Time Frame > Beyond Active Grieving

Am I being unreasonable?

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I made a new friend a few years ago.  She has never been married and since Jim died 11 years ago, she never knew him.  I was kind of excited to make a new friend and we seemed to have a lot of things in common. I rarely talk about Jim to her but every now and then I say something like “Yes, Jim and I used to vacation there” or “I know them because they were people I met when I was married to Jim”.  I bring him up in conversation without making a big deal of it.  We were married 23 years and it is hard to discuss the past without mentioning him.

I am partially laid off from where I work.  Business isn’t great, so from the time I first became friends with this woman, I’ve worked every other week and on the weeks I didn’t work, I always spent a day doing something with her.

In August I had to work 3 weeks in a row so I sent her an email letting her know that I wouldn’t be available to do anything for a few weeks.  In addition to going to work I have a mother with dementia, I have grandkids and I have a large house and property to take care of and various obligations that need met.  I also am someone that likes having some “me time” where I can just be alone and rejuvenate. 

A few days later, she sent me a link to an activity in town and asked if I wanted to go. I assumed she just forgot I wasn’t going to be available and responded that I was “going into seclusion for a while LOL”.

She seemed kind of hurt that I was choosing to not spend any time with her so I responded by saying that August was when Jim died, so in addition to being busy with work, August was a rough month for me and being the introvert that I am, I needed some alone time.

She sent back what I thought was an odd response: something that sounded very formal about how she doesn’t pursue but she retreats and that she hoped that when I was available, our friendship could resume.  I tried not to read a lot into it but I wasn’t sure why she seemed to think I was playing some game where I wanted her to “pursue” me and why our friendship needed to resume when as far as I was concerned, it hadn’t ended just because I wasn’t available in the month of August.

Things have been strained since then so today I decided to broach the subject with her.  The end result is that she said she felt as if I just pushed her out of my life for the month of August because I haven’t been able to “move on” since Jim died.

I don’t even know how to respond to that, other than to tell her that I think we will be better off being acquaintances rather than friends.

Am I being unreasonable to feel this is pretty juvenile? Does this seem kind of like high school drama to you?  Has anyone else dealt with something like this? Am I supposed to pretend he never existed? The whole thing is just pretty bizarre to me.

This sounds juvenile to me. You were honest and up front. As a friend, one would think she'd have some recollection of your situation. True friends would understand and give you the space and the time should not make much difference. It seems to me she may be more needy for your friendship than she let on.

No, you aren't unreasonable. What is it with people?

Oh my gosh!  You were busy and since she doesn't seem to be, she can't handle it.  Besides the fact that August is a tough month emotionally, you also had your hands full with working more than usual, your mom's needs (I'm right there with my mom and dad, and it IS all consuming!), grandkids, home, etc...

If she has been a good friend in the past, I wouldn't sweat it and see if things calm down a bit.  She needs to understand that you can still maintain a friendship even if some months are busy for one or the other.  When this happens with my dear friends, they tend to understand and we just get together when we can and pick up where we left off.  If she can't handle it and continues to be needy, maybe its time to cool the friendship to an acquaintance level.

Ummm...She's acting like a jealous clingy lover instead of a good and solid friend. Wtf?! I can go months without seeing my very closest friends and no one tries to make anyone feel guilty about it because we are all adults. I do have certain friends who get uncomfortable with the dead talk, but I really suck at hiding my feelings so being my friend requires listening to some dead people shit. It's just the price of admission for being in my life.


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