on the continuing loss of my best friend

I haven’t posted for so long.  I am busy with other things, but I am always dealing with this friendship divorce in my head.  At work, at the gym, when I should be focusing on my kids or cooking/cleaning/etc.  Even doing things I like. Anyway, I want to write about what has been going on.  Like this blog’s title, there isn’t really anyone to talk to about this.

I did find a book that was recently published on the subject so I will mention it here.  My Other Ex is short stories by women who have lost significant female friendships in their lives, and I bought it almost as soon as I saw the title.  Coincidentally, it was published very recently, in September of 2014, almost exactly a year after I started going through this experience.  So I’m reading it now and hoping I can find some resolution or clarity or something.

The way Jean and I stand is this:  I told her I need a break and I wasn’t going to communicate for awhile.  Of course I saw her at a local bar/restaurant a few days later and it was wildly distressing to me.  Anyway, preceding my need for a break was a series of emails in which she called me on my technique of backing away from her.  She said I was too cold and formal.  And then there was the months before that.

Before that, going back to the last time I wrote, I shut down for about two months and did not return her emails.  I was so hurt and angry I could not even express that I needed a break.  Then, after two months, during which time it was unusual for me to spend more than a waking hour or two not contemplating this relationship, I asked to meet with her and we did.  I felt hurt that she never initiated contact after I cut off contact, even though I know that is probably not fair.  I still felt hurt and angry by what I consider her de-valuing of me while she was putting tons of energy into her online dating.  But I wanted to be friends and I tried to make that happen.  She resisted at first, feeling hurt by my behavior and doubting that we could repair our friendship, but I was optimistic.  When she resisted, I was newly energetic and I made a list of great memories I had of her and things I love about her.  I was doubtful, though, about my list because I felt it was too strong, showing an unbalanced appreciation of our relationship, showing that I was too eager and making me look a little crazy even.  Vulnerable for sure. I decided not to give her the list, at least for a few months.

During the next few months, things did not feel so great to me. It was summertime, and both of us were taking trips, working, etc. I was again hurt by her unavailability, especially since when we did talk it was always clear that she had unlimited time, money, energy for men she met online. Also, she told me numerous times that she was taking down her dating website, which I thought was odd since she clearly wasn’t. Also, though I got the feeling she felt bad about all this, I wanted her to date. I had long encouraged her to date even before she separated.  I have a liberal view of sex and I thought it right for her to look for intimacy with men since her husband was so unavailable.  I had encouraged her to get an apartment, date, move on. I thought I would gain friends through her, enjoy listening to her exploits, go on double dates, talk about sex which we had never done… but instead I got more hurt and felt unable to express anything to her.

I don’t know why this is such a painful struggle for me. I do have some thoughts. She helped me through my husband’s affair and through the experience of having my children investigated by social services. We were friends for over 7 years when this started. It is hard making friends at my age and time of life (mid-40’s, kids, job, etc). She looks like me and we have been mistaken for sisters. Actually, we each have sisters and I think we look more like each other than we look like our sisters.  I cherish my female friends and have very few that live close by.  But I still wonder why I am so undone over this when the rest of my life is really pretty excellent.

At any rate, she had a birthday around the end of summer and invited my family over. I thought about giving her the list as a gift, but every time I considered it, I was emotionally crushed by the realization that she would never do that for me. She wouldn’t fight for the friendship like I would. She never contacted me over those 2 long months. My father almost died with sudden health emergencies not once but 3 times and she wasn’t there. She missed my 2 of my kids’ theater productions though my husband took my kids to see her daughter’s play. We had another friendship go bad which affected my husband’s life and my kids but she wasn’t there. I didn’t matter to her like she did to me. I felt like a sham, going to her house that night. I knew it would make a great Facebook post about us being there and she did post it and I felt awful. I felt every time I was friendly to her, I was condoning her behavior and increasing my own bad feelings.  I had to pull back from this relationship.

I guess I should have said that. In a way, though, I wasn’t even saying it to myself. I just knew I had to make peace inside my mind and body. I did what I had to do but did not express myself to her. I let time pass before responding to her emails. I did not share my joys and struggles with her.  And then she slammed a door in my face with an email saying she would not be contacting me anymore.

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