To start off, I would like to say that everything is my fault. I am 100% guilty and I know that I am at fault here. My ex boyfriend was my best friend for three years. I liked him in the sixth grade and rekindled feelings at the end of 8th grade. We both had a group of mutual friends and they were the closest friends I have had. I would like to make it clear that I love them very very much.
My life at home was not very good at this point and I was very desperate for someone to always check up on me and to give me attention. So, I started to exaggerate events that would happen to me with my friends. I won’t go into detail with what I said, but it got out of control and I was practically exaggerating everything because it had become a habit. My friends started to see a pattern with my stories and had finally said that my stories did not make sense. I automatically lied about my reason but realized it was the wrong thing to do, and I individually texted each of my closest friends why I did what I did and they all just read it.
At the same time my boyfriend was hanging out with a girl and I got jealous and accused him of cheating but, recently I found out that he was helping her with a crush. He broke up with me, and my friends stopped talking to me and started ignoring me, and hung out with that girl who gave me doubts. I don’t really talk much in school anymore and I tried apologizing to my ex on his birthday with a letter but, it didn’t work. My friends are starting to be cool with me but as acquaintances, with small talk here and there. It’s been two months already and my ex has remembered the promise we made of cherishing our friendship no matter what happens, but he doesn’t want to look at me or talk to me. I have heard from a friend that he would want to be friends, but he needs time and I don’t know what kind of time. He believes in second chances but I heard that he would not get back together with me. I would want a second chance but I do not know how to approach him or if I should leave him alone. He is very important to me and I would want to fix this. Please help me Auntie!
Aw, Sparkler. I wish I could—in the sense that I’d love to be able to wave a magic wand and create an instant cause-effect connection between doing the difficult work of taking full responsibility for your mistakes (which you have) and being given a second chance by the people who were hurt by those mistakes (which, alas, you have not … although there’s hope, which we’ll get to in a second.) You know you did wrong, you understand why, and you owned up to that and apologized—and in a karmic sense, you certainly deserve to be forgiven.
Unfortunately, because there are messy and complicated human feelings involved, what you deserve on a karmic level is not always what you get on a personal one. And while your ex-boyfriend may have promised to cherish your friendship no matter what happens, some of the things you did—apology notwithstanding—were messed-up enough to necessarily change the way he felt about that friendship, and about you as a person.
And I know that sucks, sweet pea, and I’m sorry. I wish it weren’t the case. But this is where the hope comes in: even though you haven’t been welcomed back with open arms, the potential is there. Your letter is littered with small but encouraging signs that your broken bonds with these people can eventually be rebuilt, and your friends are already starting to come around—slowly, yes, but that’s to be expected in the wake of a pretty serious rift. What you need to realize, though, is that you have done your work when it comes to extending an olive branch. All you can do now is continue holding it out, patiently, until someone picks up the other end. You can’t rush other people through the process of deciding to trust you again.
For your friends, that means letting the first tendrils of your reestablished relationship take root. Settling for small talk when you yearn for a deeper connection is frustrating, but it’s not permanent; you might not get everyone back in exactly the same way as before, but it’s a fair bet that the people who were willing to reestablish contact with you are just as interested in you are in eventually moving past the weirdness. Just hang in there.
And for your ex, it means the same—only on a much longer timeline, because getting past a breakup like that with someone who’d been your best friend since childhood doesn’t happen overnight… or even over the course of two months.
Which brings us to your next steps, one hard, and the other harder.
Step 1: You let him know, briefly and without any expectation of a response (i.e., in another letter), that you are deeply sorry, that losing his trust and friendship is the greatest regret of your life, and that you hope to tell him as much in person if he ever feels ready to speak to you again.
Step 2: Wait.
And before you ask, “But for how long?”, this is where the “harder” part comes in: you’re going to want to get yourself a hobby, or a few good books, or a rewarding volunteer opportunity with which to pass the time—because not only are you likely to be waiting for awhile, but your life needs to be constructed in such a way that you could comfortably wait forever. In fact, you should not actually feel like you’re waiting at all; you should move forward, and pursue happiness, exactly as you would if you never expected to hear from or speak to your ex again. Not because that will be the case (it’s more like a not-especially-likely worst-case scenario), but because even if you guys can patch things up and resume some sort of relationship, you won’t be bringing much to the table if all you’ve been doing in the meantime is waiting around and praying he’ll like you again.
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