It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss dating before a divorce is finalized and how to deal with toxic friends.
I have been friends with “Jessica” since elementary school — 16 years and counting. However, I’m beginning to realize that as much as I value the history and shared memories of our friendship, she hasn’t really been all that great of a friend to me, especially in the last few years. She’s really harsh with words and her only response when I got engaged last year was a running list of complaints about how she isn’t engaged yet. Then, this past summer when I found out I was losing my job due to some really shady actions by my boss, had a close family member diagnosed with cancer and was having a minor meltdown, her response was “at least you’re engaged.” While I do love my fiancé dearly, I think there is more to my life, such as a career and family, and I guess I expected more support from one of my oldest friends.
Needless to say, my patience with her started to wear thin this past year. I made one last ditch effort, and vowed to be the best friend that I could be to her, thinking maybe because I wrapped up in all of the problems in my life and was neglecting her, she was acting this way. That plan crashed and burned. She continued to make it hard to be friends with her, even claiming that it was partially my fault she forgot a mutual friend’s birthday. All my frustration built up until one night I had one too many drinks and sent a mean text message to her, which I profusely apologized for the next day and explained that I had been hurt by her actions recently and sick of the way I was being treated. She responded that I needed to give up my “fairy tale” like images of friendships and grow up.
At this point, I would really like to cool off from our friendship or end it altogether, but there’s a big problem — she’s supposed to be in my wedding that’s quickly approaching. I am not someone who likes drama, so for the sake of everyone else in the wedding party, I would to include her as long as she’s still willing to be a part of it (although she hasn’t really contacted me or answered my texts/call since the fight, so it’s still up in the air). Then, after the wedding’s over, back off from our friendship. I really don’t know if that would be the right thing to do and I could really, truly use an outsider’s advice on this topic. — Bridal Party Woes
If you’ve already decided the friendship is over and she’s obviously got issues with you, why on earth would you want her in your wedding? Only have her in the wedding if you want to try to work on your friendship, and if you do, reach out to her and do just that — work on it. If you’re truly over it, then release her from the duty of being a bridesmaid, wish her well and be glad you don’t have to deal with her self-pitying drama.
Express your feelings but explain that you aren’t interested in acting on those feelings until your divorce is finalized. In the meantime, his friendship means so much to you and you hope he will find it in his heart to wait until you are emotionally available, but you understand if he isn’t able to promise that to you and that’s a risk you’ll have to take.
Jackie sounds toxic, and is likely jealous of you (or jealous of your boyfriend for being your significant other…). You don’t necessarily have to dump her, but I’d definitely keep her at arm’s length and quit confiding in her so much (or at all). If that doesn’t work, MOA and be glad you have other friends who’ve got your back.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.