Early this fall, I went on a road trip with a woman with whom I’d been best friends for 24 years. I felt somewhat apprehensive about going, even considered canceling due to the number of little red flags waving. But I didn’t, and that’s how I am now without the two people, outside my family, to whom I’ve been closest for many years. (Once before I didn’t listen to that little voice in the back of my head, said yes instead of no, and spent the next 14 years in a miserable marriage. You’d think I’d have learned a lesson from that…but alas.)
Predictably, the trip was a disaster, and now my hosts, he a very close friend of 15+ years and his new-ish wife, have tossed all those years out the window because of nine days in which I felt every bit as uncomfortable as they did.
When I sat back afterward and took stock of my relationship with my [former] friend, I realized that I felt used and disrespected by her—and my boundaries repeatedly trampled from early in the friendship. I had gone over and above for her too many times to count, putting my own life on hold for days at a time to assure her comfort, without regard for my own feelings. Worse, I allowed that behavior through all the years. As Ann Landers used to say, “No one can take advantage of you unless you let them.” Guilty as charged.
I long ago forgave myself for ignoring the little voice in the back of my head for saying yes when it was screaming at me, “Say NO! Say NO!” Now I’m working on forgiving myself for not asserting my boundaries, and for not listening to that little voice when it told me to cancel the trip. I hope I’m learning.
So, I’ve taken stock and I’m moving on.
I chose to end my relationship with the woman who I thought had been my best friend for so many years. Perhaps another time I’ll go into more detail, but not now.
Sadly, there will be no forgiveness for having made my hosts uncomfortable. I won’t lie—the loss of this friend is particularly painful, but it’s time to move on. I’m too old for all the drama.