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What to do when an old friendship becomes difficult

(29 Posts)
newgran2019 Sat 27-Apr-19 12:34:40

My best friend from college (my bridesmaid and my daughter's godmother), for whom I had the greatest respect and affection, is married to an overbearing, dogmatic man who won't let anyone have an opinion that doesn't accord with his. Last time they stayed with us we found we had nothing in common any more apart from our daughter (and as they couldn't have children one can't talk about family too much for fear of offence), they were either silent or critical, and the whole weekend was so stressful that we have avoided seeing them since. Yet I feel bad about this, as my friend once meant so much to me. I'd welcome advice on the best/kindest way of dealing with this!

Sara65 Sat 27-Apr-19 12:42:10

Sad, but sometimes friendships just run their course

maryeliza54 Sat 27-Apr-19 12:48:42

It sounds as though they live at a distance which therefore involves a stay over - that’s tricky. Any chance of you and her meeting up halfway for lunch or having a ‘girls’ only night away? That’s how I solved my problem with a friend with a dreadful husband. It might work well with just the two of you

newgran2019 Sat 27-Apr-19 13:03:54

That's a good idea, maryeliza, but my friend and I have very different ideas on how to enjoy ourselves (they have a very frugal lifestyle and don't do much 'just for fun'), so I don't know how I would approach it. They do very little apart - though he does go abroad for work a lot!

I think Sara65 is right, but am reluctant to say so to my friend!

Anja Sat 27-Apr-19 13:09:11

My longest standing friend and I now live at different ends of the country and meet up half way staying a couple of nights in a hotel and just catching up. Try it and see if the friendship can be rescued with her husband around.

If you suggest it and she seems keen then let her select the meeting up place so it suits her lifestyle more.

Sara65 Sat 27-Apr-19 13:09:12

I have been in a similar situation, I had a very dear friend, more like a sister really, we flat shared in our teens, so you can imagine we know quite a lot of each other’s secrets!
We both married, had families, and all got on really well, although they moved quite a distance away, we often spent weekends together, and talked a lot on the phone.
I always was aware, that it was probably me doing most of the arranging, but I didn’t mind.
Then a few years ago, I realised she was making excuses for everything I suggested, always some reason why they couldn’t meet up, or I couldn’t go up and visit for the day, as I used to.
Eventually I thought I’d leave it to her, and I haven’t heard a word since!
End of a long friendship, and I don’t know why!

Anja Sat 27-Apr-19 13:09:36

Without her husband

Anja Sat 27-Apr-19 13:11:01

It is true that there are friends for a reason, or friends for a season or friends for life.

Chewbacca Sat 27-Apr-19 13:13:49

Think about the people in your life over the years. Whether they were there for a reason,
a season or a lifetime, accept them and treasure them for however long they were meant to
be part of your life.

And when they are gone, be thankful for the gifts you received from them when they were
here—for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Kandinsky Sat 27-Apr-19 13:14:03

Maybe your friend feels the same?
Has she been avoiding you since you last met?
If not, & she’s still keen to meet up ( although from the sounds of it I can’t see why ) just make excuses until she gets the message.
Agree with Sara, sometimes friendships just run their course.

Kandinsky Sat 27-Apr-19 13:15:53

Or, just meet up the two of you. Sounds like her partner is the real issue here.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 27-Apr-19 13:17:10

It's a shame but maybe there's no common thread to link you anymore. If she can't or won't meet you halfway then it looks like it's time to let it go.
Her husband sounds awful and I hope he's not abusive as well.

kittylester Sat 27-Apr-19 13:18:15

Do you have to say anything - can it not just dwindle?

Sara65 Sat 27-Apr-19 13:23:15

You have friends who at different times in your life seem really important, but your circumstances change, and with the best of intentions, you drift apart. Maybe it’s that time for you

Day6 Sat 27-Apr-19 13:32:03

It's a difficult one. We grow and change. Water flows under the bridge, etc. Cherish the good memories of the past but no need to cling to the people in them if you've both changed and it's become difficult.

I'd feel bad, but I'd let it be. If they really want to see you again, let them make the arrangements.

You don't have to formally end anything. Drift apart if needs be. Some things aren't forever and at our stage of life why willingly put yourself in awkward situations? You will breathe a big sigh of relief when you let it go. It's angst you needn't have.

janeainsworth Sat 27-Apr-19 13:36:59

It seems odd to me that you’ve been friends from college days and it’s only now, presumably at least 30 years later, that her unpleasant husband has become a problem - what has changed?
I agree with maryeliza and others, if you want to preserve your friendship, try to see her on your own. She may have problems that she couldn’t confide in her husband’s presence.

52bright Sat 27-Apr-19 13:37:05

Its hard when friends drift apart but partnerships often bring their own problems to friend relationships. As well as the couple friends we have Mr 52bright and I also have separate friends because of different interests. I think the only way you can keep this friendship going is by finding a way for a girls' only meet up.

As previous posters have said, you could try meeting up when her husband is away. Maybe instead of the half way idea she could visit you when her husband was away or vice versa. Of course it takes both of you to really want this. If you try and get no response, sadly it seems that this is a friendship for a season, all be it a very long one. All you can do in this case is treasure the memories and move on. I wouldn't say this to your friend. I would try maybe a couple of times for meetups suggesting more than one idea and if these are not taken up just not contact her. Either she will continue to make the effort for at least phone catch ups or the friendship will come to a natural conclusion.

Sara65 Sat 27-Apr-19 13:37:53

Day6 is right, you don’t have to say anything, just let it go, and remember the good times

newgran2019 Sat 27-Apr-19 14:12:41

The couple in question married late, in reply to janeainsworth, and sadly lost several babies early in pregnancy. This obviously affected them deeply. They were both only children of elderly parents, which is probably why they take life so seriously and find it hard to chill out. We can't talk about serious subjects as he is so overbearing, but they have no small talk either. Yet they are basically kind, well-meaning people who send loving e-mails and cards and have been supportive when we have had problems. So it's quite complicated. I agree that formally ending things is probably unnecessary; drifting is no doubt best. We pass their home en route to visiting our granddaughter, so could maybe have a quick meal with them to see if things are any easier now!

Thanks for the advice and ideas.

Namsnanny Sat 27-Apr-19 14:35:30

Newgran2919...glad you’ve come to a satisfactory conclusion for you.😉 can never be sure what problems and difficulties people are going through. Maybe it’s all to do with her private life and she feels too embarrassed to speak to you about it?

MawBroonsback Sat 27-Apr-19 14:48:04

MawBroonsback Sat 27-Apr-19 11:21:54
Then keep in touch by email and every once in a while meet for lunch halfway (I do with a friend in Wiltshire) Husbands do not need to be included

Great minds think alike Maryeliza (cf your post of 12.48)

maryeliza54 Sat 27-Apr-19 14:53:11

Maw I’m puzzled - where was that posted at 11.21 when the thread didn’t start until after midday? Was it on another thread?

Sara65 Sat 27-Apr-19 15:01:49

You may be right, but we’ve been through so much, know each other, and each other’s families so well, that it seems unlikely.
I think for whatever reason, she’s just decided to let it go, as I said, looking back, I think it may have drifted off years before, if I hadn’t kept arranging things. That’s not to say I don’t think she wanted us to be friends, just that I was more pro active about it

Grammaretto Sat 27-Apr-19 15:03:57

I have always kept in touch with my oldest school friends but our relationships have changed. One was married to a not very nice man but they divorced and her new DH is lovely. They also live much nearer now and she's retired so I see her more often.
The other has very different political views, so to avoid conflict, we only send cards.

I've lost contact with old neighbours and friends we had when the DC were all young. Sometimes I get wistful but apart from wishing them well and finding what became of their children, I think it would be pointless to try to trace them now.

MawBroonsback Sat 27-Apr-19 15:11:33

Maryeliza because OP had written an identical post on the “Should I go NC “thread earlier this morning, which was what I replied to.