- 2 years ago
- Wedding: January 2021
This ended up being stupidly long, so the TL;DR is this: girl I was friends with in my mid-20s and had a huge falling out with after a pretty toxic friendship messaged me yesterday and we are getting together for coffee soon. Despite having long moved on, I still hold resentment toward her that I know is stupid and that I wish I didn’t. Regardless of whether we ever become “friends” again, I’d like to get to a place where I am happy to see her happy and I want to be rid of the toxic side of myself that still for some stupid reason comes out when I hear about her or from her. Anyone else been in a similar place? How did you get past it? Because I honestly, truly did believe that I had long forgiven her and I genuinely don’t wish bad on her and I would love to be able to be friendly acquaintences again, but there is this side of me that just can’t shake the “frenemy” thing.
In my life, I’ve had plenty of friendships fade over time and plenty in which we grew apart, but I’ve only ever had one friendship end in what I’d call a “falling out”. And it was a particularly bad one.
The falling out occurred over 6 years ago and I had been friends with the girl for just under 3 years. In that time, however, we had become weirdly close. We lived together and did *everything* together and our relationship was very much like that between sisters. While we were ridiculously close, we also had some ongoing issues throughout our friendship, which eventually led to our falling out.
She had done very weird competitive and jealousy issues, which mostly came out when we were drinking. If we were out at a bar or a party and I was talking to a guy, she’d swoop in and put on her best ditzy blonde act and start flirting with him. On multiple occasions during our friendship, she would start fights with me out of nowhere about really stupid things, usually when drinking was involved. During these fights she would say and do very hurtful things fully with the intent of harming my self-esteem. I’d usually tell her in the morning what she had said/done, she’d apologize, and I’d forgive and move on. I let a lot of things slide because I knew they were based in her own insecurities.
Throughout the course of our friendship, she consistently acted as if we were in competition with one another, and it seemed she was constantly doing things and saying things to prove that she was the prettier one, the funnier one, the cooler one. It was very hurtful and it did take a toll on my self-esteem and my mental health. I didn’t want to be in competition with her, but enough of that behaviour and you get sucked in. Near the end, I did find myself often comparing myself to her, and even asking mutual friends if they thought she was prettier than me, etc. I hated the person I turned into with her around.
The straw that broke the camels back, though it came after many ups and downs, absolutely shocked me. I had confided in her that I was in love with my best guy friend. I opened up to her about it and she helped me sort out my feelings and encouraged me to tell him how I felt. I was pretty certain he only liked me as a friend (which turned out to be the case), but I couldn’t just keep pretending it was purely platonic from my side. With her encouragement, I decided I was going to tell him how I felt that coming weekend when we were all camping, at some point when I was able to get him alone.
The first afternoon of that camping trip, we had all finished setting up our sites and were hanging around having a couple of beers. He went off to take a leak and then stopped by his truck to grab something. He was alone, so I thought fuck it, now’s the time, especially before we all hit the drinks too hard. As I was walking over to him, she saw me walking over, got up and walked over to him and put her arms around him and fucking kissed him. She looked directly at me before she did. He was confused about it and that’s when she decided to confess that she liked him as more than a friend…
I was absolutely devastated. I couldn’t believe she would do that to me, and I had to spend the rest of the weekend acting like everything was fine because wtf was I supposed to tell everyone? They could all tell there was coldness between the two of us, but I just said we’d gotten in another one of our stupid fights and not getting along super well at the moment.
She and my best friend ended up seeing each other for about a month, but it was pretty rocky because he kept finding her flirting with other dudes when they went out and other obnoxious crap. During the time they were dating, I had broken off my friendship with her but didn’t give anyone the full details of what caused our falling out. He decided to break it off with her completely after she wanted to break up before she went on a week long trip and then asked him to get back together when she got back.
When they broke up is when I finally told him the entire story of what had happened between us. He was every bit as shocked that she would do something so cruel as I was and lauded me for how I had handled the whole thing. It turned out that he saw me as a sister and hoped that we could still be friends because he loves me very much. We are still best friends, my feelings looong faded and became purely platonic, and we are both now engaged to fantastic people. All’s well that ends well.
About a year after our falling out, she messaged me asking to meet for coffee because she wanted to apologize and explain some things. I met with her, she told me that she was genuinely sorry and also told me that she was in therapy to deal with issues of childhood sexual abuse that she believed was the cause of her overtly sexual and competitive behaviour. She had discovered that the abuse had left her believing that her body and her sexuality were her only source of value, and she believed that was why she had become so toxic and competitive towards me. It made sense, I forgave her, and we moved on. We both agreed at the time that we were probably never going to be friends again and that’s ok.
So, why am I bringing this all back up now? Well, she messaged me yesterday asking how things have been and if I’d like to get together sometime. I said sure, we chatted a bit, and we’ve made plans to meet up for coffee in a few weeks. She is still friends with some of my friends, so she does come up from time to time, but we haven’t actually seen each other since that coffee meet up 5 years ago.
I want to see her, I want to see how she has been and really move on and I want to get to a point where we can see each other around again and it not be weird. But I find that even after all that time, even after knowing why she was the way she was, a part of me that I do not like comes out when I hear about her or talk to her. This fucked up competitive loathing bubbles up and I hate it. I have never, ever been that person and I don’t want to be that person. But over the last few years, any time she has come up in conversation I’ve found myself annoyed that she also had a boyfriend and I was, therefore, not “winning”. I push that shit right back down and I am incredibly ashamed to feel things like that.
Well, when she messaged me yesterday she congratulated me on my engagement and said she was happy for me and that I deserved it. I asked what was going on in her world and she mentioned that she had ended a long term relationship but was good with it, was in therapy and was still working on herself. The biggest part of me is happy to hear that she is working on her mental health and genuinely does want her to be healthy and happy, but that small, competitive frenemy part of me felt a twinge of validation in hearing that her relationship didn’t work out. How fucked up is that? I feel genuinely terrible about the fact that I still have that hatred towards her. I don’t want to!
Has anyone ever had a friendship end like that? Did you ever manage to just grow the eff up and get past the crap? How can I defeat that stupid toxic side of myself and just get to a place where I see this woman as just an ordinary person who I want good things for?!