I need (permanent?) space and time away from her...

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Ashley_1, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Ashley_1

    Ashley_1 New Member

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    I was so miserable. I broke down constantly...cried many nights for so many years. I felt trapped in a loveless marriage for over 10 years. I am now separated. I’ve been on my own for over a year now. Uhm... this would be the second separation from him, the last one lasted a year as well. This time there is no going back... He was an alcoholic and clinically diagnosed with NPD and extreemly abusive ie emotionally and physically. I suffered terribly during that marriage. My only escape was being at work I was afraid to go home. I was deeply indoctrinated from a young age. Every decision I ever made was based on what the church expected from me.


    I had been married for 7 years when she came into my life. It felt like a breath of fresh air after being under for so long. She truly was a good friend. I liked her sarcasm, her sense of humour etc. She would go out of her way to befriend me. She would call me everyday to find out what I was doing at lunch time. Obviously she couldn’t have known what that meant to a lonely soul like mine.



    I am not sure of the exact moment my feelings changed. Everything was always light and happy and easy then, at first I fell in love with the friendship, the constant texting and the general positive energy of it all. I fell deeply in love with that friendship...As time passed I found myself questioning my identity... when I would have said I was straight before, the black and white lines became blurred. I admitted to myself that I was falling in love with her. I had gained some weight over the years of misery and this inspired me to loose some. I was so happy. I admit that this really was an emotional affair...being married still.


    I felt like I could tell her anything and she felt the same. It was the first time that I opened up to someone like that. She would sometimes tell me that she had never felt so connected to anyone like she did with me. We both were in cloud nine. My life was such a stark contrast, at home I was dying and there she was like a soothing balm at work and texting me when I wasn’t at work. I had never felt the type of energy I shared with her with anyone.



    What I felt for her made me realize that I did not love my husband since I had never felt anything like that for him. I married him for the wrong reasons and he turned out to have major issues. Perhaps we both used the marriage as an escape, I don’t know. I had accepted that life was about responsibilities and mine were particularly hard to bear but I had no choice. I let the church dictate so much of how I should live my life.

    It’s been six years and this situation with her scared me and still does and it confuses me. I thought about this situation and realised that it is doomed. Firstly I don’t know how she really feels about me but I am pretty sure she is straight. I have only ever been with my soon to be x-husband and she is forever dating someone new. If anything this friendship has taught me about myself…


    My problem now is that I want a clean break, often I try to get over her and focus on raising my 2 kids but with 1 text she has me again and I feel myself falling. I feel so stupid like a love sick teen. I know she is straight and I will never confess my true feelings. Why can’t I shake these feelings off? She has no idea how she consumes me and the positive general impact she has had on my life. But I want truly something that I don’t quite understand and truly scares me. I also wish her to be happy and have no desire to complicate her life.



    How do I tell her that it hurts too much and I’d rather that she not communicate at all with me? I want to move on from my ending marriage and move on from her. I want to break this friendship off with out being insulting or hurt her.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  2. TheScandinavian

    TheScandinavian Well-Known Member

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    She's your safety vest whih is why you can't just live without her. She was what kept you sane and what saved you when you needed to be saved. Congrats on escaping this abusive marriage-as a kid whose parents had such relationships, I can guarantee you that you made the right choice for yourself and the kids :)
    You've been only with him-not so uncommon. However, you can't be forever single-it does get lonely and "nobody wants to be lonely" (as Ricky Martin and Chritina Aguilera sung).You are a human and as such you need to feel loved, emotionally and career fulfilled. It will be a bit weird once you start dating but some people don't mind and won't see this as an issue.

    As for her-you stated once that you're sure she's straight and once that you're unsure whether she is. It takes some courage to ask her directly if she is or isn't. I do realize that it might make your friendship weird but at the same time it can grow into a loveable relationship with love & mututal respect. You need to decide for yourself-truth be told, here you're gonna end upp drowning in comments that'd make you even more confused. It is your life and you're the one who's going to live it. :)
    Take care, be safe and lots of health and love from me to you and your kids :)
     
    #2
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  3. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, you probably can't.

    It seems that you know pretty clearly who she has been to you and what you need now, so I'm not going to discuss that. I trust you that to heal from your marriage and your realization about your sexuality, you need some distance from the woman that catalyzed those realizations. And man, whatever the reason, needing a friendship to end is rough - and also completely a thing you get to decide. But there is no good way to do it that will not hurt, at least a little.

    That said, there are a few ways you can try to preserve her feelings and enforce your boundaries.
    (1) The slow fade. This will take a lot of discipline on your part, but you could try to engineer a natural-seeming drift. Every time she texts, you don't respond, or respond hours later with, "Sorry, so busy!" When she wants to hang out, you unfortunately have plans with your kids/family stuff/work stuff to deal with. If you are consistently unavailable and not trying to hard to preserve your friendship, she will probably stop asking, but it will take a while and you will have to be as hard-to-contact and disinterested as you can be until then. The advantage of this is that if you realize in the future that you are in fact over her, that this crush is a pleasant memory, you can try to get in touch, apologize for being so busy and overwhelmed, and try to resume your friendship. (She could also decide while you're fading out on her that she is hurt by it, and that she wants to end your friendship because you are no longer there with her. That's the risk.)
    (2) The white lie. "Hey, I really need to be there for my kids right now - things are so hard and complicated! I'm cutting back on social time and doubling down on work to create a stable home for them. I just don't think I have time for anything else right now." This is the fade, made explicit, and it has a high potential to backfire - she, as a good friend, will want to help you, go grocery shopping for you, hang out at family movie nights. It has the advantage of being true, and being a no-fault reason why you need space, but will only work if she is the kind of friend who is fine with backing off when things get tough.

    And... you knew it was coming...
    (3) The truth. I completely understand why you do not want to do this; it is scary! and fruitless! But I'm going to advocate for it anyway, because the methods above are lying, and they are absolutely not guaranteed to work to get you the space you need, or to spare her feelings. The best shot you have at doing that is telling your friend, who you love beyond your crush and who has always been there for you, that you need this from her as a friend.

    You say (twice!) that the reason you will not tell her about your feelings is because she is straight, so what's the point? Again, I'm going to trust you that she's straight (although there is a small but intriguing possibility that she is not; I see a couple of homo-potential indicators in your description. If that happens, or you want to talk about the possibility, come on back and tell us!), but I'd like you to consider that the reason to tell her about your crush is not so that she can reciprocate, which is literally the only thing that her straightness precludes. It's so that she can understand what you are going through, have empathy for you right now, and respect the distance that you need. It's so that she can know that you are honest with her even when it is hard, and respect her with the truth. That is what it means to be a good friend, and to end a friendship with love and respect.

    I have had crushes confessed to me by friends. I have handled it in four ways: (a) as an idiot teenager, with avoidance, (b) by agreeing to dates I didn't want to go on (also as an idiot teenager), (c) with a hug and an "I'm so sorry, I'm not interested but I am so proud of you/honored/glad that you're my friend," and (d) by agreeing to dates I DID want to go on. Based on what you say about this friend, I am pretty sure that she is going to go with (c). She will probably be upset that the result of your feelings is that you can no longer be her friend, but this will give her the best shot at understanding that it is not anything that she did or can do, and the opportunity to help you out by giving you space rather than believing that she is being a good friend by pushing to keep in touch.
     
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  4. Ashley_1

    Ashley_1 New Member

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    I realize the drama I've endured over the years pushes me to this self preservation mode, I don't want to feel emotionally dependent on anyone cause they'll wind up hurting me. I feel like I need to heal somewhat then will see where life takes me.
    At the moment I enjoy the peaceful and stable life we now have with the kids, they seem to be coping and happier without their dad. He hasn't made much of an effort to see them either. I'm doing my best to be a good mom and focusing on my work, but it doesn't matter how busy I am, I cant stop thinking about her. How is it even possible to feel this way even after all this time. Then I feel guilty and feel like these feelings serve me no purpose but to torture me.

    Mostly I feel like a jerk that I have severed all contact without explaining myself and am feeling so unfair when she's been so good to me. This is the kind of person I can trust with anything. She deserves an explanation, although I can't even begin to imagine how that conversation will begin. Sometimes I feel like waiting till the divorce is final to tell her. I know she may not reciprocate but at least there'll be a sense of relief... after the awkwardness passes. She is hard to read but there have been times when I thought she was flirting, cause none of my other female interactions are anything like ours. Then I think about the reality of the environment we live in, even if she felt the same our lives may become somewhat complicated...our families, work and the kids with two mothers and that scares me to think about. A couple of years ago I told her I thought I may not be straight and that maybe why my marriage was such a disaster and I wanted her to know and if she felt uncomfortable and wanted to distance herself from me I would be fine with it and understand and she responded by saying she would do no such thing and would never judge me she felt really connected to me and thought highly of me and only wanted me to be happy and it didn't matter to her at all. I told her it was such a sad way of living, feeling and wanting without the freedom of expression because of not wanting to be judged. She has often accused me of caring too much about other peoples opinions.

    So past couple of months I have kept my distance and she has done the same. Knowing her she must have figured I needed space cause of the divorce etc...She has no idea how she affects me. Last week, she called me at work we don't have caller ID. for the most part she wanted to know why I've been distant and quiet if I was ok...she made it clear she was available at anytime, (shes always said this). She wanted to catch up, go out or come over. I made up the usual busy excuses. I honestly don't know what I'm doing but fear seems to be the ruling element. Time will tell.
     
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  5. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

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    You're allowing yourself to be trapped in this stasis with her. Sure, you can fade away and blame the divorce, but the problem is this will not bring you closure on your end and you will always wonder "what if?" by keeping some kind of distant hope alive that she might feel something. As remote as the possibility is, you don't want to hear her say that she's not into you as more than a friend, so you allow yourself to remain in this nebulous grey area ruled by fear. In our heads, sometimes, what we perceive is actually worse than reality itself.

    Avoiding problems -- which is what you're doing -- only serves to prolong them. They will always resurface and you will never move past this until you make a concerted effort to do so. Be honest, accept the consequences, then move forward in finding happiness for yourself.
     
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  6. Canuck8881

    Canuck8881 Well-Known Member

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    Your story sounds VERY similar to mine. This transition from married to a man to being on the other side and admitting to yourself that you are gay (of bi) and attracted to women is scary but once you are past this your life will change dramatically. But, you now need to be true to yourself and be the person you were meant to be. We are only given one life and you deserve to be happy. I have a strong religious background and made lots of decisions based on religion and what family expected of me and I ended up miserable. If my ex hadn't been the a--hole that he became I probably would have stayed in my unhappy life. I should really thank him for screwing up so bad because now I am happy. As far as religion is concerned, now if they topic comes up with anyone I say.... "God made me gay so obviously that is the life he intended me to live and I'm sure he has been disappointed in me up until now". Things may never work out with this girl if she isn't gay but what is more important for you is to stop hiding. It's tough, I know. I spent too much time caring about what other people think. Now, that I'm out and happy, I have mentally made a transition and it rarely bothers me what people are thinking. I walk through a room with my head up feeling great because I am the true "me" now. Please trust me that you will get there. On the topic of the girl, you should tell her that you have feelings for her and that is why you have backed off. What will it really hurt? Your relationship is already affected so (based on the kind of person you describe her to be), she will either say that she is not interested and will work through it with you or she will say she is also interested. But, when you find the right person to love (her or someone else), your soul will shine and you will feel AMAZING!!!! Trust me, I know. :)
     
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  7. Aliss

    Aliss New Member

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    I think you should tell your friend how you really feel about her! I'm currently living the same situation (well almost) with one of my friend, I first thought it would be easier to just walk away but I realized that she's a good person and I do want her in my life. So I told her because it was exhausting to over analizing everything she would told me,... I wanted to be sure she didn't reciprocate my feelings.
    Now I told her I'm finally relieved and able to start a real friendship with her.
    The question is: don't you think you would regret not telling her?
    You and her both deserve the truth :)
     
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  8. Ashley_1

    Ashley_1 New Member

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    What a difference time can make...

    While I can acknowledge that what I did was cowardly and it royally messed up our friendship. We had such an emotionally charged friendship. I did need to clear my head and the space did me a world of good. We are not as close and we don't talk as much as we used to. When I do talk to her I do not feel those pangs anymore.

    In this new life I feel more comfortable with who I am. I have friends that I spend time with. I have done well at my work and have been promoted...my work keeps me incredibly busy. I am not actively pursuing any relationships I'm just happy living.

    Yes, the matured thing would have been to talk to her and tell her. But I was simply not ready to fully accept this aspect of myself. And saying something would have made it even more real. I figure somethings are just best left unsaid.

    I think I've done well...for someone who was as broken as I was sometimes I cannot believe how things have turned out.
     
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  9. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for updating us and letting us know how well things have progressed! Once you are ready, and if you think she would appreciate knowing of your once tender feelings, then tell her. In the meantime, you can just be nice to her. You could send her cards, remember important dates, etc..

    My mom got a confession from a long time secret admirer in her seventies and the dude kept it in for many years and he told her a year before he passed away. She would have never gotten with him and he knew it but it was good for both of them to clear the air. I am not suggesting that you wait that long, lol, but I have a feeling you will know when the time comes and everything will feel different and the time would just be right.

    Thanks again for telling us you are doing well, your story of healing is an inspiration. :)
     
    #9

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