Facebook share
LinkedIn share
Google plus share
Twitter plus share
Give Advice
Ask For Advice
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: Betrayed by group of 20 friends: forgive or leave?

  1. #1
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    236

    Betrayed by group of 20 friends: forgive or leave?

    Hi guys,

    I would love to hear some unbiased opinions on what you would do in my situation and why.

    I'm a 33 year old man and from the age of 15 I've had a group of 20 friends that have until now been the most important people in my life.

    We partied, had drinks, went out together almost every weekend together until our early 20ies and almost monthly until our late twenties. We went on holidays with all 20 of us, we still go on a yearly weekend together, I went to people's marriages, graduation ceremonies, I visited some of them in the hospital when they had children, went to funerals when their loved ones died, bought gifts for all their newborns, organized birthday parties with some of them together, dinner parties,... A fantastic group of friends! They were above my family, my girlfriends. These friends were the most important people in my life.

    5 years ago, when I was 28, on one of the marriage parties, at 2 o'clock at night, 1 of these friends asked if I was gay. She was quite conservative but her own dad had come out of the closet and her parents had kept it a secret for 10 years. From the age of 18 I had felt some attraction to men, and even though I felt mostly straight, I started to experiment with guys as well between my heterosexual relationships and at the time of 'the question' I had actually dated a guy for the 1st time. I told her.

    The next day she assured me she would tell no one except her boyfriend.

    We left it at that, but 2 weeks later a nervous feeling started to creep on me and I emailed her to ask if we could get a coffee. It remained unanswered. I met her at a party and she said she d forgotten to reply. I sent another email another 2 months later and again it remained unanswered.

    A few months later, weeks apart, 2 other great friends of that group asked me, with a 'twinkle' in their eyes how I was doing in my love life and I could sense they knew more. I hate to lie to people I love so I told them the truth about my recent dating with a guy (which after all turned out to be an experiment) and my past experiments. I told them not to tell anyone.

    1 week later, my then-roommate came to tell me these 2 friends had been talking loudly and openly at a party about my 'bisexuality'.

    From that moment, I felt trapped, extremely anxious and devastated that my friends had betrayed my trust, at a point were I was genuinely still confused about whether I was mostly straight with a very experimental side, bisexual or maybe gay and going through a transitioning phase. I felt pressured to tell other good friends, my parents and brothers, all of which I had never wished, but the rumours had been so widespread that I decided it was better to tell than to risk them finding out by other people.

    The stress culminated into moving abroad. I had always suspected that this 1st feiend had spoken first, but didn't address it because I felt, if that was the case, that she should be the one to iniate the conversation and not the other way around. This friend, is, importantly, the 'leader'of the group and organized more than half of all the weekends, holidays, parties,... combined.

    I felt lonely, scared and isolated in this new country. I haven't even come close to rebuild the vibrant social circle I once had. I do feel very free and independent though.

    6 months ago, a friend of this group, the same friend who had kept the secret of my sexuality for 8 years, told me that this female "friend" was the one who had told the secret and had spurred on people to "help me come out".

    I found out all these friends had kept her secret for all those years, even though I had asked various ones of them if she had been the one who had broken my trust.

    The pain I've felt about this is pretty intense. How could my best friends, even though they knew I had done no wrong and they knew she had stabbed me in the back, all decide to throw away my trust with them and put the friendship at risk? I have been feeling very low about myself, depressed, angry, disappointed, but mostly hurt.

    I understand part of the decision was because she is the most "powerful figure" in the group and devotes herself to organizing, doing things for people (often for a gain of her own status, but still she does it), she is a perfectionist who probably couldnt live with her own mistake and didnt want people to know that she had been the one to tell because she was afraid to lose her reputation, part of it was probably also because many of those friends didnt find out that she had been the one to tell until years later, and part of their decision to keep quiet was probably a genuine wish 'not to hurt me'.

    But why? Why did no one speak up when I moved abroad? Why did I invest 20 years of devotion to all of these people only to be betrayed by all of them?

    I am perplexed at how my life has been influenced by this. The once self confident, popular, handsome, happy social guy with the vast social network in my old country has turned into a shadow of his former self in a strange country. I lost my reputation, my friends and some of my self-confidence. But I did gain a lot of self-knowledge, people's knowledge, spiritual and emotional strength.

    I hate this friend but I realize hate is no solution and in the end will hurt no one but me. happens and I have to move. I'm just not sure how.

    We have a weekend planned in september with these 20 people. I arranged the house for this weekend.

    But at this point I can't see myself enjoying a weekend spent with 20 people who all broke their trust with me while I put them first for 15+ years. Of course it is a devastating feeling not to be in that group anymore, but my self respect comes first now and I just don't see any possibity for me not to eternally feel like the group's doormat by remaining in this group.

    I have been torturing myself for 5 months now with the question whether I should step away from this group (that means quitting the whatsapp group which has determined 90 % of my social life for the past 7+ years and where most group outings, social happenings, newborns, etc are announced and which would of course inavoidably exclude me from a lot of these important moments and social events) and start to see these friends in smaller groups and organize my social life myself, or stay in this group and enjoy the benefits of it and forgive (I should and will forgive anyway also if I quit the group) but with the risk of feeling disrespected in this group forever.

    I am torn on this because I am not a very good organizer (most of my social life was organized for me in this group ;-) and I am scared that if I leave the group I risk becoming isolated, bitter and frustrated. But I do feel that independence, self-preservation and a different more self-motored way of living are also valuable goals and ways of living. And my real friends will find a way back to me anyway and I to them :-) I am just a bit scared being 33 that I will manage and even find new friends with whom I'd feel even remotely close or special compared to these ones.

    On the other hand I despise the prospect of feeling like a doormat if I'd just forgive and forget. I m scared of never ever gaining back my self respect that way.

    I ve been reading books about forgiveness and how to get back on your feet in life after a setback, but I realize I haven't yet found the answer and keep contemplating different options.

    So what would you do and why?

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,323
    Gender
    Female
    Are you gay/bi or not? I think you are focusing too much on others and not enough time on yourself in a more constructive way. I understand you're in turmoil and hurt. You do owe yourself an answer and you do need to face your sexuality head on or attempt to work things through. Don't be afraid of the journey. I think a lot of insecurity and discomfort comes from not being comfortable with your own self.

    I wouldn't advise not going to the September get together purely because it doesn't seem these people are bad people and it does sound like you care about each other. People will talk whether you like it or not so to have expected anyone to have kept a secret (I'm sorry to say this), was a bit unrealistic. Welcome to the real world. They may have wanted to encourage you and make you feel welcome but didn't know how because you keep shying away from the reality of your own sexuality or the question of it. You're right: it's private but if you're considering these people like your family, you should be aware that they will talk and wonder and they probably care about you a lot. You're not making it easy on anyone reacting defensively.

    Try and make peace with your identity and your sexuality and things will fall into place. Of course, it's up to you whether you want to associate with anyone or go to the September get together. I'd say just take it easy and don't be afraid of yourself or your own journey.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    4,431
    Gender
    Female
    I'm sorry that you are going through this, and understand how you would feel isolated and upset in the position that you find yourself in. However, I am not 100% clear as to how 20 people have betrayed you. Do you mean they betrayed you by not telling you that she told them?

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    236
    @Rose Mosse: thanks for your reply, you make some good points. I do realize expecting people to keep secrets like these at some point becomes unrealistic, but I do think I could have expected a better job than having your lifetime friends gossip after weeks about something they knew had been a personal struggle for 10+ years. I did shy away from the reality of my sexuality but being pushed into saying goodbye to my straight identity and the disadvantages that come alon with that rather than having been given the choice, wasn't a solution either.

    (Not in response to your reply but in general) People typically think that men going as far as to date a man, must be at least bi or probably gay. I find this such a limited and unfair perspective on men. It gives such little opening to men being truly able to have genuine straight attraction but to also feel genuinely attracted to some men, even only in a physical way. This is exactly why 80 % of the bi men stay in the closet, because their straight side is usually annihilated and their chances with women ruined. This needs to change if we want bisexual and other non-straight men to feel comfortable in their skin and accepted by society and by women as actually interesting and valid possible partners and mates so these men don't have to feel the need to resort to repressing their bi-feelings and adopt a fake 100 % straight image just in order to be accepted by women as partners. Society still needs to come to terms and accept more fluid variations of sexuality. And yes, people (women and men) have the right to prefer traditionality and marry strictly straight or strictly gay people neatly belonging to known categories, but should at least try to open their minds to alternative options and not give in to fear of the unknown, even if only for the sake of those (many!) of us who do not feel into neat categories.

    Btw I almost forgot to answer your question: I don't like to label myself as I have found my sexuality is fluid and there s always a side to any label that just misleads peolle and that leads to me feeling frustrated about what they don't percieve correctly imo. Usually mostly straight feels like the best fit, but 2 years ago bisexual would feel like the best fit.
    Last edited by manu85; 06-20-2019 at 06:17 PM.

  5.  

  6. #5
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    236
    @Jibralta: thanks for your reply and compassionate words. Yes to choose her side to keep her secret for years, I consider a form of emotional betrayal.

  7. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Southwest
    Posts
    571
    Gender
    Female
    Your whole story is very messy, and I honestly don't know where to go with most of it, but I think you might be misdirecting some of your anger and insecurity.

    The thing is, I could hear a rumor, but I won't bring it up to you. For myself, I really don't give two ticks on the radar what your sexual preferences are, and if I heard through the grapevine, "he's gay" or "he's bi"...well...okay...and??? Is there more to the story here? I don't "hang" with a bunch of strict and close-minded people, so there might be some discussion, but nothing malicious. Maybe there's some chatter back and forth in the group...I heard...I wondered...but is that malicious? Sure, it hurts and does not promote good feelings to know there's discussion behind your back, but there's a huge difference between a few exchanges among friends and full out gossip and making up stories and creating division.

    You could "hear" Joe has a girlfriend, and you could "hear" Becky might be pregnant...would you bring it up, or would you let this issue coast as if you didn't know and let your friend bring up the topic in their own time?

    You should definitely be mad at the one person you confided in who apparently spilled the beans...that's a given. The others? It's really hard to say. I know that I have been involved in the gossip grapevine, but that doesn't mean I'm going to bring it up to you, or that I care about the gossip, believe it, or care? Maybe only if your reputation is being soiled. Do you exist in a cultural or religious area that being bi or gay is a really bad thing?

    Families talk and share...and overshare...so part of this is up to you to be mindful of what you want shared and what you don't. A heartfelt secret today might accidentally spill six months from now or six years from now, meaning secrets are precarious.

    Are you dealing with religious beliefs or restrictions with your sexuality that would cause issues with this group and common beliefs?

  8. #7
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    236
    @purplepaisley: thanks, good point, I know the others probably thought it was a lot of drama and at the end of the day they thought it was between 2 people and didnt want to have anything to do with it so why intervene... but never saying anything for 5 years when you know 1 friend hurt the other, is not a neutral choice imo... Which parts for you seem messy? I would like to clarify better then because it's actually refreshing to hear these neutral opinions from outsiders ;-)

    Btw to answer your question: i m atheist and so are most of the group so no problems with religion interfering here

  9. #8
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    324
    Hate is a very strong feeling. What benefits do you receive from harbouring hate? Honestly, none. The way I see it, we can stew a lifetime on what others did to us. Or, we can learn to forgive others and let go. That doesn't make us a doormat. And just because we forgave someone doesn't mean we have to be their friend.

    As to whether you want to remain friends with them is up to you. Do they treat you nicely? Are they a positive influence on you? Friends bring positive value into our lives.

    If some of your old connections aren't "friends" any more - that's okay. He who seeks shall find. It might take a while and lots of patience but you will find incredible friends. The best way is to branch out, find social groups near your area, connect groups at your local church / synagogue / mosque / temple, etc.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    2,125
    Originally Posted by manu85
    @purplepaisley: thanks, good point, I know the others probably thought it was a lot of drama and at the end of the day they thought it was between 2 people and didnt want to have anything to do with it so why intervene... but never saying anything for 5 years when you know 1 friend hurt the other, is not a neutral choice imo... Which parts for you seem messy? I would like to clarify better then because it's actually refreshing to hear these neutral opinions from outsiders ;-)

    Btw to answer your question: i m atheist and so are most of the group so no problems with religion interfering here
    It is not altogether clear to me from what you wrote that anyone in this group knew that you were hurt, other than perhaps the friend you told who then went and (probably by mistake) outed you to someone else or a group of others. And even if someone found that behavior odd or potentially hurtful, they probably didn't realize the extent of what it made you feel. I think the fact that you were outed so close to a time that you were experimenting and weren't sure what you are made it sting that much more, which other than reading what you just wrote I don't think anyone outside of your experience could know.

    Then, the fact that you moved away puts distance between you. Not bad distance, but just there's not as much reason to get caught up in the same kinds of day to day issues that people go through that are more common when you have more shared experiences. It can be difficult to keep the same strong bonds in a tight knit group like this when people start (inevitably) moving away. And maybe you have started to outgrow this particular group anyway. You don't have to see it as some big betrayal, just time and lives drifting apart. You should focus on the life you are trying to form in your new place. No one knows you. You can be anything you want to. It will take some effort, and some of your skill at meeting new people may be lacking, seeing as you have had such a strong group to rely on. Making friends as an adult can be harder too. So give yourself a break if it's not happening right away, and keep trying.

    And no I don't think you need to leave the group entirely. But you may need to back off the energy you put in for a while and see how that goes. Keep working on that forgiveness part because so much of this is in the past. Re-litigating it continuously wont change anything. Focus on the present.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    50,421
    I agree with the others. And yes i am sorry you are hurting and feel betrayed.

    This original friend told you she was going to tell her boyfriend who is not part of the core group, right? And you were ok with that apparently. Once she did that it was inevitable it wouldn't remain a true secret. So I think part of you was ok with more people knowing- maybe even relieved? - but you wanted it to be on your terms, not gossip, etc.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Give Advice
Ask For Advice

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •