Yep. I think that pretty much sums it up. My oldest, dearest friends are looking like they're going to split up.
I've known Nick since around 1995, when I was working in my first job as a Mainframe Operator at the Brisbane City Council. He had worked with my Dad as a chainman in the Survey Section of the Works Department before that. I think he was engaged to Susan from the point that I knew him.
Nick's a top bloke. Really cool, funny, with a really quick, smart mouth. He's in his thirties now, so he must have been about 22 or 23 when I first met him. As an 18 year old, I hero-worshipped him.
I can't remember what year they got married, but I went to their wedding. The one thing that has stayed with me to this day is a line from Nick's speech at the reception. It went something along the lines of
Marriage is the ultimate game, and I'm in it to win it.with some sort of reference to football (he's always been an avid Rugby League and Touch Football player.
Nick left the Brisbane City Council to work for Australia Post, intially as a postman, and later as a night sorter. Susan was always a paediatric nurse. We shared many a drunken party, camping trip, dinner, and picnic together. I have a fantastic photo from a camping and fourwheel drive trip to Stradbroke Island, which I used to proudly display until I broke up with the girlfriend who was also in the photo.
I moved to Canberra. I was never very good at staying in touch with people, but the one set of friends I always called, and always made a point of visiting when I was in Brisbane were Nick and Sue. Nick wasn't always fantastic at returning the calls, and if it were anyone else, I would have written them off as not worth the effort.
Nick left Australia Post, and was successfully recruited into the Queensland Police. I flew up for his swearing in.
They decided to have kids. Susan had a hell of a time falling pregnant with their first child. I know Sue got very depressed, and I think Nick, being a fairly, umm, emotionally withdrawn type (a "bottler") wasn't necessarily seen as being terribly supportive by her during this time. I suspect it is around this point where things started to come unstuck. As an outside observer, who saw them infrequently, it was hard to tell. I know for a fact there was a lot of tension around this time.
After about two years, and some medical intervention, Susan fell pregnant, and had a healthy son Jack. I have nice framed photos on display in my living room. I was so happy for them when Susan finally fell pregnant I cried.
That was a little over 2 years ago. A year ago, Susan fell pregnant again, totally out of the blue and three months ago, gave birth to their second son, Harry.
We were in Brisbane on the weekend for the wedding of one of Sarah's cousins, and I'd been looking forward to it as it was to be the first time I'd see Harry.
Nick was on duty when we dropped around to see everyone, and he only popped in briefly. After he'd left, Susan told me that he'd moved back with his parents 2 weeks previously. She said she couldn't understand why. I'd seen things becoming increasingly strained between them over the years, but I'd hoped things wouldn't ever come to this.
Today, I gave Nick a call, to hear things from his side. He said that he'd fallen out of love with Susan. There wasn't anything there any more. He only thought of her as a friend and was like a sister to him, not a lover. He wanted to remain amicable with her, and not have a messy split that was the result of a spirally relationship, and most of all, he didn't want it to all go totally pear-shaped in front of the kids. He said he felt trapped.
I can understand where he's coming from. I've been in a similiar relationship in the past (sans the kids), and it's hard. When you aren't a fantastic communicator, it's even harder. I just think it's sad how society has gotten to the point where "till death do us part" is really "until it gets too hard". I personally don't see what's wrong with spending the rest of your life with someone who is your best friend.
I'm really sadened by this development. I love Nick and Sue enormously. Nick realises that this is going to totally turn his life on its head, as they have so many mutual friends, and it'll kill him financially. I'd asked Nick to be my best man at our wedding next year. He said (and I agree) that maybe that isn't the best idea. That makes me sad as well. I was going to mention that line that has stayed with me all these years in my speech at the reception, but it doesn't really mean that much if the person who said it didn't win the game...