Why being ghosted by my bridesmaid hurt more than any break up

Why being ghosted by my bridesmaid hurt more than any break up

She was the first person I called when my fiance proposed – the one friend I knew would be ecstatically happy for me despite the fact that the proposal had happened sans ring in our apartment without planning. She didn’t care that I was too young to be getting engaged at only 19, because she trusted me and my happiness. She had always been on my side. As soon as we finished screaming in excitement over the phone, I asked her to be my bridesmaid. There was no one I wanted by my side more than her. Stocksy Ours was the type of friendship that blossomed through our formative years and left a paper trail of handwritten notes, movie stubs, concert tickets, printed photographs from disposable cameras and artwork we created for one another while sitting in class or separated in detention. She was supposed to be my forever friend, the one who would always be by my side no matter the miles between us. She had enlisted in the Marines and had just made the move to attend boot camp when I called her with the news of my engagement, but she promised she would be there for me. We still made time to talk regularly.I had long romanticised the idea that we would grow up together, and this felt like the beginning of that journey. Though cultural nods to lasting female friendships were not as prominent as romantic affairs, I latched onto them with no less fervour. I was enamoured with the idea that there was one woman who would see me through all of it from awkward adolescence to married life with kids to the struggles of ageing and retirement. One person I could always call, always trust, always count on. She was my person.But as my two-year engagement proceeded, my friend became harder and harder to keep track of. She sent me her measurements, and I bought and shipped her dress to her. I picked out a bridesmaid gift I would never give to her, because by the time my wedding rolled around, I had been completely ghosted by my bridesmaid.It started as phone calls that were never returned. I figured she was busy. She was living a lifestyle that was rigorous in a way I couldn’t imagine. I would still get texts every now and again, but they became fewer and further between. Once the dress had been delivered, I never heard from her again. It wasn’t until the month before my wedding that it really sunk in. I replaced her spot in my wedding party with my new sister-in-law, giving her the heartfelt gift I had intended for my friend.

She didn’t come to the wedding, or send a card, or call me on my wedding day . Though the day was full of excitement and joy, there were many moments when I scanned the room, expecting for her to be there against all odds. She had always shown up for me.After the wedding, the reality of our break up truly hit me. I saw things almost daily that reminded me of our inside jokes, and I called her still, hoping she would pick up. I messaged her things I knew would make her laugh, even though my outreaches remained unanswered. Some nights, l called her in tears, asking what had happened to us. I begged her to just answer me, insist I wasn’t mad at her, that I never would be. Then of course there were days when I was mad, because who does a thing like this? Who leaves their best friend before her wedding day and fades into oblivion?To be jilted by a lover is one thing, but by a bridesmaid? It was somehow less forgivable, even when all I wanted to do was forgive her and have her back in my life. It is easy to say that a lover never really knew you, never really understood you, was never really meant for you. You can chalk it up to fate. You can move past it in time. But a friendship is different, deeper in some ways. You lose so many more unguarded pieces of yourself, because you never prepare yourself to lose them. It’s a betrayal of trust from which there is no recovery, because unlike a regular break up, there is no one who can ever fill that relationship. I still feel that gaping space for her in my heart, and part of me wonders if it will ever close.Breaking up with a best friend, especially one that has been with you from adolescence, is a particularly painful and lonely experience. While there is a cultural norm for how we deal with romantic break ups , there is far less guidance on how to navigate the end of a friendship, even though the bond can be much deeper and more significant.You lose a sense of security that you only fully realise in retrospect. Female friendships are supposed to predate and outlive romances, even marriages.A University of California study shows what most women have understood intrinsically since we met our first BFFs – when things go wrong, women turn to their friends. Our brains actually produce chemicals that cause us to make and maintain female friendships when under stress. (This has not been shown to happen in men, for whom stress triggers a fight-or-flight res…

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