• Handling Breakups

Can you remain friends after you’re been jilted?

Published: January 4, 2014 | By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
A woman “falls hard” for her friend and is suddenly replaced by someone else.


Hi Irene,

A couple of years ago I got really close to one of my friends. We would talk and text daily for hours on end, have long distance date nights, and plan the next time we’d get to see each other since we live in different states. I ended up falling hard for her and it seemed like she felt the same way.

Then out of the blue she suddenly began distancing herself from me. She stopped reaching out and didn’t respond to my messages. I learned rather quickly via Facebook that one of her online friends had relocated to her city and they basically became an instant couple.

They immediately moved in together and married a few months later. Hurt and heartbroken, I wished her the best but kept my distance as I didn’t want to intrude on her new life and I also needed time to deal with my own feelings.

She eventually began contacting me again. I’m guessing she still wanted to maintain our friendship. But things have not been the same since. Even though I was heartbroken, I never mentioned my feelings to her out of respect for her relationship and I’ve done my best to ignore/forget how I truly feel for her.

My question is should I continue this friendship even though it hurts? It’s not just seeing her with someone else, but the way she treats me now. She tells me that she loves me and is happy to have me as a friend but it still feels like she is keeping me at a distance. For instance, she will say she wants me to visit and a couple of times we’ve even agreed on a date for me to come only for her to cancel. Contact is almost always initiated by me and sometimes I still find my messages being ignored.

Our friendship has come to feel more one-sided, with me making most of the effort to keep it going. Am I stupid for trying to maintain this friendship, especially since deep down I still have feelings for her? I would never act on them and would be content with us being friends if she made the effort to make me feel like a friend instead of someone who is “kinda” a part of her life, but not really.

I don’t really have many friends and I’m wondering if that’s why I’ve been trying to hold on to this one, or maybe it’s my underlying feelings for her that are clouding my judgment on when it’s time to cut ties and walk away. Can you shed some light on my situation and offer advice on what I should do?


Hi Ellie,

It is always painful when someone dumps you, especially when it’s someone you’ve “fallen for” and to whom you felt attracted–someone who seemed to feel the same way about you. The hurt had to be compounded by your friend’s unwillingness to let you know what was going in her life. You shouldn’t have had to learn about her new partner via Facebook.

Given these circumstances, it was wise of you to step back, not only out of respect for her and her partner but also for your own self-respect.

There is no reason to continue a one-sided relationship that sets you up for one disappointment after another. At best, this woman is ambivalent about having you as a friend. Maybe she’s hesitant to end the relationship completely because she thinks she’ll hurt your feelings.

Whatever her reasons, when someone doesn’t respond to messages, doesn’t initiate contact, and cancels on you, this isn’t a true friendship. Even if you have very few friends, you aren’t losing anything by walking away from her. It will give you more time to find and nurture more mutually satisfying relationships.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Comments (5)

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  1. Marisa says:

    Good luck to you. Emotions are powerful things. Try to meet more friends in real life situations as mostly Internet friendships are laden with problems, duplicity and disappointments.

  2. Missabi says:

    Hi Ellie,
    It sounds like you have been very respectful of your friend. To the point where, maybe she doesn’t know that you had or have deep feelings for her. That was kind of uncool how she didn’t let you know about her new partner.

    Do you need closure? Maybe you are mixing friendship and romantic love, you are ending up feeling hurt and unsatisfied. And even the friendship for you is now starting to lack?

    You could:
    1) spill your feelings: tell her that you had feelings for her, that you were hurt when she moved on abruptly, and that you’re getting hurt by the way things are going now, and need to move on. just remember, you are doing it so that YOU feel better, not to get something from HER
    2) don’t say anything, but resolve in your head to stop investing in her, and push yourself to make new friends and lovers who are more available!! and that way you can keep in touch occasionally with this person but you won’t have that feeling of putting out more than you are receiving. you deserve that!! you will find it. good luck.

  3. Amy says:

    It sounds to me like she views you as more of an acquaintance than an actual close friend. Since you have much stronger feelings for her than she has for you, there is an inherent imbalance in your relationship.
    You have to decide if you want to keep her in your life as an acquaintance, or whether you’d be happier letting go.
    I had a similar experience (minus the husband) with a friend who I wanted to be closer with than she wanted. My friend is straight, so I’d have never acted on my feelings and would have settled for a close friendship. I decided to keep her as an acquaintance and to change my expectations for our relationship. I focused on other friends who wanted the same type of friendship I did. I’m happy to see her pop up on Facebook, but I no longer have that longing for more than she wants to or is able to give. Not everyone is a good communicator about boundaries or what they want from relationships, unfortunately.
    My greatest disappointments in relationships have come from my own unrealistic expectations of others. Now that I no longer try to fit square pegs into round holes, I’m a lot happier with people and I feel better about myself.

    • Missabi says:

      I got a lot out of your last couple sentences, “not everyone is a good communicator about boundaries or what they want from relationships, unfortunately. my greatest disappointments in relationships have come from my own unrealistic expectations of others.” I used to have that issue and I could not communicate (in words), even inside my own head, what I wanted from my relationships. I hurt a friend who wanted more by sending mixed signals. I did not have the language to say, I love you passionately as a person but I am choosing not to date you because you are not what I think I want. I let this person invest in me more and I invested more in him. I wanted to believe he was doing it out of friendship. I did tell him that I only wanted to be friends, but he wouldn’t believe me. He finally accepted that I wasn’t going to be with him and hurt me, he decided that I never cared about him and I decided he never cared about me. He was one of the best friends of my life, and I do not think that I meant that to him. I have had a lot of people say they want to be with me but not a lot of people seem to want to be my lifelong friend.

      How do you get away from having unrealistic expectations of others?

  4. Carol says:

    For myself, slowly with time and age. learning that I can fall down and wound myself and a scar results, it is also true with emotional wounds. Yes, in time the physical wound scars over and I can see the scar on my knee always. Emotional wounds heal as well, but remain in my memory. It is much easier for me to understand now that I can’t control anyone but myself. It sounds like you took a chance with someone, it didn’t work out and it won’t heal until you move on. I think we are all entitled to seek what we want in others, but there will always be consequences, good or painful as a result of engaging with others. Reaching out, risking ourselves to attempt friendships and understanding we just can’t control the other person and accepting this as part of the journey with them when we begin it. I wish you love and respect for yourself as you hone your friendship skills in your life, learning all along this amazing journey we who live get to travel.


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