Surprisingly, the end of my friendship with Justin was not the end of the story.
I had destroyed our friendship by my unhealthy emotional dependence and demands for exclusive affection. Justin couldn’t take my antics any more, so he understandably ended our friendship.
Even though I’d admitted to myself that I was mostly to blame for the relational problems, I still felt hurt by Justin. It felt like he hated me and was treating me like an enemy. I couldn’t get him out of my thoughts, even months after.
I remembered the words of Jesus:
“Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who abuse you.”
As long as I felt like Justin was my enemy, I knew I had to forgive him, pray for him, and “do good” to him. At this point, he had become the lead singer in a local band, so I knew he needed a lot of practical help in promoting his shows. I decided to offer volunteer help with no expectations of anything in return.
When I texted him with my offer to help, I made it clear that I didn’t have to have any contact with him. I just wanted to work on whatever his band needed. He accepted my offer, knowing me well enough to realize I was serious about not demanding anything from him. I did my share of hauling equipment, arranging venues, updating his website, and selling his merchandise at shows.
Eventually, Justin saw that I was keeping my commitment to him, not demanding anything from him. So, he asked me to talk over our destroyed friendship.
We prayed together, and suddenly the walls went down between us. I asked him to forgive me for idolizing him in an unhealthy way and demanding his affection. He forgave me and asked to start over as friends.
We met together about once a week and made it a point to pray together every time. When the band members rented a house together, Justin gladly asked me to move in with them. We all got along well, and I felt loved and like “one of the guys” even though the others were straight and I struggled with SSA.
I thanked God for healing my friendship with Justin and also healing me in the process!
I have remained friends with Justin to this day. After he got married years later, he and his wife had a child and moved into a large house with extra space. Justin actually asked me to move in with them and be a part of his family! I lived with them four years, and I can genuinely say that I overcame my emotional dependence and learned to have a healthy friendship with him.
God is so good!
Have you experienced the pain of emotional dependency? Have you seen healing and relational restoration, or do you still struggle with emotional dependency and/or the loss of friendship?
* Photo courtesy Matthias Bachmann, Creative Commons.