Appa. I’m exhausted. My friend slept with my boyfriend (now ex). God knows why. And she holds the trait of sleeping with taken men as something sexy. I’m hurt, disgusted, and confused. I’m 25. We are 25, each. I thought such things would be left in our teenage. But, here we are. Where does feminism go in these instances? Where do the whole women support women go when a female FRIEND sleeps with her FRIEND’s boyfriend for cheap validation? And then pretend like this is normal. I’m so hurt, Appa, I don’t know how to get past this. The hurt of my friend betraying me is worse than my boyfriend doing so. Because I could never imagine a female hurting another female out of their petry insecurity. How do I move past this hurt? I feel ugly, betrayed, and not good enough.
– 3rd party
Ans: Dear 3rd Party,
I’m amazed at the clarity with which you have expressed your emotions. And yes you are so right and so justified in feeling all that you are, especially a deep sense of disgust. However, the work that’s needed now is to point the direction of all that regret and disgust away from you. I’m not telling you to forgive and forget but for now, remember to be kinder on yourself. And repeat after me, in fact, make this your mantra:
This has nothing to do with me and I am not defined by this.
The reasons why your friend and your ex indulged in an activity that is clearly a violation of trust and dignity that your relationships with either demanded, is something that we will not focus on. In fact, my advice will be to steer clear of the why and how till you are well and truly recovered and maybe not even then. There is no point in picking at that rotting wound that is your mistrust in basic human decency so we will do the only thing that we can do: focus on self.
You matter. You matter to you. And that’s enough for now. My dear just stand and feel the earth push back. While you know it’s a sense of gravity that keeps you from drifting off, there’s a certain force that is keeping you grounded and reminding you that everything is fine and that you matter and that you are at the nexus of the universe. You just have to believe it. And that my dear is not an easy task. So let’s figure out some semantics because this trust-building exercise in self will not be an overnight process.
Without knowing the specifics, let me just ask some basic questions:
– are you still in contact with one or/and both of them?
– do you share a common professional space with one or/and both of them?
– do you share a communal and social space with one or/and both of them?
My advice to you will be to create some distance between them and you if you can manage to. I’m not in a position to comment on their patterns without knowing more about them but one thing I can warn you of is that they will one or/ and both, try to contact you to convince you of the normalcy of whatever has unfolded.
Now we can either wait for that to happen and then react from a place of hurt and uncertainty, or we can preempt it and very sensibly equip ourselves with the right tools to be better prepared for whenever it happens or doesn’t happen. My goal is to get you to a safe space where you are free to be you and you rejoice in the pride that’s you. And if for that, you need to detach from them, then that is absolutely acceptable and can even be regarded as healthy. Mind you, there will be those who claim you should stick around for the fight, and not abandon your ground but your ground is much higher and right now you need a space to heal and discover yourself in. Maybe use this time to fall in love with yourself and if possible, forgive yourself, because I know that this is hurting you because somewhere, you are still blaming you. Let go. It’s hard. And it hurts.
I would most certainly recommend that you talk to someone trustworthy and sensible and professional if you can to help you make sense of yourself and emerge stronger. That’s always a win.
And as for what you said about women sticking together, I think there is no justification for what they did. And no sense trying to dissect that act. Don’t worry about gender alliances at this point but instead, think about how you want to take care of you right now.
I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it’s been to write back to you because all I want to do is weep with you. This is so so sad. And unnecessary. But how you emerge from this, my dearest girl, that might just be the most necessary episode your life has ever seen. Cheer up and chin up!
We will cry tomorrow…