Women Talking (Silhouettes)

Jealous Friendship

Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

I’m going to be perfectly honest, even though it’s embarrassing. I am completely jealous of my friend. I hate to admit this. I should be happy for her. Well I am but she is living the life I want. It’s not very adult of me to feel this way, is it? You’d think a 65 year old woman would know how to deal with such feelings but no.

We have been friends for many years, beginning when we were both married. Then we both ended up divorced so it’s always been comforting to have each other. We’ve  joked that someday we’ll pool our resources, buy a duplex and spend our golden years helping each other out. It looks like that’s not going to happen. She went on a cruise last fall and met a man. It was as if she dropped off the planet – I’d go weeks without hearing from her. When she did call it was to tell me how ecstatically happy she was. Now they’re getting married and moving to Florida, so I really have lost my friend.

Help me get over these terrible feelings of jealousy. I try to put on a good face and be happy for her because I don’t want her to feel guilty. But so much of the time, that’s  not how I feel.


Jealous Friend

Dear Reader,

For starters, thank you for your honesty. It take a certain amount of courage to express such difficult emotions.

Most of us have been raised to believe that feelings of jealously are unacceptable. The reality is that this reaction is perfectly natural at times. It’s how we handle the jealousy that ultimately makes the all important difference.

So please, do me a favor and cut yourself a little slack! Naturally you’d like to be thrilled by your friend’s new life. That’s what good friends do. But given these circumstances, it’s quite understandable you’d be experiencing a full range of emotional reactions over this development in your friendship.

That being said, I have to ask if jealousy is truly your biggest foe? Pardon me for being I’m rather blunt but your friend seems to have dropped you like a hot potato. While you speak of your jealousy regarding her new life, you never once mention feeling angry and/or hurt about the dramatic changes in your friendship. Yes, she has a life you might like but is it at the expense of a friendship that appears to have spanned a couple of decades? It sounds like you two have been through the wringer together, that you came out the other side, and even joked about standing by each other into your old age. Is this friendship going to end with this significant loss? Ouch.

Understand that focusing  on the jealousy alone makes a certain amount of sense because dealing with feelings of anger and loss might be more painful and difficult.

Whatever you are feeling, please talk to your friend! You two really need to clear the air. That’s something else good friends do for each other. This isn’t about you two sparring over your individual emotions. No, it is about two dear friends trying to regain something of what they once had. You’re not out to make her feel guilty anymore than I imagine she’s out to make you feel jealous.

Begin by simply explaining to her that while you are happy she has found a new life, you are also sad that your friendship has changed. This is not the time to mess around in every little detail of the last few months. You’d both be better served to try and simply understand each other. Then spend the time you have before she moves deciding on how you will preserve the friendship you have. While it won’t be the same, it has served both of you too well to throw it all away.

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