Can we not be friends?
February 2, 2008 3:16 PM Subscribe
How do I "break up" with a platonic friend?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have been friends with a woman, Amy, for several years. We are both single, straight women and in our early 40's.
Our casual friendship intensified last year as we were both going through bad times. I was getting out of an abusive marriage and my ex refused to leave me alone, which lead to terrible confrontations and and jail time for him.
At the same time, Amy had met a man and dated him briefly, but he was not interested. She was heartbroken and continued to try to get him back into her life.
So she and I spent lots of time together and stayed in close contact. She was extremely supportive and really took on my cause. I tried to help her as well, by encouraging her to leave the guy alone and move on.
I have been in therapy and also started a very healthy and happy relationship. She continued her cycle of meeting guys, falling hard, and scaring them off with her intensity. Her last "relationship" was the worst. It was with a married man who promised the world, then blew her off. After their breakup she continued sending him long letters, as well as calling, emailing, sending text messages, IM-ing to the point where he had to confront her and tell her to leave him alone. Recently she joined a club so that she could attend the meetings and see him (so he started attending different meetings, but she has tracked him down again).
Their breakup happened over 4 months ago. She still contacts him every day. She also sends me at least one long email a day about the guy and I tell her repeatedly that she has to leave him alone. She admits her behavior is terrible, but she doesn't stop.
I started to withdraw from the friendship several months ago, when I realized that she was attracted to drama. I was also extremely uncomfortable with her stalking guys, especially considering my own experience. And I was exhausted by her almost daily teary calls about the married man. When I didn't respond immediately, I would get mean messages about how I was not there for her, even though she was there for me.
I'm definitely in the "nesting" stage with my new boyfriend and busy with my work, so I've been using that as an excuse for not seeing Amy. But she does not give up. She has joined my gym, she tried to join one of my activity groups, tries to befriend my friends, etc....
Unfortunately, Amy has no other friends. None of my friends like her. She gets mad at me when I do something without her, but she makes my friends really uncomfortable.
Part of me wonders if I am selfish and if now that I'm past my issues, she's no longer useful and I'm dropping her. And I
while she drives me crazy, I do want be nice, because she is (deep down) good at heart, and seriously hurting.
Already today she has called me three times, emailed once, and sent a text message with updates of her day. Tonight I am supposed to go to a show with a group of people, and they don't want her along with us. I don't know how I'm going to explain it to her. Even as I type this question she is IM-ing me to ask what I'm doing tonight.
So...how do you end a platonic relationship with someone who has a proclivity for stalking and serious boundary issues? Is it possible to "end" things smoothly and without animosity? Or, best of all, how can I taper down the friendship so that we are still amicable, but without her constant contact?