Ask Amy

Ask Amy: Series of losses made worse by exclusion

D ear Amy: Sixteen years ago my best friend introduced me to a man who would become my husband. Her husband, “Stan,” also was my (future) husband’s best friend.

The four of us traveled together for work and for fun and saw each other at least once a week. They even came on our honeymoon cruise.

Fast-forward to 2010. My best friend passed away. I was with her daily for the last month of her life. Stan and my husband continued to be best friends, and we saw him frequently. Then two years ago, MY husband died. Again, Stan was there for me through it all.

Stan has been dating a woman for almost a year. She has decided that I am a threat to her. I have no romantic interest in him whatsoever, but we have been through a lot together, losing our respective spouses and best friends.

Now, Stan doesn’t even talk to me. No calls, no emails … nothing. He told me (last September) that he is trying to help her “work through” her insecurities. She does not feel this way about anyone else in our circle of mutual friends. Only me.

I have declined a few invitations from friends, knowing that she will be there watching my every move. I have not contacted him, but really miss his friendship. I am also very close to his children and grandchildren.

Do I just accept that I am no longer a part of his life and move on, or should I sit down and talk to him? Should I talk to her as well? Should I try to explain that I am not interested in him “that way”? We have social situations where we will run into each other. I am really hurt that he basically dumped our 16 years of friendship over a new girlfriend.

— Excluded

Dear Excluded: I am very sorry for your many losses. To lose your friend, then your spouse and then have this valuable friendship fade away – is a weighty challenge.

One solution for you would be to start accepting those invitations you seem to be avoiding. If “Stan’s” new girlfriend will be watching your every move then so be it. You seem eager to demonstrate that you are not a threat to their relationship, and the best way to do that would be to get to know her. If they are a couple and he is excluding you because of her, then overtures toward friendship would be more useful than a confrontation.

Stan has had opportunities to make this friendship work and he seems to have cast his lot with a possessive girlfriend. If your efforts are ignored or rebuffed, then ultimately, you may have no choice but to accept that this important friendship has ended.