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Letting a friend go

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NoGoodUsername posted 6/24/2014 20:41 PM

I sent the letter below to a female friend tonight. She played no part in my affair and our relationship was never inappropriate in that way but doing the work on my 'whys' showed me that my time as her mentor/friend was not completely healthy because of problems on my end. I'm sad that this is going to hurt her. It's needful, though, and just how it needs to be if I'm going to actually be a good person.


As you noticed I took down my (social media)account. That is part of a larger life building path that I'm on. As I have dug deep into the problems underlying my decision to be unfaithful to (BW) I have been uncovering a lifetime's worth of unhealthy behaviors and environmental factors that support poor decision making and bad boundaries. I'm basically stripping down almost everything in my life and trying to rebuild the 'me' from scratch. Some of these things have been easier than others. I guess this is the time to talk about a hard one.

The time has come for me to ask you to let our friendship go. I've been putting it off for a while, because you have never been anything but a decent and good friend and I didn't want to hurt you. Nevertheless, there are things that I need to put behind me in order to support my rebuilding of self. Among my flaws, I spent a lot of time in my life playing 'knight in shining armor' to a lot of people. I frequently derived a cheap form of self-worth from helping people. Sometimes it was OK and sometimes it wasn't, but even in more healthy circumstances, I used good works as a means to acquire praise, which in turn fueled an image that I had constructed of myself. Instead of being satisfied with good acts and taking simple self-worth from them, I accepted the accolades and measured my value by that. That's only part of a much larger story, but, it is the piece that pertains to you. Parts of my friendship with you were misused by me as fuel for my ego.

As part of my healing and growth as a new person, I need to separate from that history and the environmental pieces that supported those behaviors. Alcoholics can't go to bars. Parolees shouldn't go back to the 'hood. I have to separate from all the circumstances of my past bad behaviors and that includes the relationships.

I ask for your forgiveness in this. I misused parts of our friendship and regret that I am hurting you. Farewell (friend). I hope that your path is a good one for you.

hardlessons posted 6/24/2014 21:42 PM

This says to me "Iím very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"...

The time has come for me to ask you to let our friendship go.

So, does she let go or you or do you count to three and do it at the same time? What were you thinking in writing that? In all seriousness.

Ascendant posted 6/24/2014 21:54 PM

HL's right...NC letters are usually simpler....something along the lines of: We will no longer speak. Not now, not ever again. I am focusing on my family. Please respect my wishes.

20WrongsVs1 posted 6/24/2014 22:03 PM

It's sent, so I'll refrain from a detailed critique, but...way TMI.

Why was it so hard to let go of this friendship? And why the presumption that she'll be hurt?

What's your plan if she replies?

MissesJai posted 6/24/2014 23:27 PM

what HL said....verbatim, even the leather-bound books.

somethingremorse posted 6/25/2014 07:59 AM

I actually like most of the first paragraph. If you end it with "I won't be around for you. It's nothing you did, it's just what I need to do for myself now" or something like that, it would cut to the chase better.

NoGoodUsername posted 6/25/2014 12:53 PM

Let's get this part out of the way up front. My BW read the letter before I sent it and found it to be appropriate in tone and content.

To acknowledge the criticism of the writing- My (former) friend just completed a Master's degree in literature and writes that way herself. From your complaints, I figure I got the style of the letter about perfect. That's all I have to say about that.

I'm confused by some of the other comments. Are some of you under the impression that this was my AP? She wasn't and there was nothing sexually inappropriate in our friendship.

Hardlessons:

So, does she let go or you or do you count to three and do it at the same time? What were you thinking in writing that? In all seriousness.

She had been reaching out occasionally for a few months and I had not responded. I had already let go and my friend didn't know it.

Ascendant:
She wasn't an AP, she learned about my affair when it came out and she was a long-time friend. Sending a terse NC letter with no explanation would have been unkind to her. Is that how you think friends should be told goodbye?

20Wrongs:

Why was it so hard to let go of this friendship? And why the presumption that she'll be hurt?
What's your plan if she replies?

It wasn't so much that it was hard to let go. I was trying to let the friendship fade away and it wasn't working because she kept attempting to make contact. For about hurting her feelings, it's a matter of empathy. If the situations were reversed, my feelings would be hurt. My plan if she replies? I'm not going to respond.

Somethingremorse:
Thank you for the practical input, it was nice of you.

somethingremorse posted 6/25/2014 13:24 PM

My (former) friend just completed a Master's degree in literature and writes that way herself.

You know, I was going to ask that sort of question myself.

The reason I like the first paragraph and not so much the second is that your friend isn't your therapist, and it might be too forward to put all that on her as you are breaking contact.

I struggle with how much to discuss with the couple of people who know about my As (who, just by coincidence, are both married to psychologists/psychiatrists). These friends are concerned about both of us, but I do not want to burden them too much. If I were breaking contact, I think, IMO, that going into detail when I don't want or expect a response would be too heavy to lay on them.

NoGoodUsername posted 6/25/2014 13:54 PM

Somethingremorse,
That is an interesting point to raise, thank you. This person knew many of the details of the situation already so I felt free to give her more information. I think you make sense in your concern. She deserved an explanation but you're right, she isn't my therapist and that could have been handled better.

somethingremorse posted 6/25/2014 16:03 PM

Like I said, I might be over sensitive because I expect my buddies to talk to their wives, and both wives are therapists.

Hang in there.

Schadenfreude posted 6/25/2014 16:18 PM

I rather doubt that your circle of friends and acquaintances waits around for you to appear and rescue them from whatever difficulties they find themselves in. You are not Superman, you may not even be Mighty Mouse to them.

Friends and acquaintances come and go. Sending this self-directed letter to them will likely challenge the users and the needy to seek out your help as a challenge. Thought process: if NGU knew my situation, he couldn't help but help me.

Simply become less available. Look to yourself to end the KISA response you have developed over the years. It starts with not returning calls. Or delaying your response by a few days.

The letter itself isn't quite the Gettysburg Address in simplicity, but it is really good. I just question the response it will elicit.

As my wise grandmother, who had a sixth grade education taught me, you rarely get into trouble by keeping your thoughts to yourself.

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