I met Margaret in the summer of 2006…shortly after hubby and I had officially started dating. She was married to his best friend. She was a new kind of friend to me. I don’t know how to explain it, but our friendship was different.
We came from two completely different backgrounds – stable versus unstable at best. The fact that our husbands had been friends since college and they had provided him a couch to crash on during his divorce, she and I automatically started hanging out.
If I’m 100% honest, this is the only reason that we became friends. There is no way in hell that our paths would have crossed otherwise – and even if they did, friendship would not have been probable.
As time passed, we became close. Our friendship was interesting…we didn’t really have anything in common except for our husbands and the fact that we were both Scorpios. We would bond over things, but they all tended to be superficial – the newest diet craze or the newest recipe. When we got a chance to hang out, we would spend hours cooking and drinking together. However, I learned very quickly that when she did things, she did them hard – if we were dieting, we’d go to crazy lengths… if we were drinking, we were getting drunk. We would complain about our husbands, thinking that it would help.
However, as we got older and had families, the differences in us started to become more noticeable. I loved her kids but saw how they parented. Her kids are 5 and 3 years older than my kids. I was able to witness the things that made me question everything. I eventually determined that didn’t want my children around hers if I wasn’t around.
The break started happening when she found out about my husband’s affair. Her reaction was “you’re getting a divorce, right? You can’t stay with him.” I had expected people to have that reaction if/when they found out about hubby’s affair, but I didn’t expect it from her. As a friend, I needed the question “are you okay?” and the reassurance of “I’m going to stand by you no matter what you decide to do.” I never got that from her.
Years after that, I had a realization that Margaret still hadn’t forgiven my husband and continued to actively hold it against him. I’ll never forget the night that my husband said to me: “I don’t like it when you hang out with Margaret alone. I become the bad guy and we can’t heal if she is constantly bringing stuff up and whispering in your ear.” Wow. It took a while, but I realized that he was right.
Whenever I spent time with her, my hubby and I would have a rocky week. I would question him on things that we had already figured out.
Fast forward more time. We both have families, and we have different values with different priorities. We were no longer spending time together. The hardest thing was that our families loved each other. The kids wanted to spend time together and my kids adore her husband. Asking when they wanted to get together, and I would hear nothing. I couldn’t tell you the last time that she made the first move to get together. I remember one night she and her husband were at my house to get a motorcycle out of storage. I had two sleeping children in my car and three dogs in my house that have been crated for 9 hours. Her hubby comes up to me and gives me a quick kiss on the cheek and looks at my sleeping kids, saying we need to get together soon. She didn’t get out of her car. She leaves without saying a word or waving hi.
When I lost my job and went back to school, she told me I was crazy for going back…that there was no way she would go back. I saw her husband again one night…he said that she had been dealing with her own stuff and having a really hard time. I missed the fact that we used to be close…that during her hard times she would come to me as her best friend and vice versa.
Girl child and I went out for dinner the other night and it just so happens that she was at the same restaurant with her new best friend. We had a very cordial interaction, but it was surface level…with promises of getting together soon that I doubt will ever happen. I still love and care about her because she was a big part of my life, but it’s not the same now.
As far as I know, there wasn’t a single event that came between us and caused us to stop being friends…I think we both just got to the point that we realized we have different lives and different wants and expectations from life. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t continue to have a one-sided friendship. I deserve to have friends who answer me, support me, and love me regardless of what is happening. I deserve to give my energy and love to the friends who give that in return. And unfortunately, my life has become easier now that I have decided to let people fall away from me. I can’t hold on to someone/thing that doesn’t want to be held on to. The results of trying are just me getting hurt in the process. I don’t miss the drama that was included, and I don’t miss the constant struggles that my hubby and I had.
Friendships can start even when you have nothing in common. Sometimes those friendships are easier because there don’t seem to be as many pressures…but if you don’t find common ground that can bring you closer, your foundation is rocky at best. Friendships need to be a two-way street. There will be times when each of you needs to work extra at the friendship because there will be times that one of you needs extra support. At least that’s what friendship should be in my mind.