Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Break Up With My Friend?”

My boyfriend and I broke up last summer after six years together. We were long distance the majority of it, so I don’t have the fear of running into him randomly. He was a real jerk — cheated then lied to me — and so I’ve cut him out of my life as much as possible. I deleted my Facebook account and I also stopped contact with his parents who were shell-shocked about the breakup and reaching out to me via email, text and Words with Friends.

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.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

89 comments… add one
  • avatar

    thatgirl January 13, 2014, 9:10 am

    You already have distance. You can keep your relationship superficial, if it makes you feel better, but requesting not to hear about an ex as a condition of continuing a friendship so not unreasonable!! Just because he is a part of her life doesn’t mean she needs to share it with you. If that is all she has to talk about, then you don’t have much of a friendship anyway.

    As to being a godparent, my daughter’s godparents are out of our lives also. The Catholic Church places a great emphasis on the godparents as responsible for the child’s religious upbringing. If you aren’t Catholic, or you didn’t have much of a hand in this anyway (you do live far away), then I don’t think you need to feel guilty about this.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 9:19 am

    Haven’t read what Wendy said yet, but I’m sure a lot of DWers might think its silly or immature that she asked Kate not to discuss him. Maybe it is. But she asked her friend to do something that is quite easy for her friend to do (just not mention him, there is no need to) and Kate went ahead and told her anyway…while acknowledging LW doesn’t want to hear it. What was the point of that? Just to be an asshole? To make LW feel bad? That kind of makes me think Kate isn’t such a good friend at all.

    Re: godparents. My daughter’s hasn’t been around since basically the day she was baptised. She’s fine.

    Reply Link
    • Betsy

      FuzzyLotus January 13, 2014, 4:29 pm

      Totally agree. How hard is it to just not gossip about someone to save your friend from some real pain?

      Reply Link
  • Lindsay

    Lindsay January 13, 2014, 9:22 am

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the godmother thing. I haven’t seen mine since I was a kid, and I can’t even remember who my godfather was. I agree that talking to her again seems fruitless, but I think keeping her at arm’s length would give her the message much more clearly, in case you did choose to keep her around. I think you’d be fine to keep her or not, but don’t let yourself believe that not cutting her out is magically going to keep you from moving on. I know we all like cleanly tied-up ends, but I wouldn’t base my decision on an idea that she’s the one thing keeping you from moving on. People like to tell themselves that little things like this or unsent letters to exes are immovable obstacles to healing, but that’s only if you assign that power to it.

    Reply Link
  • BriarRose

    BriarRose January 13, 2014, 9:26 am

    As far as the godparent part, I say “eh”. Send her presents on her birthday/Christmas, and don’t worry too much about it. I was raised Catholic and rarely saw my godparents, and never thought they were there to further my religious instruction or whatever. I know that’s how the whole concept started back in the day, but it’s not that emphasized anymore. Even if you were super close with Kate, you don’t live close by to her (from what I understand) so it’s not like you’d be joining them at church every Sunday anyway.

    Wendy’s right about the rest, of course. No dramatic break up required.

    Reply Link
  • katie

    katie January 13, 2014, 9:30 am

    lol @ “reaching out through words with friends”

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Sansa January 13, 2014, 9:33 am

      LOL how does one do that? isn’t it just a game, or can you message through it? I imagine them creating words for her to guess like “EX BOYFRIEND MISSES YOU”

      Reply Link
      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 13, 2014, 9:34 am

        You can message within it.

        Link
    • Lyra

      Lyra January 13, 2014, 11:17 am

      Haha, agreed. The divorced guy still sends Words with Friends game requests to me. It’s bizarre. I haven’t seen him since early October and we don’t talk at all.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Sansa January 13, 2014, 9:31 am

    Wendy’s right, it’s going to hurt when you hear any news about him, at least for a while. Good and bad news will hurt, just hearing his name will hurt.

    I don’t see cutting the friendship off, I would just ask her again to not relay information about him to you because it hurts you.

    I have two mutual friends with my ex fiance’, and when he moved out to Colorado when we were still together, I continued to see those friends for the year, each week, every week. When the split happened, I was worried to lose them, but they handled it wonderfully. There was no mention of him for a while, when he came home for visits, they saw him without me knowing, and they still saw me each week. I still see them each week and I just met their baby yesterday. Now when I hear mention of the ex, it makes me happy to know that he’s doing well, and we talk about shared memories etc.

    Bottom line, I didn’t really have to ask them, they just knew what to do. Maybe your friend just needs to know how much it hurts you when you hear about him.

    Reply Link
  • katie

    katie January 13, 2014, 9:43 am

    ok, so, ive kind of gone through this. im still friends with my ex’s mom. and i pretty much stayed friends with her through our breakup, or at least as much as i could be, which was just emails mostly. and yes, it used to sting a tiny bit hearing about him, but… you get over that. now, i am happy to hear about him. basically, i think it would be sad and wrong for you to do some big dramatic thing, when chances are that in 6 months or so, you wont even bat an eye at hearing about him. so i say, just pull back for now, but dont “break up”. i think you will regret a “break up” over heightened, fleeting emotions, which is what you are experiencing right now.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    rachel January 13, 2014, 10:09 am

    LW, I think you should just, as Wendy mentioned, keep contact minimal for a while until you’ve calmed down. You are clearly not over what happened with your ex if you want him to be miserable, so I would wait until those feelings are less raw before making a final decision about Kate.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    sophronisba January 13, 2014, 10:11 am

    Since you gave Kate clear notice that you didn’t want to hear anything about your ex, you will have to take some responsibility for listening to what she decided to blab about him against your wishes. She gave you an opening preamble “I know you don’t want to hear this but..” so if you didn’t immediately go “LA LA LA LA Kate I told you I don’t want to hear it!” then the earful you got is on you.
    However, it sounds like you two have been more frenemies than soul mates over the years, so what exactly is it you would want to preserve?

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Kate B. January 13, 2014, 10:43 am

    I place a great emphasis on loyalty on relationships, and to me, Kate broke it when she told the LW something the LW made clear she didn’t want to hear. I can think of no other reason to bring that stuff up other than to hurt the LW. Kate sounds rather selfish. “I don’t like the restriction you put on our relationshi so I’m just going to plow ahead without any regard for your feelings.” I mean, she should have at least tried to underderstand where the LW was coming from and sympathized. This relationship doesn’t sound like it brings the LW much joy, so why preserve it?

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Shadowflash January 13, 2014, 12:53 pm

      I can think of one really, really obvious reason why Kate would bring up the ex in conversation: he’s her brother-in-law. He lives close by. Presumably, they do things together. At its most innocent, she started telling a story and then realized he was in it. However, what I got from the letter was that Kate was venting about her BIL, who it sounds like is still having relationship problems that are probably impacting the people around him. If it were me, I would want someone to talk to about it. I wouldn’t bring it up just to hurt LW (and let’s face it, if that’s what Kate wanted to do she could have done it a long time ago).

      Plus, she clearly did sympathize–for a while. Then it got to be too much and the dam just burst. It didn’t strike me as malicious; it’s a human thing.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 1:05 pm

        Does Kate have no other friends or humans that she comes in contact with that the ONLY person on the planet that she can complain to about BIL is the LW though? Idk, it seems deliberate. I became very close friends with my brother’s last girlfriend (who is now married to someone else) and as much as I never shut up about my siblings, it was extremely easy to not mention him to her while their breakup was fresh. I certainly wouldn’t be calling her even now (many years later) to tell her he has a new girlfriend.

        Link
      • avatar

        Shadowflash January 13, 2014, 1:21 pm

        And I do applaud your restraint. But I think there is a certain “forbidden fruit” aspect to it (for me there sure is). If you tell me not to think about a pink polar bear, I’m going to think about it. I can’t resist. If you tell me NOT to talk about something, my thoughts go something like:

        “Must not talk about X, LBH doesn’t like that…I can tell that new story…wait, does that story have X in it? Crap…OK, how bout that topic? No, that has X in it too…Gee, I’ve spent a lot of time with X lately…I wonder if he ever got that dog…I love dogs…Maybe I’ll get a dog…Hey, dogs are a great topic! Dogs are X free!” And before I know it, I’m telling the story of X and his potential dog. Cone of silence breached, catastrophic failure imminent.

        The point is, I don’t think it would be an issue if she hadn’t dangled the “I don’t EVER want to hear about him” taboo out there. That made it into the irresistable pink polar bear.

        Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 1:49 pm

        Hmm, ok, I could see that (the forbidden fruit/can’t help yourself thing).
        Someone mentioned that Kate and LW sounded more like frenemies to begin with. That could also be it. But yea, I can understand the forbidden fruit thing when you put it like that.

        Link
      • avatar

        Shadowflash January 13, 2014, 2:26 pm

        Honestly, if you cut through all the crap about ex’s and forbidden fruit, I think that’s exactly what this is about. LW is tired of the “enemy” part, and trying to decide if the “friend” phase is worth it. Personally, I don’t think so–but either way, I don’t think its healthy for her to dress it up as Kate being a bad friend when really it takes two to tango.

        Link
      • Kate B.

        kate B. January 13, 2014, 3:15 pm

        I just think that a grown-up person should be able to restrain themselves if saying something is going to hurt another person – irresistable or not. You don’t have to tell everyobdy everything that goes on in your life. And why bring up the fact that he is living with the other girl? there is no valid reason for it. This happened to me once. I had a really bad breakup. It was agreed by my group of friends that his name wouldn’t be mentioned in my presence, since I felt it would help me move on if I wasn’t reminded of him and what he did to me. (As if I needed reminding – yeesh.) My friends respected me enough to do that – except one. We were all having dinner some time later, and she brought up the fact that he was now married. The whole table shut down. her own husband looked at her like, “What the hell did you do that for?” I flet horrified and betrayed and my trust was broken, which has affected my relationship with her to this day. She prefaced her remarks by saying, “This may not be appropriate…” which indicates that she knew what she was going to say might hurt me. To me, there was absolutely no reason to bring it up. This was the same friend who told me she would throw him out of her house if he ever came by whether or nor I was there. So, I feel this LW’s pain.

        Link
      • avatar

        Lindsay January 13, 2014, 1:25 pm

        That doesn’t really make sense to me. The info she gave the LW, like him being sad or moving in with his girlfriend, was not the sort of info you just share with everybody about your in-laws. My cousins do stuff, but I generally see no reason to tell my friends about it. And part of being an adult is having control over your speech enough that you only share things with the right people.

        Link
      • avatar

        Lucy January 13, 2014, 3:24 pm

        I don’t buy this at all. It is really not that hard to not talk about someone, esp when you know its a tough situation. Kate sounds insensitive and self centered, esp since she tried to put it on the LW.

        Link
  • avatar

    TECH January 13, 2014, 11:21 am

    Not wanting to hear about your ex is completely reasonable. Since Kate is unwilling or unable to respect your request, I would keep contact with her pretty minimal. A Twitter message or Facebook post here or there — a text — a birthday card. You can send your god daughter cards for her birthday or holidays.
    But beyond that, don’t feel too guilty about not being involved. You live far away and life is pulling you in a different direction.
    I really think that in time, hearing about your ex won’t sting as much. That way, if he comes up in conversation, it might bother you a little bit, not nearly as much as it does now.

    Reply Link
  • kare

    kare January 13, 2014, 11:34 am

    Hmm…I guess I’m not empathetic or something because I don’t see what the big deal is. Breakups suck and hearing the details of your ex isn’t fun, but it helps in the long run. I didn’t like hearing that my ex was immediately in a relationship with the girl he cheated on me with. However, it helped me finalize the breakup. Also, I’d rather hear these things from my friend than an acquaintance. Yeah that initial blow stings, but each time gets less painful. Besides, you can’t cut off someone who isn’t privy to the relationship details with “sorry I don’t want to hear it!’. (Well you can, but unlike you’re friend, they are going to think you’re crazy).

    Reply Link
    • katie

      katie January 13, 2014, 11:58 am

      i do agree it helps in the long run… i think it forces you to face the issue (the breakup) instead of putting your fingers in your ears and going “la la la la la”.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Lucy January 13, 2014, 3:27 pm

      So if you don’t agree with your friend’s wishes to not be told certain things, that makes it ok to to just disregard them?

      Reply Link
      • kare

        kare January 13, 2014, 7:51 pm

        I’m not saying her friend is right to do that, but I don’t think it’s worth ending a friendship over. It happens. People say things that others don’t want to hear. Life goes on. I feel like she is taking out the hurt and anger from her ex out on her friend. From the letter, it doesn’t sound like the friend is trying to hurt the LW or comes from a bad place. It would be different if the friend was like “oh I saw so and so and he looks sooooo great His new gf is so friendly!” etc.

        Link
  • avatar

    blink14 January 13, 2014, 12:00 pm

    I think the biggest thing here to consider is how seriously the LW’s godparent role is to be taken. Are Kate and her family very religious? I get the sense, given the age of the baptism (unless it was a typo, the daughter is 4 years old), that the family could have either recently become more involved with religion or they belong to a denomination that baptizes at an older age. If they do take the role of godparent very seriously, then I think the LW does have a responsibility to live up to that expectations of that role.

    If the godparent role is more of an honorary title, in my experience you still can be involved in the child’s life – birthday and Christmas cards/presents, etc, but in a more passive way. My godmother I have not seen or heard from in many years, and my godfather is a family member, but there still is the knowledge of who my godparents are, which, if this girl is 4 years old, she definitely is aware that the LW has been given a role in her life.

    LW, don’t abandon your friend and your goddaughter just yet. Its unfortunate, but Kate’s brother-in-law is your ex, but if you want to maintain a relationship with Kate and your goddaughter, you are really going to have to suck it up and move on, which you’d have to do regardless. It’s probably just as awkward for Kate, given its her BIL and her daughter’s uncle and godfather.

    Maybe take a time out, and give yourself a month or so to really think about what you want from those relationships in the long term. You can still be a friend to Kate and a godparent without having to drag in a ton of drama.

    Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark January 13, 2014, 12:05 pm

    I disagree with Wendy and pretty much everybody else — except Kare. If you can’t handle hearing about your ex — you simply weren’t emotionally mature enough to be dating to begin with. LW, grow the fuck up . If not for the details of brother-in-law, six year relationship, sexual infidility, being a god parent etc — I’d swear the LW was all of twelve years old…

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Lily in NYC January 13, 2014, 12:24 pm

      Well, I guess hell has frozen over because I agree with you completely. This guy is her BIL and I think it’s pretty unfair to expect a complete cone of silence. It would be one thing if she were being heartless and constantly updating you or commenting about how much better off the ex is now, but I don’t think that’s the case here.

      Reply Link
    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 13, 2014, 12:30 pm

      Yeah, ending a friendship because she dared to mention your ex – who happens to be her brother-in-law!! – sounds insane to me.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Shadowflash January 13, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Weirdly, I am kind of in agreement with BGM (but only kind of). I’m a believer in making your discomfort known and talking things out, so I think it’s perfectly acceptable for LW to say “Look, ex-LW is still a sensitive subject for me.” But I also think that mature adults can handle uncomfortable and/or sensitive conversation topics without throwing a friendship-ending tantrum. If LW has already made her discomfort known and Kate keeps talking (let’s also bear in mind that Kate only gave in and talked about him ONE TIME–it’s not like she sends a weekly memo), then LW needs to put on her big girl panties and deal. If that one conversation was really that traumatic an experience, LW, then maybe you should take a few steps back from the friendship; not because Kate is dysfunctional friend, but because you are. At least until you find the closure you are looking for.

    Reply Link
    • Miss MJ

      Miss MJ January 13, 2014, 2:04 pm

      “If that one conversation was really that traumatic an experience, LW, then maybe you should take a few steps back from the friendship; not because Kate is dysfunctional friend, but because you are. At least until you find the closure you are looking for.”

      This is the crux of it for me. I don’t know why the LW’s friend said whatever about the ex, or whether it was appropriate or a breach of the LW’s reasonable boundaries, but clearly the LW isn’t in a place to be friends with people who are still close with and related to her ex. So, don’t, LW. Be a twitter and facebook friend for awhile until you work out your issues regarding your ex. But, while it’s okay to pull back a bit, don’t actively blow up your friendship over this. Your issue is with your ex, not your friend.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 12:54 pm

    Agree its dramatic to not be able to hear about him but I assume its just fresh still. Putting that aside, what the fuck is so hard about not mentioning your BIL in a phone call to your friend? Do people talk about their BILs that much that he can’t go unmentioned. sounds like Kate enjoys telling LW just to upset her.

    Reply Link
    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark January 13, 2014, 1:03 pm

      To me its more of an ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM thing. It’s been — what? Six flipping months since the break up? It’s NOT like Katie gushed and gloated that her brother-in-law is leading the perfect life. Its been several FUCKING seasons already. For the LW to still be THIS fragile? Eh, she must simply be a real mess.

      Reply Link
      • katie

        katie January 13, 2014, 1:05 pm

        oh i just glossed over this part!

        geez yea, this is an issue. LW, you are not able to just hear about him after 6 months? something is kind of off there, i think…

        Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 1:08 pm

        Listen, I don’t disagree that its dramatic/she’s fragile/mess, etc. (and I didn’t realize it was 6 months)…BUT STILL how fucking hard is it not to mention someone? Unless Kate said you need to get over this LW and I’m going to help by talking about him all the time, I see no reason why Kate is so lacking in self control that she couldn’t just stfu about him when talking to HER FRIEND.

        Link
      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 13, 2014, 1:17 pm

        So, she fucked up. Is it really worth ending the friendship over?

        Link
      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark January 13, 2014, 1:18 pm

        It was ONE time. After six fucking months. Maybe Katie simply feels that since HE has moved on, she should as well. Especially since, well… Clearly, the LW had not.

        Link
      • avatar

        Lucy January 13, 2014, 3:32 pm

        It was one time, but the way it’s related makes it sound intentional on Kate’s part. Which is just mean and unnecessary.

        I am not in general a sensitive person, but I have an ex of 13 years that I still don’t want mentioned around me, because his behavior toward me was so egregiously awful. Anyone who brings him up gets The Look. I don’t want to discuss him anymore that I want to discuss a sociopath I didn’t make the error of dating.

        Link
      • avatar

        rachel January 13, 2014, 1:24 pm

        Eh, I dunno, I feel like the LW is probably exaggerating just how much was said. I sort of doubt that Kate just went off rambling about him and his life. Maybe she had had an argument with him and blew off a bit of steam, and in doing so mentioned something like “oh and he’s been super pissy lately since he moved in with that new girl”.

        Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 1:46 pm

        You’re probably right. And maybe I’m over cautious, but if I knew my friend was unstable about an ex, the last thing I would accidentally mention is how he just moved in with the girl he cheated on her with. If Kate just said it to help the LW, Kate should’ve mentioned that (and maybe she did, who knows?).

        Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 1:44 pm

        I don’t think its worth ending the friendship, and I’m not saying she’s evil or anything, its just weird to me she can’t control herself to not mention him. Because of that, I think its deliberate. If my friend told me never to tell her about cream cheese, I’d think she’s nuts, but I’d also find it easy to never mention it either.
        Thinking all of that has nothing to do with what I think about the LW, as I’ve said, over and over Mark. I agree with you that LW needs to get over it.

        Link
      • kare

        kare January 13, 2014, 8:03 pm

        Idk, it was recently the holidays. She probably said something like “Husband, daughter, BIL, other relatives did whatever thing” for Christmas. Then thought “oh shit, I brought up the BIL”. So she explained “Well BIL is miserable!” Then it was probably super awkward and she just kept talking the whole time thinking “omg I should just shut up”.

        Link
      • ApresMoi

        ApresMoi January 13, 2014, 5:54 pm

        Why do you, or anyone on here get to judge how long is long enough to heal after a break up? Everyone deals with life in a different way, and maybe not knowing what her ex and his new gf are up to is what is helping this LW move on. It’s really not that hard to keep your mouth shut about someone, if you know your friend would really rather not hear about it.

        LW, its fine to just distance your self for a time if that’s what you need and re-evaluate this friendship and your relationship with his family as you go.

        Link
    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl January 13, 2014, 1:21 pm

      I agree. Even if BGM’s idea that the friend is trying to encourage her to move on (by talking about the ex) there are WAY more productive ways to do that. It’s a pretty dick move of a super close friend.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    HmC January 13, 2014, 12:57 pm

    You don’t really owe anybody friendship do you? I mean, if you don’t want to be friends with someone, that’s reason enough not to, whether or not you’re being “fair”.

    Reply Link
  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl January 13, 2014, 1:11 pm

    Test.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Riefer January 13, 2014, 1:11 pm

    To answer the godparent question:

    I rarely, if ever, saw my godparents when I was a kid. Didn’t matter. The only thing that kind of sucked is that of the 5 kids in my family, 3 had godparents on my mom’s side and 2 had my dad’s side, and we weren’t close to my dad’s side. So the ones who had godparents on my mom’s side got extra gifts and attention that we didn’t get, which made the other two of us jealous. But, whatever. Looking back it doesn’t make a difference at all. The only way I can really see it mattering is if it’s a family that’s super-religious, and they expect you to help teach the kid about religion. Doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    MsMisery January 13, 2014, 1:15 pm

    I wonder if the Friend made the LW the godmother *only* because she was dating the brother-in-law/godfather and thought the relationship was more serious. Then BAM, ceremony comes along and they break up. Kinda too late to take it back at that point.

    LW, since your issues go deeper than the ex, just do the fade-out. You don’t have to be super-close or deep when you talk, or talk often. You can send your godchild birthday/xmas gifts. (I don’t even know who my godparents ARE, and I was raised Catholic, so there are varying degrees on how important this relationship is). There WILL come a time when hearing about the ex won’t hurt. Hell, there will probably come a time when your friend gets divorced (statistically speaking) then you can trash the brothers together. If that time comes, she’s still in your life.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Re the godparent thing.
    I’m Catholic (not super religious though) and my daughter was baptised. Her godmother hasn’t seen her since the day she was baptised. Its fine. I guess I could always pick a new one, but I think its pointless. Kind of has turned into an honorary thing.

    Reply Link
  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth January 13, 2014, 2:02 pm

    I have a friend who stays in contact with the person I was dating when I found out I was pregnant. He has said some really horrible things to me since we broke up, a lot of it the evening I got home from the hospital after my daughter was born. My friend also complains about the stuff he posts on facebook. I showed her the texts and emails he sent me, and to her, I guess they weren’t big enough of a deal. I just have been slowly minimizing contact with her over the last year, especially as my life moves on and I am processing more and more of the last couple years.

    As for the godparent thing, I think it is just more of a figurehead then anything else. If you want to keep in touch for just that, then do it. If not, I don’t think it will be horrible of you.

    Reply Link
    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark January 13, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Um, exactly what has SHE done that is so terrible?

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        MMcG January 13, 2014, 3:23 pm

        Answer: complain about someone you’ve already asked not to talk about.

        It’s one thing if it comes up in conversation like me, husband, friend, and ex went to a concert together or there was a family event and the BIL was referenced as attending – quite another to be complaining to someone that you already know doesn’t want to hear it (for whatever reason).

        how hard is it to just STFU when your friend asks you to? It’s not about being fragile or not being mature enough to be in a relationship – I used to date a coworker and when we broke up people kept updating me with what he was doing until I asked them to stop. Initially it was because it hurt, eventually it was because I didn’t care. But regardless of the reason, if someone I was close to asked me to not share details of someone else’s life, I wouldn’t (maybe they are an ex, maybe they are pregnant and I miscarried, maybe they are getting married and I just ended my engagement, maybe I just don’t like them anymore because they are shitty people and I don’t want to waste time on them), it’s really not that hard. and if it is that hard (say the person is your spouse) then it’s up to the friend to say – I can’t do that for you, sorry – not to just ignore it and then rub it in your face when speaking. “I know you don’t want to know BUT….” is such passive aggressive BS.

        Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 3:25 pm

        Its not equal to poisoning someone or something totally evil and terrible, but yea, she did something she was specifically asked not to do by her friend. She went out of her way to do it. If I asked my close friend not to do something to me and she did it anyway, because she just couldn’t help herself, I’d be ticked too.

        Link
  • sobriquet

    sobriquet January 13, 2014, 3:12 pm

    It’s really not hard to *not* talk about someone. Really. Two stories:

    When my ex assaulted me, my best friend was justifiably very angry for me. Several months after it happened, she brought up something he’d posted on Instagram that pissed her off- and would have made me livid, too, had I still been in the angry phase- but I just calmly told her “yeah, I just don’t want to hear about it, I don’t want him to affect my life anymore” and she agreed and that was that. While I moved through all the stages of denial, sadness, anger, etc, etc, she stays perpetually in the anger stage.

    Story 2: I used to live with my soon-to-be brother and sister-in-law and much drama ensued during the living arrangement, so whenever we moved out I asked my fiancé to withhold talking about them for a month or two. And he did! He understood that I needed space from them (physically and mentally) to move on. My fiancé owns a business with his brother and therefore could have pulled the “restrictive” bullshit Kate pulled, but really, it’s not hard to abstain from talking about someone. You just talk about other things instead.

    So, why do you think Kate feels a need to talk about your ex? Is she angry for you, like my best friend was angry about my ex? Did the conversation go something like, “I know you don’t wanna hear this, but that miserable asshole had the GALL to move in with cheaty pants! I’m so angry about this!” ? Because if you think she’s just angry for you, realize that she does not get the opportunity to simply disconnect him from her life. She has to see him and hear about him on a regular basis. If my ex was related to my best friend, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which she wouldn’t chop off his balls and then tell me all about it. Kate is probably in the unfortunate predicament of being actively involved in your ex’s life through her husband, but having no one to vent to about it. Her husband doesn’t want to hear that she thinks his brother is a lying, cheating asshole, you know?

    BUT, if you don’t think she’s angry for you and instead is just gossipy or lacks any kind of filter or worse: is happy that you’re miserable, then I would simply keep my distance. If this is the case, talking to her won’t help. Telling her you’re cutting her off could send her on a gossiping spree around your ex. Just limit contact. Of course, you mention that there have been other issues with Kate that contribute to the problem. Jealousy issues, issues before your ex and about your ex. Do you think Kate has your best interest in mind? Do you think she legitimately wants you to be happy, even if that means you end up in a better circumstance than her? If the answer is, “no” or “I’m not sure” then this is probably a toxic friendship that has run its course.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 3:27 pm

      I like this excuse…that’s she’s angry for her and sharing that. I wonder if its the case here.
      But I totally disagree its hard to not talk about someone.

      Reply Link
      • sobriquet

        sobriquet January 13, 2014, 3:57 pm

        It just takes active thought and a little self-control. We filter our words all the time, every day. I think it’s normal and fine that Kate told LW about her ex- I think that happens all the time- but the problem was that LW asked her not to and she did it anyway while lambasting the LW for restricting the content of their discussions. I think that’s the core of the issue.

        Link
    • avatar

      Shadowflash January 13, 2014, 3:51 pm

      OK, seriously? Am I the only one this happens to?

      I’m a talker. A let’s-eat-ice-cream-and-talk-about-our-feelings, armchair psychologist, overanalyzer. Generally, I say what I mean and what I’m feeling when I’m feeling it. It’s one thing to ask me to restrain myself in limited ways–for a short period of time, or just around you (assuming we’re not joined at the hip). I’m an adult and I can respect other people’s feelings. And I put a LOT of effort into not making this all about my need to hear myself talk.

      But: Accidents. Happen. It may not be hard at any point in time to not talk about something, but to keep it under wraps for the rest of your natural life? Really? That’s not hard?

      I tell a story and the dreaded X is in it. We’re gossiping and I say “OMG did you hear so-and-so is engaged?!” and it’s out before I remember that you dated him in college and it might be weird. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named pisses me off so badly that I rant about him to the first person I meet, even if it’s you. Asking me to refrain from something forever and ever until the sky falls down is unreasonable, not because I am unwilling to try but because I am human and sometimes I speak without thinking. I can’t imagine a zero-tolerance friendship, and frankly I’d rather have an imperfect friend who will forgive me for one screwup than a perfect friend who won’t.

      Kate’s not the perfect friend here, but I really think they both have to give a little for this to not end badly.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 4:03 pm

        I don’t think Kate was expected to never mention his name until the end of eternity.
        But anyway, it wasn’t an accident. She prefaced the comment by acknowledging LW doesn’t want to hear about him.

        Link
      • avatar

        Shadowflash January 13, 2014, 4:04 pm

        Sorry for the rant, verbal boundaries are a sore spot for me. There are lots of people in my circles who expect me to adhere to their requests to drop or not talk about something, but they don’t seem to have much regard for mine. I get over-zealous sometimes trying to look at it from both sides.

        Link
      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 13, 2014, 4:12 pm

        I hear what you’re saying (I also read a bunch of your comments above), but I don’t think Sobriquet is disagreeing with the idea that people sometimes blurt things out or that LW should definitely cut her friend off.

        I think what she’s suggesting (and I agree with it) is that LW should ask herself whether her issue with her friend is more than just this one time offense and this is the straw the broke the camel’s back OR is LW sensitive to the issue of her ex and thus blowing this one time offense out of proportion. I think that’s a pretty good point and it’s something only the LW can answer.

        Link
      • sobriquet

        sobriquet January 13, 2014, 4:13 pm

        I totally agree that slip up’s and faux pas happen all the time. Allll the time. On Saturday my fiance and I finished this 50 Beers list at our neighborhood bar and now we get to decorate some wooden planks to nail to the wall of the bar and I’m stupidly excited about it. I accidentally mentioned this to my alcoholic friend who recently started AA and I felt like such an asshole afterward. Many will say that it was my right to talk about something I was excited about, sure, that I shouldn’t have to filter myself around my friend, fine, but I care more about not hurting my friends, you know? So, it happens, of course, all the time. But that’s not what happened to the LW.

        Link
      • katie

        katie January 13, 2014, 4:23 pm

        im pretty sure im you, haha

        i just say stuff, i dont really think about it beforehand. i would be terrible at the “dont tell me *anything* about so-and-so” game.

        Link
    • avatar

      ktfran January 13, 2014, 4:33 pm

      I like this response. A lot. I think, really, the LW needs to figure out why Kate told her about the ex. If it was done maliciously, then by all means, pull a friend fade out. Or remain friends but limit contact because of your godchild.

      If the LW wanted to share a story about ex for some other ridiculous reason, like if she was venting, then I would honestly give her a pass.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Lucy January 13, 2014, 3:40 pm

    So, I don’t think you end a friendship over one transgression, unless it’s major. And even though this seems insensitive and self centered of Kate, it was one time. Other than that it sounds like she’s respected your wishes.

    But if you want to distance yourself from her a bit because of all the other issues, don’t talk yourself out of it because of the godmother thing. Relationships change. You don’t owe her a lifetime friendship commitment.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Laura Hope January 13, 2014, 5:00 pm

    I don’t know. This breakup is still very raw and if I asked my friends not to talk about my ex to me, they would be sensitive enough not to. Hell, if I had a fight with one of my brothers and asked the other one not to talk to me about him, he wouldn’t. It’s not that hard. I can’t help wondering why Kate feels the need to rub it in your face. Passive/aggressive?

    Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark January 13, 2014, 5:02 pm

    Good grief. That so many of you simply can’t even bear to hear the names of exes and what-not certainly clears up my thinking on overall (im)maturity of the board lately. Fragile and petty much? Um, apparently — yes.

    Reply Link
    • dabbler

      dabbler January 13, 2014, 5:11 pm

      It’s one thing to not be able to hear their name in passing, “I ran into so-and-so at the grocery store,” and another to not want to hear the blow by blow of what and who they’re doing, you know?

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 5:12 pm

        or that they just moved in with the girl he cheated with. That’s gotta sting!

        Link
      • kare

        kare January 13, 2014, 8:12 pm

        That happened to me. I was at dinner right around Christmas with a friend and she accidentally said something about my ex living in my city (I thought he was still living in our hometown an hour away). So I found out he was living in my city with the girl he cheated on me with…who happened to be one of my bullies in high school. She felt bad that I didn’t know, but whatever. It hurt, but then I just kept telling myself that living well is the best revenge.

        For the first 9 months after my ex and I broke up, I could not escape the details. Anytime I ran into someone that knew us, they’d either be in the “omg he’s such a douchebag, this is how he’s currently failing at life” camp or the “he’s so much better now without you” camp. Neither one was much fun, but in hindsight I’m glad the bandage was ripped off versus me ignoring the wound and expecting it to heal.

        Link
      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix January 14, 2014, 12:32 am

        Except you have no idea how the wound would have healed alternatively though. For all you know, not hearing about your ex could have put you in a better place much quicker.

        Link
    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 5:11 pm

      I don’t think anyone said she was handling the break up well or that its super normal to still be so upset after 6 months that you can’t hear that name. More like everyone saying that aside from that, the friend should’ve just not mentioned it since she was specifically asked not to.

      Reply Link
      • dabbler

        dabbler January 13, 2014, 7:34 pm

        right? it just reopens the wound.

        …oops, that was supposed to be reply to your comment above.

        Link
    • avatar

      Sansa January 13, 2014, 9:38 pm

      I couldn’t hear updates on my ex fiancé for a bit because it hurt so badly that I wasn’t with him and that he walked away from me. We were supposed to get married and all of that jazz. Not sure how long it took me to get past the sting of hearing about him, but now I bring him up in conversation about shared memories with friends without batting an eye. I also know that he is doing well and I’m happy about that. Wanting them to be well is not only a sign of maturity, but it is also a sign that you have moved on and that you truly loved them.

      LW states that she was happy that her ex wasn’t doing well, so clearly she’s not over the split. Even if it was six months ago

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    LW January 13, 2014, 5:03 pm

    Just to clarify a few things…there were pockets of times Kate would try and mention my ex here and there, and she herself would stop herself and say “oh, you don’t want to hear it” over the last 6 months. And the reason it was harder was because his parents were still reaching out to me and trying hard to tell me how sorry they were, etc, about him the breakup, how they loved me, it was overwhelming.
    The points I mentioned that came up in the conversation were only a couple moments of what felt like a tirade that I did allow initially. She started with “I know you don’t wanna hear” and feeling guilty that I had put that restriction, I decided to lift it a little. As she kept going I was just left speechless and increasingly uncomfortable, and HURT. She said lots of stuff, in one breath that she hated the new girl,. in the next how much she “Favors” me. It was overwhelming and maybe I am a bit fragile still, but considering that only one month before the breakup we’d been discussing my moving out there and living with him, only to be hit with the fact that he’s now living with someone else in the timeline I’d envisioned we’d be in the same house, it just felt like a battering ram to the gut. And she just kept TALKING even though she’s say things like “I know you don’t want to talk about this” In being able to process it later it felt so insensitive.
    As for the frenemy comments, yes we did fall into those modes every now and again.
    As for the religious component of the Godmother title, it is more honorary than anything.

    Reply Link
    • Miss MJ

      Miss MJ January 13, 2014, 5:31 pm

      I think you may be taking your anger and hurt at how your relationship ended and your ex’s subsequent actions out on your friend because she’s the available target. Maybe she said too much, but you did let the conversation start and it doesn’t sound like you ever stopped it. Now is the time to really take a step back from everyone who is related to your ex for awhile. It sounds like you’re still pretty entwined with them – his parents reach out to you, his sister-in-law is your good friend, etc. You need to take some space to NOT be a part of this family and heal and move on from this guy. And that’s fine. But that’s also not Kate’s fault, you know?

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 13, 2014, 5:39 pm

      It sounds like she thought she’d make you feel better by saying she hates the new girl and favors you. Otherwise, wMissMJs.
      Good luck!

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        LW January 14, 2014, 1:31 pm

        no she meant to say that the new girl “favors me” – that she is a lot like me, but she (Kate) hates her. That was weird to understand and digest.

        Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 14, 2014, 1:37 pm

        Huh? Kate said the new girl is a lot like you, but Kate doesn’t like her, but she’s just like you, who Kate does like. Yea, hard to digest!

        Link
    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark January 13, 2014, 6:02 pm

      Okay, now I don’t get the whole ex parent drama thing. They were reaching out to you? So? How nice of them, actually. Here is what you say to them.

      “Thank you so much for your kind words. I enjoyed getting to know you all and wish things had ended differently. But right now it is all too fresh and painful for me to have ongoing contact with you. Thank you for respecting my feelings about this. I wish you all the best…”

      There is no need for silly angst and deleting your entire account. To be blunt — those actions only succeed in making you look crazy…

      Reply Link
      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ January 13, 2014, 6:14 pm

        Mark, I hear you here, but, it seems like a big part of the reason the LW hasn’t moved on and started the getting over it process is because she’s still immeshed in the situation. There’s been no real break here, on her end. So, if the social media accounts are part of the problem, i.e., keeping her connected to a family and people she needs to let go of (at least for the time being) so that she can move on from this guy, then delete, delete, delete! Sometimes, it’s good to be the bigger person and maintain the friendships you have with an ex and/or his or her family. But, when you’re too hurt to do that properly, it’s also okay to distance yourself for awhile, lest you do slide over the line into crazy. And, the LW doesn’t seem like she’s in a place to maintain those ties beyond perhaps the most superficial level, if that, right now. The fact that she seems to be focusing her anger and hurt on her friend because her friend’s conversation about the ex hit some nerves is a pretty clear indicator that she needs a real break. Better to step back than blow up at and hurt a friend because she’s there to hurt and the LW’s ex isn’t.

        Link
    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster January 13, 2014, 6:30 pm

      I wasn’t going to comment because I thought I’d get caught up in a bunch of circular and pointless debates. But since you’ve popped up, this is my take on your letter and some of the comments.

      I think your friend violated your clear and explicit boundaries and that’s not okay and there’s nothing fragile, immature, or out of the ordinary about the fact that it upset you. You allowing her to tell you these things does not invalidate those feelings either. You don’t sound fragile to me. You sound like you’re trying to protect yourself, which is healthy. And six months after such a long and serious relationship, it’s still completely normal to not want to know about your ex’s life if that’s helpful to you. No one gets to decide how to process your breakup, but you.

      As for Kate. It sounds like she is being angry for you, as Sobriquet suggested. And as I said above, I think you have to ask yourself whether you are overreacting for any reason or if this is just one strike too many when it comes to Kate. Honestly? It sounds like a combination of both. My advice is the same as many people have already suggested: keep it arms’ length for now. Time and distance truly might be all you need to gain some perspective to see where Kate is coming from and whether this is just a small issue, or a symptom of a larger problem with your friendship.

      I went through a very similar situation a little more than a year ago. I put the friend at arms’ length until I was at a place where I could process the magnitude of her violation of boundaries and trust and whether or not there was a pattern of this behavior prior to the end of my LTR. The outcome was that our friendship changed drastically, but it’s a much healthier friendship, and I’m glad I didn’t cut her out completely. Like you, I considered it when the wound was fresh.

      So that’s my advice: take a deep breath, take some space from your friendship without being dramatic about it, be gentle with yourself, and don’t cut the friend out of your life without taking some time first.

      And just to reiterate: you are not fucking fragile for being hurt by this! What in the high and mighty horse shit, DW commenters!

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        SasLinna January 13, 2014, 6:35 pm

        Yeah, now people are too fragile if they draw some boundaries with friends and aren’t completely over an ex within 6 months. What? Not talking about a recent ex is called considerate, and if the person asks for it, it’s mandatory. There’s simply no reason that Kate had to mention him.

        Link
      • avatar

        Kaluu January 13, 2014, 7:44 pm

        Yeah i really Agree. It’s just considerate. It’s what we should all do even of 90% of people don’t care about their ex being mentioned. I think it’s just a nicer more refined way to act, holding back and controlling what you say, yes, being considerate..
        Moving forward, I don’t think Kate’s perfect but she doesn’t seem totally terrible, no need to break up but avoid all you want. Personally I would want to see her kid now and then and send a little bday gift (and Xmas?) every year. If that doesn’t feel right to you I think that’s fine but again, no need to formally break up with Kate ! I would never formally end things unless the other person was terrible and i wanted to make it clear hOw much I hated them, or if they were constantly annoying me/bombardig me with contact.
        Good riddance to the miserable cheating impulsive loser. Better luck next time 🙂

        Link
      • avatar

        LW January 14, 2014, 1:42 pm

        Thanks….I wasn’t feeling “fragile” for asking for boundaries. I told all my friends I didn’t really want to discuss the issues when the breakup happened and everyone was respectful. The first couple of months were the worst between his parents, not just reaching out to keep in touch but constantly talking to me about their son and his mistakes, etc, so it didn’t feel like support as like me being their sounding board for disagreeing with what he’d done (and I think for his mom, guilt that he had cheated as she was always one to proclaim “my sons are amazing and they would never cheat – OFTEN said this). Plus I had to go thru significant dates on the calendar, like our anniversary, then the holidays. It was rough, but i wasn’t broken down crying or immobile, just quiet, reflective and trying to get at the heart of what I needed/need to do for myself to get in a healthier relationship going forward.
        It isn’t as though I can’t talk about my ex, I prefer not to, and I prefer not to know how his life is, nor he mine. It’s over, and I don’t see the point esp where it still incites an emotional reaction, however minor, or major.

        Link
  • Fabelle

    Fabelle January 13, 2014, 8:06 pm

    So I’m mad late to this, but reading the comments— I don’t think LW was thinking of cutting off her friend BECAUSE she mentioned the ex, necessarily; I just think the friend’s mentioning of the ex sort of ~reminded~ LW how enmeshed Friend is in Ex’s life. And maybe that realization means they can’t be as close anymore. To me, it’s not about cutting a friend off because of one transgression—it’s about how the “transgression” opened a window, & now the LW can see out of it & is looking at all this shit she doesn’t wanna see (terrible metaphor, but forgive me guys)

    Reply Link
    • kare

      kare January 13, 2014, 8:15 pm

      …that makes a lot more sense. I didn’t read it like that, but Mondays with no caffeine isn’t my best time to test my reading comprehension.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      LW January 14, 2014, 1:34 pm

      Fabelle,
      This is a big part of it. I realized no matter what he is a huge part of her life, and I’m dispensable (not that she wants to dispose me, but I can dispose myself, if that makes sense). I’m not necessarily connected to her by relation the way he is.
      Another part of it is boundary issues she and I have had in the past, and those feelings emerging as well.
      I think I’ll do WWS and many others, keep at arm’s length without having to discuss and cut her out entirely, and let time and everything do what it needs too.

      Reply Link

Leave a Comment