We have an upcoming birthday party to attend for a friend’s daughter. And yes, I’m dreading it.
I’m not dreading the party, the friend, her daughter, her family, quite the opposite actually. I am really looking forward to seeing them and catching up. What I am dreading is having to see a particular ‘ex-friend’. We had a parting of ways, hence the ex in front of friend, this fall. I ended the relationship and now I will be forced to spend up to 4 hours in the same house/room with her, let’s call her Q.
I am mature, grown-up, and now a mother, I sent Q a message suggesting that we get together prior to this party for tea. The friend hosting the party, let’s call her Z, is aware of the break up and issue that exists between us and I feel that it isn’t appropriate to have this reunion, of sorts, happen at her daughters party. Q responded to my invitation by saying that she doesn’t feel that there was a need to see one another prior to the party or that there would be any awkwardness between us at the party. Well, if there wasn’t going to be any awkwardness then, there will be now.
Hello awkwardness, party of two, your table is ready.
I was trying to be a bigger person and save Z from having to deal with having this tension and awkwardness potentially affect the mood at the party. Meh. If Q isn’t worried about it, then why should I? Deep down I think Q is worried about it, she has to be – she knows me.
A History of the Break-Up with Q
Q and I first met when we were 3, and met again when we were 12. We became best friends, along with 5 other girls when we were in grade 8. It’s how things roll when you’re 13. We went to the same high school and our friendship continued. It was probably around grade 11 that things changed, puberty has that effect on girls. She had found a boyfriend and started going to parties on the weekends. For whatever reason, I was not included in her weekend plans from this point forward. No biggie. Seriously, I am not resentful of this at all.
In our 20’s our relationship was much the same as our teens – hot and cold. Things changed slightly in that it was now my responsibility to entertain her on weekends, as her fiance no longer lived close by. It was exhausting, but I did the best I could. Her fiance moved home in our later 20’s and she disappeared for a while. Then I was asked to be a part of her wedding party, I had initially accepted and later declined. Our relationship at that point wasn’t one of strength that I felt it appropriate to stand up for her at her wedding. I also did not attend the wedding. Uh-oh. I received a message from Q letting me know that our friendship was over, she was breaking up with me. This wasn’t the first time I had received a message like this from her so I wasn’t too surprised.
Welcome to our 30’s and a friendship was rekindled. We should have let it be but for whatever reason I am a glutton for punishment. History repeats itself, why is that such a hard lesson for me to learn? We dealt with the issue of me not attending her wedding, well I thought I had, and moved forward with her expecting her first baby. Babe and I married, she was there and celebrated all events with us. She was one of the first friends I told when I was expecting. All was mature and adult, a nice change from our past. Things were looking up!
Then this summer happened.
Q opened the family laptop, saw that her husbands email was opened and saw an email. We all know what kind of email, the heart sinking, devastating, life changing email. I was the first person she called. I listened, consoled, offered advice, and welcomed her over to discuss it. She did. Babe and I sat with her for a few hours and listened as she vented, cried, yelled, and laughed. Q decided that she would confront her husband, and they decided that they would work things through. The affair was more emotional than physical, it would require work but they were willing.
Q, similar to me, is an over analyzer and has zero patience. She pushed and pushed and pushed her husband that it inevitably broke what was perhaps could have been fixable. Q relied heavily on me, which as a friend was okay but as a sick pregnant woman who needed no added stress it was not okay but I stayed the course. I tried encouraging her to reach out to professionals, to her mother, to other friends, but she always ended up on the phone with me. For hours. HOURS. Babe was not happy.
I had been off work for 3 months and had one month remaining until my due date. I needed that time to get myself together, to focus on the major change my life was about to take. I wanted that time to spend with Babe, to enjoy the last moments of our life as just Babe and I, and dog. I felt there was no other way but to break up with Q. It took weeks of planning and brainstorming how, what to say, and when. No matter what I said I knew that she would not have a great reaction, but then really who would?
I sent her a message and explained that the decision wasn’t a reflection of her but a reflection of me and where I was in life. I told her that I needed to be selfish and that I didn’t feel that I could be the type of friend that she needed, apologized profusely but stated that when things settled for both of us that we could restart. I needed a pause in this relationship of ours. She understood, at first.
Then the claws came out. She always was a cat person, me – I’m in favour of dogs. Destined opposites.
She sent me another message a few days later letting me know how she really felt. It was ugly. We had a bit of a war – back and forth messages like we had suddenly been sucked back into time and we were 14 again. Someone gave her some wise words – if I wasn’t there for the marriage, why would I be there for the divorce? Her mother. All this time and I always thought she loved me. Ha! Q’s therapist told her that I was an unsafe person. What the eff is that? An unsafe person? Her mother filled her with lots of advice on our friendship, it was enlightening. Things got mean, on both sides. I ended the back and forth by apologizing for hurting her feelings and letting her know that wasn’t my intention. I reiterated the same message – I needed to be selfish and needed time to focus on my life, my health, my family.
I sent her a message when Baby was born, and another over the holidays wishing her well. I shared pictures of Baby. I have grown up. My reasons for meeting her prior to the party came from a good place, the nicer side of me. Now I fear that the mean, judgmental side will come out. I can be a passive aggressive bitch if I need to be, and part of me really wants to be but will work hard to maintain a calm, peaceful demeanor. This is going to be tough.
I’m starting to think that I may have issues attending social engagements.