Two Teens And Their Mama: Breaking Up With My Best Friend

Monday, August 25, 2014

Breaking Up With My Best Friend


Three years ago I broke up with my best friend.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done - we've known each other for thirty five years.  I know it was the right decision, but there are many days when I still miss her.

We met in sixth grade and clicked right away.  I was the awkward new girl, and she lived in my neighborhood.  I'm pretty sure I followed her home and asked her if she wanted to be my friend. We had a lot in common, but our personalities were completely opposite. She was loud and fun and a little bossy, and I was quiet and meek and willing to go along with whatever crazy idea she came up with.  

Through the years we went through a lot together.  We were teenagers, college students, newlyweds, and mothers at the same time.  I saw her almost every day, and most of the time we had lots of fun.  She could make me laugh like no one else.  Our families vacationed together, and I was there when her children were born.  We felt more like sisters than friends.

From the beginning we had our ups and downs, but as the years went on, my friend became more controlling and quick to anger.  I'm not sure what was going on with her, and it was the one subject we couldn't talk about.  And even though I had grown and matured, for some reason I was still that meek sixth grader when it came to her.  No matter what she said or did to me, I always forgave her.  She was my best friend.

Unfortunately, over time the negative parts of our friendship started to outweigh the positive.  I was making excuses for her behavior to myself and my family, and I found myself dreading our time together.  I had stayed in the relationship because I kept thinking things had to get better.


I don't want to go into the details of what happened, because they aren't important.  And I don't want to lead you to believe that I was without fault.  Every relationship involves two people, and I was by no means the perfect friend.  But one day she finally did something that crossed the line, and I couldn't ignore how bad things had gotten anymore.

For three months things were strained and uncomfortable.  It came to a head one day, which resulted in an ultimatum from her.  What she demanded offered me only one clear choice, and I walked out of her house, and though I didn't know it at the time, out of her life.  We haven't seen each other or spoken since.

In the beginning, I thought that things would repair themselves after a short break.  We had been friends for thirty five years, and we had argued before.  But the longer I went without having her in my daily life, the more clearly I began to see.  Over time, and after discussing it with my husband and children, I came to the sad realization that our relationship had become unhealthy, and the friendship was over for good.  

Still, I have mourned the loss of that friendship deeply.   I had never experienced a break up with someone I care about.  My hubby and I started dating when we were fifteen - I married my first love. These were new emotions.  There has been grief and sadness and now, finally, relief and acceptance.


I didn't write this story to ask for sympathy, or to hear that I did the right thing.  I think I did, but it doesn't even matter now.  But I do want to share what I've learned.  

I've realized that life is hard enough without having toxic people around to bring stress, drama and frustration into the mix.  Relationships with your spouse, children and family can be hard sometimes, and they require a lot of work to make them strong and healthy. Friendships should be a safe place to land when you need a shoulder to cry on or advice about a problem.  They shouldn't be so difficult.

I've also learned that it's okay to let some relationships go as you get older.  Life is too short. There are many things I can't control, but a bad friendship isn't one of them.  And even though we had a long history together, I don't have to be unhappy.  I finally stood up for me.

We live in the same town, and although I pass her occasionally in my car, we have never come face to face since that last day.  I tried sending a letter to explain how I felt, but it came back "Return to Sender".  That was my final wake up call.  She couldn't hear any side but her own, and that wasn't going to change.

I still think about her often.  I miss her sense of humor, the fun we had, the heart to heart talks, and especially her children.   But I am slowly mending, and I know I made the right decision when I broke up with my best friend.

51 comments:

  1. This is so poignant for me right now as I had a similar situation that just happened about 2 months ago. It was a total shock to me after being best friends for over 23 years.

    I believe it is a mid life crisis thing for my girlfriend because I can't think of any other reason. She literally turned into a whole different person overnight it seemed. And like you and your friend, she didn't want to hear any other version of the story other than her own. She placed all of the blame for every reason she was unhappy in her life squarely on my shoulders.

    We haven't spoken for about 8 weeks now and I know that it is the end of the relationship for good since I would never be able to trust her again. She crossed over too many lines and was far too mean and resentful.

    It hurts though. And I'm super sad about it. I miss her every day and still don't understand what happened. I know that time will eventually heal my wounds, but at the same time I also know that at this late date in my life I doubt I will ever have a friend that is as close as she was.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It's not an easy one to share.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story too. It will get better, but even three years later I still think about my friend a lot. I've wondered if her issues are also hormonal, although things got bad gradually. I'm sorry you've had to go through this.

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  2. Thanks for this post, I've been teeter-tottering with a friendship; you gave me something to think about.

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    1. It's such a hard decision. Mine was eventually made for me, but I struggled with it for a long time.

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  3. Lana... I had a very similar experience four years ago. I always knew things were not on an even plane but she made me laugh and I always looked the other way and forgave her. When it ended I was so sad and I still miss her. BUT... I am better for having moved on. Thanks for sharing your story, it made me realize I'm not the only one who has lost a "friend"
    Suzanne

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting. I feel so much better knowing I'm not the only one who has had to deal with this. I have felt so much relief even though it was a difficult decision.

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  4. Sometimes we have to let people go when they no longer fit into our lives. It's not easy but at least you can see things clearly now.

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    1. Yes, it has taken some time, but things are so much better now.

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  5. Lana, I know this could not have been an easy post to write.
    I am sorry for your loss of someone who was once a good friend. I feel most sorry,however, for her - that she did not know how to nurture friendship, and hold on to a true friend. I am sure her life is lonely without you - but you are better off now than the way things were.

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    1. Thank you Susan! I know I'm better off, but I still miss her some days. I'm so happy to have made a new friend in you though!

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  6. I've pulled back from a very close friendship. We see each other rarely and my expectations are very diminished. I've come to realize that once we were great friends, but that's not the way anymore. It's been hard, but friendships and people do change.

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    1. You're right, people do change, and sometimes you just have to let go. Thank you so much for visiting!

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  7. It's not easy but now that you are seeing things more clearly, you can see that you did the right thing. I had a similar experience many years ago and it was really difficult but in the end I was happier without the toxic relationship weighing me down.

    Jill
    dousedinpink.blogspot.com

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    1. I do feel like a weight has been lifted, and I have more time to nurture other relationships in my life.

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  8. I'm sure this was so hard. I've had to let go of some friendships too. It's sad, but in the end, the best choice.

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    1. You're right. Why is it so hard to realize that sometimes though?

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  9. Wow Lana! Thanks for sharing your story...could not have been easy!! But you've got your family to help you through this and family is everything!! Have a great week!

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    1. Thank you Katie. My family has been very supportive, and you're right, that has helped so much.

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  10. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing, it might really be what someone needs to read right now.

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    1. Thank you! I struggled with whether or not to write it, but now I'm so glad I did.

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  11. I went through this very same thing with a friend last year, Lana. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself and very freeing!

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    1. It's so helpful to know I'm not the only one going through this.

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  12. I too have gone through friend break-ups and they are very painful. I'm sorry that you were unable to resolve thing with someone who was such an important part of your life! Thank you for a very heartfelt post!

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  13. I guess I am not alone....same thing happened to me with my best friend two years ago. We had been best friends since 6th grade as well and even though we had a lot of ups and downs throughout the years we somehow made it work until she decided out of the blue to break up the friendship with an email. I tried calling her to at least discuss it but she wouldn't take my calls. Then I thought about it and I realized I am happier with her not in my life any more and if she doesn't think I am worth a five minute conversation to explain things then I am better off without her. A lot of people close to me had told me throughout the years that she is manipulative and jealous and not good for me but I had ignored it. I realized they were right and I didn't need a toxic person or relationship in my life anymore. Life is hard as it is. We had some good years but I have moved on and I realize I dont even miss her. That says a lot right there.
    Its always good to go with your gut feeling and what your heart tells you.
    Nora
    www.jacketsociety.com

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    1. Wow, Nora, your story sounds almost identical to mine. I wish I hadn't taken so long to follow my gut, but now it's such a relief. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  14. Interesting to see the comments and how many women have gone through similar. There is a grieving period - that period of loss. And, as you say, the good times are what you miss the most. Very well done and triggered a lot of thought.

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    1. Thank you Carol. I've also been surprised at how many of us have a similar story. It makes me feel better to know I'm not alone!

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  15. So sorry you went through that. My best friend and I didn't break up, but we've drifted apart. I got tired of putting out the effort, and always feeling bad...and I slowly stopped...both. But it does break your heart. Friendship requires equality and respect, for sure.

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    1. Thank you for visiting Kim. My friend was definitely not showing me any respect, which was difficult, given our long history.

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  16. Lana, this is such a timely post for me as I find myself in a similar situation with a friend of more than 25 years.
    It is so difficult to let go of a relationship that has become toxic.
    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I don't know why it's so hard, but it is. I'm sorry you're going through this as well. But based on the comments, we aren't alone!

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  17. Breaking up with a girlfriend has so few cultural or social models for us. I found it heartwrenching when a dear friend let our friendship lapse after 20 years. I had no idea how to respond or deal with it other than to let time help.

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    1. You're right - it seems so wrong to let a friendship go, especially a long one. Time has definitely helped.

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  18. That's very sad but probably something that you are better off from. That being said it is still a very painful event to have happen. I'm sorry you went through this but she must jot be a very bright person not to realize what a wonderful person you are. I'm very proud to call you my friend.

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    1. Thank you so much Rena! I'm also proud to call you a friend!

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  19. Perfect timing fro me to read this! I just did the same thing. We had been friends since middle school, but of course had grown far apart. She was still trying to keep the friendship going to the point of being forceful and clingy. I had to cut my ties to her because she was to demanding of my time and I was feeling suffocated. She wanted center stage and didn't understand that my family comes first, and then my writing career. Honestly, I'm happy not to have her drama in my life anymore.

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    1. This sounds so similar to my situation. My friend didn't like being anything but first - which doesn't work when you have a husband and family! You're right, leaving the drama behind is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  20. Thank you so much for stopping by today, Lana.
    I can relate to your story and have a similar one...not identical, but similar. Its' sad, but sometimes for the best if it's not a healthy place to put your energy.

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    1. I feel like my energy is so much healthier now!

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  21. I've gone through this as well, it is hard at first as you shared a lot together. Her inability to overlook your differences and be an adult is rather telling.

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    1. You're right, we had moved past having an adult conversation about things. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading!

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  22. WOW!! Last year I ended a 25 yr long friendship. She wasn't my best friend but was certainly up there in my circle of friends who I did tons of stuff with. She crossed the line last year by doing something unforgiveable in my book. I was shocked that she would even attempt to sabotage our friendship. I think a lot about her and miss her from time to time - up until the time I remind myself she betrayed me. It sucks so bad!

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    1. I'm sorry you had to go through this too. It's such a terrible feeling! Thanks so much for reading and sharing!

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  23. I have some very healthy friendships and some that I question... thankfully, the positive ones are where I put my focus but for some reason, some of those other ones are just hard to let go of at times.

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    1. I'm trying to put all of my "friend" energy into my positive friendships, and I'm so much happier!

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  24. This happened to me with a friend of quite a few years. My husband tells me that I just need to cut toxic friends out of my life, but it's hard to do! My situation came to a head over something stupid, but it was a long-time coming.

    Tif @ Bright on a Budget
    www.brightonabudget.com

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    1. My hubby tells me the same thing. It's hard when you have a history with the friend though.

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  25. Over the years, I've had a couple close friends that I had to move on from, for various reasons, and it's hard. Granted none of them were my closest friendships but they were long term friendships. But in the end, it was right. I was making excuses to myself for hurtful things they said or did, or how they made me felt, and it shouldn't be that way.

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    1. You're right, friendships should be easy and comfortable, not hard!

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