It’s always difficult when people decide to move on and the process can often be a very painful experience. A good friend of mine is in the process of making the decision whether to leave her boyfriend – the biggest part of her life for a number of years – and I sat with her tonight as she considered whether to accept a tenancy on a new house, alone. We went through the pros of staying, of which there were quite a few – it was cheaper, she wouldn’t have to move etc, and then we looked at the cons. There was just one: she was miserable.
That was enough to tell me how she was feeling, and that leaving was probably a more obvious choice. Of course, I didn’t say that at the time – it has to be her decision – but ultimately happiness should be the key factor when deciding most things. Sometimes, this can be found in the removal of toxic people from our lives, however painful it may seem at the time.
I’ve experienced several breakdowns in relationships and friendships over the years. Some were quite a slow process – no angry words were exchanged, but over time the once regular phonecalls and meet-ups gradually petered out. It’s a shame, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life that as people grow, sometimes this means growing apart from each other. Others, however, were hurtful, nasty and immediate. I’ve been the instigator of some. I remember telling a very self-centred and needy former friend after a number of incidents where she was rude and belittled me and those around me that the main reason why she had no friends, no boyfriend and no job was not because of all the ridiculous excuses that she offered, it was because she wasn’t a very nice person. I also remember finally leaving my sociopath ex-boyfriend after years of dealing with emotional abuse. I haven’t spoken to any of them since, and I’ve never regretted either decision.
I’ve also been on the other side of the proverbial coin, where I have had friendships taken away without my consent, or even my knowledge for a while. There’s a scene that always springs to mind from one of my favourite films, ‘Beaches,’ where Hillary (Barbara Hershey) deliberately ignores CC (Bette Midler), despite years of close friendship, after being aggrieved by something that CC has said to her. After Hillary’s life falls apart, she returns to CC, who angrily responds by yelling “You took your friendship away without discussing it with me!” I can relate – I’ve had friendship decisions made for me without so much as a discussion, with them deliberately trying to hurt me on purpose because I had supposedly hurt them by accident. The younger me found this very difficult to deal with and I always desperately tried to make things better – apologising for things I hadn’t done, accepting being treated badly as ‘penance’ for a situation I had apparently caused… I should have simply had ‘doormat’ tattoed on my forehead.
As I’ve aged, however, I generally take things a little more in my stride. I may not be perfect – I’ve yet to meet anyone who is – but I know that I’m a good person. The people that I choose to have in my life mean a lot to me and I will go above and beyond for them whenever they need it, having done so on endless occasions. If somebody decides that my presence is a negative one and they need to move on, then so be it. Inevitably, I know I live a good life and I am thankful to be surrounded by people that are there when I need them and when I don’t. These are the people that matter.
I hope that my friend makes a decision that she’s happy with, whether she stays or leaves, and above all, I hope that she is able to move on from her current situation.
After all, there are always far better things ahead that the ones we leave behind.
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.
Yes, not perfect but good enough.
About those friendships that disappear – yes, time sorts this out. I put all that in the folder named ‘life’s unexplained mysteries’ and forget about it. It’s the only way to stay sane – and good enough.
I love that way of thinking about it – thanks David!
Thanks for the reminder. We get caught up in the hurt that we forget to breathe and enjoy new beginnings.
Thank you! I agree – its easy to get sucked in isn’t it!
It hurts when it happens. I also however believe that we are meant to learn something from the experience, not a lesson in the sense that you’ve done something wrong but there is something that will prove useful later on. It still hurts but there’s a purpose to it. It was a lovely post.
Thanks very much! I agree – theres always something to be learned for everything, positive and negative…
I’ve been studying buddhist psychology and found that we need the bad things to define the good. There are all kinds of hurts but there is just as much joy.
It is difficult sometimes to see the breakdown of any relationship as just a part and a fact of life. It sadly is and it is only as we grow older we begin to accept its inevitability. Life moves forward. We all change and grow. Unfortunately growing apart is part and parcel of the process sometimes. I hope your friend finds peace in whatever decision she makes.
People might leave your life but you never entirely put them out of your heart.
It is and it often doesn’t get easier if we allow it… I think she’ll be ok, she’s very strong, but I feel sorry to see her go through it…
I’ve been working on a similar post to this for quite a while, I just haven’t had the courage to hit “send to publish” yet.
“You took your friendship away without discussing it with me!” —This. Times a thousand.
I will add, don’t make me guess. Rip off the bandaid. This passive aggressive BS that happens, especially today with social media, gets old.
I agree – I feel really bad for her that she is going through this… I’ve been there!
I think you are right, Suzie, your friend does have to make the decision herself. But you certainly can steer her with well-chosen and well-placed words.
We talked about all the possibilities – I felt a bit useless really. It’s one of those situations where I wish I had a magic wand…
Don’t you think her talking it out helped somewhat, Suzie, made it better than if she sat there and held it in and wondered in her own head? I’m sure your views must have had some impact. You probably waved that wand without realizing it, my friend.
Thanks Mark! I hope so… She’s been a good friend to me over the years…
She’s lucky to have you as a friend and she knows that she will NOT really truly be alone with you by her side.
Aww, you’re a legend… As always xx
Such a great post! I love the quote picture too, I already had it saved in my pictures!
Thanks Jane! Glad you enjoyed it!
It’s really tough for everyone one in a break up. Listening as a friend and trying to be supportive I’ds painful, though certainly not as bad as for the person involved. All you can do is be there for her, and help her through the transition. Life changes , and that’s a fact. I always hope that most changes eventually bring something good with them, even if not obvious at the time.
Great advice – thank you very much!
My mom and I were just talking about this yesterday. It can be very hard to admit when to stop fighting for a relationship. There was someone who I was BEST FRIENDS with in college. After we graduated, I spent years trying to keep up the friendship with her before I wised up. She was a wonderful, intrinsic part of my college experience, and I guess that was all she is meant to occupy in my life’s timeline. Letting her go meant giving time, energy, and space to other people who very much wanted my friendship and love.
Absolutely! The wising up part happens quite suddenly doesn’t it – there’s only so much someone can take! It’s sad to let go, but sometimes it has to be done…
Oh I can relate to that. Staying in a relationship where you are miserable, even if you love the person, is a good way to kill your life. I did it, I stayed for 31 years past my marriage’s sale by date and I had a good friend way back when tell me she didn’t want to see me old and unhappy like her mother. Well, I think I have a reprieve now …… I’m on my own, young enough and wiser. I know I will never stay in a relationship or friendship that makes me unhappy for even a little while. This is a grand post Suzie. I hope your friend makes the decision to go. Money isn’t everything and not moving isn’t a good reason – happy is the best reason.
Thanks my lovely! My parent were in an awful marriage and I’ve always wished that my mum got out sooner than she did – she’s a totally different person now!
Amazing how freeing it is – although having him in a nursing home isn’t ideal – it works.
Aye, just because you’ve left doesn’t mean you have to forget.
I agree. I have to be careful not to hold grudges because I don’t forget.
Your friends are so fortunate to have you in their lives. We are just lucky to be able to follow your blog. 🙂
Thanks very much for such a lovely comment – that’s really nice of you!
You’re welcome. It’s true!
good post. Very thought provoking. I wish your friend luck.
Thank you very much!
You’re a good friend to let her sort things out for herself, a harder proposition than we might originally think. As for friendships, they do unfortunately ebb and flow and sometimes they get away from us. But, it seems like you’re a lot stronger and wiser now with time to make the right decisions for yourself. Hope you’re friend finds some peace and happiness with her decision.
Thank you! There are times where you gain strength from the times where you have been walked over in life…
Your photo says it all. I need to tattoo that on MY forehead!!
Haha! We should get them Deb – MUG on our knuckles and DOORMAT on our foreheads!
This. So very much this.
Thanks Scott! (I still have to stop myself from calling you TD!) I’ve been thinking about her a lot today – sometimes moving on can be the best thing you can do…
Lol. You can still call me, TD.
I hope she makes a decision she can live with moving on, whether it’s your choice or someone else’s, is a tough, tough thing to do.
It certainly is. I’ve not heard from her today but she’s a very strong person… It will be tough but I’ll make sure I’m around when she needs me!
And that’s why you’re such an awesome person!
Aww bless you – thanks!
It is incredibly difficult when someone takes their friendship away without your onset. It is hurtful. And I agree with your statement here. But you are right, we are not doormats. Great Post. I hope your friend makes the best decision for her.
Thanks my lovely – she seems to have made some decisions recently so I think she will be fine – she’s a very strong person.