Carolyn Hax: A friendship imploded eight years ago, and she’s far from over it

05/13/2014 12:00 AM

05/12/2014 12:11 PM

DEAR CAROLYN: So eight years ago, my best friend of 15 years – my maid of honor – basically told me, via email, no less, two months before the wedding, that she had other plans on my wedding day.

Because I got upset by that information, she stopped talking to me.

I was not a bridezilla. There were no bachelorette events or shower, no bridesmaids’ gowns or expectations. This is not a wedding issue. This is a friendship issue. For what it’s worth, she once convinced me to take an Amtrak from D.C. to Seattle for a wedding – it was post 9/11, and no flights were possible – because she argued that weddings were a big life event.

I begged, pleaded, left sobbing voicemails, emails, etc., with no response. Cut me off without explanation. It felt like a death.

Unfortunately our mutual friends continue to be friends with her, go on vacations with her, etc., despite her treatment of me. And this still drives me crazy because I’m a horrible person and I know it’s been eight years and I should move on.

Given that such time has passed, how can I even expect our mutual friends to understand, much less take sides? But how do I move on? I am at the point where I just want to unfriend everyone because they tolerate such behavior. Am I just getting older, or am I unreasonable?

– Too Old For This Crap

DEAR TOO OLD: What a terrible story, I’m sorry. It’s like a death with the added pain of intent – and without even the scant comfort a simple “why” can provide.

I can also see why you’re pushing (flogging?) yourself to “move on,” yet I don’t believe time has the only say here. An imperative to move on also comes from reaching the end of your options. I’m not sure you’ve done that.

Namely, you can ask a mutual friend what the heck happened. (Asking anyone to take your “side” is suspect under any circumstances.) Yes, it’s ancient history, but that also means asking is much less charged.

You’re not guaranteed any answer, of course, much less a satisfying one – but just asking to fill in some blanks? That’s within the bounds of friendship. Plus, knowing you haven’t tried everything to find peace is often what keeps a past event alive in your present.

Some groups do manage to stay intact when two members have a falling-out – when they’re held together by a lattice of strong and true individual friendships, and when the cause of the conflict is either gray enough for decent people to hold different views of what went wrong, or when it’s an oil-and-water issue, where there’s no mistreatment, there’s just incompatibility.

Both an answer and a non-answer have the power to set you free.

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