What’s the statute of limitation on anger?

This is not a post on the overhyped stereotype of the Angry Black Woman. It's a tale about one angry (sort of) black woman (maybe two). Read on...

So I'm attending a Women of Faith discussion group not too long ago. The group consists of around fifteen women of all ages and colors, going through guided workshops from the book series by the same name. Now bear in mind, these are supposed to be Christian folks working on expanding their knowledge of the faith. Unfortunately in this setting, folks get bathed with the warm of acceptance and the promise of no judgment to the point where they over share. (TMI)

It was one such circumstance as we talked about small moments in time or brief encounters that changed our paths when a young lady spoke up. She spoke of having been somewhat of a wild child when she lived in California. She paused so I asked, "What part?" She replied, "Oakland." I smiled at her, "I used to live in Alameda." (They are right next to each other.) Feeling relaxed, she launched into a story about how she met a guy at a restaurant bar (she named one of favorites).

She went on to tell us how the evening progressed and shared their conversation. She described what the guy looked like and his profession. Now I was getting a little twitchy because it sure sounded like my ex she was describing. As in he's an ex now but at that time, he was most definitely a Significant Other. But, I reasoned, how many guys looked like that, sounded like that and had that particular profession? Not many but more than one or two. What were the odds? I thought to myself. Her story continued with him giving her a ride home. She described the car. Now I was REALLY interested in hearing the outcome of this story. She shared (in more detail than was necessary at a church function) the manner of foreplay they engaged in before he called a halt. Apparently he apologized, advised her against "hooking up" with strange men, wished her luck and left. And then she told us his name. Same guy. I couldn't even focus on the rest of story about how this experience turned her around. I just went through the motions until the meeting ended and bolted.

In discussing this with one of my girlfriends (who ADORED this guy) she said, "But he didn't really DO anything!" I cut my eyes at her, "You mean besides picking up women in restaurant bars, taking them home and feeling them up? I TOLD you he was a cheatin'-ass cheater!" She patted my hand, "Okay Chele but it was over five years ago. You all have been broken up for a long time. I don't think you still get to be mad about his behavior. What are you gonna do? Break up with him again?"

She had a point. This, however; did not stop me from letting the anger take me on a roller coaster ride for a while. I started thinking if he picked up one chick, he picked up five others. If he felt up one, goodness knows what he did with the others. And yes, I got angry all over again. Every negative thing I had ever assumed he'd done was suddenly real. And instead of being in the comfortable place where I stashed him as "that guy I used to date" he became the Villain (yes, with the capital "V"). It was like going through the break-up all over again. (sigh) I held myself back from angry-texting, turning him into Don'tdatehimgirl dot com and firing off a blistering two a.m email with my keyboard of FIYAH! (Yeah, the angry OneChele emails are legend). I eventually let it go... kinda, I mean I did write this post. But nicely, no?

On the flip side, I was working a contract assignment helping a company with their Human Resources. During a conference call, I overheard one of the other staff members talking about her son. Her son had an unusual name. He was named after his father and grandfather. Turns out I used to date the guy who is now her husband. Over the course of time as she and I talked, I started to put a timeline together in my head. There was a grey area of about five months where it appears he may have been "courting" the both of us at the same time… awkward. Especially when you consider that things ended so poorly between the two of us that I ended up blocking his calls and emails. So I wondered: if she found out about it- does she still have the right to be angry? Does it at all change the scope of their "married with two kids and a mortgage" relationship?

Which leads me to ask, what's the statute of limitation on anger? How long after the event that triggers your anger can you summon up that emotion, especially if you just found out about it? I'm told that at a certain point you just have to let it all go and I believe that to be true. You cannot walk around with your fist balled up mad at all the crap life has thrown at you. Again, that's easier said than done. So I'll ask you, BnB reader? What do you think?