I am in love with my best friend, who has been married to someone else for a little over a year and a half now. We are both 23 and have been friends for more than 8 years. I was a witness at her marriage.
I didn’t tell her about my feelings before the marriage as to not complicate her life. I have always wanted her to be happy. She now knows about my feelings and was upset that I didn’t tell her before she got married. Her husband is a cool guy, and I have nothing against him.
This friend also has mental health issues and is trying to find a therapist that she likes. She has some anger problems and suicidal thoughts every day. She’s depressed and suffers a lot with anxiety. She likes alone time, which makes it hard for me because I want to spend as much time with her as possible. This is the main conflict in our friendship. I try not to pressure her to hang out or do things with me, it has caused problems in the past and just adds unneeded stress to her life. She also finds it uncomfortable when I tell her how important she is to me, and how great of a person I think she is. I also get jealous when she spends time with other friends who are not as good to her as I am.
How can I deal with the extreme jealousy I feel when she hangs out with other friends and how do I stop feeling that I am unwanted?
Dear Jealous –
Just warning you now, you are not going to like what I have to say here. First of all, it is clear that you care about your friend and have a strong emotional bond to her – as you’ve helped each other through some tough things. Those bonds of friendship are important and good. (Here comes the but….)
But it seems to me, that there are 3 reasons that this is not a healthy friendship for you to keep pursuing.
1) You are working harder on it than she is.
2) She’s potentially uninterested or incapable of building a mutually satisfying friendship right now due to her mental issues.
3) You are in love with her. She is married, which should take up a good deal of her spare time and rightfully so. If she is interested in making her marriage work, she needs to invest herself there.
There is no shame in loving someone, wanting to be with them, worrying about them and wishing you got more attention back. It happens to all of us at different times in our lives. You became close as teenagers. You share a bond that only occurs during those sometimes tumultuous years. But there is something crucial missing now. Growth. You are both young, with your whole lives ahead of you. Holding onto something that was good in the past but is no longer, is very tempting but is a guaranteed recipe for stunting your growth as a person.
My advice would be to withdraw your efforts to be close to her. Get away for a while. Maybe it’s literally – like travel a bit. Or figuratively – by putting your time and effort into growing other friendships.
It’s important that you allow yourself to be sad and angry and whatever it is you feel as you let go of this relationship. Then take that energy and get yourself the life you are needing. A life you love and are proud of. Grow, change, become who you want to be. Find new friends, make new connections with other women, participate in stuff that interests you and builds a future for yourself. Put your well-being, your education, your future career, and relationships first. I know that it tough to do, but it’s crucial for you to grow and develop instead of waiting for something to happen with a married woman who chooses to spend her time with others.
Finally and most importantly, actively grieve the loss of this person. She can not play the role in your life that you want her to. You want her to be something she isn’t and all the hoping she will be or wishing it was like old times or thinking she’ll come to her senses is a cruel way to view a friend. It’s about what YOU want (to hang out all the time), not what is best for her and especially not what is best for you in the long run. Don’t sabotage your future happiness, by dwelling on a past one. Life has a funny way of forcing us to grow, change and move forward whether we like it or not. Those who refuse to grow and change get left behind and miss out on the full potential of their one chance at living their own unique story – with all its ups and downs.