Ask Amy: Friend favors exclusive group over friendships
Dear Amy: After over 30 years of friendship, my dear friend is now shunning me.
This full-stop disconnection is unexpected, perplexing and hurtful. I blame the fact that she is a longtime member of an organization within her Christian church, a significant financial contributor, and a supernumerary.
I think she’s ended her nonreligious connections to old friends altogether, to “go to the next level” in the organization.
She retired two months ago, and cut off communication with me.
The group advocates self-denial and encourages supernumeraries to recruit new members amongst receptive friends. Nonreceptive friends are discouraged.
A year ago, my friend began closing herself off from other unaffiliated friends, but we talked daily, and she still initiated frequent contact.
I hung in there. We’re old ladies; I was expecting to spend my retirement years relying on this friendship for consolation and companionship.
I think I was a good friend, a loyal confident, and positive counsel. But this group is cult-like in its devotees’ self-isolation and distancing from friends and family.
I’m agnostic, not interested in joining, but wasn’t judgmental.
I think her religious counselors finally told her to curtail our friendship, because I’m not a receptive candidate for recruitment.
Do I let the friendship go? — Bereft
Dear Bereft: If you are an agnostic, then you are not a likely candidate for recruitment into this Christian group. As much as this withdrawal hurts, I don’t think you should necessarily assign this reason, although the fact that you don’t, won’t, and can’t belong means that your friendship is ending, because your friend has turned toward something, and she has been taught to believe that her choice necessitates that she turn away from you.
Any group requiring absolute exclusivity is not a group I’d ever want to be a part of, but this is not up to me, or you.
Unfortunately, you don’t seem to have a choice but to let the friendship go. Friendships wax, wane, and end for all sorts of reasons. This is especially painful after such a long history, and at your age, because you understand how rare intimate friendships are, and how irreplaceable people are.
I’m very sorry you are experiencing this loss. Her choice is not an indictment of you or your qualities as a friend; as hard as this is, you should not take this as a personal rejection.
Dear Amy: When my husband and I first met, he confided that he was infertile. He wanted to be transparent about it.
I appreciated the honesty and at that time I could take it or leave it when it came to having children.
However, a year and a half ago I got pregnant (no I wasn’t cheating). We actually got pregnant! We were both surprised and excited.
Unfortunately, I had a miscarriage.
That experience was really difficult, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Since then, I can’t help but think about getting pregnant again.
I want to have a family now and we’re both taking steps to try to conceive.
I find myself wondering: What if it doesn’t work? Then I get saddened by the thought.
We don’t have tons of money to put toward IVF or adoption, and we are at a loss about what to do. — Changed my Mind
Dear Changed: You don’t mention you or your husband receiving medical advice about his — and your — fertility. Before you panic, he should see a urologist who specializes in male fertility.
Knowledge is power, and you should approach this as a team. Explore all of your options, including fostering a child and/or adopting a child through the foster care system.
Adoptuskids.org is a clearinghouse for information concerning adopting children from the foster care system. The website offers state-by-state guidelines and reports that there are usually no or low fees associated with adopting (aside from perhaps hiring your own attorney), and that in some cases, financial assistance is available. Specialists are available to answer your questions through firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (888) 200-4005.
Dear Amy: Regarding your answer to “Catholic Guilt,” talk about offensive advice!
OK, don’t baptize the baby, but if you don’t value baptism, then don’t create a naming rite meant to substitute for a church sacrament.
This is about the soul, not a party. What’s next? A bread-baking brunch that substitutes for First Communion? — Sad
Dear Sad: Your response exactly mirrors how I predicted “Catholic Guilt’s” parents would respond to a naming rite versus baptism.
But I’d be in favor of a bread-baking brunch any time; no need to wait for a special occasion.