DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was in college, my boyfriend was physically abusive to me. I confided in one of my best friends, and apparently he forgot. I moved away after college, but my ex and my best friend were in the same town, and they became close friends. I was so hurt to learn this. How could my friend choose to hang out with this guy who had violated me so badly? Knowing that he did this turned me off to him, too.
I recently talked to this friend after more than 10 years. He asked why we grew apart. I had to tell him how hurt I was that he could be friends with someone who had been so cruel to me. He says he didn’t know. He went further to say that since I had been close to that guy, he thought it would be OK to be friends with him even though we had broken up. What? I sure wish he had asked me first. We talked it out, and I guess I forgive him. But I am certain that I told him about the fight we had. How could he forget that? It is hard for me to let go of the feeling of betrayal. How can I? -- Beyond Betrayal
DEAR BEYOND BETRAYAL: The greatest offender in this scenario is the man who violated you. If, indeed, it is true that your former best friend did not know -- at least in his recall -- that your ex had harmed you, forgive him. But you can also have a heart-to-heart explaining what happened and how devastating it was for the violation to occur and for him, as your dear friend, to choose to be friends with this person anyway. Admit that it hurts even now when you think about it. Get him to talk about it. Eventually, though, you will have to either let it go or let him go. You cannot undo the past. You can decide how to move forward in the future.