So I think this might be a bit of a unique situation, so bear with me.
We have couple friends of almost six years that are like family to us. Our children call each other brothers. We get along like family, have conflict like family, have loose boundaries like family, etc. It used to be that everywhere we went or were invited it was usually assumed that all four of us would be in tow. Let me also say that we are both same sex couples, which is an important distinction to gender. I am more feminine and my partner is more masculine. They have the same dynamic, so as I explain I'll reference based on gender because it is important.
After discovering that my WS's boundaries for the relationship were poor, it became clear that the more feminine friend (FF), along with others not so close to us, was given free reign by my WS to complain about me to her in private over the years. In the interest of full disclosure, I will recognize that this behavior was not limited to me. At times when I was expressing frustration in my relationship FF would say snarky things about WS; however, I felt uncomfortable and would change the subject or suggest she talk to her. I feel like I should also say that any time I complained about my relationship with others, I was sharing the same information with WS (I wasn't getting that back). My WS, who needs to make sure the person in front of her feels "heard" would console or explain and never tell me about it.
So when we separated the couple declared "Switzerland." My WS is very private and only talked to them, so I backed off and gave them that space. As time went on, they were only spending time with WS. Also, talks I would have with FF became distant and she was less engaged. She would not show compassion or sympathy for how I was being treated and tell me that I had a decision to make. At that point I knew it was no longer "Switzerland."
During a brief week long attempt to R when WS was refusing to share texts sent between her and a few friends, including them, I retrieved her phone and read a text to WS that revealed FF shared that I accused FF of defending WS. I also read one in which she called me crazy. I knew already that she broke my confidence, as WS had said something I only told FF. After a final argument in which WS declared I would not "get her soul" by reading those texts (I didn't tell her I did at the time), I declared R was over and unfriended both WS and FF on Facebook. I canceled a lunch with FF in which we planned to talk about my feelings of her defending WS, too. Interesting to also note that FF and WS had planned a weekend hunting just two of them in a motel. Probably nothing, but the fact that neither understood how bad that looked is beyond me.
What followed was horrific. FF's partner (MF) and WS all engaged in a campaign to tell me how much I broke FF's heart and how mean I was for ending a friendship without talking. Truth was I knew that if I talked to her about it they would all discuss it and continue to judge me. I just could not put myself in a position to be hurt anymore.
So, after R I read all the texts and there was so much that FF said that was snarky and judgmental, along with shit-stirring. I attempted to have a conversation with her about it, but she minimized her actions saying that she didn't know how to help me and that two different people needed two different ways of being supported. I insisted that she was giving ammunition to someone that clearly hated me and was not being a friend of the relationship. Not only did she not get it, she accused me of being dishonest by hiding my anxiety when I was around them (because I told her it was difficult to be around three people who conspired against me during the worst time in my life).
We continued to hang out because we are like family, but it's been distant. Once WS didn't realize that she ended up alone with FF (a condition we agreed in that she not be alone with any feminine people, especially those that trashed me to her behind my back) and I hung up on WS while FF was there. FF texted me the next day to discuss why I hung up when I realized they were alone together. Really? How does someone not get that they aren't trusted or that they are no longer invited to be a part of the primary relationship after that? Another time she brought up a time they all had a great time together without me while we were separated. MF later asked WS if she "got in trouble" for that. Luckily WS told her that she doesn't "get in trouble" and that recalling that was hurtful to both of us.
Just over a week ago WS had a conversation with them (her own idea to protect the relationship) in which she made it clear that we had new boundaries we both established in an effort for WS to rebuild trust and to protect the relationship while we healed. She was clear about how their actions (including hers) during our separation were very hurtful to me, and hurtful for her in hindsight. They admitted to her that the tent of Switzerland fell and I guess they appeared to feel bad about it. FF said that she was afraid of or intimidated by my emotions (I am comfortable with expressing my feelings and tend to be a bit passionate), and WS explained that was about her, not me. That she used to feel the same way but realized my emotions weren't in the way of my capability to handle conflict, but my way of dealing with it. It was suggested that the four of us talk to move toward healing and left for them to decide.
We still hang out, but not as much. I feel resentment building because FF has said nothing in spite of knowing how badly I'm hurting. WS suggested that I might reach out to her to let her know it is safe. I'm not sure about that. My thoughts and feelings on this are all over the place. Yes, it has been a valuable and important friendship, but do I want to reach out AGAIN and risk being hurt by someone who betrayed me and seemed to care more about defending themselves than showing compassion for what they did? Is it really my job to fix it after I already tried...and after my WS did, too? Do I want to be close and rebuild trust with someone who requires ME to reach out after how badly THEY acted?
My IC and I discussed it and I have three possible strategies. The first is to just not be friends with them anymore, which removes a close friend (MF) of my WS and our son's loving relationship with theirs. The second is to continue with them as couple friends in which I just don't confide in anything with FF (this is hard because I am a naturally trusting person and would have to censor myself to do it...plus I just want to "be me" and can I do that worrying about being judged?). Third, I can just not be friends with them, but WS can continue her friendship with MF and our son can continue to see their's.
Anyone else have any advice or experiences that relate? What are your thoughts?