When you’re young, relationships are clearly defined. You either like someone or you don’t. You have a crush on them or you don’t. They’re your friend, or they’re not. As you get older, things get so much more blurry. Life in general has gotten more blurry to me. I imagine this is from the perspective of an INTJ, as almost every bit of it is emotionally involved, but I also imagine that life would be hard for almost anyone at this point. A lot of people try to equate all of their life to the MBTI, and while there is a lot of it that I can relate to, and I find it totally fascinating, it is not the whole of my being. I do have a terrible time with emotions. I am good at identifying when something is wrong. I’m reasonably decent at identifying the moment it’s wrong, although maybe not until later. I am terrible at identifying the actual reason or cause of whatever the wrong was until WAY later, usually after there has been some sort of lashing out, or breakdown, or something volatile.
Admittedly, things are always blurry between Mr. ENFP and me. He’s my best friend. We fooled around in high school, repeatedly, over a year period. We kept up with each other even though we lived across the state from each other. We saw each other a few times in college. While he has hardly been an active presence in my life until the past six months or so, nothing was ever allowed to run its course, so who knows what could have been. Almost always, I do not speculate on that. I’m reasonably happily married, and if given the opportunity to do it over, I am pretty sure I would stay the course I took, even knowing all of its flaws. But, now, Mr. ENFP and I are the best of friends, both going through a terrible time in life, and sharing emotions and feelings together, which for me is incredibly difficult. I have cried more on the phone with him than with anyone ever. I do not cry in public ever.
He’s dating a girl, who I have reasonably quietly contended is a decent person, but not the match for him. We’ve had this conversation a lot of times, but as nothing is really wrong with the relationship, he keeps plugging forward. In any case, we were talking, to which came the question of why he was up so late. Now, he says he said that “now, INTJ, you know we’re not supposed to talk about this,” and ended the conversation. I call bullshit. As the receiver of the conversation, I may not remember exactly how it went down, but that was not the end. That’s where it should have ended. And admittedly, what he shared was pretty benign, but I got way more knowledge about their sex life than I wanted. I kind of lost it. Not in that moment, but hours later, after it’d been stuck in my head for hours, I sent him a very dry, flat text message, which resulted in a very weird conversation with a lot of unrest.
The next day, I completely crashed. My dad, who is dying of lung cancer, sounds terrible, and the realization that we are closer to death than life firmly set in. As a person who seldom cries, I cried almost constantly. I had little sleep because my husband’s CPAP machine was buzzing and leaking. Mr. ENFP’s status was very unresolved. And, of course, impending death of my father was staring me in the face. I sent the following text message: “I didn’t really want to put all this in a text message, but I think I’m going to, and then we can talk about it later. I am overwhelmed and sleep deprived, and I have a dad who is dying of cancer, and I firmly believe he is dying. So add to that, I have a husband and a guy best friend who don’t know really what to do with each other because y’all are so different. Y’all both make snarky comments about each other which I immediately try to diffuse, but that adds to the exhaustion. But, I desperately need you both in my life or I’m going to crash and burn. And then there’s you. I teeter on the edge of feelings almost always. It warms up and cools off, and I refuse to acknowledge them, because I’m not leaving my marriage, and you’re not going to upset a marriage, so that’s that. And about 95% of the time, I’m just fine with my hypothetical Berlin Wall that stops all the feelings, until on the occasion that you talk about sex. And then I imagine it, which makes me angry because that’s never going to happen. I know that’s never going to happy. And not only that, you’re having newish relationship sex. I’m having I’ve been with this personal almost 11 years and we have a kid sex, which I ensure you is entirely different. And I’m jealous because I miss that, but also angry because then the feelings that I’m so good at containing aren’t contained anymore, and then add to that the lack of sleep and dying Dad, and it’s just too much. And I’m crashing and burning and nobody is even noticing. And I put this in a text message because every time I start to think about this, I cry, like sob, because I don’t know how to make any of it stop, and I can’t do that on the phone. So please be gentle. It’s not you. It’s entirely 100% me. I’m sorry for sending this in a text.” It followed later with a fairly one sided conversation, to which, as expected I cried on the phone. He related relationships as adults as giant piles of leaves that kind of blend together, where they may not have touched as kids. He spoke of how close we are, and how it’s easy for things to lean that direction. He was surprisingly not awkward. I tried to cry as little as possible. Sometimes I wonder what makes a friend one you hold onto versus one who you ditch. Several times, I should have ditched him; several times, he should have ditched me. Yet, we go on.
Two days later, things are a bit unresolved. They’re resolving, but I’m still always on the edge of tears about my dad, and the witty banter that Mr. ENFP and I always have hasn’t made its way back into the fray, probably because I am still so noticeably not 100%. In just shy of three weeks, we drive down to Baton Rouge to spend the evening with him. Currently, I’m more nervous than excited, but that’s three weeks from now. Because he’s so good at people, he suspected that feelings had crept back in. We had a really odd conversation about it, but even though it didn’t really apply to the current situation, it made total sense. And, as far as I know, I’m not being friend dumped, at least not for now. I would like to hope that there are mutual feelings on occasion, because so much of my life has been full of unrequited love, but then you come back to two hard stops for us both, so why does it even matter. Things will be ok. And if they’re not, at least my reservations are able to be cancelled.
My dad has an MRI of his head to check out his brain, with results Friday. To say that I am concerned and nervous is an understatement. Lung cancer metastasis to the brain isn’t necessarily a change in prognosis, but as my dad works as a chemist in a lab, it’d very likely be a huge change in life for him. It makes my chest tight to think about all of this. Per the American cancer society’s website, we are in the last two to three months of life, which puts his estimated death around my birthday. Not that I haven’t been cherishing every moment that I can with him, but I certainly have been holding every moment tight, especially the moments he shares with my son. But, for the first time, he really looks like a cancer patient.