My Best Friend Lost Her Husband Now She’s Pushing Me Away
Nearly 2 years ago my best friend lost her husband in an accident. Leaving her with two young kids and a farm to run. As expected life has been hard for her since but she is incredibly stoic and has managed the best she can. She is my best friend of 20 years so of course I have stepped up and been there as best I know how since. I am an empathetic person and take pride in usually knowing how to show up for people who need support and until recently felt I was doing well in supporting my friend but circumstances have changed and as a result I feel she is pushing me away.
Last year during the first 12 months of loss she had me, her older brother and sister in law who were all single and had struggles of our own. I think she felt less lonely in knowing she wasn’t the only person without a significant other and that we all had “stuff”. We were like a bunch of misfits there for each other. Late last year her brother and I started dating after realising there had been feelings there for a long time. Mainly I feel as result of spending so much time together supporting my friend/his sister. Her sister in law also met someone and so we, her bunch of misfit support people are all in happy relationships and she has had to continue on without her person. I can only imagine how lonely this must feel and that there is potentially some unintentional resentment attached to this. However she is still very affectionate and loving toward her brother and sister in law while I feel like I’m being pushed away and given the cold shoulder. I have always felt a part of the family and that my help/support was appreciated and that she knew she could rely on me. But the last 6 months or so I feel like I’ve been shut out.
I understand all the aspects of why she may be acting this way toward me. What I would like is some advice on how to best support her through this change in her world. I try to help out as much as possible and be there just as her normal friend but I feel the harder I try the more she pushes me away. It’s heartbreaking for everyone and I just wish I knew what to do/say or not do/say to help things run their course in the least stressful way possible. I want her to know I'm always going to be there as her best friend without being suffocating. I know what she’s going through is 100 times harder than anything I'm feeling, but some days it’s really hard being the people closest as we are often the ones who are the proverbial punching bag of her pain. How do I help?
Welcome to the forums. This sounds really difficult, we’re sorry to hear that you’re feeling pushed away by such a close friend. We can hear you have a really special friendship, and you are understanding about how she is feeling and what behaving. We hope you can be as kind to yourself as you are being to her.
It’s wonderful that you could share this here, we’re sure our welcoming community will have some kind words, understanding and advice for you. In the meantime, we’d recommend having a look at our pages on looking after yourself while supporting someone, with a section on how this can affect your friendships, and some really good advice on self-care during this time.
Thanks again, and well done for sharing here. This is a judgment-free space, so please feel free to share, knowing that you'll be met with understanding.
I'm really sorry to hear you feel like you're being pushed away and sometimes the proverbial punching bag. I understand she's really important to you and it sounds really awful to feel like you're being shut out by someone who means so much.
I have not been in the same situation before, but I can hear your pain as you try to help your friend manage hers. I am not sure what the best action here will be, but have you spoken to her older brother and sister in law about this? It sounds like the four of you were very close.
Otherwise, it sounds like you are trying to do all that you can do - be there for her, support her, but give her enough space to live her life the way she thinks she needs to.
In my own experience, I've not had this happen but I am still friends with my ex and we've had to create an emotional distance between us, which is somewhat similar. I found it really hard to learn to adjust to the new dynamic - it was almost as if we had to recreate the friendship based on new commonalities. Perhaps that is what may start to happen while your group learns to adjust to the new dynamic where you're not the same single misfits. It sounds like it could be a bit of an emotionally tough period for you all, so please don't forget to look after yourself while you are also trying to be there for your friend.