Monday, 7 September 2015

Rebuilding burnt bridges: your job or mine?

Let me give this a little context, given that there have been several over the years.

You do something that lets me down terribly, that causes great pain, that calls into question everything I believed our close relationship to be, something that has repercussions among my friends and family…so I step away from you in shock and disappointment.

Surprisingly, this is not the outcome you anticipated.

Some years later, a mutual friend delivers a message, your message: ‘the bridges aren’t burnt’.

That’s generous – to inform me that the damage I caused can still be undone. Because that is what you mean – that I can come back to you and all will be forgiven and forgotten.

Um, wee problem here. How have you twisted that situation so that I am invited to rebuild the bridge that you burned? When did that become my responsibility? Because in your grandiose statement, ‘the bridges aren’t burnt’ you are offering to forgive me. You’re saying, ‘I’m here anytime you want to build that bridge.’ 

It’s clever. Even as I write this I’m almost talking myself around.

So let’s get this straight: if you want something to happen here, you get to build the new bridge.
I’d start with an apology.

But if that’s too much, I’d start with a point of recognition – of the day you did something so monumental you fucked this relationship.

When you see that, and own it, and still want to say the bridges aren’t burnt…start building.
And tell me a really safe spot to meet you on and talk to you, if I decide I am interested in your bridge.

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