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Ask Amy: I feel like my friend abandoned me after my divorce

Dear Amy: I am going through a divorce, and I’m having a hard time finding myself. I was with my husband for a total of 14 years. I feel lost and don’t know what to do.

I’ve lost a lot of my friends in the process. We were friends with “Frank and Christie,” and I noticed that they don’t care what I’m going through! Frank was my ex’s friend, but I got close to Christie. Last year she and I got together.

We had too much to drink and my mouth wouldn’t stop. I told her that I was hurt that she didn’t contact me for my birthday, and then I told her that she never got in touch with me even though I’m going through a divorce. She’s been divorced three times now, so I would think she’d know how it feels.

Last month, we had planned to get together, but she never responded to my text. She is neglecting me. I really can’t say she’s a friend now. Three weeks after she ghosted me, she had the nerve to invite me to her son’s baby gender reveal. Part of me is telling me not to go, but part of me says to show face and act like nothing ever happened, but to not be close to her.

I’ve always been there for her when she needed to talk. I was there for her when her son passed away. Since I filed for divorce, people are acting as if I have a virus. What’s your advice?

— I’ll be There for You

I’ll be There: Yes — divorce is extremely destabilizing. Extremely. Friendships fall away, because of other people’s own loyalties or discomfort. However, according to your own narrative, after a few drinks you drunkenly confronted this other woman with your many disappointments, as well as her personal failings. Even if you spoke the truth, it is simply human nature to avoid an intimate connection with someone who you fear will call you out.

Given that this woman has grieved the loss of a child, she may not have the emotional bandwidth to commiserate about your divorce. She is inviting you to a social event. I suggest that you go, because you obviously need to make and maintain new friendships; this might present an opportunity to do just that.

Dear Amy: Many of my longtime friends are now into their 80s. I moved away years ago, but we have kept the tradition of sending Christmas and birthday gifts to each other. The last couple of years, they have stopped sending me gifts, but I continue to do so. Receiving gifts seems to fluster them. They are not reciprocating. Because of health issues, I check in to make sure they received the gifts and to wish them well.

I have explained to my friends that we do not need to do this anymore, but they insist that we do. Sometimes I receive a gift really late — months after the celebration — and the gift is usually something they found in their home. I appreciate the thought, but it is so unnecessary. My husband thinks I should continue to send them gifts, but I think I am causing more harm than good.

Friend: It is obvious that receiving these material gifts from you is causing these elders a lot of stress — you say as much in your question. So, even though receiving gifts from you “flusters” these friends, and even though they clearly feel pressured to reciprocate, on you go … shopping and sending and even following up to make sure they’ve received your gifts. Stop. You are definitely causing more harm than good.

If your husband believes that it is necessary to send these gifts, I suggest you carry on with cards and phone calls, and if he wants to shop for and send gifts — he should go ahead and do whatever he wants. I hope you will consider planning an in-person visit. That might be the most valuable gift of all.

Dear Amy:Best Friend Forever” had concerns about her best friend’s decision to sell her house and live a nomadic life in an RV with her boyfriend. While I agree with your advice, one detail mentioned was that this woman was raising her toddler grandchild. What would become of this child?

Worried: In my response, I neglected to address this vital question. I agree that the child’s welfare should come first.

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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