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Update to: Issues with close friend

I finally said (or rather skyped) something today. I have had roughly two conversations with her in god knows how long where she wasn't also simultaneously skyping with her new friend. It was really incredibly obnoxious, and I resented not being able to even speak with her without it being a group effort, so I finally said so (in nicer terms).

Not surprisingly, I haven't heard a word from her in return. She's not big on confrontation, but even so I would have thought my statement merited at least the courtesy of acknowledgement. I feel like there's no longer any room for me in her life, and maybe I should let it go and move on.

You know what I also resent the hell out of? The fact that a friendship should mean this much to me. It should be No Big Deal, but I've grown way too dependent on/close to her, and that's my fault. I survived for years without any truly close, accessible friends, and I can damn sure do it again.

So, I guess my focus should be - do I answer calls and return emails in a civil manner, and just distance myself from the whole situation? Do I not answer calls/emails and hope she takes the hint? Am I asking these questions hypothetically because I know she probably won't even bother to get in touch unless her computer breaks or her internet is shut off and she can't skype (literally) 24/7? Yes. Most likely.

Ugh. Why does this feel like a relationship? Not cool. Friendships shouldn't be like this.

Re: Update to: Issues with close friend

  • Not returning phone calls is middle-school behavior. 

    Reading your update and your admission that she is your only close friend, maybe there are two sides to this story.  I don't know the situation, but it is possible she felt smothered.  If you smothered her, a) she might welcome a new friend to keep you at arm's length, and b) she would not value your friendship, b/c it is there ALL THE TIME.

    I would be civil, but now make the effort to surround yourself with new friends.  Of course it is healthy to have a bff, but this friendship wasn't working.  You may find out that if you back off, you and this friend may become closer.  Or, with distance, you may realize that the two if you don't have much in common anymore, and you'll pull apart naturally.

  • She and I were each other's only very close friend. We both have other friends, of course, but she and I lead very similar lives, and we relied on each other equally for all kinds of help and support.

    There's a part here that I haven't yet disclosed because I wasn't sure it was pertinent, and her privacy is important to me. I think I can safely discuss it here, and maybe it will shed more light on the situation. This 'new friend' of hers? Well, they are friends, but the primary relationship is a sexual one. They're both married, and both husbands are aware and accepting of their relationship, so there's nothing secretive or shameful or dishonest going on here. It's just that I now literally can't speak to her without her gf there.

     I get it - fun new relationships can be all-consuming. I just (obviously erroneously) thought that the stuff we've been through together would mean she still had some concern and courtesy for me.

    Yeah, you're right about not returning phonecalls. I'll just work on further developing the other friendships I have, and making new ones.

  • Something feels really co-dependent here. You were each others only close friends, now she's consumed by a new friend? Oy. And this new friend is also available to be talking to your friend all the time!? I think you both need to learn to find a better balance in relationships. A new friendship should not be all consuming.
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • imageEastCoastBride:
    Something feels really co-dependent here. You were each others only close friends, now she's consumed by a new friend? Oy. And this new friend is also available to be talking to your friend all the time!? I think you both need to learn to find a better balance in relationships. A new friendship should not be all consuming.

    This made me chuckle. Thank you for that. Yes, we've been co-dependent. I have five children, two of whom are special needs, one with serious medical and developmental issues, and the other with a fairly extreme mental health diagnosis. She has three children, one of which has a g-tube and the other two are on the autism spectrum. We live the kind of lives that require dependence on others just to survive, the kind of lives that most people never even get a glimpse of.

    Not many people can relate, hence the few close friends issue. Of the people that can relate, not many can deal. Living like this is very isolating, but that's not a choice on my part as much as it is the difficult reality of having SN children.

     

  • Are you in counseling? If not, I think you should start. I understand that you have a very difficult life, but a counselor could help you develop better coping mechanisms than just throwing yourself completely into one friendship.

  • imagecasmgn:

    Are you in counseling? If not, I think you should start. I understand that you have a very difficult life, but a counselor could help you develop better coping mechanisms than just throwing yourself completely into one friendship.

     

    Couseling is a privilege. Assuming that everyone has the resources, time and money to accomodate counseling is not realistic. That was my whole point - until you've been here where I am, you really don't understand. And that's ok, I don't expect everyone to understand.

    I have a husband and family, of course, but there are very few other mothers who are living my life.

    Trying to explain this to anyone who hasn't experienced this lifestyle is futile. I guess I was just venting. It seems like I can't even do that. How ironic that the only person who would understand what I'm talking about is the person I need to talk about.

  • I have a sister with severe mental health issues, so while I don't understand your exact position, I am not completely ignorant to the stress that can bring to your life.

    Many towns or counties have community mental health centers that offer free or low-cost counseling services. Some counselors also charge fees on a sliding scale. I would also research to see if there are any support groups in your area for parents of special needs children. To help you cope with the child with mental illness, NAMI is a great resource.

    You need help, and you can't depend on one friend to be your sole support system. It's not fair to you, and it's not fair to her.

  • Does it have to be all or nothing with you and your friend? Either you are best friends or not speaking at all? Can you accept that perhaps your friendship has changed, and keep her in your life but learn from this experience and not rely on just one person as much? Maybe that is the reason this is happening...to teach you that in life you need to keep your eggs in more than one basket.

     I had this happen in the past to me as well with friends. It was either all or nothing, but I learned that friendships are like a merry-go-round. Sometimes the friend is up close, and in your life more frequently, and other times, they are on the other side of the merry-go-round, and in the distance (but still on the ride). Maybe she will come back around at a later time. Sorry for the stupid analogy but it really helps me to remember that friends are still friends even if right now they aren't in my face all the time. Hope that helps a bit.

    [IMG]http://i1118.photobucket.com/albums/k613/nycartist/16755_197219638704_518460_n.jpg[/IMG]
  • No, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I actually liked your analogy, it made sense. The thing I have a problem with is that I have reliably been there for her whenever she needed me, and she has not been returning the favor. That, and the lack of courtesy that has been extended to me lately. It diminishes our friendship.
  • I think you need to step back for a minute and realize that she likely is not in a place emotionally where she is able to support you at this time.

    She involved in an affair (albeit husband-approved) with a woman on the internet. That is not the behavior of an otherwise emotionally stable person. She clearly has a lot of stress with the kids, and there are probably other issues in her life as well. It sounds like she is trying to escape the reality of her life through this affair.

  • imagecasmgn:

    I think you need to step back for a minute and realize that she likely is not in a place emotionally where she is able to support you at this time.

    She involved in an affair (albeit husband-approved) with a woman on the internet. That is not the behavior of an otherwise emotionally stable person. She clearly has a lot of stress with the kids, and there are probably other issues in her life as well. It sounds like she is trying to escape the reality of her life through this affair.

    Well, I agree with that. I don't believe that every affair (internet or not) is the result of an unstable person, but I certainly agree that she's under a lot of stress. So am I.

    I appreciate the various POV shared with me here, and I'll take it all under advisement.

  • Well, I emailed her yesterday. I basically said that I was glad she found someone that made her happy and fulfilled, but I had problems with the way I've been treated lately: sharing intimate details of my life and marriage with her new friend without my consent, being constantly exposed to gratuitous discussions of their sex life, and not being able to speak to her without an audience.

    Not surprisingly, she did not bother to respond at all. I guess that's that. I can't think of a clearer message that she doesn't care at all about my feelings, my privacy, or my dignity. Nice.

  • imageMegPlusFive:

    She and I were each other's only very close friend. We both have other friends, of course, but she and I lead very similar lives, and we relied on each other equally for all kinds of help and support.

    There's a part here that I haven't yet disclosed because I wasn't sure it was pertinent, and her privacy is important to me. I think I can safely discuss it here, and maybe it will shed more light on the situation. This 'new friend' of hers? Well, they are friends, but the primary relationship is a sexual one. They're both married, and both husbands are aware and accepting of their relationship, so there's nothing secretive or shameful or dishonest going on here. It's just that I now literally can't speak to her without her gf there.

     I get it - fun new relationships can be all-consuming. I just (obviously erroneously) thought that the stuff we've been through together would mean she still had some concern and courtesy for me.

    Yeah, you're right about not returning phonecalls. I'll just work on further developing the other friendships I have, and making new ones.

    I am sensing some unhealthy jealousy here.  I think it's time for you to find more friends whom you're not clinging on as tightly to and vice-versa.  There should be an easy give and take and understanding that people have lives that don't involve you, too.  I agree with pp that mentioned codependency. 

  • imageMegPlusFive:
    imagecasmgn:

    Are you in counseling? If not, I think you should start. I understand that you have a very difficult life, but a counselor could help you develop better coping mechanisms than just throwing yourself completely into one friendship.

     

    Couseling is a privilege. Assuming that everyone has the resources, time and money to accomodate counseling is not realistic. That was my whole point - until you've been here where I am, you really don't understand. And that's ok, I don't expect everyone to understand.

    I have a husband and family, of course, but there are very few other mothers who are living my life.

    Trying to explain this to anyone who hasn't experienced this lifestyle is futile. I guess I was just venting. It seems like I can't even do that. How ironic that the only person who would understand what I'm talking about is the person I need to talk about.

    You're getting defensive with people that you came to for help.  You're not taking any responsibility for how you're responding and that is part of your issue.  You need to look at how you're reacting and change it.  Making changes and accepting constructive criticism isn't easy for most people, but if you can't afford counseling, or can't get there, you need to listen to what people here are trying to help you with. 

  • imagescottydont:
    imageMegPlusFive:
    imagecasmgn:

    Are you in counseling? If not, I think you should start. I understand that you have a very difficult life, but a counselor could help you develop better coping mechanisms than just throwing yourself completely into one friendship.

     

    Couseling is a privilege. Assuming that everyone has the resources, time and money to accomodate counseling is not realistic. That was my whole point - until you've been here where I am, you really don't understand. And that's ok, I don't expect everyone to understand.

    I have a husband and family, of course, but there are very few other mothers who are living my life.

    Trying to explain this to anyone who hasn't experienced this lifestyle is futile. I guess I was just venting. It seems like I can't even do that. How ironic that the only person who would understand what I'm talking about is the person I need to talk about.

    You're getting defensive with people that you came to for help.  You're not taking any responsibility for how you're responding and that is part of your issue.  You need to look at how you're reacting and change it.  Making changes and accepting constructive criticism isn't easy for most people, but if you can't afford counseling, or can't get there, you need to listen to what people here are trying to help you with. 

     

    Yes, I'm defensive. I'm touchy about getting called on behavior that some people see as unhealthy when in reality it has been necessary for survival because our lives are very different from most.

    However.

    This whole thing was just not working for me, so I did make some big changes. I've decided to go forward and work on being more self-sufficient and less dependent on others for support. I really feel as if I am the only person I will be able to consistently count on, so I'll work on me and worry about friends and other peripheral supports later.

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