Moving on after a breakup

Published: November 26, 2009 | Last Updated: November 26, 2009 By | Reply Continue Reading


Hi Irene,

I have been reading the questions and answers on your website and finding them very helpful. I thought I would write and ask my own question. I have a friend with whom I’m currently going through a break up.


For a year or so, she’s either ignored me or shut me out when she is going through something hard or is cross about something. I decided not to be close to her anymore as I find it too painful to be ignored for months on end and then treated like nothing has happened.


My dilemmas: We go to the same church, which is small so I see her every week. I try to say hello. Sometimes she will speak to me. Other times, she ignores me and I feel hurt all over again. How should I act around her?


Also our sons are good friends and haven’t been spending much time together as we are not visiting each other’s homes any more. I don’t think it’s fair to let our problems come between our sons’ friendship (they are only 5), but having play dates would seem weird to me and I’m not sure what to do about this.


We have been friends for the past ten years and I’m having issues letting go so I feel guilty and think she is just reacting to me not being so friendly with her.What do you suggest about our son thing and how to just move on when I see her every week?



Dear Sheila:

If this situation has been going on for about a year, I presume that you’ve tried to talk to your friend about it without any satisfactory resolution. You really have no choice but to move on.


Breaking up is never easy but if you’ve truly decided the relationship is over, the answers to your questions are straightforward:


1) Always say hello and act cordially at church, regardless of your friend’s response. You live in the same community and will invariably see one another. if you take the high road, you’ll be able to feel good about it.


2) In terms of your kids, at the age of 5, parents still determine friendships. Given your current relationship with your once-friend, I’d advise against setting up play dates for your sons. You’re right. It would be too uncomfortable.


Like most breakups, yours isn’t simple—especially because children are involved as well. It reminds me of another breakup question I recently answered. In that instance. too, a friend withdrew without explanation when she was besieged by personal problems. When this happens, it leaves the abandoned friend feeling helpless and hurt. Since your situation with your friend is recurrent, you need to find other friends who are more stable and predictable. You’ve tried to be there for her over and over and she has only rebuffed you.

Hope this is helpful,



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