She asks me again after a quick stop at Ben's house to pick up a couple of things for the week. "Why aren't you guys friends?"
This has come up about a hundred times. Every time that she wants to tell me about hanging out with her or whenever Ben is with her when Lila calls him she asks me. She wants to know why I'm not friends with Ben's new girlfriend.
"It's complicated," I tell her. And it is. I don't think I would know how to explain it to her 7 year old brain so I don't. Hell I am not sure I entirely know why we're not friends.
Part of it is how I found out they were an item. Ben and I had been split up for about a month and I saw a picture of them together on Facebook. You see, she is someone I went to high school with so I was Facebook friends with her. I contacted her asking her what the hell was going on because I was still holding out hope that Ben and I just needed space and were just taking some time apart. Granted, we didn't ever say that. I mean, moved out. But in my own little delusional head I thought that he loved me so he was as confused by the split as I was. I was wrong on that one.
She replied that they had been seeing each other for MONTHS. Her tone was bitchy. I was blindsided. Turns out that in the time that we were still living together, they were spending time together and now that I had moved out she was ready to come out as a couple. Several rounds of confused questions and completely bitchy responses ensued and it ended with us blocking each other on Facebook.
That was the last conversation I had with her.
That was almost 2 years ago.
Since then she has come to birthday parties and school concerts, she and Ben always sitting separately from me and basically we just ignore each other. We don't even acknowledge the other's existence. Ben and I will chat after the school concert as if nothing was out of the ordinary and we go home.
But every time Lila asks me why we aren't friends I kind of wonder the same thing myself. I don't harbor any feelings for Ben. I am glad that he has found someone that he is happy with. In fact I assume that they are in love (as much as I cringe to think about it). Lila said that he talked to her about the girlfriend someday possibly becoming her step mother. Although a little freaked out by that (as Ben never wanted to marry me) I would be happy for him if he chose that path.
So why aren't we friends?
I just don't see myself doing what would be necessary to be friends with this girl. I would never pull her aside and be like "listen, I have no plans on getting back with Ben so it is stupid for us to act like we hate each other. Let's just call it a day and be pleasant to each other."
As I am typing that it seems like it would be so easy to say but I don't think I am ready to do it yet. I don't know that I ever could do that.
I suppose I could tell Ben to deliver the message that I am not bitter and that she is welcome to any of Lila's events that she wants to come to.
Maybe I will just send him a link to this blog post and let him figure it out himself.
I don't think we will ever be BFF's. I don't see myself calling her up to hang out or anything. But there's no reason that we can't be in the same room together and be polite and make small talk. If this is someone that Ben intends to have in my kid's life the least I can do is put in the effort to tolerate her. And maybe I will find out I actually like her.
And it's entirely possible that this girl thinks I am a total psychotic asshole based on the Facebook conversation and I'm sure what Ben has told her. I mean, I wasn't at my best for a lot of my time with him. So maybe she would still give me the cold shoulder even if I did extend an olive branch.
There's only one way to find out though.