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The Moment I Knew It Was Time To Let Go Of A Friendship

She pushed me over the edge — and I reacted.

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illustration of woman holding unto another woman's arm, friendships, letting go
Celeste Barta
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During my divorce, I met a woman through a mutual friend. I was so excited to spend time with her as, at the time, I didn’t know any other women going through the same thing. We connected immediately.

We chatted a lot via text before going out to dinner for the first time. Over a margarita, a few bowls of chips and a large serving of enchiladas, she talked me into online dating. She’d been doing it for a year now and advised me before I went on a date to run the man’s picture by her first — she’d been dating a lot and warned me that there were a lot of duds out there.

We bonded. I was so happy to have a friend to do things with on Saturday nights when my kids were with their dad, and I felt down. Plus, she saved me from a lot of bad dates.

But over time, I started to feel like I was her backup plan. She’d beg me to come over to her side of town (we lived 40 minutes apart) when she had nothing else to do. It didn’t bother me initially because I believed we were building a true friendship, and she’d come to my neck of the woods at some point.

But whenever I asked, she was too busy. Or she wanted me to come to her. And I often did.

My resentment started to grow. I pushed it down because I didn’t want to be one of those tit-for-tat people who kept score and reminded people of everything I did for them.

Then, a few weeks later, some of my other girlfriends put together an evening to celebrate my birthday and asked her if she wanted to come. They told me later that she never even responded to their messages. It hurt my feelings, of course, but I had a great time with my friends and decided I wouldn’t reach out to her as much. She was obviously busy, and I had so many other supportive women in my life.

She called me a few days later to say she’d met a guy and was so happy. She also explained that she knew she hadn’t been a great friend. I was happy for her and told her not to worry. I knew that dating after divorce can be really hard, and I also knew how lonely it was.

I forgot about my birthday and all the times I asked her to do something and she was busy. I forgot about feeling slightly used. When she wanted to meet for coffee to tell me all about her new guy, I agreed and was excited to see her.

When she was 30 minutes late, I wondered if she was okay. While I sipped my tea, I called her. She explained she was running late because she was with her man, but she’d leave now to meet me.

I told her I had to go, that I wasn’t going to wait the 20 minutes it would take her to get there. I was mad at her and myself.

Later, she sent me a thread of texts saying I should be more understanding. I decided not to respond until I could cool off.

Here I was, a newly single mother of three, trying to get through my divorce, hold down a career and keep my house. I had zero tolerance for extra drama in my life and the more I got to know her, the more I realized she had a lot of drama in her life.

After that, she apologized, and I accepted it. Still, I knew I’d keep my distance. If she wanted to spend time together, she’d need to make more of an effort, so I stopped reaching out.

When her new man only lasted a few months and broke her heart, I was there for her. I felt horrible because she was so upset. She started calling and texting before the sun came up and I found myself utterly exhausted.

I didn’t want to be her friend any longer. I didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with the drama she created. I had never broken up with a friend before. Sure, I’d drifted away from people, but I’d never intentionally ended a friendship.

Simply ignoring her felt too cruel — not something a woman in her 40s should do to another woman. But I knew I had to do something.

I told her the truth. I didn’t want to tell her I no longer had the energy to be her friend, but that’s what I did. A huge part of me wanted to point a finger at her and list all the things she’d done to wrong me, but I held back.

I didn’t want to argue or go back and forth, and she didn’t ask me why.

I ended the friendship not because I thought she was a bad person, but because it just didn’t feel like a healthy relationship.

A lot of us hang on to things we know aren’t good for us because they’re comfortable. And staying where we are and dealing with it is something we are used to. We tell ourselves things aren’t that bad, or if we let go of a certain person, we will feel lonely.

However, I’ve learned nothing is lonelier than staying in a relationship that brings you more negative feelings than positive ones. Even if it’s hard to let go of someone in the moment, remember you are opening new pathways that will invite better opportunities to come into your life.

Have any of you ever broken off a friendship? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Relationships