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Fall-out with long-term friend

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  • Fall-out with long-term friend

    I wondered if anyone wanted to give advice on an incredibly weird situation I find myself in regarding my upcoming wedding. Get ready for an essay!

    My partner and I have booked our wedding for the summer of this year and we are at a bit of a loss as to what to do regarding inviting a long-term friend.

    My partner has known her since he was in his late teens (we’re both 33 currently), I’ve known her since 2009, she is the one that introduced us and up until a year or so ago we were all very close friends. She had a boyfriend that my partner and I had known for the same length of time as her.

    In November 2016 a work colleague of mine was unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend of 7 years and as neither of them could afford a full mortgage on their own they were forced to sell their house. As we’d become quite close friends I tried my best to be there for him and he wound up relying on both myself and my partner quite a bit. He’d often stay over to get away from his house and ex and as we all had a lot in common this was OK.

    The first of my problems with my colleague and my friend occurred around Easter last year. At this point my friend was still in a relationship with her boyfriend but she had made it clear to my partner that she wasn’t happy. She had met my colleague and the two hit it off, not being very honest with anyone (including themselves), in the process.

    A massive blow-up happened when he invited her back to my house one day when she had told my partner that she was ill and needed to go home to bed (they work in the same small company). My colleague had been staying at my house as he had come out with us the night before and we were going out again the following night with another crowd so it made no sense for him to drive home (at the time he lived about 30 miles away). I had texted him in the morning while I was at work but received no reply. I arrived home from work to find the two of them in bed together in my house so I told them both to leave. She realised that she’d been badly caught out (she was still in her long-term relationship at this point) and so left without a word but he came down and argued with me, claiming they had done nothing wrong and that I was being stupid. He eventually left, claiming that I was affecting his mental health by being upset by their actions.

    A few days later my friend dumped her long-term boyfriend, he put two and two together when he realised that her new boyfriend was a colleague of mine. He then took his anger and frustration out on my partner who wound up off work as a result.

    Somehow or other we all managed to come out the other side still talking. That went on for about a month or so before we (me and my colleague) found something to fall out over again. A conversation we had at work resulted in me getting a pretty nasty e-mail that, at best, included some down-right weird accusations. My partner looked at it from another perspective and sees some text-book examples of gas lighting. The e-mail also referenced two occasions when the four of us were together as a group claiming that I was cold and distant with both of them. As my partner was there as well and saw no evidence of this he was livid when he read the e-mail, I had to talk him out of driving to my colleagues house for a physical confrontation. My colleague also claimed that I had shouted and swore at him while we were at work (didn't happen).

    I wound up having to speak to my manager in order to arrange me taking my breaks etc somewhere other than where I’d taken them before as I felt uncomfortable being alone with him and we were the only two members of staff that used our particular staff base. I applied for a post in a different area in December and begin my role there in 2 weeks so I won't need to deal with him at work for very much longer.

    While all this was going on, I kept trying to meet up with my friend in order to explain that I still wanted to maintain a friendship with her but she refused all offers of meeting up and stopped talking to me. She remained mostly civil to my partner while at work, but they no longer talk socially.

    Shortly before Christmas she made what I think was a bad attempt to reach out to my partner but as she’s not very good at expressing herself he didn’t see it for what it was and brushed her off. I believe her and my colleague have had a falling out over the Christmas holidays as my friend wound up staying with another friend of mine and he deleted his facebook profile at the same time. I’ve pretty much given up on my colleague, my partner has admitted that he never trusted him, and in his mind this has all confirmed that his mistrust was correct.

    Seven months later and my partner and me are having to think about who we want to invite to our wedding in six months’ time. Our friends and family are encouraging us to invite my friend but make it clear the invitation does not include my colleague but I’m not sure if that’s something I’d consider (seems a bit mean to me). I’d be happy enough to have my friend there as she has been friends with my partner for 12 years and will know other people there. I don’t see how we can have my colleague there and everyone feel comfortable. We’re under no illusions regarding our friendship and we know it’s never going to be the way it was but we were always keen to avoid a huge fall-out. We're being encouraged by my partner's mother to make one last effort to reach out to my friend.

    I guess I’m wondering what other folk would do?
    Last edited by Razorbill; January 24th, 2018, 04:41 PM.

  • #2
    I hope you did not respond to that work email at all. It's not worth it and unprofessional. Even if it was not a work email and just your personal email, this situation is so convoluted it's best not to cloud it any further with he saids she saids over email. Try to think simply by thinking about what your wedding or marriage should mean. For example: Your wedding should be a celebration of love and acceptance, and wishes for peace/prosperity for the rest of your lives. If for one second you do not feel that any person you invite can support you in that, he or she shouldn't be invited. I wouldn't focus so much on the people and anyone's feelings especially if in the first place those people don't care too much about yours. Go back to the reason you are getting married in the first place.

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    • #3
      I did reply to the email initially to say that I wasn't willing to have a discussion over email and that if he wanted to sort things out he'd need to sit down and have a conversation face to face. He agreed but started to avoid me at work so after a staff holiday I removed myself from the staff base we shared and we've not spoken since May 2017.

      My fiancé's mum thinks we should make an effort for our friend but ultimately we'd be saying "you're invited to our wedding but your partner isn't welcome" and I'm not sure that this is an acceptable thing to do. I don't think it is but I don't really know, we are inviting another friend (Sue) who is in the same circle as my friend and colleague. I met Sue and Sarah (my friend) at the same time and we all used to go swimming together every week so they both have the same "status" aside from the fact Sue still speaks to us.

      We've been trying to meet up with Sue recently to ask what she thinks but she's been ill.

      I'm not sure if we're better off cutting our losses. It seems a shame to completely throw away a friendship but I've a feeling that if we invited Sarah she'd be offended that we want to exclude her partner and it'll make things worse (my fiancé works for a company she owns).

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      • #4
        Razorbill, I don't know if you processed my response or if you are just writing to vent. You seem completely absorbed in your friends and the ongoings of your social life and not paying attention to what you want your marriage to symbolize. Do you really want to marry your partner?

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        • #5
          Well given I don't have any problems in my relationship with my partner I'm not sure if it's relevant to the thread. We get on very well and we've been together for 7 years. I'm looking forward to starting a job much closer to home which will remove a significant commute and allow us to spend more time together. My relationship with my fiancé and how much Im concentrating on our wedding doesn't really come into this.

          All I was really wanted to know was if folk thought it worth reaching out to a (currently ex) long-term friend given the background to the situation and extending an invitation to our wedding.

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          • #6
            This is your special day and I'd invite guests you and your partner are comfortable with. The last thing you need right now is awkwardness on your wedding day. There will always be the elephant in the room during social settings. If any issues need to be discussed or resolved, it should be done OUTSIDE the wedding day. You can't make everyone happy all the time but your goal is to have a peaceful, beautiful wedding minus drama or risk of setting anyone off. It's best to avoid and uncomfortable situation socially; especially big events. If you decide to invite invite this ex-friend, hopefully all will be civil and cordial at your wedding.
            "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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            • #7
              This might be too late to even be considered but what if you make it a wedding where each invitation says how many people can come? Like in her invitation it could say Number of Guests: 1 or something like that. That way you don’t have to tell her she can’t brjng anyone directly and if she asks then you can say you are sorry but you reached your max number of guests due to dinner or something. Your relationship with your fiancée seems great so not sure why that came into question but congrats on the wedding! Also I’m sorry about your whole situation. Must be very tough on you especially with the stress of planning a wedding. My sister had a situation where her friend and herself had a falling out prior to my sisters wedding, it wasn’t a huge deal but my sister decided to not deal with it and not even invite her. I’m not telling you to do this but for her it worked out well and they are even back to being friends now. And on her wedding day she was grateful she didn’t have to deal with any drama.

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              • #8
                Hey Razorbill,

                I would err on the side of caution, and not invite her.
                Unless you're outspoken enough to tell her that she can come but he cannot. And what if she brings him anyway ??

                From the sounds of it, she's declined any extension of the olive branch from you, and inviting her to your wedding, sounds like you're going with the wishes of what everyone ELSE thinks you should do, instead of what your heart is telling you.

                What ramifications could you possibly expose yourself to by foregoing an invite to her ?
                It's YOUR wedding and only YOU and your PARTNER get to decide who gets invited and who doesn't.

                And as far as your future mother in law is concerned ? Nip that kind of influence in the bud NOW. Let her see from the get-go that you're not the kind of woman who gets guilted into doing something you don't want to do, just to save face.

                Believe me, none of this is worth it. Concentrate on your special day, so it will be just that .
                The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

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