I am kind of numb.
Today was emotionally exhausting. Pearl and I had a lunch date to discuss what had become of our friendship. I was expecting some terse discussion about where we had been failing one another, but I was not prepared for a half hour of her lambasting me, my husband, my values, the way I live my life, and most of all the choice to be poly. She informed me in no uncertain terms that she wanted to hear absolutely nothing about it, that she didn't respect it, that she didn't feel it was right, and that our entire social circle felt the same way and that I needed to understand that my husband and I need to keep our deviations to ourselves because nobody was comfortable with it, and that I needed to really rethink my decision because my husband was really miserable.
Not really the tack I would have chosen to open negotiations for rebuilding a friendship.
I was sort of appalled that all of these things were coming out of her mouth. I slipped back into ultrapolite mode, which only happens when I completely withdraw from a situation, and let her know that I was sorry she felt that way, but that I was happy with the decisions I had made, that my life was very fulfilling, and that it was a good thing I have been building ties elsewhere, because it was obvious that I wasn't going to be able to get the support I needed from her. I also let her know that nothing was really going to change about my end of things, except that I would be attending fewer social events, and since I never see her outside of social events, this meant I would rarely see her, if at all.
What floored me most of all was the fact that after I said this, she said point blank, "but if there's anything else you want to talk about, I'm totally here for you. Let's do lunch again soon!"
I fled the restaurant as quickly as possible, and called Mr Unicorn to share how lunch went. He was livid, but we didn't have the time to really be able to talk. I texted and talked with various people throughout the rest of the workday, and eventually calmed down a bit.
When I picked Mr Unicorn up after work, we discussed what this breakdown would mean for our circle of friends. Since she was the only person we told about the poly business, there had obviously been some leakage of confidence somewhere along the line. We had been wanting to put off the poly talks with our circle for a while, but it looks like we're going to have to have them sooner rather than later so we can find out what people think they know, correct any misapprehensions, and share our open door policy for any questions they may have.
When we got home, Pearl was waiting for us in the driveway. Apparently I had accidentally sent a text to her instead of someone else, and she was incredibly hurt by the tone of it (last nail in the coffin of our dying friendship sort of thing).
She yelled at me for a bit. I spoke incredibly calmly about things. She cried. I apologized for the text, and explained the mistake. She said she left lunch feeling like she had attacked me. I agreed. She complained that she felt like I had changed, that I had let her down over and over, that I just hadn't been appreciating the work she was trying to do to bring us together. I confirmed that I had changed, that I was no longer okay with her trying to make me into someone I wasn't, and that I don't feel like she has actually seen me for the person I really am for a very long time. Years of hurt on both sides was being dragged into the light.
There was a lot of crying and a lot of discussion, but I think we may have found one another again. It's going to take a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it in the end. We parted on good terms, hopeful for the future.
Mr Unicorn is still furious with her. I don't blame him. She said some truly awful things today. I'm not really mad anymore, because I feel like a conclusion has been reached and the outcome that I desired has been achieved. I forgive her because I'm sure she was talking mostly from hurt and anger. I forgive her because that's just who I am.