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Friendship Can Break Your Heart



I hadn't known that it was possible for a friend to break your heart.  I suppose it should have been obvious-- close friends share a sort of brotherly love that is typically realer and deeper that anything shared by lovers-- but it still came as a painful surprise.

This friend, whom I'll call Connor, was one of the closest companions I have ever known.  We'd gone to high school together, and we shared a love for fantasy, mythology, random humor and all things Celtic.  We both loved historic towns, and occasionally travelled together to places like Savannah.  We were regulars at the local Renaissance Festival and the local Arts/ SoHo district, and we planned to visit Ireland together one day.  We introduced one another to some of our favorite books.  He convinced me to take up martial arts, and I convinced him to take up camping.  For several years we did nearly everything together.

We were almost unbelievably close.  Our friendship was completely open and comfortable.  We trusted one another explicitly, and never felt that any topic of conversation was off-limits.   Connor came over to my house every weekend, and called every day on his way home.  Sometimes he'd drop by on weekday evenings.  We never ran out of things to talk about, never got tired of one another's company, and never had an argument.

Connor and I were so similar, and got along so well, that many people refused to believe we weren't secretly in love.  (Honestly, even I thought it was a bit of a shame-- how many people long for a perfect match like Connor and I?-- but I simply wasn't attracted to him.)  I suppose that in a way we did love one another, but it wasn't romantic.  He was literally like a brother to me.

When Connor announced that he had a new girlfriend, I was extremely supportive.  He was lively, random, and funny on most occasions, but was shy around women he liked, and I had been trying to help him work up the nerve to ask someone out for some time.  I helped him plan out their first date-- an activity that was fun but not too casual, a restaurant that was nice without being presumptuous-- and even helped him pick out an outfit.  (He himself admitted that he was hopeless when it came to any clothing beyond jeans and t-shirts.)  I wasn't upset that  he hung out with me less as his dating relationship blossomed-- I'd expected that-- but it bothered me that his girlfriend consistently turned down invitations to hang out, meet up for lunch, or come to parties.  I could read the writing on the wall, and, as Connor began coming around less and less, I began to realize something was terribly wrong.  One day, while at my house, Connor, he announced he was going to ask her to marry him.  I admit I was less-than-thrilled, though for my friend's sake I tried to hide it.

"Don’t take this wrong, but are you sure you're ready?  This is a huge decision, and you've known each other less than a year."

"I know, but I'll be thirty in three years, and two of my friends are already engaged.  What if she's my last chance?"

"Connor, you know I'll always be your friend no matter what you do, but I have to tell you that that's a terrible reason to get married.  I'm not saying you shouldn't marry her if you really feel it's right.  I'm just saying you shouldn't rush things."

We let things go at that, enjoying our time together.  I'm glad we did, as I would never be able to hang out with him again.

Connor stopped returning my calls.  He emailed only occasionally.  I became desperate to know what had happened to the joyous and seemingly indestructible friendship we had shared for over six years.  I called repeatedly, finally leaving a long message explaining that I needed to know whether he were still friends, needed to know what had happened, and needed to know if I had done something wrong.  He called back after work the following week.

"Sorry I didn't respond sooner.  I didn't want to call while Annette was around."

Just as I'd suspected.  "She doesn't like me, does she?" I said sadly.

"It's not so much that she doesn't like you, it's just that she's uncomfortable."

"But haven't you explained that we were never together, and that we don't like each other that way?"

"It's not like that."

"What is it like, then?  I don't me to sound pushy, Connor, but I really need to know."

"It's just... Look, she's a lot more straight-laced than you are.  She doesn't like the herbalism, and the mythology, and... you know..."

I tried to speak calmly past the angry lump in my throat.  Tears were running down my face.  "So, because I'm not a good little Southern Baptist, and I'm not the epitome of 'normal,' she's decided to judge me without even having met me?  She's never even seen me before!  What happened to 'Judge not that you may not be judged?!'"

"Don't be angry.  Please."

"I'm sorry.  I don't mean to make this hard on you.  It just hurts like hell, and I really miss you."  I took a deep breath.  "So she won't even let you talk to me, or come see me?"

"She doesn't like it."

"You don't have to do what she says, Connor.  Can't you talk to her?  I've offered to have her over for a party, or meet her somewhere with a group of friends.  Can't you convince her to at least give me a chance?"

"I'll try."

I had always liked that Connor was so easy-going, but now I was seeing the bad side of the trait.  I knew too well that he would just go with the flow of his life, avoiding confrontation and making the best out of whatever circumstances were thrown his way.  I knew, when we hung up after an hour long conversation, that I would never hear his voice again.

Connor still emails me occasionally, but his messages are dominated by jokes and links to funny videos.  We, who once discussed any- and everything openly, now limit our conversation to brief, light topics.  I have only seen him once, by accident, in a store.  On that occasion, his wife finally met me.  Unfortunately, though she was courteous to me, I don't think it made a difference.  Connor still never calls or comes around.

It's been two years since I learned that a friend can break your heart, and there's still an aching hole in my life.  I've moved on, and I try not to let it bother me, but sometimes I see something funny, or hear a great Irish song, and I think: "Wait 'til I tell Connor!"  Then I remember that I can't.  That he and I might as well live on opposite sides of the world.

I will always miss him.
WildMagic WildMagic 26-30, F 8 Responses Jun 17, 2010

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I'm drowning, you might say, in a pool of insecurity and doubt. My best friend also happens to be a guy and now that we're halfway through our period of adolescence, we've begun to talk a little more about our love lives and how they might shape the course of our friendship. I can't help but feel scared. On google, all I spot are stories of your kind; how deep friendships almost always lead to heartbreak and I can tell you that I'm not ready to let him go, just as yet. The both of us, similar to Connor and you, are so alike that we might as well be one person. But I'm afraid that this won't be the case when he finds
"the one." That day might lie, waiting to blossom into reality, probably ten years away. Nevertheless, I'm scared because I know that the longer we stay in this together, the tougher things will get that day. I...cannot tell you how badly wounded I am; more than anything, I'm afraid.

The only advice I can give you is this: Let friendship take it's natural course. Don't try to pus things too hard one way or the other, as that always leads to more harm. Keep in mind that my sad tale with Connor probably would have been quite different if his wife had been more tolerant and less judgmental. (Like Connor himself was. Until he and Annette started dating, we never viewed our differing spiritual paths as a problem. We simply had some very interesting, friendly, philosophical discussions, and agreed to disagree.) My point is that you cannot know that your friend's future lover, whoever that may be, will try to separate them from you... especially if you meet them early on, and make it clear from the beginning that you and your friend are only that: friends. If you and he try to include your lovers in your friendship to an extent, so that they don't feel as if they are being left on the outside, maybe they will be far more understanding than Annette was. Perhaps, rather that losing a friendship, you can expand it... although it is healthy to have time just for friends as well.

By that same token, it would be wise to tell anyone with whom you begin a romantic relationship that you think it's beneficial to the relationship as a whole if you allow one another time to be with friends rather than trying to be attached at the hip at all times. It would also be wise to invite them to meet your friends, and express an interest in meeting theirs. If you can actually share hobbies and interests with them and some of their close friends, things may well work out. If you can't... well, frankly, a relationship in which you don't have a lot in common is doomed from the start. The idea that "opposites attract" is usually only accurate in infatuation, not love. (That isn't to say that people who go well together have EVERYTHING in common, but they cannot be complete opposites either.)

The only other piece of advice I can offer is this: you should consider talking to your friend about the possibility of meeting one another's serious romantic interests when that time arrives. If you have a standing agreement before hand, that will make things easier. He will likely understand that, since he is your best friend, and is very important to you, you want to be able to build friendships with other people who are important to him. Wouldn't it be happier and healthier if one day you and he and both of your spouses could all be good friends? After all, you can't divide your personal life up into pieces.

Well, I didn't mean for this to turn into such a long-winded comment, and I apologize for dragging on so. LOL! Any way, I hope that this helps, and also offers some hope and comfort. :)

Thank you, so very much for taking the time to try and give me some comfort :) I'm going to sit back and hope for the best, trusting that if we're meant to be, fate will take us there.

Your story sounds similar to my own. I was best friends with someone from our sophomore year of high school until winter 2011. We did EVERYTHING together, we always hung out, he was always over my house or the other way around and we always had each others backs. We were brothers. No ifs ands or buts about it, blood did not matter we were brothers. For six long years it was like this until he moved out to North Carolina with his god mother. He went out there every year but this year was different. He lied about coming back, not just to me but to all of our friends.

When I found out I was angry, but I still feel that was normal because he lied. Regardless, it created conflict between myself and his god mother. She did not seem to understand, I wasn't angry because he left I was angry because he lied. I knew he was getting into some trouble out here in Philly, if he just told me from the start he'd have had my best wish's. The conflict between me and her died down after a while but I felt as though he was trying to shut me out and when I would still get into occasional arguments with her she made it seem like she intended to have him cut out everyone he knew from back home...in January 2011 that's what she did slowly but surely.
Next thing I know, she's talking all this trash about me and my family and he's backing her up doing nothing to defend me. After everything I had done for him over the years, my family had taken him off the streets, fed him and put a roof over his head. He was not just betraying me, he was betraying me my family and ALL of our friends.

He made contact with me again in May of the same year and tried to apologize...we were friends for no more then a week before she caught on and broke it up again. Some things were said and it's been made pretty clear that I will never hear from him again. It crushed me...broke my heart man. I found out that October that he believed I was the bad guy, that I had done wrong....maybe I did, maybe I didn't I don't know. But what nobody understood was I was not angry at him for leaving it was just because he lied and I could have gotten past it if his god mother had just backed off. I just needed to cool down but she wouldn't leave me be.

I still think about him all the time even though it's been two years. Like you said, it hurts less now but I still see things from time to time that make me think of him, I even have dreams that he comes back to Philly and apologizes from time to time. It's painful. Best friends...and I mean BEST friends, really do have the ability to break hearts.

I can fully empathize, though it always makes me sad to hear about someone else going through something like this. I felt the same way about Connor-- if he had just been honest about his girlfriends feelings about me, if he had just stood up for me a little more, and if she had just given me a chance, maybe he and I could still be friends. But, as another friend of mine once said: "you can 'if' yourself to death. I advise against it." That doesn't change the fact that you and I both miss our friends, though. :(

I am a gal that lost her best friend to a guy...Me and her were friends for over 10 years...we even said we shared a brain...we were inseparable.We had babies at the same time...she moved a ways away...and our car broke.So in order to see her, she would have to come over to see us.Her boyfriend became more and more possessive.She meant so much to me.its been 4 and a half years and I think about her all the time.If I do end up seeing her, I don't know weather to laugh, cry, or run away...I was so hurt.I don't know if her boyfriend told her not to talk to me or what...I feel like smacking him across the face if I was to see him.She was pregnant the last I talked to her, and I have never seen her baby(who is now 3-4)...I have searched on facebook,and in phonebooks,and even tried her parents number to no avail...

i just lost my best friend bcoz of a guy....its really worse when v come to knw that our best friend is no longer ours, n even worst ven v knw that she is closer to one who is newer to her

Thank you an experience well told - I could feel your anguish. I hope that time has been kind to you since.

I hope you find a new friend to be close to. You have a lot to offer in a relationship. I'm sorry you're hurting.

Thanks. :)

LOL!!! That's fantastic! I love the Celtic Tree of Life... It's one of my favorite symbols!<br />
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Yes, it's true, we <i>are</i> socialized to believe that males and females can't just be friends. It's a shame, really. Thank goodness for those of us with enough heart and individuality to go against the norm! LOL!

I think you may be right. Honestly, if you want the truth, I think that she-- and probably a lot of other women in her position-- felt threatened. I don't think it had so much to do with our differences in world views. Oh, I'm sure that's what she probably said the problem was, and she probably even convinced herself that's what it was, but, on a subconscious level, I really believe the heart of the problem was simple. I'd known him for five more years than she had, I had far more in common with him than she did, and (let's be honest) a lot of women tend to be catty.<br />
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Oh well... What is simply is, and we just have to accept it and make the best of it. My friend made his choice, and I wish him well in it.