I am in my mid-30s, married, no children. My problem started when my boyfriend told me that a friend, who was the closest to me in our group of six friends, flirted with him and made an indecent proposal. I felt so hurt that I cut her off from the rest of the group, ostracizing her before she could poison the rest of us. I made sure we were all cold to her and never hesitated to ridicule her when she joined our get-togethers.
I was the unofficial head of the group, so I got other people to blacklist her from parties and places. I made her life hell for that shameless, malicious thing she did. She eventually got the idea and left our group. And I bid her good riddance.
After four years, she quietly resurfaced. She is influential in her own way and was welcomed back graciously. Now, she is loved even more than I in the scene. She has made new friends, joined women’s groups and even began her own enterprise. It was then that I found out it was my then boyfriend (now husband) who had flirted and given her the indecent proposal. But she kept all that to herself!
We met at my request, and she admitted that she was indeed victimized by my husband. I apologized for everything that had happened between us. She accepted my apology but said we must move on. But things didn’t go back to where they were. She is polite and civil to me, but has remained distant.
My friends still do not know why I welcomed her back when it was I who drove her away. I am too embarrassed to tell the truth. Now, when I ask favors from her, she responds and takes action, but politely declines my invitations to social gatherings. I feel she does not trust me anymore and is possibly exacting her revenge by being always nice and kind to me.
I thought she had accepted my apology, but we haven’t gone back to what we used to be. It has been three years since I asked for her forgiveness. How long must it take to actually move on?
Haven’t you noticed how she has actually moved on? But without you! You’ve hurt her so much—though she never hinted at whatever transpired, or made a scene about it! She had such class, she chose to keep her indignation at your then boyfriend to herself, and was not even vindictive at how you and your group treated her.
She truly cared for you this way. She sacrificed embarrassment and humiliation by her silence, quietly enduring your rejection, keeping the truth rather than divulging what could have caused such unhappiness to you, had you broken up with your creep of a boyfriend.
You cannot bring back the past and correct it. All you can do is to continue showing your remorse at the hurt you’ve inflicted on her. Prove, in every little way, what a good person you are. Try to rebuild your friendship, pebble by pebble, until another foundation to a friendship is built again—this time one that is truly strong and dependable.
Smother her with kindness. Remember, there are no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. And kindness is very seductive.