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Best friend broke my heart

(261 Posts)
sleeplessinsalford Wed 29-Jan-20 15:18:40

So some background. My partner and I tried to conceive for 20 years before finally having to call it a day and move on with our lives. At the same time as all this was going on, my best friend of 30+ years was not in a relationship so she was also childless and the same age as me (now 40). She saw everything I went through whilst TTC, tests, medications, treatment etc and the many, many heartaches I experienced too. It was a very long and painful journey, with no happy ending. She was always there for me and we both had a very active interest in parenting etc and would sit and talk for hours about when we had children, the things we would do and how we would parent.

Shortly after I had reached the end of the line, she got pregnant with her new partner, which was hard for me in one way, but nevertheless I was thrilled for her and was really excited to be part of her child's life as she is like a sister to me. It felt very much like I was getting a new niece!
The first thing that was 'off' was very soon after finding out she was expecting, she said to me "you're not going to interfere on how I bring this baby up, are you?" which really took me aback, but I put it down to hormones and let it go.
But then, when she was around 6 months pregnant, I had bought her some baby things and I mentioned in passing something like "this baby is going to spoilt rotten by her Auntie Anne" - meaning by me.
Her reaction to this, floored me. Her exact words were "you're NOT her Auntie!", "she has real Aunties, and she would be confused calling you Auntie too".
I was so shocked by the outburst, I smiled my way politely through the rest of the afternoon, but when she left I literally broke my heart and cried for hours.
Some time has passed since her daughter was born and the hurt is still very much there. In my life, my parent's best friends were our Aunts, as a way of us knowing they were like family, a kind of trusted circle I suppose. I have other friends who I have known half as long who call me Auntie to their children and think she is being quite cruel, especially after all I have been through and not having any children of my own.
I can't help but feel that this has damaged our friendship irreversibly and has put a distance between me and her little girl as she knows me simply as 'Anne' in the same way she knows the postman as 'John'. I think a lot of it is me wondering how she didn't realise this would hurt me after such a long and close friendship.

I have never mentioned this to her because I value our friendship, and I get the feeling she will not understand why it has hurt me the way it has. Do you think I am being pathetic? and am I wrong to question our friendship over this?

AryaStarkWolf Wed 29-Jan-20 15:22:41

YANBU to be upset by it and how your describe it sounds like she was unnecessarily cruel to you however maybe you have been a little pushy and maybe it was your friend trying to put some boundaries in place?

Wattagoose90 Wed 29-Jan-20 15:23:11

I think you're really overthinking this. You don't need a title to be special to a child. I doubt she even realised that this would upset you. Some people keep the titles biologically and others don't.

TwitcherOfCurtains Wed 29-Jan-20 15:24:31

Yabu.
I've stopped people from referring to themselves as child's aunt or uncle. I detest it, it's overly familiar when all they are is a family friend.

OoohTheStatsDontLie Wed 29-Jan-20 15:25:09

You are not being pathetic and YANBU to be hurt.

But I don't think she was being u reasonable to say what she did either. It sounds like different family set ups / cultures to me. In some cultures and families it's really common to call your parents good friends 'aunt' and 'uncle's, it's a sign of respect and signifies they are close to you. In other families it goes without saying which parents friends are close to the children and they reserve those titles for actual relatives only. I can see both sides as one of my friends refers to me as 'auntie...' infront of her kids, but I was never brought up like that and would feel really awkward saying it back, even my sibling I just refer to them by first name to my children (as a mark of respect- one parents siblings were not as close and we used the full aunt/uncle title, whereas we just used first names with the other parents siblings who we were closer to). Its just how I was brought up and it's hard to shake off. If one of my friends referred to herself or himself as aunt/uncle I don't know if I would say anything but I wouldn't like it to carry on.

AgnesNaismith Wed 29-Jan-20 15:25:56

I would never call anyone aunt other than my actual aunties and therefore neither do my children. It’s one of those things in families, you either do or you don’t and neither is wrong!

Do you think you might have invested too much into this situation?

OwlBeThere Wed 29-Jan-20 15:29:49

I don’t like the thing of kids calling people Auntie when they aren’t. To be honest in my family we don’t even say it about our actual aunties. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t value you and your input with her child. I can see how this is hard for you. I really can.

VanGoghsDog Wed 29-Jan-20 15:32:23

Well, even my actual niece and nephew don't call me auntie and I'm not upset by that. And I don't know the postman's name even though I speak to him quite a lot.

You're not unreasonable to feel hurt but a bit unreasonable not to just accept your friend's preference for her child as not being intentionally mean to you.

Highonpotandused Wed 29-Jan-20 15:33:19

On the assumption that you're not interfering, your friend sounds like a bitch.

Calling older people uncle and aunt is polite. If she didn't want that, she should have told you in a much more sensitive and polite way,.

What are you getting out of this friendship, OP?

VanGoghsDog Wed 29-Jan-20 15:34:28

When I was a kid my mum had a friend who insisted her daughter call my mum "Auntie Name" (which sounded very odd to me) but I wasn't allowed to call her mum "Auntie Her name", all families just have different approaches to this.

EssentialHummus Wed 29-Jan-20 15:36:11

Yanbu, though it sounds like she was overly assertive there. Fwiw I’m an “auntie” type and it’s a bit of a minefield - my closest friend gets visibly uncomfortable when I refer to her as Auntie X in front of DD; my downstairs neighbour has declared herself Auntie Y even though we hardly see her; and friends refer to me as auntie or not for reasons that have nothing to do with how close I am to them or not. Not to mention that my two year old now says “Auntie John” and “Auntie Steve” confused to friends.

It’s complicated, basically grin.

Alexandra80 Wed 29-Jan-20 15:37:32

You were being harmless and she could've indulged you all things considered. Seems mean spirited on her part but it's her dc so she can behave as she pleases I suppose. It's whether you feel it was too harsh/unnecessary or will cause a rift further down the line. Sorry for your struggles by the way flowers

TheGirlWithAPrince Wed 29-Jan-20 15:37:38

Yanbu... I would want my friend of so long to be known as auntie or something family related.. Sounds abit wierd to me I had an auntie and a uncle that wernt actually related

AryaStarkWolf Wed 29-Jan-20 15:38:35

Calling older people uncle and aunt is polite.

Literally never came across this view (when referring to people who aren't actually your aunt or uncle)

Littlebb2020 Wed 29-Jan-20 15:39:23

She sounds heartless tbh.

It might not mean much to others but you’ve been friends a long long time and to say that to you I think was cruel.

My closest friend has a friend of hers who had a baby and they Call my friend aunt
I think it’s lovely and she dotes on the child.
They haven’t been friends any where near as long as you two. I also have struggled to concieve and am currently going through treatment my close friend knows this but If it did work and I know she’d just refer herself as aunty Id have no problem and I have 4 sisters.

JoJothesquirrel Wed 29-Jan-20 15:39:40

Ugh my partners sil (brothers wife) said the same when I called myself auntie JoJo because we weren’t married and she had sisters (had been together longer than her her husband and had kids and a mortgage) . So now even though we’re married we are uncle name and JoJo but actually I acquired a cutesy nickname which drives her mad too. Different people have different rules.

sleeplessinsalford Wed 29-Jan-20 15:40:35

I definitely respect her right to make her own decisions about her child, of course. I do think that she could have been much kinder in telling me. If she had just took a few minutes to just say it was something she wanted, for whatever reason, I would have been disappointed, but I would have understood. She was very blunt and IMO unkind. As for interfering, I don't think so. I try (still) to be helpful when she struggles, but I am very careful not to cross a line as I know myself I wouldn't want anyone telling me how to parent, if I had been able to.

In regards to the comments about culture etc, we grew up together and both families used the terms similarly, so I am not sure where this has come from. And I have an overwhelming feeling that even if it wasn't something she planned to do herself, it would have been a lovely thing to do for her best friend who is unable to have children of her own. :-\

TheNoodlesIncident Wed 29-Jan-20 15:41:17

I used to call my mum's friends and relations "Auntie Whatever", but this does seem to be a thing of the past - most unrelated or more distantly related people are simply called by their first name. Kids call their friends' mums or dads by their first name rather than Joe's mum or Mrs Bloggs. There may well be exceptions but it does seem to be the way now.

Is it that your friend was very abrupt/emphatic about it (it comes across that way from your op) rather than warm but jokey, like: "Oh, nobody says Auntie whatever these days! You'll be by your first name, it's more friendly" or something like that?

I was wondering if perhaps you had been a little overbearing in some of the opinions you expressed to her, otherwise her comment of "you're not going to interfere on how I bring this baby up, are you?" doesn't make sense. It's not a comfortable thought but sometimes we don't realise how we're coming across to other people, and she might have taken something you've said in a different light from how you had intended.

It really doesn't matter whether you've got the title of auntie or not, it really doesn't. It's how you're treated that counts. If you're treated with kindness and respect, isn't that more meaningful than whether you're called Sleepless or Auntie Sleepless?

CoffeeCoinneseur Wed 29-Jan-20 15:41:49

Sorry YABU.

Some people like the whole “auntie and uncle” thing, some don’t.

Personally I don’t, and I don’t agree with the PP that calling older people uncle and aunt is polite, who decided that and where do you stop with that?

Poppet1974 Wed 29-Jan-20 15:42:02

I totally get what you’re saying OP and I do think your friend was quite cruel in saying that to you and it was a mean way of putting you in your place.
I had an Auntie Anne and Granny McG who were not related to me, just very close family friends. I loved knowing that they cared for me enough to want to be called such although I’m in Ireland where many would find that entirely normal.

I hope you’re ok, it must have really stungflowers

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 29-Jan-20 15:42:09

I think you've blown this out of proportion. Some families do the 'aunt' thing as a courtesy title, some don't - I do, DH doesn't and it absolutely bewilders him that we do.

But I don't think this is really just about the aunt thing. Do you think she distanced herself from you a little when she became pregnant? Was she worried about you being over-involved? Or was she just worried you'd be upset, and so was a bit brusque? All of those things are actually understandable AND hurtful. What I'm trying to say is neither of you are U - it's a tough situation to navigate, she has perhaps been a bit clumsy around you, you've been hurt by that. But it isn't maliciously meant, so I think you have to let it go.

Oldishusernewname Wed 29-Jan-20 15:42:22

I'm so sorry about your difficulties OP and I do get why you are upset but I think YABU on this.

Your friend seems to be protecting her boundaries, there's a big difference between talking about having a baby and actually having one. It sounds like she might be worried about your sense of possessiveness over her baby, it kind of screams out from your post to be honest. It might be irrational on her part but it's normal to get the pfbs!

I hope your friendship makes it through flowers

SemperIdem Wed 29-Jan-20 15:42:45

I can understand why you feel hurt as it’s the norm for you for family friends to be “Auntie X”.

However I completely understand where your friend is coming from, I don’t personally like friends being called Auntie/Uncle, my daughter calls my friends by their names.

Wineislifex Wed 29-Jan-20 15:42:51

I think her comment about you not interfering was rude but YABU to expect to be called auntie when you are not actually her auntie...

antisupermum Wed 29-Jan-20 15:42:52

Sorry but I think YABU. I'm genuinely sorry about your journey with ttc, however this should not be burdened on your friend, or be a factor in how she relates to you in regards to her child. You can maintain a friendship with this woman, and spoil her daughter without being called Auntie (because, well, you're not her auntie).
I agree that she could have worded it more tactfully but a combination of her being hormonal and perhaps already defensive because of your experiences (as per the "you're not going to interfere" conversation) probably led to her poor delivery.
Perhaps you should ask yourself if you have any history of being overbearing when close relations/friends become pregnant. It would certainly be understandable. If so, it may explain why she is setting up some boundaries.

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