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Friendship Dynamic & Expectations Part II

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  • Friendship Dynamic & Expectations Part II

    You don't necessarily have to read my first topic to respond to this one. Basically as a newlywed I am navigating the new dynamic of friendship with my closest friend while trying to be responsible to my new priorities. My friend has expressed, multiple times now, that our friendship is obviously changing and different - to which I agree. We are not as close as we once were, do not chat on the phone as long or as much, and we are no longer college gals who live in the same dorms. We are both disappointed with each other after multiple conversations the last several days regrettedly over text messaging. I regret that it is over messaging, but it has become so heated that I have requested we subside and take a two week break before contacting one another again (in which I plan to write and send her a letter).

    She and I do not have much in common anymore besides our family and faith values, yet these are some of the bigger reasons I connected to her. Conversation used to be more fluid between us, we used to make more time for one another, and we'd study together, go out to shop or have dinner, talk about men, etc. - things that a lot of single gals do. She is still single and a year ago I married. She claims that since I began dating my now husband (more than two years ago), I have changed - but not for the better. She blames me for what she calls 'the dwindling of our relationship' and doesn't like new traditions of hanging out (such as dinner with a group of friends and my husband). We often take turns planning our hang-outs, and she prefers one-on-one time, but the last couple times has invited her roommate to tag along last minute. I have asked her to please also take some of the responsibility for this. She has been speaking to me through a lense of hurt and loss the last several days. I have apologized twice now for not hurting her intentionally - but I am waiting for her to accept my apologies and to also perhaps take some of the blame for not having shared how she feels with me until two years later - I have yet to hear her do so, and am not sure if I should expect it. I cannot remember a time in our relationship that she has said "I'm sorry" whenever conflicts have come up. We just take space and allow it to blow over - which I don't believe is healthy in a relationship of any kind (to avoid direct communication and apologies).

    If she does not also take some of the responsibility for our friendship fade, I am prepared to end the relationship because we can't agree and also because her secrecy of all these internal conflicts and struggles she has listed off to me about how I am doing friendship wrong and being selfish are seemingly unforgivable (though I know in time I will be able to forgive her in my heart). I am looking for advice in how to construct a letter to send her after our two-week hiatus of being in communication. If she responds to the letter well, then perhaps we can meet in person to overcome our hurts and talk in more detail. I don't believe we would ever be super close again, but I don't want us to never speak again or something extreme. I am hoping to be a 'friend' not a best friend with high expectations. There is some trust that would need to be rebuilt. I am trying to view things from her perspective, but it is very difficult for me because I'm feeling like an emotional mess, trying to figure out why my supposed friend can spew these hurtful accusations at me that are majorly untrue from where I stand in her last messages. Thank you for your thoughts.
    Last edited by ArtsyAngel63; October 8th, 2018, 03:46 PM.

  • #2
    Write her the letter and say what you have to say but I'd be cautious in your tone. The advantage of a letter is that your thoughts should be more organized. Say what you have to say without getting lost in your emotions or expectations. I think your greatest barrier is yourself and what you expect from this relationship. She's quiet now during this hiatus but you feel the need to push for answers or voice what you have to say. Since you are initiating something now, be mindful of your tone and respect each other as equals. No friendship can survive without mutual respect.

    If you aren't ready to approach her like a grown up with your emotions in control, don't do it right now. Give yourself time to refocus.

    You're also a newlywed. How is this affecting your marriage or relationship with your spouse? You owe it to your marriage to check yourself and be in better control. He doesn't deserve this.


    • #3
      I agree. That's why I chose a two-week break of sorts to allow us both some emotional space, as well as have time to write a rational letter that doesn't accuse or cause more problems, but that is solution-seeking. I actually have already written the letter - but would edit some if I receive advice I didn't already consider that would be wiser/would bring about better results in our relationship.

      I also wonder when it would be wise to meet in person, if at all? I suppose after two weeks and sending the letter, I'll have a better idea of if this is a good idea or not/how soon?

      The friendship struggle has primarily been between her and I, though of course my husband is aware of it and has my best interest in mind - but wishes us to at least end things on a peaceful note and not end on a hurtful note. He's only gotten to know her a few times in the last two years as she prefers to hang out one-on-one. Actually, my marriage is one of my concerns - not as much the direct impact on my husband, but more how it affects her and I's relationship if my friend has a negative or poor attitude toward my spouse. If she views him as my replacement of her or is jealous of the amount of time I spend with my husband or something, I don't think I will put up with her attitude toward him. Anyways, ending on a peaceful note/reaching a resolve - we both have to take responsibility and compromise if this is to work. She may sever our relationship at any point, really. So I have to expect the unexpected.

      Thanks Rose

      Last edited by ArtsyAngel63; October 9th, 2018, 02:14 PM.


      • #4
        I have two lifelong very close friendships and both had falling outs over the years. One falling out with one lasted three years. The other falling out lasted about one and a half years. These were when we were much younger. In both instances we reconnected when family members were passing. One friendship missed out on the birth of my son and I wasn't there for her when her mum passed away. Try not to force things in such a small time frame. Two weeks is not long to me to cool down and allow a situation to grow and evolve. Life does happen and you should allow it to happen. Looking back, "ending" things is the easy way to conclude life long friendships but life doesn't always work that way.

        Your priority is your marriage and I think you innately know that and feel that deep down. A true friend shouldn't take away your joy. If your husband is a good man and he's good to you, your real friends will see that and fight for that for you, for your happiness.

        If you want to meet her and that's an option, I'd say hold the letter and meet in person only. I think she needs to talk more than you (not the other way around). Both of you need to understand and allow each other to grow without strict rules. Just mutual respect. Are you open to meeting with her and letting her talk about her feelings? She seems to be causing you a lot of grief and you are reacting to her. If you can hold your emotions for a second and hear her out, let her get it out. Be gracious and fair if you can. In the end you are the one requesting the meet up.


        • #5
          Yes, two weeks doesn't seem very long when you put it that way. But the more time put between talking through the conflicts exposed recently, the more I'm afraid they'll fester particularly in her. After the talk, or letter, then we can take as much time as needed. I think I'm in a place where I can allow her to do most of the talking - but must brace myself/mentally prepare myself for it.

          I have been grieving in a way the last week. Grieving what used to be, grieving how in-tune we used to be, grieving that I feel she isn't happy for me but resentful and hid it. It's a process.

          Thanks for the confirmation - I do prioritize my marriage and then my family, so I cannot be apologetic for that. It's what I value and what I committed to when I said my vows.

          It must have been difficult to not have your friend(s) there in those milestone moments. So you are back together with those friends then? After some time apart? How do you navigate the relationship better now?


          • #6
            Here's a sample.

            Dear Harriet,

            I understand the hurt that you feel. It's very difficult to accept the idea that someone who was very close to you must now make time for someone else in her life. I know you're having a very difficult time adjusting to this new dynamic, but your difficulty is creating a great deal of anxiety for both of us and putting a strain on our relationship.

            What I ask of you now is to please accept the fact that I am married and most devote the majority of my time to my husband. If it becomes impossible for you to deal with this situation in a more reasonable way, I'm afraid I will have to withdraw from our friendship, an act which I would find very painful.


            "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay


            • #7
              Thanks for the sample SarahL, I think those are some key things to address and a good boundary to set.


              • #8
                I don't make mountains of molehills and neither do they. You're allowed to have differences as you grow (differences in how you raise your kids, deal with other friends or in-laws etc or how you deal with whatever is going on in your lives). I think it's important for both of you to get those negative emotions off your chest but it's not healthy to dwell on them or force any solutions at this time. Don't worry so much. Life will unfold the way it's supposed to. I have had female friends in the past who have drained me emotionally and I'm not very good around that. I just don't have it in me to carry on those types of friendships. I normally get along best with other women who are busy living their own lives or don't need constant updates and we come together every two to three years for a holiday together. I hope it goes smoothly for both of you - this chat. I still wouldn't send a letter and I wouldn't set any boundaries. It seems too overly demanding. You seem to need a different type of female friendship however. As I mentioned in your earlier thread, I think you'll both be just fine and your friendship will continue regardless of how many issues you have. One day you'll be able to look back at this and find appreciation in each other.
                Last edited by Rose Mosse; October 9th, 2018, 06:37 PM.