Agh, so I'm going to lead off saying that I am actually one of those people who's very comfortable with the tumblr format of conversations and I haven't done any major forum-ing in over a decade, and my brain won't stop yelling at me until I make it clear that I'm pretty sure I'm going to be intensely awkward and respond incorrectly/too much/not enough/I have no clue how forum etiquette works. And also I'm really sorry in advance, because I'm basically incapable of being concise, so lots of words are forthcoming. (edit: I'm actually really legitimately embarrassed and sorry after seeing how long this is running) (this gets a bit nsfw in places? it mentions the kink community, but nothing explicit). Okay, so I've had a falling out with one of my friends, let's call her A. This is not strictly a new thing, but this happens with her in cycles (LONG cycles, usually on the order of years). Quick background factoid: I'm almost definitely autistic. As far as I can tell, these cycles happen in that we get into some rapid-fire flavor of contact. It's been AIM, facebook, texting, fairly instantaneous short messages. The frequency of our conversations ramps up and up and up over a period of weeks/months until we're talking to each other pretty much constantly during our free time. Then eventually A hits her saturation point or something, doesn't tell me anything is wrong, and starts trying to cut things back. I don't know what's happening, but I can feel something is weird and immediately step up my conversational game because usually when things go south it's because I've screwed up this social thing somehow. Of course, this is the opposite of what A wants, and then she gets upset at me for being pushy when I failed to read her mind and realize she wanted LESS contact, then she cuts me off entirely and I get the silent treatment for X period. I've only just identified this pattern, after being one of her closest friends for over a decade. I'm not fast at figuring out social puzzles. The last time huge time this happened was when she took a gap year between college and grad school and was walking dogs while doing her grad school applications. She decided I was talking to her too much and she was too busy to handle it and didn't speak to me for almost two months. Complicating the issue is that she and I both have depression and anxiety problems and we tend to lean primarily on each other when things get bad. Grad school was a pretty miserable period for both of us, we were both lonely and failing to connect with other people, and school was wrecking our mental health. In a lot of ways, I think I'm... more self-sufficient than she is? I'm capable of holding myself together even when things are way past the point of jfc-go-get-help-already, so even when I was at my lowest low ever, I was still providing her with a constant stream of reassurances, advice, etc. And just feeling like I mattered to someone was doing a lot to keep me sane. It was almost two years of mutual heavy codependence. She wrapped up grad school and got a job this summer, and I got a job not too long after, but my grad school didn't officially finish until December (it's still not technically over, but close enough). Logically, I knew that A would be busy once she got a job, and that we'd talk less. I was prepared for that. I was also struggling a bit because my job required me to move, so I uprooted myself from an area where my family and many of my high school/college friends lived and left town. Aaaand then I completely failed to make any friends at my new home (not entirely my fault, there are fun factors like everyone I work with being twice my age). Plus there was grad school hanging over my head, plus such adventures as booking a non-refundable ticket for my defense and being told oops, nope, it got rescheduled. As fall progressed, I was working 60-hour weeks and trying to prepare for my defense, on top of the entire rest of my life. So I was trying to lean on A. Backtracking a little. Before she finished grad school, A started getting interested in the kink community. I draw/write a lot of that stuff, I find it interesting and all that. She went to one or two events and started dating people who were into it, and when she moved back to our hometown, she invited me to to go some local events. It was fine, I guess. I'm more interested in the personal connections than 'kink as a whole,' so it was a little blah for me, but she was into casual play and dating lots of people. When I moved, I didn't bother to go to any kink events in my new town. On the other hand, kink has become the main interest of her life. I'm 99% sure she's not autistic, but if she was this would be some MAJOR perseveration. So basically, I was trying to lean on her for emotional support, she was probably a bit burned out on being emotionally supportive, and the biggest interest driving her life was kink. Soon, every conversation turned into a conversation about A's sex life. And lots of times, this would steer into me giving A advice about her sex life. I wasn't especially enjoying it, but I was participating in each conversation willingly wasn't I? Wasn't this fine? No, but I couldn't articulate it. Eventually she came to visit me for a weekend, which was super exciting, because I had literally zero social life offline. The night before she drove to my place, she stayed up super late on her sextumblr talking to people. Then she overslept. And her phone died. Instead of leaving in the morning, she woke up and left at five in the evening. Okay. Okay. Phones die, that happens. I can deal. We got dinner, had a few drinks, played a card game. And then she wanted to skype two of her partners so I could meet them. Nominally, the purpose of this was to help me make friends. In practice, I was shunted to the side and A rolled around in all the attention and the conversation took a very sexual turn. At three in the morning, I went to bed. A kept talking. At five in the morning, she passed out on my floor. So of course, she was totally functional and enjoyable the next day. That was... a fun weekend. I felt real appreciated. Something I tend to do is bottle up things that bother me until it explodes, and it's really unfortunate and I'm trying to break the habit. But that was a pretty cruel way to treat me, and I was already in a bad place, and it got messy. Also that's right when the nonrefundable plane ticket got cancelled, and when I wrote to Seebs about stress-induced heart palpitations. So it blew up, and she accused me of not wanting her to be happy and have friends, which ????? Jesus fucking christ, I know what it's like to be hideously lonely and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, and I still can't believe she would actually say that. That did get me a mini silent treatment, for about a week, which meant zero non-tumblr social contact for me, when I was already on the edge of a breakdown. I finally broke and bugged her until she talked to me, and I managed to articulate that 1) it felt like she never wanted to talk to me about anything but her sex life and even her weekend trip to visit me made it pretty clear I wasn't anywhere near her top priority, and 2) I felt like -I- was a part of her sex life and I wasn't comfortable with that and I didn't think that was an unreasonable boundary to have. Things were pretty decently patched. But it only took about a week for things to go back to every conversation revolving around her sex life and who she was dating and what play she was doing. And both of us provided each other with emotional support, except most emotional support she needed, again, tied back into her sex life. And the frequency of conversations did drop, we were mostly talking by text and both on smartphones, and we're both thoroughly addicted to our phones. But it eventually hit the point where pretty much any time I would text her, she'd reply the next day or not at all. And just about any time she'd text me, it would JUST be 'oh no I am stressing over X thing, please reassure me,' and the conversation would continue until she felt better again and then it's over until the next time she needs something. So one, I felt pretty used and taken advantage of. Two, I felt like if I said anything about being unhappy with how she was acting, whoops, you're cut off again, bye. And three, I was aware that I was trying to lean on her harder than she was willing to be leaned on, and she's allowed to have boundaries, and that was kind of a douche move on my part. It took me a little time, but I backed off, re-centered myself in my own head, and started taking steps to settle myself in my new home. It did help to stop counting on her support, because she wasn't providing that support at. all. She wasn't obligated to do that, of course, but it still hurt to have had her be emotionally available for years and years before having it all yanked away (and still being leaned on by her). I think I'd pretty much disengaged from leaning on her by the beginning of December. So throughout the fall and early winter, me and her tried to meet up irl six or seven times. Literally every time, she personally threw a wrench in the works. There was the mess with her weekend visit. One time she invited me to a kink con, which nnnno thanks, but I could drive out an hour to meet you for lunch maybe? That was the plan, and when I texted her the night before to ask when she wanted me to get there she was like 'ohhh, yeah, nevermind.' A week before my defense in December, when I was panicked trying to prepare for that defense, I made the time to meet her and her main partner for lunch (time I couldn't really spare). As I was headed out the door, I get a text 'oh, my boyfriend wanted a shower, we're going to be an hour late. Okay. Okay. Right. So that was upsetting, and then when we did meet up and talk, he kept derailing our talk to do things like show me endless strings of Oculus Rift videos. Riveting. A has done this to other people too, not just me, like leaving one of our oldest friends stranded at a metro for an hour. It's pretty consistent. After my defense was done (which did SO MUCH to improve my mental health, I would legitimately call grad school a traumatic experience), I was doing much better on my own, taking steps to establish a social life, etc. And I was plain happy, which hasn't been the case for... years, probably. And just before New Years, we'd made plans that I'd meet her for lunch as I drove down south to visit my parents. She confirmed the day before. The day of, that morning I texted her my rough timeline, and she texted back, 'um, about that, never mind.' This was coming off the string of six or so other delays and cancellations. I did not immediately send her an angry essay. I sat on it, turned things over in my head, and didn't send her anything until late that night. I tried to present it in a not-loaded way, and I probably didn't quite succeed, but it wasn't anything like my first furious gut reaction. And then, her reply message got nasty. It was actually kind of funny, it was such a blatant attempt to be hurtful that I wasn't hurt at all. She did tell me outright that I'd been trying to ask too much of her, which yes, I realized that in November, pulled back by December, and at that point I'd been disengaged for almost a month, thank you very much. But the real highlight was when she told me that since I didn't have any friends at grad school, she thought I would have tried harder at my new home, and that she's sorry, but she can't be my only friend. That's inaccurate and disingenuous as hell, first. And cute, because way to (try to) rub my worst insecurities in my face, and way to be hypocritical, because the only friends she had at grad school were partners with whom she had ugly breakups I personally supported her through. It was extra funny because an hour after getting that message I was meeting two other mutual friends for dinner, and we had a good laugh at how they're actually actors hired by my parents to give me the illusion of a social life, and their upcoming marriage is all for the big season of my personal truman show. I'm cutting all kinds of extra detail, but it's one of the most overtly nasty messages I can remember getting. I'm super ashamed of her, and I told her so (I wish I'd dissected her message a little more, because there was a lot to unpack), and bam, figured I was in for an undetermined period of silent treatment, but it was totally worth it. Welllll, awkward things are awkward, we ended up at the same New Year's party. I was in fact recruited as the point of contact for getting her to the party, because the host didn't have her number. The party was still pretty small at the time we both got there, and one of the first things she brought up in the group conversation was that she and her boyfriend were going to adopt a kitten that weekend. I didn't say anything right there, but I've got a nice set of cat allergies and asthma, and having a cat effectively blocks me from visiting her ever. I can work cat homes locally, but I wouldn't be highway-safe after spending an afternoon at her place, and overnight would mean I wake her up bawling at 3 AM to beg her to drive me to a hospital. Even if she's the one to visit me, I'm going to be feeling it in my lungs for a few days. Now, she has pulled some stunts before (like making me stay at a cat home an hour past when I was suffocating and needed to leave and not understanding why I was upset) that make me think she has no idea what allergies are like, but she's kinda-sorta giving me the silent treatment, idk what's up. So the next day I sent her a short heads up, just to-the-point, plain consequence, that if she adopts a cat I'm not going to be able to visit her. No emotional loading intended on my part, I kept it short, I thought through all the possible workarounds before I sent that. She exploded at me. I'm pretty sure she accused me again of not wanting her to be happy, not thinking she's an adult who can make her own choices, and of forcing her to pick between me and a cat. I tried to explain myself, and that message was absolutely calm and factual. Radio silence. And then she and her boyfriend adopted two cats. (there's an extra layer of irresponsibility, because they have been in '''love''' since like a month after they started dating this fall, he is firmly poly, she wwwwwants to be poly and is not dealing well at all and refuses to be not-poly because it means losing him, and he's going to buy a HOUSE and she's going to move in. hope the cats come out of this okay) That was just after new years, and I haven't heard from her since. So yes, I'm not sure what advice there IS, really. This whole thing sucks on a lot of levels, and I'm not even that upset she adopted the cats? I have other friends who will almost definitely have cats, I just wanted to make sure she knew that was going to be an outcome. Was I supposed to wait until she had the cats and be like 'HAHA, GOTCHA'? And, a bit of spite, once she lost me as an emotional outlet, she started coping much worse. Poly... is not for her, she's even pretty much admitted that being monogamous or being single could be really good for her right now, but she's determined to be the one who changes because her boyfriend isn't going to be monogamous, even for her. There have been a few times where I wondered if I should text her that I'm available if she wants someone to talk to, but more than one of our oldest mutual friends have told me that I should stick to my guns and not be the one to back down. General friend-group consensus is that she's been acting really inappropriately. And that she's acting inappropriately for a while now. But also I still have a lot of affection for her, and when things are good between us, they're REALLY good. BUT, I also need to unpack a lot more of the things she's said and done and lay them out for her. She is making everyone part of her sex life. She was a sexy Catholic schoolgirl for Halloween, which we legitimately once were... but we're closer to 30 than we are to high school, and getting all sexual-dynamic-y with your boyfriend at a small get-together dressed like that is really uncomfortable. Of course, she topped that by changing into the onesie she had with her (????). And then she yanked the zipper down to her bellybutton and was like 'I'm a SEXY BABY.' And then she got daddy dom/little girl-y with her boyfriend in the middle of this party with non-kink high school friends. So I don't know whether it's smarter to reach out to her or hold out until she reaches out to me. It feels like messaging her first might be giving up too much ground to challenge her. That has the tone of me re-initiating contact just to pick a fight, and that would get a super-defensive reaction. I'm not even all that angry at her anymore, I just think she's behaving badly and refuses to admit she's behaving badly. But I'm also worried that as soon as I try to call something out (and there is a lot that needs calling out), she's going to fall back on that whole 'omgggg you're too NEEDY' thing. I'm not actually that vindictive a person, I don't have the attention span to hold long grudges, but this whole mess has been so out-of-character for her that it's kind of alarming. I do genuinely enjoy being emotional support for her, and I think she is in a place where she needs that emotional support, but I'm not willing to provide it given the way she's been treating me. So yes, basically I don't know what advice there really is to be had. I've been holding out on messaging her because I don't really have much to say to her until she apologizes, and I don't know how strongly she believes I'm in the wrong. So I don't know what to do, and I'm not sure there really is anything to do, and as compact as I tried to keep this, it has grown into a frigging essay, sorry.