I dated my ex on and off for 3 years, however it was a very meaningful relationship. We moved to a new city together and suffered through a miscarriage together. We also shared a great group of friends. However, our relationship wasn’t working, so we broke up and I decided to travel throughout North America for 9 months.
Before I left, I started inviting a lesser-known high school friend out more, as she’d just broken up with her boyfriend of 3 years. Two months after I’d left to go on my trip, she started having casual sex with my ex. I’m back now, and trying to deal with her being with him (he was terrible for me so that’s not the issue). What bugs me though is she’s now really good friends with ALL of my mates. I’m living in another city and I put in so much effort, visiting them all at least once a month, but sometimes I feel like that means nothing to them.
I feel like I not only lost my ex to her but also my life. I don’t know how to deal with this. We’re quite friendly but I know she doesn’t like me. What do I do? Jodie
You introduce someone into the group as a kind gesture, and as a result you feel ousted. Well, that sucks. But reading your letter, I think the crux of your pain isn’t so much about this woman (even though a friend who shags an ex has broken a code of sorts), but rather that you’re in an adjustment period of your own. You went travelling and returned to settle in another city. So the life you knew is gone in a way – but it’s not because of your uncomfortably Single White Female-ish former friend.
As I see it, she hasn’t snatched your position in the group; you relinquished it by moving away. Your day-to-day is elsewhere now, and this is what happens when we move out of our friends’ orbits. Life gets in the way. New pals and interests and local experiences mold us and those friends we once saw often but now don’t are, sometimes, relegated to the outer limits, as we are in their lives. It’s a geographic reality when you’re not in the same city and one that, try as we might to fight it, is a little bit inevitable.
Of course, you’re never going to stop being special in your friends’ lives, and vice versa, but trying to have a foot in both camps (and cities) to keep abreast of things and keep the same status in the group will exhaust and distress you. You won’t be there for some special occasions; you’ll no doubt miss some of the parties and birthdays and impromptu catch-ups. Sit with how that makes you feel for a moment – because it’s where you’ll find options.
You can either acknowledge that you’re not happy in your new city and that your heart is back in the city you left, with the friends you love – and you move back there. Or, you can accept that things change, friendships evolve and when you’re not geographically close, a small degree of letting go is essential. Making new friends, building a new support network around you, finding new cafes and restaurants and gyms and shops and bars to hang out in that make you feel lucky you live where you do are all key in finding a sense of peace. I wish you well in choosing whatever works for you.
Love, reality chick