I lost most of my friends. Please help.
Okay, so this happened in 2009 and I'm still incredibly sad about it. I'm 37 years old now, so this happened when I was 34.
In the fall of 2009, I broke off an engagement and ran off
with this dude I met through the orchestra I play in. The dude turned out to be an alcoholic with abusive tendencies and I extricated myself from that relationship as soon as I could.
At the time I ran off, my wedding was about three months away.
I'd been unhappy in my relationship with my fiance, but nobody would talk with me about it. When I tried to talk about it with my close friends, one of my friends said "You'll never do better than [fiance]." They pretty much completely shut me down. My mother would not entertain my doubts, either. She told me "you can divorce him later. But at this point you owe us a ceremony."
The only person who would listen to me was the creepy guy I eventually ran off with. (When I say "ran off," that's really what I did. I waited until my fiance was at work, packed my bags, and left the house in the middle of the day to immediately move in with the guy who persuaded me to leave my fiance.)
My fiance (understandably) completely broke down. My friends all sided with him, and disowned me. They unfriended me on Facebook, unfollowed me on Twitter, and broke off all contact with me.
This is a group of people I'd been close to since I was 19. We were all incredibly close (and as far as I know, the rest of them still are). We saw each other constantly -- celebrated birthdays and Christmas together, had parties and dinners at each others' houses, went to concerts together, etc.
I don't want to defend what I did. I acted like a complete asshole and I still feel bad about the way I treated my ex-fiance.
But I don't know what to do about the fact that I don't have my friends anymore. In my past life, before all this happened, I often felt that I was only really myself when I was with them. We had in-jokes, a shared culture. I grew into adulthood with this group of people. They had a strong influence on who I am. We understood each other and we could all reliably make each other laugh. I was so, so lucky to have a set of relationships like that as part of my life.
I still have a few friends, but nothing like the core group I was kicked out of. One thing I miss is the community aspect -- the fact that we were all friends as a group
. My remaining friends are people I hang out with in ones and twos.
The worst part of it is that the city I live in is a very small town in some ways. I've gotten invites to some events where I know my old friends will be there, and I haven't gone, because I know they won't want to see me.
I miss them so much and I feel like a ghost in my own city.
I don't see them ever accepting me as a friend again. Ideally, I'd like to move to another city, but that's not feasible right now.
Whenever I think about the situation, I feel really, really awful and I start to cry. I don't think about it now as often as I used to, but the pain of it is still very strong. It's like this whole group of people died, or I did. One day they were part of my life, the next day, they weren't.
Please feel free to ask more questions or give advice. I don't even know what I'm asking. Maybe 1) how to deal with this 2) how to rekindle my old friendships, if that's even possible 3) how to make new friends in a town where everybody knows each other and I feel awkward and out of place among people I used to feel at home with.