If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience. - George Bernard Shaw
What is it that I didn’t learn 12+ years ago that the almost identical scenario is replaying in my life? Why have I found myself face to face with the familiar sting of heartache?
Nicki (not her real name) and I met through a mutual friend when we were both in our early 20s. I had just moved to Atlanta living with my boyfriend and she was a native Atlantan. There were seven ladies in our “click” and, for the most part, we all got along really well. We were there to support each other through the ups and downs and the bumps and bruises that young women face.
Over several years, Nicki and I grew very close. As our friendship grew closer and stronger, her friendship with the mutual friend who introduced us, grew farther apart. Initially, I never understood exactly why but through the years I began to notice a pattern. Eventually, Nicki’s and I friendship experienced the same drift when she befriended another young lady but not before she had ditched our friendship for the guy she dated off and on for longer than she should have. No judgment there because I am guilty of the same offense – dating a man longer than I should have.
When things were “hot and heavy” between her and her beau, Nicki would be M.I.A. She wouldn’t return calls, she was always too busy, and never available to hang out with the girls or me. It wasn’t until a big fight with the beau or during the many break-ups would she re-appear wanting, and needing, a shoulder on which to cry. Eventually she walked away from that relationship but the behavior continued when she began dating her then, soon to be, husband.
I never begrudged her happiness but that feeling of being tossed aside or placed on the back burner because your best friend has a man sucks. And just to be clear, during those times it was a total shut out, zero communication.
To say it hurt was an understatement.
I wish I could say that I didn’t experience feeling jealous, angry, or resentful, but I did. I was able to get over those feelings and was a bridesmaid in her wedding where I was genuinely and sincerely happy for her.
However, our friendship has never ever been the same. We are distant casual friends today exchanging pleasantries on Facebook but not an intricate part of each other’s lives as once before. I am okay with that but I did grieve the loss/change of the friendship.
I learned a lot about myself from that experience. It highlighted just how important my friendships are to me and how not to treat my best girlfriend when I’m in a serious relationship.
So today, I am left asking myself the questions posed earlier because I have found myself in an eerily familiar situation with my BGF, Michelle (not her real name). The timing couldn’t have been worse for me because it comes at a time during some major life changes. Emotionally, I was fragile.
Up until the recent couple of weeks, it had been months since she and I had spoken. Normally we wouldn’t allow no more than a couple of weeks to pass without calling one another to catch up and, usually, a shorter period of time than that if either of us were particularly stressed. Phone calls were not returned, and text messages nor voicemails acknowledged.
This lapse in communication coincided with her being in a serious relationship and finding herself dealing with some curve balls life had thrown her way. After exchanging a few emails, we finally spoke on the phone. By this time I was so on the edge, emotionally, that I could barely speak without crying – and not sniffling but a downright balling – that ugly cry.
I cannot adequately describe how I was feeling other than to say I felt exposed, vulnerable, and uncertain about how it would end. During that hour long conversation, I expressed how hurt I was because I believe we make time for the things and people we feel are important and I needed to know if that had changed.
Michelle admitted to not balancing her life/friendships well now that she is in a serious relationship. She also shared just how emotionally drained she had been due to certain things going on in her life.
As she shared with me what had been going on, I felt even more isolated and completely shut out of her life, like she no longer needed our friendship…me. These were the things you share with your BGF because even if neither of you have a solution, you’re there for one another. Demons I thought I had exorcised over 12 years ago, jealousy, anger, and resentment were yet again haunting me.
I felt a measure, or so, better afterwards and we have spoken since then but I can’t seem to shake the feeling that our friendship has changed…never to be what it was prior to this…this shift. Everything and everyone changes. Friendships evolve or they dissolve and I can’t help but wonder if I have only prolonged the inevitable.
All I have at the moment are questions and raw exposed emotions which have left me feeling unsure and fragile.
When do you fight for something you value and when do you let it go? What is my lesson in all of this? What is it I need to learn that I didn’t the first time? And why does it hurt so much more now than it did then?
I am walking through this day by day. Growing also, I am sure.
Hopefully the lesson will be learned so history will not again repeat itself.