erin

Erin and I became friends when I trained her at a job that I was leaving.  She was a few years younger than me, but she and I seemed to connect on a deeper level than I did with other friends of the time.  I was just starting to officially date my hubby.  Hubby was living with one of his college friends in a bachelor pad on the lake.  One day I was staying with my hubby and his roommate needed some computer help, so I offered to take a look.  I found a copy of a chat between Erin and hubby’s roommate.  They had been having a secret relationship even though she was dating someone else.  Erin and I were close enough that I invited her out to coffee and told her that I had seen a copy of the chat and knew about their relationship.  She didn’t lie about the fact that they had a sexual relationship, but assured me that it had ended.  She was appalled that I had found a copy of the chat.  I got her a copy of the chat as well so she knew what it was in the event that he ever tried to use it against her.  She and I bonded over the fact that I knew her secret.  She became my best friend.  We were together often. Talked on the phone, hung out together, texted, everything.

Erin got engaged to someone she had met in high school.  He was a great guy and treated her like a queen.  Everything she wanted, he provided to her.  I liked her fiance and considered him a close friend as well.  Erin asked me to travel to Florida with them and stand up as the maid of honor in her wedding.  I was ecstatic.  How amazing that I had a friend who was so close that I could be there for her on her biggest day of her life.  

A few months of us shopping for her wedding dress and talking about heading to Florida for her perfect day along the beach.  One day as we were drinking coffee and hanging out, she started talking about an ex-boyfriend.  As she kept talking, I learned that she had met up with an ex-boyfriend and although she insisted that nothing happened between them, she didn’t want her fiance to know.  I felt that it wasn’t right.  I backed out of being her maid of honor.  She was mad that I backed out.  She was mad that I had an opinion about her meeting up with her ex and that I stood up for her fiancée rather than help cover her secrets. We stopped being friends.  She was mad at me.  I was disappointed in her.  

Hubby and I got married.  Erin and her fiance got married.  Hubby and I had our daughter.  8 months later, Erin and her husband had a daughter.  

Fast forward almost a year from my backing out from her wedding. Erin and I were able to recover and things seemed to be good between all of us. She said she understood, but that she and her fiancée were in a better place now. I had no reason to not believe her. Erin had found another friend to stand up in her wedding and I was happy for her that she had her dream.  I still loved her and she was still my best friend.  I was glad to know that she had married the love of her life.  I was a new wife and mom and so was she.  We were at similar points in our lives.  

Erin was a flirt.  So was (am) I.  It’s part of what made us connect.  I would flirt with her fiance, she would flirt with my (now) hubby.  When we all got together and started drinking, it turned into all of us flirting anyways. No big deal. It was harmless.  We spent all of our time together as a group of four.  

One day as my hubby was sitting playing his computer games, I was standing behind him, with my hands on his shoulders and just talking to him while he “took over the world” (my code for playing his game).  His phone was sitting next to him and a picture of her with her boobs out popped up on his phone in a text message.  There was no hiding it.  I couldn’t figure out why she would do that.  as it a mistake? Did she text the wrong person?  Not cool, Erin.  Not cool.  (Hubby and I had our own struggles throughout this, but this blog is about her)

Fast forward 6 months. For my own sanity, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I missed Erin and I being friends. She had been my best friend.  I had gone from talking to her every single day to not talking at all.  I was so lonely without her.  I sent her a long message, telling her I was hurt by her.  She said she missed my friendship as well.  So, we try it again. 

Our girls went to preschool together, so we were constantly seeing them anyways. We decided to give our friendship another try. We started hanging out together again…with one rule. Erin and my hubby should not have secret conversations with each other regarding anything. Our girls got along and loved having play dates. 

Erin and I slipped easily back into our friendship.  We would get together for coffee and gossip. It seemed to go well for quite a few months. We had fun and trusted each other. And then it blew up in my face. I discovered that she and my husband were having an affair. WTF. 

How could my best friend do this? Hubby and I had our own shit that we had to work out, but now this?  This was my best friend. A close confidant. She betrayed that. Needless to say, a friendship that had lasted years came to a very abrupt end. Within hours of my finding out, she had blocked me on social media. 

This was over eight ago. She and I haven’t made eye contact let alone spoken. She never apologized.  

I viewed friendships in a new way – an untrusting, unloving way.

Eight plus years later, as I see her out and around, I try to be the bigger person.  She divorced her husband and remarried with a new family.  I finally approached her via a letter about her part in the affair:  

Erin,
It’s been 8 years since I thought my life was over.  I can still remember the morning of May 23, 2013 like it was yesterday.


I have hated you for 8 years.  

You had an affair with my husband.  I fought for days, months, and years to rebuild what I blamed you for breaking.  

But I never thought that someone I considered a friend would be one to hurt me as much as you did.  I lost one of my best friends too.  Or at least I thought we had been friends.  We had weathered rough times as friends and we’re getting back to a place of love and friendship.  I thought that we had already ironed out the bumps in our friendship.  But after finding out that you and he were together?  It makes me wonder…did you ever care about our friendship?  Was there ever truly a friendship there or was it all about Andy?  I blamed you for wanting my life, for taking my happiness from me. You were my friend.  Eric was my friend.  You destroyed that.  As far as I was concerned, you got off free.  I don’t know if you had regrets or felt ashamed of what you did.  

I have carried hate for you for 8 years.  I’m done hating you.  I forgive you, even though you never apologized.  I hope that you learned the lessons you needed.

Lauren

So, what did I learn from Erin?  What did this teach me about myself?  I learned that first impressions can tell you a lot.  My intuition will lead me to more than I realize.  It’s okay to trust myself.  I need to ask questions and have them answered, and those who truly care about me will answer the questions I have.  Not everyone deserves second chances at friendships.  I’m not always going to get the respect that I believe I deserve.  I’m not always going to get an apology from someone who hurt me.  I try to know that I am the better person.  There are still parts of me that miss that initial friendship, but I don’t miss the poison that came with it.

Are there parts that I regret to this day?  Yes…the biggest being that I wasn’t a friend to her husband at the time to let him know what his wife and my husband did.  I was too concerned about saving my own ass than being a friend to him.  

8 years later and I am still working through some of the trauma and the healing that comes.  It’s “easier” now.  It leads to healthy discussions and introspection, not blame and hatred.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t have hard moments, but it does mean that I am more determined than ever to process the lessons it’s still bringing to me so I can let it go. 

Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on Pexels.com

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