Is my best friend growing apart from me, or is she throwing herself headlong into a seriously unhealthy relationship?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the background:
I've been friends with this girl - lets call her Betty - for a little over five years now. We've been calling each other best friends for three. The transition from college to the real world (a year and a half ago) was surprisingly easy on our friendship. Although we both moved to opposite sides of the country, we called each other constantly. Both of us have been through some fairly tough times, and we've always been there for each other.
Betty was depressed for the past year and a half. She would call me up constantly for reassurance or just to talk about what was going on in her life. She would frequently apologize for "making the conversations all about [her]" but I told her (and meant) that I was happy to be there for her when she needed me and that I was sure she would do the same for me.
The thing is, I'm no longer sure that that's true.
This past summer (at the end of July) Betty fell in love. This is her first real relationship - she's never been in love before. At first, I was really excited for her. The first few weeks after they got together, she called me all the time to give me updates and ask my advice.
Then she fell off the face of the planet. No contact - she didn't call me, she didn't return my calls, no e-mails, nothing. At first I thought it was pretty normal beginning-of-a-relationship infatuation. But it's been four months now and things have descended into a really painful mess.
My list of complaints:
~ No phone calls. We went from 2-3 phone calls a week to maybe 1 phone call a month. (To clarify, we talked this much both before and while she was depressed.)
~ When I told her that I understood her needing to talk less, but would like for her to acknowledge that she'd gotten my calls with a text message or something, she did this exactly once and then stopped.
~ When I went to visit her two months ago (we live in cities about four hours apart), we went to her girlfriend's apartment the first night and she asked if I could walk home to her place alone so she could stay there. The next day, I told her that I wanted us to stay in the same place, so she invited her girlfriend over the next night and they had loud sex while I tried to fall asleep.
~ When she came to visit me a month ago, she brought her girlfriend and she ended up spending half the weekend with her.
I've told her that I'm upset by this several times. She says that I want too much of her and that I'm giving her an ultimatum, although all I've really said is that I feel like she doesn't care about me anymore and that's not okay with me.
Complicating things is the fact that we're part of a group of friends. I live with another very close friend of mine, lets call her Wilma. Wilma & Betty are also pretty tight - Betty stayed with Wilma for three months last year, when Betty was unemployed and feeling really depressed, and Betty and I were both bridesmaids in Wilma's wedding this summer. Anyway, Wilma had a really rough summer this year - a mixture of academic panic and delayed grieving for her father - to the point where she couldn't get out of bed sometimes. Betty called her twice and both times just wanted to talk about the girlfriend.
This weekend she came up for a Thanksgiving gathering of friends. She decided to stay with another friend without telling me or Wilma this, and when she did come over, she purposefully avoided being alone with me and/or Betty. I am at the point where I am ready to stop trying to stay friends with her. I have two questions though.
First, and most importantly, I'm worried about Betty's relationship with her girlfriend. It's not just me and Wilma who have felt like Betty's "dumped" them - our other friends have told me on occasion that they wish they were as close to her as they used to be. I also know that Betty isn't doing any creative writing anymore, which has always been her biggest passion. Lastly, she's been having trouble with her family, which is not surprising since they've never exactly been accepting of her being gay, but in the context of also not writing and growing apart from her friends, as I said it makes me worried.
It seems to me that a good significant other would be worried by their partner dropping everything else in their lives in order to be with them. I don't know if the girlfriend is just kind of oblivious to what's happening, or if she's encouraging it. I know next to nothing about her - I've only met her twice - but Betty did tell me early on that she (the girlfriend) had once cheated on a partner. I also know that for her birthday this year she's planning a sex party and that Betty is uncomfortable with that but apparently it's still happening. I don't want to jump to conclusions about the girlfriend but not knowing anything about her, I worry that she could hurt Betty.
Also, whether or not the girlfriend is good people, it's entirely possible that the two of them will have a bad breakup and she won't want to see Betty anymore. If Betty dumps all of her old friends and interests to be with her, that would be devastating. Betty was bulimic in high school and had suicidal thoughts once our first year of college, and I'm honestly worried that she would try to hurt herself if she breaks up with the girlfriend. She told Wilma that she doesn't call us or visit us because when she's not around her girlfriend or talking to her girlfriend she gets depressed.
Secondly, if I do decide to just give up on the friendship, should I do it quietly or should I send Betty an e-mail or leave a phone message telling her that's what I'm doing? The latter option seems sort of drama queen-ish but at the same time, Betty and I have always tried to be very honest and upfront with each other and this would be the most upfront thing to do. Also, I guess part of me has this fantasy that if I tell her we're not friends anymore she'll be so shocked she'll start trying to fix things. And I guess part of me wants to hurt her like she hurt me.
But on the other hand, if she really needs me, I want to be there for her. If she hurt herself because she didn't think she had anybody to turn to that would be the worst thing ever.
Sorry for the length of the question. As you can see, I'm going around in circles. So, hivemind. Any advice? Am I overreacting? Am I being a doormat? Am I right to be worried about her, or am I just being jealous?