DAME’s Friendkeeper helps clear the air post-betrayal and walks a couple through a confrontation with former besties.
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I recently found out that a friend of mine is dating my ex. I found out because she told me, which sounds like the grownup thing to do. But she shared the news several months after the fact, and I think she only told me because a) she was afraid someone else would, and b) whatever was happening with them has kind of fizzled out. She felt really guilty about it and was totally apologetic during her “confession” (which felt sincere), and I was so blindsided by the whole thing, that I spent most of our chat comforting her and telling her not to worry about it. But now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’m a little bugged out. Granted, we’re not super close friends, but those few months of secretiveness feel like a betrayal, and now that she’s come clean, so to speak, it’s like she thinks we’re better friends than we are—she’ll call me to hang out and when we do, we often end up bitching about my ex. What the hell? Do I just let it go? He wasn’t a life-altering kind of ex, but still, the whole thing feels weird.
It’s interesting. My daughter Violet, who is 11, was recently telling me about this friend of hers who frequently says rude things and then blasts an apology—Violet’s impression is, “OH-I’M-SORRY-I’M-SORRY-I’M-SORRY-I’M-SORRY-I’M-SORRY-I’M-SORRY-I’M-SORRY.” Until my daughter just sort of backs away and says, “Okay.” The thing that she is doing is not leaving any space for Violet’s feelings. When someone does something that they are apologizing for, they need to let you say how it made you feel, to get what made you feel bad off your chest. And sometimes people are so scared of hearing your feelings they do all the feeling bad for you and it kind of sucks the air out your response. I think what needs to happen is you have to sit down and say how you feel, really. And don’t let her cut you off with apologies when you’re saying it. Get it all out. She feels better now that she apologized but you feel awful. And it makes total sense. As far as the betrayal, ask her what she was thinking and how she’d feel if it was reversed. Your sense that she told you because she was afraid of you finding out isn’t terrific. Also, you don’t need to sit around talking about him—he’s your ex for a reason. It’s possible when you get your part out you will feel better about the relationship too, but that’s for you to decide.
My wife and I used to be friends with this couple. Like, really close. We used to hang out nearly every weekend. We even talked about buying a weekend home together at one point. We had a lot of fun together, though when we went through a few personal crises, they really weren’t there for us. It’s like the line went dead. I just shrugged it off, we have a lot of friends who are great and were very devoted. But my wife privately took it to heart. Anyway, we got through it, but we stopped seeing them—they just didn’t invite us to do things anymore and we didn’t really reach out either, in part because we had a baby and didn’t have the kind of time we used to. I ran into them the other night and it was great to see them—we had a really nice conversation, everything seemed fine. But I will admit, they seemed a little sheepish. The next day, a mutual friend unwittingly said, “Hey, am I going to see you at the big wedding this weekend?” Well, that confirmed what we suspected, that we’d been unceremoniously dumped. I don’t know if I should tell my wife, though she will inevitably find out. I mean, I will tell her. But the real question here is, do I ask these former friends WTF happened? Or do I just let it go? I have no idea what we could have done to offend them, but maybe it’s just that we naturally ran our course. I kind of don’t want to know, but I know my wife wants closure. What do I do, Julie?
Are We Really So Wretched?
Hmm. Sounds like they were a little disappointing as friends when you needed them, could that have started the decline? Maybe they felt they had less in common with you once you had your baby… or maybe you just grew apart. It happens in single friendships and it can certainly happen with couples. A friend who was great when you were in your bar hopping, club scene days may not transition into a hangin’-at-the-playground-wiping-snot-with-the kids friend. I guess I’m trying to come up with the reason because I’m not sure I’d want to have the conversation about why they dumped you—but maybe that’s just me. I always assume that it’s going to be something that will hurt my feelings. “Honestly, Julie, you just got too fat.” “Well, Julie, I really can’t stand that voice you use to talk to your dogs.” So I’d just as soon let it go. HOWEVER, you may not be a chicken like me in which case you could say, “What the hell happened?” But only if you want them back. And do you? Or maybe this is a conversation for your wife to have if she’s the one who wants closure. It can also be okay to have them as D- or E-list friends—sort of out there but not who you might invite to your wedding.
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
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