The passage of time generally makes it more difficult to clear
Long story short: My best online friend and I broke up.
Actually, it was me who broke up with her over something she had done
(something that involved lying to me and not caring about my feelings in
general). The thing is I feel like I was the one who was dumped. I broke up
with her because I felt that she stopped being my friend, but I regretted it
immediately, as I actually wanted to be her friend again.
It’s been two years, and I still sort of want our old friendship back. Or maybe
whenever I feel lonely, I miss her. I have many issues with not being a good
enough friend, and with burning bridges. It seems I’ve lost so many friends
over the years and while I know most of it is a natural process, I can’t help
thinking that maybe there is something wrong with me.
I always trusted my instincts but my instincts have always told
me to run, run, run. But sometimes I wonder if "once bitten, twice
shy" is a good philosophy. I tend to hold grudges for such a long time and
I know it’s unhealthy. But now, with this friend, I can’t stop thinking
about reaching out again.
We’ve met a couple of times during the last two years, and we’ve
talked a bit, but I always feel like she doesn’t want to have anything to do
with me anymore. And I’m not even sure if I could handle being her friend, as I
sometimes read her blog and get jealous of how well her life turned out when I
was not around. Maybe it was the reason she grew so distant? Maybe she is actually
better off without me?
I wonder if there’s any point in trying to talk to her again. I deeply regret
losing our friendship, but I don’t want to get hurt more by her indifference to
me. What should I do?
From your note, it sounds like this was primarily an "online" friendship.
It’s generally easier and less complicated to end this type of friendship: You don’t
have to stress about seeing the person come around the corner each time you
leave your house, or worry about bumping into her walking down the office
corridor. Although you say you run into her occasionally, it doesn’t sound like
this is a frequent occurrence.
While you regret the loss of the friendship and your decision to
dump her may have been too impulsive, you still seem to still misgivings about
being able to trust this friend again. Given that two years have elapsed, my sense
is that it would be hard to renew this friendship—especially given the trust
issue that initially precipitated the breakup.
Stop second-guessing yourself. It’s a mistake to continue to read
her blog. Stop following her and delete her from your online life. It’s time to
move on and taking these steps will go a long way in helping you get over this
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling hurt or for standing up for
yourself. You deserve more and don’t need to settle for a friendship with someone
who isn’t sensitive to your feelings. One takeaway lesson, however, may be that
you need to talk about friendship problems when they occur, sooner rather than
later, if there is any hope of clearing up misunderstandings.
Hope this helps.
NOTE FROM IRENE: Thanks to everyone who cast their votes for me in the About.com contest. I’ll let you know the outcome, which will be announced on March 30th.