Not All Women Have a Best Friend

When you put all you have into your BFF relationship and it fails, how do you move on?

Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash

In middle and high school, we are taught by other girls in life, we’re required to have a best friend. We are told that even if we do something horrible, our best friend will be by our side. A BFF is someone you can trust with all your secrets.

As adults, we cling to the myth that a female best friend is a must. We often put the female friendships over family relationships since it is such an all-important facet in our lives. We call them our unbiological sisters and we make them part of our family.

What happens when that friendship is no longer convenient?

What happens when your real family needs you? Is that BFF still a part of your family if your family changes?

I had a best friend once. We had one of those, raise our kids together, do everything together friendships. She was my soul sister. No, we were closer than sisters. There was nothing I would not have done for her. Over our thirty plus years of friendship, she had proven to be what I thought a best friend was supposed to be. She was not my spouse or lover, but she was everything else to me. She was almost my everything.

The worst possible thing happened to our friendship.

When I needed her most, she bailed on me.

I went through a divorce, one of the most stressful times of my life, without her. As I write this, I struggle to explain what happened in any cohesive way. It was like we were friends and suddenly we weren’t anymore. She just wasn’t there.

When she did finally reach out several weeks later, she asked a lot of questions.

Where was I living? What was I doing dating already? (I had just reconnected with an old friend who eventually became my new husband.) I answered her questions and told her about my new life. I attempted to share with her how happy I was. I ignored the fact she had abandoned me in my darkest hour. I pushed that aside. I told her all that was wrong with my marriage and why it was failing before it reached the divorce stage. I wanted her to be happy for me now. She of all people knew the things I had lived through. She was there, she saw it. She was my BFF after all.

When I asked her about her life and how she was, she became distant and avoided answering.

Instead, she said she wanted to tell me that my divorce was my fault.

She did what all friends claim they will never do, she took sides and not mine. She went as far as to blame my divorce on my new relationship and said, “It’s him or me. I can’t be friends with you if you stay with him.”

“What the actual hell?”

I was confused. I was jealous that she chose my ex over me. I was devastated when she asked me to chose her over my new life. I took a step back to see if I had misunderstood her. Why was she walking away and cutting me off with such a strange ultimatum? Why was she letting my decision to leave an abusive marriage, which she witnessed, and seek happiness in a new life kill our long term friendship? Needless to say, we did not speak for weeks after that.

I thought I knew her. Over the years we laughed, cried, and shared life’s milestones together. The thing that makes two people best friends isn’t how long you’ve known the person but, the fact that that person was there for you through everything and never left you. She had failed me. What I didn’t know was why.

I decided to take one last chance on our friendship.

I invited her into my apartment before I moved into a home with my fiancee. She agreed to listen and talk. I did not try to convince her that I was right nor did I justify my life decisions. They were my decisions. I explained that my life should not affect our friendship so harshly. I was willing to ignore the fact she wanted to remain friends with my ex if it meant she would still love me as a friend and like a sister. I wasn’t naive to think we could go back like it was, but I was hoping for a chance to repair what was broken and hope we could remain friends.

She sat across the table from me, rigid. Her body language screamed she was not budging on her feelings that I was wrong.

She said, “You are wrong to move on and wrong for replacing him.”

She told me that my failed marriage was all my fault, my abusive husband was clearly the victim, and I should be ashamed for not giving him another chance.

She confessed that she was spending a lot of time with my ex-husband. As it turned out, they had their first dinner date days after he and I split. He had contacted her to tell his side of the story. As a result, she decided that I was wrong. The entire time I was spilling my heartache to her, she said I was wrong. She claimed that his abuse and mistreatment of me was because I ignored him.

My response was, “Wait…what?” then I kindly asked her to leave.

Suddenly, I had a huge earth-shattering epiphany, I had been wrong, very wrong, and in a big way.

My friendship with my best friend took precedence over my marriage. I loved my best friend more. I had ignored him, because of her.

For such a long time, she had been my go-to person. She had been my confidant and my rock. I had turned to her when I needed advice or when I wanted a shoulder to commiserate with when I should have been confiding in my husband. This, in no way, excuses his abuse or actions in our marriage. Yes, there was more wrong with my marriage and it would have failed anyway, but putting so much into the relationship with my best friend didn’t help.

I am grieving the loss of her still, years later.

It is like she died, but no, she is still out there somewhere living life. I miss her. I miss the fun times. I wonder if she misses me. Was the love and joy of the friendship worth the pain after it was over? Yes. The value of that friendship, the good parts was worth it.

None of that matters. I would never be able to trust her again. She discredited our friendship. All we shared feels like a lie.

I had turned to her when I needed advice or when I wanted a shoulder to commiserate with when I should have been confiding in my husband.

Maybe you are lucky enough to have a true best friend.

I thought I was. Maybe you will never go through this kind of loss. Do yourself a favor, do not listen to the peer pressure that says you must have a female best friend if you have a vagina and a husband. I am sorry to say that for some of us, it is a risky venture to choose a person other than your spouse to confide in.

When we trust in the wrong way, it is as damaging as trusting the wrong person.

One day, I might have a female best friend again. I might not. I am leary of trusting anyone that way now. It is not necessary as a woman to have a “best” female friend. I can tell you this, I will never again put a BFF upon a pedestal of importance and a higher priority than my relationship with my husband.

If you have a spouse, trust me, make them your BFF.

Lori O’Gara

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