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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I am a 35 year old divorcee who has a male friend who has been

Customer Question

I am a 35 year old divorcee who has a male friend who has been like a brother to me. All through my marriage he spent holidays with my husband and I. Now that I am divorced, he has got a new girlfriend and she is pregnant. Please remember he is only a friend so my jealousy is not romantic, but ever since his new relationship I have stopped being invited to dinners and he only sees me alone. He says that she likes me but feels uncomfortable having another woman around all the time. It sounds to me like she is posessive, but irrespective of that I am desperately hurt that I feel a sense of rejection from my friend even though I know our friendship hasn't changed, just the time spent. And now that I am divorced I feel very alone. I can't imagine getting remarried. How do I cope with my friends behaviour without being needy, but also without getting resentful as I know he loves me like a sister. I realise this problem seems like a nothing issue, but for some reason this actually hurts me more than my husband and I divorcing.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is a very difficult situation for you you and for your friend. You are not having an affair, but you have a love relationship that is putting a strain on all of you: You, your friend, and his wife..

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It does NOT seem like a "nothing issue". I understand that he is like a brother to you, but you love him in a way that perhaps you should have loved your husband, if he was worthy of your love.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is a dilemma that cannot end well, unless you all are very careful.

Customer:

Ok, so what do you suggest I do? Just respect the boundaries he has in place?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have to. This will require some discussions with him about where this could go bad, and how you can save our friendship without putting his marriage at risk.

Customer:

Ok but internally how should I cope. We have had this discussion and I know what to do. I wanted to know how do I internally handle the pain, and how do I let things go without building resentment.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Resentment of what? I would like you to say it.

Customer:

Feeling not included/rejected, when I have always included him when I was married like a member of the family.

Customer:

I can't sleep I get so upset over it.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

But that was by arrangement with your husband.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It is similar to a breakup or to a death in the family. It is grief/depression. It is a real sense of loss and is not silly. You evidently cannot have the same arrangement as before.

Customer:

But the friendship hasn't changed, so I don't feel like I have lost my friend because we are as close as always, its just the family vacations are no longer being done together and I am not sure why I cannot be included. And how do i deal with this as if it were a death or breakup, i would walk away at some point. But there is nothing to walk away from because we are still close friends and speak daily.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Ask your friend if this is impacting his marriage. If he broke up with his wife would you feel better or worse? Do you think that if she were no longer there that this friendship could morph into something more? Has it already morphed?

Customer:

Not at all, it is a pure brother/sister relationship. It always has been since we were children. If they divorced i would mourn with him and help him move on. Nothing would change other than we would probably get to spend more time together.

Customer:

My question is more about feeling rejected and left out. And how to not act clingy so that he and his wife dont feel that tension from me, and I deal with my loneliness myself. I need guidence.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Thank you for explaining this so clearly to me and for being patient with my persistence. I want to get this right.

Customer:

Thank you

Customer:

I know it is odd that it is a male and female closeness but there is absolutely nothing romantic there. This is more about me being once a huge part of his life and family for over 20 years to now being a friend who he sees sometimes but is still emotionally close to. It is now his wife that attends everything, and I understand that but I don't understand why I cant attend SOME things like we have in the past.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that you have obsessive thoughts about this - a form of anxiety, in part driven by a fear of losing his friendship.

Customer:

I am completely obsessive about it

Customer:

which is why it makes it worse.

Customer:

Because I am makinig more of an issue then there needs to be in my own mind. He tells me nothing is wrong and he is just trying to make boundaries for his wife so she feels comfortable but that he loves me and I am his sister.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Then you need to have treatment for obsessive compulsive behaviour: either self-treatment with books, or with the help of an anxiety/OCD therapist.

Customer:

But is there any advice you can give me that will help me deal with this on a day to day level where I don't damage the friendship.

Customer:

Where I can deal with feeling hurt and rejected, but not allow it to weigh heavy on the other person as they aren't really doing anything wrong.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes. You must step back a bit.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes, exactly.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

At the same time you must work on yourself.

Customer:

And if i work on myself, and don't overload him with guilt do you feel it will be okay? What do people normally do when people they love hurt them but aren't going anywhere or leaving.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

They learn to adapt and cope. That is the sensible middle ground.

Customer:

So don't say anything every time something makes me feel bad or left out, and just deal with it?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have to.

Customer:

It is in my nature to try and fix everything

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Let me recommend a book. This is an American source but I believe it is available at Collins books as well.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


Then you will find a practical way to make this work. You must try to befriend his wife, IF she will accept you. That may be hard but not impossible.

Customer:

Ok I will get that book!She likes me a lot, the problem is more that I feel left out of being a part of everything like i used to. It is more him doing that, for her. Which I don't understand.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Take tiny little positive steps forward and get her to be your friend and ally and help you.

Customer:

I guess I need to understand that it isn't a rejection of me but a change in how the friendship is now that he is married. Even though when I was married I didn't feel the need to enforce such strict guidelines.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Wonderful. I think you just had a breakthrough in understanding.

Customer:

One last question sorry - Do people feel this way and go on in their lives and continue to have strong friendships that don't end BECAUSE they didn't put pressure on the person just because they felt rejected and hurt by things?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The strongest love and friendship has no conditions or boundaries, and thus you can keep this friendship forever by taking the smoothest road and avoiding the biggest bumps and obstacles.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I shall keep you in my prayers and hope that I have been of service.

Customer:

Thank you I appreciate your time :)

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I am so glad to help.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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