Four years ago, I had a friend who decided that she would and could sleep with my boyfriend. Not only that, she also decided it was unfair that I couldn’t overlook this transgression so that we could stay friends. Beyond the obvious betrayal element, here’s why that was just not happening:
- I actually have some self-respect. After being screwed over (literally) by two of the people I trusted most, I realized there was only one person I could count on to do the right thing: me. I respected myself enough to walk away so that I could not only escape people who clearly didn’t care about me, but so that I could heal and get back on my feet.
- I can forgive but I can’t forget. I had always said that if I were put into a situation like this, I would stand up for myself and I would never forgive the people involved. I didn’t follow through on either of those. I never stood in front of my ex-best friend and told her what I thought because I was too scared to hear any of the intimate details she might spitefully tell me. I did eventually forgive her, but that didn’t mean I wanted to stay friends and sweep the whole incident under the rug and forget.
- I can’t handle seeing your face every day. I have made bad choices and judgement calls before, but none of those ever ended in a sex session with my friend’s boyfriend. I’m not perfect, I do have faults, but I knew if she was in front of me, I’d be reminded of the betrayal constantly and I couldn’t move forward with my life if I had to relive the pain every single day.
- I can’t trust her. Trust is action-based — it needs to be seen and felt. I want to know that the people in my inner circle, those who I spend time with and tell my secrets to, are people that will do the right thing by me. After what happened, I don’t think my best interests were at the top of her list.
- You’re just not a very nice friend. After I had dried my eyes and stepped back from the emotion of the situation, I realized the person I thought I could trust and who knew me better than anyone else just wasn’t a very good friend. Yes, I had made a mistake in thinking our friendship was genuine, but her bad behavior was not a reflection on me and my value as a friend and frankly, I deserved better.
- I’m my first priority. I won’t lie — I struggled to get out of bed, to take care of myself and make sure my needs were being met. I had let myself sink into a hole that I worried I wouldn’t be able to climb out of. It took a worried friend to make me see that by allowing the situation to dominate me, I was only hurting myself. I had to learn that there was no greater, lasting friendship in life than the one I would have with myself and I had to make me the priority.
- I’m in charge of the situation. Even though I felt as if my whole world had crumbled, I needed to take charge and that’s what I did when I made the decision to walk away from my toxic friendship. I was only the victim if I chose to be. I was the one in control and I had the power to let what happened destroy me or make me into a stronger person.
- I’m just not okay with what happened. Unbelievably, I was torn about ditching my friend. I was petrified that people would judge me because I had abandoned my seemingly remorseful friend and that I’d bear the brunt of people’s disgust at how I had handled the situation. In hindsight, I kick myself for worrying about someone that didn’t worry about me. Perhaps in some distant universe, she’s a nice person who is genuinely remorseful, but in this universe, she’s the woman who slept with my boyfriend and still expected to skip down the street with me as if nothing happened.