I remember it very distinctly.
I was in the car with my best friend whom I had just picked up, and I was giddy with excitement.
Over the past month or two, I had talked her through some dates gone bad and tried to lift her up to remember how great she was. I was always so happy and supportive when she told me when one went well.
I had gone through a terrible breakup 6 months prior and had just started to date again when out of nowhere, I met a man who was different from all the others.
I knew this guy was a keeper, and I was so excited to confide in my best friend all about how I’d finally found someone worth spending time with!
After a few minutes of small talk into our car ride, I excitedly blurt out, “Ok, can I dish about this new guy for a second?”
As if expecting it, she snidely shot back, “I don’t want to hear every little detail about it!”
I was stunned.
I had been friends with this girl for the last few years and she would always talk to me about the things she was going through, good and bad, but didn’t want to hear about the exciting news in my life.
That’s when I realized, this was a one-sided relationship.
I was always doing the listening. I was always bringing her up.
I told her how much she upset me by shutting me down like that, and she said she was sorry, but she didn’t change. Actions speak much louder than words in my book.
Over the next month or so, I would wait entire phone conversations for her to ask one thing about me. After 5 (yes, I counted) full half-hour talks, she still hadn’t asked me once how I was doing or feeling.
I never called her back.
It was painful, not talking to her again. There was a lot nostalgia I came up against when I cut her out of my life.
You know what, though? I don’t regret it.
Since I cut her and a few others over the years, I have made space for people to come into my life who realize that a relationship (intimate or friendly) is a give and take. My happiness has increased in amazing amounts, and I credit this rule with much of it:
I don’t spend time with people who suck my energy.
I just don’t do it. Call me mean, call me selfish. If you’re negative, hurtful, or expect things from me without giving me anything in return, you won’t make it past the first meeting.
I realize this is a controversial topic (it’s the #1 most popular post on my site), but it’s important to face the reality of your situation.
If you want to live a happy life, you can’t let other people hold you back.
There are those who just want company in their own misery, or those who only want to have you as their waste basket to toss negative complaints into.
The wrong friends will suck happiness out of you, make you feel bad about yourself, or try to drag you down with them.
You are worth more than that. You deserve love and support just as much as they do.
When you realize that those friends who are mean or all-around negative aren’t adding anything positive to your life, it can be devastating.
People change. Friends change.
Some people we’ve known our whole lives could have turned into bitter negative nancies, even though we have fond memories from early on in the relationship.
Don’t get stuck in the past. Concentrate on the present.
If someone is holding you back from full-fledged happiness, that person is not a true friend.
There are a few different ways to go about dealing with this situation. Here, I will go over the process that I think is the most fair for both parties.
When you find yourself exhausted, saddened, or embarrassed by a so-called friend, consider taking action:
1. Confront Them
The word “confront” personally makes me want to run to a dark corner and hide. I hate confrontation.
Though it’s hard to bring up how you’re being treated because there is a bit of inherent selfishness in it, it’s necessary if you hope at all to turn the situation around.
When bringing up the way you are being treated, try not to start by accusing or blaming them; they will automatically put up their defenses rather than simply listen to you.
Instead, begin by telling them honestly how you feel and what you’d like to change.
For instance, in the example story I told you, I told her something along the lines of this:
“I am so excited about starting this new chapter in my life and sharing it with you. I was really hurt when you shut me down like that. I feel like I always listen to you and support you and I would appreciate the same.”
If you’re dealing with a constant complainer who drags you down with her incessant stream of negativity, you could try to ask her how you can help her start being more positive:
“I want so much for you to be happy and when you complain to me all the time, I don’t know how to help you. What can I do to help you feel better?”
Confronting a friend who says hurtful things? Give this a shot:
“When you say things like that, I feel horrible. I would really love to have your support and understanding, but please don’t say things like that anymore.”
Hopefully she/he will be open enough to actually hear you. If you’re dealing with a true friend, he/she will try.
If you get a negative reaction from this, the friendship is likely not worth saving.
If you can’t voice your opinion to someone who is supposed to care deeply about you, what kind of friend are they?
At least you gave it a chance.
You can’t try to fix someone else. You can only react accordingly by spending less time with them or cutting them out of your life completely.
2. Watch Their Actions
If they said they would try to change, watch their actions no matter what they say.
Oftentimes, negative friends can be manipulative; they can say one thing and do another.
You are rising above that now. You are standing up for your happiness, for your life!
If they don’t change the way they are behaving with you, you can either try step 1 (confront them) again, or you can start spending less time with them to see if they catch your drift.
If they start explaining how they’ll change, even after they haven’t for a while, call them out on it: tell them that what they’re saying isn’t aligned with the actions they’re taking, and it’s not fair to you.
This can be just as scary as confronting them in the first place, but necessary for an honest, open relationship.
3. If The Time Comes, Leave
If you’ve given them chances, or voiced your opinion and gotten a negative reaction from it, you must consider what is more important: the amount that this person will weigh on your happiness or the “bond” that you have.
That bond should be equally strong on both sides, right?
If your side is the only one holding the deal, what kind of bond do you really have?
These are tough questions and actions we’re talking about today, but necessary for achieving happiness in our lives.
Happiness can be in every choice you make, even the painful ones. When you choose to leave a relationship, you are choosing to free up that space for joy and love.
Don’t feel guilty. Don’t regret.
You are the most important person in your world.
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography (Edited by the Author)
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57 thoughts on “How to Make Space for Happiness: Fire Your Friends”
This is a fantastic article, and one that I can relate to.
Our society has a belief that we must sacrifice for those in need. I believe that is far from the truth, we should always ensure that our number one priority is ourself. If that means that other will get hurt, so be it.
Yes, Ravi. You have it right, there.
If we can’t make ourselves happy, how can we make anyone else happy? In order to give our best selves to the world, we must feel our best. “Friends” that constantly tear you down work against that.
“In order to give our best selves to the world, we must feel our best.
Truer words can’t be spoken Amy! Nice!!
Thank so much for this amazing post, great friends are certainly worth being grateful for, but those who take away from our happiness, must get the boot.
Hope you have an awesome weekend!
-Sean Goldfaden (Community Manager @ Thankaday.com)
Ravi, I don’t know what society you live in but in the U.S., the emphasis of many is very skewed towards looking out for yourself and not others.
This selfish bent leads to the type of thoughtless, self-centered friends that don’t want to listen to you or ask about you.
Emotional intelligence requires empathy.
You know they say that happiness is about giving more than getting. And I do believe that. But, when the giving isn’t appreciated, it’s like completing a project and seeing absolutely no results. Imagine mowing the lawn and when you’re done it looks no different. Or painting your house and at the end, it’s still cracked and ugly.
Pouring yourself into a friendship, giving and giving and getting nothing back is even worse. I completely agree that it needs to be cut off. Yep, energy is lost and it drains you. And if we’re not strong, confident and purposeful, where is our value?
What do you have to say about co-workers and family members that do the same thing? I know that’s another story for another day but it certainly is a problem for some.
Thanks for your insights!
Or worse: painting your house, then having it torn down! Mowing your lawn to perfection, then sprinkling poison all over it!
I actually talk about those family members/co-workers you can’t completely cut out in the post on my site, but the gist is to spend the least amount of time possible, and make it clear that you don’t support the way they act.
I think voicing your opinion to these people is a good idea as well. I’m all about sticking up for yourself! :)
Ha! Those things would be far worse. But, you’re kind of getting into a sickness there, Amy! ;-) (I’m locking the poison cabinet in the garage!)
Yeah, you must stand up for your needs because unless you do, no one else will. Funny thing, when you do, others can start to support you. Not always, but there’s a better chance. :-)
Haha! True. I meant metaphorically! ;)
I think you’re right: you open yourself up to positive friendships when you make it clear that that’s what you want and need.
Ohhh, metaphorically. Well, too late, I’ve already formed the wrong impression ……….. ;-)
But really, relationships of all kinds are so important in life and business. So, this topic is so important. Good stuff, Amy.
I am experiencing a similar situation. First of all we were never a friend. Out of nowhere she wanted to be my friend. To pour all her problems and sadness about her marriage problems. I am being nice and listening to all her problems. Till now. It is never-ending. I was dragged into her marriage problems. I noticed that she never wants to listen to my story, never interested in my life. All she wants is people giving her all the attention. When we started talking about other things she would changed the topic back to her. It is so frustrating. When I shared about my exciting events, her answered would just be ‘ooooh’ then back to her stories. I had enough of her. Like what you said in your article ;-There are those who just want company in their own misery, or those who only want to have you as their waste basket to toss negative complaints into. Thank you for this article. I don’t want to spend time with people who suck my energy.
It’s a pity how much some so-called friends can take your energy… and usually you only notice after some while. I have fired some friends along the way too, because I want to have people around me who are genuinely interested, who give me energy, who I find inspiring, and who give me all that what I am always trying to give them too.
Friendships always work both ways, and unfortunately some people don’t seem to get it.
You’ve got it there, A. Friendships are a mutual agreement. If one friend isn’t holding up one end of the bargain, you can simply stop agreeing to spend time with them.
It’s interesting the article. If you don’t step away from some friends, your life might be always miserable. If you don’t build your goal and and try to get it accomplished,some friends will use you to help them accomplish theirs.
Congratulations Amy for the article!
My pleasure, Calixte! :)
I wish I learned this earlier in my life but I agree, most people just want to suck the life out of you with their issues. Because I am the third child, I am used to not being given a lot of attention and putting other people first so I have found myself in many of these relationships. I also have developed the capacity to quitely take care of myself, so as I grow and work to build a fulfilling life, the self-centered people have fallen away.
That’s a great way to go about it, LJ. When you focus on taking care of you first, those negative friendships naturally fall by the wayside. The cool thing is that leaves space for many more positive friendships to fill it!
The article is spot on.Over the years i have found myself in a position where am a very good listener but nobody cares about how i feel or even bothers to ask how am doing.So it is high time we fired such friends from our lives and find those who actually care about us
Amen, sister! :)
This is a great read.
Negative people can be a drag, as much as you try to bring them to the greener side of the fence it sometimes just can’t be done.
Keep on writing.
Thank you so much, Jon. I plan to! :)
I can hardly wait to share this with my daughter. She has been struggling to maintain a relationship with a very toxic person simply because they’ve been “friends” for so long. And no matter how much I’ve told her it’s ok to let this person go…it will carry much more impact coming from someone who isn’t her dad. Thank you!
And I don’t really want to admit it, but I’m probably just as bad as she is, when I think about it.
So thank you from both of us.
So happy that I could help, Greg. Tell her to feel free to reach out to me if she has any questions! :)
Amy, you are right to honor yourself! I related to your post too well. I am an energy coach with empathic gifts, so I must guard myself around toxic people. There is a name for the people you describe: energy vampires. Cutting toxic people out of your life might seem cold-hearted too some, but actually it is done in the spirit of love. You were loving yourself, as well as giving your friend an opportunity to reflect and change. Thanks again!
Oh, that’s perfect terminology: energy vampires!
Giving yourself that space as well as your “friend” is indeed a gift to you both. I would want to know if I were hurting someone so close to me.
Thank you for your beautiful insight!
Sometimes it is better to spend some time in solitude and alone than with people who only put you down and make your day ”negative” by concentrating on their endless problems.
Realshionships should not be one sided. I ended few friendships exactly for the same reason.
You got it right, Ani. Solitude can be a beautiful thing after years of negative relationships. When I finally broke free of a few, I realized how healing being alone could be. I grew so strong in that time; it allowed me to realize what I wanted out of friendships and intimate relationships and gain back my sense of self.
word to the wise….
Beware of those friends or associates with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder.)
Unfortunately , they are a dark vortex . their behaviors won’t change nor be cured. friendship is a ship that is best paddled by all or the ship will sink.
This blog lesson is a gift. I didn’t have it a few months ago,luckily i was able to find another site and gained immense clarity . This blog is another side of that same coin. I hope that it is helpful for those who need to face the fact that the person that they think of as a friend is not.That person is not even close.
I love that quote: “Friendship is a ship that is best paddled by all or the ship will sink.”
It’s true with friendships and intimate relationships: you can’t go into it hoping to change the other person. It doesn’t happen 99.9% of the time.
I’m glad you’ve had that realization now, and hopefully you will carry it with you into future relationships! Thank you for sharing here!
It’s true!! Friends can build us and they can destroy us. They can bring joy and they can also take our joy. They can energise us and they can suck our energy.
I believe that friendships have to be managed. It should not be just an emotional attachment, but a decision one must willingly make. A healthy friendship is mutual beneficial.
If you can befriend a person, surely you can unfriend as well. At times we need to shuffle our friends, some going to inner circle and other outer circles.
And remember, friendships are not cast in concrete. They are there for a season and for a purpose. It is important to know which stage the friendship is in, and the purpose of the friendship. Knowing the purpose helps to clarify the expectations from each other. Some friendships are for work, some for advice, some for emotional support, some for religious etc.
When seasons turn, it may be time to change. When it’s time to let it go, just do it. It may hurt a bit but there are long term benefits.
I think you’re right in many respects, Taka. There is a cycle to most things, and some friendships just reach the end. But as one ends, it leaves space for another to begin.
Thank YOU, Taka. :)
I have a friend that has recently thrown some of these lines at me, and seems to be upset with me because she claims that I don’t like to do the things she likes to do, she has to do things around my schedule, and feels that I don’t trust her, which is a big issue with her being that in the past she did something that had made me loose trust in her, but at the current time I have not brought it up, nor is it an issue. I really haven’t given her a reason to thing I don’t trust her, but she claims that I have. She feels I’m the negative in her life, and I feel she’s being over dramatic. She likes to be out and about, no plans nessacery. Which is fine. I feel we have different friends for a reason, you will come across people that are like you in many areas and friends that are not like you in many areas. I am a mom of 3 and prioritize my family first. And am not much of an out doorsy type. We are different in those areas but share other things in common. And we have be friends for 16+ years. So I feel that I am being challenged with all of her claims, and feel that I shouldn’t have to go out to places I’m not comfortable being in to apiece anyone. There’s more to this story, but to much to post here… All I am doing is attending to my family, and we can talk any where about anything, but for her it has to be at a place where liqueur is being served, other than me opening a wine at my home, because even that is not the same for her. She being complicated and says I’m the one being complicated. And she started all of this drama by taking something I said out of contents and assuming what ever she wanted. What does this sound like Amy?
Hi, Liz. Thanks for having the courage to open up here. Your story may help others who read it.
It sounds like you two may be drifting apart, as painful as that may be. She wants a different lifestyle than you do and though you may not need her to fulfill those areas of your life, it seems like she might in fact need that from you.
I think you’re right in that you can have friends that meet certain needs in your life, but they don’t need to meet ALL of them at once. She may have expectations of you that you cannot fill because you have grown past that point in your life.
You may be growing at a faster rate than she is. Under no circumstances should you feel guilty because you care deeply for and prioritize your family. I think that is a noble and admirable thing to do. From what I’m hearing, though, she may not have that same life and may even be feeling a little left behind because you don’t have as much time as you used to. It is nothing to feel badly about, but it is a fact.
If you feel you cannot meet her expectations, honestly tell her so. If you value the friendship and still feel that you get a lot from it, I would tell her that, too.
Please keep in mind that I don’t know the backstory, so this is simply what I would do knowing the little that I have read about your situation. Feel free to take it with a grain of salt. :)
It got to a point were she even stop talking to me, and has been posting things on Facebook that obviously are directed at me, saying things like, if someone’s holding you behind its time to let them go, or my new friends treat me better than my old ones ect. I tryed to reach out to her and she refuse to want to talk to me, so I can’t do anything if she isn’t trying to speak to me, I feel like I’m putting my self respect on the line here, when I really haven’t done anything wrong, just being me. The last thing she said threw a text to me was that our issue was at the bottom of her list, she has a busy life and other important issues to deal with. Really? That’s not the way long time friends that I thought was my friend should be speaking to me. I was asking her when were we going to meet up to discuss her feelings and statements she has been making, and that’s the respond I got. I was so upset that I ended up saying to her that she’ll be at the bottom of my list as well. My husband is friends with hers and you know they have guy talk and my husband has pillow talks with me, so I’ve heared things about there marriage being dissolved into nothing, she has a child she easily leaves with her mom, to go do what ever she wants. I’m not judging her, but feel that the same way she does things her way, I will do mines doesn’t mean we have to stop being friends, (she says we’re still friends but distant friends) but apparently there’s a lot more that I think is going on here… But to be honest with you, I read an article about “dealing with
Impossible people”, clearly I ed the way has been acting with me. So I have decided not to pursue this friendship and just leave it alone all together. And thanks for your reply. Your right about our lifestyles being different. She says it has nothing to do with that, but it sure does.
I have time, just not in the setting she’d like. And I have told her how much I valued our friendship, but when I tell you she judged me took my words and twisted them around, I feel something was made out of nothing, nothing we could have spoken about, but she really wanted me to ing age in the things she liked that I did not, and friends do things together they both enjoy. The things she does with me she enjoys them as well, shopping catching a movie having lunch. Note life is not for me, and hasn’t been for more than 8 years already, and now she wants to press the issue, and throw all kinds of things at me. Like I said before there’s a lot she isn’t saying and is concosting all this other stuff… And I tryed but I go I give up. I’m not going to let anyone belittle me and treat me as if I’m the one with the problem. What I was trying to say earlier about her marriage, she portrays something else to me and my husband while we know the truth anyways. Mean while I have no issues in my marriage. I don’t know if envy has played a role into all of this. But she said what she said and I drew the line there, I refuse to be treat this way, apparently by someone that is clearly saying to me that they are moving on as if I’m the one with the problem… Smh. Thanks again.
Happy to help as much as I could. Sounds like you’re done with this friendship as well. Maybe it’s best for both of you to move on and explore the other opportunities for friendship out there. :)
I wasn’t really ready to end our frienship the way she was, but when she said our issue was at the bottom of her list and spoke to me as I wasn’t important, that she had a busy life and had more important things to deal with, (and we speak almost everyday for the last 10 years and have known each other for the last 16 years) then I had to draw the line there. She was obviously trying to say she was more important than I was.
this is the exact thing I was thinking about. I have friends who I call and call and call. I stop calling them and they no longer call me. It is totally one sided when they don’t call you. Always being the instigator, the one with the ideas etc. I don’t choose to call them and the phone is silent. There is no give and take. Just take take take. I am tired on it. Then others say why are you being so distant? What difference does it make who calls who? I am doing all the work and they are just skidding along for the ride. I am no longer in to that.
Good for you for realizing that friendship is a two-way street. You deserve to be given to just as much as you do to them. Have you ever voiced your concerns to them? They may be completely unaware of what they’re doing.
Amy she did say to me once that our friendship was one sided and that she was doing all the work, and I did exain to her that if she ever needed to talk I was always here to listen, but she said oh how about if I ask you out for dinner or drinks that I don’t just want to vent, but I’m not a read between the lines person, if you need to talk and it’s that urgent then I will make arrangements and come out of my comfort zone to here you out, and this I told her. And she felt that she didn’t have to tell me all of that. I have not been a night person for so long and she knows this, and I even told her we can sit at a park and talk, we can have coffee at my home while the kids are at school and we can talk, we can have lunch and we can talk, but it seemed like she wanted to have conversations in the settings she wanted which is the night life. It ain’t that I’m not willing to hear what she wants to say and be supportive, she was more concern with why it has to be in my comfort zone and not in hers, if she is willing to be in my comfort zone. When in reality she’s ok with the night life and day life, I’m the one that’s uncomfortable in some settings. So I felt she didn’t want to respect that about me. So she claimed that if I had a couple of drinks with her while we were out that I wouldn’t trust her, that if so, that I was being fake to her, and that I really wasn’t a true friend. That she wouldn’t let anything happen to me. But I simy don’t like the night life and I am afraid to be out at night, and avoid any situation that may impair my judgement. And what bothered her the most was that I said she liked to change plans and she knows I don’t like that. And she admitted that it’s true. But that why I didn’t trust her, she wouldn’t leave me stranded, that if that was the case shed put me in a cab home. It’s not about the cab home cuz I can do that myself, it’s that if I make plans then that’s what is and be mindful that I have a family to get back to at home. My husband works hard and finds himself falling asleep on the kids all the time. Yes that’s my problem so me knowing this, I’m trying to make it my business to be home as soon as I can on a night outing, and is one other reason I don’t like to go out at night as well. So her reply would be why worry he is ther father and has equal responsibility to your kids and if something happens to them in his care he’s going to have to respond. I am not going to sit there and wait till something happens to one of my kids, because I went out knowing my tired husband is most likely going to fall asleep on the kids. My youngest child which has autism age 4, is a consent worry for me. And she feels I’m over mothering him and so fourth, I need to give him some lee way, this kid wanders of in a blink of an eye and has done it to me before, and she knows all of this. We clearly don’t see eye to eye when it comes to family. She wants things her way and I can’t do it.
Like I said, it’s really sounding like it’s time for you to move on. You need to get some space from this relationship and concentrate on the friends who appreciate you for you, not for who they want you to be.
That’s exactly what it sounded like to me, thanks for confirming that Amy, I really appreciate it.
She really ment a lot to me, but she doesnt believe me, so who doesn’t trust who? It is what is. Thanks again.
ah yes, i’ve left many friendships like that, and found better ones!
Hi Noch Noch! It’s great to see you here! :)
You have grown so much, and your strength proves that this is a good step to take for you. Thank you for sharing that with readers here!
She claimed that I was the problem, and that she wanted to end her frienship with me. I’d honestly would like to know if I’m wrong here as to what I’m saying and what she wants from me. Am I the wrong type of friend? It has left me wondering is all. As far as the friendship I have mentally accepted that it’s over after my conversation here with you Amy. Just wanted to know if I had any wrong doing here. Thanks again.
Liz , i read your comments and came to know that you are hurting yourself because of this friend of yours. Its high time she realises and comes back, in the mean time make new friends, forget about her .
You say you have a 4 year old kid,must be great to be around kids,enjoy that.
And as far as i understood from your comments, you have not done anything wrong, just because she wants a night life and has a mother to take care of her kid, you cant do the same.
You will be better off with out her.
Yes, Kavya, I sense that there’s a lot of pain in this relationship for Liz as well.
You are who you are, Liz, and if she can’t appreciate that, moving on may be the best thing you ever did. :)
I’m actually a mom of 3 boys 10, 8, 4 years old, and a wife, for the last 12 years to their dad. Yes I am hurt, and wonder where I was wrong in all of this, but have accepted to move on. Thanks for your comment and taking the time to read my story.
This is an excellent article! What if however it is a family member(sibling) not just a friend. Is it still ok to “fire” them? I’ve done so for five months now and at first it was very difficult and sad, then I was angry, and now after time has passed, I feel relief. My husband and children (now young adults) are much happier too.
It all comes down to doing what’s best for you. There are no rules when it comes to keeping the people you want in your life. If you feel relieved, happier, and the people around you are happier, too, then it was probably the best decision.
Kudos to you for having the strength to say enough’s enough. :)
Thank you for writing this article. I have been friends with someone for 14 years and basically remained friends with them because we have known each other for so long.. I have always gotten irritated with her and thought she was very rude. So when I turned 18 and got friends in other social circles I just stopped talking to her and I didn’t miss it. Then, I had a baby and basically my social life went down hill and she had a baby and same happened to her. So we became friends again but omgosh she is sooooo negative and it is as if she just calls to brag. She asks me what I did and I say not much (even though I had a big day – no need to always go into detail with everyone). Then she litreally tells me how she went for coffee at this time, then cleaned, then work, then get groceries etc. and im always thinking to myself (ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHO CARES? i DO THAT TOOOOOOOO AND DID IT TODAY ALSO). Anyways sometimes its better to cut ties. I am sick of telling her something so I can have my friend be happy with me and she cuts me off when im tlking and changes topics even after she ‘fakly asked me the question’ that i was talking about.
Life is short, try to find friends that are a treasure and if you are having a hard time, dont worry the time will come even if it is 5 years down the road. I miss having a best friend who has known me for so long but I known soon enough it will happen again. In the meantime, good luck everyone and dont be scared to walk away – it isn’;t a real friendship if you had to read this article anyways.
Thanks for sharing your story here. I love what you say about having faith in finding friends that are a treasure. I agree- if we make space for that in our lives, they will come. :)
Amy I read this article its wonderful but very hard to do it in real. Me and my best friend we always called ourselves sisters. But then a girl started poisoning her mind and she has started drifting away from me. I really want her back. I still have tears in my eyes while writing this please help me. I dont wanna be rude but want to make her realize she hurt me
Oh I’m sorry to hear that, Anna. Truly. It sounds more like you guys may have either drifted apart, or she may be moving on.
Have you pulled her aside and told her that she’s hurt you? Try having an honest one-on-one and gauge her reaction to determine your next step.
Wishing you the best!
This article was just what I needed. I was in a relationship with a guy for a while who would always come back and vent to me about his problems, but as soon as I had any of my own, he would barely listen. I got discouraged after a while in confiding in him, although he said he would be there for me and that he does listen. I tried everything. I told him about the issue and gave him plenty of leeway since he had a busy schedule. He didn’t change in the end, so I eventually dumped him, and then he came back after three weeks with no one else to confide in about a family member he had lost. It was strange how he was saying all the nice things at that time that one should only say to someone they are still in a relationship with. Flowery things like “You can come to me if you have any problems” and “I saw us together in the future.” Then, when I felt emotionally confused and took the problem to him after a few days, wondering why he said all those things, he accused me of bickering unnecessarily and not comforting him the way I “should” have. I should add that he had avoided the subject of his family member tremendously and blamed me for not getting him to talk about it. Perhaps it was bad timing for me to bring the issue to him. At this point, I’m wondering if I really messed up, but I’m also aware that if I had lost someone in my family, he probably wouldn’t be around.
Hi Sally! I’m glad that the post helped you. It sounds like this guy is going through a really tough time in his life. I can’t tell you what you should do because I don’t have the full grasp on the situation, but I would definitely say: look how he’s treated you in the past, and look how he’s treating you now. Is that what you want in your life?
I hope that helps a little!
Yeah, it’s a complicated situation for him. I think I left out a few details. He neglected his family for months on end, as much as I tried persuading him to contact and visit them. It’s not like they’re particularly bad or anything. I think he has a fear of emotional connection, to be honest, which explains why things didn’t work out between us. I was always there for him to listen to his problems but he never reciprocated. Towards the end, he accused me of being overbearing even though I wasn’t. He said he wanted to be “free to do his own thing” as a part of college organizations. I saw he really didn’t care about them and didn’t find real friends. I always understood if he had meetings or little time. He made me feel small, like I didn’t matter. Then we split up. It was when his family member passed away that he came back, referring to me as “the one thing he had.” Is it unnatural to have felt very emotionally confused at that point? I gave my all to the guy and couldn’t handle the lack of reciprocation, so for him to say that threw me in the hopes that he was finally becoming appreciative. Even though I asked him about it later, was it really right for him to lash out and blame me for not talking about how he felt over a family he had neglected anyway? I felt like he was projecting his own flaws onto me. I’m only human and I can’t be so strong that I can support somebody like him in his time of need as he fills my ears with all that flattery, which is what I had desired and never really gotten before we split up. It was kind of like he’d used me for that initial comfort and then tossed me aside, taking no accountability for anything. He didn’t accept any of my apologies either for bringing up the subject.
I don’t want to be with him at all anymore, but it still hurts.
Thanks for the quick response, by the way.