X is for X-BFF

X BFFsI’ve been in and out of love with men many times over the decades, but breaking up with my best friend, Sharon, was worse than any failed romantic relationship. It knocked the wind out of me for years, consuming me as I tried to figure out what went wrong. How could someone who was so much a part of me be gone from my life? I felt like a crazy person, unable to move on from my guilty, shameful obsession.

I’m not the only one. Almost every adult woman I’ve talked with has a similar story. The details and personalities differ, but the women I’ve spoken with all feel equally crazy and obsessed by a deep hurt that at best leaves a lot of scar tissue, but often never heals. (I was lucky—Sharon and I eventually reconciled.)

I wonder if the hyper-idealization of friendship between girls and women is part of the problem. Our friends are supposed to be everything to us—super supportive, always there for us, able to finish our sentences, someone who gets us inside and out. In fact, sometimes we seem like the same person, inside and out! That urge to merge is so delicious—and so deadly.

We know how to be close, but difference often feels like an unbearable distance. That’s often when trouble starts. Worse, women seldom know how to deal in a healthy way with all those “not nice” feelings: conflict, aggression, envy, and competition. So we sweep problems under the rug, hoping they’ll go away. Or act out big time. Or exhaust ourselves with endless processing. (No wonder the movie Bridesmaids  always strikes a nerve for me—I’ve seen it four times!)

What makes female friendship so susceptible to ruptures? Can we enjoy tight bonds without cutting off the circulation?

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What do you think? What are your experiences with X-BFFs? Were you ever able to drop the “X” even if regaining “BFF” proved elusive?

6 thoughts on “X is for X-BFF

  1. I hear you, and still m mourn the loss of several different relationships with women that I felt so close to. I wonder if the loss of these relationships touch on boundary issues too. Do we get too close and then allow something to separate us because the relationship is too intense, too intimate, too clouds?

  2. I think we see it as a failure if we lose our friends and it’s hard to accept failure. But truth is we move on and often in different directions and sometimes it’s hard to maintain the link even if we want to. I’ve had several instances where it always seemed to be me making the effort and eventually you just know it’s time to let go.

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