Most of my friends are married. That's just what happens when you're married for 9 years. Even when you suddenly... aren't.
I love my married friends. Love them.
But if I'm being most honest, it's bittersweet to spend time with them and their husbands.
The Sweet--- I enjoy their men and have a blast when we're all together. I love watching my friends come alive in unique ways when they are with their husbands. I find joy in observing their interactions, of seeing the love between them in the smallest of things: unconscious gestures, a kiss on the top of her head, a hand-hold, him unloading the dishwasher while she cooks. I love seeing my friends treated well.
The Bitter--- I am painfully aware of what I don't have, of what I've lost. I ache even for things I now realize I never had to begin with. It makes me miss so much. I miss being held. I miss having endless history and still so much to discover. I miss having someone to call mine who loves calling me his.
I hesitate to say any of this because I don't want people to be self-conscious in front of me.
Just this weekend I shared these thoughts out loud with a married friend for the very first time.
I also told her that I don't want her to change anything.
I don't want people to walk on eggshells when I'm around or be less affectionate with their spouses.
Because there are moments when the bitter and the sweet collide in a beautiful symphony that leaves me hopeful.
I become hopeful for what could be, for what might be. I become hopeful to see and understand how I deserve to be treated. I become hopeful that I may get to experience that someday.
So, married friends, don't change anything when I'm with you and your husband.
And, single friends, listen closely for that beautiful symphony of hope when you're around married couples.
It's right there in the bittersweet.