DAME's Friendkeeper helps a woman struggling with depression and another whose pal puts her pain on parade.
I have been close friends with a woman for seven years—or thought so, anyway. I have put in a lot of effort, checking in with her a couple of times a month especially when she was living far away for some of that time. I told her everything about myself, trusted her. And then two years ago I found out that she was engaged. I was shocked, because I didn’t even know she had a boyfriend. But I let it go, congratulated her, and moved on. After not hearing from her for over a year, I emailed her. She told me she’s married and has a baby. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I was so hurt. So last week I gave her a call and took her out for lunch, and brought gifts for the baby. I asked her once nicely why she had not told me about any of it, especially since I’d tried to keep in touch. She said she couldn’t tell me over the phone—but yet she could tell me over email?
I am at a point in my life when I’m trying to move on and grow in all facets of my life so that I can be finally happy. But it’s hard when the people in my life I thought were my friends show me that they’re not—it certainly hasn’t made my struggle with depression any easier. Am I wrong to be mad at her? What do I do?
Heartbroken and Confused
When anyone finds herself doing all of the work in a relationship, it’s time to step back and reevaluate. In reading your letter, it’s clear she’s done nothing for a long time. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything you can do that’s going to give you satisfaction. She’s not been paying attention to you or your friendship for a long time, and I don’t see how she’s going to suddenly wake up and be a good friend. My thought is that during the time you were depressed, you may have been in relationships that weren’t that great for you. You weren’t really able to take care of yourself or even have perspective on what would be good for you, which means having friends that treat you with care and respect. Now that you’re doing better, you can see this is an unhealthy one-way street.
I think it’s time for you to clean house. Find friends who value you. I’m sorry this person broke your heart, but I’m glad you’re feeling good enough now to see that.
I met my friend Debby several years ago when our kids were in pre-school together. We got together a lot with our kids and when they stopped hanging out, we continued meeting for lunches and dinners. A couple of years ago, we both found ourselves at the end of our marriages—I was leaving my husband and her wife was leaving her. It is now four years later and we’ve been pretty close friends through it all. My issue is how she portrays herself on Facebook. She is all victim all the time. We both have had massive financial problems, insurance problems, the kinds of things everyone goes through, but somehow hers have become an excuse to write long pity-me posts. I found out when I saw her last time that one of our mutual friends gave her $5,000! I said, “Jeez, that’s really nice, I could use $5,000” and she said “Your divorce was your choice.” I’m so mad I don’t know what to do. I’m furious that she behaves this way and then she gets rewarded for it! And the problem is I’m obsessing about it all the time. I don’t even know what my question is, I’m just mad!
Well, I do pity you, unfortch I don’t have a spare five-grand or I’d give it to you (actually I’d give you $7,500, so you could beat Debby).
There are two parts to this: 1) her feeling that she’s more deserving because she was the dumped, rather than the dumpee and 2) her incessant whining on FB.
I think you need to call her on the comment that she wins the wah-wah contest because she was left. Anyone in any part of the dissolution of a marriage is worthy of our sympathy and support. It sucks to leave, it sucks to be left. And the reasons why either of them happens are not for us to assign worthiness to. As far as the complaining, I hate it, too. It’s one thing to call your bestie and whine to them, it’s another thing to post to your 1,500 friends. But think about it this way: She’s not taking responsibility for her part of her split or where she is in her life. And that means she’s not happy and whole, like you are (so stop obsessing about it and pat yourself on the back).
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