Adventures & Insights

One man's adventures in the physical and intellectual worlds…

Something Needs To Be Undone.

While I was out walking tonight I wrote and rewrote this introduction in my head. Then I realised that I was manipulating you with it, wanting to explain myself in detail. It’s not my place to do that – especially not tonight. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know two things – that I don’t generally write serious posts and that I haven’t posted in my usual fashion (i.e. regularly) for about a month now.

Tonight’s post was written initially in response to my fryber Renée’s post The Compromise, written earlier this month. I don’t think it was exactly what she was expecting when she asked for people’s stories about relationships that they knew were doomed from the start. I think she was after bittersweet but I am so thoroughly ashamed of this that I can’t even describe it.

Sometimes, when I talk about life with some of my friends, they talk about me being a good, decent guy. I laugh at them and shrug off the compliment because if I was such a good guy – how could I have ever done this?


She was the only woman to ever fight for me. I denied her time and time again but she never gave up. I was as strong as I could be, but she was infinitely stronger. I justified giving in by telling myself that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. But I knew better.

I won’t lie – I loved her. It didn’t happen immediately but over time I started telling myself that it could work. She was there for me. We spent so much time with each other that we were practically living together. She introduced me to her friends and family, bought me gifts and helped me furnish my new apartment. She acted as though I was the only one for her, but that was all part of her lie.

She had always made things clear to me, although I never understood how she could say the things she said and still do the things she did. It was confusing to hear that he was her soul-mate; the only one she could ever love and then to have her lying naked in my arms. To have her say that I was just a friend-with-benefits, then hear her admit jealousy at seeing me receiving attention from other women.

I’d never been the other man before and I’d had no practice at being insensitive about this kind of thing. I could never separate physical and emotional love and even though I knew the way this would end, I was completely unprepared. My best friend had warned me, reinforcing the need for me to walk away before I got hurt but somehow, I didn’t see it coming. Before long though, she found another plaything. She continued for a while to remain friendly, telling me all about her new best friend. Whether she had any idea of the pain she was inflicting I’ll never know.

On an average night, without ceremony or fanfare, she said that she couldn’t be friends with me anymore. She asked me to say nothing about what we had done. I wished her and her soul-mate all the best in life. With that she was gone. Never once looking back to see what she had done. I’ve never been the same since, but I doubt she even remembers my name.


Of all the things I’ve done in my life I’ve only ever had one REAL regret. If I could change anything that has happened in my past I would take this back. I’ve not let it rule my life, but it certainly has changed it.

19 responses to “Something Needs To Be Undone.

  1. Liz McLennan February 25, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Oh, wow. Where the HECK have you been all my [cyber]life? This is raw, Christian. And lovely and piercing and it made me squirm uncomfortably even as I scrolled down, wanting more.

    I hope that putting this out there..erm, here…will help ease the burden you’ve carried, unknowingly. I suspect that you’ll feel free-er, lighter now. Wishing for all things good and magical to fill the space where this old pain reigned for far too long.

  2. Life From the Trenches February 24, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Regret is powerful. It seems like everyone flys the “no regrets!” banner today. I have no regrets! All my mistakes made me who I am today! I wouldn’t change a thing! All of that is wonderful and makes for a nice little banner BUT I think that when we’re truly, painfully honest with ourselves, most of us over the age of 18 have at least a thing or two that we regret. I know I do.
    Beautifully written — I came over from Renee’s blog. I’m looking forward to reading more when you have time to write more (something else I completely relate to)!
    Amy

  3. Pingback: From Music To Life: A #LessonLearned by Christian Emmett « Lessons From Teachers and Twits

  4. Man of Steele November 21, 2011 at 6:41 am

    In a “general” sense, without going into too much specifics, this post alone works against your argument. Knowing you, as I do, “I’ve not let it rule my life, but it certainly has changed it.” while accurate, is also a misstatement. You have given it more power than you realise.
    If this was an experience that you attempt to recreate, or an experience that you enjoyed, then you might have reason to be concerned about your perceived social standing amongst your friends and mates.
    The Shame and Regret that you feel and the title of the blog show that you feel this is not your proudest moment.
    If Guilt were to be assigned on a lump sum basis. (The guilt of cutting someone else’s grass) I’d warrant that a reasonable share for you might be 25%. The other 75% she should bear.
    While that in no way lessens the guilt you feel, you should be a little easier on yourself.
    There are extenuating circumstances that also prove your only human.
    If I were a single virile Male who was languishing in a gap between “drinks” being persued aggressively by an attractive Female who would not take No for an answer. I despair at how long I could have held out for.
    Predatory Women do exist.
    Predatory Men exist in Far greater numbers.
    The remorse you feel proves that your not in that category.
    I was involved in a situation about 16 years ago where a mate of mine ended up getting Raped.
    (not by me).
    My involvement in the events leading and surrounding that situation form my greatest regret.
    That’s a whole nother story tho.
    While difficult you should try to limit the amount that this bears down on you.
    And I’m always happy to take that couch off your hands🙂

    • Christian Emmett November 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Mate, first of all I feel terrible for the violation that your friend experienced. No-one should ever endure that.

      I know you’re right about punishment suiting the crime; I just always thought I was a better person than to let it happen in the first place.

  5. skippingstones November 21, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Christian, sometimes we do things that compromise our morals or beliefs or opinions of ourselves. The reasons why we do them are as varried as the ways we compromise ourselves. Ultimately, in my opinion, we do them because we want to. The allure, the draw, the temptation, the desire…whatever…is too much and we don’t resist.

    There are things I’ve done that are so bad that I will never reveal them. Even if I were completely anonymous, I would not dare. So first, you’re by no means alone in feeling guilt. There are moments when these things flit across my memory and I am devestated once again to remember that I am not entirely who I perceive myself to be. Certainly not who others think I am.

    But secondly, we are by no means defined by the moments of our lives. We are created by those moments, they all come together to make us who we are. But they do not, in and of themselves, represent the wholeness of who we are. You don’t look at a leaf and call it a tree. You stand back and take it all into consideration: all the leaves, the limbs and the branches, the trunk and the bark.

    But there is a foundation you can’t detect with your eyes, but you know it is there: the base, the roots, the underlying structure on which this tree stands. The nurishment flows through here, and it cannot be compromised by the altering of a single leaf. Or even of many.

    It’s autumn where I live, and the leaves are falling. In the spring, new leaves grow in their place. You know what? This happens every single year. Amazing, isn’t it?

    Life’s like that too. We can’t hold on to the leaves of seasons past forever. They grow brittle and they crumble at our touch. Let them go, let them be mulch; let them benefit our future instead of being a decaying reminder of our past.

    You are a good person. You did something you wish you had not done. You say it changed your life forever, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Because you would not do that same thing again. And that is enough. So let go of your guilt.

    If you weren’t a good person, this wouldn’t have bothered you at all.

    • skippingstones November 21, 2011 at 4:59 am

      Sorry: varied and nourishment

      I regret doing this one on my phone🙂

      • Christian Emmett November 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

        Hehehe, I feel your pain when it comes to writing replies on the mobile phone!

        You’re right, we can’t hold onto these things and it’s not something that I bring up or focus on. I would certainly never repeat this kind of thing, it’s just one of those splinters that I haven’t gotten all the way out yet.

        I find it hard to believe that you’ve done something so terribly bad that you couldn’t ever talk about it. Just know that whatever it might be, there are plenty of people (myself included) who would never think less of you because of it.

  6. The Edmonton Tourist November 21, 2011 at 3:57 am

    But you can’t look at it like that or you can never heal. Look at it from an outsiders perspective, then reevaluate the moment.take the lesson learned and file it away for a time when you need to remember it.
    I have a similar regret. I remember thinking in the moment “why do I do this to myself?” love makes you do out of character things…. Or is that the true character after all? I’m still heartbroken and it changed my life forever but the learning lessons were invaluable and I wouldn’t trade those for anything.
    Beautiful post Oracle!

    • Christian Emmett November 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks, ET, you are a wonderful friend!

      I can happily say that what I did was completely out of character for me, although I have also wondered the same thing about inner truth.

      I hope that your heartbreak is mending though and that you have some wonderful support in your life from your husband and family. Take it from your Oracle; the better days are all coming up soon!😉

  7. Renee Schuls-Jacobson November 20, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Christian:

    You know I saw this on the first go round. And it is even better now. I hope by putting it out there, you are able to exorcize some demons. Your prose in this piece is exquisite. And let’s not lie: not every adventure is pretty. So proud of you. And here for you. Always.

    • Christian Emmett November 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      I don’t know whether it’ll make a difference and I’ll be honest – I was (and still am) scared that saying it out loud may still cause some harm.

      Such is life though; thank you for giving me the nudge I needed to let go of this a little bit.

  8. Freda November 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    – talk about !~@#$ – if you learnt something from it, then move on. As the old adage goes, don’t cry over spilt milk. There also is, you made your bed, now sleep in it. But come on, you deserve better than this. Make sure that you get better than this!!!!! You would not wish this on any of your friends, and I am sure none of them (including myself) want you to wallow in this reality.
    Please, please, please . . . how can you wish the best for others and not accept the same?

    • skippingstones November 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Hah! I like you Freda! I went on an on about a stupid tree and you just laid it out. Fantastic last line. So many good people do that to themselves – are so hard on themselves.

      It’s interesting though, the things we hold on to – hold against ourselves – that our friends are just like, “And? You’re still upset about that?!” Christian, I hope putting this in writing for the world to see has been helpful. Clearly, your friends all think you’re pretty great.

      • Freda November 26, 2011 at 12:50 am

        hi skippingstones! Thanks for the post. I tend to be a bit blunt with friends, though the rest of time I beat about the bush. Christian is a great friend, and I am sure he will get a great partner round the corner soon enough.

    • Christian Emmett November 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Hahaha, thanks Fred. I wallowed in it for a while after it happened, but years have passed now and I’ve only ever remembered it as a “what not to do” situation.

      • Freda November 26, 2011 at 12:47 am

        I would almost think that you were a tad taken back by my comments, seeing as you replied mine last… Yes I check the time stamps LOL. Thanks for sharing your story, and I do hope you keep writing. I love to hear them, whether fact or fiction, jest or not. Cheers!

        • Christian Emmett November 26, 2011 at 9:12 pm

          Let me put your mind at ease Fred – I wasn’t taken aback at all.🙂

          Thanks for the straight-talk my friend, I know I can always count on you. I will be writing more; unfortunately things have just been a little busier than usual lately.

          Thank you for continuing to read!🙂

  9. Freda November 20, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    – bloody hell –

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