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Friendship has been dying for a long time but friend is having a tough time.

(39 Posts)
thisisadiana84 Sat 16-Jan-21 23:30:34

I've had a friend for five years now. We're very different people, but we got along well and I loved who she was. She was great during some tough times I had. I think I was a good friend, or at least a decent one -- I traveled to support her at her career events, wrote stuff for her website, etc.

About midway through my pregnancy, a year and a half ago, I felt she was a bit off -- she promised to organise my baby shower but left it so late some of my friends couldn't come, she texted me less often. I figured she was busy or just had a lot on. My son was born, she seemed OK for a bit, and then, in January last year, she forgot my birthday. Normally I don't give a toss if my friends don't remember my birthday but we were very close and it hurt, especially in the light of the other stuff. I told her I was really upset and felt like she was disinterested in me or something was off with us -- she apologised and I figured that was that.

But she seemed to contact me less and less last year. I've been so sad about it. In August she told me she was divorcing her husband. The pandemic meant I could only help her in a limited way, but I still sent my exceptionally lonely husband round to take her heavier stuff to her new place. I tried texting her to check in with her but she hardly ever responded so I stopped. In October we had to isolate, and when I texted her she didn't even ask if we needed anything, despite the fact my house is on her way home.

We met up one time in October (at my invite), but I haven't heard from her since. She's (obviously) very upset about her divorce. January rolled around, she forgot my birthday again (texted me two later and wished me happy birthday for the wrong day). Something in me just broke. I'm done. I don't want to be her friend anymore.

Would it be terrible to just not text her anymore, to just let it die? I feel torn because she's going through a tough time, but I feel like something's been wrong for a year and a half, and that's a long time.

OP’s posts: |
Eekay Sat 16-Jan-21 23:33:47

Just let it drop. She's sending clear signals that she's not invested in a friendship with you.

StealthPolarBear Sat 16-Jan-21 23:34:45

I think that's what she's trying to do. I don't know why. I'm sorry.
When you contact her does she seem otherwise OK?

CantBeAssed Sat 16-Jan-21 23:37:58

Sounds like a link to your falling pregnant and her becoming distant...would she have perhaps been put out (for want of a better term) with your pregnancy when her marrage was crumbling?

thisisadiana84 Sat 16-Jan-21 23:42:34

She's very down. She is upset and afraid she won't ever have a child. She also told me she's developed at eating disorder.

It confuses me -- she's telling me this very personal stuff in the rare times we can get together for a walk. But then she doesn't have any interest in talking to me beyond that. I feel like I'm getting mixed messages.

I think I just want someone to tell me it's OK for me to let go, and I'm not being a jerk for doing it while she's going through a divorce.

OP’s posts: |
Onedropbeat Sat 16-Jan-21 23:45:11

I can be like your friend when things are tough

I went through a divorce and infertility and I just couldn’t face contacting friends who reminded me so much of what I wasn’t able to have

If she’s anything like me it’s nothing personal against you, it’s all her

thisisadiana84 Sat 16-Jan-21 23:45:20

But if me having a child is what's bugging her, I wish she'd just tell me. She knows I had a miscarriage and then secondary infertility -- I get how hard it can be to see children (which is why I've left DS at home whenever we meet up and only talk about him briefly).

OP’s posts: |
Cowgran Sat 16-Jan-21 23:46:52

So sorry OP. Definitely sounds like she's backing away. But from what you've said, I think it's about where she's at rather than anything to do with you. Eating disorders are incredibly isolating illnesses. People who suffer them frequently distance themselves from loved ones in order to maintain or hide the disordered behaviours (even if they sometimes open up, there is still often feelings of shame or guilt). On top of that, going through a divorce and seeing you happily married and having a baby is probably difficult. It sucks, but you can't force her to open up. Perhaps just message her again and comment on what you've noticed and that you don't want the friendship to die, but that you have felt hurt and so will pull back until she feels ready to engage more. That way you're protecting yourself without cutting her off totally.

Catty1720 Sat 16-Jan-21 23:49:14

My mum had 6 kids my aunt couldn’t have one it ruined their relationship it’s sad but it was just easier for my aunt to not be around maybe that’s your answer you know how hard it can be but you’ve also got the joy of having your DS

Starlightstarbright1 Sat 16-Jan-21 23:50:19

I agree its you getting pregrnant seems to be the cause..

In peoples minds having a baby nice happy family- never as simplistic as this but seems her marriage was falling apart.

I had a friend with MH problems .. My pregnancy her MH detiriorated. The more together my life bacame the worse it became for her. ...It is really sad but it was what I lived through.

Yes you have a young baby , she can pick up the phone if she needs to but this isn;t a couple of months grace to get herself together this has been going on over a year.

Onedropbeat Sat 16-Jan-21 23:55:12

It might not even be you having the baby

It’s quite possible that she’s just having a really tough time of it all.

Divorce, plus pandemic, it’s not a fun time at the best of times

I guess as this has been going on long before lee pandemic it might be a sign she is just stepping back

The fact she still talks to you makes me think that she’s hoping to be able to pick back up again when she feels better maybe?

FingersXssd83 Sat 16-Jan-21 23:55:45

She is struggling with her mental health and isolating herself. Sounds like she's been through a lot. I've had similar struggles in my life and have backed away from good friendships because things became too much. I'd cut her some slack, contact her occasionally to let her know that you are there, and leave channels of communication and friendship open for when and if she gets out of the dark place she is in x

thisisadiana84 Sun 17-Jan-21 00:02:43

Thank you, everyone. I needed to hear that the lack of communication is rooted in more than just her divorce, and that she's had ample time to turn around the friendship if she wanted.

I'll only message her if she messages me. I've decided there's no point in telling her how I feel. I told her last year and nothing changed, so I wouldn't expect anything to change if I told her again.

If she's not messaging me because I have a baby that is really sad; I understand those feelings so well and I would have been there for her.

But what do I do if she wants to go out? I feel I don't have anything left to give her.

OP’s posts: |
nolovelost Sun 17-Jan-21 07:59:59

When I was going through a messy divorce whilst seeing everyone happy making a new life etc it made me quite depressed and resentful. I really held back contacting people but I had a special friend that I could really talk to about things.

If she's not chosen you as her support it's nothing personal, although it woud be nice if she respnded to you a bit more.

I understand your frustration but I'd let her go for now. if she wants to come back she will.

PurrBox Sun 17-Jan-21 08:26:41

She sounds like she is depressed. People who are extremely down don't think straight, as I am sure you know, and when people are feeling anguished about something like infertility and divorce it is almost impossible for them to say: 'It's hard to see you with your baby and lovely husband'. If they were functioning well enough to say that, they would be coping better with their own problems. Certainly unhappy people can get lost in their own rabbit holes and not remember how to care about their friends.

I would like to think that if I were you I might try to say or write something to her every few months along the lines of- 'I am here, if you want to talk- hope you are ok and I know you are having a hard time'.

handsforfeet Sun 17-Jan-21 08:30:49

Why does it need to be all or nothing?

Friendships wax and wane and it sounds like she's really hurting. Can't you just follow her lead - reply to the messages she sends and otherwise give her space.

If you really don't want to be her friend then just slowly pull away but TBH it doesn't sound like she's done anything awful she's just not been a "good friend". Only you can decide.

When I suffered from infertility I was in bits and really struggled with anyone who had children. It wasn't personal. I can't imagine how difficult that would've been combined with divorce and a fear of never have children.

Newfor2021 Sun 17-Jan-21 08:33:10

I don’t get it as she’s explicitly told you that she’s scared she won’t have children and this is deeply affecting her so not sure why you’re not acknowledging that.
You don’t have to ‘give’ her anything. Just if you do meet up for a walk, just listen, hold space and be there for her if she needs you.

CodenameVillanelle Sun 17-Jan-21 08:34:50

thisisadiana84

She's very down. She is upset and afraid she won't ever have a child. She also told me she's developed at eating disorder.

It confuses me -- she's telling me this very personal stuff in the rare times we can get together for a walk. But then she doesn't have any interest in talking to me beyond that. I feel like I'm getting mixed messages.

I think I just want someone to tell me it's OK for me to let go, and I'm not being a jerk for doing it while she's going through a divorce.

She sounds like her mental health is really bad. Why are you making this about you? I don't think it is at all

TheOtherMaryBerry Sun 17-Jan-21 08:54:06

Friendships wax and wane and it sounds like she's really hurting. Can't you just follow her lead - reply to the messages she sends and otherwise give her space.

Yes, this. I think it's very normal for friendships to have ups and downs. It sounds like she's having a really awful time and it's extremely hard to put the energy into relationships when you're struggling with MH and just trying to get through the day. I have been in that position, as has a good friend. I might not hear from her for months but that's ok, she knows she can reach out if she wants to talk but that's not always what people need. I think society puts a lot of emphasis on being a 'good' friend and I really don't think it's helpful, we all do what we can when we can but it's ok to step back sometimes. It definitely doesn't sound like it's personal. I would just try to see if the friendship can take the ups and downs and reset expectations but if you don't want to be friends anymore that's also up to you, of course!

Dery Sun 17-Jan-21 09:15:18

“Friendships wax and wane and it sounds like she's really hurting. Can't you just follow her lead - reply to the messages she sends and otherwise give her space.”

This. She’s clearly having a really tough time - it probably seems to her like you’ve got the two things she most long for in life right now - a happy marriage and a baby - she’s depressed and in pain and you’re complaining because she forgot your birthday? And now you want to dump her? Why can’t you just be there for her in this difficult without demanding things in return?

Dery Sun 17-Jan-21 09:15:41

In this difficult time

shivermetimbers77 Sun 17-Jan-21 09:24:34

I agree with others that have said friendships wax and wane. I have a few people I would consider good friends but I wouldn’t expect them to contact me on my birthday (or vice versa) as we haven’t seen each other much recently due to life , kids etc getting in the way. However I know that when we
do see each other it will be lovely and like we had never spent time apart. I think friendships need to be held quite lightly if they are going to work in the long term.

Bailegangaire Sun 17-Jan-21 09:37:28

Onedropbeat

It might not even be you having the baby

It’s quite possible that she’s just having a really tough time of it all.

Divorce, plus pandemic, it’s not a fun time at the best of times

I guess as this has been going on long before lee pandemic it might be a sign she is just stepping back

The fact she still talks to you makes me think that she’s hoping to be able to pick back up again when she feels better maybe?

This. When I am miserable or experiencing significant difficulties I withdraw from friendships and turn in on myself — confiding in people, however close, doesn’t make feel better. I didn’t talk to one of my closest friends once for almost a year. When I’ve sorted things out, I return to the friendship. If someone wants me as a friend, they recognise that this is how I function.

Russellbrandshair Sun 17-Jan-21 09:50:32

I'm sorry- its so painful when friends act like this.

Yes, fade her out. She initiated it after all and friendship has to be 50/50- it wont work if its one person only making all the effort.

thisisadiana84 Sun 17-Jan-21 12:54:48

Thanks all. Thanks especially to the posters who mention they'd withdraw under similar situations -- I don't really understand but I recognise not everyone is me. When we were going through infertility we messaged our friends to say we were struggling to be around small children and please not take it personally.

Like I said, I'll message her if she messages me, but I'm going to stop chasing.

It's not that she's forgotten my birthday that I'm upset. That was just the straw that broke the camel's back. It's the accumulation of a thousand little things over a year and a half that mean I feel done. It's as though I've literally run out of energy to listen to her.

When we do meet up, I feel more like a therapist than a friend. The conversations are 99% about her and then a half-hearted question about what's going on with me as I stand up to leave. I don't bring up any of my own struggles anymore to her -- and we have a non-sleeping toddler, full-time jobs, and four tests/isolations from Covid in three months.

I think it's reasonable to want a friend to care about what's going on in your life and not feel like a dumping ground. I think it's OK to want some of our friendship to be about me.

OP’s posts: |

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