Wedding Woes

Give yourself the space for grief.

Dear Prudence,

Three years ago, my best friend and I had a falling out. When she asked for my opinion on her new fiancé and their relationship, I expressed some concern as gently as I could. I said it was concerning to me that they had only known each other for three months, that I was her best friend and had never met him (he had no interest in meeting her friends), and that the only times she had spoken to me about him before announcing the engagement were to talk through fights they had where he took rather nasty stances against totally normal things (her having any other men’s phone numbers saved in her phone, etc). She told me that I had never supported any of her relationships, this one was much better than previous ones, and I obviously didn’t actually care for her. I told her that wasn’t true and it was actually that I loved her so much that I was willing to tell her things I could see that she didn’t want to hear.

About a week after that fight, she called me in the middle of the night from the bathroom of a party, and told me that she’s concerned about how often she’s been using different drugs since starting the relationship (I wasn’t aware of this; previously she had occasionally smoked pot and that was it). I found out where she was, picked her up and brought her back to my house. In the morning, she was already gone when I woke up. I tried to call or text her every day for two weeks after that, leaving her messages that I loved her and was there for her and ready to help her when she wanted it. She never answered or acknowledged anything. She also disappeared off all social media. I went to her apartment at the end of the two weeks and there was a “for rent” sign in the window with all her belongings cleared out. She had said she and her fiancé had found a new place and were going to be moving in together, but I didn’t know where it was.

To complicate things, this was about one month before my wedding, where she was a bridesmaid. She dropped out of all wedding-related conversations as well and didn’t come to the bridal shower. The night before the wedding, she called and asked if it would be okay for her to come still. I told her of course! I didn’t push her to talk about anything she didn’t want to and just made sure to deliver the message that I love and support her while she was there.
Immediately after the ceremony, my husband and I were outside taking some photos and heard shouting from the front entrance of the hotel.

It was her fiancé, who was telling her that they needed to leave. She waved goodbye and got in the car. I smiled and lied to anyone that asked about her during the reception and said she had gotten a terrible migraine and unfortunately was home in bed, then cried in the shower at the end of the night, knowing that she was truly gone from my life after calling each other sisters for years. I sent her one more text saying I would always be there if she ever needed anything and to please reach out when she was ready to. I never heard anything.

Last week, my mother sent me a picture of the police blotter in the newspaper for her town (about two hours away from where I live), and asked if that was my friend in the mugshot picture. It was listed along with her first name and the previous fiancé’s last name. She had gotten arrested for drunk driving with her 2-year-old son in the car. My heart broke all over again. Without hearing from her/about her, I’d been able to convince myself she had left the bad relationship, gone back to complete that master’s degree program she wanted to, and was happy and healthy. This tells a different story. I know I did what I could for her, and she didn’t want to hear what I was saying or accept my help, but I feel so guilty. How do I get past this?

—Friend Break-Up

Re: Give yourself the space for grief.

  • Options
    Allow yourself to grieve for the loss of this friendship - it's never easy to lose a friend, especially in such circumstances. And consider therapy not only to deal with the grief, but with the guilt you say you are feeling. You tried to be there for her, but she made her choices, which you cannot hold yourself responsible for. You may never be entirely at peace with what happened to this friendship, but with help, you may be able to ease the pain.
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    You couldn't save her and you deserve to forgive yourself. 

    If you're up for it, you could try reaching out again. She probably still won't talk to you, but it sounds like she's in an even scarier place than she was three years ago. It might help her to know that there is still someone who cares, because this guy is going to use this to show her that everyone but him hates her. 
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    You can grieve the loss of your friend. Sure she hasn’t passed away and she’s alive but she’s not in your life or the same person you knew. And that’s hard. Let it be hard and you can grieve that it won’t ever be what it could have. 
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    levioosalevioosa member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    Addiction is hell and a societal disease as much as a personal one. This is all so sad. 

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    banana468banana468 member
    First Answer First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    I don't know why LW deluded herself into thinking the friend was OK.  Clearly all signs pointed to OK being a tiny dot in the rearview  mirror. 

    I probably wouldn't reach out to her again.  I get the desire but this is a person who needs to want to be helped and by the right people.   

    FWIW I wrote off a longtime friend who had her own downward spiral.  I don't know what mental illness she has but she made a series of terrible decisions and I did not feel that she was safe for me to be near.    I'm sad for her but I also had to prioritize myself. 

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