the same going forward.”
Him: “You’re probably right.”
Me: “So maybe it is best to cut ties…just on more amicable terms.”
I returned his key via his mailbox that evening and that was that. That was my goodbye. There was a suggestion that I should have been the bigger person and just accepted his “can we just forget about yesterday.” In my heart I knew it was just so he could have a dog sitter again. If he was still refusing to hang out with me, especially for an event we had been planning since March, he was not interested in being friends with me again. Why should I settle for being someone’s dog sitter?
I don’t feel that I did anything wrong. It would have been a disservice to the dog to keep him and not be the type of dog owner he needed me to be. I was simply the layover between his old (bad) situation and his new (good) situation. Why is that such a bad thing? Do I really want to be “friends” with someone who doesn’t see that? “It’s not like you kicked the puppy or threw it out in the street,” commented another friend. Precisely.
I had to realize our friendship would never be the same. For whatever reason, he would always judge me. Certainly, I had to stand up for myself and demand more respect that just being his dog sitter (regardless of how much I love his dogs). It is incredibly sad and painful that such a beautiful friendship came down to this. I will always cherish the memories the made and everything we were able to do for each other during the time we were friends. There are no ill feelings towards him. I have only sadness that, in the end, he wasn’t able to 1) see my perspective on what happened and 2) forgive me for the betrayal he feels I committed. Now, I guess I have to find a way to move on.
Have you ever had to say goodbye to a relationship that was an integral part of your life?