The Rise & Fall of a Friendship

10:27:00 AM

Disclaimer: This is a true story, something I wrote as a way to finalize the end of a friendship. It's been cleaned up a lot, and I'm thinking about looking into getting it published.

Have you ever stopped to think about how easily love can turn into hate?

Recently I've been pondering the resolution of a friendship - the role I played in its demise, the role he played and the role played by outside forces that somehow took control of our destiny.

Of all the life lessons I've learned in my journey on this planet, the hardest one I've faced is one I coined myself: True friends are hard to find and even harder to keep."

That one adage expressly applies to one of the most rewarding and saddest experiences I've ever had the privilege to be a part of.

He was my best friend. I'd known him for the majority of my life, and I loved him. I still do in fact, although it's changed a lot in the past year.

We were from two different worlds. I used to call him my Yankee gentleman. He was the one person I could always count on to be there for me, and as time passed our friendship grew until one day we found ourselves inexplicably in love.

It was bound to happen, I suppose, but it was never meant to last. I know that now. We were too different, and soon it became obvious we didn't want the same things out of life.

At first we were optimistic, foolishly thinking we could somehow change our ideals, our very personalities to match the other. It worked for awhile, but then I became aware of one fact: the compromise I thought I'd been a part of hadn't been a compromise at all.

I realized I'd been conforming myself to the things he wanted, things I couldn't have given him at that point in my life, things I'm not sure I could have ever given him. He wanted a family right away, but I still had so much I wanted to accomplish and experience before losing my independence to a son or daughter. He wanted me to move with him, to give up everything and every person I'd ever known. It wasn't a question to him. It was an actuality, something he just assumed I would do. There was no thought of compromise in his head, and I'm still not sure if he ever realized the depth of what he was requiring of me.

It became clear that in the course of our relationship, I had somehow lost myself in him and his aspirations, something I never would have believed I would do. The strong sense of self I had always possessed was muffled. The things I wanted were still there, they just didn't seem as important. When I realized that, I knew things had to change. No one should get so wrapped up in another person that they lose sight of their dreams. That's not a lesson I'll soon forget.

So, with a heavy heart, I ended the relationship in an effort to save our friendship.

Two weeks later he had another girlfriend, and I was devastated. I found myself questioning the validity of our relationship, wondering if he'd ever really been in love with me. The thought that kept running through my mind was that if he'd truly ever wanted to be with me it would have taken him longer to get over me.

We fought about his rapid immersion into what I called his ready-made family. We didn't speak for awhile. I couldn't handle thinking about him, much less talking to him, without feeling a stab of pain in my heart. But eventually we fell back into our effortless frienship.

The best part of our relationship - both romantic and platonic - was always the communication. We talked multiple times throughout the day for the duration of our friendship. I could tell him anything and vice-versa. He was my best friend in the truest sense of the word. He never judged, never told me what I should do in a situation to make it better. He listened when I needed an ear, and he always had a shoulder to catch my falling tears.

Now we don't talk at all. It's as if our friendship never existed in the first place, as if we were never in love, as if I had never met him.

You see, his new girlfriend didn't like our friendship. She created so much drama over it that it became stressful to maintain the level of camaraderie we once had. She would look through his phone and read our conversations, keeping up with the subject matter and the amount of time we spent talking.

At first I understood what it must feel like for your boyfriend to still be close friends with someone he had once talked about marrying. I tried to put myself in her shoes, but things just went from bad to worse. It reached a point where he started hiding our friendship from her, and when she would discovered we had talked they would fight.

He once told me, after she had used his facebook account to tell me we couldn't be friends anymore, that the majority of their fights were about me. I didn't want that and told him so, but he refused to end our friendship and I just couldn't picture my life without him in it in some way.

Things kept escalating until finally it all blew up. His girlfriend attacked me through his facebook account once again and all but accused me of trying to steal her boyfriend. She brought up personal things I had talked to him about, including the fight we'd had when the two of them first started dating. She played the victim, and I didn't stand up for myself out of a sense of protection for my best friend. Then as if her insulting my character wasn't enough, he didn't stand up for me, the friend he'd had for more than half his life.

I had never felt so betrayed in my entire life. I felt as if I was drawing enemy fire from all sides and my biggest ally had let me down. I was devastated.

Later that day I was out with friends, depressed, and had a few a drinks. In my anger I did something I shouldn't have, something I truly regret.

I texted him, saying I couldn't continue being his friend if things didn't improve and that I was deleting his number from my phone. When he didn't respond I did just that but failed to erase the text messages from him earlier that day.

As the evening progressed, my hurt intensified until I truly hated him. I hated him for not standing up for our friendship, for allowing his girlfriend of only a few months to speak to me the way she did, for making me feel like less of a person.

Yes, in the moment I did hate him. For what is hate but love that has been betrayed?

I texted him to tell him so, which prompted anohter round of one-sided interaction with his girlfriend. She wrote me on facebook to tell me how deeply I had hurt him. She tole me how much of a bitch she thought I was, how horrible of a person I had to be.

I ignored her message. Instead, I wrote a message of apology to him, one that I knew she would read first.

I have a talent when it comes to writing. I can do things with written words that I can't do with spoken words. I purposefully worded the message to show his girlfriend how much of an instigator she was in the problem, all without actually saying so. The message was beautiful, sincere in its apology, and it served its purpose. It allowed me to express my opinion on the situation I hadn't created, something I'd refrained from doing until that point.

That was last year.

I've talked to him twice since then. Once it felt as if my life might crumble around my breaking heart and again when he had his baby girl.

Other than those two occasions, my texts have gone unanswered, my phone calls unreturned.

I guess it's that sense of being written out of his life that hurts the most, but do I blame him for the demise of our friendship? No. I don't even blame his girlfriend. We all had roles to play in the final scenes of that friendship.

But still, sometimes I find myself wondering if he remembers the promise he made to not write me out of his life as he had done so many other people. And then I recall the last thing he said to me.

"I'll keep in touch, Ash."

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2 comments

  1. I'm sorry this happened, Ashton. But you know what, there's a lot of people who can manipulate others by playing the victim and it sucks when the person you thought would stand up for you would betray you. I think he's a douche. I'm sorry but ending the kind of friendship you had with him just like that is so stupid of him. Just for a girl he barely knew? That's really really stupid of him.

    Somehow, I can relate to this post. It's just so sad.

    Sending you hugs!!!

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  2. Thank you for such a kind comment, Gnetch. I really worked hard on writing this, trying to make sure I portrayed everything the way it happened. And you're right, as much as it hurts to not be able to consider him my friend anymore, letting go of it was the right thing to do.

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