When Girlfriends Attack

Dear Evan,

I dated a girl for 6 months — she said she loved me, that she felt I was the guy she was going to marry — and other things making believe I found love. Then, some distance came while I was a away. I called her on it and she claimed everything was fine, but when I got back, she broke up with me. “It’s not you, it’s me, I don ‘t know who I am and need to find myself. I’m not emotionally ready to continue making you happy, but if I wanted a relationship with anyone it would be with you. Please don’t think I don ‘t have feelings for you, I do. I’m giving up the most amazing relationship of my life, everything is there, and I’m an imbecile for doing this, but I need to be single. You know I just got out of a 5 year relationship before you, I need to be on my own.”

I was heartbroken; I didn’t believe she was telling me the truth and told her that, but she was like a broken record. Our social circles intersect; I told her not to contact me for quite some time, that maybe friendship would be possible months down the road, but not now.

She then emailed me two weeks later asking if I were willing to be friends with benefits. I was irate. I crassly told her no, nothing critical, but specifically I said “when you broke up with me, you broke up with my ****. I deserve more than that and you know it.” Her response was “I was just joking.” Sadly, I was drunk when I got this response (next bad breakup I ‘m not going to drink for 2 months), and went off on her, calling her selfish and cruel, how the reasons for the breakup were BS, how I deserved more respect and honesty, and that I felt she wasn’t telling me the truth and I was just a rebound. Repeat that paragraph 6-7 times. I was pissed.

We have some mutual friends and I’ve been ostracized. I ‘m 27! They call me names, are hostile to me at events I’m invited to (I make sure she is not there), etc. They tell me I acted undignified and lost dignity and I’m not welcome anyplace she might show up because I overreacted and went too far.

I feel like I’ve lost my best friend, my lover, and now have to find many new friends. The worst I did was call her selfish. And I did apologize to her! I know my real friends will be my real friends, and I should just walk away, but how do I cope with me being the bad guy?

John

Dear John,

Looks like she won the war AND the PR campaign.

Really, my heart goes out to you. I only had that experience once in my life and it was awful. Former friends taking sides without acknowledging that relationships are extremely complex. Emotions run high, heated things are said, and reasonable people act unreasonable. This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for anything that you may regret saying; it just means that pretty much anybody who’s ever been in love should be able to understand. Relationships may bring out our best, but they also bring out our worst.

As you well know, it’s not unusual for people to choose sides when a couple breaks up. … Generally, it happens along party lines – she keeps the friends she entered with, you do the same. If this is the way things are occurring for you, John, it’s sad, but not the least bit surprising. Even if her friends liked you, from their perspective, you hurt her and they’re going to defend her. Yes, even if it’s unfair. Yes, even if it’s irrational. Yes, even if she hurt you worse with her actions than you hurt her with your words. But then again:

Parents harbor their children who commit crimes.

Battered wives won’t press charges against their husbands.

So why should it be at all surprising when friends will be fiercely loyal, even without taking into account the full set of circumstances.

The fact is, buddy, she has their ear, she’s done the spinning, and no amount of he said/she said is going to magically curry favor with your former friends.

So chalk these people up to what they are – simple, rude, and fickle – and let them go. You can plead all you want, but you’re never going to get a fair trial.

Evan

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Comments:

  1. 1
    smartcookie

    This situation is textbook commitment phobe. I had the same thing happen to me, although it only lasted 4 months, minus the friend drama. Check out the book He’s Scared, She’s Scared-it’s eye-opening.

  2. 2
    LovesAGame

    See it from this perspective: they aren’t real friends anyway. Real friends would have listened to both sides before they abandoned you. So its no loss.

    The good thing was that you stood up to her, albeit being drunk. Many would have crawled back to her.

    So you did good.

    All the best,

    Eddie Corbano

  3. 3
    Shalini

    I all tohse people are not your real friends. It seems they just believed the lopsided story your ex- girl friend told them about how you were wrong coz I dont see where you were wrong. Any sensible person with self respect would do the same!!!

    Would any of your so-called friends (if they were in your position) say to her, “Oh, how sweet of you to have pity on me and decided to let me be of some use to you!”???

    She really was being selfish!! And nothing else.

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