Murphy’s Love: Getting Your Feelings – and Frustrations – on the Table

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Dear Stacy,

I am the person who wrote a month ago about my strained friendship with one of my best friends from my mid-20s. We are now both married with new babies, and I was hoping to get back to being close with her, but she never responded. You advised me to reach out one more time, just to know that I had tried absolutely everything I could. Well, I did. I was met with a response that seemed genuine, but, looking back, not exactly “deep.” She told me she was not angry at me, but was excited to be a new mom with me, and promised that we would spend more time together.

Before any of that could happen, I sent a message sharing news about my little one (serious medical scare, which after extensive testing turned out to be a less serious diagnosis). She replied instantly – which made me so happy – with encouragement. Then, about 30 seconds later, I received a new message from her, definitely not meant for me, conveying my news to someone else, along with a snarky comment about me no longer being able to grandstand about my child’s medical scare. I was shocked. I replied immediately that I was sad to read this, but that, at the very least, it confirmed what I had been thinking all along. She had been angry at me, had been unwilling to talk about it and was gossiping with others about it. Her response was minimal. My question to you is, what’s next? Is there anything I can do?

– Is This The End?

Dear End:

Wow. I don’t know if this is the end for this relationship, but I will say that if you think it’s time to end it, you’ve got my vote.
Who among us hasn’t sent an email or a text to the wrong recipient? We all know the shame of realizing that it’s not erasable, but rather a permanent part of the way the other person will view us. But most of us choose to make amends in that moment.

To be honest, to be truthful even though it hurts – at this point, we’re already hurt, so why not go further? – is the only option when something like this happens. But if Friend replied with a “minimal” response and doesn’t take real steps to apologize now, I think the writing is on the wall.

That writing, by the way, is that you have done all you can do. Sure, Friend clearly has something going on with her, but she’s not shared that info, so you can stop filling in the blanks that would make her mistreatment okay with you. When you saw that she had betrayed you to someone else, your immediate response was a matter-of-fact, “Well this makes sense now,” instead of a giant screed about her rudeness and lack of empathy. That reads to me like serious self-restraint. Keep it up, because you need to heal from this.

Sometimes we have done all we can do, and just need permission to let it go. Give yourself that permission (ahem, you don’t really need it from me). I understand that she meant something to you in the past, but this relationship doesn’t seem like it’s giving you anything valuable in the present tense.

Stacy Notaras Murphy (www.stacymurphyLPC.com) is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to stacymurphyLPC@gmail.com.

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