Another commonly asked question I’m frequently asked is, ‘Why were you so upset?’ or ‘Why did you let it affect you so much?’, which is okay when it’s coming from strangers or people outside of that time period who weren’t aware of the truth (or, at the very least, pretended they weren’t), but absolutely the worst thing I’ve been asked by people who are meant to care.
To reiterate on why breaking up with a friend by ghosting them out is a shitty thing to do, let’s put what happened with a friend into a relationship context (because, let’s face it, platonic relationships get a fuck-ton less respect that romantic relationships in Western society).
Okay, so as not to confuse from A and B from my last post, and the infamous Lena from the Some Girls Are, let’s give this person (who’s been mentioned, multiple times – just not by name) ‘C’ (we’ll go alphabetically).
C and I have been in a romantic relationship for two years. For the first year and a bit, everything was fantastic. Late night talks, constant visits, over-the-top Facebook posts, excessive photos – you name it. You love pretty much all of the same things. You can’t believe your good luck – you thought staying up until three in the morning just talking was now a myth or a teenage dream but it’s real.
You’ve visited places together and when you meet C’s friends and family, you discover they know basically everything about you, because ‘that’s just how close you and C are – C can’t stop talking about you!’ and you glow with happiness because this is it.
And then weird things start to happen. You can’t pin point it exactly, but it’s like something shifted. It’s like you woke up and everything in your house has moved a few centimetres so everything is off – when you reach for your alarm, it’s not quite where it normally is, for example – but it’s just barely off, so even though you feel unbalanced, just because it took you a few extra seconds to find your alarm clock, doesn’t mean anything’s wrong.
Particularly because you didn’t have a big fight or anything – nothing obvious that would clue you in that would explain how your life slightly shifted, how everything seems slightly off, but no one can tell the difference.
Everyone insists it’s in your imagination, and you can’t pin point what’s off, and C insists everything’s fine, so you accept it.
And then you notice more lies but you’re just more confused. Did you mishear? Misremember? Misunderstand?
The person that couldn’t go a few days without seeing you is now lying about where they’re going on and who they’re going with. Politely asking what they’re up to becomes an interrogation where you think you’re just asking them a polite and friendly and normal conversation – because, let’s face it, you even ask Janice from the office who you hate because she always cooks fish in the microwave for some stupid reason what she’s doing for the weekend and how she was so why the fuck is asking a person you love what they’re doing so fucking difficult?
And by the time your world catches up to you and you realise that everything really was off a few centimetres and even though it was indiscernible to everyone but you, you were right, even if you couldn’t explain because it was just a feeling.
And how do you suddenly know you’re right?
Well, because they broke up with you.
You came home from work one day and they weren’t there.
At first, you didn’t panic, because they were probably out or at a friend’s or a million other increasingly likely possibilities.
But then you’re playing around on Facebook and you see something and you’re like ‘Oh my god, C will just love this!’
But C isn’t there anymore.
You’re a little confused, hurt, stung, stunned.
But surely there’s an explanation, right?
I mean, just two weeks before, you’d had this big catch up and she’d insisted everything was fine and even though she was moving you guys would fly back and forth and catch up on a regular basis. You’d made her a scrapbook as a going away present – all the different photos you’d taken together, with others, at events, everything. In fact, the only odd thing you can remember – other than holding your breath, wanting desperately to let it go, trying to convince yourself that this is it and that everything will now be okay – is the weird, throw-away comment – similar to some of the others she’d made recently – is something along the lines of, ‘I didn’t know we had this many photos together.’
It’s weird, because most of the reason you created an Instagram account and have been so active on social media is because of her. Before C, it’d come and go in waves, and you usually wanted to get a photo or two with a loved one … but she’s a little younger than you and seems to be more in touch with everything and you realise it’s actually fun once you start getting involved in all of that. But what makes it so weird is that her comment is a direct contrary to everything that’s happened in your relationship.
It’s like when you wrote a small message for her when you were both leaving the workplace, she came up to you and made a comment like, ‘Oh, I had no idea I meant so much to you! It’s so nice you think of me as such a good friend even though we’re not that close.’ And you’re like, What the actual fuck? Because no one at your workplace would even dare refer to you as anything other than the best of friends and inseparable.
And that comment, like the one with the photos, makes so little sense because it seems like she’s trying to erase your relationship, to make it as if it never existed, but that’s not possible, because it did, and as the other person involved in the relationship you can’t suddenly pretend like two years never happened, and you don’t understand why the other person in the relationship is trying to convince you of that.
So you start checking more things, and you realise that this person has ended your relationship of two years by deleting and blocking you from every single aspect of their life.
You try frantically and desperately to call your loved ones, because no, no, no, this isn’t right.
C wasn’t cruel, and this is cruel. C was a lot of things – she didn’t like to stand up to people, and would often join in bitching and gossiping about friends (in fact, she even tried to convince you to break up one of your friends who is now married. Ironically, she would go on to attend said wedding, and you wouldn’t be invited).
But she was never cruel. Mean at times maybe – more than some people even realised – but not cruel.
But no one knows anything. Or, at least, that’s what they say they do. It’s a small town and you’ve overheard enough and been told enough that you can kind of piece together what’s happened (but not really, because no one will really tell you anything and most people don’t even believe you because C would never do that no matter how many times you can literally prove that’s exactly what C fucking did) and that the people you’re turning to in your desperation and confusion aren’t listening to you – and worse than not listening to you, they’re lying to you.
Which makes it hard: Because who now is lying? And why? To save you? To hurt you further? What do they know that you don’t, and why won’t they tell you?
Let that sit with you. Think of a romantic partner, current or past. Imagine how painful it would be to learn your relationship with that person was over because they blocked and deleted you. That you spent a decent eight months trying to work out if you were sane or not because that person, before they deleted you, convinced you that nothing was wrong, even though something very clearly was wrong.
Two years. Blocked, deleted, ghosted, dumped.
What would you think? How much pain do you think you’d feel?
So why does this being a platonic relationship make any of her behaviours justifiable or excusable?
Why does it all change just because we weren’t having sex?
Should I care less about someone I only invest emotionally in?
Isn’t that literally the opposite message we’re constantly trying to send people?
But sure, if that method doesn’t answer your question, Why did it affect you so much?, then tune in for the next post that’ll explore the second half of this answer.