I met my ex at my friend “Kate’s” wedding when she married his brother. A couple of years ago she, her husband and their daughter moved away — about 30 minutes from my ex. Over the years, she and I have had our own struggles with our friendship, but when the breakup happened, she and I were in a good place — so good, in fact, that she had just made me the Godmother to her 4-year-old daughter (my ex is the Godfather). The breakup officially happened when I was out there for the ceremony.
Initially, Kate was really delicate and understanding about the breakup. I asked her to not tell me anything about my ex, and she was great about it until a week before Christmas when she unloaded on me all this information about him and his life. While some of it was good to hear (like he’s miserable) there were things that hit me hard (he moved in with the girl he cheated with). I was thrown for a loop and practically hung up on her. I then called her back to apologize for hanging up, and I also apologized for having put “restrictions” on our friendship and what we could talk about – something she had said before unloading all the info on me.
I haven’t spoken to her since then except for some Twitter and text messages back and forth. I feel hurt and betrayed to a certain degree. I understand that, no matter what, my ex is a big part of her life being her brother-in-law. I’m struggling with completely cutting off the friendship, which one of my friends says is unfair since she was my friend before my ex was in my life. But I go back over the years and all the issues she and I have had independent of him, and involving him, and I don’t know that I want to preserve it. We’ve had jealousy issues on both sides and, as in most relationships, we’ve had ebbs and flows. I have found myself confiding in her less and less over time, and, though we sometimes scratch below the surface when we connect, I ultimately find myself not wanting to fully share, especially now that I don’t want anything to do with my ex and don’t want him really knowing about my life now.
I feel selfish wanting to move on. Plus, there’s the issue that I’m her daughter’s godmother, and how shitty should I be to bow out from that? Is it fair to cut her out of my life? Should I talk to Kate about all this? I thought I had made it clear that I was cutting off everything but her when it came to him, and then the request that she not tell me anything about him, which I think sat/sits badly on her. Truth is, I’m angry at her for doing that; even as she kept talking, she made “I know you don’t wanna hear this” type of comments. I’m feeling in a good place emotionally and mentally from the breakup except for this, which feels unfinished and. I’m thinking, might be keeping me back from fully healing. — Trying to Move On
I guess it all depends on how close you are/ have been to Kate — presumably very close if she made you her daughter’s godmother — and whether you’re willing to risk cutting her out of your life forever. I think it could be easy enough given the physical distance between you and the current state of your communication to just continue keeping in touch only very minimally for a while (or forever) — a few texts or Twitter messages here and there. Over time, you’re going to heal from your breakup and won’t feel as raw and as sensitive to potential news about him. Eventually, you will probably even be in a place that if Kate did happen to mention your ex, her brother-in-law, you wouldn’t even flinch.
But for the time being, you aren’t in that place and any mention of him, particularly by Kate, is going to sting a little. So you can talk to Kate about it again although, if your talking to her already didn’t do much to discourage her, then I’m not sure talking to her again, this time more urgently, is going to be any better. She already knows you don’t want to hear about your ex. But for some reason, she just can’t help herself from sharing. Your talking to her will likely only result in a deeper wedge between you. I doubt it’s going to make YOU feel any better. And what’s the point in a deeper wedge between you? What’s the point in officially “breaking up” with Kate, for that matter?
If what you want is distance from Kate, you already have that. You can easily just taper off your communication even more until you’re barely in touch at all so that you, in effect, end the friendship or at least put it on pause without some dramatic breakup or confrontation. Then, she’s just always there if you ever want to re-establish connection. Or not.
As for her daughter, your goddaughter, I will defer to readers as I’m not so up on godparent relationships. My feeling is that it’s just sort of an honorary title and no one really expects a godparent to, like, be actively involved in a kids’ life simply because he or she is a godparent (although, of course, it’s nice if a godparent IS involved, especially if he or she retains a close relationship to the child’s parent/s, but that’s just not the reality much of the time). Bottom line: your goddaughter will be fine without your presence in her life. But it also wouldn’t take much effort to send a card and/or small gift on her birthday or at Christmas if you wanted to. It could also be an easy way to sort of stay connected to Kate without having to actually, you know, connect with her.
In the end, friendships change and shift and fade away. Being someone’s bridesmaid or being named a godparent or getting introduced to your future spouse by a friend doesn’t mean you have to stay close friends forever. Life happens. It pulls people in different directions, and keeping in touch — especially across many miles, but even locally — takes work and time. If you aren’t getting anything out of the friendship anymore — or worse, if the friendship actually makes you feel bad — there’s no shame in just letting it run its course. No big breakup required (usually). And if you don’t want to lose touch completely, that’s what holiday cards are for or Facebook or random texts or Twitter messages now and then. Because as much as life pulls us in different directions, there are always paths back to each other if we decide that’s what we want.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.