My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends

 

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It was a great honor to have my work included in Stephanie Sprenger and Jessica Smock’s first anthology, The HerStories Project: Women Explore the Joy, Pain, and Power of Female Friendship.  Friendship is an important subject to me (as evidence, my archives for that topic), and I loved the book, which touched on so many facets of female friendship.

Stephanie and Jessica have just published their second book, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends, which is focused on one particularly complicated, thorny, and emotional of these facets.  The book unpacks the myriad experiences of friendship’s end.

These paragraphs, from Jessica Smock’s introduction to the book, provide a succinct and compelling summary of the project’s important goal:

“There is so much good, so much power, so much love, in female friendships. But there is also a dark side of pain and loss. And surrounding that dark side, there is often silence. Women feel that there is no language to talk about their feelings. There is shame, the haunting feeling that the loss of a friendship is a reflection of our own worth or capacity to be loved.

This book, we hope, is a step toward breaking that silence. We as women need to recognize the scars of lost friendships and make it okay to talk about them. And we must also teach our daughters how to manage conflict and emotion without resorting to these forms of indirect aggression that cause deep pain with no visible wounds. The life cycle is long, and many friendships will not last. Yet the end of something once powerful and important will bring sadness and grief, feelings that deserve to be acknowledged.”

I think the experience of losing a close friendship is a universal one.  I’ve certainly been through it.  I’ve felt deep heartache, profound guilt, and lingering loss that has stayed with me for a long, long time.  My female friendshpis are vitally important to me and the few occasions that I’ve seen one die have caused me real pain.

I love, too, what Jessica says too about helping our daughters develop the tools to both navigate friendships (many do not, in my opinion, need to end) and to honor their loss if it happens.  To celebrate the importance and life-enhancing value of female friendship while acknowledging that not all relationships last a lifetime.  I hope you will check out My Other Ex, which is full of richly layered and beautifully told personal stories.

I’m also happy to share that Jessica and Stephanie’s next collaboration is a book called Mothering Through the Darkness: Stories of Postpartum StruggleThey are open for submissions through December 1 and I hope some of you will consider sharing a story.  Postpartum struggle (what a wonderful way to describe what can be a kaleidoscope of experiences) is a topic very dear to my heart, and I’m really excited to read this next book.  I’m also hugely honored that Jessica and Stephanie asked me to join an esteemed panel of judges for the submissions.


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9 Comments

  1. Posted September 24, 2014 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    I cannot wait to read this book. I’ve experienced that heartbreaking end of a friendship and I know I will find comfort in hearing the words of others in this book. I also cannot wait to submit to the next one. I am so grateful to have found HerStories.

    admin Reply:

    Me too. On all counts. xox

  2. Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    When I think of the pain of my few lost friendships, by heart still beats fast, my mouth still goes dry — such a difficult subject. The book sounds wonderful. And I neglected to say the other day how much I loved that photo of your bookshelf. Not surprisingly, it bears quite resemblance to mine.

    admin Reply:

    I’m happy to know (and not surprised) that our cherished bookshelves look similar. xoxox

  3. Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    As usual you have spoken straight to my heart. I have suffered through a few “break-ups” and the scars (while created years ago) to this day feel so new and raw. I am really excited to read this book and hope it helps to lift the guilt and shame…

    admin Reply:

    I hope so too. I think the book is so important for many reasons but probably the first on the list is the way it dares address something that is often laden with shame and guilt, just as you say. xox

  4. Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m thrilled to find this resource!

    I just wrote about this on my own site and had an incredible response. I completely agree that we seem to be missing the vocabulary to voice this particular kind of grief.

    I’m grateful to you and to Lianne Raymond for pointing me in your direction xx

    admin Reply:

    I’m finally checking your site out! And anyone who knows Lianne is automatically a friend of mine. xoxoxo

  5. Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    This looks phenomenal! I lost a best friendship out of the blue a few years ago, and it hit me every bit as hard as a breakup. But it was hard for me to talk about and hard for others to hear about, simply because people don’t talk about these kind of losses very often. And my mom still to this day struggles with the hurt from the end of a friendship that ended over 20 years ago! Gonna send this her way. Thank you!

    admin Reply:

    Yes, there’s shame and hurt to the topic for people (at least for me) that holds us back from discussing it, which I think is part of why this book is so important. xoxo

  6. Posted September 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Excellent review! I hope more and more people read the book. I really liked it so much.

    admin Reply:

    Me too. xoxo

  7. Posted September 25, 2014 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    This is definitely a book that I think, EVERY woman can relate to. Thank you for your review, Lindsey.
    (and I’m excited for you for being part of the next anthology!)

    admin Reply:

    Thank you! And yes: universal. xox

  8. Posted September 25, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    This is truly a topic that everyone can relate to– thanks for featuring this book, and for helping to champion what sounds like an emerging voice for women, the HerStories projects.

    admin Reply:

    I love the topic and also what the HerStories Project is doing getting womens’ voices out there! Wonderful. xo

  9. Posted November 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Hm, this looks good. I have been mourning a 10 year friendship that was lost 2 years ago. It is a grieving and there are not, or I have not heard the words to express the pain from this type of loss.