• Handling Breakups

Can’t stop thinking about a lost friendship

May 20, 2015 | By | 25 Replies Continue Reading
A young woman can’t stop thinking about her ex-friend.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

My old best friend was virtually my sister. We were friends for over ten years and very rarely had arguments, just little ones every now and then.

I was there for her when she and her ex-boyfriend were having arguments and were on the verge of splitting up. I remember crying because she was crying. I cared and loved her just like one would love a sibling.

After my boyfriend and I were engaged, because he came to propose from far away, we would spend a lot of time together. She told me she was starting to feel pushed out so I made more of an effort to include her in things. When my boyfriend eventually moved in with my family and me, he was there even more often.

We eventually introduced her to my boyfriend’s best friend. I don’t exactly know what even happened but things went sour after my mother-in-law made remarks, which were totally untrue, about what she thought I had said about my friend.

My friend began to hate me for no reason whatsoever and things got nasty. After a few heated Facebook messages, we completely blocked each other. I messaged her many times weeks later and apologized, as she did to me, but somehow the hate is still there. We follow each other on social media sites but we’re still not friends. She even called me a lesbian because I was apparently ‘obsessed’ with her.

I feel pathetic and shot down. I love her like a sister but not in a romantic way. I feel like I told her everything about my life and it backfired. I won’t act like I didn’t say anything horrible to her—because I did. I was hurt.

This was all about two or three years ago and I’m still not over it. It’s given me anorexia, body dysmorphia and made me bipolar. There isn’t a day that goes by that I think I wish never said the things I said. And every day lately I think about writing her a letter, but she’s moved around so much I have no idea where she lives. I just want my friend back. Has it gone too far? And I want to know if she feels the same but probably not. It’s knocked me so much that I get depressed over it, even suicidal. I’m now married and so happy with my husband but I feel like I’m having an effect on him. What should I do?

Signed, Elyse

ANSWER

Hi Elyse,

Even though you and your friend were close for so many years, It sounds like this friendship is over and you need to move on. Sometimes, friends grow in different directions or friendships get on such a bad path with so much hurt that there simply is no going back.

Given the amount of time that’s elapsed since your conflict, it’s not healthy to obsessively think about this ex-friend all the time and follow her on Facebook or other social media. Your real relationship ended years ago and it sounds like your friend is uncomfortable with you continuing to pursue her.

I’m concerned that you’re having so many serious problems so long after the breakup, and my guess is that they may or may not be a consequence of the breakup, per se. If you are feeling so depressed and suicidal, and this is affecting your relationship with your husband, you need to speak to a mental health professional and get these problems under control as soon as possible.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS

Comments (25)

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  1. xiaoeee says:

    I think that you really need a lifetime mental help. At best, putting you in mental health ward for life. If euthanasia is legal, why not try it?

  2. unknown says:

    Hello i need an advice i have done silly mistake of my life i been with this friend since high school we had our up and down until last year say some things wish i didn’t now struggling with break up its killing me crying each and every day don’t see life been so good i even drop out of school

    • xiaoeee says:

      Then it wasn’t a silly mistake at all. It was a reasonable crime. You should just let it go and move on. And get a psychiatrical help, or at best – get yourself to mental hospital for life.

  3. Stacey says:

    Hi my name is Stacey, I’m 14 and my ex best friend turned 15 today! We fell out because I had a old best friend and he came to see me and we became best friends the first day we met, but Jennifer (my ex best friend) didn’t like it and she decided to self harm and I was devastated! My heart ripped out of my chest! So I told her that everything is going to be ok and I was going to fix things. So I tried my best and I got Adam and I told him the situation and I thought of a plan, I asked Jennifer if she wanted to stay at mine with Adam and she said yeah, so we stayed at mine and everything was going great, until the next day and Adam decided to get very agitated because she kept on complaining on how her legs r sore after the self harm. So Adam asked her for proof but she didn’t give him it. It was the next day (school day) and I broke down in tears with all the stress on what’s happening and my close friend asked me what’s up and I got caught up in the moment and said Jennifer was self harming because of me and I didn’t know that Jennifers close friend was near and heard what I said, so she told Jennifer and Jennifer hated me because I told someone in school, she was so angry she sent the picture of her self harm to Adam and never said anything again! I’ve done so much to show her I won’t do anything stupid of what i did to her and that I’ve changed. But I’ve been so depressed of thinking of her and how everything that I’ve done is made Jennifer suicidle! I can’t move on I love her so much 4 years being her best friend was amazing and I’ll never get to exsperience that again! I need help ????????????

    • Amy F says:

      Hi Stacey,
      When you have a friend who is suicidal or hurting herself, this is a problem that needs adult intervention because you’re dealing with serious, potentially life ending mental illnesses. If a friend makes you promise secrecy, you must tell an adult right away. You can offer to go with your friend when she tells her parents or the school counselor, but if she won’t go, you must. You can talk to a school counselor, teacher, her parents or your parents. Even if your friend is mad, having an angry friend is better than having a dead one.

      This is NOT your fault. People don’t make each other suicidal, because suicide and depression is a much deeper problem than one source. There are usually genetic and biological components, the same as when people have diabetes or cancer.

      I understand how much you love your friend. Love her enough to risk her anger by telling an adult who can get her the help she needs. If something bad happens and you haven’t told an adult, you’d probably feel guilty. But, you are not responsible for her choices, including the choice to self harm or attempt suicide. Please write back after you’ve talked to someone.

  4. princessisle says:

    I know this has been a while since this blog was written, but I hope I can be of help in 2016. I am very sorry you are feeling the way you are. I have an almost identical experience and it’s been lingering for over 4 years now. It was 50% her fault, 50% the way I reacted. I can’t blame any of us, because we are both at fault. But, it is very clear she started it. The only remorse I have right now is if she really cared to be my friend whether the breakup was hard on her and she is too proud to admit it and as a result is miserable with her life in general. That is the only thing I feel guilty about and not sure how to make things better and probably don’t want to because I tried a couple of times and there was no response on the other side. There are certain things you cannot control in life and you have to forgive yourself as a human being because by definition, human beings make mistakes. Those mistakes are not necessarily forgiven by others, but you have full control over forgiving yourself. That is the key to being happy and moving on. Deep in your heart you have to forgive her too since she is human as well. Wish her well within you without having to tell her that. But, most of all, take care of yourself and try to spend your precious life with those who currently appreciate you, surround yourself with positivity and fun. In the end, the only reason you liked this person is because she made your life enjoyable up to the point when she stopped doing that. I believe most friendships have a beginning a peak and an end. Some end smoothly, others violently. The smooth transition is the usual one that is why the violent one always comes a shock. This is 4 years worth of self-reflection that I am sharing without going through details of what happened. I hope it will be helpful to you and everyone on this blog.

    Take good care. Life is beautiful!

    May

  5. Portia says:

    I feel like I just lost a friend. She suddenly stopped responding to my messages. I am giving her space. We were not best friends but I thought we were friends. It is like I do not exist anymore. I finally sent her a message saying that all I could do is hope that she is ok and let go. No response. I can do nothing but move on. I can’t make her want to be friends. She has chosen not to have me in her life for whatever reason. I have left her alone. She has done this before and later told me that she had been busy.
    I always make time for friends. It may not be as much as they want but I am always a presence in their life. The fact that she has done this before leads me to believe that I am far down on her priority list if at all. I cried one night and a little reading these posts. But, I am better because I let go. I do not contact her anymore. Concentrating on me.

  6. Kris says:

    Alienation from a close friend, especially without explanation, is a devastating experience. It can be worse than a divorce or death of a loved one. About ten years ago, I experienced such a break, with someone whom I had considered a good friend for the previous thirty years, who I expected to always be in my life and on my side. I believe the pain comes from the lack of explanation, the enigma that never resolves itself, the silence for the rest of your life. With a divorce, you usually know why—and you have to work it out in court. With death, it’s no one’s fault. But with the loss of a former BFF, there is the big question mark. the feeling of, “What did I do?” the feeling of betrayal, the need to explain but no opportunity to do so. It’s like someone was playing a “Gotcha!” game–you were on double secret probation—you somehow messed up and they rejected you, but you don’t know what you did wrong.

    I never completely resolved my own situation, but it feels less raw after a decade. I gradually came to realize that this woman was probably never as true-blue a friend as I thought, and maybe our friendship made sense to her when it was convenient (and during that time, she seemed like a pretty good friend). But when she moved away, she did not make an effort, so perhaps her definition of friendship was different than mine. She could have gone through some changes of her own, to which I was not privy, that caused our friendship to no longer resonate for her. Perhaps she had always harbored some feelings of competition or jealousy of my success or happiness, and maybe she experienced some failures or frustrations in the past ten years that caused her to not be able to bear being friends with me any more. Maybe she had a need for different kinds of friends, as her needs changed. She was not willing to keep up with me for old time’s sake, even if I wanted to. Perhaps she seized on something I said or did in an email, and made it the excuse for dumping me, but really she just wanted to move on and this was as good a time as any in her mind.

    I will never know. But I do know that it is wasted energy to keep hoping that we will resolve it. For whatever reason, she just did not want to be friends anymore, and friendship is clearly a voluntary relationship. So there is no friendship if both parties don’t want it. The silver lining is, in the past decade, I have deepened my friendships with people with whom I have a much more natural connection, and made new friends who are more on the same wavelength as I am at this point in my life. As people grow and evolve, sometimes they grow apart, but friends can grow together when their life journeys are going in the same direction. If I were to meet this woman today, I don’t know if I would be even interested in being close friends. We might not have a whole lot in common.

    I hope these insights are helpful. You will get past this. There are many wonderful people in the world who do, or will, appreciate you, so try to aim your energy toward connecting with those people.

    • Vimal says:

      Hi

      Loss is a reality in our life. We lose intimate friends, parents, brothers and sisters, money, property, job……and so on. If we breakdown for each loss, our life ends there…..

      We should learn to accept the realities of life. The loss of some thing or other is only a tiny part of our life. We have many many more things in life for which we should live. So, the most important thing is our life. We have to protect it and keep going. Remember the saying “Never run after a bus…wait…another will come”

      True, loss of some thing that we loved so much is a pain. But, if we perish with that loss, then what is our life !I know it is easy said than done. But, the more successful one is those who can accept the realities. Always allow time to cure our pain. The ability to forget is the greatest blessing God has given us. Make use of it.

      I will compare this situation like one that of a cancer patient undergoing radiation and chemotherapy along with surgery. That period is a hell. But, we wait for that period to pass and sooner or later we are cured and we keep going. When we look back we feel proud of ourself……we could overcome such misery.

      Never get disappointed or think that is the end of the world.It is not…. there is a long way to go. It is said all good things have to end one day. So, this friendship also had to end…..it is time you keep moving and wait for a new and better friend to walk into your life. Strive for it. Sure it will happen.

      You can….Yes you can !

      Keep smiling

      Vimal

    • Friend says:

      It sounds like your ex-friend lost a true friend. I’m glad you were able to channel your time and energy into deepening other, more natural friendships. I’m not surprised you’ve also made new friends who are on the same wavelength as you are.

    • Alakiki says:

      Kris,

      If the friendship meant so much to you, why didn’t you speak with your friend? I always find this an interesting situation, especially since so many are heartbroken, yet they don’t make an effort to remedy the lost relationship.
      This line speaks volumes, “She was not willing to keep up with me for old time’s sake, even if I wanted to.” How do you know? Did you discuss this with her? There is always more to the story then meets the eye, or blog in this case.

    • secret says:

      i can relate to this. A question of, ” what did i do? I wrote here before in this blog asking for an advise the first time me and my bff had a misunderstanding. I came to know from other person that she called me “lesbian , stalker & even she ask her family members to unfriend me to there FB and even she told some secrets that i shared to her to our colleague which i came to know all those crap that shes been telling behind my back. I ask her if it is true but instead she deny it all! few months we haven’t talk. but, one fine day i went to her place on her special day and gave her a present and we just hug and we’re both ok. back to normal as BFF thing… we went back home together to our country-land for her wedding. after all i thought everything is fine the two of us. Until, I came to know again from someone that she hates me .. Again, my question ” what did i do?” and i have proofs that shes talking behind my back even before and the second time around. but i have no urge to sue it on her. i just kept it until now all the proofs ( which makes me feel bad knowing all those things, after all the good deeds i have done , even she makes me feel sometimes that i am useless but if she needs me shes very good to me BUT , i understand the way she treated me though its unhealthy anymore, only one-sided friendship ) And, when she left to go to other country i came to know that she told again to her family members to delete me from FB since she said ” delete her i think we don’t need her anymore ” . that time i stop sending her messages but sometimes i cant help it i tried to message her in skype ( but then she deleted it to ). Now, that her birthday is fast approaching i am thinking again if i will do the same thing as what i did before but the difference is physically shes not here to greet her in person. so i am thinking to send her a letter??? BUT SHE NEVER BOTHER TO ASK ME WHY I SUDDENLY STOPPED COMMUNICATING WITH HER AND I BLOCKED THEM ALL ,AFTER I CAME TO KNOW FROM SOMEONE THAT SHE INFORMED HER FAMILY TO DELETE ME IN FB SO, WHAT I DID IS I GO FIRST TO BLOCKED THEM. AS I SAID SHE NEVER ASK ME WHY I DID THAT… OR SHE IS MORE HAPPIER THAT I AM NOT INVOLVING IN HER LIFE. UNTIL NOW I AM BOTHERED ” WHAT DID I DO TO HER ?” . I WANTED TO MOVE ON BUT I CANT BECAUSE I WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER PERHAPS .

  7. JAM says:

    Elyse,

    Some problems are caused by chemical imbalances. However, I think that sometimes those chemical imbalances can first be caused by too much stress or trauma. So you past situation may have caused your current emotional issues.
    Either way, you need to love yourself right now. It sounds like you are grieving. Most, if not all of us go through one or more lost friendships in life b/c of a “break up,” death, etc. It is very hard to go through it. Esp. b/c many of us go through the pain of a lost friendship alone or mostly alone.

    Do you know some of the steps involved in grieving? Here is a cut and paste for you to review:

    Here is the grief model we call the 7 Stages of Grief:

    SHOCK & DENIAL-
    You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
    PAIN & GUILT-
    As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

    You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.
    ANGER & BARGAINING-
    Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

    You may rail against fate, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring him back”)
    “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
    Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

    During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

    More 7 stages of grief…
    THE UPWARD TURN-
    As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.
    RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
    As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.
    ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
    During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

    You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

    You have made it through the 7 stages of grief.
    _______

    I’m not a professional, just a “student of life.” But your letter sounded like you were going through some of these stages, such as guilt and bargaining.
    You need to accept that you don’t have power to force a friendship back to life. But you do have power to heal, look for beautiful and good things each day in your own life, and to move toward new friendships.

    Blessings,
    JAM

    • High Voltage says:

      Thank you for sharing your feedback. Well said. Not being a professional but a student is ok. What you shared can and help plenty of us who have lost friends for unknown reasons!

      Sincerely: Brad

  8. Jared says:

    It’s very hard when you want to be friends with someone but for whatever reason, they don’t feel the same way. You have to accept it and realize that maybe a better friend will come in the future. Keep that in mind.

    I also want to say that this site has some of the most understanding and empathetic posts of any place I’ve seen on the web.

  9. fanny says:

    Hi,
    When i first entered highschool i had this friend, we were super close but all of a sudden she stopped talking to me. I pretended not to care and that it wasn’t bothering but i was curious. Approximately a month or 2 later, she starts talking to me again as if she wasn’t ignoring the first place. She then shut me off again (no surprise there) and doesn’t talk to me. This started in freshmen year and i haven’t talked to her since, and i’m a junior. We never had any classes with each other until this year. I really want to ask her why we stopped becoming friends, like i don’t even want to mend the friendship, i just want to know why. I was wondering if you guys think its a good idea or will it be too weird or needy?
    XOXO
    Fanny

  10. Ang says:

    Hi Elyse, I know how you feel about losing a friend and wanting them back. I’ve been there before, and I still wish we were best friends. But it seems clear from her that she no longer wishes to be friends with you. I know it’s painful, but it’s interfering with your marriage and life. It sounds like you have a great marriage, don’t throw that away. Do get professional help soon. Do try to move on, and make new friends, have friends that do want you in their life. Take care.

  11. Dionne says:

    I agree with seeing a therapist.

    Also, this sentence below…I don’t think losing a friend causes those conditions. Perhaps dwelling on the friend has become a diversion in your mind for addressing deeper and more painful issues. Please get help. It is so miserable and unnecessary to keep suffering without relief, whatever the cause. Good luck.

    “It’s given me anorexia, body dysmorphia and made me bipolar…”

    • GraceW says:

      Dionne, I was thinking the exact same thing. A chemical imbalance in the brain causes bipolar disorder. The other two can have an environmental component, but the person’s absence is not the same as the person being there and constantly hounding you about your body or appearance. Even then, one person wouldn’t be the sole cause of those disorders. Looking at it from the friend’s perspective, I would not want to resume a friendship with someone who blames me for such serious disorders.

      • kp says:

        I had similar issues as hers just not as severe. I don’t think I would be friends with someone who treated me so badly like the poster’s friend did. stop judging.

  12. Maddie says:

    Don’t throw away a good husband because you are so preoccupied with this person. Get professional help and move on.

  13. Irene says:

    Elyse,

    Here are two phone numbers to have at hand if you have any thoughts of suicide:

    • A free 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) is available to people in crisis (or their loved ones) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Calls are routed to local crisis centers.

    • In the UK or Ireland, Samaritans offers confidential support at 08457 90 90 90.

    Best, Irene

  14. gina says:

    Hi Elyse, I feel your pain I really do. I have a similar situation with my next door neighbour which is quite painful. If you’ve reached out to her many times and she doesn’t want to know, then you have to stop. It wont help if you keep trying and it will make you really sick. Concentrate on yourself for now. the worse thing you can do is follow her on social media. Dont block her because you might want to leave a door open in the future (it will make you feel better that you havent cut her out). Unfollow her that way you wont see every little thing she posts. You must not look to others to make you happy. You are the only one that can make yourself happy. You cant change other peoples behaviour towards you but you are in control of your reaction to that behaviour. Life is a precious thing, we’re lucky to be here and we’re not here for very long dont waste it on suicide. You definitely should talk to a proffessional and maybe a support group. You deserve to be happy, start taking control of your life today

  15. jacqueline says:

    I totally agree with Irene’s advice about seeking professional help immediately to help you through this very difficult time. You have been suffering for three years and it has affected your health. Even though you say you are happily married, I guarantee your behaviour has affected your marriage as well.

    Talking to a trained professional will help you heal and move on with your life.

    I wish you all the best. You deserve to be happy.

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