Friend­ship gets prob­lem­atic af­ter mar­riage trou­bles

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators.com. To find out more about An­nie Lane and read fea­tures by other Cre­ators Syn­di­cate colum­nists and car­toon­ists, visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate web­site at www.cre­ators.com.

Dear An­nie: I started to grad­u­ally no­tice changes in my friend­ship with “Marla” while I was hav­ing mar­i­tal trou­ble. Dur­ing this time, I had a lot of sup­port from close friends and fam­ily. Be­cause Marla and I were ex­tremely close, I was dis­ap­pointed she wasn’t there for me. Marla started to de­cline in­vi­ta­tions to go to lunch and would not an­swer my calls. Yet when my good friend from out of town came to visit, Marla sud­denly had an ur­gent is­sue that had to be dealt with im­me­di­ately. She was well aware of my friend’s visit be­cause I had in­vited Marla to join us for din­ner that evening. Marla was blow­ing up my phone with texts, even af­ter I ex­plained that I was spend­ing time with my old friend.

Af­ter my friend left, I reached out to Marla and of­fered to meet for cof­fee or to talk, ex­press­ing that I val­ued our friend­ship and telling her how im­por­tant she was to me. I got no im­me­di­ate re­sponse, but a few days later, I got a “I’m sorry; I’m busy” text. I texted back and re­peated that our friend­ship was im­por­tant to me and that I wanted to have time to talk with her. No re­sponse. Marla has of­ten been pas­sive-ag­gres­sive to­ward me and also pub­licly re­vealed things I said to her in con­fi­dence.

About two years ago, we went to my va­ca­tion house for a week­end. I found out she had told a mu­tual friend that she felt “ob­li­gated” to go. I started to dis­tance my­self then. I guess she fi­nally no­ticed re­cently or de­cided to pay at­ten­tion. She has been tex­ting me, ask­ing, “What is go­ing on?” We de­cided to meet for lunch, but none of this came up in con­ver­sa­tion, and she just acted as if ev­ery­thing is peachy.

In ad­di­tion to all this, there have been other in­ci­dents in which she has tried to in­volve other peo­ple and ma­nip­u­late them or try to get in­for­ma­tion from them about me.

She says she will ac­cept our friend­ship the way it is. I have in­vested a lot of time in this friend­ship, but at this point in my life, there are too many games. I want to be sur­rounded by peo­ple who are pos­i­tive in­flu­ences on me and value me. The trou­ble is that we have mu­tual friends and so­cial­ize in the same cir­cle.

Long­time Friend or Foe

Dear Friend or Foe: Though you have tried to talk things out with Marla, it doesn’t sound as if there’s been a real con­ver­sa­tion yet. You could give that one more try, di­rectly ad­dress­ing the prob­lems that have come be­tween you. But should she keep play­ing games, there would be no need for you to play along. You could con­tinue to go to mu­tual friends’ func­tions and be cor­dial to­ward her, but it would be bet­ter to keep your dis­tance emo­tion­ally. And keep in mind that just be­cause you’ve in­vested a lot of time in this fraught friend­ship does not mean you should in­vest more. No amount of time spent in a bad sit­u­a­tion in the past is rea­son to stay in it in the fu­ture.

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