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How to Get Over a Friend Breakup

Group Therapy: Years of Trouble Getting Over a Friend Breakup

This question is from Group Therapy in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I've had many best friends over the years, but when I started college 10 years ago I became BFF with a girl who I considered to be my best friend by a million years. We did everything together and were completely inseparable — everyone on campus knew us as a tag-team and I knew her family (and extended family) very well. But my last year of college, we decided to move in together, and then everything changed. She came back from a year abroad much more of an independent person, and at the same time she had her first serious relationship ever. Meanwhile, I became life-isn't-worth-living, can't-get-out-of-bed depressed. She wasn't there for me as support during the very lowest point in my life. I harbored a lot of resentment, she didn't know how to deal with my severe depression. We fought, then made up, a lot. It was a complete roller coaster ride for the both of us.

Without going into grave detail, the two of us had a huge falling-out post-graduation that resulted in me moving away abruptly, and we didn't talk for a couple of years. She lived in New York and I live in San Francisco. But since we ran in the same circles, we both knew what the other was up to. She eventually made an effort to reach out to me, and over the course of a year, we (very) slowly rebuilt our relationship and trust in one another. We eventually became really good friends again, even traveling together. But then we had another elaborate (which I won't get into) falling out in which I felt she wasn't being the committed friend I expected her to be, and she told me she didn't think she could be friends anymore. We haven't exchanged a word since.

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Three years later, I still dream about her, and sometimes thinking about our drama brings me to tears. I've been through my share of dating woes and broken hearts, but this friend breakup is by far the worst breakup I've ever had in my life. I feel like there's unfinished business. Whenever I talk to my longtime friends or my boyfriend about it (they all knew her quite well), they can't say anything to make me feel better. Many of them tell me she wasn't a good friend to me in the first place, and that I just need to let her go. Still, she asks our mutual friends about me at times, so I know she's probably curious about what I'm up to — but I don't feel it's my place to get back in touch with her. After all, she was the one who said she didn't want me to be friends.

I just found out today that she moved to San Francisco and has been living under my nose for 5 months. In a city that's 7 miles by 7 miles, I'm bound to run into her. I want to lose my lunch. Help — how do I move past this? It's been more than three years, and I need to not be bound by this and move on with my life.

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itjmag itjmag 5 years
Sorry to hear what happened. It's really hard. I'm in a similar circumstance. I used to be best friends with a girl a few years ago. I had known her since we were about 11 years old and know all the same group of friends. Anyway, about 4 years ago, she broke up with her ex boyfriend. I hadn't seen her for ages (she's the type that when she is dating she disappears). But all of a sudden we started hanging out and going out a lot. She was still pretty cut up about the break-up, so it was hard. We would go out and she might start crying or would get upset. This went on for several months and I think it was hard for everyone around her because we all wanted her to get over it and realise how much better she was than him! Anyway, as part of this, I agreed to put together a sports team and coach some of her friends. I thought if she was getting out and being social that she would have more chance of getting over it and being the happy person she once was. So I ran this team. Unfortunately, I realised that a couple of the guys on the team were after her. It was about then that I realised that I was harbouring feelings for her that were more than just friendship. I'd known for ages how I felt but thought I would just get over it, I guess they surfaced in a way that was too strong to ignore when I realised that I was at risk of losing her and got jealous. Anyway, one night this guy was making blatant effort to impress her. After that night I decided to tell her and asked if she felt betrayed - she said she did and I could tell she was angry but we never talked more about it. I asked if she was interested in the guy and she said no, but I could tell she was lying and I would get jealous when she went out with him and his friends. Within a few short weeks, she was dating this guy. And afterwards, she blamed me for making her depressed (when all I tried to do was be there for her). Anyway, long story short - I took it really hard. I had a bit of a breakdown and decided not to see any of our mutual friends. I even decided to quit my job and leave the city to go travel for a few months (which turned into 2+ years). Now I am back. I haven't seen her at all but I can't get over it. It's still as raw as it was 3 years ago and I don't know how to deal with it. I just want to escape it but I suffer every day thinking about it. I don't see any of our mutual friends and as a result I am really isolated, people have even criticised me for not being part of the "community" but I know the best thing for me is to move on and not see her anymore. I understand that she just didn't feel that way for me, but still don't know how to get over it. Usually she would be the one I would go to for advice but of courser that's not an option anymore. After several years of traveling, cutting off all my ties and that not helping anything I really just don't know what to do especially when I still dream about her and still almost eerily feel her presence. I know it's extreme after so long but I just feel sad, helpless, lost and want to crawl into a ball and hide. Would really appreciate any advice.
BellaVida12 BellaVida12 6 years
It sucks to lose a bestfriend and I always wondered if anyone out there had the same problem I did. I still dream about my ex bestfriend. Dreams about us making up but I know that she's not the person I want to be friends with. I think back on the fun times but I also remember the things she did that made me question her friendship. I accept that we are no longer friends and her family and ex live in my city, we share a couple mutual friends but no one ever asks and I never ask about her. I'm glad. You really have to take it day by day and just be confident about it.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
Ugh, I hate friend breakups. They are actually worse to me than guy breakups. Because when I think of how many friends I've had in one life vs. how many boyfriends, I realize friends are supposed to be more permanent. I mean, who meets a friend and says, "This is just for the summer because I'm having fun! I don't want anything serious!" I've had two best friend breakups in my life. My last one was with someone I've been friends with my entire life. It was terrible, we tried rekindling a friendship, but it just didn't seem right. It felt awkward and there was resentment in both of us that I don't think we'll ever really get over enough to have the friendship we once had. So we are cordial when we see eachother, but we both know we'll never be the lifelong friends we once thought we would be. However, through that process, I found the most amazing friends I could ever ask for, including a best friend that is like a sister to me. We love eachother so much that we have clear communication rules, just like a relationship, haha. Just so that we always get through any potential problems without a big blow-up. We always joke that if one of us was a man, we would be the best couple on the entire planet. There are some options here. If the two of you feel like you have matured from the root of your problems and can continue a friendship, this may be a perfect starting point to do so. Starting fresh in a new city without the problems of the old city. But, if you've decided that there is just too much resentment to start up and maintain a friendship, just do everything in your power to move on. Focus your attention on your job, your boyfriend, new friends, new hobbies, etc. You are probably bound to run into her at some point, so kind of prepare yourself for how to handle that if you choose not to contact her. If it catches you off guard, it can lead to something very awkward.
Lenay Lenay 6 years
The biggest problem I see here is that you make the assumption that everyone is looking for the same things in a friend and that spending huge quantities of time with a person automatically forms a contract of commitment. You have to look at your friendships with women with the same objective eye that you use when dating. I'm sure that you realize that every guy that you go out with isn't looking to have kids and and white picket fence existence with you. Likewise, a young woman who enjoys your company and spends a lot of fun time with you isn't necessarily signing up to be your shoulder to cry on. Granted, shopping buddies don't normally move in with you; and that's where your friend made a huge mistake. She allowed you to believe that she cared about you deeply as a person when, clearly she was just looking for someone to hang out with and have fun with. I think that your feelings of deep loss will go away once you accept that you can't lose something that you never had. No matter how much time you spent with this girl, she was never your "BFF". That was in your mind, not hers. Clearly, you both seek different things from friendship. Accept that not everyone is just like you, and move on.
brindey brindey 6 years
I sort of have a friend like that-just not nearly to that degree. What I will tell you is this: accept her for who she is, right now, in this moment. Yes, she was a great friend in the past. But right now, she sounds self-involved and independent. Let her go, and find new friends. Get everything that reminds you of her out of your life if you have to : pictures, telephone numbers, emails, clothes you got with her- everything. And if you do run into her, smile, nod, and keep walking. Go be awesome with other awesome people.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 6 years
I can relate to what you are going through right now. I had this great friend in high school. We did everything together. I considered her my sister. But one day she said something very hurtful, and I couldn't forgive her. Breaking up with her was very hard. I even tried to give her a chance, but it didn't work. The best thing I could do was move on with my life. We went to the same college for the first two years and I would run into her and said hi and even had a conversation. You have to eventually move on from that friendship. Saying that friends are forever is unrealistic the only people that are (and that is a maybe) constant is family and not even them are constant. I know is hard, but things didn't work out for a reason.
skigurl skigurl 6 years
It sounds like she has a lot of power over you. If everyone says she wasn't a good friend, then you have to realize she wasn't a good friend, but it remids me of an abusive relationship, where she has so much power over you that you just wish you were with her in order to be happy. I agree, just be confident and live your life in a positive and successful way so that when you do see her you can be proud and tell her what you've been up to. Maybe part of the reason you are nervous about seeing her isn't because you want to be friends again, but because she is this negative force and you're worried what she will make you feel like.
Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 6 years
I think you're feeling overwhelmed right now because your friendship brings back so many meaningful memories, both good and painful. While the good times make you want to rebuild the friendship, the hard times make me feel like you should take it slow, even though she's in your same city. Be confident about the person you are today and do your best to forgive her and yourself for the past. Then, if she's done the same, you might be able to be friends again if your paths cross.
partysugar partysugar 6 years
Sometimes I think breaking up with a close girlfriend is harder than breaking things off with a guy. That being said, you have several options: You can forget about her and move on with your life. You had a great friendship that ran it's course and is over. If you run into her, you say hi and you keep living your life without her. Or, if you really want her in your life, you need to realize that there is the chance she will hurt you again. Do you have the strength to take her back and go through all the ups and downs again? If you do, then reach out to her and tread slowly, see how things go. Good luck!
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