Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Nearly five years ago, I had my first child. My first year of motherhood was a blur of exhaustion and postpartum depression. At the same time, my best friend of over 10 years began an intense university degree program. We were both stressed and not really in much shape to support each other emotionally. Our connection remained strong when we could get together or sneak in a phone call, but over the years I found my university friend outgrew me and our connection faded.
About a year ago, I was going through a personal crisis and reached out to her for advice. I hoped our connection might be restored. She made it clear I should find someone else to help me. I was devastated. It hurts when common friends ask how she is and I don't know. I'm also having trouble making new friends because my self-confidence is so shaken. What do I have to offer to anyone?
I've had other friendships that ebbed and flowed, but this feels different, like a breakup, and I just can't seem to get over it. How does one get over the end of a once-close friendship? -- No Longer Best Friends Forever, Winnipeg
Dear No Longer BFF: You're right. Breakups of close female friends can be a bit like breakups with romantic partners. In your case, your best pal grew away. Years later, you came after her with a request for help in a crisis, hoping for restored intimacy, but, by then, it was as inappropriate as going after an old boyfriend. To get over this BFF, you need professional help from a counsellor or psychologist. "Stuckness" is a situation they are trained to fix. You need your confidence strengthened, your life healed and everything moving again.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mother flirts shamelessly with my male friends. It's like she got a second chance at university. At the beginning of the year, I brought home lots of people on Fridays. We have a great room in the basement and it was a cheap happy hour for everybody. Mom would bring down food, but then she'd stay and stay.
She'd be dressed kind of sexy, for her, and play the bartender and put on music. It felt like she was throwing the party, not me. By the end of the school year I stopped bringing anybody home. Last week, she asked me to bring friends out to the lake. I blew up and said, "No! I'm sick and tired of having you take over around my friends. What about dad and your own friends?"
"They're no fun, and my work is boring, too," she said, and looked very sad. I know that's true, but what can I do? -- Only Child, Winnipeg
Dear Only Child: You had to tell mom at some point and it wasn't going to be pretty. You can now apologize for hurting her feelings and she will still have gotten the message. Only children sometimes feel responsible for the happiness of their parents, but they should not be providing their social life. You could make a few suggestions that might point your mother in new directions -- like continuing education at university, adventure travel with groups or volunteer work with a fun association.
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