I’ve talked about my troublesome friendships here before. I will first acknowledge that I’m far from perfect myself. I can be very introverted, which means I often have to get over a hump of sorts in order to socialize. But when I get over that hump, I’m all in.
I never expect to be anyone’s top priority, but I am the kind of person that does need a bit of validation every once in a while that I still matter to them. Not every week… but definitely more often than twice a year. I have a hard time making friends, and the friends I have I can count on one hand. If I consider someone my friend, it means they really, really are someone dear to my heart. I’m introverted, yes, but never too busy for my friends.
From my friends I expect a certain level of mutual intimacy, which basically translates to feeling like we can (allow each other to) support each other through good times and bad times. I care about my friends and want to know what’s going on with them, because I am a good listener and genuinely want to lend support, but also in all honesty because I want to feel like they can come to me with everything. Similarly, I want them to take an interest in me, too. They don’t have to read my mind and look into my soul, but if I tell them something is going on, I expect them to have a reaction to it.
One flaw of mine related to this is that I could stand to give people the benefit of the doubt, and more time sometimes. But at the same time, one of my other flaws is holding on for too long. I continue to be attached to someone who’s already drifting away. And the longer I hold on, the more it hurts when that which holds us together still finally snaps.
Seven years ago, I met someone who… understood me completely. No one else but my husband was like that. She always caught my drift, got my jokes. We had so, so many laughs. I felt my life was richer because she was in it. We are long distance. For about 4 years, this was never a problem for us. We’d make time to chat every two weeks. We even managed to see each other on vacations a couple of times. She was like a sister to me.
Then I got engaged. She was the person I told when I had an inkling that it was about to happen, and we squeed and giggled and she wanted to know everything. She was the first person I told after my husband popped the question. I’m not a bridezilla; where I live, getting engaged is cause for celebration, but it isn’t a “stop the presses!!!” moment. But it was important to have a girlfriend to share it with. I never really had that. Girlfriends to do girlfriend things with.
At some point, that just stopped. I didn’t hear from her for months. I was struggling with depression at the time, so I didn’t deal with it very well. (I didn’t give her the benefit of the doubt.) It reached a point where I truly believed she wasn’t going to come to my wedding at all. She avoided me for that long. I never said anything. Instead I tried my hardest to get in touch with her, or well, to get her to get in touch with me. Eventually, she did reach out and told me she was going through something of her own the past couple of months. My reaction wasn’t to scream “what about meeeeeee!” but instead I supported her, listened to her, and also did tell her to not feel like she had to hide this stuff from me. I was here for her, for everything. Yes, I was hurt because I felt ignored, but I understood that it wasn’t about me.
After the wedding we managed to keep in touch relatively well, and even saw each other again one year later while we went on vacation to her country. After that, things started to change.
She was incredibly busy with her job, and I was happy for her. She’d worked a long time to get to where she is today. I made it clear that every time we made plans, I would respect her schedule and understand if something came up. More often than not, she forgot we’d made plans. If she realized it, she’d reschedule – only to either never get back to me on setting a date, or forgetting the new date altogether. She didn’t ever really initiate anything, which bothered me, but again – being supportive of her flourishing job.
Meanwhile I had started to struggle with my fertility problems, and missed having a close friend to talk to about it. She wasn’t there. I eventually reached out to my parents, DH’s parents, and DH’s sister – whom I regard as my own sister now. So I managed to find a new support system. But I missed her. And decided to try one more time. I sent her a long email, thinking, at least this way she can respond on her own time. I told her honestly what was going on – the good updates in our life, the bad ones. My (then) upcoming surgery, my diagnosis, my concerns.
It took her about 3 months to finally reply, but she did, and I felt a little bit more at ease. The whole “benefit of the doubt” thing, even though I had a gnawing realization that 3 months isn’t cool. But I missed her too much. Maybe something else was going on? (Even though I really didn’t think so. She was very active on Facebook during those three months.)
And then I’d already had my surgery and we’d decided to go the IUI route. I was scared. This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. How would I handle the medical trajectory? What if it didn’t work? Furthermore, my husband lost his job when I emailed her back. If ever there is a time to get back to your friend, that was it. She never did. I’d hear from her on Facebook sometimes (a like here and there, that’s it). But that was it. And I realized that there was nothing more for me to do. I was disappointed, and started to emotionally detach myself somewhat.
Yes. My husband got his job back a couple weeks later, under a new company set-up. But at the time of my email to her, we didn’t know this would happen. I was scared for my fertility problems, I was scared for our financial stability. I fucking needed my friend. I can forgive her for forgetting my birthday, but I couldn’t really forgive her for this.
Yesterday I found a print-out of that long email she sent me in November. It was full of empty promises. For the first time, I burst into tears. I sat there at 12 weeks pregnant, suddenly incredibly aware of what I long to share with her most, I can’t do anymore. I miss her more than ever and I realize more than ever that it’s over. That I have my flaws, and that adult relationships mean we have an implied background trust and faith in one and other to come through, but this isn’t it. I feel like such a fool for missing her when all along I’ve been demoted to Facebook friend. I keep looking for what I did wrong. Did I say something? Do something? I start doubting myself because I don’t have many friends. It must be me.
But I know it’s not. I don’t want to be angry at her because I still love her. But it’s not fair to be angry at myself instead. I have to choose myself now. This is over, and it’s long time I accept that. I don’t have to feel hate in my heart – I guess that’s the other side of adult relationships, accepting that they can just end without any ill intent. Doesn’t hurt any less though, and I’m finally letting myself cry it out. I need to feel it in order to believe it, truly. But she’s been lost to me for a long time now. It’s time I move on and spend my energy on other people, my husband, my growing baby and myself.