I don’t know how many people out there can relate to this, but I have an ex-best friend. She and I were friends for almost 10 years. All the way through high school, and most of college. Then it was like.. a switch flipped. I think we both contributed to the down fall and the spiral out of control, but she says I blindsided her when I decided to terminate the friendship. I felt a small amount of guilt about that, but more than anything, all I felt was relief. Terrible? Probably. But it was so true.
The friendship was hard for me to maintain, and to be honest, it felt more like a relationship than a friendship at times and all we did was fight and argue, mostly about how I had disappointed her or let her down. And that was really hard for me, especially when I was trying to desperately to crawl out of the hole my depression had dropped me in while I was in college.
Let’s rewind and go back to the beginning. We met in band my freshman year in high school. We played the same instrument and since she was a year ahead of me in school, she was the section leader. We didn’t exactly hit it off. She was almost the complete opposite of me. I was happy, and confident. Vibrant is what a lot of people used to call me. That was before going to college and the relationship that crushed my spirit for several years and the unfortunately long climb back into a reasonably normal self that I am now.
She was one of those kids that always wore black, not that that was bad, but it was different. She was also exceptionally quiet and you never knew what she was thinking but you always sensed that she was judging you and finding you lacking. I found out later, that she was extremely judgmental and she was almost always drunk for the first two years that I knew her. She had a substance abuse problem. She drank A LOT. And she cut.
I think at first, I wanted to help her. I wanted her to see that life doesn’t have to be all bad. She was extremely pessimistic and didn’t see anything good about herself or anyone else around her. Including her family. She always claimed that her dad was abusive towards her but.. I never saw any evidence of that, and I was friends with her for almost ten years. She always said he made her feel uncomfortable. Which I can’t fault her for. She said he was too touchy feely with her, but I think part of that is that he bothered to touch her at all (as in a hug). She was, and is, extremely standoffish. She doesn’t like to be touched or really even talked too as far as I have found out.
After she graduated, things got a little tense. She was living at home and trying to go to school close to home. Which meant she was closer to her dad a lot more often. She never worked or lived on campus and that meant she was home alone with him a lot. When I went to school, she acted like it was expected for me to house her since I was in a dorm away from our home town, still not far away, but far enough she felt like she was free from her dad and her family. I told her no and things were tense again, that first year and a half of college for me was a whirlwind in and of itself. I was in an abusive relationship and literally fighting for some semblance of freedom. Once we were broken up, I was fighting to be me again.
I think part of our friendships downfall was simply the fact that I was, and still am, selfish. I am 24 years old. I want to do things, go places. And I want to do and go as I please. That didn’t always work well with her. She acted like I was obligated to invite her, or take her places with me. And that’s because even though I was growing up and learning what I could do and where all I could go, she wasn’t. She still NEEDED me. NEEDED to not be alone. I feel like we grew apart. Because I was growing up and she wasn’t.
Eventually she decided to transfer schools to a city about 3 hours away from where I was. She was struggling with being alone for the first time and I didn’t have the time or the inclination to drop everything and run to comfort her. She started dating someone and he ultimately ripped the fabric of our friendship beyond repair.
He lived in another state and they dated long distance for several years. But they had a rocky relationship where they would break up and get back together, and break up and get back together. He was into drugs and alcohol and women that weren’t her. He always blamed their lack of a normal relationship. They lacked a certain intimacy that he chose to find with other women closer to his home. One of the worst things that happened when she was dating him though, was that he spoiled her when he was in the mood too. She would have a “bad” day and he would leave his job (he was employed with his dad) to drive down to see her. A Six or seven hour drive. He would arrive like a knight in shining armor at three in the morning and she’d skip classes for the next few days to spend with him while he helped her to “feel better”.
Once they were broken up “for good”, she would expect that same behavior of me. Which wasn’t fair or possible. I lived just three hours away, but I worked 40 hours a week and was in class or lab 60 hours a week and doing homework whenever I wasn’t sleeping. She then grew to resent that I never visited her. I did go up once or twice a year, but only if there was something we could do besides sit on her dorm bed and watch television for hours.. I would go up for football games or baseball games, basketball games or homecoming. It was hard for me to visit her though because the campus she was on was where my abusive ex was. I didn’t enjoy being there anymore. I was on edge and always fighting memories everywhere I went.
That was something else she didn’t quite understand. And then we come down to the real friendship ender.. I made the mistake of trying to get her and the ex back together. She begged me to run interference, and I had dated his brother for a little bit while they were together. I didn’t realize he was going to hit on me, he was a real ladies man but he had always been hands off with me. Until they were broken up. He came onto me and even though things never went anywhere with it, she never forgave me. So, to get back to me, when I first started talking to my now boyfriend, Bobby, she took it upon herself to send him naked photographs of herself and her (beautiful) body. I am a bigger woman, I’ve lost a little over 100 pounds and I could still stand to lose another 25 or 30 to be in my “normal” weight range for my height. She has never, and most likely will never be above a size 2. And I have to admit, she has the body type Bobby has always gone for. All of his ex girlfriends look like her. But I don’t feel like that excuses her behavior.
Friends shouldn’t do things like that. And I can admit to making mistakes in the friendship. I wasn’t always there when she needed me to be. I wasn’t always there when she wanted me to be. I withdrew from things because I didn’t feel there was trust there, but I never bothered to talk to her about it. I should have, although I don’t think it would have changed how I feel right now about the things she did to me. I can’t forget what she told him. I have it memorized. Word for word. “You can’t really want to be with her. She’s fat. Look at me. I’m what you want. I’m beautiful. Fit. I take care of myself. She’s a fat bitch.” That was accompanied along with a photograph of her enviably flat stomach and great boobs.
Yesterday was her birthday. I didn’t send her a happy birthday message or wishes for happiness. I don’t wish anything bad for her, but I don’t want her in my life anymore. My family doesn’t understand and at family functions, which she almost always gets invited too, it’s awkward. They blame me. And that’s okay. Even if it does hurt my feelings, that’s how they see things. That’s what they feel. And that’s valid whether I think I was in the right or wrong. Do I wish I had family support in my decision? Absolutely. But it doesn’t make me feel bad for making what I feel was the best decision for me personally.
I wish I had been able to help her see the good qualities she has and the potential in life around her. I do feel like I have failed when it comes to that. But I did everything I could and if she didn’t take the reigns to change her life, it’s not my fault. I can’t change her life for her. That’s something she’ll have to do for herself. I still pray for her. I hope she finds whatever makes her happy. I just hope she can do it on her own and not with people pushing her and prodding her every step of the way.
So to my ex-best friend, good luck in life.