How To End A Friendship.
I'm quite open about one of the main inspirations to write my first solo book, Dirty Thirty: three of my closest female friendships dissolved as each of those women approached their thirtieth birthdays. The following letter was the kick-off to the nearly year-long breakup of the third one.
December 2011: My Mom, & my best friend's Mom organized a surprise trip to Hawaii for my bestie & I to be together after a few difficult emotional years for us both. She had called off her engagement in Los Angeles to the man she was in love with to move home to Hawaii. I had moved to Australia to be with the man I was in love with only 9 days later - we also held matching positions, each assistants to best friend/business partners, so that paints some of the intensity present. We called it "The Transpacific Lee Move of 2010." She then packed up & left Hawaii for Florida: a year-long sailing trip from there through the Pacific was the once-in-a-lifetime gift from her parents to she & her siblings - only to be tormented by the man her family wanted her to marry on it so badly that she left the boat in The Caribbean only a few weeks in, to come back to LA & reach out to her ex-fiancé. She wanted to give it another go, to work things out... To be with the man she was still in love with. At the end of another summer though it was back to her house in Hawaii again, & it was here on the island we both spent our childhoods on, that she told me she was dating the guy her family wanted her to marry again...
I repeatedly reminded her that there are more than just two men to choose from when marrying, & she agreed.
January 20, 2012, 6:00 AM: After landing at Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport, returning to my home in Sydney after spending the holidays at my home in Los Angeles, I was detained in Australian immigration custody due my then boyfriend, soon to be defacto spouse, being late to turn in my visa paperwork. (That's its own story.) Upshot of this day: boyfriend landed from Brisbane around noon, Bestie landed from Oahu around 3:00 PM, & at about 3:20 PM in the back of a cab as she held a nausea bag & her pillow - driving through Redfern she informed me that she's pregnant, "with twins!" & held out a grainy black & white photograph, smiling as if none of the other realities had ever happened.
"With who?" my dumbfounded response spewed out.
The next day: January 21, 2012, Morning: Bestie & I sat crying on the living room floor with our feet hanging down the step to the patio overlooking Hyde Park, The Sydney Opera House & The Harbour. I read aloud a letter I'd written to her in the wee hours of a Southern Hemisphere summer morning.
"I can't hide that I wish you weren't here right now.
I know that sounds terrible, & I feel terrible that it's honestly the way I feel, but I can't help it. I barely slept last night thinking about it. It's partly my selfish expectations, but it's also based upon your selfish actions.
What you're going right now through has nothing to do with me, & yet now I am the one person you have here, therefore the sole person who is responsible to make you feel comfortable & happy for the next 2 weeks in Australia, since you're now pregnant, regardless of how much it impedes upon my own plans. And I was NOT told, nor aware, of that responsibility beforehand. I feel that you should be with right now who this DOES involve, which I would not have guessed to be him.
I understand that you could have changed your mind from how you felt on December 10th when you told me if you were pregnant with his kid that you wouldn't have it... Trust me, I get it. Circumstances change. But you should have had the strength to tell me the truth when you were so carelessly & obviously "smashing the yogurt truck". I feel (to a much less degree) the way I felt when I left my first fiancé: I would never had made the same decisions if I had the truth brought before me. I would never have planned this trip for you, & bought you your ticket, & fussed over plans, & gotten my hopes so far up of having my best friend in a place that I constantly feel like a stranger in, not had I known that you were alright with getting -& maybe already- NO! Slightly planning?! To be pregnant. Never. I mean why do you want to be here if you feel sick & uncomfortable? You should have done this trip a different time.
I would have said, "You have your own, SERIOUS, things to sort out right now at home. I can't be that support system for you down here. I failing at being my OWN support system down here. You need to do what's best for you, because your coming here will be straight up, all about ME. Hands-down, I want you to come here to be here for ME. Because I'm alone here all the time, even though I made it crystal clear to Mikey before I agreed to move here that he would be MY sole support. He didn't tell me that he wasn't capable of that & I've had immense struggles with those issues already. If you come, it's to be here for ME."
I can't be there for you the way you need right now, I'm too full-up just trying to figure out how to be here for myself, trying to figure out if I can be happy in this life with him, or not. I don't find it fun that you feel sick, & all meals will now be awkward, & you can't come out & drink & you'll probably be tired a lot of time...
I feel like I don't know you right now. So I asked myself over & over again, "Where was I when she changed her mind? How could I (& I mean EYE, capitol emphasis I!) have missed such an important feeling for her when I've been there for everything else in our time of friendship? All the heartbreak, the moving, the jumping ship, the feeling lost & alone, the following her heart & being disappointed by certain people & how they let her down... And doing my best as a friend & support system to help her see her own way clearly? Haven't I asked her good enough questions? I thought all I have done is help her find her best way through this life?" But I couldn't see this coming, because you blindsided me with it. You told me one thing & did the entire other. Which sounds weird to say, because your choice about your pregnancy is none of my business!! But through this you have informed me that the relationship I thought we had, we apparently don't. And I have apparently put too much stock in thinking that we are as close as I thought we were.
But of all places to be when my best friend makes me feel alienated, for you to do that to me HERE, in Australia, a place that I have only felt alienated & alone, & like nobody around me is on my team... I really didn't see this coming from you.
I think this is your way of forcing your own hand to be happy, which is fine. It's exactly what we've spoken about so many times before in Elizabeth Gilbert's book Committed. Girls like us have soooooo many options that we get paralyzed in the choices. And maybe this is your way of eliminating some options...
But why did you have to involve me in this? This isn't my place!! Yet I'm now the only person you have in this physical place for the next 2 weeks, so now if I don't "do the right thing" & put your needs above mine, then I'm an asshole. But I don't want to!! I never would have agreed to that had I known your circumstances. I'm sorry!
I just can't believe that this is the 2nd time in 6 months that the gifts I have responded to my boyfriend that I want most is to bring someone close to me to Australia to support me in feeling more comfortable & at home... Yet both times have left me feeling more alone than when it was just his friends alienating me. Shame on me.
I mean, with all the selfish things that boy-man your family clearly adores so much (& we have openly struggled to understand why) has done in the past to hurt & disappoint you, did you think you'd tell me this & I'd be happy with no questions asked? When you are truly happy, then I will be truly happy for you... But your track record is so inconsistent, why would I believe that this is actually what you want FOR-EV-ER, right away? I mean, had you told me this without this trip planned, I would have still asked you, "Are you sure?" But I wouldn't be forced to have it in my birthday weekend face, & you wouldn't have to hear so much of my opinion. Instead we're here, where I'm already vulnerable & living on a teetering (if even rarely present) happiness, & now I feel like I had the rug ripped out from under me, by one of the most important relationships I rely on.
Your coming here was all about me, absolutely selfish on my part, yes, but that's the truth. It was all about supporting me in not feeling so alone. I mean, you coming here was my birthday present, it was the ONLY thing I told Mikey I wanted. But not like this. Somehow, it's now all about you... & that selfish boy-man you're now telling me you're going to marry. I'm not surprised though, it's exactly the way he & his ego are. It feels like I'm in a childish pissing contest with him that I want no part of. "Who knows her best?! I do!!" All I want is for him to give you the best he can & to be the man that you deserve, because I always give you my best to be the friend that you deserve. There should be less than no competition in that.
So I don't know what else to say... I look like a mega bitch right now for saying all these things to you when I found out you're pregnant. I always look like the mega bitch - simply because I won't accept anything less than the truth the people in my life have to offer.
I just want to hear what you have to say, I guess. This wasn't how I saw this going at all. My heart is broken."