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How would you handle this situation with a long time platonic friend?

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  • #372130
    Timepassages2070
    Participant

    This is very interesting take on this so I have to ask a couple of questions of you?

    Do you think she is indeed engaging, or was engaging in, sexual affairs with other men? And, if so, why? Because if this were the case it would truly flip things on their head as to how I view my friend and how she presents herself.

    You have to understand that, according to her, her husband cheated on her a couple of times which is what lead to where they currently are. And when she talked about being involved with others again it seemed pretty clear she meant in any way shape or form. She seemed pretty adamant on not being involved in any type of relationship until her marriage is officially over. And I know it’s fairly common for people to be in marriages for years that our loveless without getting involved with others people.

    The only way she could have been engaging in sexual relationships would have to be totally on the down low. I was talking to her several times per week, her husband works from home, she is starting a new business and she seems to spend most of her additional time with her kids.  On top on that, as I mentioned, her and her husband hold themselves out as a normally married couple.  Basically she would need to be living what amounts to a double life.

    Also, why would our friendship have caused her “stress”?  Up until she started to distance everything was going great – in fact things were even on a “high note.” She clearly had been enjoying what she was getting from me and I hadn’t changed my behavior so nothing I was doing was causing stress in fact I think he viewed  our friendship as a safe space.

    And she didn’t actually “end” our friendship. She, made a point of saying she wanted to take “break” because she didn’t want to walk away from a friendship that was so important to her And, in her last email she said she never wanted our friendship to change and to go back to being casual and relaxed friends. So it seems to me that on the one hand she doesn’t want to walk on our  friendship permanently but she  wants to keep distance – if that makes sense

    Here’s one last “crazy” thought I have. Is it possible that my friend actually does  have feelings for me and because she thinks there is a potential for something down the road she doesn’t want to take a risk of sabotaging that by allowing things to go further with us or giving me a “front row seat” to her dating?

    I know in my bones that there was a very strong connection happening between us – one I haven’t felt in years. I don’t believe this was all manufactured on my end. So I could see how this would make her very uncomfortable.  Because, honestly, the quickest way for her to let me know she had no feelings for me would be to tell me she is dating.

    Also, I have this feeling that if I start directly engaging with her again as a regular friend –   maybe stop emailing her and just start texting and calling again like nothing happened I might start getting responses from her. For some reason I just feel like she just wants to  not openly acknowledge anything. And now I just had another “click” as I write this.

    In the email in which she asked for her “break” she did acknowledge how close we had gotten but she didn’t want to think about that right now. She even said that she couldn’t have things become “weird” between us no but maybe later. I  found these odd things to say at the time but this back and forth with you Anita is starting to bring some clarity.

     

    #372136
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Timepassages2070:

    I am not very focused currently, so I may not answer all the questions you brought up or otherwise attend to all that you brought up in your recent post.

    1. “Do you think she is indeed engaging, or was engaging in, sexual affairs with other men? And, if so, why?”-

    – I thought that maybe she has engaged in sexual affairs because (1)  you wrote that she told you that “she could never imagine dating, or trusting, anyone again but she is a human being and human beings have needs“- unless she talked to you about emotional/ non-sexual needs before or after this sentence, then it.. sounds like she was talking about sexual needs, given that she does not have sex with her husband, (2) she indicated to you that “she had almost crossed a line with another male friend”- depending on her “line”, this means that she was in a somewhat sexual situation with a man that could have gone farther, (3) “another male friend who was trying to meet up with her when he was in town and she mentioned that he had become annoying and was sending her emails, and even songs, expressing his feelings for her”- could be part of the story, not the whole story. The whole story may be- I am bringing up possibilities here, not certainties- that she was sexual with this man from time to time, and that’s why he kept pursuing her, sending her songs.. and could be that she was annoyed with him when he wanted to have sex with her on a particular day when she didn’t feel like it, or was busy, (4) if she is indeed “excruciatingly beautiful” not only in your eyes, but in others’, well…

    2. “Also, why would our friendship have caused her ‘stress’?”- the email you sent her, the one you labeled a “freak out” email, caused her stress. After that email, she sent you her last email where she wrote about going “back to being casual, and relaxed friends again”- she wrote “relaxed friends”, so I thought that she viewed you at that point as a not-relaxed/ stressful friend.

    “I know in my bones that there was a very strong connection happening between us”, you wrote. Where do you think that strong connection was leading to, where did you want it to take the two of you?

    * I will be away from the computer for awhile.

    anita

    #372155
    Timepassages2070
    Participant

    Thanks for your kindness in helping me with this issue. I have to tell you it has been really been playing on my mind for months. I also wanted to address some comments you made previously about my needs to be special or be number 1 with her.

    I can tell you that what has taken place here definitely did drag up some childhood abandonment issues I experienced with my father but those really have not come up in many years. I reconciled with my father over twenty years ago and we had a pretty solid relationship until he passed over a decade ago. In terms of my relationship with my mother – well that has always been extremely solid and I think it’s one of the reasons I have had a pretty easy time connecting with women as friends since I have been older.  Women just tend to trust me and feel pretty safe around me so I am sure that’s what she probably felt as well. Most of my really super close friends are men, however,  but these were friendships I formed back in my college and graduate school days.

    Also, I have never really had any blatant abandonment issues in romantic relationships or friendships since probably Middle School. I only bring this up to point out the fact that I believe this situation with my friend really triggered some long dormant issues. I also have to say that my issue was never to be thought of as important or special to her but to just be treated as the good friend I believed  I had started to become to her.  I didn’t believe this because I had imagined it or just wished for it and, in fact, it took me a while to catch on that this is what she wanted.

    I only picked up on this because normally when we used to text back and forth one of us would just stop texting and it was no big deal. I did this one time, she called me the next day and actually asked if we were still friends. She actually thought because she made a joke that I might have found offensive (which I didn’t by the way) that I would actually end our friendship just randomly after twenty years. She actually would get extremely insecure if I didn’t respond to a text, or voicemail, fast enough. In addition to going on Social Media and making comments indicating she wanted me to reach out so blatant that my wife would ask about it there was one specific occasion where I had been taking some distance and she literally called me multiple days in row and flat out said she would keep calling until she got me on the phone.

    So by all of this I assumed, and I think rightly so, that we had reached a certain level of friendship. I certainly get that friendships “ebb & flow”  but an “ebb” isn’t someone completely trying redefine a friendship over a period of a couple of weeks and even pretend that they hadn’t gotten as close as they had. I think a situation like this would, at a minimum, trigger a whole lot of questions in even the most secure person on the planet. Most people I believe would ask what was going on and if they got an answer that just didn’t make sense, or add up, given the context of the friendship they would most likely push for more answers.

    In terms of the friend she was annoyed with I should clarify. This friend is someone I believe she has known since childhood and he was trying to connect with her for coffee (as I used to connect with her). It’s possible this may have been the friend she almost crossed the line with but, and not to be superficial, I just don’t see her being all that attracted to this guy in that way. But he comes from an extremely wealthy, and influential family, in a particular business. I do know she did eventually meet with him, and another male friend, to pitch him a business idea which he wasn’t interested in pursuing. But my point in bringing him up is that I think it’s possible she may have given him some indication that there was at least a possibility there or told him about her situation with her husband.

    As to why I was initially doubting she had any type of sexual relationship going on with anyone is because she made some statements regarding how she still viewed herself as being married and even was pretty judgmental about some guy trying to cross a line with one her married friends. I don’t want to say my friend is uptight but I will say that, at a minimum, she really wants to project a certain image. A couple of other facts I should add in are that she is extremely introverted and can get pretty obsessive when it comes to her business and can lose track of time.

    I do think it’s possible that she perhaps had started dating, or decided to take another friendship to a different level when I felt her distance, and that’s what I actually thought might be going on. In terms of her wanting our friendship to go back to being relaxed and casual. Keep in mind that my “freak out” email only happened as a result of the way she responded when I just casually said I noticed her distancing.

    It wasn’t that she didn’t respond any specific way it was that her email seemed to be her trying to redefine our friendship but doing it under the “guise”  of saying she needed space from everyone and expressing all of this annoyance with chasing down friends and text messages not being returned. The two things that triggered me in that email were her comment about how their was a particular person she could write a paragraph about and when she wrapped up the email basically making it seem as if when we would  connect again was up to fate or something. I took that comment about a particular person to mean someone she was possibly dating but I see now that she may been referring to a girlfriend.  But I do think this was more about putting some distance in our friendship than any other friendships she has.

    In terms of where that connection was leading to, or where I wanted it to lead to I honestly don’t know that I wanted it to lead anywhere at the time I just knew I really like getting this close to someone again. I kind of was hoping for things to stay status quo but I guess, if I am being honest, I could see that had things kept progressing, and we got in this pattern of spending more and more time together it could eventually go to a place that would not have been good.  And now again, I am having another click here.

    Right before the distancing kicked in we had not only been talking a lot more but had seen each other a couple of times over a period of a few weeks which is something we normally didn’t do. Had we done that yoga session we would have seen each other on a weekly basis. The last time we got together I did ask to connect the following week and I think had we done that we may have been getting into a realm of what might be akin to dating. Perhaps she was just trying to take a bit of distance at that time and nothing more and I read a whole bunch of things into this that I perhaps didn’t need to.

    #372168
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Timepassages2070:

    You are welcome. Here is a thought before I attend to your recent post: for me to understand her, the platonic friend we are discussing (let’s call her B, to make it simple), I have to separate your accounts of what she said and did from your interpretations of what she said and did. You offered many interpretations, but they are heavily colored by what you need her words and behaviors to mean. Your interpretations of her words and behaviors indicate way more who you are, than who she is.

    To understand her, I have to look at her words and behaviors without your interpretations; to have as close a view of her to a first-person view as possible, as if I was directly observing and listening to her.

    And now, I will start with responding to your most recent post part by part (responding to one sentence or paragraph before reading the next), and take it from there, developing my thoughts as I go along, taking my time. It will probably be a long post:

    You mentioned that you experienced “some childhood abandonment issues” with your father, that you reconciled with your father over 20 years ago, as an adult, and had “a pretty solid relationship” with him following the reconciliation, until his passing over a decade ago. In regard to your mother, you wrote that with her, the relationship “has always been extremely solid”.

    This means to me, that as a child, you experienced a solid relationship with your mother and a broken relationship with your father. In comparison to your relationship with your father, your closeness with your mother felt extreme.

    You wrote about your relationship with your mother that it “has always been extremely solid and I think it’s one of the reasons I have had a pretty easy time connecting with women as friends since I have been older. Women just tend to trust me and feel pretty safe around me”-

    – when you were a child, I imagine that it was not only you who had a broken (opposite of solid) relationship with your father, but that your mother too experienced some brokenness in her relationship with your father. And within your familial dynamics, you were your mother’s best friend/ her solid place/ her empathetic audience and comforter. I imagine that you derived your sense of value from being that for your mother. Fast forward, as an adult, you are this same thing for some other women: a solid place, an empathetic audience, a comforter. You have an early life practice of being that for a woman, and you derive a sense of value from being that.

    I continue to read what is next: “I believe this situation with my friend really triggered some long dormant issues… my issue was .. to just be treated as the good friend I believed I had started to become to her”- this is making me wonder about how you were treated by your mother, how she reciprocated your investment in her/ special attention to her.

    You continued to share how B needed you, how she was afraid to lose you after she made a joke that she feared offended you, how she got extremely insecure when you didn’t respond fast enough to a text or voicemail that she sent you, calling you “multiple days in row and flat out said she would keep calling until she got me on the phone”-

    – you shared this before, and it seems to be very important to you that she needed you so much, desperately: it is something you needed for too long, as a child, to be needed this way. I am thinking that your mother did not adequately reciprocate your great attention and investment in her. Maybe at times, after you felt so sure and certain that your mother truly needed you and felt so close to you- you were amazed and devastated when you noticed behaviors on her part that indicated that… she didn’t need you that much, or that she didn’t feel that close to you, after all.

    Continued: “I certainly get that friendships ‘ebb & flow’ but an ‘ebb’ isn’t someone completely.. pretend(ing) that they hadn’t gotten as close as they had”- this is a sore spot for you, a deep, aching element from long ago- for your felt-closeness with another person to be denied, by that person. This brings me back to your felt-closeness with your mother (the flow) being denied by her (the ebbs) in some ways.

    But as a child, with a broken relationship with your father, you had to believe that your relationship with your mother was extremely solid, otherwise, you would be standing on shaky grounds- no safety. Fast forward, as a man, you are still invested in believing what feels safer to believe: that B felt very close to you and that your relationship with her was (at least at the time) extremely solid.

    Continued, you wrote about B: “she is extremely introverted and can get pretty obsessive when it comes to her business and can lose track of time”- this fits with her getting obsessive about you not responding to her messages and voicemails fast enough; waiting for your responses, she lost track of time, feeling that an hour was a day, let’s say, and she obsessed: when will he respond, why hasn’t he responded, maybe he was offended by the joke I made, etc.

    You interpreted her need for you to respond to her quickly as her feeling very close to you, while it may have been evidence of her “pretty obsessive” personality. It is possible that her obsessing about your replies to her messages was not an indication of her emotional intimacy with you any more than her obsessing about her business was an indication of her emotional intimacy with her business.

    “her email seemed to be her trying to redefine our relationship but doing it under the ‘guise’ of saying she needed space from everyone”- I am getting the feel, more and more,  that your relationship with your mother, past and present, needs to be explored. (Not that I expect you to do that, here or elsewhere).

    Continued: “In terms of where that connection was leading to, or where I wanted it to lead to, I honestly don’t know that I wanted it to lead anywhere at the time. I just knew I really liked getting this close to someone again”- feels to me that your relationship with B is about your sub-conscious efforts to resolve your troubled relationship with your mother.

    I say “troubled” relationship even though you shared nothing to indicate that you believe that your relationship with your mother is anything but “extremely solid”, because the trouble part of the relationship has sunk, I believe, at this point-  below your awareness. That repressed trouble has been activated in the context of the relationship with B, and the aftermath of that relationship.

    “Perhaps she was just trying to take a bit of distance at that time and nothing more and I read a whole bunch of things into this that I perhaps didn’t need to”- seems to me that the extra things you read into the relationship with B are writings that we made in the context of your relationship with your mother, and that you wouldn’t need to read these extra things if you uncovered and addressed your relationship with your mother.

    anita

    #372183
    Timepassages2070
    Participant

    These are certainly some complicated things to think about that I really never considered – in particular my relationship to my mother.

    What I would say about this, however, is that my mother was, and is, someone I could generally always count on to be there for me and to a certain extent I would say  the expectations I have had of women in my life have been pretty high because of her. I am not disagreeing that there aren’t some issues to be explored there but I don’t really feel insecure about that relationship. However, I would think a possibility here is that the high expectations  I have of women in my life combined with my abandonment/rejection issues with my father could be coming into play with my friend.

    I also do have to say that while I am the one who has to take ownership of my feelings here my friends actions/inactions in how she handled our friendship definitely did play a significant role in where we currently are.  In her last email she made the comment  that she didn’t want our friendship to be “muddy” but I think some “muddiness” was created on her end because her emotional needs were definitely not being met by her husband. And at times I wasn’t quite clear what “compartment” she had me in and it felt like she might have even been confused as to her expectations of me. This isn’t to say I didn’t misinterpret things, I am quite certain I did, but I have had lots of female friends and the boundaries were very obvious.

    But when I do clear away all of this stuff,  her and I did have a really good, and nice, friendship. To me it really felt like a warm, old, familiar blanket (as cheesy as that sounds) and I would love to get back to that with her. Like I said, I don’t believe my  journey with her is over but I have a tendency to want things resolved and not left hanging but maybe this is why I need to let go of this for a while.

    I think, as I mentioned before, the best thing will be for me to just reach out to her like I used to when we were normal friends and take it from there. But I think I do need to be in a better place emotionally and this anger has to be gone of she will know. I also think part of the reason she is hesitant to engage on her end more than just occasionally on Social Media is because she is probably worried about my wife so it probably is a little bit more on me to make an effort.

    Anyway, thanks so much for your help Anita because this has been truly a weight off of my chest that I have been carrying for quite sometime.

     

    #372188
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Timepassages2070:

    You are very welcome. It makes sense that B is worried about your wife. You never mentioned your wife except in the context of how she affects your relationship with B. It is as if your wife is not part of your life.

    About your mother, you wrote: “I could generally always count on to be there for me and to a certain extent I would say the expectations I have had of women in my life have been pretty high because of her”-

    – you wrote that you could generally count on your mother to be there for you, suggesting that there were a few times perhaps that you weren’t able to count on her, (I am okay if you choose to not answer the following): can you give me a few memorable examples of those rare times when your mother was not there for you?

    anita

    #372190
    Timepassages2070
    Participant

    As to my mother I wouldn’t say she let me down but my childhood was a bit unstable for probably the first 12 years because of her poor selection in men and because she had an extremely dysfunctional relationship with her own mother (think the Joan Crawford portrayal in Mommie Dearest).  We moved quite a bit and the men she got involved with didn’t treat her the best. Not what I would call physical abuse but men who were just very emotionally unavailable “bad boys.” Not sure if this helps. As to my wife, that  situation  has been pretty tough for years.

    When I first reached out to B to offer her some extra support with some stuff she was going  through at the time my wife and I were not talking at all.  So when B almost immediately started texting, and calling me,  and expressing a real interest in me it felt really good to have someone  who seemed to care about me and see me.  And when I told B about my situation with my wife  I think B felt it was kind of “open season” when it came to reaching out to me and contacting me.

    But the truth was I was not in the same situation B was with her husband. They were already not sharing a bedroom and were essentially just in this mode of co-parenting their kids and trying not to argue. I wasn’t there with my wife, and I am still not, and at times I had to back off on my friendship with B because my wife was really starting to have a major problem with our friendship. It got to a point where my wife pretty much hated B and viewed her as existential threat to our marriage.

    Initially my wife had requested B and I not see each other as much alone than it went to not wanting us to text, or talk on the phone, and it finally got to a point where my wife literally didn’t want me even liking anything B posted on social media. She flat out told me she would like B to disappear completely. But from my angle I have given up a lot of things to accommodate my wife over the years and while I was okay with reducing my friendship down with B I didn’t feel it was fair of my wife to expect me to completely ex-communicate B from my life.  But I am sure that B picked up on all this and I am also sure I came off at times as being a bit unavailable or aloof.

    I think I mentioned this but one of the last things that happened before things went “South” was that B made a flirtatious comment on one of my Facebook posts, which I could in no way respond to, and she deleted it the next day.  I know she made that post to get my attention and I know she got rid of it because she knew it would probably tick my wife off – which it did. But truthfully, when B came into the picture I was literally at a place where I was considering whether I was going to move forward with my marriage. I think her presence probably complicated things a bit and made it hard for me to really work through what I wanted at that time.  And obviously going on lock down with Coronavirus further changed things up quite a bit.

    #372193
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Timepassages2070:

    I read your recent post and I believe that it is very valuable for my better understanding of you and your situation, particularly the first paragraph. Tomorrow morning I will re-read your previous posts, integrating the new information into the old, and reply further in about 14 hours from now.

    anita

    #372225
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Timepassages2070:

    This is what you shared in regard to your relationship with your mother in childhood and how it affected you in adulthood:

    Jan 3: “In terms of my relationship with my mother- well that has always been extremely solid and I think it’s one of the reasons I have had a pretty easy time connecting with women as friends since I have been older. Women just tend to trust me and feel pretty safe around me”.

    Jan 4: “my mother was, and is, someone I could generally always count on to be there for me and to a certain extent I would say the expectations I have had of women in my life have been pretty high because of her. I am not disagreeing that there aren’t any issues to be explored there but I don’t really feel insecure about that relationship. However, I would think a possibility here is that the high expectations I have of women in my life… could be coming into play with my friend”.

    Jan 4: “As to my mother I wouldn’t say she let me down but my childhood was a bit unstable for probably the first 12 years because of her poor selection in men and because she had an extremely dysfunctional relationship with her own mother (think the Joan Crawford portrayal in Mommie Dearest). We moved quite a bit and the men she got involved with didn’t treat her the best. Not what I would call physical abuse but men who were just very emotionally unavailable ‘bad boys'”.

    My comments: you suggested that your mother’s relationship with her own mother was similar to that between Christina Crawford and her mother Joan Crawford. According to the memoir Mommie Dearest, Joan terribly abused her adopted daughter Christina, and Joan had a long list of affairs with men, who Christina was required to call “Uncle” and on some occasions “Daddy”.

    Your own mother, similar to her mother, and to Joan Crawford, had a long-enough list of relationships with men during your first twelve years of your life, “men who were just emotionally unavailable ‘bad boys'”.

    While unavailable bad boys were entering and exiting your life, you experienced an “extremely solid” relationship with your mother, a relationship so superior in quality, that it led you to have unrealistic, high expectations from women in your adult life.

    I am looking at the title of your thread: “How would you handle this situation with a long time platonic friend?”- I think that throughout the years of boyfriends entering and exiting your mother’s body and life- you were the one and only platonic male friend in her life.  You were her one and only constant boy/man platonic friend, and this is what you are referring to as an “extremely solid” relationship.

    I imagine that she shared with you personal, age-inappropriate details about her relationship with her mother, and that she shared with you personal, intimate, inappropriate details about her relationships with men- and you listened attentively, feeling valued on one hand (for she has chosen to tell you such intimate details), and a disgust/ anger on the other hand (no  boy wants to  hear about his mother’s intimate relationships with men).

    I imagine that after one bad-boy boyfriend left your lives, you felt a relief, and when another entered your lives, you were distressed, and more committed to being the best platonic friend your mother could  ever have. You had to maintain your place in her life: her one and only platonic friend.

    You wrote regarding B, another platonic friend, one you met as an adult: “I was one of the first people she chose to tell about divorcing her husband.. she flat out told me I was one of the only male friends she had told about her situation… letting me know how close she had come to consider me… she had flat out told me I was one of the top people on her ‘list’… and multiple times she said she never had a friend like me”-

    – this is how you felt being your mother’s platonic friend:  special because she chose you to share the intimate details of her life, because she considered you her only friend.

    About B: “She had also made it pretty clear to me that getting close to people, and opening up, was something she really struggled with… she literally called me afterwards to tell me how much she appreciated me”-

    – during the first 12 years of your life, you had to keep a competitive advantage over the men who entered (and exited) your mother’s life. You needed to make it so that your mother appreciates you more than she appreciated the other men.

    anita

    #372226
    Timepassages2070
    Participant

    Thanks again Anita and I think this will be last post to wrap this up.

    First, let me just say you have provided some valuable insight that I hadn’t considered in this situation which has helped me to rethink how to handle this  moving forward. I honestly believe now that this was just a “perfect storm” of some long dormant issues coming into contact with a friend who is in a very emotionally topsy-turvy place herself but also has what I would categorize as a someone with a strong “avoidant” personality style.

    I clearly still have some attachment issues I thought I had resolved, and maybe I had to a certain extent, but I think what triggered me here with B is that while I was viewing us as bonding, and actually becoming closer friends, to her I was more of a temporary “Emotional Placeholder”. I believe either someone came along that she viewed as more of a “permanent” solution until she finally separates from her husband or she just decided she didn’t need the same level of support because of her business taking off  and/or she was starting lean more on other friends, which was probably the right thing to do.

    But she could have handled it a lot better and been more upfront with me about what was going on with her.  If she needed to back down our friendship she just needed to tell me and I would have respected that. Anyway, I have no doubt we will return to some state of normalcy in our friendship in the near future.

    As to my mother, she never ever told me inappropriate details about any of her relationships with men, and she did have a few longer term relationships, but most of these men were just not solid guys and never treated her well. I was certainly the most consistent presence in her life and I think I made up a significant chunk of her world as well. It took her quite a few years to figure out she deserved to be treated better by the people in her life, including my grandmother, and she became an expert at setting boundaries with people something she spent a lot to time discussing with me. But I know part of the reason I ended up where I am with my wife, and even B, is because I am not very good at setting boundaries in certain situations.

    Anyway, thanks again for your help Anita and I may report back in here a few months down the road to let you know how things played out on all fronts. I really feel like there are some big changes coming this year in my relationships and other areas as well. I am sure lots of people feel this way because Coronavirus has really  put so many things on hold for many of us.

    #372228
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Timepassages2070:

    You are welcome. I hope the Coronavirus situation gets resolved by the end of this year, and I wish you and all who may be reading this post a better year ahead, healing from past injuries and healthier relationships with all. You are welcome to report back here anytime you would like.

    anita

    #372553
    Timepassages2070
    Participant

    Hey Anita,

    I just wanted to report back here because you were kind enough to help out and I am guessing folks don’t always let you know how situations play out.  Anyway, much to my surprise, I did actually hear from my friend.

    After the last time I had emailed her, about a week before Christmas, I had been checking every couple of days for a response and after not receiving one I just assumed it might be awhile. As it turns out,  she  had responded even during the time we were going back and forth here.

    In a nutshell,  her response was that she appreciated the effort I was putting in to maintaining the friendship and she said that for the past several months almost all of her focus has been on her kids and her new business. She said she has not really been communicating with anyone and that even her best friend had asked what the heck was going on with her. An interesting thing she pointed out was that a business associate had told her she was making a mistake staying in her marriage  because she could die tomorrow but her response was that this was precisely why she was staying – so she wouldn’t miss the time with her kids. The rest of the email was just the normal banter we used to always engage in before.  I did respond to her and I think I will give her a call maybe in the next couple of weeks  to hopefully take things out of the email world.  With all of this said, however, I still think there is a missing “piece” here and it relates specifically to our friendship.

    What really reminded me of this was about a day after I responded to her, a Facebook Memory from a year ago popped where I had done a post regarding Friendship and how those change sometimes and you have to move on. Her comment on that post was something to the effect of “I haven’t heard from you recently – should I be worried?” “Recently” probably meant I hadn’t called, or texted, her in three days at most. So clearly something pretty significant changed with her which made her go from worrying something was wrong with our friendship after not talking for a few days to her being okay not talking to me for five months.

    Anyway, I am sure at some point I will have some answers but I am not going to push for those right now.

    #372556
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Timepassages2070:

    I will be able to read your recent post when I am back to the computer in about 7 hours from now, or in about 17 hours from now.

    anita

    #372590
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Timepassages2070:

    I am glad to read from you again. Your recent post is about a missing piece. It is as if you have a jigsaw puzzle that you have put together and missing one piece, you can’t stop looking for it, thinking what it might be.

    The missing piece of the jigsaw picture is in between two piece: the piece to the left is her contacting you after a few days of you not calling/ texting you, and the piece to the right is her being okay with not talking to you for five months. Between these two pieces is the missing piece: something pretty significant that happened in her mind/heart/ life.

    “I still think there is a missing ‘piece’ here… clearly something pretty significant changed with her.. I am sure at some point I will have some answers”-

    – she offered you a possible missing piece for the puzzle when she told you that “for the past several months almost all  of her focus has been on her kids and her new business. She said she has not really been communicating with anyone”, but you don’t believe that what she offered you is the missing piece.

    The missing piece you are looking for/ obsessed with is one that indicates, or provides evidence that to her, you are not a temporary emotional placeholder, but instead- a permanent emotional bond: “I think what triggered me here with B is that while I was viewing us as bonding.. to her I was more of a temporary ‘Emotional Placeholder'” (Jan 5).

    anita

    #372632
    Timepassages2070
    Participant

    Hey Anita,

    Thanks again for your response so I just have to ask you a couple of follow-up questions.

    First, I assume you think it would be a bad idea to press her for more information, correct?

    Secondly, I understand I am responsible for my own feelings but after all I have shared with you don’t you of think there is a missing “piece” on her end? Here’s the thing, the reason  that Facebook Memory popping up was a bit triggering for me because it reminded me, once again, not only  how significantly things have changed between us but how close we had gotten to each other.

    That Facebook comment was just one of many like those from her and, in fact, she was even making comments like this on Facebook up until things started to change. And again, which I think I mentioned before, this was a friend who literally was so paranoid about me leaving the friendship at one point she had called me after a text to make sure this wasn’t the case. So to go from this to seemingly being unconcerned about me ending our friendship after not reaching out to me for five months is unusual to put it mildly And, yes, I am sure this is partly related to her kids and her business but, quite frankly, I think this is all just her way of not addressing the missing “piece”.

    You have to understand she is not a single mother raising two toddlers by herself  she is a mom with a two teenagers, who  has a part-time business with a husband who works from home.  Her kids were never an issue before and, in fact, up until just a few weeks before the turn around started,  she had  wanted me to meet her at the beach with her youngest a couple of times.  And, as to her business, she can certainly get busy but it’s really  up and down and I was one of the main champions of her business. On “paper” nothing really changed at all which should have caused any shift in our friendship. And what is really weird is she even told me she didn’t want anything  to change but clearly this was not a true statement on her part.

    What I truly believe is that one of three things happened – she started seeing someone, she felt we were getting too close and needed to back down the friendship, or a combination of the two. I don’t think she wanted to end our friendship then, or even now, but what I do think is that because of whatever she has going on she  wants to keep our friendship in a bit of a “holding pattern”. If she is seeing someone the reason she hasn’t told me could be because she is worried it might cause me to walk on the friendship because I will be hurt or it could even be that she would feel  I would judge her.

    I am not sure I am going to reach out on this and, if I did, I would probably draft 100 different emails before I sent anything but don’t you believe there is something else here that she has chosen not to disclose?

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