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Ask Ellie: Ebb and flow of adult friendships is inevitable

The closest of university friends likely to spend their next decades engrossed in job/career/family. Yet they may still reconnect later.

Dear Ellie: There’s a friendship situation that I’m dealing with right now, but I need your insights on it:

I’ve known the friend for almost seven years now. We started out as roommates and continued as friends after I moved out. But the past year has been tough to handle. It’s got me thinking whether the friendship is worth continuing.

I got married in the summer and one month before, he told me he could not attend my wedding due to “money issues.” I obviously wanted him present, but said this was understandable, and I told him it was fine.

During the months following my wedding, he did not even reach out to congratulate me. I was shocked and when he finally did contact me, I told him how I felt.

He offered no excuse, acted annoyed, said I was overreacting and told me to “stop causing drama.” I begrudgingly got over it and tried to set up meetings for beers, but he has bailed each time.

At this point, I’m starting to feel pathetic and am not sure why I’m chasing a friend who doesn’t seem to want to reciprocate. I know this is about my ego feeling damaged, but I also feel that it might just be the truth that he couldn’t care less about me as a friend.

Is this friendship even worth salvaging? Should I just move on from it?

Lost Friendship

A seven-year friendship that included being roommates for a while is a significant connection while it’s happening. But you took a natural step into your next more important relationship through marriage.

What happened then was also predictable. You were newly married, learning a new lifestyle of full-time partnership with the woman you love. He couldn’t afford to attend the wedding. These are both equal factors dividing you from being together or even communicating much.

Then, he did contact you, but you were put off. It’s the equivalent of a brothers’ “squabble” or misunderstanding. You’d been close for those early years but are now living in separate personal universes.

You’ve already moved on, and so has he, in that you both have other people, responsibilities, important tasks.

Drop feeling pathetic or ego-damaged. The distancing was natural on both your parts. You were engrossed in a momentous event; he was not.

Understand that life happens to each of us in stages. The closest of university-age friends, say, are as likely to spend their next seven, 10 or even 20 years deeply engrossed in job/career/marriage/family. Yet they may still make contact and reconnect years later.

Don’t analyze or reconstruct what you think he feels. Be yourself… and be aware that he, too, is in another life phase now.

Dear Ellie: I’m a highly sensitive person requiring lots of solitude.

I’ve upset a daughter-in-law who “doesn’t feel welcome” and doesn’t know what she’s done wrong.

She stayed here for nine days with her child and puppy. Mother and child have different diets from my husband and me (in our 70s).

I explained that I can manage three days of guests. My husband was fine with her nine-day visit. This issue was then shared with his other child who won’t speak to me.

I felt unsupported by my husband and feel that this issue complicates our future.

Your thoughts?

Marital Issues

You and your husband both know your sensitivities. The visit time should’ve been fully discussed and its duration agreed upon. Maybe his other child could’ve hosted the guest. There’s equal blame here. The young mom did nothing wrong.

FEEDBACK regarding the letter-writer “hurt and angry” by the grandmother’s will (Feb.1):

Reader – “To me, it’s not about who needs it most but of having something handed down from a grandparent. Since the sister was pictured wearing the gold necklace, she obviously isn’t ‘desperate to sell to escape hardships.’

“The father appears to have hidden some pieces. The siblings could’ve perhaps saved a couple of pieces for the writer’s daughters.

“This would’ve been tangible proof that they appreciated all the writer had done for them for the last 15 years.

“I never knew any of my grandparents and would’ve so appreciated having something of theirs to keep. Perhaps the writer’s daughters would have also.

“This mother has sown seeds of discord that will fester and grow and likely cause the writer to break with his family. I would’ve called out the siblings on their avarice, greed and total disrespect toward their caring, helpful sibling.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

Adult life presents in stages, with past friends moving on but sometimes reconnecting years later.

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