Reader Q & A: Avoiding entanglements after a break up

Published: August 8, 2008 | Last Updated: August 8, 2008 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

Dear Irene,


I have a long time friend who was a single mother just like me when we first
met ten years ago. I knew she was a headstrong and opinionated early on
and accepted that. However, I’ve always worried a bit about her. She had a
traumatic childhood; she was adopted after her mother, a drug addict, who gave
her up at the age of 5.


I kept the friendship almost out of pity because I knew she
felt she could always turn to me. She loses friends easily due to her tendency
to be mean and hurtful. I could write a book about all the hateful things
she has said to me and it would take volumes to write all the negatives things she
said about my child. I put this aside because she has a good heart in there
somewhere. She is very smart, clever and used to be fun, and our friendship
centered on getting together to let our kids play. Over the years, I become
like an Aunt to her first son.


I went on to get married; she did too. She married for
money, clearly stating to me and her family that her life plan was to marry
someone with money, have a few more kids and never ever, ever have to
work. This kind of stunned me but I sort of brushed it off. Now, she
flaunts her husband’s money, and often makes snide remarks about my husband’s
occupation. She is rude to me, her family, and especially to wait staff,
baristas, anyone in the service industry, as if she is a queen. She calls her
husband a “meal ticket” and continues to cheat on him, saying she’s not
attracted to him. She recently moved away with her family but she hardly spent
any time with me before she moved, and I have to say, I was relieved not to
spend time with her.


Here is the problem. I had planned to call her after
she settled in her new home to finally confront her and let her know we’ve
grown apart and that I need to move on. Before I did, her mother called
me very upset. When I told her mother, she didn’t even know that Claire had
moved. Turns out her entire family is furious with her for becoming a snob,
being rude to them all, and excluding them from her life. She had a fight with
her mother several months before and they haven’t talked since. The sad thing is
her mother has cancer, and because my friend is so self absorbed she doesn’t
even know.


I want to pick up the phone and just unleash on this person
I used to know! But, I have been asked not to divulge that I spoke to her
mother. Yesterday, her brother called and said he wanted me to know that
he hates his "ex-sister" and that if I do speak to her that the
family is very angry with her. Now I am stuck and have no idea what to
do. I am not outraged, more just disappointed and annoyed and ready to
move on but I have this nagging feeling that I should confront her before her
family members let on that they spoke to me. I just can’t find the
courage to do it! Please send your suggestions.


Anonymous in Florida


Dear Anonymous in Florida:


First, you should be congratulated on having such keen
insight into your fractured friendship. You realize the factors that brought
you and Claire together: sharing the experience of being single moms and your
understanding and acceptance of someone who had a hard time in life. You also
realize the downsides of the friendship that you initially overlooked but caused
it to end.


After each of you married, the vast discrepancy between your
values towards marriage/family and Claire’s become obvious. With her new
involvements with both a husband and lover—as well as a geographical move—seems
like your friendship just took a natural course and drifted apart, which was a
fine resolution on both ends. (It’s common to feel like there hasn’t been
closure when two people drift apart although it really is a type of closure.)


Then you somehow got involved in discussions with Claire’s
family which has indirectly involved you with this toxic person again. I
understand how this could easily happen but it was a mistake on your part. There
is no need to confront Claire over her transgressions or lack of character or
to report them to her family; they are well aware of her foibles. To the
contrary, you need to extricate yourself from her family drama. Don’t call her
relatives and if they call you again, you can honestly say that you are Claire
have parted ways and you really aren’t in touch with her anymore. Her mom’s
illness is a sad fact but there is nothing you can do about it.


This fractured friendship has really been over for some time. Unleashing isn’t a sign of courage and won’t repair what’s broken. Now, it’s time for you to more forward and replace it with healthier
relationships with people you respect. By the way: Don’t be surprised if you
hear from Claire again around the time of her divorce. Hopefully, if that comes
to pass, you will be prepared and you’ll be too busy and involved with others—who deserve a friend like you—to get sucked in again.


Hope this helps a little.


My best,


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Uncategorized

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Irene says:

    Hi Disappointed Diva:

    See my response to your post here:


  2. Disappointed Diva says:

    Dear Irene,

    I’m currently going through a friend break up……. She became very needy (emotionally) in the beginning of the relationship and I always felt compelled to help. She told me that I was distant and needed to let my guard down so that we could be close. I did and we eventually became BFFs. I sort of became distant from my other friends and probably depended on her a lot more than I liked. We’ve had 3 riffs in 3 years….in my opinion that was tell tale sign that the plane was going down. She is in an odd relationship with a total loser (with a child) who is extremely controlling. I’ve played the support role and picked her up when ever he tore her down. The catalyst to prompt me to write was this was the most ridiculous thing ever. One, I was PMSing. Two, I had a blow up in a restaurant with a member of the wait staff (they told me to shut up). Yes, I behaved like a total ass and unfortunately my frenemy’s son began to cry. She became belligerent outside of the restaurant (this was a first) and made a scene for an hour. We both were angry and exchanged some nasty words when she got back into the car.

    Unexpectedly she smacked me…..yes I know. I lost it and we engaged in a cat fight in the back of the moving car. It was a long ride back….and she begins to apologize (total half ass apology) and I say nothing.

    Three days later I text her because I’m torn up about it. I want to have a face 2 face conversation. She tells me that she needs time and has refused to speak to me. She has made the entire situation about her son and has not addressed me at all.

    She is passive aggressive and extremely controlling. She also has poor communication skills and avoids confrontation at all costs (who would think after reading this). I feel dismissed because I know that this is a game for her because she reacted in the same manner with the other two very minor riffs. It makes me so angry because I feel like she is totally breaking the girl rules and is acting like a total man. Unfortunately she is the only friend that I have ever loved and she knows it. Moving forward and changing lanes….

    What a bitch! –DD

Leave a Reply