Relationship Ruptures

The sign on the community pool clearly indicated that the pool was closed, and the gate was locked, but that didn’t stop my friend from scaling the fence and jumping in.  Our other friend hesitated only briefly before joining her, and I stood by in disbelief.

It was day one of our girls’ getaway, and as I had signed on for the rented condo, I felt the weight of responsibility close in around me.  I turned and walked back towards our unit, listening as the hollers of my fellow travellers echoed through the resort. Regret flooded me.  How did I ever think this would work out?

Friend #1, whom I’d known since childhood, was more of a sister to me.  An extreme extrovert, with a tongue that could win medals for speed, made her the life of any party.  Friend #2, a colleague of mine and longtime neighbour of #1, was quietly confident, and not averse to having a good time.  I, a non-drinker, had been struggling with my health for sometime, and while I enjoyed company and good conversation, I preferred quiet, intimate settings.

“I think this vacation is a mistake,” I told my husband in muffled voice the next morning while waiting for the other two to wake up.

“Well, come on home if it’s not working out,” he suggested.

Except, I had been the one to drive, so leaving meant stranding them, and I couldn’t do that.  I decided to the make the best of it:  be the designated driver, and hopefully, get in some sightseeing.

backoffduckThe fighting between #1 and I started the moment she woke up and announced that she hoped I wasn’t going to be a stick-in-the-mud all week.  I countered that she had a drinking problem, and tempers flared out of control. (Told you we were like sisters.)

As the week progressed, and my stomach turned into a ball of fiery pain, the rupture in our friendship deepened.  I vowed that it was over.

“Let’s go for lunch and talk about it,” #1 said weeks later.  “I can’t bear not having you in my life.”

I acquiesced.  We agreed never to go away together again.  We vowed to resume the friendship.

Maybe I was too uptight, I cajoled myself.  We have been friends for a long time, after all.

“She really does have a good heart,” my husband and I agreed.

And then I got sick.  Really sick.  So sick that I could no longer leave my bed, or even talk with her on the phone.

“Let me know when you can come out again,” she said once during a brief conversation.  And another time:  “Are you better?  When are you going back to work?” And then, more recently:  “I’ve talked it over with others, and we agree you should be working now.”

I haven’t seen her in over a year.  She has no idea what my day-to-day living looks like.

“You don’t need toxic people like her in your life,” my health-care aide once said to me, overhearing our conversation.  “You need encouragement and understanding.”

Black PhoebeI am a dog when it comes to loyalty.  It is hard for me to recognize if a relationship is healthy or abusive.  I am not good at setting boundaries.

We have been home for a bit, and I have not called #1.  I am thinking that I might not bother.  It is causing me grief.

What would you do?

(My poem at One Woman’s QuestA Falling Out, is based on this story.)



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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

8 thoughts on “Relationship Ruptures

  1. Saying ‘no’, keeping negative people out of our lives. This is something I struggle with, especially after being sick and realizing how precious each day can be. Having a dysfunctional family I was never completely able to disconnect from is balanced by my training as a social worker and a desire to help others lead happier lives. This makes it hard to know when and how to give up. I used to be more confrontative but now, in the spirit of self-compassion, I choose to slip away. Whatever you do, I wish you peace in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is exactly why I struggle – no healthy boundaries from childhood, and an overworked sense of loyalty/desire to help. Slip away is likely the best solution at this time. Bless you for your empathy.


  2. Ouch. Reminds me of a certain long-term friendship. I’ve asked myself the “what to do?” question numerous times, and the “like a sister” keeps me from doing much of anything … EXCEPT I have learned to accept her as she is and not feel any remorse that the two of us are so very different. I would never choose to be like her! Over the many years, she has sorta caught on – less and less tries to change me. Could be your sister-like friend has just not matured to that point yet. Interacting with you and better understanding your life demands might be the lessons she needs to grow. Of course, she may never “get it”. Alcohol is difficult to counter – for HER, especially.
    Your top priority? Taking care of you!
    This is a good-for-introspection post – as is your accompanying poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jazz. We’ve been friends for over 50 years and our families were connected before that. I feel, though, that I always have to brace myself when I’m with her, and that is tiring. I just think our priorities are not aligned, and she can be a bit of a bully. My husband is on the fence with me – partly wants to tell her off, and partly wants to hug her. Maybe I just let the space remain for now until I feel stronger.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As much as I see so much value in holding on to old, childhood relationships (I have one spanning 50+ years) I also see the value in dropping her like a hot potato! Friends like this are not friends. Surround yourself with positive, understanding people, who will replace that relationship in your world. I’m positive that someone at some time will put her in her place. She surely is like this with others. Let her go. Hugs to you for your efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

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