• Handling Breakups

Finding it difficult to let go of an ex-friend

August 10, 2012 | By | 13 Replies Continue Reading
Not knowing what went wrong is the worst part 

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I’m finding it difficult to let go of an ex-friend. We went to school together and, by pure luck, ended up working in the same company. Things were awesome at first. We would cry, laugh and do a lot of things together. We ended up sharing a place, which I now think was a bad move for our friendship. People would often ask if we were sisters and we found that flattering.

By the time we both got involved in relationships, we were both so happy for each other. She even encouraged me to start dating after going through a bad break-up with my ex-boyfriend. We were pregnant at the same time and we were both happy then, too. After a while she started acting weird, stopped telling me about her life. I would get home from work and she would have locked herself in her bedroom, not coming out until  the next day.

Whenever my current partner came over she would act up and tell me that she is uncomfortable with him there and I should not have him there. She started spreading bad rumors about me at work and I found myself losing friends. People started to stay away from me. When I found this out, I was so hurt and felt angry.

She has since stopped talking to me and even blocked me on Facebook. It hurts so much that I can’t concentrate at work as well,  because I think of her so often. What hurts the most is that I don’t know what I did wrong and I’m still hurting to this day, even though this happened two years ago. My partner says that I must forget about her and let it go, but it’s not easy. I wish to know what I did wrong and I think about her so much I even have dreams about her. We spent such good times together and I cherish them but feel that I should destroy the photos and try to erase her from my mind but I can’t. Can you please help me because I can’t deal with this situation?

Signed, Annika

ANSWER

Dear Annika,

It is a terrible feeling when you are so close to a friend, feeling almost like sisters, and your lives are so intertwined—and then suddenly, everything unravels without explanation. Working and living together had to make the loss that much more difficult and painful.

I assume you aren’t living together any more now and you are lucky to have a partner for support. Unfortunately, something happened that your friend wasn’t able to talk about. It may have had nothing to do with you, per se. Also remember that she lost a friendship she once treasured, too. At this point, there is no going back. You can’t rethink the decisions you made then (e.g. living together). Things were okay until they went wrong.

Try to think of the sudden breakup as something that was wrong with her rather than with you. Perhaps, she was having emotional problems or having some other personal difficulties.

You probably miss having a close female friendship as much as you miss this particular friend. It would be great if you could connect with someone else, preferably a female friend outside of your work environment, and build the type of closeness and comaraderie you miss. Resist the urge to look at your ex-friend’s pictures or to delve into her Facebook connections: Just move forward. If this problem continues to interfere with your ability to perform on the job, you may need the help of a mental health counselor to get you through this.

Hope this helps a little bit.

My best, Irene


 

Prior posts on The Friendship Blog that touch on sudden breakups

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Category: Getting over getting dumped

Comments (13)

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  1. Mary says:

    Annika

    I think its pretty clear your friend didnt approve of you bringing a lover back into a home that was set up for you both. After all it was her home too. She probably felt uncomfortable.

    Its not a very well mannered thing you did.
    Shes more than likely got principles that shes been raised thats not the done thing.

    If that were the case it would have been a shock top her .

    There is a golden rule when you share with a girlfriend usually–

    It should have been discussed before you rented together.

    However you knew she wasn’t happy that he was there and continued.

    Either way, i am sorry for the both of you.
    But no mental health issues here that i can see- just life.

    Hope your happy with your partner and he was worth it. She will most likely find a partner with the same ideas as hers.

    Be grateful for the time you had – the laughs and move on.

  2. Sel says:

    I agree that she might have been having problems of her own however she did the wrong thing in regards to the manner she treated you in at the end of the friendship, spreading horrible rumours was gutless, wrong and damaging to your reputation…how could you ever trust her again after that?

  3. So confused says:

    I’m currently at the point in my life where I’ve pretty much lost contact with all my old friends. And most of them I found out really weren’t my true friends. Anyways I’ have one best friend that’s been my best friend for a little over 11years. We both have a 12 year age gap. I meet her thru another so-called friemd. She babysat for her. And started sitting for my two girls, while I worked. She started dating this tool, and he treated her horrible. I stood by her side and helped her anyway I could. Not only was she my bf she was like my daughter too. I love her, and always will. So a bit after four years of us being awesome friends, I busted her at a hotel with her 14yr old friend and another one of her friends father, hshe called me saying he wanted to take pics of them in their bathing suits. So I went in n made the sick old perv leave n took both girls home. So a few months later she moved out of her moms and moved in with her druggy no good boyfriend. And out of the blue, she stopped talking to me and my daughters all together. But I still to this day don’t know for sure why. I was so hurt, and my girls were crushed. I ended up letting go of trying to find out why, and just to see if she was ok. Four years go by..and she Facebook messages one of my girls. Saying she misses us, and wants to see us. I agree, because like I said she meant so much to us. So of course we let her back into our lives, no questions asked. But it still bothered me. She had a son and didn’t live too far from us. So we became even closer than ever…it’s been over 3yrs since she messages us. And I’d hear things every now and than saying she fell off the face of the earth, because she told her sons father, that I made her take nude pics of herself for her friends father. And he made her stop talking to me. Of course I questioned it a few times, bt only would get half explanations. So I still don’t know for sure. But their relationship is pretty rocky. Physically fighting each other with heir son in their arms. And it’s both of them. They had broken up three times since she’s been back. I guess I’m trying to get some advice. I love her with all my heart n soul. And she says the same about me. She is a good friemd, but she’s very needy, very negative, always talking bad about herself. I’m the one trying everyday to change her neg. attitude into a positive one. It’s just I’m seeing myself reassuring her everyday and sometimes all day long. It gets tiring and old. She did admit that she has romantic feelings for me. Which didn’t freak me out, I told her how I felt. That I do love her, but like family. She I dont think she understood me, or she just didn’t want to hear me.
    So since then our friendship has been rocky. She gets irate with me if I don’t text er back. She will text me out of the blue and start an arguement. Than if I’m busy, or sick, or whatever it may be, and I’m not able to message her back right away. She will make these crazy accusations and literally believe her thoughts. She will argue with my texts. I’ll finally be able to check my cell, and there will be tons of texts with her arguing with herself per say. She gets crazy jealous if I’m talking to any other friend or accountancy I may have. Or even if hey were to just stop over, while she’s over, and she would throw a tantrum and leave while cussing me out on my text messages, and slamming the doors. I don’t know what to do, I know that I care for her a lot, but I also know this cannot be healthy. I’m thinking maybe I should let this friendship go, and move on. She just seems to want to bring me down, not just me, but my daughters as well. She will literally get my daughter mad at her sister, or them against me. It’s like misery loves company…. Misery isn’t wanted nor needed in our lives. And it gets old trying to make her feel better about herself all the time. She also gets so jealous if I was to, for example; I had gotten a cute sweat suit from Victoria’s Secret pink, and when she seen it, I saw her the next time and she’d make sure she’d have one as well if not the same one, but it’d have to be better…
    Help please? I’m now 37yrs old and I’ve lost all my so-called friends, because they have proved themselves to be, dishonest, thieves, users, and fake.
    I don’t understand how people can be this way. I mean I treat people as I’d like to be treated. I’m there for my friends when they need me. And what have I gotten in return? A bunch of people that lied and took advantage of me.
    I hope someone can help.
    It makes me think, are there even real people out there that aren’t selfish, devious, users, and deceitful?
    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate it so much;)

  4. Mitsy says:

    My former friend is very unhappy, still involved with the controlling guy & I still work with her 1-2 nights a week at our part-time job. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells when I go into that store on the nights I know she’ll be there. She was nice a couple weeks ago but has mostly been cool & aloof towards me (same way she’s been for most of the last 16 months). Something happened with this former friend 16 months ago–something bad enough, she would not discuss it w/me. I feel like it involves this manipulative man in her life but I can only speculate. One thing I know for sure, he did not want her to spend time with me or any other single females. Maybe he was afraid I’d talk her into ending things w/him (which I’d never do anyway). Our work relationship is sometimes OK but oftentimes strained. That’s HER issue though. The best ammunition against someone who has hurt us so badly is finding new friends we can depend on. Sometimes it’s very hard to trust again – I know it has been for me but I’m finding that other people are not like my former friend. Everyone has their share of problems but narcissistic tendencies don’t seem to be in my newer friends’ personality traits. My former friend was all about HER which is why she has 5-6 failed marriages behind her. I so badly want to throw that in her face when she’s said something short or backhanded to me at work. I have given it right back at her when she’s said something snide (work related stuff). She just doesn’t get it & probably never will. These people are miserable because they don’t know how to handle their lives. Some women have to have a man at all times (former friend is one of them). Some people are smart enough to know they need therapy or counseling on some level & I’ve sought the help that I need but still go through cycles of dread when dealing with this former friend who is so toxic. The longer I’m around healthy friends, the less appealing toxic friend is & it’s easier to let go but it does take time.

  5. Anonymous says:

    In some ways you must move on but if there is a way to contact her again and ask for closure, maybe now she’d be willing to give it. She’s been spineless to hold something against you and not tell you what. I think you can speculate about jealousy or whatever, but maybe you had hurt her in some way and could use that possibility to ask so that you can apologize if you need to.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with this – I’ve done the same thing because I felt I no longer belonged in my friends life and she was my best friend but I drifted – circumstances in our lives had changed, from me being single and spending much of my free time with her and her spouse, who was easy to talk to and I began to develop feelings you should not have for your friends husband. I look back and regret that I drifted, the way I drifted and ten years later have dreams about my friend – but at the time it felt like the right decision to drift away and that was the only way. Your friend sounds very troubled and carrying baggage that she maybe didn’t want to put on to you. Also some people have trouble getting to personal – when you get too close it makes you afraid so your friend could be like that too. So her leaving has to do with issues going on in her life that she might not be able to communicate to you. She may have regrets about the way she left the relationship as well. So I tell you this as I tell myself as I think of my friend, as the chapters of our lives unfold, to cherish that chapter in our lives and to know we did the best we can in the relationship, so instead of thinking there is so much wrong with you, what you may or may have done wrong, stuff that has nothing to do with you – think of the times you did right by your friend when you spent that time together. Your presence in your friends life during the time of your relationship may have helped your friend in ways that you can never know. Guilt over things you can never talk about can drive friends away – I left a long term friendship because I felt guilt over my feelings for my friends husband and could never talk about this to them. So I hope that you can find peace and don’t spend your time in agony over something you have no control over and instead cherish the memories of a chapter of friendship.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think you are right. Sometimes friends drift away because THEY are having problems.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It might be possible that your friend didn’t feel good enough for you…that she wasn’t being a good enough friend. Sometimes guilt drives friends away, whether imagined or real. I truly believe that.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely jealousy is involved here! This happened to me breaking up with a 40+ year “friend”. It has been 3 years and I still find it difficult to let go. Time will heal

  10. Anonymous says:

    For someone to do that, she’s a sociopath with no empathy. She’s done you a favor, so move on. This has happened to me and I believe the root of it is jealousy. She became jealous of you in some area, personal or professional and was too immature to get over it. You’re free now to find worthy, mature friends.

    • Been There says:

      Just because someone walks away doesn’t mean they are a sociopath. I know this from personal experience and I am in no way a sociopath. (I’ve had psych evaluations for jobs so I can prove that).

      I had a best friend who I loved dearly. We hadn’t been friends for long but it was a deep friendship just the same. It started at work and I thought we would be friends forever. At the same time I had family problems that were escalating out of control. I was afraid to talk about them with anyone because of the nature of my job. My fear was I would be judged for my family’s problems and this would be held against me professionally.

      My friend saw me as a very capable person. Many people did and I was, at work anyway. The idea that I couldn’t do anything to stop what was happening in my family and couldn’t detach myself from it either was excruciating. I didn’t want anyone whose opinion I valued to see me like that. The family mess got so bad it consumed my entire emotional self and that paralyzed me (emotionally) for a long time. I couldn’t think past the worst-case scenarios and guilt trips family members were laying on me. Mostly, those were about how I was selfish for having my own life and they were all miserable and in trouble. This really bothered me back then. I was terribly co-dependent and grew up in an abusive home but it was the only home I knew.

      For awhile, before we were close, I had a crush on my friend. As we became close, that began to fade. A couple of times I did try to talk about the family mess but the story would barely be out of the starting gate when it would become clear my friend had no sympathy or was uncomfortable. Maybe both. Believing my crush would never be reciprocated, I let it go. I turned my attention to work and went out to meet new people. My circle of friends had diminished too much with shift work and I wanted to find people I connected with on a more personal level.

      Lo and behold, my friend suddenly had a thing for me and I panicked. When they tried to initiate something physical I literally ran. It’s kind of funny now, but then I was devastated. I had no space for anyone in my personal life and I was in no way capable of dealing with any of that. My mind/heart felt too fragile for even a fling.

      A few days later this person saw me out at a bar and attacked me physically (they were drunk). That brought back a flood of trust issues, etc from my childhood abuse and I told this person we needed time apart but I knew I would never go back. I couldn’t after that. The physical assault broke something in me.

      It’s been a long time since I saw my former friend. Some of you were still in grade school. lol This person still hates me. This person spread (false) rumors about me at work and tried to make my life miserable there right up until the day I left.

      My former friend/colleague still tells everyone I was a narcissist, that I was jealous of their promotion(no, I wasn’t), and their work success (I had my own) and jealous they soon started dating someone great (they did and I was glad. There is no use in everyone being miserable). On the contrary, the person they ended up with gave me hope there might be someone out there that groovy for me.

      To this day I wish them the best but to this day this former friend has chalked it up to me being a horrible person and jealous but that wasn’t the case at all.

      When someone hurts you it isn’t always that they have no feelings. Sometimes they have too many. And who is the narcissist/sociopath when you assume all those feelings are reactions to you? Just sayin…

      I’m not arguing with the response person about their situation, I’m just offering a perspective as the “one who walked away”. We are different people in different scenarios here, but I just felt like I wanted to address the idea in general.

      Good luck and Peace to All : )

      A supposed Narcissist/Sociopath/Crazy/Lazy/druggie/Godknowswhatelse lol

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes, this is true:“Perhaps, she was having emotional problems or having some other personal difficulties.”This was a point that was made on another thread here, about someone who didn’t understand why sometimes an ex friend is incapable of reuniting with you and cannot explain it.

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