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How to move on after friendship/romantic breakup?

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Hi everyone. I'm writing this as an exercise to process my feelings from the loss of a friendship. My therapist advised me to do so to put my story into perspective. I feel guilty, hurt, remorseful, and confused from the events that transpired in the past couple months. I don't believe I'm a horrible human being, but I certainly feel like I am sometimes.

I started graduate school in June of this year. My program is unique because the students attend an intensive summer session, 9:00 am-5:00 pm from Monday-Friday, June-August. I was stuck in Zoom calls with the same 20 students for three months. Throughout the summer, I got to know one particular classmate very well. We bonded over those long summer nights doing classwork into the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes we'd continue to talk until 2-4 in the morning.

It was interesting because we'd never met each other in real life during the first three months of knowing each other. However, we bonded and talked about everything together (family, hobbies, mental health, personal issues). Nothing was off the table, and it felt nice to have a close friend like that who has your back. We finally met each other for the first time in September because we had to attend a mandatory in-person class. Upon meeting her, I noticed that she was flirty around me. And within the next two weeks, what was once a platonic friendship became something more.

Long story short, we started dating for a bit. That's until she realized that she didn't have the emotional capacity for a relationship. In hindsight, I believe we were both confused about the situation. She had recently got out of an unhealthy relationship, and I was aware of that. We would have been better off as close friends. However, things become complicated when two people click so well, and romantic attraction begins to develop. Today, we don't talk anymore, and I am still confused about the whole situation.

So what happened? She invited me over to her apartment back in October to hang out and study. She also told me to get some coffee before heading over. Sounds normal, right? Upon arrival, she was cold, rude, and distant toward me. I don't even know how to put it into words. It was by far one of the most awkward situations I've ever been in in my life. She did not make eye contact with me. After one hour of sitting in awkward silence, she told me she wants to be left alone. I go home, and later that night she tells me it was a mistake to pursue anything more than a friendship. It was like a switch flipped, and she became a different person overnight. 

She tells me she wants things to go back to the way they were, but she doesn't know if that is possible. Because we've been dating for such a short period, I figured I could go back to being friends. However, things just weren't the same. She became more angry, annoyed, and distant around me whenever we talked. Whenever we were in groups with other classmates, she'd make snide remarks towards me, saying things such as "you expect too much from me" or "your questions are stupid." I'm normally a patient person, but this passive-aggressiveness started to wear on me over time.

Things came to a boil one night when we were hanging out with a group of classmates. Earlier that day, I had messaged her, and she said she wanted some space from me. However, things got awkward when I saw her in person later that night. Once again, she would not speak to me or interact with me at all. She seemed frustrated about something. I go home and text her to please give me 5 mins of her time to figure out what the heck is happening to this "friendship." In hindsight, I should have respected her boundaries when she asked for space, but I didn't. 

I had intentions to resolve the situation, but she didn't want to hear any of it. By forcing her to talk, I frustrated her even more. Although my intentions were good, I realize that I should have given her the space that she requested. Our conversation didn't get anywhere (we just argued). She said some mean and cruel things towards me, and admitted that maybe she's a shitty friend but so be it, and I responded with "I don't want to be your friend anymore." Then she calls me "immature" because she claims that's not a decision that I should make on my own. A week after this conversation, I sent her a text to apologize. I told her that it was wrong of me that I didn't respect her space. I was confused and just wanted things to be normal again. This was her response to me: "Over the last few weeks I saw a side of you that is entitled, controlling, and mean to me. I don't want a friend like that. If you blow up at me over this text then I know I made the right decision." I responded with "Okay I respect your decision" and moved on.

I miss her every day. Not the new her, but the old her before we started dating. I'm confused because you never want to be called controlling, entitled, and mean from someone that you thought was a close friend. I didn't act any differently than I would normally as a friend (it's not like I tried to get back with her or anything along those lines). The only time I forced her to do anything was when things got too awkward and I wanted to resolve it. I realize it's wrong to not give her space but I apologized for it. I cared a lot about her as a friend. But, I care about all of my friends, and I treat them like my family because they are.

We no longer talk and she ignores me in class. I've been trying to deal with it by spending time with my other classmates, hanging out with friends, and listening/playing music. This event has triggered my anxiety. My doctor prescribed me anti-depressants and I started seeing my therapist again to deal with my feelings. According to my therapist, something happened to her which caused her to take her anger out on me. People cross boundaries in relationships all the time, but the way I was treated was a bit uncalled for. I'm still hurt from her final words: entitled, controlling, and mean. They do not describe my character, but they keep lingering in my mind. After ruminating through my interactions with her, my therapist and I couldn't find situations where this would apply. For some reason she decided to overgeneralize my character over one text conversation...

I don't know where I'm trying to go with this. I wish I could tell her how sorry I was for whatever happened. To this day I still don't know. I guess there will always be a part of me who cares about her, because I don't want to live my life with grudges. I don't hate her and I wish her the best. She deals with depression and often thinks she doesn't belong in this world, but I think she does because I've seen a side of her who's nice and kind. She also doesn't have a lot of friends, so it was nice to know that I could be there for her. But friendships are weird sometimes. They can end just as quickly as they begin.

I guess the good thing from all of this is that I'm rediscovering my hobbies again. I've received an outpouring of support from my family and friends about this whole situation. And, I've been trying my best to take care of my mental health. All in all, I want to be a better person to those around me. A strange learning experience for sure. I still think a lot about her and it sucks, but at least I can get up on my feet now. 

Thank you to those who took the time to read this. And any advice for moving on from the lost of a friendship would be much appreciated. I know the situation is strange, and I think I know what do to take care of myself. But I have really low points where I blame myself for everything that happened.

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1 hour ago, bgmpdude said:

That's until she realized that she didn't have the emotional capacity for a relationship


1 hour ago, bgmpdude said:

She had recently got out of an unhealthy relationship

I believe these are the two culprits as to why she was acting the way she did.

She doesn't sound like she has healed from her last relationship at all. If it was an unhealthy relationship then there could be a lot of damage and upset for her to still sort through. 

She is confused, and emotionally mixed up. Getting involved with anyone right now, was the wrong thing for her to even consider.

It sounds like she had a rush of feelings like doubt, fear, vulnerability and similar, that caused her to block you off as quickly as she could to get out of the situation.

It may not have had anything to even do with you and her, and more to do with the fact that she is still reeling from her past and is not ready for any kind of romance right now.

You two should have remained friends, yes. But for now, all you can do is hope that she gets the help and time she needs to get past her last relationship. Wish her well and let it go.

It's a shame, but you two met at the wrong time and place.

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I would bet any money she's been on-off with her boyfriend since she started being nasty toward you. 

Whatever the reason, it's clear she's got a boatload of issues. Steer clear of people like this. It's not the right time to try to be friends with her and it's not healthy for you to measure your self-worth based on on her perception of you, either. 

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I would presume she reconciled with the boyfriend.  She is too embarrassed to admit she went back to a bad relationship, so she chose to lash out at you so you wouldn't pry.

She's not your friend; focus on those friends who treat you well and appreciate who you are.

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Sorry to hear this. Take this as your cue finding more emotionally balanced or aware individuals to be around. When breaking it off with someone I think it's so much more respectful to give someone the time they deserve. She wasn't prepared to give you the time of day at all. Don't accept passive aggressiveness, hostility or rudeness from anyone. Public embarrassment or humiliating you in front of a shared circle of friends is very immature.

I want to add that relationships are full of ups and downs - there are disagreements too. Your partner needs to hold it together and communicate with you and allow for those disagreements to blow over and forgive each other. If she saw a side of you she didn't like, you have also seen a side of her now as well. 

Take a moment to let all this absorb and then thank your lucky stars that it is not meant to be. 

Usually romance is easiest in the first flush and this is what it was. It's always a wild card. Don't take anything too, too to heart. It was fun while it lasted. Move forwards.

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