Lost in a friendship situation


#1

I don’t know what to do about a situation I’m in, even though it’s less of a situation and more of a phase? I don’t know how to word it, it’s the way a friendship with someone I used to think was my best friend has changed.

About four and a half years ago I met this girl who I immediately took to… I really liked her, but I knew nothing was going to happen because she was dedicated to school and after awhile I started to realize it would be better if we stayed friends anyway. But the way we started our friendship was through email - we emailed every day, but didn’t really see each other very often. That was ok though, because we emailed all the time. I remember that every day when I would come home from school I couldn’t wait to get to the computer to see if there was an email waiting from her. It was the most exciting part of my day.

About two years ago, though, I started screwing things up really badly. Because of the influence of pornography and masturbation in my life, I started to distrust her. It was around this time i started pushing for us to hang out more often. So I started arguments all the time because I thought she was making up excuses when I wanted to see her and I just began to think she didn’t like me at all. This went on for about 5 months and then quieted down until last year around the same time, when I started doing the same thing. It got to the point where she very very nearly stopped being friends with me completely.

Things have quieted down again and I know that I’ve changed and won’t start this stuff again. She has forgiven me, but my problem is that I still haven’t forgiven myself - at all. I hate myself for ruining a friendship that meant more to me than any other I’ve ever had. Today I was reading over some of our old emails and I could just tell (I didn’t realize this at all back then) that she really was interested in me and liked me a lot (even though maybe not in the same way I liked her - but she also might have).

I feel so dumb and resent all the things I’ve done and hate the way our friendship has changed so drastically. I don’t know how to forgive myself and I don’t know how to make things the way they used to be. I feel like she will never feel the same way she did before because she will always think about the way I treated her. I don’t know if maybe I should tell her about my addiction and how it affected everything (that’s not really a serious thought though - I really don’t think I’ll tell her that for awhile, but I’ve considered it.) or if I should just ask her if things can ever go back to the way they were before? I feel like I should maybe drop it and just see what happens because it’s been several months since she said she forgave me for everything. So do you have any advice?

Thanks and God bless,
BuckR


#2

Hi BuckR,

First of all - congrats for giving up the porn - that shows great character, courage and conviction. That’s something to be proud of.
The fact that your friend is still going with your friendship 5 months on from the ‘storm’ means that she has forgiven you. I believe that in time things will probably get back to the stage they were at.
I would try to be extra thoughtful in your emails, remembering and asking her about little things that she has mentioned in her emails so that she can really see how you have changed. I would also (if she is into her faith) mention about going to Adoration, Mass etc. This would help settle things in her mind too.
Just a little thought and please don’t be offended at this - are you perhaps a little addicted to her/the friendship? If you feel you couldn’t live without this email contact perhaps you are too attached to it. Would you be crushed if she decided she was going to date someone and had to put a stop or at least cut down on your communication? Perhaps the friendship is a god in your life? Just a thought.


#3

Thanks, dublingirl, I appreciate your support.

Just a little thought and please don’t be offended at this - are you perhaps a little addicted to her/the friendship? If you feel you couldn’t live without this email contact perhaps you are too attached to it. Would you be crushed if she decided she was going to date someone and had to put a stop or at least cut down on your communication? Perhaps the friendship is a god in your life? Just a thought.

I’m not offended at all. I admit that I am a bit too attached to her and the friendship (I have a very addictive personality, obviously). It used to be much worse, though. At the time I started causing all the problems I was of the notion that “I’ll never be happy if I don’t marry her.” But I’m steadily gaining my independence and now that I’ve broken free of my addiction I feel confident about where I’m going with things. I’ve been commuting to school for the last two years and so I haven’t been able to make many friends, so she’s kind of the only one there. Next year I’ll be living at school though so I plan on getting more involved and making new friends (and distractions). But that’s a different story for a different day.

I’m mostly concerned about learning how to forgive myself for treating her the way I did and for messing everything up. Also I just want to be getting back to a point where she will want to talk to me like she used to. I really messed things up.


#4

Keep in mind that continuing to bring it up to her after the fact might make it that much harder for her to get over what’s happened. It seems to me that everything you need to worry about as far as this goes is in your own heart.

I read once that when a person has trouble forgiving themselves for a sin, it’s an issue of Pride. When a person can’t forgive themselves for something they’ve done, it’s often because they think “I can’t believe I was capable of doing this,” which can be translated into “I should have been better than this.” We’re all capable of the most detestable of sins. To think that you were too good to commit such an atrocity is equating yourself to a level of godliness.

When you step back and realize that you are human and a sinner, it’s much easier to accept that through God you can overcome that sin. From the other adjustments you’ve made in your life, it seems you know plenty about that aspect of it. Realize that you’re changing, and very much for the better. Realize that those changes are leading you to be a better person, and that if you continue to put your faith and trust in God, that He’ll help you to keep from treating her badly again.

When you do finally see this, it should be easier to forgive yourself. And when you do, when you’re happy with yourself again, you’ll likely show it in lots of little ways that she’ll pick up on. Once you’re happy with yourself, she’ll be more comfortable around you and find it easier to leave what you’ve done in the past and see you as the same friend you were before. Or even a better friend than you were before.

God bless, and good luck. Stay on track!

JMJ


#5

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