Ancient history in Anthognaland...
Growing up back in Kansas, my best friend in the world was Mitch. From kindergarten to 8th grade we were best friends. Our moms were friends, our brothers were friends, and Mitch and I were inseparable. Then one day in 8th Grade it ended. Mitch turned against me. It wasn't just that we stopped hanging out or talking...he turned all of our mutual friends against me. Unfortunately that was almost everybody I knew, so for the 2nd half of 8th grade I had almost no friends. After that I hung out mostly with my sister and her friends until we moved to Colorado between Freshman and Sophomore years of high school.
My mom asked Mitch's mom once what had happened. The response? "He knows what he did." Except that I didn't. I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I'd done that was so egregious that my best friend would turn on me like that. I could never figure it out and it was one of the big unanswered questions of my life...until recently.
When things with Steph started sliding I thought I'd see if I could figure out where I'd gone wrong in prior relationships. I know what happened with Sarah and almost every significant romantic relationship, but Mitch had always been a mystery. I've had very few meaningful friendships with guys in my life, and I think a lot of that had to do with Mitch. I figured 16 years was long enough to wonder what happened, and thanks to Facebook I was able to ask. The response was amazing: HE DOESN'T KNOW.
He doesn't remember anything specific that killed our friendship, just that we grew apart. All these years I've been sure that it was some action on my part that messed things up. Granted Mitch's mom pretty much came out and said that, so of course that's what I thought. Turns out it was just a natural progression of life. Some relationships last, others reach a natural conclusion. The trick is all in how you handle it. Do you wage a scorched-earth campaign to convince others that the person is somehow flawed? Or do you just accept that it's over and move on as gracefully as possible so that the other person can do that same? Mitch chose badly in my opinion. I hope to do better.