Getting over feelings of betrayal
April 3, 2007 10:14 PM   Subscribe

I am starting to hate my cousin and best friend. Please help me forgive her.

Mary is my cousin, and up until about a month or so ago, my very best friend in the entire world. We used to hang out every single night of the week unless one of us had a date. It's the closest friendship I ever experienced, and while we were close it was one of the best parts of my life. We shared every detail of our lives with eachother, I would've taken a bullet (and still would) for her.

We live in a small college town and we don't live together. She live with her roomate Jane, whom I get along with and was an acquaintance/friend of mine as well. Jane, Mary, and myself all had leases that ended in April. So naturally, we decided to look for a place for all three of us.

Shopping for a rental together was stressful. Our price ranges were different, but I was more than willing to go down to her level price-wise. The chief problem was, Mary was very picky and had very high standards for her maximum price. More than once, I argued that just due to simple market conditions we were not going to meet all of her standards at a given price. We looked for months and could not find something that fit her standards/price.

April was drawing nearer, and all three of us were getting antsy as we would have nowhere to live soon. One night, while the two of us were out walking, she saw a house with a for rent sign.

As fate would have it, she called the next day on the house. It happened to meet most of her standards and the price was great! One problem... only two spots were open. She signed with Jane, leaving me to find my own housing somewhere else. I was crushed. I fought back tears when she told me she had signed a lease with Jane.

I found room somewhere else. She apologized to me and said she was sorry, but I think if push came to shove, she would do it again.

* * * * * * * *

Ever since then (about a month ago), our friendship has been wrecked. I thought we were down for eachother no matter what, and I feel so betrayed.

She's great in ways that I'm not, but I've always had more money and been slimmer/prettier one. In the past I never let it go to my head, I would lend her my super expensive clothes/jewellry and set her up with hot guys. Now I find myself gloating over my advantages over her and I hate myself for it. I don't want to be this kind of human.

Little things she does (stupid stuff that doesn't matter, like listen to Nickelback type music, etc) have started to bug me like crazy when I used to not notice it at all, or find it endearing.

I can't let go of the feelings of hurt and betrayal. I would give anything to feel the same as I did a month ago. I've gone from seeing her every night to ignoring her. I know she hurt me, but I am being fucking immature.

Last year I modelled for a swimsuit designer in town, and I get discounts. She saw a swimsuit she wanted and texted me today to ask me if I could get her a discount (since she's really poor right now) and I didn't even fucking respond.

I'm so disgusted with myself for holding on to this grudge, but I cannot let go any way I try.

Please help me.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you told her how hurt you were that she signed the lease with the other girl? Tell her. If you don't, you might be able to put the grudge away for a while, but I think you'll be looking at every little negative thing she does as another betrayal, and never really get over it.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:20 PM on April 3, 2007

I did this to a college roommate once. There was A, B, C, D and E in the equation. But we wanted to go for a 4-person suite. I was A, and I'd been living with B and C for two years. D + E had been living together for a year.

I talked to B, and B was like, let's go with D and E, and leave C out, but you have to tell him. So I told him, thinking it wouldn't be a big deal. He started crying and that was pretty much the end of our friendship. He found other roommates. B and C are still friends.

It was a mistake, one of the few things in life I thoroughly regret 100% from start to finish. Worse, it was an unfixable mistake. I don't know if this story is helpful, but it is certainly true.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:24 PM on April 3, 2007 [4 favorites]

It sounds like you are at a bit of a fork in the road here. Which causes you the most angst: what she did to you or what your not forgiving is doing to you?

It sounds to me like the latter may be true, and if i am correct, you already know what needs to be done.

Personally, I think you need to ascertain whether or not she made one painful decision regarding you or if she really is selfish and immature and just uses you when it benefits her. The only way you can do that is by telling her how you feel, forgiving her, and trying to move on. If she continues this kind of stuff, well, you have your answer.

But please, for your sake, stop being so hard on yourself for how you feel and how hard this is to let go. You are entitled to your feelings, and kudos to you for trying to make this work out.

Still, you were hurt. You have a right to feel bad, and it is OK for stuff to be hard to forgive, and it is OK if it takes awhile and has to happen in your time (and I say this as a Christian who believes forgiveness is a mandate).
posted by 4ster at 10:43 PM on April 3, 2007

You're human, I presume, and so there's nothing wrong with your behavior. She betrayed you and now you feel like shit. It's happened before and it'll happen again. The only remedy is time. Give yourself some time away from her. After a month or three or six the pain will have dulled a bit and you'll see that in the end you both came out fine. Then you can speak to her and see what happens. Things will never be the same again between you two and it's clear that you have different ideas about your friendship but it'll all work out in the end. For now try to stop obsessing over it and move on. If you have other friends lean on them and have them buy you ice cream and towels.

(And be glad you don't live in NYC. In that case screwing somebody out of a house can trigger family feuds that last generations. No joke.)
posted by nixerman at 10:46 PM on April 3, 2007

Accept your anger. The answer to what to do will follow.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:48 PM on April 3, 2007

I have been where you are, having been promised a slot in a house with friends, then dumped for some other pal.
It sucks.

But, what I can say is that being forced out onto my own ended up being better for me, and the guy that got my spot ended up being a total douche, housing-wise. Since I didn't live with any of them, their drama didn't affect me. I let 'em know that it pissed me off, and they've all since apologized (it's been over seven years now, so it's not like I'm gonna hold a grudge forever), and I'm pals with a couple of them again. More than that, I can see how avoiding living in that house let me do more things with my life.
As of now, they've done you a backhanded favor. You can still be friends with them, but take some time off so you're not still consumed with the feelings of hurt. Think about what else you could do that you couldn't before, and enjoy that. Also remember that the fastest way to grow to hate a friend is to live with them. By avoiding that, you may be better off in the long run.
posted by klangklangston at 10:48 PM on April 3, 2007

Girl, you have to talk to her. Treat it like an apology, confession, why did you do this to me you bitch, moment all at once. Don't say anything about you being prettier or wealthier, natch.

Also, keep in mind that even the closest friendships have a hard time weathering the changes you go through while getting from 18 to 25 ( I am making an assumption here).
posted by Foam Pants at 10:49 PM on April 3, 2007

1. See it from her perspective. She found a great place, and it probably seemed to her that she could not ditch the roommate she already had. Possibly you also seemed in a better position to find a place on your own. In her position with little money, you might have chosen to do the same.

2. Accept your righteous anger. This is someone who made a promise to you, betrayed you, and chose someone else over you. Hey, that hurts. It also is what it is and nothing more.

3. Some personal advice. I've written off some friendships over things like this in the past. I deeply regret losing those friendships. It was not that important.
posted by xammerboy at 11:06 PM on April 3, 2007

You have high standards. Keep them and move on.

I could've just as easily said the opposite thing, but whatever you do, take the high road. The "little" things you are doing to get back at her, you know they suck. But they are an understandable reaction to an inevitable conclusion that has been forced upon you: you thought you were friend would treat you better than that.

That's why I second Ironmouth. Sometimes, I can be the furthest thing from rational. Meditation helps - in the "clear your mind and then revisit the issue later" sense. All you need to do is draw a line between what she will do to you, and what you'll do to her. The rest is a matter of conscience backed up with some will power. That or go on a killing spree at your local mall.
posted by phaedon at 11:06 PM on April 3, 2007

This is a slightly different situation than if she was just a friend who dissed you... this is your cousin so she will (I'm assuming) be in your life forever. Keep in mind that holding onto anger will hurt you more than it will hurt anyone else. So you need to find a way to cope with it and get to the other side... for your own sake, not for hers or for the sake of your friendship. What I might do is to be honest with her, just say that you are having a hard time right now with your residual feelings about the situation and you need some time to process it. Let her know that you care about her and have treasured your relationship but that there are just some things that are bothering you and that you hope she can respect that. Eventually, when you're ready to talk it over, hopefully she'll be ready to listen and understand. And maybe then you can understand her side of it better too. But maybe it's a good thing if you don't rush into doing that when you're still emotional and the wound is fresh.

It's okay to allow yourself some space and time to heal. You'll be surprised what can be healed with a little patience. Your emotions will sort themselves out, and if you want your relationship to continue, it will. You'll figure it out. And if you do? Sometimes, if handled maturely, a little conflict can make a relationship far stronger. I've had that happen quite a few times, but I had to learn how to calm my emotions enough to pull it off. It seemed impossible at first, but it's definitely not. Some relationships are worth the effort it takes to get over stuff.

Good luck. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 11:36 PM on April 3, 2007

This is a blessing in disguise. An opportunity for you to see some true colors, without having to (literally) live with the consequences.

It sounds like either:
a) Mary wasn't honest with you about whether or not she wanted to live with you
b) Mary wasn't being honest with herself about what she wanted out of a living situation
c) Mary's "pickyness" in finding a roommate prioritized factors such as price and other standards higher than including you in the deal.
d) Mary doesn't think beyond herself. This is lame, since it put you in housing crisis, at the VERY LAST MINUTE. If a, b, or c are also realities then it is especially lame, since she has been completely wasting your time.

You still feel bad about this possibly because you don't feel like Mary has done enough to acknowledge your feelings or resolve the situation. And she may never do that. The best you can do is to create the environment that allows her to take full responsibility for her actions in this friendship. This includes you being clear and honest with her about your feelings, your boundaries, and what you expect from the friendship. If you were as close as you say you two were, I hope you still feel comfortable enough to do that. Even if you don't, you may want to anyway, because it can help you feel better about the whole situation. Once you've articulated your concerns thoroughly, it is off your plate and on hers. There can be no confusion about how feel at that point. Trust me, that will be a big burden-lifter.

The call about the discount is especially irritating because you already feel like your patience and generosity is going unrecognized and you are being taken advantage of.

Personally, I would say my peace, and hear what she has to say. Before talking with her, I might evaluate what I should do based on her possible reactions. For example, I might tell myself, "When I say that I'm still hurt by this roommate thing, if she doesn't acknowledge that and instead acts real defensive and accusatory, then I will do X". In this case "X" might be getting some distance, to get over it.

Just be prepared to possibly get over this grudge with absolutely no help or support from her. And it may actually be yet another painful blessing in disguise.

And it's going to be ok. Think of the whole thing like a breakup, or a boyfriend doing something really heinous...a lot of friendships are like that! But it doesn't mean the relationship is over. It may just mean that you need some space and time to get over your hurt and to rebuild your trust in her. That's totally ok. Letting her know this, and taking as much space as you need, might actually be a nice wake-up call to Mary. She may actually learn things like, oh, how her self-serving actions have a huge impact on those close to her!

Also, it may be that her rejection of you is effecting your self-esteem a bit. I only say that because of what you said about gloating (and feeling bad about it), and about your generous offers to share perks and such. Just know that you are all that, regardless of whether she recognizes it or not. You don't need her approval! If this rejection/approval-seeking notion is true, I'd suggest quelling it by trying to gain confidence and attention elsewhere...go out with other friends, make new friends, go shopping, whatever! Doting all this attention on Mary, and spending all your efforts on making things chummy again is just feeding a cycle and making it harder for you to forgive her (because it's largely unappreciated, unless she wants something, which is gonna make you more pissed off, which may cause you to seek approval from her, then you feel guilty about your behavior, and you want to forgive her, so you do something nice. Rinse. Repeat.)

Stay strong. You are a good person. It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong here. Be hurt and angry and whatever as much as you need to. I'd feel much the same way. It's only natural, given the bullshit that has gone on.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:54 PM on April 3, 2007

By the way, just so you know... my post above wasn't telling you that you should stop being angry right now... I'm sure you have good reason. I just meant that you need to be easy on yourself and give yourself time to deal with it so that you can let it go. MANY people will hold onto things like this for YEARS and never let go of their anger. And it's really not good for anyone to let themselves do that. So embrace your anger, sort through it, and then try to file it away before it festers inside of you.

I have a sister who's still upset about something that a member of my family did when my sister was 15. She's almost 50 now, yet she still talks about the stuff as though it just happened to her & she's been so victimized. Still won't be in the room with the person, they haven't seen eachother in years. The person my sister is mad at has moved on and is perfectly happy, my sister is the miserable one. Watching people behave like that can really put into perspective just how toxic it is to hold onto anger. You can victimize yourself with negativity beyond what anyone else could've possibly done to you.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:51 AM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

This is a pretty big heartbreak and I think it's normal that you're not anywhere close to over it after a month. Go easy on yourself, if you find that you can't stand to respond to a text from her some days then that's fine as well. She'll just have to wait a bit longer for her new swimsuit.

Honestly I think you're doing pretty well with this - you've managed to be fair to your friend in this post, which is a good start. You just need to accept your feelings and trust that they will pass with time. You may or may not choose to talk to her but if you do decide to talk to her, keep in mind that she's not likely to feel remotely as bad about what she did as the hurt and angry part of you will like her to.
posted by teleskiving at 2:16 AM on April 4, 2007

When I was in college, I was in a situation where I had been betrayed by my closest friend. I had a huge horrible time forgiving her, and it was eating me alive. I would, like you, do little things to get back at her (ah the joys of girl politics) but never say anything. And like you, I would feel enormously guilty for being such a bitch.

After talking the situation over with a trusted older woman I knew, she told me something that I'll never forget. "Forgiveness is a daily office". In another words, you're not just going to wake up one day to find that you've forgiven this person while you slept. You were deeply wounded. That wound will always be there because of the simple fact of human memory. So forgiving your friend/cousin has to be a daily conscious act. Whenever you feel those feelings of betrayal and anger rising up, you're going to have to consciously say to yourself, I'm going to forgive X for what she did to me, and today I will not let it affect my behavior towards her. I know it sounds silly, but it really does work.

One other thing about forgiveness I've learned is that sometimes we withhold forgiveness because we have the idea that forgiving someone is like saying they never wronged us, like erasing the past. Try not to think of it that way. Forgiving someone is in fact an acknowledgment that you were wronged, and that you are choosing to let go of the anger and hurt caused by it. These two things helped me forgive my friend. Still, the friendship was never the same, but at least I was able to stop with the passive aggressive stuff, and to stop thinking so much about how my friend had betrayed me. And that was good for me.
posted by katyggls at 2:32 AM on April 4, 2007 [9 favorites]

Shopping for a rental together was stressful. Our price ranges were different, but I was more than willing to go down to her level price-wise. The chief problem was, Mary was very picky and had very high standards for her maximum price. More than once, I argued that just due to simple market conditions we were not going to meet all of her standards at a given price.

This is a red flag to me. I'm wondering if Mary has been resentful that you are richer than her. I'm imagining you saying "you aren't going to find a place that doesn't have roaches for less than $3000/mo, Mary" and her silently seething at either your unthinking elitism or the fact that you are right but she doesn't want to accept it. (exaggerated for effect, no offense intended) Eventually she decided (either angrily or honestly) that you'd be better off getting your own place for your own rental amount and went in with Jane.

I could be way off. But it is worth thinking about whether there have been other instances in your relationship where she's been angry or upset about money issues where you thought she was being unreasonable or cheap.
posted by DU at 4:34 AM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Definitely talk with her about it, but don't let it be the end of your friendship unless that is what you want. An important point that you need to think about is that maintaining a friendship can be far more difficult if you are living with someone. It is quite possible that even as best friends you would drive each other crazy if you were around each other all the time, so this situation might actually be better for your friendship in the long run. even if the friendship doesn't survive, letting go of your anger is a skill that will serve you well many, many times later in life, so use this chance to practice it. That is not to say you can't be angry about it, just don't let it become a festering grudge.
posted by TedW at 5:19 AM on April 4, 2007

What she did was pretty nasty, and you're well within your bounds to feel betrayed and angry. What she's doing now is pretending it didn't happen, and she's probably not consciously doing it to mess with your head, she probably honestly wishes she hadn't been a cutthroat jerk (not that she'd take it back if she could), but she's making you feel like the bad/wrong/weird one because you do clearly remember what happened. That's one side.

The other side is that intensely close friendships have a shelf life, and I think y'all have reached yours. Not that you'll never be friends, but you are not friends today the way you were a month or two ago and probably never will be. Probably you need to back off a while and let yourself adjust to the new reality.

Also, never live with people you like but don't get naked with. I've never known a friendship to survive it without being radically changed.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:21 AM on April 4, 2007

Also worth remembering that change is part of life. Once you finish school you will no longer have the time to have friendships as close as the one you describe with the demands work/familiy/partner will place on you. Your relationship would have had to adapt to those changes, too, or would not have survived.

I am not suggesting that you accept the present state of affairs. Sit down and be honest with yourself about how you feel and what you want to achieve and then go and talk to her - honestly. Be prepared for her to be honest and to hear things you may not want to hear and take it from there. But don't expect things to return to the way they were - they won't. So be open for the new direction your friendship will take and remember that the relationship would have had to grow anyway, irrespective of living arrangements.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:23 AM on April 4, 2007

You absolutely have to talk to her. I'm wondering if she just assumed that 1) you wouldn't want to live in the house based on your own standards 2) the roommate--who is probably closer to her income bracket than you are--would be left hung out to dry without any options in her price range if she didn't go in with your cousin 3) given your financial situation, you could easily find more options than either of them could have, and would not be left homeless.

This doesn't excuse the abrupt way it was handled, and you need to let her know you are hurt.

Other misc. thoughts:

1) You can't blame her for "leaving you high and dry at the last minute" simply because she was unable to afford the other options you guys had viewed up until that point


2) If you (or both of you) are in school full-time (and not footing the bill by working) I'd drop the smugness you are tempted to feel over having more money (nor should she feel any sort of inferiority or guilt over not being able to accomodate your higher housing standards)'s not your money, no?
posted by availablelight at 5:58 AM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Nothing screws with friendship like finding a place to live.

I don't buy for a second what others are saying about her feelings of inadequacy being justified because you have more money. Screw that, you can feel inadequate all you want, but if she can't afford to get a place with you, she's gotta say so, well in advance.

She screwed you over. Plain and simple. It is fortunate that you were able to recover from it and find housing, but that's not her place to assess what you can and can't do. When you enter an agreement with someone, it's not out of the question to expect them to honor it, or let you know when they cannot, it's basic fucking respect, especially if she's your 'friend', especially if she's family.

You're hurt by this, understandably so. Here's the problem, by not reacting directly to this, you've taken all the tears you held back when she told you and let them taint your image of her, maybe rightly so, maybe not. Further, when someone reveals a particularly nasty part of themselves to you (i.e., your cousin's self-serving callousness), it makes it hard to interpret anything they do without that filter on it.

I do believe that you should talk to her about this, bring it up and find out why it is she did what she did. Trying to just keep it pushed down and pretend it didn't happen does a disservice to yourself and even to her, as that resentment will manifest itself in future interactions. Only after finding out what her reasoning is, and thus coming to a better understanding of what she's about will healing/forgiveness come.

But if it turns out she's a jerk after all, maybe you're better off.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:37 AM on April 4, 2007

I found room somewhere else. She apologized to me and said she was sorry, but I think if push came to shove, she would do it again.

Okay, here's the thing. If she had not taken that apartment, where would you guys be living now? It seems like a nice three-bedroom in her price range just doesn't exist, at all. It seems like if you were committed to living together, you all would be living in a shithole (which might upset you) or living beyond your means (which might upset her). I think that her choice was ultimately the right thing to do.

Which is not to say that the timing wasn't shitty. Sure it was. Talk to her, but not before you come to terms with exactly why you are pissed at her. What is the "it" that you think she might do again? If it's "screw me out of housing", then simply don't ever try and live with her again. If it's something bigger, see if there's any other reason to believe that she will do other unthoughtful stuff in the future. Either way, talk to her.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:42 AM on April 4, 2007

Find less shallow friends, or you'll become just like them.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:54 AM on April 4, 2007

You've got two issues here:

1. What to do about your cousin

I strongly disagree with the "just tell her your feelings and work it out" advice being given here. Your cousin had a choice between her best friend and a house and she chose the house, and she left you in a very bad spot. Then she says "sorry" and expects you to carry on as if nothing happened. What kind of selfish asshole does that? She screwed you. Apologizing doesn't make it right. It just makes her feel better.

It would take way more than talk to fix this, if it can be fixed at all. Tell her, point blank, "What you did was selfish and nasty. I'm extremely hurt and pissed. As things stand, I don't think I can be friends with you anymore." Then it's up to her to make amends, or leave you be.

Ask yourself: Would you ever treat a friend the way you've been treated? If the answer is "no", then it's time for you to find better friends.

2. What to do about your hurt feelings

Your feelings are completely natural, and fortunatley they will fade over time, especially with distance from your cousin. It may not seem like it at the moment, but seeing her true nature now is a gift. Think of all the time and effort you won't be wasting on that selfish jerk, and instead will be investing in better relationships.

For what it's worth, the same thing happened to me in college with a group of my friends from high school: Six guys, a house with room for only four, another friend and I got the shaft. It was enormously stressful, and I almost didn't have a place to live for my sophmore year of college. That was the end of my friendship with those jerks. I don't know what happened to them afterwards, and who cares? I met a bunch of new friends in my new dorm (with whom I'm still close, years later), one of whom would go on to become Mrs. Gamblor. Those guys screwing me over was the best thing that ever happened to me.
posted by Gamblor at 8:15 AM on April 4, 2007

Mary royally screwed you over without any consideration of your feelings or your welfare. Now, you're don't feel like lending her clothing or jewelry. You don't feel like setting her up with guys. You get annoyed about small things about her musical tastes that you once tolerated. You feel like ignoring her when she asks you for material things.

Hon, welcome to the human race. When someone screws you over badly, you don't exactly feel warmly towards them.

My advice may seem counterintuitive, but don't suppress the feelings you're experiencing. Don't treat them as some evil you must purge from your being. That'll just keep them around longer.

Instead, live it. You're pissed! You've got every right to be! Experience the feeling fully and it will eventually work its way out of your system. Suppress it and it'll stick around.
posted by WCityMike at 8:19 AM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

You need to talk about this with her. Have compassion on her. Because you *can*, because that's what friends are for. There are difficult decisions in life where you'll have to hurt someone you love (other posters have sketched, I think, a good picture of the financial considerations at play here. Money, unfortunately, is a *big* deal if you don't have much/enough). There are better and worse ways to do this, and she did it in a worse way, but hopefully she'll learn from it. Really, if you haven't been in such a situation, you're lucky. If you have been and managed to deal with it with minimum hurt, you should be really proud of yourself and exercise the same compassion for others that you did then.

I have a cousin I'm very close to. We had some tough times. But our friendship/love, it's one of the most precious things in my life. Do what you need to do to deal with this. Get your feelings as straight as you can, be honest with her, don't play games that you'll feel bad about and which will probably make you more mean to her because you'll be feeling bad about yourself.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:45 AM on April 4, 2007

Your cousin screwed with one of the fundamental things that you require for your wellbeing and continued happiness: your home. Your feelings of intense betrayal and anger are perfectly justified considering your close relationship with her and the nature of what she did.

I think it’s apparent that you and your cousin have different standards of friendship. This does not mean she is a bad person – just different. Knowing that the way you relate to your friends is fundamentally different from hers’, you should re-evaluate how you view her and your relationship. She doesn’t seem to be someone who can reciprocate the level of intimacy and trust you are capable of. I think you need to let her know that you are pissed off, maybe without unleashing all of the fiery emotions you have. Tell her that you feel that she betrayed you and that everything’s not okay. Then retreat. Don’t talk to her as much as you were, don’t lend her stuff or do things for her because you will feel that you are being taken advantage of. Let her come to you to make amends – whether she does or doesn’t will reveal a great deal of how she views and respects your friendship.

Also, I think in the long run she did you a favour. She doesn’t sound like a good room mate for you. You are obviously more sensitive and considerate than her. If you lived with her for a year, I’m guessing your friendship would deteriorate slowly and be eventually irreconcilable, whereas now you can still have some kind of friendship with her.
posted by sid at 8:46 AM on April 4, 2007

I don't exactly have an answer, but a story that happened to me:

growing up in Baltimore, Led Zeppelin were pretty much our gods. When Jimmy Page and Robert Plant reunited in 1995, we were excited to say the least. Of course we rushed out and got tickets to both nights they were playing in the D.C. suburbs.

The first night, I went with "D," a notoriously unreliable friend. The second night, "D" and I were supposed to go again with "M," my best friend since 3rd grade. (I was a sophomore in college by this point). "D's" on-and-off girlfriend had wanted to go, but he failed to get her a ticket.

I sat on the porch waiting for "D" to pick me up. I waited and waited. I called "M's" house and his mom told me they left a while ago. I paged "D" with "911" repeatedly - nothing. To this day I don't know if "M" was on in the plan to take "D"'s girlfriend instead of me, or if he just sat passively by while it happened.

If he had apologized, our friendship might have survived. Instead, when we talked a few days later, he tried to twist it around and somehow make it my fault. Missing the concert wasn't a tragedy, especially since I saw them the previous night. But the fact that "M" was involved changed the way I thought about everything. I actually ended up spending more time with "D" after this- he had been pulling this kind of crap continuously over the decade I had known him, so it was no big deal to forgive him one more time. I stayed "friends" with "M" too, but it was just going through the motions. Sometimes relationships can't survive the high standards we set for them.

A year after I finished college, I moved away to L.A. It was by far the best decision I've ever made in my life. I don't know if I would have done it if the concert incident hadn't happened. The phrase "blessing in disguise" is trite, but sometimes true.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:02 AM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

to give a more concrete answer, the concept of "settling" is not just for romantic relationships. You need to decide if you want a friend who acts like this, by weighing it against her good qualities, and your own desire for companionship. You need to honestly decide if you can live with this, or if it's better to end it.

Having high standards is a great thing, but it can leave you lonely at times. But that's not always a bad thing, which is kind of what I was trying to say with the story above.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:13 AM on April 4, 2007

katyggls is absolutely right about forgiveness, but I think some of the other commenters are also getting at a point you don't mention - are you sure you want to continue this friendship? If you do (and I won't argue for either side - you know your relationship better than any of us could), then the slow, deliberate choise of forgiveness is the way to go. There's nothing wrong with you for still being angry - she screwed you over and you're a human being with feelings. You're allowed to still feel hurt. But you can also choose to value the friendship more, and slowly work on forgiving her one day at a time. Or maybe this was a wake-up call - maybe the way she screwed you over is symptomatic of a much larger rift between you where you fundamentally disagree about what your friendship is/should be. If that's the case, then start moving on now before you drift back into passively accepting the status quo. Only you know which is the truth here.
posted by marginaliana at 10:18 AM on April 4, 2007

You don't have to make a decision about this overnight, and you don't have to be the same friends you were before. I have had friends I really trusted and felt do weird and unfriendly things. I was mad for awhile, told them, avoided them, and got over it to the extent that I would still call them my "friend" today- but I don't trust them in the same way and I don't allow myself to get involved in a situation with them where that lack of trust is an issue. What's especially galling is that she was thoughtless about the housing deal, and now she's asking you for favors as if nothing happened. I think in your situation I would say something like: "I had made significant life plans involving you, and you let me down. I know you apologized, but I'm still angry, and at the moment I don't feel like doing you any special favors. Maybe that will change when I've got over my annoyance."
posted by oneirodynia at 11:10 AM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

"and felt" ? ignore that bit.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:11 AM on April 4, 2007

I hope that you don't let people here convince you that your cousin is an all-around terrible person for doing this and that you should end the friendship. I was in a somewhat similar situation in college; the girl I had been roommates with for a couple of years decided during the summer that she would rather live in a single room than in the shared room we had gotten together, and left me to live with some random freshman. I was really really pissed, and certainly let her know so.
Fast forward many years. I got over it and we are still friends, and it is a friendship that I cherish very deeply. Was it a dick move on her part? Yeah, but looking back I probably pressured her into agreeing to live together in the first place and being a couple of 20-year-olds, neither of us was particularly great at communicating and we honstly didn't make great roommates. I am sure I have committed similarly dickish sins against her in my day, which she has managed to find the grace to forgive me for.
Please do give yourself time to get over this, but don't let it grow into a major grudge that you can never forgive. She sounds like she has been like a sister to you, and that is worth holding on to.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:07 PM on April 4, 2007

I'm trying to see the big deal, here. You spent almost all your time together when you lived apart. Sounds like you have plenty of money to find whatever living arrangements suit you. If you live alone, you can still spend time with your cousin whenever you want, without feeling the pressure of having to "step down" or her feeling the pressure to rise to meet your income level.

I understand that you probably want to live with people whose vibe you can appreciate, but living on your own has advantages, too. Plus, you're all going to stay in the small college town, right? So, it's small - you can still spend all your time together at one place or another, you just won't be sleeping in the same place and sharing utensils.

I'm not saying your feelings are unreasonable - finding a place to live and wanting to be with someone can feel like a big deal. But the above is what I thought when I read your post, and your cousin might have been thinking things along the same lines. I don't think her intent was to betray you. She probably knew you wouldn't like her decision and try to talk you out of it, and wasn't confident that she could get you to see things her way, so just signed the lease to be done with things. Not the best decision, but also, as I see it, not a huge betrayal either.
posted by lorrer at 6:05 PM on April 4, 2007

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