• Handling Breakups

A troubled marriage can divide best friends: Can this one be repaired?

Published: June 30, 2013 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
The shame and embarrassment of a troubled marriage can divide best friends.


Hi Irene,

My best friend and I stopped talking more than year ago after I found out she got married and I was not even invited to the wedding. We had been friends for almost 15 years and people called us the twins because we were always together.

The end of the relationship started when I met her boyfriend, now her husband, who was a total jerk to her. They started dating a few months after he got a divorce from his wife, who before ending the relationship said that she would rather die than spend 15 minutes of her life with him.

When I first met him I was super excited for her to be in a new relationship. But she was laughing at his jokes that were sexist and offensive, and I could not believe it because she had always been active in women’s rights causes. Not only that, but he couldn’t even pronounce her name correctly.

She was a different person with him and I noticed that he was a heavy alcoholic. I told her several times what I thought of him—and I was pretty strong about it because every time I saw him I would get sick to my stomach. One day, we had too much to drink, and she told me that he was disgusting and couldn’t take the situation anymore. She asked to come visit me because we live in different cities.

The next day she was sober, and she told me that he was a great guy, that they were happy, and he was a good person. She started getting defensive with me. I tried to back off and not talk about him anymore. A few months later I got married and she was my maid of honor. She didn’t tell me that she was also planning her wedding to him, and it was only through Facebook that I saw she had a shower and didn’t invite me.

I confronted her and she said that we were only friends but not best friends. Then she screamed, demanding to know if we still were best friends. My answer was I don’t know and after crying all night, I deleted her from my Facebook. We have not talked since and I saw pictures of her wedding and she looks like she is just posing but not happy. Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up feeling like I need to be there for her. But I don’t know what to do because I don’t trust her anymore. I don’t trust that she cares about my feelings because she was willing to go ahead with actions that she knew would hurt me deeply.

What do I do now and where do I go from here? Please help. I’m truly sad and shaken about this situation and even my husband is sad about it because she was good friends with him as well. I myself don’t know what to do because I feel so hurt that I don’t know If I want to be friends or not.

Signed, Karen


Hi Karen,

From your perspective, I can understand how hurt you must have felt not to be invited to your best friend’s shower and wedding, especially someone whom you chose as your maid-of-honor. From your friend’s perspective, I can understand how uncomfortable it might have felt to have you participate in her shower and wedding since she knew that you felt so negatively about her fiancé and their marriage. Leaving you out of her wedding plans must have felt more comfortable than letting you down.

You went so far as to stick your neck out to warn your friend about what she was getting into although she decided to go ahead with her plans. The warning signs may have been evident to her as well, but either she didn’t have enough judgment or resolve to step away.

If, as you suspect, your friend’s husband has serious alcohol problems and mistreats her, she is in a troubled marriage and may not be in a position to be a good friend to you or anyone else.

It sounds like you genuinely care about your friend and want to reconnect. If you want to throw her a life preserver, you can let her know that you still care about her and are there for her if she wants to talk. Resist the temptation to criticize her husband or her decision to marry, and don’t expect apologies to be forthcoming.

You can only make sense of this disappointment if you accept that your friend’s inconsiderate actions had more to do with her, her husband, and their marriage than they had to do with you.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Other relevant post on The Friendship Blog:

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Marisa says:

    The best thing to do is stay out of other’s marriages and just make plans to see your friend alone. She is the only one who can decide she has had enough and leave him. Also, if she wants to complain to you about him, I would reply that it makes you uncomfortable but should she ever leave him, you will be there with support.

    • Marisa says:

      Also deleting someone close from your Facebook sends a definite signal that you are done with them. It is very harsh.

  2. Amy says:

    Friendships can’t help to become rocky when one friend doesn’t like or approve of the other’s significant other. I think you were being a good friend by expressing your trepidation about the relationship since you feel like her spouse changes your friend’s fundamental values and that he doesn’t treat her with respect. I’m concerned that perhaps you’ve crossed the line between worry about his impact on her and what I call throwing in the kitchen sink —increasing his negative assets by padding his bad attributes–like what his ex-wife said etc. These extraneous arguments might be sending message that you’re “out to get” her husband, putting her in the position of having to defend him–you vs. him.

    I love this quote of Irene’s “If, as you suspect, your friend’s husband has serious alcohol problems and mistreats her, she is in a troubled marriage and may not be in a position to be a good friend to you or anyone else”. Though nothing you’ve said tells me that this man has been abusing your friend, even though the way he treats her, from your perspective, sounds less than ideal. If he is abusing her, abandoning her (like defriending her on FB, which sends a loud and clear message) is probably the worst thing you can do, because then she won’t feel comfortable coming to you if she is indeed being mistreated. There are ways to distance yourself, like hiding your posts from her, if you don’t want to be friends, without making such a strong statement of not wanting her in your life.

    I surely know why you’d be hurt not being invited to her wedding, especially since she was in yours, but perhaps you can understand your disapproval of her marriage might have put a damper on her day. I wouldn’t have invited you if you couldn’t have been happy for my wedding/marriage. Unless she threw herself the shower, she’s probably not responsible for your not being invited to that.

    I think you need some distance from your friend, so that you can examine your motivations to your thoughts about her husband. Are you truly unbiased or perhaps you might be piling on to his negative attributes? Can you find any positives about him (does he make her happy, does he have a good sense of humor, is he kind to puppies) so that she can see you’re at least trying to accept her marriage?

    If you decide you want to try to repair the relationship, or stay friends/acquaintances, examining your own part in the dissolution of the friendship will help you do better moving forward and keep you from feeljng like a victim. (I’d start with apologizing for unfriending, since that essentially sends a strong message of ending the relationship). I know your situation is difficult, but the only part you can change is what you do, not what she or her husband does.

Leave a Reply