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Are friendships more ‘sacred’ than relationships?

(18 Posts)
StillCoughingandLaughing Mon 01-Apr-19 08:53:50

I bumped into a friend at the weekend who I’ve not seen in ages. We were chatting and she asked ‘How’s X?’ (someone we both know). I was surprised as she knows I don’t speak to X anymore, and I said as such. She did a bit of an eye roll and said, ‘Really? Have you two still not made it up?’

I actually found this really annoying; as if she was saying I was just being very silly and stubborn rather than having cut someone toxic out of my life. X used to make a massive

StillCoughingandLaughing Mon 01-Apr-19 09:24:08

Gah, hit post too soon angry

X used to make a massive point of us being ‘best friends’, but it only seemed to apply when it suited her. She still lived in my home town and I’d always arrange to see her when I went back, but if she wasn’t in the mood (or was hungover, which was more often than not) she’d cancel at the last minute - then get stroppy if I wouldn’t rearrange my plans to accommodate her the next day. The final straw was when she publicly tore into me for not inviting her to a school reunion night - even though she didn’t actually go to that school. I’d had enough.

It occurred to me that, had I ditched a partner after a long pattern of unreasonable behaviour, I’d be getting ‘good on you’ from my friends. I certainly wouldn’t be being asked ‘Are you still not back together?’ over a year later.

Is it just because relationships are meant to be one-on-one; therefore you can’t have another one at the same time as a difficult one, whereas you can have as many friends as you like? Or is it deeper than that? Have we all been fed the ‘men come and go but friends are forever’ line for so long that no one likes to believe that friendships can and sometimes should end? X certainly couldn’t cope with the idea that I had other friends and priorities - it became just as suffocating as a controlling romantic relationship for me.

What do you think?

Greenlegobox Mon 01-Apr-19 09:29:01

No, I don't think so. You can have other friendships at the same time but only one relationship. If a relationship is bad there should be no excuses, your partner should be there for you 100%. There is more leeway in a friendship and you can let things go as you shouldn't be that reliant on one friend. So a friendship can be imperfect but still work.

Greenlegobox Mon 01-Apr-19 09:30:03

And I would definitely think my relationship is more important. There are children involved etc.

Fossilised Mon 01-Apr-19 10:14:59

I've had this too from a mutual friend. But there again, she was never the ex friends 'best' friend. The dynamic is quite different. The ex friend was/is charming and very likeable, funny, life and soul of the party. However there is another side that ordinary friends do not see. What they do see is ex friend complaining that I'm not speaking to her anymore, and how likeable she is. Mmm. Lucky them not being smothered by her.

I think friendships are generally seen to outlast relationships and like Green says, there is more leeway for behaviour.

StillCoughingandLaughing Mon 01-Apr-19 12:37:36

There is more leeway in a friendship and you can let things go as you shouldn't be that reliant on one friend.

True - but I don’t get the ‘But she’s your fwend!’ hand-wringing you get from some people if you decide you don’t want someone in your life anymore. A bad friend is still a bad friend, even if you’re not totally reliant on them.

Dohangoversgetworseasyougetold Mon 01-Apr-19 13:01:13

I've definitely noticed that some people will expect you to put up with behaviour from a friend that they'd tell you was abusive and not to be tolerated coming from a partner. An ex-friend of mine was very controlling (e.g. she expected to see me every weekend unless I had other plans but was also paranoid and tried to accuse me of gaslighting her if I did say I had other plans. I once had to send her a photo to prove I was snowed in, just to stop her flying off the handle). She also flew into rages over very trivial things, e.g. if I had a different opinion about a book, and she generally made me walk on eggshells around her. Some of our common friends/ acquaintances were still shocked when I broke up with her, because all of the above was "just her way" .

(Not sure how old you are, but there was a lot of sentimentality in popular culture when I was a teenager in the 90s about female friendship never ending, your mates being your real family etc. I do have some friends who are closer than my biological family, but that's after several years of "pruning" my friendship group of people who were emotional vampires and basically didn't give a fuck about me).

thecatsthecats Mon 01-Apr-19 14:38:09

I have a number of friends who I wouldn't like to be closer to, or who I have a conditional relationship with.

What people rarely acknowledge when giving advice is that friends don't often come in singles. One particularly difficult woman is part of one group, another flaky and disrespectful one is another. If I wanted to go NC with them, the decision might have repercussions on friendships I wouldn't be without.

One of my friend groups did have a major falling out, and three of us were left in the middle. I used to be able to get together with six or so of my best friends from school on a regular basis. That can't happen any more - I need to double my social events and calendar just to keep up!

Thindragon Mon 01-Apr-19 14:45:12

I like the 90s sentimentality about friendships point. Ah, those heady days when if they wanted to be our lover, they had to get with our friends. Zig-a-zig-ahh.

joyfullittlehippo Mon 01-Apr-19 14:50:14

All meaningful relationships are important whether they are sexual or not.

Any relationship that is toxic or involves being treated poorly should be ended, regardless of whether it’s a sexual relationship or not.

DontCallMeCharlotte Mon 01-Apr-19 14:54:46

The final straw was when she publicly tore into me for not inviting her to a school reunion night - even though she didn’t actually go to that school.

Sorry, nothing helpful to add but that's hilarious!

PregnantSea Mon 01-Apr-19 15:03:08

I think the total opposite to your friend - your marriage is the sacred thing that you give second chances to and try and make things work as many times as you can handle (obviously not in the case of abuse). Friends are great but it is normal for people to outgrow each other or drift apart. I have a small handful of really great friends that I consider more special than mates I go for coffee with, and I have known for a very long time, but if we drifted apart or they did something awful then I wouldn't feel obliged to make up with them.

blueskiesovertheforest Mon 01-Apr-19 15:13:55

Friendships are more flexible and can wax and wane and where appropriate be allowed to die a natural death rather than having to "break up" unlike a monogamous sexual relationship, that's the difference.

"Breaking up" is a concept I associate with couples not friends. You fall out with friends but you don't "break up" with them, you just leave it and the friendship dies a natural death, because as you say you don't have to declare a friendship officially over in order to have a different friend...

Using monogamous relationship terminology about friendships seems odd to me - I guess if you fall into thinking about a friendship like a relationship it's a sign that it's become too stifling (or that it's actually more than a friendship!)

Grumpelstilskin Mon 01-Apr-19 15:18:29

Toxic cuntery is toxic cuntery and I won't tolerate from a partner nor supposed friend these days.

SlinkyDinkyDoo Mon 01-Apr-19 15:22:57

I agree with thecats. Cutting someone out can be very problematic if part of a wider friendship group.

PinkGlitter123 Mon 01-Apr-19 15:26:39

In my experience people value their friends and the relationship very much, all until they meet a new partner.

thecatsthecats Mon 01-Apr-19 15:38:52

Plus in a relationship, there's the aspect that you're building a life together, and there are some fundamentals that you can't be without: shared financial goals or habits, a certain level of shared politics, want the same number of children.

I can handle my friend being a spender who never pays her way if she can avoid it, because that's very easy to avoid with her. I handle one friend's endless moaning about her melodramas, and know that she'll be a shoulder there if I want a rant but be sure as hell I wouldn't want to live with her!

In a nutshell, you have to be in love with most of your partner and tolerate the rest - not the case of a friend!

StillCoughingandLaughing Mon 01-Apr-19 16:55:46

Sorry, nothing helpful to add but that's hilarious!

Yep, she was bonkers grin She also once got mortally offended because I didn’t invite her to join us on a night out for my friend’s 40th. This was someone she’d met twice; the last time being two years previously.

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