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Jealous Friend

Jealous Friend

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Dear Rachel,

My best friend and I have always been like sisters, and have been a part of each other’s lives now for over 20 years. But the last few years have been increasingly tense as our lives move in different directions, and basically, it seems that she is incredibly jealous of me and I don’t know what to do. I got married a few years ago to a great guy, and she still isn’t married. I am now pregnant with our first child, and she was just told that she may have problems conceiving. I want to share my joys with her, but instead I find that I am trying to downplay my happiness when I speak with her. I don’t want to lose her as a friend, but I am no longer able to be myself around her. Any suggestions?

Sad Friend
LA, CA

Dear Sad Friend,

It indeed does sound like your friend is jealous of your situation, and it is admirable that you are both aware of this and sensitive to her feelings.

Although you may have always been incredibly close and shared everything, it appears that you may have reached a point in your life where that is no longer possible (or at least for now). It must be very hard for her to watch you move on in your life and change in so many ways, ways that she would like for herself as well, when she is not progressing at your rate.

While you may want to be able to speak with her about your married life, your excitement about your pregnancy and everything else you are going through, it appears that if you want to save this friendship, you will need to focus on the things that you still have in common and put the emphasis more on her life, than on yours, for the time being.

Granted, you have a real need to discuss your thoughts and feelings, but I would try to share these things with other friends or family, people who are perhaps jealous or even resentful of what you are experiencing. It is anyway important for you to establish friendships with other people in your situation, young married women who are starting families. You will want these friends as you prepare for you birth and care for a newborn, etc.

While you do not want to exclude your friend from baby shopping, labor classes, and other things going on with you, I would let her be the one to initiate such conversation. Follow her lead. If she doesn’t ask how you are feeling or if you need anything, don’t be the one to bring it up. The more sensitive you are to her feelings, the more she will hopefully be able to eventually share in your life.

For now, I would make sure to spend time with her where the two of you are alone and doing the things she enjoys. Ask about her job, find out what she is up to, if you are able, see if you can introduce her to single friends of you and your husbands. But speak to her, try to get her to open up about her life, her fears, her circumstances, which will help you understand what she is going through.

It would probably also mean a lot to her if you wanted her to come to the hospital with you when you give birth, or if you make sure she is one of the first people you call, one of the first to see the baby. Make her feel special and reassure her how important she is in your life. Most likely she is feeling that now that you are married and even more so, once you have a baby, you will no longer need her. She is probably worried that your husband and baby will replace her altogether and that you will continue your life while she is left behind, single and alone.

If your friendship has survived for 20 years, it is one that you should make every effort to maintain. While you may be going through a rough patch right now, a true friend who knows and loves you is invaluable, and that is something you both should be for each other. You need to remember that there is more to talk about than your husband and your pregnancy, and hopefully soon your friend will realize that she is a very important part of your life and can be happy for your marriage and baby, even if those are not (yet) realities for her. And she should know, if she doesn’t already, that while you may be having a baby, she is about to become an aunt! Much luck!

Rachel

"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Discussion (16)
October 28, 2013
toxic friend
i met another single mom and became friends but i avoided her catty,judgemental,over sensitive(reads into every comment, action etc. as a threat) and became friends on and off for 7 years. she would get mad and cut people off alot and was overly paranoid and held grudges. i found it hard to be friends i had to watch everything i did or said.one day she was talking to me the next she cut me off no reason then told another friend she was mad about something from years ago.i feel she was picking on me she texted me saying how my kids were dumb her daughters were so smart better at sports etc. then she threw up my past i confided in her about to tear me down. she is very insecure and has no friends or family because she picks fights.
Anonymous
dallas texas
April 18, 2012
:(
It sound as though both parties from the stories above are/weren't good friends to each other to begin with. Its sounds like they want to be angry/jealous/hurt and even alienate each other. Life happens, people go through different stages of life at different times...what's the big deal? Being a friend means means being there for each other through thick and thin. How can you hope to make a marraige work if you can't even keep a simple friendship alive and well?
Anonymous
Warrminster, PA
February 11, 2012
Stay away from jealous friends.
I had a friend like that. We grew up together and have known each other for 25 years. Ever since I got my dreamjob she has completely withdrawn herself from my life. The examples of her jealousy are endless. She has ignored me for over a year. She even managed to ignore me on her own birthday party! I had to resort to writing e-mails because she simply would not see me. She turned 30 a couple of days ago and somehow I managed to write a nice text message to congradulate her. Her reaction was positive, and I am relieved she is mature enough to respond in the best possible way. However, this does not change a thing. She left me standing in the cold at a time when I needed my friends most. My advice? Stay. Away. From. Jealous. Friends. Their jealousy will NOT wean off. The fact they are jealous is an indication of how they truly feel about you in the first place. They are NOT worth your time and energy. Reach out to other people that can embrace happiness and that want you to be happy! x
moi meme
le capital
August 11, 2011
Jealousy is a friendship killer
The comment from the lady from Matteson, IL, really hit a cord with me. Not only was my ex-BFF extremely jealous of me when I started dating my now hubby but so was her mother! My ex-BFF's mother threw a tantrum and refused to have him over at her house. It's not like he was some felon or something; he was quite upstanding in the community and one of the most eligible bachelors in town. He was/is successful and handsome. I was so flabbergasted at how my ex-BFF and her mother acted once I became involved with him. My ex-BFF even demanded I break it off with him and gave no solid reason other than that he was rude to her, but I know and knew then that that was a flat out lie. Everyone else except for a few haters love and still do love my husband. Whenever we are in our hometown now, people still fall over themselves to talk to him. I truly believe that my ex-BFF wanted him for herself and so did her mother because of his success in life. Thing is my ex-BFF was married at the time
Anonymous
Burleson, TX
February 26, 2011
jjealous friend topic another one
I had been friends (at least I thought we were) for years. We did almost everything together. We are both divorced with grown children. I had my kids very young and my children and I had some issues in the past. I shared these issues with her BIG MISTAKE!!!
She constaltly tells me how perfect her son and daughter are. She has 3 children one daughter has nothing to do with her. When I call her her cell phone ALWAYS seems to ring. so I'm polite and say you better take that call it may be important (she doesn't have call waiting). Finally, after it kept happening several times when we were on the phone, I confronted her about it. Of couse she denied it, so I stopped calling her.
She was in the hospital several times, (her daughter came to my job) to tell me that her mother was in the hospital. i went to the hospital almost everyday took her flowers, gifts. Even when she came home I sent cards and continued being there for her.This was a very TOXIC friendship, so I ended it !!!!
Anonymous
Overland Park, Ks.
January 22, 2011
Jealous Friend
Your friend is jealous, because you have everything she wants that she doesn't have herself. You need to be honest with her and talk to her about her jealousy. If you can't work this out, stop being friends with her.

I, myself, had the same problem with social gatherings. My Asperger's Syndrome didn't enable me to have "normal" social relationships with other people, and I got jealous of anyone I thought had "perfect" social skills. I lost my temper and even hit a few people I thought made me angry!

Thankfully, I have a friend from childhood who understood and became a Special Education teacher - she told me I was the one who helped her understand her students better and thanked me for it!
Lisa
Providence, RI
May 13, 2010
Jealous Women
My best friend of more than 18 years turned on me when I got engaged and married before her. She helped my husband pick out the ring, was my maid of honor and everything, and yet she turned on me out of insecurity. Her long-time boyfriend dragged his feet about getting married, and she took it out on me. She started talking to me very sarcastically, making snotty remarks about my appearance like accusing me of having plastic surgery, and was very hateful. Even her mother, who was very close to me, was jealous that I got married first. Her mom didn't come to my bridal shower....though it was a block away from her house at her subdivision's clubhouse...she refused to meet my fiancee before the wedding.....she didn't come to the wedding ceremony because she claimed to forget what day it was. I was shocked at both of them. But some of my other friends told me that she was always competitive and insecure, so I ended the friendship. It was hard but she gave me no choice.
Anonymous
Matteson, IL
February 16, 2010
I have a friend that has distanced herself because I am now engaged and about to be married. She really started when she found out I was getting close to my now fiance. She has been my best friend over half of my life now.. I love her soo much.. I respect her, trust her, but she has been so cruel to me, saying things like she's afraid to lose me and she knows when people get married and throw away their friends. I have never given her the reason to feel like this, now she has done this to me several times when she becomes involved in a relationship she pushes me to the side, but i have never done this. I have went over and beyond to let her know that I love her and I need her more than ever in my life because I am getting married and plus we shouldnt let anything come between us, but she just continually says things are different now and everything. I am so sick of this ongoing, I have tried everything, but I do not want to lose my friend and I have expressed this. Suggestions?
Anonymous
April 5, 2009
Same rank!
it is important to find friends within the same rank as you. Same rank = people with the same character as you (not a gossiper, not a theif, etc.... ).

Just ask her if she is jealous. You'd be suprised how many women will tell you the truth. If she is a "true" friend she will be honest and depending on how she answers, it can be "beginning " of a better friendship.

I have found that the mom to be's are the one that usually pull away b/c of their constant hormone changes and that is okay. Not all women are jealous of other women starting a family; sometimes it is how we are interperting the friends: words, behavior that make us feel that way. Feeling are not facts. Again, how long have you two been friends? Just ask!
Anonymous
Ann Arbor , MI
July 9, 2008
The single friend is not the enemy
I really believe that single and mothers-to-be/married friends have nothing in common. The mother-to-be will only talk about her baby and her pregnancy and I for one find that truly annoying. I have friends that have stopped calling me because they got married or had babies. I don't believe that the single friend is the enemy. Some people can say that when you are married you have no more time, if you want to make time, you will find the time.I think it's the one that stops calling or taking interest in you wasn't a true freind because of an addition in their life. You don't stop calling a friend just because you got a baby or got married, that is truly unfriendly. I moved on! I mean, I am not going to sit and wait by the phone, I will go and make new friends.
JR
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