I’ve been seeing a lot of betrayal in the name of love lately. Friends turning on friends to get consoled by a boy. Boyfriends and the girl’s close friend getting together. It’s hard for me to think that these relationships, founded on hurting others, will last. Have you also seen an influx of this? Do you think a relationship can be successful if it started off causing someone innocent that much pain?
Dear Silent Observer,
Thank you for your note and sorry for taking a while to get back to you. Your question took me some time to think about—partially because of my Covid-induced slump, and partially because I recently faced something similar. I recently lost a friend over a boy (among other reasons). The wound is fresh, and I’m not sure if I’m ready to give a proper response. But I’ll give it a try.
The experience of a “falling out” is more multi-faceted than people think. Because relationships and friendships intertwine the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of everyone involved, relationship and friendship fall outs will never affect only one side. None of us are perfect.
Try not to think too much about the aftermath of the toxic relationship. I know that it hurts, but the best thing you can do is take a step away and know that other people’s actions are not for you to judge—nor for you to fix. People change—sometimes overnight—and falling victim to your friend’s inexcusable actions can result in more pain and guilt. I urge you to forgive them in silence, but also to realize that if they’ve hurt you once, the chances are they will hurt you again. In the wise words of the famous author, Dr. Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Unless someone shows you that they have changed for the better, know when to protect your peace and walk away. Eventually, you will meet people better suited to your needs. Sometimes we need painful friendships to show us what we deserve.
As for your final question, Silent Observer, no. Relationships that start off in painful ways usually aren’t successful. Feelings of guilt eat away at even some of the most special forms of love. Mixed with toxicity, well, that makes for a relationship that shouldn’t have started in the first place
Editor-in-Chief (Volume 48 & 49) | firstname.lastname@example.org — Liz is completing a double major in Chemistry and Art History. She previously served as Features Editor for Volume 47, and Editor-in-Chief for Volume 48. Liz is extremely excited to have spent her time as an undergrad at The Medium, and can’t wait to inspire others and be inspired in her final year at UTM. When she’s not studying, working, writing, or editing countless articles, you can find her singing Motown hits at her piano, going on long walks by the lake, or listening to music. You can connect with Liz on her website, Instagram, or LinkedIn.