I might've ruined one of my closest friendships. Should I make amends?
March 29, 2015 2:05 PM   Subscribe

The backstory might shed light, but it's long and I'm sorry if it bores you. I might make a TL;DR sentence, but I suggest you read the whole thing. TL;DR. Befriended girl and crushed, had a lot of issues that turned me off, turned into a very close friend, badly timed telling her about dead feelings, and managed to still communicate until I had to back off for a bit. Don't know what I should do?

Apologies guys, this is a VERY long and in-depth post. I wrote this a while back, but my feelings have been changing over the time that's passed. Still, I feel like the best answers will come after carefully reading all of this.

I met this girl that we'll refer to as "C" the beginning of my sophomore year as a transfer student to a new college. I live off campus so making friends is a challenge on top of a long existing depression that up until recently was completely untouched. I got to know her and we began talking and studying and having all kinds of fun in class. I started crushing on her a little bit. During winter break we talked about much deeper things and how we were unhappy with our lives. Our conversations included a lot of venting, helping out each other and discussing some very personal things about each other that we haven't told anyone else about. I was surprised at how friendly she was to spending her time talking to me, probably because she didn't really make an effort to meet other people since she spend a lot of time with her now ex boyfriend, "J".

The biggest mistake I made was misinterpreting her open attitude and unfiltered dialogue as her confiding in me because I was giving her compassion and she liked me. I thought we were closer than we actually were. However, the more we talked, the more I realized this mistake. She had a lot of emotional baggage that while it made me feel very sympathetic for her, it definitely killed off that crush I had. I myself have a lot of baggage too. I'd be a better friend than anything else, because at the time I was seeing someone else who went back to their ex and I had moved on, and also because I wasn't sure I was ready to date again. I made it clear to my self that I was going to be there as a friend for her because she didn't make an effort to make new friends.

C and J were on a "break" but C decided it was time she broke up with J, and we kept talking more, but she started talking about this other guy she had feelings for that we'll call "B" when she was dating her ex. It had been a while since they contacted each other and she asked me if she should contact him. He was at first a friend to her, but they had some connection and he told her she should stay with her now ex boyfriend. I didn't read this part in the text and I wish I did. This was a small red flag because it hadn't been too long since she and J had called it quits. We still talked, and our conversations were awesome.

The second semester started and we hung out 2 times in a single day, but she had her time and mind occupied over reaching out to B. Even though I didn't think it'd work, I said go for it. He replied to her within minutes and picked things up, and I was upset that she could just so easily fall in love with someone she hadn't seen in a year, and then the thought of being abandoned made me freak out. She told me how in love she was with him and that things simply felt right with him. I was nervous that the only friend I had made on campus would spend all of her time with someone else. I know people care about me and tell me I mean a lot to them, but the thought that they'll always choose someone else over me, romantically or not keeps killing me to this day. I decided to man up and acknowledge that no one was obligated to do things with me and that they do it for themselves, so I would put that time and energy into myself.

For some idiotic reason I felt like C should know that I crushed on her. C told me she was going to talk to B about it one day. Feeling motivated by her choice, I then told her I used to have feelings and that now I could only see her as a friend because she was too valuable a friend to ruin anything, and I told her she needed to tell B how she felt that very day. We both acknowledged that we needed to address our issues immediately.

The entire conversation happened via text, and I now realize that the way I worded my message and delivery was totally misinterpreted and terribly timed. It made me seem like I was madly in love with her at one point. I should have called her or just waited until B told her how he felt but it's too late now.

I thought it was over right there and then because things were probably awkward. She still continued to talk with me even after I told her that. It was as if the conversation had never happened. She told her crush how she felt and he still didn't feel the same after all this time and I was so upset for her. C was very hurt and confused and she kept bringing herself down as she told me everything she told him. I tried my best to console her and motivate her, but it got to a point where I realize she needed to be alone for a while. She thanked me, and I told her I'd be around, ending it there. I had to pull over on the drive back to my parent's home because I was physically hurting. I needed time to process this, and was ready to just give everything a reboot and move on. I was okay with the idea that she wasn't going to talk again, but she did.

She texted me the very next morning with a quote from The Office, a show we are both fans of. I took that as a sign that our friendship came out alright. I was totally fine with being her friend and only her friend, but I didn't set too many boundaries, and that's where things began slowly getting worse.

At this point it was February. C informed me that she hadn't talked with B in a couple of days, and that they probably weren't friends anymore, but she was going to enjoy life. The next thing you know, things only got better for C. She takes homeopathic meds, and her anxiety and depression have seemingly disappeared. Then, she began connecting with new and old friends. C started flaking on me, and was meeting more new people and making new friends and was all kinds of happy. She had gotten to know this 6'8 and rather effeminate guy "T" who shares some interests and is very popular on campus. To be honest she always had many platonic guy friends, but I have no doubt that she seems to be becoming good friends with T the same way I became friends with her.

She was still the only person I considered a good friend on campus, and I noticed that she was getting distant but was puzzled that she was still talking with me so I assumed things were fine. I had kept asking her if she was ever going to hang, but she made some excuses saying she was busy. Now that I look back I didn't really read into her hints, but if she really didn't want to talk, she should've just stopped texting me back. She made it seem like everything was okay, and I really could not tell so I kept things going. We talked about music, French, TV shows and silly stuff. I didn't ever bring anything up about B anymore seeing as it wasn't really necessary.

I assumed it was because C is a very dedicated student who has a vague idea of what she wants to do as a job. Three weeks ago she was wishing me happy birthday, drunk texting with me on a Friday night and sending me puppy pictures so I was thinking things were still fine. She definitely initiated conversations with me so it wasn't like I was being too excessive, but it was just confusing. After my birthday weekend I felt things were going to improve. Until the first week of March.

Normally I would only communicate with her every couple of days or a week, so I wouldn't be so overbearing but somehow keep the conversation going. Things changed for the worse. The first week of March came and I had a terrible time, injuring both legs, damaging my car, having fights with my parents, declining health and school issues came up and I ran into C on too many coincidences, and sent her a bunch of messages, mostly ignored. I bought a concert ticket for her and she was really thankful but she asked to buy it off of me and it didn't really go very well.

I ended up getting drunk some weeks back, and I told myself I was going to apologize to C and finally figure things out. Lo and behold, I asked her on a Saturday morning if i was being obnoxiousness for that week. She said I was kind of obnoxious, but she just didn't want to talk all the time and she felt that I ignored the hints that she didn't really want to talk. I told her I knew there were hints but that I couldn't accept them because I wasn't sure what she was doing, so I told her that she be direct.

I had no idea what I was saying because that wasn't the case at all. I really wasn't sure, but I was shaking and couldn't think straight but alas, too late to turn back.

C said "Okay well there you go." She stated it wasn't necessarily that I told her I had feelings right after she told me about the guy, but mainly because I kept texting her too much. I was just trying to keep the friendship going, but I never had the chance to really explain myself. I had gotten on her nerves and apologized profusely and I offered to make up, but she said to "kind of just stop texting her right now" and "like just give it a rest", so I backed off and am giving her the space she needs. I don't necessarily know if we aren't friends anymore because the way she left things at were a bit ambiguous. I was pretty bummed, but I took it a lot better than I thought. Nevertheless I told myself I needed to move past this.

I haven't talked to C since, nor am I going to attempt to any time in the near future. I've been making efforts to bond with new people and old friends. I've even met another girl back in February who I've been talking with recently, but the more I look back I realize how I didn't think these things through and made such stupid mistakes. It's clear this has been bothering me a lot. I went through our text conversations from months back and teared up at the things we said. C and I poured our hearts and minds out to each other and we were so thankful of everything we did for each other, but I just made her uncomfortable with the timing and the misinterpretation amongst other things. There were so many things that didn't need to happen, but my deep rooted emotional issues have once again forced someone I care about to cast me aside.

She wasn't a girl I wanted to just date because I would have no problem moving on: She was possibly one of the closest and most open friends I have ever had, and I burned the bridges. Our paths cross on the way to our classes, and as I walk towards her we both bury our heads in our phones and try not to make eye contact, or we give a very bittersweet/half-assed hello and continue on if we do. I nearly considered attempting suicide because once again I was back at square one, but I came to my senses and realized that doing so would permanently hurt her and leave her filled with guilt. This isn't the first time I've made this mistake, and the last time it happened I made amends successfully with my ex girlfriend, who at one point was my best friend. Even though me and my ex seldom talk, it felt good for me knowing we are on good terms.

For now though, I've been going to concerts, meeting new people and enjoying things. Thinking about C has begun to fade a bit but I like making up for my mistakes. Some time from now, be it a couple of months or even a year or two, I want to reach out to C and properly apologize and acknowledge the scope of my actions. I had written a letter to put my feelings down on paper, but I don't know if it'll ever reach her hands.

I want to be on good terms with her. I'm not asking for much to be honest other than deeply apologize for how I made C feel, and acknowledge how guilty I've been feeling. I'd like to be friends again, or just lightly chat with her every now and then, but it's all up to her. If she's willing to reconcile then that's fantastic. If she isn't, I really won't care by then. At least I gave her the chance. Summer will be coming soon and all my close high school friends are coming back, so I can occupy all my time with them.

But is it worth trying out anyway?
posted by krs15 to Human Relations (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
No.

This is a very clear situation but you're making it sound complicated. You seem to struggle with saying what you mean and meaning what you say and when people don't act as you want them to, you think you can talk them into doing so.

You manipulated her by confessing your former feelings in a melodramatic yet unclear way because you were jealous another guy was going to take her away from you. That's juvenile. Then you wouldn't leave her alone. She made it very clear you were bothering her.

If she wants you in her life, she will make a move.
posted by kapers at 2:16 PM on March 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


When a friendship is this complicated, with this much hurt and history, it doesn't seem healthy or helpful for either party.

You mention your emotional issues - are you seeing a professional? If not, I would urge you to do so. Even contemplating suicide is too close.

Don't try to get closure with your friend - let her be and move forward like you have been already. She taught you things about yourself; now become a better person because of it.
posted by umwhat at 2:28 PM on March 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Nope.

She doesn't need you to tell or show her your options regarding your relationship; she already knows them, and is exercising them. Your need to define the relationship does not trump her request that you back off.
posted by sm1tten at 2:29 PM on March 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think you should let this be for several months (like six) and see what a little time does for your perspective.

It seems like you put a lot of energy and emotion into ONE relationship in your life. I think you might be in college and therefore possibly in your twenties? So I'll say: as you get older you experience friendships waxing and waning a lot because of a whole variety of reasons. Because of this, it's important to have a couple or a few people you are closer too so you don't rely too much on one person for all your emotional needs.
posted by CMcG at 2:33 PM on March 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nope. She's been trying to draw boundaries, she's made it clear she doesn't want to talk that much, and she's occupying her time with other people. Move on. If she reaches out, be friendly; the key point is if she reaches out.

Honestly it sounds to me like you probably haven't actually sorted out your feelings for her. I hear a lot of jealousy and abandonment fears coming through everything you've said. Especially the focus on the height and perceived effeminacy of the guy she was hanging out with. That's a) not your business at all, b) weird as hell to focus on, c) the kinds of characteristics guys tend to fixate on when they're romantically jealous.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:40 PM on March 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


So, my impression is that you are way over-thinking this. You have this super long story that is all terribly important because you're using bits of your history to construct more of a relationship between you and C than actually exists. You need to stop looking for signs and just accept what C has told you.

Sorry to be blunt about it, but she's just not that into you, either as a partner or as a close friend. That happens sometimes, and while it hurts it also means that it's time for you to move on.
posted by jess at 2:44 PM on March 29, 2015 [13 favorites]


You clearly still had feelings for her when she was trying to get together with B and used your revelation about how you "used to" have feelings for her as something you hoped would turn her away from him. If you're really honest with yourself I think you'll realize that what you were really hoping for out of that conversation was for her to say, "no way! I have feelings for you too!" I mean, you're still jealous about her hanging out with this new guy, T, months after you supposedly stopped having a crush on her.

You don't need to beat yourself up for this excessively. The attempt to pretend that we're totally over somebody long before we actually are is kind of a staple of relationships in your teens and early 20s. Like when Rachel on Friends leaves a message for Ross and ends it with, "I'm breezy!" the fact that you're going to such lengths to say how over her you are means you aren't over her at all.

And it's those unacknowledged feelings that have led to the resulting awkwardness and her cutting off contact. Because as the recipient of someone's poorly disguised crush, you can always tell. And it makes things really uncomfortable. So now you need to listen to her in a way you haven't been before. She says to leave her alone. Leave her alone. No apologies to make yourself feel better. It'll just make her feel worse and show her that she was right that you're placing your feelings over hers.

Do what she's doing. Move on, make a lot of friends, don't put all of your eggs in one friendly/romantic basket like this again.
posted by MsMolly at 2:44 PM on March 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


And, actually, on reflection: you've already tried to make up for your mistakes. The thing about asking for forgiveness/redemption/_____ is that you get one kick at the can. After that it's all ME ME ME and has nothing at all to do with how the other person feels; it's only about what you're feeling and what you want.

You like her, in some fashion? You care about her and want what's best for her? Then do what she has made really, really clear: leave her alone.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:47 PM on March 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean the things she told me definitely turned me off romantically, but you guys are right. I have major attachment issues. Growing up in a dysfunctional household I was always the immediate person to blame, and I was always the person people loved to take advantage of. At this point all of my friends are out of touch and honestly I still feel lonely even when I'm amongst them. It doesn't matter if it's romantic or not, I get horrific anxiety when it seems people are detaching themselves from me or living their own lives. I've done many regrettable things that really end up burning bridges.

I get jealous of these things too. People come to me and then when they see someone else who's got more appealing qualities I get envious and spiteful. I start questioning myself about what I did wrong or why I am not good enough to be someone's friend or lover. Why the fuck can't someone care for me. And if they do, why the hell can't I feel it. The irony is that I'm the reason behind these things. I hate it. I ruin so many worthwhile friendships and this is the reason why my last relationship crumbled. I'm just not mentally sound, and clearly people out there want someone who is not a total basket case.

In all honesty I don't think C will contact me for a very long time, if at all. I'm just not mentally sound enough to have any kind of relationship with anyone. I can't even look at my own fucking parents anymore.

I am seeing a mental health professional by the way, and it's looking likely that I'll be starting antidepressants. Maybe this'll help get my life back together.
posted by krs15 at 2:49 PM on March 29, 2015


This was needlessly long. I don't say that to be mean, but just to point out that you think this stuff has only happened to you, that every single detail is significant.

She was trying to be nice, by using the slow fade. You failed to pick up on that, and that has created a lot of drama. I also think you are not being truthful about your feelings for her. You're very defensive on the topic actually.

You want to patch things up, but sometimes things are just left how they are. There isn't always a quick fix, or any fix. Sometimes you both just have to move on, and chalk it up to a learning experience.

But mostly, you need to be honest with yourself. Honest about your feelings for her, honest about whether you'd really not care if she rejected reconciliation, and honest about your part in all this.
posted by Aranquis at 2:50 PM on March 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


NO. Leave her alone. To be really blunt, everything you wrote, that's pretty much what people who scarily don't understand boundaries and engage in stalker-like behavior think. You can't stop thinking about her, you're imagining talking to her again, you want to reach out, you've written a letter??

STOP IT.

she said to "stop texting her right now" and "give it a rest"

She's told you to leave her alone. Leave her alone. Take the not-at-all-a-hint-but-a-very-clear-message to leave her alone.
posted by kinetic at 2:50 PM on March 29, 2015 [16 favorites]


Stop trying to make her carry your baggage. She's not there to fix you and make you feel better about yourself. She tried, gently, and then more firmly, go to set some boundaries, you ignored them, and now she's done. Respect that.
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:51 PM on March 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Things between you aren't ambiguous. She told you to leave her alone. She hasn't made any effort to rekindle the connection, despite you seeing each other at least somewhat regularly. You not wanting to accept it doesn't make it unclear.

Any amount of contact with C is just going to prolong your pain. You need, for your own sake, to give yourself time and distance to get out of this rocky patch that you're in. When you're completely over C, only then should you consider contacting her. You wouldn't be the first person in history to use an apology as a way of reconnecting with someone, using the logic that you're doing something good for them (when in reality, you're just trying to make yourself feel better).

Going to concerts, meeting new people and enjoying things is great. That's exactly what will help you get over C. Right now, it's like a wound that is still healing - you want to keep poking at it and inspecting it to see how its doing and how far along the healing process is. Interfering with it will slow down that process, though. Distracting yourself and making new friends will accelerate the healing process.

You're not the first person to create this kind of trouble for themselves. People make mistakes, because human beings aren't perfect. What's important is how you react to those mistakes. Do you respect C enough to respect her wishes? Do you really think that engaging in a feelingsdump on someone who has made it clear that they don't want you to contact is a good idea? Stop and think about those questions for a while, and consider how much of a mistake it would be to continue to force contact with C. Which is that you'd be doing - you'd be forcing her to take something from you when she's already made it clear that she doesn't want it.

Sometimes in life, you don't get to clean up the mess you made. All you can do is learn from that situation, and "go and sin no more".
posted by Solomon at 2:51 PM on March 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Absolutely talk to your mental health professional about this. Ask them for their advice and then follow it. If they can't help you, ask them for a referral to someone who can. You don't have to spend the rest of your life in this state. You can totally learn better ways of thinking and coping with life.

Coming from a dysfunctional environment messes with your head often leaves you with a skewed view of the world and interpersonal relationships. You can heal from that though. You're not doomed to spend the rest of your life like this. You might find it helpful and possibly cathartic to have a look through the Human Relations category here. You're not alone in having difficulty navigating the waters of interpersonal relationships.
posted by Solomon at 3:15 PM on March 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, by making amends I meant to write after enough time has passed, not like right now because in no way am I going to talk to her at all right now!

Like a couple months or a year later down the road. Oops.

Actually it probably won't make a difference. I'm not offering to be friends again, just to properly apologize so I can forgive myself, and continue on with my life.
posted by krs15 at 3:35 PM on March 29, 2015


Dude. No. Don't contact her any more, not even "later." This is a "stop digging" situation. Don't worry, there are seven billion other people in the world. Do better next time. And she'll get over it.
posted by ctmf at 3:41 PM on March 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


You're not a bad, worthless person who is singled out for rejection forever from everyone. These dramatic friendships happen a lot at your age. Sometimes it seems like you're really close with someone, but it either ends, or you were never that close to begin with. It's just life. And it is sad. I don't mean to minimize it at all. In fact, there is another thread right now about online dating (about people twice your age) in which people are having a bit of a lively argument about what it means to have handled your baggage. Grief over lost relationships is incorporated into one's life and not something you "just get over." Do everything you can to forgive yourself on your own and move on from this. It's great that you're going to therapy. You'll move past it, and gain wisdom and maturity. And please don't kill yourself!
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Something Ive learned reccently is that when enough time has passed, you wont even want to apologize or get back in contact. Also, make reading ask.meta filter human relationship questions a routine. Eventually, all the amazing advice will become internalized and you will become a better person because of it.
posted by eq21 at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hi there,

I'm sorry you're in this situation. In my experience, the only thing that is going to make this better is to show that you can respect her wishes by not communicating with her for a while, and by 'for a while', I mean 'until she initiates contact again.' If she does initiate contact again, my suggestion would be to return about the same level of contact; that is, if she asks "Hey, how's it going?", do not respond with a long written apology. Waiting a while and abruptly sending her a long apology will make things bad.

When people fail to respect boundaries, it often makes other people wonder what other kinds of boundaries they won't respect. The converse is true as well; if you show people that you are able to respect boundaries, they are more inclined to trust you, because you have demonstrated that you respect their boundaries. You may mentally be trying to put this in terms of 'But I'm trying to apologize, which is a good/acceptable way of contact'. This is not true. This will only make things worse.

It kind of seems like this is difficult for you because you're regarding her as your only good friend at college, which is a lot of pressure, both for you and her. I'd like to suggest that you try to go out, try new things, and make friends. You can't force anybody to like you, or be your friend, or anything like that; you can just put yourself out there, and some people are going to like you. And some people won't. Try not to worry too much about the people who don't.

Also this book has helped me recognize when I was starting down bad thought patterns; possibly it could help you.
posted by Comrade_robot at 3:53 PM on March 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Growing up in a dysfunctional household I was always the immediate person to blame, and I was always the person people loved to take advantage of.

People come to me and then when they see someone else who's got more appealing qualities I get envious and spiteful. I start questioning myself about what I did wrong or why I am not good enough to be someone's friend or lover. Why the fuck can't someone care for me.


I'm just not mentally sound, and clearly people out there want someone who is not a total basket case.

You're not in your dysfunctional household any longer. Nobody is taking advantage of you now, nor can they in the future, unless you permit it. You have a great opportunity for growth at this moment. You're young and in college and you should be separating from your parents and not be overly enmeshed with them. That may take some work with your therapist. Working on forgiving your parents and dropping your victim story should be a priority.

Life is difficult and there are no guarantees. We have to move on from life's disappointments and not paint ourselves as defective. Also, be very wary of blame. When you notice yourself blaming others (your parents, your friends, peers at school) for your problems it's time to examine yourself. It can be satisfying to blame others and to be spiteful --- there is almost an adrenaline rush. We think we are right! Blaming others is dangerous and prevents us from taking responsibility for our own lives.

People probably do care for you but the reason you may not notice a lot of care, is that you don't care for yourself and maybe you're not extending care to others in an unselfish way. We are all selfish in out own ways, but neediness is not love. Neediness is a selfish way of behaving. To be loved, be lovable. Instead of asking why you cannot be loved and what others can do for you, ask what you can do for others --- genuine interest without being suffocating, kindness, humor, support.

Maybe it would be wise to slow down texting in general. I'm of a different generation but I find that receiving multiple texts can be exhausting. Respect that people are busy and may not have the time to respond to lots of texts messages.

I would let the friendship go with C. It should not and cannot be revived. She asked for you to leave her alone. In an effort to respect yourself and C, let it go and do not pursue any contact.

I get horrific anxiety when it seems people are detaching themselves from me or living their own lives. I've done many regrettable things that really end up burning bridges.

You can be a strong person who does not have to feel like your world is crashing down just because a person you met not too long ago didn't work out. Friendships come and go. You are young and still figuring out how relationships work and how life works in general. Most have had friendships or romances that have ended in sub-optimal ways. Instead of looking to others to heal your wounds (neediness), it would be best to practice self-soothing, self-love, and self-respect. Acknowledge that you have difficult feelings. They are temporary, and will come and go throughout your life. You are capable of dealing with them in a healthy way.

From this point forward it would probably be best to lower your expectations and give people the space they deserve. Ask what you can do for yourself and your goals (doing well in school for instance) instead of attaching your happiness to one person. Work hard. Be kind. Enjoy meeting new people but remember that they don't owe you anything. Stay strong.
posted by Fairchild at 3:56 PM on March 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, by making amends I meant to write after enough time has passed, not like right now because in no way am I going to talk to her at all right now!

Like a couple months or a year later down the road.


Stop. Nope. Leave her alone. Forever. Move on with your life. Listen, many of us here have been on the receiving end of something like this. We've told someone to leave us alone and they don't. Reading you say that you're thinking of how you're going to get in touch with her down the road, as someone who's been on the receiving end of this and had to get the police involved, I'm telling you, this is chilling.

Leave her alone.
posted by kinetic at 5:09 PM on March 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


You need to move on, dude.

I'm not asking for much to be honest other than deeply apologize for how I made C feel, and acknowledge how guilty I've been feeling.

This is entirely for your benefit, not hers. Specifically, the reason you want to have your grand chance to break through to her and let her now how sorry you are is because...

I'd like to be friends again, or just lightly chat with her every now and then...

You don't *just* want to apologize. You want to win her back through your apology. The thing is, you said that you apologized and that's when she asked you to leave her alone. So why don't you do that?

...it's all up to her. If she's willing to reconcile then that's fantastic. If she isn't, I really won't care by then. At least I gave her the chance.

You already tried to tell her how you feel and she told you to leave her alone. She already had and still has the option to re-connect with you and she hasn't. Your belief that you need to "give her the chance" is seriously misguided.

This is over. Move on. Work on yourself for a while. Become a better, more put-together person and avoid letting this happen with the next woman.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:22 PM on March 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thanks for all of the answers guys. The more each day passes the less this issue bothers me. However, there's some really deep lingering issues that took part in this , and that's what I'm most worried about: I'll end up doing making the same mistakes.

I've never been able to keep friends, and I feel like I don't deserve them. I expect too much from them is probably the biggest issue.

Making friends for me is so hard now. There's just this huge fear instilled in me. I used to be the most sociable person, only to have everyone, especially my own mother label me as something subhuman over the years. Making any friend of the opposite gender for me is difficult, because all I can think of are things my mom said. And I still come home on the weekends and just being amongst her makes me upset.

I'm sorry if I'm branding myself as a victim but I'm just so sick of things. I've grown to hate people over the years and that I'd be better off alone as a result of the things in the past. Any time a genuine friend like C came around, it was because we both acknowledged we were deeply flawed, and then I or they would end up latching on. It would then lead to me screwing things up with them and having to cut them out.

I'm not helping my case out at all am I?
posted by krs15 at 5:39 PM on March 29, 2015


I start questioning myself about what I did wrong or why I am not good enough to be someone's friend or lover. Why the fuck can't someone care for me. And if they do, why the hell can't I feel it. The irony is that I'm the reason behind these things. I hate it. I ruin so many worthwhile friendships and this is the reason why my last relationship crumbled. I'm just not mentally sound, and clearly people out there want someone who is not a total basket case.
After asking myself very similar questions and experiencing similar things, I have come to the conclusion that the answer to the question "Why the fuck can't someone care for me?" is "Why the fuck can't I care for myself?" You are being awfully unkind to yourself here. You're calling yourself "not mentally sound" and "a total basket case" and "not good enough" and saying that you don't know what you did wrong. That is so... well, dude, it's really mean. Would you beat someone up like that verbally if they confided in you that they felt these things? I highly doubt it. You need to start showing yourself some compassion here. You need to be your own best friend.

I am really proud of you for going to therapy and starting to take antidepressants and for asking this question. But I hope that you can sit yourself down and have a heart-to-heart and be kind to yourself. I hope you can look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself and that you are worthy of love and that you are a good person. Because all of those things are true, and to tell yourself otherwise is fulfilling your prophesy. You just plain are not being kind to yourself, and that is doing you a tremendous disservice.

I still come home on the weekends and just being amongst her makes me upset.
Stop going home on the weekends. It sounds like your relationship with your parents is not adding Good to your life. Back away a bit. I'm not saying to cut contact, not now, but release a bit. Let go a bit. My parents love me very much, and I know this, but they won't say it. And they often don't act like it. They are incredibly hard on me and want me to succeed so much that they often put my success in front of my own happiness. They don't ask if I am happy; they ask what my boss thinks of my work and when I'm going to meet my next milestone. They don't celebrate my success; they tell me to work harder. They don't tell me that they love me. They tell me that I look like I've put on weight, or that my skin looks bad, or that I don't know how to manage my time. They are not bad people, but they do not add Good to my life. So I have distanced myself as a result. It is sad, and it really is hard, but my life is better without a close relationship with my folks. So be it.

Any time a genuine friend like C came around, it was because we both acknowledged we were deeply flawed, and boom I fucked things up with them and I don't talk with them anymore.
Friendships are fine but they are not the most important thing. I have a lot of friends that I really care about, that I really like, but I do not tell them things. I do not acknowledge that I am deeply flawed to them. I do that here, on the Internet, for the most part. As we age, the role that friends and friendship takes in our life changes. It is not the same. I don't have anyone in my life that knows my real self: not my parents, not my boyfriend, not my friends. I do not tell people how I really feel. I do not let people in. When I do, it is sad and disappointing and it always ends poorly. And I think this is because when we get that close to someone? When we let them in that much? It's because we're looking for something, and the thing we are looking for cannot be found outside of ourselves. Friends are people to have lunch with. Friends are people to hang out with. Friends are people that you can call and say "I am having the worst day" and they will say "Aw, I'm sorry! Have a virtual phone hug!" and then they'll say goodbye and go on about their day. People who do too much for their friends - who listen too much, who are too close - those people are also looking to fill a hole. They are not true friendship material.

When I feel bad, I deal with it myself. I do not ask other people for support or help. I just take a hot shower and have a good cry and then I distract myself as best I can. My existential pain is no one else's business. No one can soothe it, anyhow - that's on me. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I had someone that I could acknowledge my deep flaws to, someone that I could truly be myself with, or hell - just someone that would make me dinner or drive five minutes out of their way to give me a hug when I feel bad - but even that is never a guarantee. At the end of the day, we have only ourselves.

Best of luck.
posted by sockermom at 5:56 PM on March 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


First of all, I agree with everyone who says don't contact her. Straight up, no ambiguity, do not do it now, not a year from now, not ever. It will not be received well or thought of as making amends. Now, I want to acknowledge how much that sucks, because it really does. I understand why some are questioning that your crush dissipated & your attachment, while intense, became totally platonic over time, but I'll take you at your word because I think that will be the most helpful to you. With that in mind, friendship breakups suck, often more so than romantic relationship breakups. Friends become part of our lives in a totally different way & when you part, it is usually messy, painful, & confusing. You think of them randomly & may even consider contacting them in passing even after many years. Being on the same campus & crossing paths makes it that much harder. I think it's good you are addressing your issues with a therapist, being more social, enjoying things, & being reflective. You will get better at this. You're still growing, figuring yourself out, & becoming the person you want to be. Mourn the relationship privately, discuss it with your therapist, & keep doing what you're doing in regards to searching out new experiences & people. You'll get there, this is just one of those life lessons that's going to smart for a long while. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 6:53 PM on March 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think going forward you'd be happier trying to cultivate a larger group of friends so that you're not invested so intensely in one person. If one person is basically your everything, that is exhausting for them and that will drive them away, which is not something you want to repeat. Also, if you have a few people you can count on, it won't hurt so badly if one of them does leave for whatever reason. And try for a mix of male and female friends. Men and women can of course be friends, even best friends, but because of your intense investment, there is going to be an odd borderline-romantic tone to these types of close friendships. And you now know firsthand how crush feelings (even passing ones) can complicate things.
posted by kapers at 7:29 PM on March 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, actually, your comments are helping things, because you're moving closer to the root of the issue. If you feel you aren't worthy of good / "regular" relationships because of what your mom said, that's where to focus your work with your therapist. A few years from now, you'll look back and think "of course things went the way they did with C. I hadn't figured out XYZ and ABC yet." Take the energy you want to pour into apologizing to C and pour it into whatever homework your therapist suggests.

I'm not even sure you need to apologize, and unfortunately, you might still be too close to the situation to have anything new to say about it. The further you are down the path of addressing all of this stuff, the clearer and more persuasive that apology will be.
posted by salvia at 7:46 PM on March 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


The most effective goal for you now is most likely to get her out of your head entirely. If you are planning on reconnecting in a month, a year, whenever--she's still in your head. She's still taking up space, and you're not letting go.

Let go. Pretend she's dead, if you have to.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:14 PM on March 29, 2015


I went through our text conversations from months back and teared up at the things we said.

Others have covered most of the aspects of this situation better than I could, so I'll just say: Delete those texts and stop using them to hurt yourself. Delete her number too, so you're not tempted to call her late at night or when you're feeling highly emotional. It's what she would want.

Pressing the Delete button might hurt, but you will fill that empty space with better things down the road.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:52 AM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think you need to up your schedule of therapy appointments - are you going twice a month? Try going once a week. Once a week? Try going two times a week. You need more intensive work that will help you with some of these feelings.
posted by corb at 10:04 AM on March 30, 2015


See here's the thing. This all sounds excruciatingly familiar, from a long time ago. This is how I used to run things. This kind of obsessive attachment, this kind of inability to let go. This kind of pain. And, I thought at the time, this kind of love.

But I did it a few times. And it SUCKED. And it hurt like hell to let the other people alone, but I did. And eventually, it became all right.

And now I am casual facebook friends with them, and they are lovely people who are doing their thing as I do mine. It took me a long time to realize how much I wanted to apologize to T for my excessive attachment. I left him alone instead. I was bitter and hurt and wanted him to love me. Now I don't really know what he's doing, but he seems to be having a good time, and we occasionally like each other's posts, and I actually haven't thought of him for probably over a year.

I did apologize to (my) C. I was quite unacceptably overly attached. And if not for the fact that he was a 19-year-old nutjob (as 19-year-olds sometimes are). my 17-year-old nutjob nonsense would have been unforgivable. I liked his wedding post, and he liked mine. He's a nice guy. He was, on reflection, totally inappropriate for me. As your C is for you.

I fell in love with D(a) when I was in my 20's. It precipitated my only mixed state, which is NOT a thing a depressive wants-- it's really fucking dangerous. In those days, I cut myself with shards of broken glass I found under the bed and expected to list him as the beneficiary on my new life insurance before I even asked. Ten minutes ago I sent a funny video to him, and i stay on the couch at the apartment he shares with his girlfriend when I am in my old hometown and I actually email her more often than him.

Then there's T(i), whom I've never spoken to since. There's T(o), whom I hope I never run into, because I do not want to act contemptuous toward someone who's just trying to figure his shit out, but it would be hard not to because he was kind of an asshole. But more importantly, there's D(o), with whom I am spending a lot of really lovely time. There's B, who went back to his ex-wife after a year and with whom I am eventually trying to get together for karaoke. There is also my ex-husband N, who is one of the most fantastic human beings I have ever met, but to whom I could not remain married for various reasons. We don't have to apologize. We both fucked up, and we're still friends.

It's almost impossible to leave it alone, at first. But if you force yourself, it eventually loses its sting. And when it does, it's so much better to have bowed out gracefully. Because if you do, the drama and suffering lose focus with time, and you become part of each other's pasts. You have presents later, and the memories can be pleasant, because we tend to draw the past that way.

Right now, just breathe. Just let her alone, because it's no good for you. Right now, it sucks. But by 2017, you'll hardly even remember how it feels.

No, you don't need to apologize. You don't need to keep contact. You don't need to keep looking for her approval. You need to do the opposite. Write angry letters and crappy poetry and tear it up or bury it deep within your bookshelf. (Oh MAN I have written some crappy poetry.) Don't talk to her again. That's not what either of you needs right now. Instead, daydream for the moment about her realizing her mistake in a few years, and how good that would feel. And in a few years, I promise you, you will not even slightly care.
posted by Because at 2:39 AM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


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