What I decided to do about the Facebook invite from some I did not want to "friend" is this: I've ignored it. My husband "friended" her for some reason, and he did show me a fairly adorable picture of her younger daughter (who has just started college, and who was the flower girl at our wedding). My quarrel is mostly with her husband but also with her. We were close for a long time and I ignored a lot of bad behavior and frustrating situations, but there was a last straw -- then there was one more chance, a number of months later, and he blew that one too.
When I worked in publishing, I worked on a book about narcissism, and when I read it, it rang a lot of bells concerning this male friend. He's someone brilliant and quirky, with an eager inner circle, who plays helpless to get others to do things for him. And I was number one in the inner circle, maybe after his wife, or I was the shadow wife, the one who did the things that his wife didn't. (He was, and is, a performer, and for a long time his wife didn't want to go to his shows, so that fell to me.) Even my husband referred to him as "your other husband." I knew this man, I'll call him V., way before I knew my husband. Coincidentally, my husband also belonged to the micro-cult of V. before we met, so he was really psyched that I was close friends with V.
So what I think happened is this: for many years, I had jobs that I didn't much like, just a lot of boring office jobs, and a lot of my attention went to V. There was a lot of support and advice and running the hellish e-mail discussion list (a couple of really mean people made my life miserable), plus trying to run interference with various people. And I did enjoy visiting with his wife. But then I got that publishing job -- yes, that publishing job again, the one I really, really liked -- and there was finally some Me to bring to the relationship with V. And that's when I read the book on narcissism and that's when I realized that V. was 100 per cent about V. V. didn't really want to listen to how my life was changing, the adventures I was having, the great people I got to work with and meet.
That might be all I really want to say about V. My husband hopes we'll be friends again, and obviously his wife does, too. She has frequently been selfish and insensitive as well, and I think I'm better off without them, period.
Sometimes you have to let go of people, even people you've known a long time. Then again, I'm making some very nice reconnections on Facebook with some of my classmates. I always felt like an underachiever after high school graduation, so I steered clear of most of them for most of this time.
I'm not really sure why I feel so free to be myself, all of a sudden. Maybe I'm judging myself less.