Getting ditched for love

I'm filing this one under "Family." It's barely a love letter, but I've received a lot of similar letters, so I'm going with it.


I don't know for certain whether this letter qualifies for your blog, but it's advice worth seeking as I'm sure many of your readers can identify. We all have friends who find love and disappear into it. Whether it is a temporary infatuation or a long term commitment it's never entirely clear. Inevitably, however, these friends find whatever it is and are gone.

My friend and I have known each other for almost 20 years. We grew up together, went to school together, were in each other's weddings -- the closest thing to siblings, you might say. During our younger years this friend always seemed to jump from "love-of-my-life" to "love-of-my-life" ignoring everything else, but because each stint was relatively brief and teen-typical, I dismissed it as annoying yet understandable. As we aged, the cycle stayed the same: friend meets person, friend falls in love with person shortly thereafter, friend stops hanging out, friend stops returning calls, friend gets dumped by the love; rinse and repeat.

Friend finally found lucky "love-of-my-life" #13 and got married. You might assume that because of this, the cycle might end and our friendship might return to normal, but phone calls continued to go unanswered, e-mails not replied to, texts ignored. It's not as though we never spoke, but increasingly those conversations seemed forced. Being married myself (to a person friend introduced me to), at first I chalked it up to honeymoon bliss. But fast forward to the present day and major lifetime milestones are being missed -- the latest of which most would agree is unforgivable. It was one thing (and understandable) when I felt as though our friendship was on the back burner when friend met someone new, but it's another thing when life altering events occur and friend is no where to be seen.
Over the years we've had many conversations about expectations (notably whether mine are too much of a life-long friend), I've given it space and time, and I've been as understanding as one can be, but nothing ever changes. It would be easy to blame #13 -- as I used to do -- for not pushing friend more to maintain any friendships, but regardless of that, the advice I seek is how do I move on? How do you stop wishing it was like it used to be?

– Expecting Too Much?, Massachusetts

I'm glad you're not blaming #13. We get a lot of "Why is that man/woman taking my friend away?" letters. For whatever reason, people never seem to want to believe that their absentee friends are in charge of their own social calendars.

In your case, ETM, you are expecting too much. Your friendship is what it used to be. This person hasn't changed. Your friend has always ditched you when love is around.

You have two options -- drop your friend like a hot spud or manage your expectations and enjoy whatever he/she offers whenever he/she chooses to show up. My guess is that after the latest no-show, you'll want to go with option A -- and I get that -- but consider B. It'll make those wedding photos easier to stomach. It's about taking what you can get without asking for more. It should be possible.

There are always flaky family members who come in and out of our lives based on need, proximity, and impulse. This friend is no different. Friend offers good times every now and then -- and Friend got you a spouse. That's something.

Your letter should serve as a lesson to everyone out there who ditches their friends for significant others (note to them: you won't always be forgiven), and to those who make excuses for bad friends with the assumption that they'll change. We should do unto others as … well, you know. And if you're not being done by others the way you want to be done, don't do unto them so much.

That sounded more inappropriate and convoluted than I wanted it to.

Readers? Have friends who ditch you for love interests? Are they still in your life? Should people expect less once a friend couples off? Discuss.

– Meredith