I was watching some old school Frasier last night in bed with my significant other, in particular, the episode where Lilith returns after finding a letter from Frasier asking for reconciliation – the problem is, she finds it a year later, when both have moved on and started new lives.
Struggling with raising their child alone, Lilith is undergoing a self esteem crisis and feeling like her strength is waning. While Frasier is still in the early stages of reestablishing his life in a new city, away from his little boy and forcing a reforging of relationships with estranged family.
After falling into bed and then realising the morning after they are simply being scared, Lilith is upset with herself and admits her mindset. Frasier makes her look in the mirror and says to her:
"Oh, Lilith, Lilith, here, here, come with me here. [guides her to the mirror] Now, listen, look in there, tell me what you see. [she can't say anything] All right, I'll tell you what I see. I see the same strong-willed, dynamic, intelligent woman I married seven years ago. Listen, you're just suffering a temporary lapse — divorce does that to you. [turns her around to face him] Listen, I won't say anything as trite as "someday you'll find someone." But I know this: I know you, and I know that no matter what the future holds in store for you, you'll handle it."
To my partner, this seemed like an odd thing for one ex to say to another. That they would say something so positive, that reassures the other that they are like what they were when things were good between them. When they are no longer together.
To me, this (that it seemed odd), seemed odd, and it got me thinking about the fact that I am a bit of a odd one. And that I feel very lucky to be this way.
For me, I have always remained friends with most of my exes, except for a select few where the circumstances dictated this wasn’t possible or something that was a good choice for me. I 100% believe you can be friends with an ex and see all the glory in them that you saw when you first got together, while maintaining a platonic friendship. Afterall, just because things didn’t work out with you romantically, that doesn’t change who they are as a person (in most cases) or why you found them so great to be around at the start (again, in most cases).
Most central to my understanding of this kind of friendship and the possibility of ongoing support minus the romantic entanglement is the fact that my ex-husband and I are best friends. And not in the way that people say they are friends and have to work at it, or are friends for appearances, due to circumstances forcing them to interact, or because they can’t bear to cut the ties and therefore try and let it wane away to nothing, or anything like that.
We are legitimately best friends, and for no other reason than that we want to be.
We don’t have kids together (although he has two children who I adore and obviously want to keep contact with) and I am (fortunately in some cases, unfortunately in others) not in contact with his family or wider social group.
We are just the best of friends.
We want each other to be happy. No matter what that means.
We are interested in each others lives – our ups and our downs.
I regularly support him, buck him up, and remind him of the awesome person that he is.
He regularly does the same for me.
And neither of us blink an eye, its just what we do.
We are there for each other. We want each other to be happy, even when that isn’t with each other.
I had always heard that this is the case when you truly love someone – that you want them to be happy, no matter what that means for you. There is no jealousy. Just love. Just support. Just wanting them to be happy in your bones. Sure you may worry, or be sad, or concerned dependent on the situation, but deep down, you truly and genuinely just want them to be happy.
I never really thought that was possible to honestly feel that to that level, but now I know that it is indeed. Because that is what I experience now, every day.
We know that our relationship is something that many don’t understand. We talk about it often, regularly exclaiming that we are ‘the weirdest divorced couple we know’ because of the sheer level to which we support each other and our new relationships, and how we can talk about our past and our present so frankly and openly and honestly, so we can keep things operating on the best possible level.
There is no doubt that we both feel extremely lucky that while our romantic relationship may not have lasted, that we are able to continue supporting each other in this new way, which brings value to each of our lives.
When romantic ties end, I know it isn’t always possible to be friends due to a large range of reasons and sometimes, the best choice for one or both is to cut those ties for safety, for happiness, for peace of mind, to move on.
But for me, this just hasn’t been the case, and I feel so lucky for that.
He has known me at my absolute worst, and he still has my back. I know all the skeletons in his closet, and have dragged him off the ground more times than once, and I still have his.
Romantic love is tricky. Being a life partner for someone is tricky. Especially when outside forces are conspiring against you.
But I am glad that I can be lucky enough to have a friendship like this, and that the Frasier scene to me seems so natural – not like a big strange effort, or a odd thing to say. Just natural, normal, friendship between people who love each other as friends. I hope that this can stay true for me 🙂
- TV EPISODE QUOTE FROM http://www.kacl780.net/frasier/transcripts/season_1/episode_16/the_show_where_lilith_comes_back.html
- IMAGE (AND A LOOK AT THE EPISODE OVERALL FOR THOSE THAT ARE INTERESTED) FROM http://www.tvovermind.com/frasier/frasier-season-1-episode-16-review-show-lilith-comes-back