Don't call it a breakup: Friendship Edition
November 29, 2012 1:47 AM Subscribe
Why do I feel like I'm in a relationship with my friend? Not in the way that's fun, but more the trainwreck variety: "How come I didn't know about...?
" "Why aren't you letting me in?
" "No one knows you like I do.
" "How dare you betray me. You're just like all the others.
" Some of my other friends have also noticed possessiveness on her part, and more than one person has asked me or wondered if we were dating.
posted by smock smock smock to Human Relations (31 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Background info: We're both female. I'm straight, and as far as I know, so is she. We met through some geeky meetup group. She's an almost 40 year old, new-to-town somewhat intense, shy introvert. Despite our age difference, we bonded over mutual interests and became good friends. I didn't think too much of the fact that she didn't have any female friends (and only a few long distance guy friends). Now I'm wondering if that was a red flag.
Everything appeared fine for the first year or so. Then came the passive aggressive comments like "Oh, you do care" and (apparently asked of other friends) "Why isn't she more like this?" Eventually there's slight guilt because I'm involved with other friends or forgot to tell her about something that happened to me, which she notices. I'm suddenly breaking her (unknown to me) Real Friend™ rules. There was one emotional explosion over how I was a horrible friend for not meeting her emotional needs plus betrayal, heartache, disgust, Was I really ever her friend? All because she threw a temper tantrum and I didn't rush to console her afterwards. (I wish I could say I was joking). She seemed most perturbed when I didn't act the way she would, and that I must be doing so out of malice.
We managed to patch things up after that, but it was like scotch tape over a crumbling edifice, because something set her off and now I'm a bad person who will never be emotionally close to anyone. I did (nicely) tell her to back off, no more attacks, and gently suggested we had different friendship needs/wants. Suffice to say, she was not receptive, but I did get a handy list of everything I've ever done wrong along with some great psychoanalysis of my relationships with family/friends. For my part, I guess I can now call it a breakup.
I'm currently still reeling over it all. Has anyone dealt with this kind of "friendship"? How did it end? Or were you able to set appropriate boundaries? Or is there a better way of establishing friend expectations?