Dear Miriam,

I am married to a farmer, but not from a farming background myself. My family and most of my friends live a few hours away. Before I had my first child, I would travel home quite regularly to see them, but now it is harder to get away.

My best friend lives in my home town and after I first moved to the farm, we would still meet up when I went home. She rarely travelled to see me, but it was not an issue, as I was going to see my family anyway.

Since the baby was born a year ago, however, I have only seen her on one occasion when I was visiting home. She has not come to see me. She keeps saying she will or that she must arrange something, but it never happens. However, she has been on several weekends away to other places in Ireland as well as abroad. I feel very hurt by this. She obviously has the time and means to travel; she just does not seem to prioritise seeing me.

I hate the idea of a big fall-out, but I’m also frustrated

My husband says that she is not a real friend and that I should just forget about her. I’m beginning to wonder if he is right. To be fair to her, she was a very good friend to me when we both lived in the same place. Things just seemed to change after I moved here. I’ve been lucky to meet some nice girls down here, but it’s not the same.

I have never “had it out” with her about the fact that she has not been making an effort. I hate the idea of a big fall-out, but I’m also frustrated. What do you think I should do?

New mother, Munster

Miriam replies

Dear New mother,

Thank you for your email. I think it’s interesting; we pay a lot of attention to romantic “break-ups”, but seldom talk about the impact when a friendship hits the rocks. And yet that can be just as painful- if not more so- especially when it is a long-term relationship.

I’ve actually had a similar experience to this in the past. I found it interesting that the person was quite happy that I would travel to see them, but that they felt that the return journey was too onerous. The road was the same distance, whatever way you measured it! In the end, that friendship did flicker out. It did hurt me at the time, but ultimately, I think it said more about them than about me. I will acknowledge that the friend was very good to me in the past and that I have lots of happy memories with her. But maybe it’s just a part of life: we grow, we change, we move forward. Not everybody comes with us. And you know what, that’s ok too. But there is little point in continuing to pour time and energy and love into someone who is unwilling or unable to return it.

I’m not saying you have to just cut this girl off or “have it out” with her. But perhaps it might be worthwhile being more direct. For instance, instead of waiting for her to suggest coming down to you, could you say something like, “I would love to see you; would you like to come down X date or is there a particular date that works for you, and I’ll make arrangements?” Hopefully she will take up your invite; but if she continues to put you on the long finger while seeking entertainment elsewhere, maybe it is time to assess if you really do need this friend in your life as much as you think you do. If not, it might be worth trying to build stronger relationships with the friends you have met in your new home.

Who knows; maybe if you stop making all the effort, she might realise what she is missing and cop on to herself. But if not, I don’t think that you are losing as much as you think you are.

I hope this is helpful and wish you all the best.